You know how you hear many a lottery winner state that, despite their sudden financial windfall, they have no plans to quit their jobs? Well, hopefully they’re true to their word because studies reveal that 70% of lottery winners blow through their winnings in just a few years. But that’s beside the point. Of greater interest to me is the prospect that someone who has attained sudden financial freedom would, nevertheless, choose to continue working. Why? So that they can be a contributing member to society? In order to maintain purpose? To score an invite to the company Christmas party so that they can check out Doris from accounting’s annual eggnog-fueled strip tease? Maybe all of the aforementioned? Maybe none of the aforementioned? Maybe it’s just something to say at the time like “Sure, I’d love to have dinner with you!” or “You should call me whenever you’re in town!”, an off-the-cuff declaration that no one in their right mind would ever hold you to.

I wonder about this because this morning, while I was talking to my writing partner Paul, he reminded me that we would be heading back to the office on Monday. It may surprise you to learn that my response was not “Oh, it’ll be great to see the old gang again! I wonder if Carl got a new haircut?” or “Thank God! I’ve been going stir-crazy being at home for the past two weeks!” but rather “So soon?” as though this unforeseen demand on my schedule would somehow hamper a crucial project I had in the works (Although at the time – in the interest of full disclosure – I was standing in my socks and fleece pants in my garden striving to differentiate between the scents of three types of thyme and trying to figure out why they called it lemon basil when it smelled nothing like lemon and really smelled more like marijuana.) Yep, crazy as it sounds, three and a half weeks into my four week hiatus and I’m in no hurry to get back at it even though, in truth, I have been “back at it”, working on the script for episode #20 since my return from Montreal. Maybe my attitude would be different if it was three months, say, or six months, or perhaps two years spent in the isolated darkness of my home theater room freelancing via email, eating Chinese take-out, and watching my entire collection of anime including Ninja Cadets and Elf Princess Rane. Maybe. And then again, maybe not.

Prior to signing on with the Stargate franchise, I spent several years freelancing from home. I’d settled into a nice comfortable routine although there were, admittedly times when I would miss the social interaction that comes with a group story meeting or a good old-fashioned face to face script harangue. I wonder now if, given the choice and all things being equal, I could go back to a more laidback home office life.

Of course, given the uncertain nature of show business, there’s a good chance that, somewhere down the line, I won’t have a choice and may well find myself sitting at home in my socks and fleece pants, working away on my freelance scripts, secretly missing the on-set action, the camaraderie, and Carl’s snazzy post-hiatus haircuts.

Well, that’s it for now. I’m all by my lonesome tonight as my wife went to a “women only” beachside get-together that sounded suspiciously like a Wiccan gathering. I’m off to watch The Orphanage.

Today = video of some early gate tests.

71 thoughts on “July 21, 2009: Freelancing vs. Full-Time Commitment! The Early Gate Tests!

  1. Oh look, the gate spins both ways! Do they add the cool watery event horizon effect in later (like in SG-1) or is there a thingamabob that mimics it but isn’t there in these videos (like later on in SGA)?

    I read once in Reader’s Digest that working is one of the keys to happiness… maybe that’s why lottery winners don’t quit their jobs.
    Also, after taxes, their winnings probably amount to just enough to cover their debts (apologies: this is me being cynical about money. It seems like there’s never enough of it in this crappy recession. *Sigh*).

    Hmm, can you expand the discussion of freelancing versus full-time? It seems to me like either you have a greenlight to write a script (and hence, a full-time job) or you don’t (and then you’ve got NO job). But I’m sure there’s more to it than that.

  2. If I ever got so lucky to win enough money to last ´till I sucked my last breath (at age 99 or so), I would most certainly not be working anymore! Ok, so first I would have to start playing the lottery to be able to win, but you get my point! **grin*

    Oh, and Joe, do the wraith have bellybuttons? Inquiring minds are dying to know!

  3. Uh oh. Joe’s in reflection mood. Last time that happened SGA got cancelled.

    That said, if you ever do quit Stargate to pursue a freelance thing, may I take your place on the writing staff? I’d be ever so good.

    Thank you so much for the gate-in-action videos! Wow, that’s a smooth operator; it’s like it’s on greased ballbearings. Those construction people do good work! I especially like the 2nd video, where it’s like the beginning of an episode or something. You start on the gate, slowly pull out as it dials, and then pan back to reveal the team standing, waiting, and bantering. Classic Stargate.

  4. Addendum: it took me until yesterday to realize that ytimynona‘s name is Anonymity spelled backwards.

    I’m slow with words.

  5. HOLY CRAP!! that is awesome. It never occurred to me to think of the entire gate spinning. I was a little worried when I first saw the gate design because it almost seemed a little too plain, but now I am relieved and excited about it once again. Great job and thanks for the vids.


  6. For the last 20-1/2 years, I have been a telecommuter for my employer (medical transcription company). I was a telecommuter before it became fashionable to do so. What I don’t miss are the office politics and game playing. What I do miss is the human contact. It is a double-edged sword. Everything in our job is done by email. There is no “home office.” Even the owner of the company works from home. We do have a data center, but it strictly a machine-only place where the occasional programmer has to run to if there is a problem.

    Having a nonverbal child doesn’t help that need for conversation. Although I talk to the dog, she doesn’t talk back (in human words at least). I did a lot of volunteer work when he was younger, but oddly enough the older he gets, the harder it seems to take care of him, and I don’t seem to be able to squeeze volunteering in any time in my immediate future. That leaves me with my husband (who falls asleep early because he gets up early), and the occasional monthly book club meeting I get to go to (when I’m not on-call for my job), shopping, and hair appointments and other such things, and phone conversations with my sisters. With email, I don’t seem to talk to many people anymore either. That is why on weekends, I’m just not on the internet. That is the time I squeeze in all my errands, human contact, conversations with family and with my husband (not to mention the other usual household chores and taking care of my kiddo). If I didn’t do that, I’d think I’d wind up like Tom Hanks’ character in CastAway.

    But all things considered, after 20-1/2 years of working at home, I don’t know if I could really work in an office setting anymore. That is almost half of my life. I’m sure I could do it if I HAD to, but it would not be a willing choice. Just the thought of having to wear shoes again, and shudder, shoes with HEELS, makes my feet hurt.

  7. @Mika wrote on July 21 at 6:34PM


    Completely true, and with your permission I’ll happily quote that at my Catastrophic Disasters students.

    Mika, you have my permission to quote my previous posting from July 21th at 11:37AM on Joe’s blog.

  8. What’s your take on telecommuting writing jobs? I’ve been trying to get into something awhile now, and since I don’t live near any good creative hub, I’m more or less resigned to the remote work, but it doesn’t always seem worth it.

  9. I’d go part-time, but I’d still work. Or volunteer somewhere. I’d turn into a stinking, filthy hermit if I didn’t. Besides, my family would suck me dry of my winnings in a very short time. Unless I didn’t tell them the full extent of my winnings …. hmm. Now I just need to win!

  10. I speak with teenagers and toddlers daily. I’d give anything to speak with an adult during the day and not the one at Target in the check-out line.

    Cool spinning gate, although I had to stop the closeup because it was making me sick. Spinning things and me don’t mix.

  11. Everyone in my department plays the lotto weekly. It’s the only way we’re going to get a raise.

    And yeah, I’d stay. With pre-existing medical problems, I’d be denied medical insurance no matter how many millions I might win.

    All the set pics and tech stuff looks great, but I have to admit that my interest is in the characters. They’re what kept me watching SG1 and Atlantis. So I guess I’ll have to wait and see about SGU.

  12. Joe have you ever heard of anyone injured by the gate? That thing seems to be spinning quite fast, and you’d think with 15.5 seasons of stargate something must have gone wrong at some point with actors in close proximity…

  13. It would depend on how much money we’re talking about, if I would retire or not. A few million, probably not likely. by the time the taxes are paid, friends, family, and charities given a cut, the splurge spending done, I suspect the remaining amount would be more suitable for a retirement fund than for retiring on. Once you get over ten million though, I’d start thinking in terms of giving up the day job. Much as I love my job, there are younger people who could do it, and I could always volunteer and keep my hand in things. Also, my biggest passion is travel, so having both funds and money available would make retirement a no brainer. And should I manage to swing a 100 million dollar plus windfall, well, let’s just say that London, Vegas, and possibly someplace in New Zealand would be nice places to have an apartment. The one thing I would make sure of is before collecting the money, talk to a financial adviser/accountant/attorney to both maximize my income and to set up the appropriate funds to live off of once I blow the rest of the cash. Such musings always make for a few minutes of blissful entertainment.
    As for freelancing, never having held a job that was so potentially feast or famine, I’m not sure how well I would like it. I admire those who are willing to take such risks, given it indicates a certain passion for their chosen field. But in a world where skill and talent do not guarantee a rise to the top, it’s a hard road to choose. Unfortunately what talents I do have do not lend themselves to jobs such as yours. Or maybe that is a fortunate thing. In a world where both the dreck and the jewels are being preserved for future generations, it’s just as well that any of my artistic attempts won’t be around to embarrass me in any future life.
    Cool video of the gate. Thanks as always, and know that we will all be sympathizing with your having to drag yourself back to work.(carefully maintaining a straight face)

  14. This is so exciting, to see the gate moving! I feel like such a nerd ha ha!

    You might have answered this before, so if so I apologise.. But why do you have a hiatus? Is production only half way through? I thought it was a bit further along…


  15. If I won big I’d quit what I was doing but go and live the remainder of my life as a volunteer. Orangutan Sanctuary in Borneo, Tiger Temple/Elephant Sanctuary in Thailand, open a free Vet clinic on Koh Samui with a local vet training centre included. **sigh**

    Mika – I’m one of those in Australia that was close to the fires in February. I look back on it now and see how close we were to being wiped out and wow, were we lucky the freak wind change happened when it did.

    There were some obvious factors that contributed to the catastrophe that meant no matter what the resources, there was still going to be serious damage and casualties.
    1. It has been council law that you are not allowed to clear your property in any way, including fallen logs and branches. I understand it is better to leave fallen matter for the environment, but we need to find a balance. Australian flora has so many species that need fire to reproduce. Surely that would suggest that fire is a natural cycle?

    2. We have been in drought for over a decade. Everything was crispy dry and ready to burn. With water restrictions in place, it meant the usual lush lawns and green gardens that used to surround our properties were dry and mostly dead.

    2. We were all glued to the CFA website for fire updates, but it was over AN HOUR OUT! Handy when the fire is travelling at 200kmph.

    3. And yes, the fire was travelling at an incredible speed on two fronts so even for those that saw it coming, many couldn’t outrun it.

    If it had have reached our suburb, who knows what would have followed. We’re only 28kms from the Central Business District. Between us and the CBD is pure urban sprawl.

    The weeks that followed what our media has dubbed “Black Saturday” was spent clearing dry debris, making fire breaks and ensuring people were notified promptly of potential fire danger. All these are courses of action that could have been taken prior, but, as with most things, it’s only when something bad happens that action is taken.

    What I’m interested in is that so few noticed some of the subtle changes during the Summer. I post on my blog in early December about animals, bugs and grasses that I hadn’t seen since the last big bushfire season and posed the question of whether the return of these particular aspects of nature would mean bushfires over the Summer. Wish I’d been wrong. Here’s hoping more councils take the lead of a gas company in the Northern Territory by using local Aboriginals in an advisory capacity on how to manage the land. They’ve been doing controlled burnoffs and managing the land for 40,000 years. That’s got to look good on anyone’s CV!

    Sorry about the off-topic ramble Joe… as usual.

  16. It’s always enjoyable to read your reflective-mood musings; you have that natural-writer knack for making them entertaining and atmospheric without sacrificing insight. So, with a talent that equips you for working from home at a job you like, I guess choosing becomes that much harder — that is, if you’re seriously pondering a change rather than just going through the “what if’s” that seem to affect most people.

    Sitting around in socks and fleece pants (oh, and shirt — guys have all the luck) to mull over a project, or taking in the essence of a nighttime garden in the same loungewear I’d put on for work, was a real pleasure when I was copyediting. I miss that, and miss even more the freedom to order my day as I pleased, as long as I got my work done at some point. But it seems there’s always something to nag at you, whether it’s not doing more of what you’re capable of doing (say, producing, plus the all-important task of keeping Ashleigh in line), or the camaraderie, or the opportunity to pad the bank account against more cutbacks in your line of work. (Alternatively, to pad the basement walls for Ninja training, or for bouncing off them when your job overloads your circuits.) Or at least that’s what I found.

    My aspirations are modest: I’ll be happy if, 10-20 years from now, I haven’t morphed into Doris from accounting. Or into the manic-euphoric patient, still attractive at 51 — that much was clear from observing male staff — who came tripping down the hallway one evening in her purple sneakers, crimson-lipstick smile, and nada in between. (She’d done a nice job with her hairdo, but still. Even psych floors have limits.)

    Thanks for a couple more nifty vids, and the Twitter pooch-pics.

  17. Bonjour Joseph!! Vous allez bien?
    Moi oui, encore une belle étape du Tour de France nous attend aujourd’hui et Lance à retrouvait les jambes de ça jeunesse

    Oula, vous vous posez beaucoup de question aujourd’hui, je vous répondrez….bah “c’est comme ça” lol

    Merci pour ces video =D. Les fans seront content!

    Passez une bonne journée!

  18. @ das:

    I’ve long thought that Johnny Depp has a creepy, mutating portrait in the attic, for certainly there is some sort of strange, dark magic at work keeping that man so beautiful!

    Maybe some of his creepier roles served the same purpose . . . ? Dunno. But in the absence of signs of botox use (and thank goodness for that; I really don’t like looking at living masks), it’s fun to speculate. – BTW, it sounds like you had a really nice time and some mighty fine eatin’ yesterday. Good deal. 🙂

  19. I picked up the brad wright Children of the Gods DVD yesterday. Awesome job!!! It was like watching it for the first time, only better. Why hasn’t it been mentioned here lately?
    And why was this released with no marketing while DVD sales are way down? I’m as poor as a church mouse but even I bought this DVD.

  20. I get to work from home twice a week. I rather enjoy having that mix; although you do miss out on some fun stuff every now and then.

    I’m not sure I could do it all the time.

    As for that lottery win? Once I put in enough to live a nice retirement, I am SO quitting my job!

    I hope your wife has a nice time at her all-girl beach getaway. I’m doing the same with some girlfriends this weekend.

  21. Cool! The gate spinning is not a CGI trick 😀

    Still wondering how the gate prop gets its power though, I’m pretty sure its not power cables. (they would be torn apart if the gate would spin to far in one direction) Perhaps batteries are hidden inside the gate?

  22. I already told the office that if I win the lottery, do NOT expect me to show up the next day! My desk holds no personal effects other than a pic of my kids that is a duplicate.

    Of course, I should probably start buying lottery tickets if I actually want to win.

    I had three kinds of thyme once…English, French & Lemon. The Lemon one had such a nice citrus smell….

    Will there be pics of Carl’s haircut?

  23. Will there be space Gates in SGU? Will they spin, too?

    I’m new to the blog, so maybe you’ve answered this before, but is this gate so different because it’s a prototype? If it requires the under-the-floor-spinning-and-shooting-CO2 mechanism, does that make it an earlier design than the other Gates we’ve seen?

  24. Uhm. Why so grim? Isn’t the destiny supposed to be an Ancients ship? I thought they Ancients were all for the cheery white plastics and stained/frosted glass designs, all throughout the galaxy. Even in the milky way none of the ancient stuff looked so grim.

    This looks like the Necromongers’ ship in Chronicles of Riddick… Bleh. Those were evil, in case you didn’t watch, and the ancients were supposed to be good.

  25. Nice gate spinning videos!

    I’m just glad to hear you would still be wearing pants (fleece or not) if you were freelancing from home.

    If I won the lottery, I’d quit work. Period.

  26. Some quick questions:

    1. Does Fondy prefer you in the office, or working from home?

    2. Does Fondy read this blog?

    3. Does your Mom read this blog? Your sister?

    4. Will you ever share any of your baby pictures with us, or maybe something from your wayward teenage years?

    5. What’s the most physically dangerous thing you’ve ever done?

    6. Can you dance?

    7. If you’re home and not feeling all that great, what’s your ‘comfort food’?

    8. What’s the worst thing you’ve ever found in your refrigerator (as a kid or as an adult)?

    9. Have you ever milked a cow and, if not, have you ever wanted to?

    10. For hauling your junk around: Boxes or briefcases?



  27. So I went to my niece’s school concert tonight. Joe, you should have been there. It all started with the principal announcing that he’d been told to stretch his introduction because the narrator had to go to the toilet. Felt sorry for the poor girl when she finally arrived.

    There were 3 pieces – the first where Zac Efron is drafted into the Navy so the kids could sing a number of sea tunes, while poor Zac mysteriously became the stagehand, moving boats etc

    The second saw young Tikki Tikki sent by his father on a quest to find 3 feathers. Joined by his friend Sparkle, they battle a fearsome pirate who turns out is a bit of a crybaby wimp – such a let down. The best had to be the kids slap dancing. The boys took to this with gusto. Once Tikki Tikki gathered all of the feathers he found along the way he went back to his father and was pronounced King. Then he married Sparkle….you see where this is going. My problem with this was, where was the peril for our hero? There was no whumping and the shipping was a bit dodgy (although it was funny that when the narrator kept saying the 2 leads hugged, they never did. Ha! Boy germs/girl germs)

    Anyhoo the last piece was the one my niece was in. It told the tale of a young Englishman (you can tell he’s English because he says spiffing and jolly good a lot, plus he wears a bowler hat..**shrugs** – you guys do that don’t you?). Anyhoo Archibald (yikes) is sent to the Australian bush to visit his cousin. You can tell the Aussies, ‘cos they say mate, dingbat, billy, hooroo etc. Archie gets tricked into doing some crazy things by a silver snake (who was trying to be sexy which was weird for a 10 year old). He winds up letting out the sheep, setting fire to the bush etc before he saves the day by starting a bucket brigade (he had earlier cut the fire hoses up). Then it was time for a party which is where the rock n roll dancing and my niece came in – very cute.

    While I was watching it I was thinking of you Joe and your love of musical theatre. So my question to you:

    What would a Joe Mallozzi-written school play be like?

    Cheers, Chev

  28. I love that the gate has a new design! It’s slightly dizzying but cool nevertheless!

  29. If I won the lottery I’d still keep working, just perhaps reduce my hours. Maybe I could take over MGM. How much money would I need for that?

    Cheers, Chev

  30. Ooh I’d love to work from home some days. I just don’t know if I’d have the discipline. Could get easily distracted by the phone, washing, cat, jigsaw, Internet Poker….well maybe not the last one but you get the drift.

    Cheers, Chev

  31. Thanks for all of the Destiny pics Joe! Just fantastic!

    So, re: the gate: How do they get that beast to rotate? A single point roller that rolls the whole gate, or is it just the facade of the gate on a turntable? Inquiring Sci-Fi geeks want to know!

  32. Bonjour Joseph,
    Tout d’abord je vous remercie de nous faire partager des photos, vidéos et infos sur Stargate Universe. Il faut dire que lorsque j’avais appris l’annulation d’Atlantis, j’en ai voulu à SGU, j’avais décidé de boycotter la série, de ne pas la regarder… Mais plus j’en apprend, et plus je vois de nouvelles images, je me dit que c’est ridicule de ne pas regarder Universe.
    Mais maintenant, plus les semaines passe, et plus j’ai envi de voir la série.
    Et puis je sais que SGA vivra toujours sous la forme de téléfilms.
    Voila, je tenais a vous le dire.

    Au fait, elle est impressionnante le porte du Destiny. La voir tournée, c’est… je suis bouche bée.

    Voici mes questions:

    1) La porte des étoiles à bord du Destiny est elle plus ancienne que les portes de la Voie Lactée et de Pégase? (Si oui, il sagit donc de la premiere porte des étoiles)
    2) Il est pour quand le premier téléfilm d’Atlantis? (car je commence a désespérer)
    3) Et enfin, je voudrai savoir si il y a la langue francaise dans la nouvelle version de Childrens of the Gods, et si elle sortira en France?

  33. Cool Video! Thank you, Mr. M.

    I did read a book based on that very fact about lottery winners. Can’t remember the name/author but I’m sure it was some of my “junk food” fiction to help escape. It involved a criminal mastermind that would pick down and out people, arrange an agreement that WHEN they won the lotto, he would gain financial control over the money. He had the lotto rigged. He would multiply the winnings and make huge profits for both of them. Until a reporter found it unlikely these lotto winners didn’t lose all their money like the statistics predicted. Then the reporter gets offed. It was a fun read. Is that familiar to anyone?

    I love working alone!!!! Just give me space and stay out of my way. I’m disciplined enough to have a routine. Not quite a loner, since I like my hubby around but….I don’t like crowds.


  34. I forgot to ask but…. Does anyone know if the the new SG-1 DVD has nudity on it? “Children of the Gods”, right? I was going to pick it up but I want to see if my 13 year old can watch it first. I noticed it’s rated PG-13 and the original version is an R. Anyone watch it yet?


  35. @Carl,

    Sure…… could you at least post a pic on your twitter so we can see the “hotness” ? 😉

    Hi Joe,
    Wow, it’s that time already, Comic-Con, end of hiatus, more filming, and soon enough the SGU PREMIER.. WOW, does time fly.(Opp I’m starting to sound grown up now, my bad :p)

    AWWW Joe, well your dogs are with you aren’t they, doesn’t make up for the fact that you wife is gone. Well i’m not married(yet, I SOOO can’t wait) so I won’t even try to comsierate. LOL

    Well thanks for the Destiny gate vids!! Looks kinda more oval and not very sturdy, but in the trailers it looks solid and normally round. Still, with editing and camera placement and sound and visual effects, it must look amazing!!!

    Oh and a couple questions if you don’t mind.

    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.

    3. Did the email to Mr. Bill work out?

    4. Do you think we can have some pics from the set of the “puddle jumper on sterioids”. I believe that’s what you called it, and you said it was some type of shuttle.

    Thanks so much,
    Major D. Davis

  36. @ Carl Binder – You’d look MUCH hotter in a long, white wig.

    Trust me.



  37. Son, I don’t know what you been smokin’, but lemon basil does NOT smell like marijuana. Unless it is some kind of polite Canadian MJ.

    Grow some lime thyme if you like limes. I go in the garden just to crush it between my fingers… smells amazing.

    When MyLarry retired from the Navy, I threw him out of the house to go find a job in less than three weeks. He was driving me crazy, some people need to be kept busy. He chops firewood for amusement. He has three or four hammocks, but never lazes in one. I don’t think “lazes” is in his nature. You should see the extension he just built off the back of the garage to store our camp gear. Most people become exhausted just watching him. Driving a flatbed is perfect for him, regular trucking wasn’t physical enough. Yes, if he hit the lottery he’d keep working. Otherwise I’d have to be a widow to stay sane.

    Me? I stay home all day. I paint and sew and do housework. I plan on working out. Some days I don’t talk unless the phone rings.

    Hey, PG15… you drove right by my house. if i”d known, I would have waved.

  38. So Joe, Altar Boyz is playing in my town as part of the local fringe festival. Since you are an expert on musical theatre, or at least this particular show, is it worth the 9 bucks it will cost me to attend?

  39. Sneaking out of lurkerdom for a question about the gates. Doesn’t the wormhole fill the entire circle inside the gate? If so, and not just on the new Destiny gate – Atlantis comes to mind also, why are the bits of floor inside the gate not demolished by the whoosh?

    Inquiring minds and all that…GBee

  40. If I had been lucky enough to win the lottery while I was still working, there’s no way I would have kept my job. It was stressful, underpaid, and unappreciated. When I retired, I was unexpectedly unsettled for a year or so, but then I built myself a routine and found meaningful “work” to do. If you love it, it isn’t work anyway, at least most of the time.

    That 70% of lottery winners (based on my observation of the players) have probably never had much money, and don’t know how to manage it. They blow everything on toys. My first act if I won (which I probably never will, since I only buy a single ticket now and then) would be to hire a financial consultant or tax lawyer with experience on how to protect the newfound family fortune.

  41. I’m impressed not only by the smooth way the gate gets up to speed, but that it slows down in such a smooth way as well. Now, we’re going to expect that kind of operation all the time. Horde those stock shots while it’s working well.

    1. If they need the ship to rotate axially, could they just crank up the rpmpm’s (intentionally misspelled rpm’s) on the gate? Hopefully, they wouldn’t (or would if it looked cool) send all that angular momentum free-rolling and crashing through the bulkhead.

    2. Given a typical circumferential cross-section of the gate with known radii, the density of its material, and the distance it is sunk into the floor, what is the maximum speed you can spin the gate without a failure of the supports allowing it to climb out of the floor and roll around chasing everyone? Assume there is total transfer of force where the gate touches the floor and not just enough friction to catch fire.

    Oh, it’s on a ramp? All the gate would have to do is smash through the floor sideways, then chase everyone, so nevermind.

    3. Is one of those rings stationary?


    If resources had any practical shot at countering forest fires, the insurance companies would have an army of helicopters already on it. Insurance adjusters have presented practical safety advice where I’ve worked. As opposed to OSHA, where the game is to stay in business after you receive their “advice”.

  42. maggiemayday: Indeed! I read your comments a few days back and was blown away by the fact that I basically drove by your backyard! Small world.

  43. You’re only thinking these things because…

    1) You are in a position to enjoy the choice at the moment.
    2) If you won the Lottery YOU would still work, writing is your skill, and imagination your passion
    3) and this is the real truth – with what Ashleigh has install for you on your return would make most people start thinking about not avoiding high ledges or balconies.

    In reality, you love and enjoy what you do, the down side of organizing an art form means you must work to a time table that may be out of your control – and that is frustrating as hell. It’s like being asked to cry on demand or be funny all the time, it’s just not possible. On top of this, there must (and I don’t know this personally) some form of fear of the ideas drying up – writers block. The only cure for this is to envelope yourself in things you love and get away to do things that you want to do.
    I guess it comes down to asking if your free time is actually ‘yours’ and you don’t spend it giving it away to something else or others – unless this is something you want to do.

    But, really, what the hell do I know? LOL

    Last year, you did Japan… When is it the turn of Thailand?

  44. Whatever happened to the horror movie project you guys worked on? Any chance you guys would produce it on your own a la Dog’s Breakfast?

  45. Salut joe!!!!!!!!!!!

    The destiny gate is beautiful, It’s impressive that all the gate can rotate.

    Many questions!!

    1) Can we see a design or picture of a planets DHD?
    I learned haphazardly, that would be a remote control who open the planet’s gate (same old cassandra or asgard technology)
    It’s right or there will be DHD too (to the planets inhabitants for example)????

    2)The destiny gate is older or newer that Milky Way gates?

    3)Can you explain, the symbols design? (why an assembly of basic signs?)

    4)Will there are french people on expedition (we don’t want a stereotypal character same Lapierre, but a normal character with goodness and vices)

    5)You love France. Why you wouldn’t come to a french stargate convention one of these days?

    I hope you answer my questions!!!!

    Bonne soirée.

  46. @ Pinytail – Yes – Carl is hawt. It’s that smile of his, those twinkly eyes (which are a bit like Chris Heyerdahl’s), and his svelte, Wraith-like physique. I’ve just always wondered what he’d look like without the ‘stache…

    (Pssst! Joe…if you ever catch Carl nappin’ in his office, how about shavin’ off that caterpillar lurking under his schnoz, just to satisfy our curiosity.)


  47. See, Joe, this is what happens when you let rampant disaster discussions happen on your blog. It also supports my ongoing argument that scifi is a fantastic setting to learn about science; yes, we’re not discussing an episode, but this slow-running sub-thread on the fires is more interesting with more varied perspectives than I’ve seen on the news sites’ comments boards.

    @Montrealer – thanks! & done. Articles (1, 2)
    comparing this response to a fire in the same region in 2003 makes it look like the resource distribution actually is different: more faster, with better planning.

    @Narelle from Aus – may I quote you, too?
    I was on geology trips during the fires, constantly getting rerouted as our target sites were enveloped in flames. The sky was absolutely shocking.

    My professors were telling me that community fire bunkers used to exist, but after undesirables were using them outside of emergency situations, the shelters were decommissioned (destroyed, not just locked) which meant that by the time people saw how bad the firestorm was it was not only too late to flee but there wasn’t a backup safe point in the community to retreat to. Do you know anything about that?

    When I made it to the far outback, the locals told me that there’s been a change in dominant grass species as a shorter, hotter-burning invasive grass has mostly taken over from a longer, colder-burning native grass, so the resulting grass fires are not just hotter (frying the plants that normally reproduce in heat) but spread significantly quicker. Again, heard anything about that?

    As an Australian, has your opinion of voluntary vs. mandatory evacuations changed?

  48. I agree that there’s no good answer to the freelance/office work. I wouldn’t trade my time freelancing from home for anything. I raised a great puppy and watched a whole lot of Stargate, lol. However, working in an office really does socialize you in a way that a home office can’t replicate. I find myself just a little more on-my-toes when faced with the inevitable ridicule a three-day shaving embargo brings.

    I don’t really get any kind of hiatus during the year as I bill hourly (my time is literally my money). I do have the luxury of making my own office hours though.

    Looking forward to getting back into the book club. Thanks for the reduction in monthly selections. It actually frees up more time for more books.

  49. @DP – Can you tell me where (country, general field of industry) you worked that received good advice from insurers? From the few times they let us disaster scientists chat with the emergency planners, insurance is one of those wildcards where no two regions play by the same rules.

    Last year, insurance companies in California flew over volunteer firefighting experts from Australia to train the locals in bushfire defense of property even though “stay and defend” is not a legal option in North America. I think the intention was that if Californian property holders were trained in bushfire defense, they’d (property holders or insurance companies) push to make mandatory evacuations voluntary, thus reducing property damage that insurance companies would need to pay for. I haven’t heard any more on the plan since the horrific deaths in the Black Sunday fires, yet I also haven’t heard anything about Australian insurance companies asking evacuation psychologists to give trainings on how to get the highest response to voluntary evacuation requests.

  50. isn’t there a big jackpot in todays 649?

    Anyways what is the deal with the chevrons if the entire gate spins….which by the way if you remember, I asked if the entire gate spun months ago.
    And could you address this question with the Pegasus Gate aswell. Although the LED glyphs are cool, i would have rather seen them spin and lock into place under the top chevron, rather them have them static and lock into place without moving.

  51. People who who keep their job after winning the lottery are just nuts. If they want to work, they should buy the business.

    The gate is really “hot”. I’m guessing hotter than Carl Binder’s haircut. But – I could be wrong.

  52. Just got back from an internet free holiday which was lovely and caught up with your blog (one part of no-internet that I missed).

    Saw that you read We3 recently and wondered what you thought of it (sorry if you already wrote about it) I referenced it for my last project at Uni and really liked the graphic illustrations especially when the animals were fighting and jumping out of one scene into another.

  53. Me revoila!!!

    Pourquoi? je ne sais O_o? J’avais trés trés envi de vous parlez mais je n’est pas encore réfléchi à quoi.

    Il faut dire qu’en ce moment mes journées ne sont pas trés distrayante! Je m’occupe beaucoup de mon blog, je regrette d’ailleur que toute la planét ne le connaisse pas car sans me vanté les fan ratent vraiment quelque chose. Je suis aussi beaucoup le Tour de France, et vous? est t’il diffuser au Canada?

    Alalala si vous saviez, je suis trop trop impatiente de vous voir en vrai!!! Je ne sais pas quand, mais je sais que cela se fera…je me passe déjà cette scéne dans la tête des centaines de fois!

    Snif mon anniversaire approche….et je me sens déjà toute veille, je vais avoir 19 ans mais j’ai perdu ma fougue et mon dinamisme d avant. Je sais c’est paradoxale de dire ça à mon age o_O, je n’imagine pas quand j’en aurai 30!!

    ça va faire plus de 2 ans que je suis votre blog et je me demande quand vous allez l’arrêter? dans trés longtemp j’espere car je serai triste de ne plus avoir de nouvelle de vous. Moi pour le mien surment l’été prochain car je part vivre sur Paris avec mon cheri pour mes études et j’aurai une vie de “grande fille” donc je ne pourrai plus trop me connécté à internet je pense.

    Bon je vais devoir y aller, car il faut que je révise mon code de la route et j’ai l”impréssion qu’un orage approche.

    Bonne nuit!
    A demain !!

    ps: demain vous pourriez mêttre une photo de vous sur votre blog? =) Merci

  54. Win the lottery and keep working at my current job? – I think not. I believe that I could manage to fully retire in the style to which I would like to be accustomed for $50 million but I wouldn’t say no to more. Like Thornyrose, I would love to do more traveling.

  55. Since we’re talking fires, I like to make mentions of a few more. We were constantly surrounded by fires when we were crusing around southern Utah. On the way to Cedar City, there was a big plume of grey smoke rising over the mountains. When we were in Zion National Park, smoke from another fire started drifting towards us down the valley. When we were heading towards Kanab from the south, another plume was rising over the mountains nearby. Finally, there was a Managed Fire in Bryce Canyon National Park that closed the southern part of it. When we got out to take in the view of the canyon, the smoke obscured the sun a bit and made everything orange, which 1). looked like we were under a big streetlamp and 2). made the park all the more beautiful since the landscape was itself various shades of red, orange, and yellow.

    Good times, good times.

  56. “Of greater interest to me is the prospect that someone who has attained sudden financial freedom would, nevertheless, choose to continue working. Why? So that they can be a contributing member to society? ”

    Maybe someone would want to do something else more interesting than their current work if they found financial independence. Even volunteer work. Or writing perhaps.

    I’m curious how did freelancing worked out?

    How does the gate run (belts and electric motors I guess), do they have control of the speed of rotation?

  57. hi, joe,

    a few weeks ago, my sister lost her beloved dog. i think she should get another (to help fill the void), like a pug or a little lulu (french bulldog?). i’d like to know if you have a bunch of pics or vids in one place i could show her of your bunch, to entice her?


  58. @Mika

    Insurance companies would be much more involved and in a more cost effective way than current efforts if the resources weren’t already being taken coercively from the tax payers.

    No, you didn’t get me to go there! Not on Joe’s blog! Just imagine how inadvisable getting me started on the topic of involuntary evacuations would be.

  59. Just back from a week long holiday in the middle of nowhere with no internet connection or dvd player but lots and lots of rain.

    It’s soooo nice to be able to read your blog again! Now I know I’m home.

  60. Wow like the new cool hip way the gate spins 😀

    There was speculation on the GW forums at how the white ball thing on top stayed still or if it moved with the gate well guess i know now its not even on the gate its attached to the roof 😀

    But overall i like the new way the gate dials its better for SGU

    Keep up the good work

    SGU Scotsman

  61. I think the thing I like about work is that it provides an opportunity to work on things that interest me (to some degree) and get paid for that. There’s a certain level of motivation about it that makes me think – even if I somehow won enough money to never have to work again – I would still keep up a job (even if it was less hours or something).

    The other thing is of course the people you get to interact with at work. Sure, there might be the few frustrating colleagues, but working with these people is what helps make great stories to tell friends outside of work.

    I do a bit of freelance writing at the moment, and I really love the freedom of working at home, deciding on the process and not having someone breathe down my neck about it when I know I will get the writing done on time. But given the choice, I really lean towards more team-based work environments.

    I think sometimes the end of holidays are edged with disappointment or a “so soon?” type of mindset because we haven’t really had a proper break. Like you, Joe, because you’ve been working over the break. I don’t know though, just typing as I think.


  62. @DP: Are you in a country that does mandatory evacuations, or one that does voluntary evacuations?

    Public perception is a huge part of effective emergency management, and I’m both professionally and personally curious if you’re in (dis)agreement with your government’s approach. I respect your very polite desire to not want to get into a debate, but you’ll be assisting with balancing all my theory courses by telling me how it it looks in the real world. Bonus points if you can also tell me about the general opinion of mandatory vs voluntary evacuation for your geographic community!

  63. @Carl. Though you always look hot, the ultimate look for you would be one word. Ponytail. Dye it white and Das would be your number one worshipper.

  64. @Mika – My opinions are not representative of my geography – Ohio. I don’t condone people coercing other people in any way and that goes for the government, too.

  65. Questionnaire

    Me and a friend, possibly more, are interested in building full size replicas of the Milky Way and Pegasus Stargates.

    1. Is this legal? Like, for example, would it be any infringement of copyrights to build our own full size Stargates, for, basically “the hell of it” and possibly fan videos?

    2. This is a long shot I’m sure, but is there even the slightest hope of getting some assistance from TPTB, specifications, measurements, 3D models, anything at all, to aid in our efforts? We have theorized about making the Gates out of a number of materials as well, resin, wood, etc. Each seems to have their pros and cons. Any info, documents or insight on the matter would be greatly appreciated.

    3. How much did it cost you guys to build each Stargate? Milky Way, Pegasus, Destiny?

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