A bit of a frustrating day all around. I went into the office this morning with the intention of revising both drafts and having the scripts out by this afternoon. A little after lunch, I had to revise my all too ambitious plans and, instead, aim for only one script. By late afternoon, it was clear that both scripts would have to wait until Monday. A variety of issues had conspired to undermine me – the usual office distractions, the fact that I haven’t been able to sleep past 5:00 a.m. four nights running, the possibility that I’m feeling a little tapped out after the torrid pace I’d set for myself in a bid to complete first drafts of both scripts, and a couple of producer edits – ensured I’d be working through the weekend instead.

Yes, producer edits of Space, episode #11, which I wrote, and Divided, episode #12, that Paul wrote. Both are going to be great and while Space will no doubt get the most online buzz in the lead-up to its airdate (for reasons that will become readily apparent as more hints about this episode are released), I think Divided is the one that really sings. It is taut, suspenseful, filled with intrigue, and offers up some terrific dramatic performances by many of our cast.

So, I’ve been on the program for about three weeks – hitting the weights, running, eating better, having five mini meals a day rather than three huge ones, etc. – and while, quite frankly, a bit of a pain in the ass (ricotta with protein powder and cherries, thought admittedly tasty, is no replacement for chocolate), I’m certainly noticing results (ie. My pants fit again!). Anyway, for lunch today, I thought I’d skip the rotisserie chicken for a healthier alternative: the Santa Fe chicken salad from our local Earl’s. After my meal, I went online to check how many calories (and fat) I’d consumed, figuring it would be a modest amount. I figured wrong. Way wrong! 900 calories and a whopping 58.1 grams of fat (15.4 grams of saturated fat)! Holy Good Lord! Compare to a Big Mac (540 calories, 29 grams of fat, 10 grams saturated fat), an order of Arby’s fries (215 calories, 10 grams of fat) and a Krispy Kreme chocolate doughnut (250 calories, 12 grams of fat) which, at a 100 calories more for the total package, would have been immeasurably more enjoyable. Or better yet, an entire Jacques Torres Brulee Crunch milk chocolate bar – and half a Christopher Elbow Dark Rocks dark chocolate bar with popping candy for dessert!

Hey, if anyone ever takes you to task for not doing enough to curb carbon emissions, ask them if they have kids. If they do, call them hypocrites and point them in the direction of this article (http://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode.cfm?id=are-babies-bad-for-the-environment-09-08-06). According to a new study by professors at Oregon State University (http://oregonstate.edu/ua/ncs/archives/2009/jul/family-planning-major-environmental-emphasis), having a kid is – short of starting up your own oil refinery – probably the worst thing you can do to the environment: “…the carbon legacy and greenhouse gas impact of an extra child is almost 20 times more important than some of the other environmentally sensitive practices people might employ their entire lives – things like driving a high mileage car, recycling, or using energy-efficient appliances and light bulbs.” 9 441 is the metric tons of carbon dioxide an American child will add to the atmosphere (If you choose to have your child in China instead, divide by five.). Now, I’m not saying don’t have kids. I’m just saying that if you have kids, you’ve abdicated the right to lecture me on bottled water and extra-long showers.

The title of the link read “Amazing footage of world’s cleverest bird!”. I clicked on it, expecting to see parakeet program a PVR or a mina bird explain Mulholland Drive. Instead, I was treated to this video (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/science/article6753086.ece) of a crow demonstrating some ingenuity. Smart, sure, but not as smart as a parakeet who can program a PVR.

32 thoughts on “August 7, 2009: Revised expectations. Two Cuts. The Santa Fat Chicken Salad. Parents are destroying our environment. The bird is smart, but not a genius.

  1. Sorry to hear you’re having to slave away this weekend. It seems rather cruel to have you submit two scripts, then have you drop back to a single one. Best of luck with that.
    As for the kid thing, well, I don’t have that problem. But for the occasional fool who thinks to dictate my life for me, I like to point out I’m doing the world a service. The faster we use up all that plentiful oil, the sooner we switch to cleaner fuels, as their costs become economically viable. And then there is the issue of emissions from cattle. I work hard to contribute to fighting their emissions by the simple expedient of eating as many and as much of the creatures as I can manage. A service that doesn’t seem to be appreciated by the more hardcore animal rights activists. Like you and your foie gras, I do what I can to encourage their blood pressures to rise to dangerous levels.

  2. Joe – recently I heard that a soft pretzel (a big thing around here) has the carb and calorie equivilent to 6 pieces of white bread, or 5 servings of cotton candy (candy floss), with no nutritional value. The nutritionist said that it is actually BETTER to eat a small order of french fries, which are half the calories and contain potassium and other mineral benefits from the potatoes.

    Go figger. 😕

    @ silver_comet – Today at an event I attended (about 1600 people – both friends and strangers), I bored 85% of those I talked to with facts about albinism. 😛 But pale guys didn’t come up even once with the others! I should get a cookie for that. 😀

    Hubby and I got to spend time last weekend and today with a good friend; I used to babysit him many moons ago…he was my ‘date’ when I wanted to see kiddie movies, like The Dark Crystal and The Secret of NIMH. 🙂 He was just a kid and I was about 20. He got into some really weird shit in his late teens, and finally got clean about 6 years ago, or so. His dad works for us and is also a close friend, so we’ve always been in touch over the years, even when he was effing up his life. In fact, his uncle was the half-Cherokee fella that I’ve mentioned here before – my first ‘love’ back in kindergarten – who was killed by a car when he was 19, right before he was to come visit me. It’s like these people are ‘family’, without the blood connection. So this guy has always been like my little wayward brother, and it’s good to see him doing so well.

    Weird now when I think about it because he’s the same age as my husband, but I still think of him as a ‘kid’. 😛

    (Sorry about the ramble…not really sure where I was going with that…)

    As far as SGA goes – it was also the first show I’ve been hooked on like this. But I think we all know by now I was mostly obsessed with the Wraith, so it wasn’t the show as much as it was specific characters. I’d follow the Wraith – or similar characters – anywhere. I love Sanctuary, but only watched it because of Chris – if he leaves the show I may not stick with it. TV bores me…I hate trying to keep up with shows week after week. I prefer movies – British detective tv mysteries top my list usually, but those are rare these days, so mostly I just watch rugby or CNN…and NCIS.

    Gah…I’m still rambling about crap no one cares about!

    @ Thornyrose – I hear ya…I really do. I guess because I was only involved with SGA for a year, it’s relatively easy for me to move on. Plus, I’m a shameless ‘whore’, and will immediately migrate to next best thing that comes along. Of course, that doesn’t mean I won’t come running right back if the movie ever does see the light of day, I certainly will. But maybe just the fact that Todd survived the series, and Chris is in Sanctuary, makes it much easier for me to accept the finality of it all.

    @ JES – I think I would have tested the same, no matter what. I’m old (do the math using clues in my comments above), and haven’t changed much. Granted, before I was 18 I rarely talked – couldn’t even order for myself in a restaurant. Now, I did have my moments – like when I was 15 and went to Bobby Clarke’s house (the Philadelphia Flyers’ center and captain and at the time one hawt Canadian!). I found out where he lived and I made my older sister go with me – walked up to his door, knocked, and asked for an autograph. He was very kind. 🙂 But that was an obsession…I could always find courage when I was obsessing. Otherwise, I stayed to myself, played by myself, and didn’t socialize unless my mother forced me to (because she didn’t think it was healthy for me to be alone all the time).

    Did I change? Yes – when I got a job (working at my high school, so the environment was the same) I started socializing more. But was it the job, or the fact that I spent my evenings out at the bars, listening to bands? I think the latter. I got a car…I could come and go as I please…I could do what I pleased…I had control. I did NOT want to go to parties (never was a party girl)…no, instead I wanted to sit in the lowkey Oceanic bar and listen to the long-locked Timmy J. play lowkey Neil Young songs…then stroll down the boards between sets with Tim – his arm drapped around my shoulder, mine around his waist – on some mad hunt for coffee.

    20 years later and I still don’t like parties (though I do have my nerves under better control and don’t get sick anymore at the thought of socializing), I STILL prefer hanging out at lowkey bars, listening to bands. Or maybe sitting around a big campfire, just chillin’. That sort of socializing I don’t mind.

    Communication-wise I’ve gone the other way…I’ve become very bold. AND, for the most part, I have a very active social life – hubby has a big family, we have a large circle of friends, and I do like to dine out, which always includes a certain amount of human interaction. I also do a certain amount of volunteer/social work. But that doesn’t mean I’m comfortable with social interaction. If the group is too big, I go into ‘bubbly and happy’ mode – total overdrive – my nerves dictating my actions, and how much I talk. By the time I get home to my ‘sanctuary’, I’m exhausted. It’s just too much input AND output for me. I do much better alone, or with just a couple other people around…not so draining.

    Not sure if I’m making any sense…it’s been a big day, I’m exhausted, and I’m trying to watch tv and type at the same time. 😛



  3. so the program is working for you. I am also trying to be good – just went for a “jog” in the bush here. Was very pleasant except for the jogging part and the part where I wondered if I might die…

    what sort of things are you having for your mini meals? I’m trying to make the food thing fun and interesting but truly it’s hard work to keep that going long term. Thoughts? Suggestions?

  4. Okay, Joe, are you going for the most bizarre blog title title?
    How do you find these weird articles?

    And my reply to the carbon footprint problem with having kids is: for every child you have, plant an evergreen tree!

  5. Just a question for everyone here – my son’s phone has been virtually frozen my an onslaught of messages from a 111 area code number. From the little I can glean from a quick internet search, it may be from a computer. Anyone else had this problem? How did you solve it?

  6. Crap. Sorry for that ramble. I’m literally sleep-typing…no idea I had gone on that long about nothing at all. 😛


  7. I dunno. By that logic, everybody should off themselves to save the planet. It doesn’t solve the underlying problems to point out that having kids increases resource strain.

  8. Urgh, that reminds me that I need to start running again tomorrow. I’ve been bleh lately; I think that I miss the endorphins! Also, I signed up for a 10k in September, and it’s now August. Might wanna start training soon! 😀

    I often laugh at my sister who chooses McDonald’s salad :-\ over my super delicious fried chicken 🙂 … once you get done dousing the salad with dressing and croutons, the calorie counts are very similar, except the chicken has extra protein.

    Have the puppies been waking you up that early, or did it just kind of happen?

  9. So, the Baron is going to Tokyo too? When are we going to see a photo of him? Some might expect that you and he are the same person.

    Cheers, Chev

  10. Hey, Thanks for the great news Joe…..I’m saving the freaking planet too. I’ll have an extra long shower tonight to celebrate.

    Cheers, Chev

  11. Oh and thanks to everyone for doing the Autistic Traits quiz and sharing their results. Certainly some interesting results there.

    Cheers, Chev

  12. Chev, it was an entertaining quiz. I scored a mundane 17. Scary to think I’m so “normal.”

  13. Hey Joe,

    I have a question about script lengths. If I’m not mistaken, the Atlantis scripts would often come in at 60-70 pages, yes? So then, why would you say are the SGU scripts coming is as so much less at around 50 pages? (and with the ‘larger’ font, that would make the difference even greater, would it not?)

  14. Sorry to hear about your long days, sleepless nights and chocolate withdrawal. Hope you can try get some rest this weekend, despite the extra work.

    I’ve been reading the comments here about the budget for SGU being much higher than SGA. From what you’ve said, SGU is more character and relationship focused, which means that more script and thus screen time is spent in developing these relationships. Doesn’t that equal less action time and therefore less expense?

  15. (My browser timed out when I tried to submit my comment, so if this is a duplicate, sorry. . . )

    I don’t have kids (though I’m quite a ways off from the clock ticking down, so need to watch what I say), so I’m going to try to come up with a creative way to use the surplus in my carbon dioxide allotment. Trouble is, the neighbors seem to have cornered the market on all the usual methods. Procreation is apparently a popular thing wherever you go, unless you live near a town comprised solely of monasteries and convents; and even then, you never can be sure.

    Sorry you have to work through the weekend, particularly since you’re not sleeping too well. On the other hand, it’s good to hear you’re pleased with your results to date in sticking with the program. My standard line at this point is, “If work or anything else is stressing you out, you might want to ease up a little and see if you sleep any better.” But since I don’t listen when my own doc tells me that, I never expect anyone to listen to me, either. The stinger is that it’s good advice.

    I think that if the crow were all that smart, he would’ve dunked the worm a few times before consuming it, reasoning that worm-containing vessels often hold tequila.

    – Thanks for the update, and the interesting links. Now I’m going to be sensible for a change and go get some zzz’s. Good luck with your scripts, and sleep, and finding inspiration while in a long, hot shower if you feel like it. (Dunno about anyone else, but I’m a long-shower diva, and was just teasing.)

  16. re kids. Didn’t you know? Extinction of the human species will reverse global warming.

  17. PoorOldEdgarDerby has a point about us all needing to off ourselves.

    Having even one kid could balloon into who knows how many grandchildren, too. It never ends.

    For right now, my little family of four easily consumes way less resources than a DINK family. I know. We used to be one.

    The trick we’re using is to have no money. Then, cloth diapers and growing food and not spending the gas to go places comes naturally. In that sense, the economy is doing great things for the environment right now so it’s all working itself out.

    If having kids has led to such tight finances and the resource budgeting that goes along with that, imagine how many trees I could save by having more.

  18. Laughing with you about the chicken salad. I am on lower (under 100 a day, not REALLY low) carb diet. Was out with daughter, got the Arby’s chicken walnut salad sandwich. Came home, looked it up. 890 calories, 92 carbs. I nearly had a stroke. That is well over half my day’s calories and ALL my carbs.

  19. Mr. M, I’m impressed with your diet dedication! I had to start reading calorie labels when I had gestational diabetes. My one and only diet 😛 .

    I had to talk to a dietician and it was pointed out to me how the calories add up through the day.

    You diet sounds amazing like the one I had to do while I was diabetic. Small frequent meals, and I had to count everything I ate (including ketchup). Sounds like it is working for ya though.

    If you limit yourself, you can have a bite or two of chocolate daily. Even on the diabetes diet, I could eat small amounts of sugar each day. I’m so glad my sugar levels became normal afterwards!!!! I cringe for people with diabetes that have to stay on a diet forever!

    Hope you catch a good night’s sleep!


  20. speaking of environmentalists, I just remodelled our bathroom and while choosing a toilet we were directed towards the water conservation toilet! It has a half flush feature which conserves more water while still getting rid of those pesky number ones. It may just be me, but isn’t the entire earth’s surface covered in about 70% water? When I use the toilet I don’t really have a preference to salt or fresh water.

    I have heard that theory that overpopulation is one of the biggest factors to “global climate change” a couple of years ago. It does make alot more sense than vehicle emission and cow farts.

  21. Those salads can be sneaky! Unless you make your own and can control the amount of mayo (or other dressing), nuts and other items going into it, chicken salad can be deceptively hi-cal. I love the chicken salad at Corner Bakery, but I haven’t had the nerve to look up the calorie count yet (w00t – only 315 calories for a DC chicken salad sandwich on rye!) You probably would have been better off with the rotisserie chicken! And salad bars are dangerous, too. Unless you go with a straight veggie salad with a vinagret dressing, they can be higher in calories than a big mac, too.

    Follow-up on the phone issue: it wasn’t the 111 number call that were the problem – and it turns out that most of those are actually from AT&T offering fabulous new cell phone services – it was over-use. Did you know that you need to turn off your phone once in a while to allow the mini-computer in it to reset? We know that now! The nice customer service guy had us try that first and now the phone works perfectly again. Who would have guessed?

  22. LOL das its cool.

    Hi joe,

    Sorry you have to work over the weekend. But I am very thankful for your hard work, I mean I would hate another rushed finally. Man I mean only if you guys skipped identity, made Vegas 118 and made Eatg a two-parter thing wouldn’t feel as rushed, so I am glad you aren’t packing the season finale story into one episode.

    SO a few questions

    1. I heard SGU’s budget was up by 1 million bucks from Atlantis’ budget. So is SGU’s budget 3 million US dollars???(I remember atlantis being 2 million USD)?

    2. Is Ming-Na going to be a regular, cause she is only credited for like 9 of 16 eps on IMDB?

    3. Will Telford appear in any of the back half of SGU season 1, cause I know he was busy for several months of SGU filming with other projects and IMDB says he appears in 7 episodes, the most recent being Time, so will he appear in any episodes yet to be filmed?

    Thanks so much,
    Major D. Davis

  23. I’d feel your pain, JM, but I’m currently battling swine flu. It’s not bad enough for me to be hospitalized, but I’m “quarantined” at home, and feeling like death warmed over.

    I have already done my part in murdering the planet: two children, five grandchildren, and hopefully, they will continue the family tradition of mayhem. Frankly, we need more carbon dioxide. My tomatoes haven’t been doing well at all this year.

  24. “the usual office distractions”, eh? Sure. Were you making fun of/getting made fun of by/playing a trick on/got tricked by Ashleigh again? 😉

    Speaking of which, she hasn’t been around the blog in a while. Is she still employed at Bridge Studios?

    Space and Divided are sounding pretty fantastic. I love how, with SGU, we aren’t getting any specific spoilers that spoil what the episodes are really about, but only small details on what one character may be doing in an episode. I have no clue what Space is about, and from what I can see, the vague description of Divided is that Young and Rush will finally go head to head in a deathmatch. With so little info, watching the episodes will no doubt be a surprising affair. Very cool. 😀

    Finally, anyone want to learn some history of Whiskey from Robert Carlyle?


  25. Since I didn’t manage to have kids, I use up my carbon allotment by going to Burning Man and, well, burning shit. (Pardon the flippant attitude, no kids is one of those if I don’t laugh about it I won’t stop crying things)

  26. It amazes me how many calories they can pack into a salad. Like when I heard on the radio, how lots of people try to eat healthier by eating tuna. But they put in so much mayo, that it’s not really even worth eating the tuna anymore. I bet that the majority of the calories in that salad came from the dressing. Plain lettuce isn’t all that bad, you know!

    And a question about the script-font mix up – if you guys are using Courier now, shouldn’t you have realized it when writing Space a couple months ago?

  27. @RebeccaH: You poor girl! Feel better soon!

    Hiya Joe, the program begins here tomorrow. Don’t know why I’ve gained 4 or 5 lb recently, probably something to do with my thyroid meds. When I asked my endocrinologist if I’d gain weight once my thyroid levels started to normalize, she flippantly told me “If you care so much about SUCH things, I suggest you watch your caloric intake.”. Well, levels are normalizing slowly, and up comes the weight. I’m worried this could turn into a weight gain nightmare, but we’ll see. I’ve always been super careful with my weight; just can’t stand being overweight and I’m only 5’3″. So, fridge is packed and ready with all the usual diet suspects, but really really really had to finish that leftover chicken panini from last night 🙂 Hope it keeps going well for you! D

  28. Too bad about the scripts! I was getting excited about the idea of a 2 episodes finale!!… Seems likes B. Wright is the one in charge of giving the tuff love on the production. We rarely see picture of him on your blog. When you talked about going in the office the other day, I had the feeling that this might happen! Must be that manager instinct of mine!!!

  29. The 5 small meals diet! That never worked for me! Every time I tried to put myself on this plan, I always ended up gaining weight…!!! The 5 small meals always ended up looking like a 5 big meals!

    I know I should not be bragging about this especially since you are in the middle of your diet program, but I’d like to point out that I’ve just lost 10 pds….realized it last week. I officially stopped blaming my washing machine for water shrinkage! Funny thing is that I did it just by increasing my intake of fruits and vegetables, dairy products other then cheese, and water. Plus of course, my 1 hour (or 2) of “outside” cycling 3 times a week.

  30. Sorry about my disorganized looking posts entries today. I’m very tired and can’t seem to concentrate enough to combine all my entries.
    From what I have been reading, are you trying to say that the extra long 45 minutes shower you talked about the other day on your blog is not an isolated incident???!!! You must have a huge hot water tank!!! Wouldn’t want to be the person coming after you!
    Would be saying things like “ D… it! there’s no more hot water again! @#*! Mallozzi »

    @Thornyrose you’re funny!!

    @sparrow_hawk, . Do a Google search by typing “messages from a 111 area code number”. On some of the links, you’ll find people offering advice on how to get rid of this problem.

    @drldeboer re: your entry “re kids. Didn’t you know? Extinction of the human species will reverse global warming.”
    OK! It’s official, people with no kids should receive governmental bonuses for their contribution in saving the planet!!! Humm! What will I do with the extra money!!! …A down payment on a new car sounds nice…

  31. Joe, I have to thank you for the articles on Carbon Emmissions….I’m writting a book with a group of extremist who believe population control is the only way to save the planet. Now I have even more fuel for their fire! It’s fantastic to have research materials just drop into my lap. Woot! Thanks for the inspiration!

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