Sunday night, Ivon and I enjoyed a magnificent dinner at Fuel. We started with the ultra dense corn soup (one bowl = five ears of corn!), then split the night’s feature tuna dish – served medium rare. I had originally planned to make the tuna my main, but upon learning Ivon had never tried Chef Belcham’s signature Crispy Duck For Two, I changed my mind and ordered that instead. While we were waiting for it to arrive, Ivon mentioned visiting a friend who offered him some tomatoes from her backyard garden. They were tiny, orange, had a cirtus-like scent, and proved sweet and incredibly delicious. Ivon assured me he wasn’t the type to just pop tomatoes like candy, but these were particularly good… Unfortunately, he couldn’t remember their name. As he wracked his brain in an effort to come up with it, we were served a surprise course in honor of my 50th dinner reservation (not counting the many times I drop by and simply grab a seat at the counter or come in under somebody else’s reservation).

50th Anniversary Reservation Pork with Golden Sunray Tomatoes.
50th Anniversary Reservation Pork with Golden Sunray Tomatoes.

Accompanying the delectable pork was a summer succotash and some golden sunray tomatoes – THE very tomatoes Ivon had been raving about earlier. He was right. They WERE sweet and utterly delicious! Finally, it was tine for the duck, presented to us whole, then whisked back to the kitchen where it was deboned, plated, and then served.

Crispy Duck.  Presented...
Crispy Duck. Presented…
And served.
And served.

“This is the best duck I’ve ever had,”marveled Ivon, echoing the exact same sentiments of at least two other duck first-timers I’ve had the pleasure of introducing to Fuel’s version. We skipped dessert, paid the bill and, as we were preparing to leave, noticed the anti-foie gras kooks were at it again, standing outside waving their placards, shouting at customers, their faces of course masked in order to intimidate and harass. I delayed my departure so that I could buy anyone in the restaurant who wanted one a complimentary foie gras in honor of the demonstration, then left.

As I was exiting, one of the pastier-faced vegans yelled something at me. I turned and informed her that their demonstration was counter-productive and that, in fact, such protests actually increased foie gras sales. They were doing a disservice to their own cause. Our debate went something like this…

Me: You do realize that foie gras sales actually go up during these demonstrations.


Me: You’re actually doing a disservice to your own cause.


Me: For instance, tonight, I bought foie gras in response to your protest.


Me: Your –


Me: – signs –


Me: – are actually –

Her: -misleading.


It was grand debating the issues with her.

Back in the office today. The plan was to print up copies of the script, pace and polish, and put them out. Unfortunately, my formatting problems were not behind. When I completed my first pass on the scripts, they were about 56 pages each – about 5 pages too long. So I tightened them up, bringing the page count down to more manageable 51. The following day, I discovered that I’d written the script in the old Atlantis font (Times New Roman). I changed the font on both scripts to New Courier – and had the scripts balloon to 58 and 60 pages. Sooo, I went over the scripts yet again, tightening, trimming, and excising until I finally had it down to the 51 page target mark. I went in today and asked Lawren to print them up. He informed me that, alas, simply changing the font on the script was not enough. The Universe scripts necessitated a whole new formatting that included borders and margins. So he reformatted my scripts and they came back to me: 46 pages long and 5 pages short! So, I spent the day referring back to my initial drafts, putting back some of the elements I thought should go back, yet leaving out the elements that deserved to be excised. And, tomorrow, I’ll go over the scripts yet again with an eye to the act breaks and adding a couple of requested scenes. Yeesh. It’s times like this I’m sorry I didn’t follow up on my initial third grade career choice of private detective.

Today’s blog is dedicated to birthday gal Jumble. But an extra special dedication to blog regular Shiningwit who is going through a very difficult time right now. Incredibly saddened and sorry to hear about Sassie.

43 thoughts on “August 10, 2009: Dinner with Ivon. Debating the issues. Cursed scripts!

  1. Ivonozzi…







    (Don’t mind me…I’m just trying to come up with a good ‘ship name. Carry on…)






  2. I love reading about people’s food experiences, and yours are some of my favorites. We just live a couple of hours away–next time we visit Vancouver, I’m going to have to drag my husband to Fuel 🙂

  3. Ohhh, I soo hope the foie gras folks are there when I get to Fuel. I notice that the Fuel website doesn’t show the crispy duck for two on it. I take it that it can be requested off menu? Any other interesting entrees you might recommend? I’m torn between several items, and going for a chef’s choice offering. As this is probably a once-in-a-lifetime outing, I want to maximize the enjoyment of the experience.
    Anothre question of idle curiosity. Was the change of font communicated, or were you expected to pick up on the changes telepathically? I’m impressed at how quickly you’ve managed to contract, then fill the script back out due to the changes.
    I’d like to echo your comments to Shiningwit.

  4. Wait, you could’ve been a private detective? And you chose this?!

    By the way, you think we’ll ever see Stargate: Astroturf?

  5. Hey Joe,

    When you’re pitching something like your Horror movie (any further news on that by the way?) do you just pitch the concept or do you need to include some of the peripheral details such as your target market/demographic, marketing ideas etc or is that something that the network works out for themselves? None of that sentence was actual English.


  6. Joe I have never had Duck talk to a friend she said to go to a Chinese Rest. they make good Orange Duck…ever hear of Orange Duck??? Is it good???

  7. Happy Birthday Jumble!!

    You’re a braver man than I, Joe. I don’t think I’d be as confrontational with those crazy protestors as you were, and I certainly wouldn’t tease them by buying more Foie Gras right in front of them; for fear that, in their blind, malnourished rage, they’d attempt to punch me with their feeble strength and bony knuckles. Bones hurt!

    Speaking of SGU (well, you spoke of it, I didn’t), a poster at Gateworld, Colonel Sharp came up with a pretty cool origin for the name “kino”, he says:

    As we know, the Ancient language is ‘supposed’ to be a form of Latin

    Kino…well cyno (The abl/dat form of cynon), refers to a type of eye-ointment, and from what it seems like, this thing is basically an eye floating around looking at everyone.

    If this was intended, then BRAVO for keeping the continuity intact. If this was a coincidence, then DAYUM, it’s a creepy one.

    Speaking of the kino, I’m absolutely ecstatic with the news that you guys will be doing webisodes after all! I’ll just quote what I wrote at Gateworld:

    So when this whole “focus on the characters” stuff first came out, I realized that this meant we could have some “meaningless banter” between characters that does nothing except to show us what each character may like; and I mean completely meaningless; like Eli going up to Scotty [my nickname for Lt. Scott] and they start talking about who the hottest TV anchorwomen was (it’s Erica Hill, by the way). Just, random stuff.

    This Kino thing…it could be where these convos can happen! Oh, and I also wanted to see people hum or sing random songs because they’re bored. THAT COULD BE IN THERE TOO!!


    And, and, and one of them can start treating the Kino as a pet, and start talking to it like if it were alive or something. I mean, this is…wow, this is like “anything goes” territory, in terms of what you can show, because it’ll literally be “a moment in the life of…” kind of thing.

    Haha, we could even have them getting caught picking their noses!

    The crucial point is that everyone has their quirks; little things that may seem odd, but that which makes them unique.

    For instance, I talk to myself. I’ve been doing that for as long as I can remember; my dad does it too. Meanwhile, the only people you see talking to themselves on TV are complete crazies who can’t function in society. It’s not like that.

    If SGU can show us some of these eccentricities, then I think they can be much more relatable – because EVERYONE has some kind of oddity about them.

    TPTB has the chance to make these webisodes to be almost “Seinfeld in space”, with random conversations and what have you that are ultimately about NOTHING.


  8. Your interaction with the protesters sounds like our current “town hall meetings” on health care reform in the US.

  9. @ Shiningwit: I am so sorry about Sassie. It’s good to know that she’s in no pain, and that she’s leaving this world in the arms of a loving family who gave her much joy. May she rest in peace. I also hope that you find comfort in the good times you all shared; and of course, we’ll all be here to help in any way we can to get you and your family through these tough times.

  10. Hey Joe,

    Congratulations on the big “50”!!! Wow, they must know who you are by just hearing you breath into the phone.

    What can I say, I love your show-n-tell pictures. You should have a coffee table book displaying your adventures in finding the perfect food.

    Your gesture to the patrons was generous. The protesters will make the day memorable if nothing more than irritating. Loved your debate.

    Thanks for entertaining me as always.


  11. Hey Joe,

    Awesome that you dedicated the blog to Jumble for her birthday (and to Shiningwit – sorry for her(?) loss).

    Wonder if I can get a blog dedication – having surgery to (finally!) repair my broken right wrist tomorrow.

    I need all the good mojo I can get so I can get back to writing asap.


    PS…good on you for the foie gras.

  12. Sun ray tomatoes are very good, and so are Sun Gold also. They tend to be a little bigger, but just as sweet. Really easy to grow too.

    OMG, you didn’t eat dessert? Or was the duck considered dessert? Now you’ll have to go back to Fuel just to eat dessert.

  13. I’ll bet you would’ve made a good PI, one in the tradition of, say, Albert Campion (the PBS Mystery! version, in which Dr. Who alumnus Peter Davison makes Campion even smoother and snarkier than author Margery Allingham’s original, IMO. And you’d get a hilariously disrespectful, ex-con valet with an unusual name and an eye for the ladies.) But it seems to get harder and harder to go back to a third grade of the mind – sounds pretty cheesy, no? – and start from there. I know, since I’ve been trying ever since fourth grade.

    Like Thornyrose, I’d like to echo your condolences to Shiningwit.

  14. Thanks to my many well-wishers. I appreciate the support.

    Mr. M, sorry about your formatting problems.

    Anne Teldy
    It’s August and Mr. M is in his office. Yeah! (Subtle, heh?)

  15. I can relate to your sentiment regarding foie gras. Only the other day someone was lecturing me and a group of others about the poor conditions and circumstances that cows are kept in.
    All I could think about about all evening was how much I wanted a steak.

    BTW It’s my Birthday on the 12th Aug. I’m going to be 23 this year, one more step towards the quarter century…

  16. Just letting you know that Sassie passed away at 11.57, she went the way she would have wanted, growling at the vet.

  17. Hi again Mr M!

    Many thanks for the kind comments from fellow bloggees. I had to come clean to HRH about telling the story. She just did her raised-eyes-to-heaven-God-help-us look. Which is a good sign.

    Also mentioned to Deirdre-Eva (my 3 yr old) about mentioning her to Joe Mallozzi. She particularly likes saying “Mallozzi” and can be heard shouting it in our local grocery store on occasion…..leading some to think that (a) she is a budding Italian linguist or (b) has heard some highly imaginative swear word which adult ears find difficult to decipher.

    Also, I do talk a little too much at home about SG and television things. I realised this recently, when after an exhausting day at the surgery, up to my ears : drilling, filling and billing….. I returned home wiped.

    One of the twins was concerned, approached me and said in a dead pan way :
    “What’s wrong Dad….a bad note from the network?”

    This scares me on several levels! !?!?!


    Best to all!

    @shiningwit : chin up..we are thinking of you!


  18. Recently I was thinking about that corn soup you have talked about since your first (I think?) outing to Fuel because it’s always sounded so delicious. I’m glad to hear you still enjoy it every now and then, hopefully when I get to Vancouver I can try it!

    Das I quite liked Mallotok as a shipping name, do you think we should start using it frequently and see if it catches on? 😉

    All the best Shiningwit, my thoughts are with you.


  19. So Joe, you do realise that Chef Rob has the entire restaurant bugged. That’s how he knew about the tomatoes.

    The food looks incredible….what no photos of Ivon? Was he shy or are you holding out on us?

    I wonder about the protester’s masks. If you believed so deeply in a cause wouldn’t you stand up with pride and associate your name and face with it? I must say if I ate there and got shouted at I would feel incredibly intimidated and threatened. Who knows what kind of crazy is behind the mask, and whether they are carrying a weapon.

    Lastly, just wanted to say I’m thinking of you shiningwit, for the love of Beckett, RebeccaH, Anne Teldy and anyone else going through a difficult time with illness or sick loved ones whether they’re two-legged or four. We’re here for ya.


  20. Oh yeah and Das – loved the ship names. Very amusing, but I think I have you beat – MIB – Men in Black ‘cos they do look good in black, also stands for Mallozzi Ivon Bartok…. Oh shit, Ivon’s gonna kill me. Quick, somebody distract him.

    Cheers, Chev

  21. Thinking about your font/margin issues. Why don’t Brad & Rob create a template with the correct settings and pass it around to all of the writers?

    Cheers, Chev

  22. Morning Joe, watching the SG1 marathon today (or as much as possible, anyway) and couldn’t help but think that the as-much-as-I-remember part from “Heroes” Part 2 below holds true to me today more than ever. Won’t quote, but close enough?

    That’s a world of Mao, the world of Stalin, a world of secret police, secret trials, secret deaths. You force the press into the cold and all you will get is lies and innuendo. And nothing, nothing is worse for a free society than a press that is in service to the military and the politicians. Nothing!

    Even more than Dr. Frasier’s death, this made me very emotional. Beautifully written episodes, and so expertly delivered.

    A friend in Guatemala has just started watching SG Atlantis and asked me which was my favorite episode. Mr. Deni was sort of listening to the conversation but I wasn’t paying much attention to him, so didn’t realize he was almost in tears laughing at me. Apparently, I have about 30 favorites. He’s still mocking me, saying stuff like “The Other Guys! No, Midway! No, Vegas!”. Only 10 days or so till the convention, can’t wait!

  23. How to get free foie gras… go undercover as a vegan protester, then accept the offer of a tasty dish from Mr. Joe. Consume with relish to the horrified stares of the other protesters. Hmm, I smell performance art in the making.

    Hugs and warm thoughts for shiningwit and all others who need some happy in their day.

    The yummy duck pic dredged up memories. Once upon a time, there was a hole in the wall Chinese restaurant in Ogden, it had two tiny tables and a counter which seated four people. Best Almond Pressed Duck ever. I miss that place.

    Less than three weeks until I vanish for ten days …

  24. @ shiningwit – So, so sorry about Sassie… 🙁 Having recently gone through this myself, there is this part of me that wants to say ‘I understand’, but really…I can’t…I can’t really feel what someone else feels, I can only imagine, and I imagine it’s pretty rough right now. Hang in there…thoughts, prayers and hugs are all going your way.


  25. So I was wondering if the SGC will be moved to Atlantis, have they disabled the Atlantis’ gate or have McKay, Carter and Zelenka written a program that prevents incoming wormholes to connect the Atlantis’ gate?

  26. @Deni, Don’t forget, lots of pic’s and maybe a phone call or e-mail after you return to tell me EVERYTHING that happened at con in Chicago!! Thanks, Sheryl Hi, Joe!!

  27. I’m a vegetarian, near-vegan, but I can hold any perspectives on the issue of eating meat. Of course, I can hold any perspectives on anything. I just don’t stick to one perspective on any issue. I have them all. Although, I’ll count up the number of perspectives leaning a certain way and that will be my common perspective. But I will never deny other perspectives. I don’t think anything is right or wrong. And there’s no truth. All is relative to you, and all is perspective.

  28. Sorry to hear about all the craziness with the scripts. That would be discouraging if it weren’t for all the Japanese food on the horizon.

    You get to pin any minor mistakes on whoever was supposed to email you the template six months ago.

    It seems to me you won that foie gras debate hands down, but maybe I’m missing the subtleties of her argument since I wasn’t there to hear her inflections.

  29. @shiningwit. Sorry for your loss, you will be in my prayers.

    Hi Joe,

    lol those scripts are really killing you. Seems Like de ja vu from a couple months earlier, except this time there are 2 scripts to toture you with. Lol

    So a couple questions.

    1. Do you have any desert gate pics you can post?

    2. Did Mr. Bill read my email yet?

    Thanks so much,
    Major D. Davis

  30. Mr. M, please try to be careful confronting protestors. A few months ago, a man was shot in Memphis for parking too close to another persons car! People can be crazy. Especially, a person passionate for a cause.

    Shiningwit: I’m so sorry about Sassy. Condolences for your loss.

    Stressful times here, too. My MIL is in hospice care and will pass away soon. Lung Cancer is a cruel disease. If anyone out there smokes, please quit now.


  31. @Sheryl: You bet, let’s hope my camera doesn’t poop out like the last time…POS, I really need a new one. Instead, I bought the daughter and her hubby a really nice one for their 2nd anniversary (isn’t that paper clips or some such thing?). Chicago has now been dubbed “Hunk City”, by the way. Of course, I was reading the news yesterday and saw that passengers en route from Houston to somewhere were held in the aircraft for 9 hours or some such thing. All I could think is that if this happened to me when I was going to the con, I’d make Mr. Deni open the frickin’ door 🙂 Yeah, like I’m gonna miss dinner with Trinneer or lunch with Shanks…:)

  32. Shiningwit, so sorry that Sassie needed a release to the Bridge. And you’re still able to give us a smile with the comment about Sassie giving her two cents to the vet. You were just packing for “hols” before this happened. Hope you’ll able to use the time to get some much needed space and peace.

  33. Joe,

    Given the amount of grief they are giving you with fonts and layout, the next script you write should be submitted to them in the Stargate Universe layout, but with Comic Sans font.

    Since changing the layout or font changes the number of pages of a particular script, would it not be better to categorize the length of a script by the total number of words?

    I suspect, but do not know, that a staccato exchange of one word sentences between characters may not add significantly to the running time of an episode but do add a significant amount of column space to a script.

  34. Hey Joe,
    I’m back. Making a job change and things have been quite hectic.
    I know you don’t get to Toronto, but I think you said Marty G. does. Have him check out a place called The Black Hoof on Dundas St. West. They serve mostly organ meat including great foie gras. It is just a little old bar and all the food is cooked behind the bar. Really cool place. Menu changes every night depending on what they get that day fresh. If you get a chance and you are in Toronto this is a place not to be missed.

  35. @shiningwit *hugs* So sorry for your loss.

    @Joe Ooof. So your script was about the right size to begin with? Why not wait and see what everyone else says about them before you refatten/trim them up?

    Just came back from a family “vacation” on the beach. I now remember why I always hated going to the beach when I was younger: the sunburn. I had a t-shirt on the whole time, yet somehow my shoulders are still burnt. Yeah, I’ve had my fill of the sun for the year.

  36. maybe it’s a marketing campaign by Fuel to drive up their sales of foie gras – seems to be working for them!

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