I’ll admit to being a little bummed since my return to cold, rainy, overcast Vancouver.  I must now come to terms with the fact that the excitement of those two weeks in Tokyo are, sadly, behind me, along with the infectious energy of the city itself, its fine restaurants, and the many wonderful friends I made while I was there.  So I was sitting in the office, moping yesterday, when my writing partner, Paul, helpfully put it into perspective for me: “In Japan, you were interesting.  Here, not so much.”.

Oh, hey, speaking of Japan, there was one more surprise in the Tuesday line-up I failed to mention.  Sitting in my mailbox was a postcard from Hideki Ishikawa, chef and owner of Michelin 3 star Ishikawa in Tokyo which I visited and wrote about here: http://josephmallozzi.com/2009/12/01/december-1-2009-tokyo-travel-day-7-gordon-ramsay-mo-shibuya-stroll-ishikawa-and-i-mean-it-this-time/ while in town.  Among the many highlights of my meal there was Ishikawa-san’s presence.  Despite the fact that we were dining in a private room while he was in the main room seeing to a dozen other hungry guests, he made it a point to come by every so often to see how we were doing, discuss my travels and interest in Japanese cuisine, and even see us off at night’s end, standing curbside and waving as we motored off in our taxi.  An incredibly genial and humble man.  In the postcard, he thanks me for visiting the restaurant and for the kindness I showed him (it was really the other way around).  He hopes I enjoyed the dinner and my Japan trip and looks forward to seeing me again in November 2010.  Which he most definitely will!

No progress on the script front.  In fact, I re-read the eighteen pages I have so far and hated it.  Carl, who is having an equally tough time, told me about an interview he read with David Chase in which The Sopranos creator revealed that, in his many years working on television, he had met only one writer who actually enjoyed writing – and that was Stephen J. Cannell.  I’ve never met Stephen J. Cannell, so I’ve met none.

On the bright side, we did do some more spinning and, thanks to Brad and Rob’s frenzied back-and-forth, have worked out the series finale.  Yep, it’s true.  We have a definite ending for this grand adventure – but it’s one we wont’ be getting around to for a while.

Today, Visual Effects Supervisor Mark Savela was in to show us temp shots for Pain, Incursion I, and Incursion II.  Let’s just say that those of you yearning for space-faring action are in for a treat.

Apologies for the late blog entry.  I was at dinner with one of my Tokyo friends – Angela the flight attendant – who is in town on a lengthy lay-over.

And, hey, I think I’ve found myself a Japanese tutor, someone with whom I can finally practice my Japanese conversation – which means I’ll no longer have to frequent Japanese restaurants just to badger the waitresses for chitchat.

67 thoughts on “December 16, 2009: A Quickie Update

  1. Whoa. Dinner with a flight attendant! You go, Tiger! *said in my BEST Mary Jane voice* 😉

    I was a bit worried. I was pooped, so went to bed at 9:30 pm. Woke up at 1:30 am (cat in my face, now wide awake), and so decided to check for a new entry…and there was none! Yeah…I thought Joey had finally fallen off the planet…but nope…he was only chatting up flight attendants. 🙄 Forget sci fi, you should be writing for Harlequin Romance – maybe then you’d get your story done. 😉

    Nite (or morning), sir!

    das

  2. Yuck. Post holiday blues. Know that feeling. Coming back from holidays to the cold never helps. We’re genetically programmed to associate the cold with depression. Starting to plan the next holiday helps me.

    No matter how much you enjoy something, when it becomes your job or something you have to do, it always takes the fun out of it. That’s just my experience though.

    Take care Joe.

  3. Don’t beat yourself up over it, Joe. I always felt that if people love your best work, they might not even notice if you half-ass it once and awhile.

  4. I’m just catching up on the blog, and I’m so happy for you, the cast and crew that SGU has been renewed. What a huge relief in these tough times.

    But wait! Series finale? Isn’t that putting the cart before the horse, or the egg and chicken together? What gives?

    I get the rest of the year off from work to heal from my knee operation. While in the recovery room after surgery, the doc told me I had the knees of a teenager. Which I thought begged the question, then what the hell was I doing in a hospital operating room? Thankfully, I was too drugged to actually say it. But maybe it’s true, because the knee is healing disturbingly fast. I was off crutches within two days, the cane within five, and now I’m off pain pills. Although I plan to keep using the cane for sympathy and freebies when I finally get out of my apartment prison, which will be Friday. I’m treating my wonderful neighbors to dinner at Sizzler’s. I’ll be thinking of Carl.

    Great to hear that you had an absolutely fantastic trip, minus any earth shaking events, but thinner (!?!), jeez! Good luck with writing Season 2. And remember, Lisa Parks is not expendable.

  5. @Tim Gaffney: The SG-1 ornament was purchased at Carlton Cards. Regular price $35.00 on sale for 50% off. American Greetings owns Carlton Cards and they do not have a web store. Morjana said she was able to call a Carlton Cards nearest to her, buy it over the phone with a credit card and they would mail it to her. Here are two pictures I took of it:

    http://www.twitpic.com/tp4qe
    and a close up at
    http://www.twitpic.com/tp4v0

    Yes, that is a sneaker on my kitchen table. My son with autism is obsessed with playing with the laces. Could be worse (and has been).

  6. Joe — Sorry you have the blues. I think you are very interesting to us, too. Hope that makes you feel a little better.

  7. The end, already? WOW! Of course, I often have the beginning and end of stories I write and then linger over the middle. I do that in life, though, too. I know where I’m going! It’s just getting there that’s tedious.lol

    You could always make like Dollhouse and air the final culmination of what you want the show to be and then work towards it. It worked surprisingly well for them.

  8. Out of curiosity, where do people who already live in holiday places go for their holidays? Are there any of your readers live in great touristy spots who could answer this question?

    Patricia

  9. Paul Mullie really put it into perspective, there.

    Recently, Mr. Cooper talked about those aliens and how they will look. Was there a temptation to just make them human or was it always in the cards to make them…alien-y?

  10. I had a similar problem 2 years ago.I went to Frankfurt , Germany for two weeks.After I got home I missed all the interesting people I met around the world and all the new and Exciting sites I’d seen and restaraunt’s I had tryed.Europe was like visiting a whole other planet , it’s so different from Texas and the rest of the U.S.

  11. @Narelle: My genetic programming (and I suspect, most of the Floridians on here) must be off. When it gets cold here, I get downright giddy! I get down when I’ve been to a cold climate on holiday and come home to the oppresive heat and humidity, which come to think of it, is most of the year 🙂

    Hi Joe! What happens now that you’ve re-read the 18 pages you have and hate them? Do you start over or just tweak what you have?

    Went to bed last night watching “The Pegasus Project” (for the umpteenth time). Love this episode, wish we could have more of this. I love these stories that draw you in like you’re a kid and can’t get enough – what writing! It was the perfect formula, at least for me 🙂

    Have a good day!

  12. They get back home in one piece? dont think of an ending just yet, comon, thats why Atlantis ended so early, its because you guys thought of the ending early on, but a show like SG-1 never was supposed to have an ending. but you’ll tell me the two shows are very different, SGU is a story with an ending, one where everyone dies probably or split or whatever. the ending would probably involve catching up with that gate-building ship but i wouldve liked the destiny crew to pose a threat to earth somehow, something that they done or are doing without knowing or involved in that might bring the demise to earth, milky way, something lol. like LOST, almost. one of them could go rogue and transform into something else that is dangerous. im just trying to think of a way to spice it up lol. because you can only go so far with the whole, ah the ancients did this, ah the ancients did that, oh look this is what the ancients have been doing…but now its time for, oh look what Rush did, oh look what Eli (anti-Rush) did. idk.

    i saw AVATAR yesterday, no way is it even close to star wars, actually phantom menace is better or at least more exciting. and the 3D is distraction, IMO it disregards the emotions the characters are displaying, the eyes tend to marvel at the depth of the picture instead. i bet if i watched it in 2D i would get into it more on an emotional level that is. but ya it would take more than James Cameron to make me feel sorry for a bunch of tree-huggers. the message of the movie was way in your face so if it werent for the extraordinary use of CGI and motion capture, normally stuff like that would make me wanna puke. and the story; its the most unoriginal and predictable movie i ever seen, i think. i guess here its about the style and JC knows how to do 3D well which isnt easy. its tough for a director to do a 2D picture let alone in 3 dimensions.

  13. Would it help to think that “In Japan, you were interesting” really means “over there, you were entertaining in the way that a clumsy but amusing dimwit is?”. No? Didn’t think so. If it’s any consolation you have to have some innate “interestingness” to you, else your blog would not be enjoyed by so many.
    Very impressed that a 3 michelin star chef would take the time to send a personal postcard. That’s above and beyond even the Japanese norm for politeness.
    So, is writing for television somehow different than writing for other media, or is it a love/hate relationship with the job? I can’t imagine doing something so labor intensive if there was not a real joy to it somewhere. Though the disliking the process of writing might explain a lot of television’s aweful scripts over the years. So, if not the writing, what, besides the paycheck, makes one stay in such a career?
    Thanks for managing to get a post up, however late it was. Best of luck on progress on the script. Now, I’ll soon be off to fight the hordes of shoppers at the grocery store. No, not holiday shopping. The weather people are predicting snow here. That means an automatic run to strip the shelves of bread, milk, and the softer brands of toilet paper. No sane reason for it, as our snow melts away within hours or a day or two. It’s just something instinctive in people around here, rather like lemmings and cliffs, or dogs butt sniffing one another.

  14. Coming back from an enjoyable vacation is tough. Hang in there, Joe! Having an actual Japanese tutor to work with should be very helpful in polishing your language skills. Just make sure that, at least at the start, you schedule a regular time for it every week. Are you planning to work on reading as well as conversational Japanese?

  15. Yes, it’s hard to be cheery when your cold/wet. You could try a movie night with your wife?

    Great about your tutor. You’ll be ready next year! Narelle is right, start planning now.

    Stay warm, Mr. M.!

    Gotta go hit the Imitrex and do laps a the pool. Nothing like a cool pool to help shake a migraine.

    T

  16. Okay, this is weird. I know I have absolutely no right to ask this question. But, since you have mentioned your wife Fondy on many occassions the narrative you’ve built up over the years is one in which includes a wife and a healthy marriage.

    Being married for 24 years myself I am sometimes startled to read something that I know my wife, if it were me saying or typing what I read here, would be upset to say the least. And my marriage is not a conventional one, we’ve always kept our finances separate, I photograph fine art nudes for a living (well, as a part of my living anyway), and my wife has gone out on the town with her girlfriends for years (before she fell ill 3 years ago and now never leaves the house, spending 22 hours a day in bed)….. so, if something startled me, something you wrote, about how you conduct your personal life, its with good reason. Miss Japan? Out to dinner with a flight attendant? 2 years in a row visiting Japan alone? No Christmas in Montreal this year? I’m barely touching the surface here, but I’m sure you can see where someone would be interested in knowing what’s up. If you wanted us to simply care about the food you write about, or the TV show, then you would not include personal things like you did tonight, ie, dinner with the flight attendant, feeling down about missing Japan…. see what I mean?

    I simply have to ask. You don’t need to answer of course, but your explanation would go a long way toward satisfying my, and many others, curiosity about the state of your marriage.

    Are things on the homefront okay? Are you still married? Divorce pending?

    I sincerely apologize for daring to ask the question, but it has been one that has crossed my mind at least 20 times in 2009 while reading your column… this is not something off the top of my head.

  17. Looking forward to seeing those eps!!!!! Space action!!!

    @das (from like 4 days ago)

    don’t worry. Joe loves you, he mentions you by name in every other post. I’m sure you often make him laugh. 😉

    Thanks so much,
    Major D. Davis

  18. dasNdanger ‘cat in my face’ sounds frightengly familiar. Have you seen the clips for “Simon’s Cat” in YouTube? My tom cat is terrified that he will starve to death if he doesn’t eat during the night. 🙁

    Hope everybody has a good festive period – whatever they are doing.

  19. “…he had met only one writer who actually enjoyed writing – and that was Stephen J. Cannell. I’ve never met Stephen J. Cannell, so I’ve met none.”

    Isaac Asimov always said that he enjoyed writing, and I knew him in passing, so I knew at least one writer who enjoyed writing. In fact, he and his wife even wrote a book called “How to Enjoy Writing.”

  20. Writers do seem to have a love/hate relationship with the process of writing. I think it’s because we just don’t have enough perspective on our own work to really see what’s there when we’re working on it. Sometimes letting it sit for a couple of days, and trying not to read when we’re really tired, helps. (Though you probably already know that.)

  21. Mugggrumph. Got my flu shots today, the asthma clinic finally insisted I go. Hey, they’re free. Still, given a choice, I’d rather be chatting up flight attendants.

    I’m still touching up the grouting on the tile backsplash in the kitchen. I just cannot hurry this project. Hey, grout stains your skin white, there is no scrubbing this crud off my arms. Meh. Still, it looks fabulous and eclectic. The backsplash, not my stained skin. My friends especially like the Day of the Dead skull tiles. Another day or three and I’ll be done, then I can post a few pics to my blog.

  22. Petit coucou =)

    ça va bien? Alalala plus qu’un jour et c’est les vacances!!!!

    Cette nuit il on prévu de la neige 😛 trop contente c’est tellement rare ici!

    Gros bisou,
    A plus tard!

  23. It’s like you need a vacation because of your vacation.

    You feel OK about the writing once it’s on the screen though, don’t you? Didn’t Cannell write/produce the A-Team among other things?

  24. You’re a big time page one polisher, too, so those 18 pages are going to drive you nuts. What’s liberating about being a newbie writer is that I expect my first pages to be crap so I can go skip-skipping along to the last page and then address the crap.

  25. Psst! Major D! I was trying to sound like a martyr… or…a whiner. Not sure which. 😛

    @ deeinsouthafrica – I’ve actually been sleeping a lot lately, but sometimes I keep weird hours. It all depends on the work schedule of my husband, and the sleep/eating cycles of the cats. Speaking of which…

    @ susanthetartanturtle – Yes! LOVE Simon’s cat! Those are all too true – the sofa/tv one and the fly one are favorites of mine. And this is EXACTLY what I deal with: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0ffwDYo00Q

    🙄

    das

  26. Wouldn’t it be cool to just dream out a script? You’d get wired into one of the Ghost in The Shell devices and then just visualize what you want and have it pop up on screen already written.

  27. Das: I suspect Narelle is nicer than I am, at least.

    My house smells good today though. I am cooking for a Christmas party. Buttermilk fried chicken, sausage-bbq baked beans, chocolate coated chex, and M & M cookies are cooking.
    I have my new laptop going through Rosetta stone Spanish on the side. Have you tried Rosetta stone for Japanese Mr. M.?

    I’m beat already.

    Hope all is well with all of you.

    T

  28. Hey everyone,

    Time to flex our muscles and get Stargate Universe – Kino nominated for Best Companion Series in The Streamy Awards.

    Go to Streamy Awards & nom Stargate Universe – Kino. I think Best Companion Series fits the KINO.

    Please RT this if you have a Twitter Account, or put it up on Facebook. If you’re all signed in it should do it automatically.

    Cheers, Chev

  29. @ Artic Goddess: I personally go to places I haven’t been to before. I live on the Great Barrier Reef, so I like to go to places that don’t have sand, hot weather, or mobs of other people! 😀 Though, I do love cruising!

    And every time I read you ‘spinning’ Joe, I think of you on a stationary bike with some personal trainer screaming in your ear “move it buddy! Just 10 more seconds!” HAHAHA

  30. Joe,

    Take a look at the thread on GW under Gateworld Feature > Stargate Timeline thread and let me know if what we have is correct.

  31. PG15 – could you please add the Streamy Award thing on Gateworld if its not already there?

    Thanks heaps!

    Cheers, Chev

  32. Oh and Joe….please tell Baron to check his email. Sent him something wonderful from work.

    Cheers, Chev

  33. Hopefully, the Destiny crew makes it back to Earth (somehow) at series end. Preferably while they’re still alive and (mostly) intact. 🙂

    I hope you (all) get enough notice to put your series finale into play in a way that makes sense. I mean, SGU seems to be relying more on storylines that go over several episodes, so I imagine the finale will need a bit of setting up prior to that final hour/two hour story?

  34. Okay I have a pointy,

    since it has been established in wormhole physics that they can only be open for 38 minutes tops except for when there is a massive power supply involved, we have come across such power supplies, one being the laser that Anubis used to blow up the earth stargate, and another being a black hole. In fact, a black hole should be sufficient enough of a power source to connect a stable wormhole to the Destiny and send some of their badly needed supplies via Asgard beam.

    Although I think you’ve thought of this and you are saving it for later.

  35. How f***ed up is this? My son(22 tomorrow) and his mate have gone to bingo. Should I be worried? Why can’t my life be normal huh? Anyone got the definition of normal so I can double check?

    Hugs to the pups:)

  36. Coming back home after a long, great trip has always been a let down for me. It takes time for me to get used to the fact that I am back and have to get on with reality.

    Writing is not an easy thing and I am always impressed when you let us know you have knocked off ten pages or so for a script in one day. But it’s like all creative pursuits – you have to be in a certain groove for it to happen.

    I always wonder if you should find a way to make a living writing about food. I’m sure it wouldn’t pay nearly as well but it might feed your soul.

    In any case, you need to give ourself some time to adjust now that you are back on this continent.

  37. when I say 22 tomorrow I mean today is thursday so friday is his birthday…I think I was there…

  38. sparrow_hawk – The creatures here aren’t as scary as they sound. Well, actually they are, but mostly they keep to themselves. You don’t disturb them, they won’t bite you and cause your flesh to rot away. But as far as Huntsmans go, they’re definitely harmless other than making you pack your dacks if you find yourself up close and personal with one.
    If you every find yourself in Aus, hopefully you can come and sit on our decking some time and watch the flying fauna around here. Makes the creepy crawlies worth it.

    das – My brain is still on a compassionate high after going to see the Dalai Lama last week. 🙂

  39. Hey Joe just a quick question in the third SG-1 movie do we at least find out why there is no Vala is there an explanation at least should me and other Vala fans brace ourselves for the worst or will some of us namely the D&V shippers AKA Fruitcakes (major respect points from me if you know what episode that came from) will be happy this is a pressing issue for us Vala fans we are still disappointed in Brad Wright that she will not be in the movie but I know us online fans are only a small part of the viewing audience and we really are just causalities of the TV writers and producers whims and likes just because I know this doesn’t mean it doesn’t still hurt.

    I like SGU it is very different than SG-1 and SGA but I still like it I have eclectic tastes. I have Legend of the Seeker to fill my action/fanatasy needs. Have you watched it and do you like it? My mom and I love it I get the sci-fi/fantasy gene from her.

  40. Hey Joe, would you be so good as to dedicate Friday’s blog to Suzie’sbluefeather please? its her birthday.

    Cheers:)

  41. dasNdanger “Cat Man Do” is brilliant. I got the book for my birthdeay – it isn’t as good as the clips.

    I have a poorly cat just now – he has asthma and is probably due to get his next steroid jag. His sister is actually being nice to him….. that is never a good sign.

  42. Posting late??? I’m reading today’s entry before going bed. It is the 16th, Thursday, right?

    @Tammy Dixon – Imitrex for a migraine, but the laps in the pool??? If the pain from my migraine doesn’t stop me dead in my tracks the Imtrex will. I would drown. I can see how cool water would feel great. I have taken really hot showers and then a really cold one and that mildly eases my pain.

    Joe, you can bounce ideas off of me for the scripts, I’ll be glad to help. Really. I good with continuity too.

    HI DENI!!!!!

  43. This is to poundpuppy29, I thought you might be interested in the following (I’m a huge Vala, Claudia Black fan as well) … Claudia did some major kickass voice work for the Playstation 3 “game of the year 2009” game called “Uncharted 2: Among Thieves.”

    Not only is it a great adventure game, its like playing Indiana Jones, graphics are the best you’ve seen in any game, but most importantly Claudia’s voice gives this game some real gravitas! I enjoyed playing the game twice as much because of Claudia great acting.

    If you’re into gaming at all on the PS3 you need to check this game out if you need a Claudia Black fix.

  44. Joe, we totally think you’re interesting 😀
    Ishikawa-san sounds like an amazing person, not to mention his amazing food! I’m glad we got a glimpse into that atmosphere! 🙂

    Stephen J. Cannell is a guest star on Castle every now and then. It makes me happy to know the great lengths Castle’s showrunners go to in order to make it seem real: Castle plays poker with REAL AUTHORS Stephen J. Cannell and James Patterson, the book he writes during the show is a REAL NOVEL released soon after it is released in the show, and any websites mentioned during the show are REAL WEBSITES set up and maintained by the ABC!

  45. I remember you saying you were a heist story fan. The TV series Slingers will be Casino heists … in space!

  46. @ Tammy – Narelle is nicer than everyone, except Sparrowhawk. Those two should get together and start a charity, or something. 🙂

    @ Shiningwit – Maybe they’re lookin’ for cougars…

    @ Narelle – Personally, I like our good cop, bad cop routine. 😀

    @ susanthetartanturtle – Those clips really capture a cat’s personality – that’s what makes them so great! 🙂

    das

  47. kabra: Yes, I had second thoughts as I was getting into the pool. Pain was building, even with the Imitrex.
    Pool was freezing today! Submerging in that water really did the trick!!! I did an easy going 1/2 mile and my fingers went numb from the pool temp for a while. The pool manager swears the pool temp is set to 83F. Feels more like 79-80F to me. Migraine completely gone, thank God. I had a very productive day afterwards.

  48. Ugh. We might be getting a blizzard this weekend. Kinda early for us…and we haven’t had a really big snowfall in ages. I’m not prepared, at all. 😛

    Gonna call it a night. Sorry I couldn’t stay up to find out who you’re wining and dining tonight. Forget Joey the Icepick – we got Joey the Playah now! 😉

    Nites!

    das

  49. das – You mean I’m good cop? Woohoo! For once I don’t have to be the hard nut.
    And ironically, I’d love to open up a charity 🙂 What say you sparrow_hawk?

    Tammy – No fist bumping, but lots of contagious laughter 🙂 I’ll see what I can tee up for next time he’s out. Hopefully next year!

  50. Hi!

    Just a perhaps unwelcome and definitely unsolicited bit of input:

    I lost interest in Stargate Atlantis when Tori Higgens character left the show, although I never knew until now the circumstances behind her departure. Well, not that I really do know, just read a blurb about it now.

    She was by far the most interesting character on the show, just my two cents.

    Have a great holiday!

  51. I had a similar problem 2 years ago.I went to Frankfurt , Germany for two weeks.After I got home I missed all the interesting people I met around the world and all the new and Exciting sites I’d seen and restaraunt’s I had tryed.Europe was like visiting a whole other planet , it’s so different from Texas and the rest of the U.S.

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