Today, I went to Future Shop to pick up a new laptop to replace the one in my home office that keeps doing that blue screen of death thing.  I told the sales associate that I wanted something simple.  I don’t need a computer with games or satellite tracking or face recognition software.  All I really need it for is writing, photo storage, and doing online research on quasars, neutrinos, and the Naomi Watts kissing scenes in Mulholland Drive.  He recommended a fairly inexpensive option that I decided to go with.

“Would you like the extended warranty?”he asked.

“No thanks,”I said, figuring I’d no doubt replace the laptop when the time came.

“It’s a very good deal!  Are you sure?”

I told him I was, but he was a persistent little guy, insisting he run through all the options before I made a decision.  I told him I’d already made my decision but, before I could say “I shoulda just gone to Best Buy.” he was off.   And, some five minutes later, he was back with the extended warranty pamphlet.  Again, I informed him I wasn’t going to get the warranty, but that did little to dissuade him from launching into a lengthy breakdown of the differences between the lame manufacturer’s warranty and the awesome Future shop warranty.  It went something like:

“The manufacturer’s warranty is one year parts and labor which require you to ship your laptop to their technical support center in Clackmannanshire, Scotland staffed by approximately a dozen octogenarians with little computer experience outside of having watched the original Star Wars, a movie most found loud and confusing.  In conjunction with their Calcutta call center, they will seek to fix your problem to the best of their abilities using a tuning fork and the power of positive thinking, then ship your laptop back to the nearest pick-up depot – in your case, since your live in North America, a brothel in Mexico City.  When you’ve paid the establishment’s entrance fee (which includes one non-alcoholic beverage of your choosing), you must provide identification in the form of a framed birth certificate as well as three letters of reference from practicing chiropractors swearing to the fact that you have never served in the capacity of Archbishop for the Catholic Church.  You will then receive your laptop, a receipt of work completed, and a kick in the groin for good measure before being sent on your way.  Only once you’ve made your way back to your hotel will you realize that your wallet has been “lost”, but a frantic return trip to the depot will find it shuttered as the employees have already set out on their weekly Customer Appreciation Day Picnic.  You will return to your hotel and explain your situation to the on duty clerk who will sympathize with your plight, and then call the police who will arrest and then proceed to interrogate you in the hopes that  you will provide them with information pertaining to a recent high profile kidnapping or, failing that, an approximate re-enactment of the interrogation scenes in Slumdog Millionaire.  In the event you’re unable to provide them with either the information or entertainment they seek, you will be permitted to make one phone call.  You will, of course, contact your embassy but the new Hungarian receptionist who’ll answer the phone will speak very little English and, after numerous aborted attempts to understand what, exactly, you’re trying to tell her, will grow frustrated and hung on you.  The second call you make to friends and/or family back home will prove more fruitful and, after your ransom/fine has been paid, you’ll be sent on your way minus your shoes and copy of Eat, Pray, Love you were hoping to finish on the return flight back home.  When you finally DO make it back home, you’ll open up your laptop to discover a grilled cheese sandwich nestled atop the keyboard.  The manufacturer’s warranty also covers damage that resulted from trying to make a grilled cheese sandwich by pressing it in a closed laptop left sealed overnight.  All you have to do is send it in.

OR, you could go with the Future Shop warranty that covers parts AND labor in addition to hugs, pep talks, back rubs, dating advice, restaurant recommendations, weekend reiki treatments, spotting in the event you choose to use your laptop on a trampoline, unqualified medical counsel, free use of the Future Shop Scion with the racing stripes provided Alvin from t.v. and video hasn’t taken it out, an escort to your cousin’s wedding, someone to talk football with, and moral support if and when you break up with your significant other.”

“How much?”I asked.

“Regularly $169.  With this laptop $64.”

“Great!  I won’t take it.”

He seemed genuinely surprised.  “What did you expect it to be?  Free?”

“No,”I said.  “I never wanted the extended warranty, but you seemed so fired up to run through your routine that I thought it would be rude to interrupt.”


Eventful Horizon writes: “When will we see some aliens that aren’t bugs or other similar creatures?”

Answer: When the show returns in April, you’ll get to see the coolest aliens we’ve ever done on the show.

Jenny writes: “Joe, you state that the show on second viewing, all those things that people took exception to, became less of a problem. That’s a bit much to ask isn’t it?”

Answer: I’m not saying that you need a second viewing to appreciate the show (although I highly recommend multiple viewings of each 🙂 ).  All I’m saying is that given the change in tone and style and the groundwork established in those first few episodes, it’s possible you may grow accustomed to this new type of storytelling and issues (like the shooting style) will become less problematic for you.  Of course this won’t be the case for everyone, but a surprising number of fans I’ve spoken to stated that this was the case for them which is why I mentioned it.  So I’m curious to see if anyone else had a similar experience, not merely in terms of re-watching episodes but watching new episodes as the season progressed.

South African Singularity writes: “Audiences desire a larger amount of character interaction and development. A more in-depth understanding of the character.”

Answer: I agree.  Audiences are much more sophisticated than they were ten years ago.  They want to be entertained but they also want to be challenged.

Overmind One writes: “I thought that the entire season was already filmed, edited, and “in the can”. If that is true, then you are just HOPING that we will be delighted.”

Answer: Of course nothing is a certainty, especially when it comes to fandom, but I base my prediction on the fact that many of the issues fans have expressed and the suggestions they have made will be addressed in the back of season one – and this has nothing to do with last minute rewrites and everything to do with the episodes that fill the #11-#20 slots.  The stones for instance.  Many have complained about the use of the stones being used for personal visits, hoping to see that aspect of the show minimized, while suggesting other depictions of the stone tech (SF complications, using them to bring experts to the ship, etc.).  Well, as it turns out, in the back half of season one use of the stones for personal visits will be minimized and the stone tech will be explored in other ways (SF complications, using them to bring experts to the ship, etc.).  Again, you can’t please all of the people all of the time but, at least in the case of those complaining about the use of the stones, a great number of them will be very pleased with what we have in store for them come April.

Thornyrose writes: “Have the standards slipped so bad in the program that people whose psychological profiles are so fragile now assigned to such missions? […]  Oh, and why is it that out of almost 100 people we’ve only seen one suicide, and that partially induced by drug withdrawals?”

Answer: The obvious answer is that these people fall somewhere in between.  It’s not so much that they’re psychologically fragile as they are unprepared for spending the rest of their lives on Destiny.  Yes, they signed up for off-world assignment.  But they didn’t sign up for this.  The prospect of being stranded without any hope of ever returning home would strain even the strongest of individuals.

Thornyrose also writes: “And ignoring that, why would the PTB on Earth permit the breech of security by alloiwing the exiles to communicate with loved ones? It makes for drama moments but doesn’t make sense from the show history. Or are you finally going to reveal the Stargates to the people of the SG universe Earth?”

Answer: Two issues that look to be addressed down the line.

Arctic Goddess writes: “As an aside, since POW’s stuck in prison camps often find ingenious ways to make hooch, I’d expect some of the boys on Destiny to try the same thing.”

Answer: Brody’s on it.

Airelle writes: “Joe I know you are tackling the comments here and you are brave, but I was wondering, should I get the ab circle pro, I mean the tv promo says it works… ”

Answer: If you want to have abs that pop, you really need to work at it – and while buying something like the ab circle pro may help, it certainly won’t get the job done alone.  To actually build those abs, you should incorporate weights into your ab routine (ie. weighted crunches) and combine them with effective core-building exercises like the bridge or the bicycle crunch (I’m sure you can find explanations online).  Then watch your caloric intake, replace more indulgent foods in your diet with lean proteins and fresh fruits and vegetables.  Building those abs may actually be the easy part.  Stripping away belly fat and toning the area so that those abs actually pop will be the challenge.

lavvyan writes: “Asking for suggestions on how to improve your show, only to explain everything away, is quite another.”

Answer: There’s a difference between gathering feedback and taking dictation.  I’m doing the former, not the latter.  You can’t ignore your audience but, on the other hand, if you start second-guessing and scrambling to implement every popular online opinion, you’d be better off writing one of those Choose Your Own Adventure books.  I’ve always been interested in what fans have to say, but do sometimes take issue with how they say it.  In the case of some of the issues expressed (ie. the stones, the emphasis on relationships, etc.) I’ve stated reasons why, from a creative and production standpoint, we developed these particular story elements and how some of these issues may be addressed in the back half of season one and beyond.  With regard to the various aspects fans have expressed an interest in seeing developed, I’ve also tried to point out, wherever possible, how many of those aspects WILL be developed later this season.

Dodoalda writes: “1) Any word about some SGU season 1.5 trailer?
2) Now, when some of SG props are selling by e-bay, what you will do, if tese props are necessary for filming third SG-1 movie or first SGA movie? Make new ones?
3) Are you planning opening theme for SGU´s S2? At least for DVD releases? I know, that there is no theme because of episode length, but Joel Goldsmith makes wonderful job and SGU just deserves some opening titles…please.
4) Will be in future episodes (I hope sabotage is gonna be the one) desctibed, how exactly FTL works and what´s the difference between FTL and Hyperspace?
5) I´ve just wondered, if having longer and longer hairs in every episode is creators´s decision (because there are no scissors on the ship) or actors´s decision?”

Answers: 1) They’re working on it as we speak.  2) MGM had literally thousands of props gathering dust so, rather than keep them in storage indefinitely, they’ve elected to finally make most of those items available to fans.  As for potentially selling anything we may need in the future – I liken it to the show’s visual effects which have improved dramatically over time.  I’d rather have a newer, cooler version than an older used one.  3) Not sure. 4) No plans to get into the intricacies of the FTL drive. 5) I believe it was something the actors wanted to do.

Pastrygirl writes: “How does casting work in conjunction with the writing? If you have a particular actor in mind, like for a cameo, do you have to get them on board before going ahead with writing the episode? How much involvement do the writers have during casting for parts for episodes you’ve written?”

Answer: Most of the show’s writers produce their own episodes so they are involved in every aspect of episode prep including casting.  If we have an actor in mind, it’s a simple matter of contacting him to find out whether or not he’d be interested in appearing on the show.

Niall mcnamara writes: “can you help me please if you read this i want you to read a story that i wrote.”

Answer: I’m sorry, Niall.  As much as I’d love to read what you, or many others out there have written, I honestly don’t have the time between work, dogs, and sleep.

Tim Lade writes: “Also, the only request I have to make is…can we please see the bridge or command centre of the Destiny?”

Answer: Sure.  If we can find it.  Welcome aboard, Tim.

Tanie writes: “Are you getting the h*ll out of dodge while the Olympics are on?”

Answer: Unlike everyone else, I’ll be in Vancouver for the Olympics.  Instead of hightailing it out of here, I’ll instead be entertaining a guest visiting from Japan.  Tanoshii!

Overmind One writes: “Thing is, the declining ratings and negative commentary all over the internet has prompted them to ASK US what we really want.”

Answer: Actually, no.  Sorry to disappoint.  If I was trying to curry favor with mass fandom, I’d be cross-posting this survey on the innumerable other forums out there.  Instead, I chose to ask fans here on this blog because I’m familiar with most of them and know that they’ll provide a fair assessment of their likes and dislikes in a well presented and respectful manner.  I’ve asked because I’d like to know what’s been working for them, what hasn’t been working for them, why, and then present some insight into the reasons we’ve chosen to pursue certain creative avenues in addition to hinting at the ways some of their concerns may be addressed when SGU returns with all new episodes in April.

77 thoughts on “January 30, 2010: We interrupt the scheduled blog entry for this unimportant message…

  1. Wot??! No ‘ouch!’ from my snowball hits? 🙁

    I am…disappointed. However, I am NOT discouraged. *wads up another snowball…and takes aim…* CLUNK!

    Yup. That one had a rock in the middle. :mrgreen:


  2. I don’t know Mr. Mallozzi, that sounded like quite an appealing warranty, especially the back rubs and weekend reiki treatments….

    May I inquire as to the brand of laptop you finally purchased, as I’m thinking of getting one for my girlfriend, and she doesn’t need anything that fancy or complicated.

  3. Considering all the objections to the stones (and I confess, I felt uncomfortable with them even in SG1, because they took over unaware bodies), I’d like to know if you, the writers, have considered that the stones might misfire and take over someone entirely unintended… for instance, someone using the stone to “go home” might end up in an alien body on an alien planet by mistake.

  4. Whoops! Sorry, Gilder! I was aiming at Joey! (See what you made me do, Joe! 😡 Yer askin’ for it now, mister! )

    *wads up a snowball…glazes it with water…puts it in the freezer, and waits…for July…*



  5. Meh. Best Buy would have tried to sell you their warranty, too. Although I always get it because I always end up using it. My computer’s just expired, too. I’m doomed, I can tell.

    Hope you had a good day despite the annoying warranty speech!

  6. “I’m familiar with most of them and know that they’ll provide a fair assessment of their likes and dislikes in a well presented and respectful manner.”

    On that note, Thank you. My first comment here was in answer to your request. I was so eager to respond I was remiss in being grateful for the opportunity.

    I hope the laptop survives. I think mine is somewhere in the troposphere over central Kansas. A popular store that is now closed lost it… even with the warranty that promised me Billy Gates would be my towel boy for seven years. *ehem*


  7. No snow here!

    99 percent of the time, warranties are the worst. They cost too much and don’t give you what you want. Now if they gave massages and all that other stuff? I’m sure more people would buy them.

    I once bought an extended warranty on a dishwasher. I don’t know why. I think maybe I was feeling sorry for the salesperson. They all have to push these things. Turns out the damn thing quit on me three times! The motor blew that many times. Each time it was under warranty. I finally couldn’t take it anymore and bought another dishwasher. I got a lemon I think. If I hadn’t had that warranty, I would have either had to pay almost as much to repair it as I paid for it or would have gotten a new one sooner.

    I thought you were getting feedback for season two? Hey, if season one is in the can, no one is going to go back and change things. Can’t wait for April.

  8. Yeah, I don’t go for extended warranties on electronic goods like computers or such. It is more likely that I will replace that item long before the original warranty runs out.

    That isn’t to say I don’t buy them but only on really durable goods like stoves, refrigerators or things I expect to last 10 years or more. I try to get secondary warranties from good companies in the last 3 years of their expected life while budgting for their eventual replacemet so I won’t have to suddenly come up with the money to make a replacement because the repair is so expensive.

    Several Questions:

    1. Is one of the reasons that SGU was finished filming so early because production facilities are being used/rented for olympic work?

    2. Sorry about the other day when I got a bit snarky about the age of the Gate question. I am hoping you misread the question and thought the question meant the gate on Destiny and if it was older, not that the Gates in the Galaxy they are curretly n are older than previous gates, at least I hope.

    3. Basically, is there any way to survive a trip to Japan and a plan to eat locally andnot fast food, if you are allergic to fish as I unfortunately am. It might affect vacation plans Japan vs Germany

    Eclectic I know but so am I.

  9. Haha, good for you. Would have taught him a lesson if you’d just written down the computer specs and gone somewhere else, walking away as he went into his pitch. I got my last computer at Best Buy, and once I said I didn’t want the warranty, they didn’t push much. They actually offered me a warranty for my speakers, and even as the guy was explaining it, he sounded like he knew it was BS. Since the warranty didn’t cover what would have been my main concern (kittens chewing on the cords), I declined.

  10. “although I highly recommend multiple viewings of each”
    Doesn’t everybody watch all the eps multiple times? LOL

    “Arctic Goddess writes: “As an aside, since POW’s stuck in prison camps often find ingenious ways to make hooch, I’d expect some of the boys on Destiny to try the same thing.”

    Answer: Brody’s on it.”

    Go Brody! Visions of the wacked out sweet potato being made into vodka a la MASH’s Hawkeye…. he needs a co- conspirator, may I suggest the fellow waiting patiently for the hydroponics to grow (don’t know the character’s name, if it was ever given). Hopefully they can grow some real food, too.

    Forehead palm, I somehow forgot (see moron comment, above) that you guys double duty as producers.

    I don’t usually buy the warranties, either. But I think I’m going to start buying insurance on the cell phones. The year-old husky made a chew toy of mine last week. The phone previous to that one met its demise in the dog’s water bowl, proving to me that I am a moron and that gravity works just fine. 🙁 Maybe I can get that backrub clause included, that would be sweet!

    Any Olympic events that you ARE looking forward too, Joe?
    Surely there’s some winter sports that you like to watch, even if you want to stay as far away from the onslaught as possible!


  11. Sigh. The “forehead palm” moment was in reference to the casting question that I asked.

    New rule, no posting when tired….

  12. Hi Joe:

    I think Warranty Boy was hoping to make his percentage out of the deal. He sure worked for it.

    Have you Nudged the Judge lately about his answers to fan questions? What about Amanda? I know she’s amazingly busy with Sanctuary, but how are things going on that front?

    I realize that it takes talent and hard work to become a television writer, but is it as hard to become employed in the field as it is to become an actor? What I mean to say is, for every successful actor there are 100 that are unemployed. Is it the same for script writing?


  13. Joe next time you need a “tech toy” go to Future Shop and ask around, then when you decided what you want, go to Best Buy and purchase it! Future Shop is great because they are all very knowledgeable in their respective areas, but are so pushy because they are commisioned. At the same time Best Buy is the exact opposite, they have friendly customer service but most are still in high school. They couldn’t tell a flux capacitor from a can opener.

    I have been biting my tongue on the “relationships” issue on the show, but I have to say it. I think so far you guys have done an excellent job in capturing the human emotion in SGU. One of the reasons I believe (read: my personal opinion) “Stargate fans” are raising such issue with them, is because they can no longer relate to these people (aside from Eli Wallace, who is arguably the fan favorite).
    If you look back at SG-1/SGA there was always someone they could relate to.
    Teal’c-Ronan-Teyla were all fish out of water types.
    Jackson-McKay were the geeky anti-social types.
    Sheppard-O’Neill were the ones guys wanted to be and women wanted to be with.
    Now you have party girls, military types, HR staff, and an evil genius, the entire cast is the contrary to what we are used to.
    In my opinion “Stargate fans”, from a social standpoint, generally live sheltered lives. They don’t go to clubs, pick up girls/guys every night, and have one night stands. The reason they are so opposed to these new characters and especially their actions, are because they don’t understand them. They can’t comprehend the fact that if you are stuck with no hope of ever returning, you are going to be emotionally unstable. You will seek comfort from those around you, and for some people, physical interaction is their form of security. If you put yourself in the characters shoes you will see that they are actually being true to who they are, and what their background is. I am not one of the typical “Stargate fans”, not that there is anything wrong with them. Which is why I think I can see more clearly than others on this issue.
    Again, please let me stress that there is nothing wrong with Dungeons & Dragons, owning more than 5 cats, or living in your parents basements.

  14. Thorny, Psych tests are nowhere near 100%, even the military’s. SAC has run unannounced tests back in the bad ole days and people failed to do their job and destroy humanity. Do you think the key system was invented because they trusted everybody to be and stay sane, heck no. They put the keys far enough away so that 1 person could not turn them in the time alloted and this after millions of dollars spent on training, testing etc..

    In addition, some people lie about certain weaknesses and problems in their past whichcannot be found out in security check andthe hide it so well it allows them to pass psych tests.

  15. Ha! Just thinking of Mulholland Drive a bit ago. This is why I read your blog.

    As for the mult-viewing question, I find it essential to best appreciate a show. First viewing is all story-centric with a cursory notice of particular character moments. It’s only after another time or two that I take it truly to heart.

    This might have already been answered, but are the Destiny Gate symbols based on constellations like the previous two gate systems were, or since they’re so much older (presumably) are they more like a code? Thinking about a code and not an address is how they got there in the first place.

  16. “I honestly don’t have the time between work, dogs, and sleep.”

    Well, if you stopped wasting so much time in computer shops you’d have more of it 😉

  17. I hate buying big purchases from Future Shop for that reason. Though, It’s my understanding that both are actually owned by the same parent company, but FS employees work on commission and BB’s don’t. So the extended warranty gets them a larger cut of the pie.

    There’s a lot of exciting free stuff happening during the Olympics that’s not sporty or expensive (free, duh). I’m sure the blog readership would love it if you took photos of your adventures on the Robson St zipline!

  18. Hello Joseph 🙂

    ça va bien today? moi oui toujours!

    Merci pour ces Q/A elles sont très interessantes! …même si je mes du temps pour les traduires ^^

    Vous vous êtes encore acheté un portable? ..bah c’est bien dit donc.

    Je me suis toujours demandé si votre travail vous permettez de bien gagner votre vie…bien? ou bien bien? lol ..en tout cas profitez en, car on ne vie qu’une fois 🙂

    Bonne journée!
    Gros Bisou!!!

  19. Hey that warranty is pretty sweet. I certainly wouldn’t mind a free grilled cheese sandwich with my laptop!

    Can’t wait for the Season 1.5 trailer! Any ideas on when it might be released?

    Alright, Narelle, read my words very closely…you are no longer a duck…instead…you are…um…oh I know…you are an Australian with a passion for Stargate and vacationing on tropical isles…

    Yes, that will work out nicely. 😉

  20. If you’re in the lookout for a new Vancouver chocolatier after the loss of your downtown favs, I suggest you pop into Coco Nymph at 10th & Alma next time you’re in Kits. Her spicy drinking chocolate (ie, melted chocolate, not hot chocolate) has become my favourite reward for unpleasant tasks.

  21. 😆

    Priceless, Joe! :mrgreen: Thanks for sharing the experience. Hope your new shlepptop will serve you well for many seasons of SGU without a hitch!

    I would strongly suggest, however, to get a separate cheese sandwich maker. 😉

    Q re. Joel G. Q&A: have I missed it, or is Le Master still procrastinating on that one?

  22. They’re showing season 5 of SGA here in Aussieland. I realised how much I miss it and how much I love the theme music… *sigh*

    How is Joel anyway ?

  23. Ugh. I can’t stand pushy salespeople. I would’ve just left with my laptop. Everytime I go to shopping and see them buzzing around, I try to avoid them.

  24. thanks anyways okay yea im a little disapointed cause thats what i want to do when im older just for the record im only 14 just to clarify

  25. Oh, what a way to start the morning. Look up your blog, and burst out laughing hysterically. I can just picture the pimply, frazzle haired teen with that whiny pitched voice insisisting on pushing the warrenty on you. My attitude has been, if the device is well made, I don’t need the extended warrenty. If I do need it, then it’s out of service enough to require replacement anyways.
    Then you shock me by using an emoticon. You’ve gone dark-sider-er! For the grand finale, I had a couple of issues addressed. While I’m not entirely convinced by your arguments in regards to the Destiny crew(people travelling the Stargates would seem to me not be so quick to give up on the possibility of never getting home. Rather, I’d expect the sensation of hopelessness to settle in a few weeks or months later, as the day to day survival issues are settled and no progress is seemingly made on finding a way to return home. Still, your(plural) track record with the Stargate franchise gives me hope.
    And I’m estatic at the thought of addressing the secrecy of the Stargate program. I know the issue was addressed in a few later season episodes of SG1, but the pretense has to have worn transparantly thin. Too many people in too many country know too much. On Atlantis this might not be an issue, as so few episodes dealt directly with Earth. But so long as Universe is showing Earthside related storylines, the secrecy issue is the elephant in the room everyone seems to ignore. Even the hint that this might be addressed and/or resolved has me shivering with anticipation.
    thanks for taking the time for such a hefty mailbag. And for the laugh to start the day. Now off to dig out of what for us was a massive snowstorm(all of 8-12 inches).

  26. I have a warranty for my laptop… 🙁 The last one “died” because I put it in my bag together with the beer for the party!

    Now, I’m proud to announce: my warranty would cover that. 🙂

  27. As a student of film and television, as well as an artist, writer, and amateur filmmaker, I understand TPTB’s desire (need, really) to take the third Stargate series in a different direction.

    Perhaps I’m wrong, but I assume that most fans of any franchise are ignorant of how tedious it is for a person involved in this endeavour to exhaust themes, styles, conventions, and plot ad nauseam. It’s good for the artist to flex his talent now and then and produce something new and challenging. It’s not fun to let the creative waters stagnate.

    That said, Universe thus far as not appealed to me. Sg-1 was my favourite show, and while I found Atlantis an overall inferior experience, I found several characters and story arcs incredibly engaging in that show as well.

    With SG-1 and Atlantis, both shows more or less were well aware that they were playing up conventions established by earlier shows, namely Star Trek. This self-awareness, combined with engaging characters, witty comedy, and well scripted story arcs produced a unique show both delightfully humours and seriously dramatic.

    To me, it honestly feels like Universe has mostly discarded this brilliant approach to storytelling in favour of simply copying contemporary sci-fi trends.

    I don’t mind giving the rest of season 1 a shot, and I’m not asking that the show itself fall into the Sg-1 formula, but I think the darker, “mature” approach to story telling found in Universe would work better if the show itself were approached like a Stargate show and less like the reincarnation of Battlestar Galactica.

  28. @ Sparrowhawk – I just had an epiphany! Or…a realization. Or…maybe it was just gas, but…

    Remember our discussion yesterday? Well, as I was tackling a wayward chin whisker, the lightbulb went on in my head.

    Here’s how it goes…

    1. Last night I was catching up on some comics, including Captain America (yeah, he’s back from the dead, reflecting on his World War II memories).

    2. This morning on the news the commentators were whining about President Obama saying the media is too negative.

    And then it dawned on me…

    He’s RIGHT! Not just the media, but everyone…at least a good amount of folks here in the US. They whine about everything. They complain. They mock. They gripe. They hate their neighbors. They hate their job. They point fingers and claim discrimination or injustice over little, unintended slights from the classroom to the boardroom. They kick and scream if they don’t get that blow-out bargain on Black Friday. They get their knickers in a bunch over late night tv upheavals. And they practically declare war when one tv show is cancelled in favor of another.

    But it wasn’t always like that, and Captain America reminded me of it. There was a time when Americans rolled up their sleeves and tackled their problems, when they thought the best of one another, when when pulled together through a depression and a war..a time when personal drama took a back seat to family and community and country.

    Of course, not everyone of our generation is spoiled and cynical, and not everyone of past generations was gung-ho rah-rah positive and perfect. But the overall attitude of the country has certainly changed from a positve, ‘we can do it!’ mindset to a ‘WAAAAAAH! It’s NOT FAIR! Everyone’s out to get me’ way of thinking. You just see everywhere…we have become a very negative society. Many (certainly not all) prefer to sit back, and blame everyone and complain about everything, just because it’s easy. And I think that’s why people love these nighttime dramas…it justifies them. But a show with a positive message – a show with real heroes – a show about people taking responsibility for themselves instead of whining about their lot in life – just reminds them of what they could be doing if they really wanted to…and that doesn’t set so well with a lot of people.

    And perhaps that’s why I don’t like those shows, and why I hope to see those ‘rise above’ moments in SGU. Even with all my problems with depression and anxiety and my cynical exterior, on the inside I am really a very hopeful, positive person who believes that people can do better, be better, and have a positive impact in the world. Yeah, I’m a living, breathing oxymoron 🙄 (or, maybe just a moron…but that’s neither here nor there). My mind is negative, but my heart is very positive. So I suppose that’s why I can’t watch a show where everyone is wrapped up in their own little self-centered negative world. I battle with natural, inborn negativity, so why do I want to watch people bring it upon themselves, especially if they’re more content to wallow in it than rise above it?

    Not sure if I’ve made any sense, but that’s what came to me today. 60 years ago people had a much different mindset than they do today, and it is reflected in the sort of entertainment people prefer. And Me? Looks like my mindset is still somewhere back around 1945… 😛


  29. Hey Joe,
    Thanks For SGU you the other prodicers and writers and the dast and crew.

    I was Busy stress testing the new Stargate resitance game(same Company that is still working on SGWorlds) yesterday that I didnt gat a chance to read the Blog till this morn.

    Reading all them comments after you explained some of the top?’s made my head hurt. If people are still that miffed and upset at SGU by now, Why in the hell are they still watching and complaining.

    I Love everthing Stargate incl. SGU. Thank you to you all three cast and crews again for Being apart of my life.

    I planned to comment every now and again But the people that are still commenting with harsh critique’s still are just ruining what I enjoy comming to your blog for. SGU is Differrent just like Atlantis was different than SG1. They cant stop camparing them even though there all separate from each other, And I can’t compete with them keep criticising something thats beaten over and over and over. Like the Sex and the stones.
    Love the reading about dogs and and the food critiques and the questioniars the people answer from us.

    Joe, Just keep doing what your doing!

  30. re: this: “If you want to have abs that pop, you really need to work at it – and while buying something like the ab circle pro may help, it certainly won’t get the job done alone. To actually build those abs, you should incorporate weights into your ab routine (ie. weighted crunches) and combine them with effective core-building exercises like the bridge or the bicycle crunch (I’m sure you can find explanations online). Then watch your caloric intake, replace more indulgent foods in your diet with lean proteins and fresh fruits and vegetables. Building those abs may actually be the easy part. Stripping away belly fat and toning the area so that those abs actually pop will be the challenge.”

    When are we going to see those abs of yours!!!
    You’ve become an expert!!!
    I tried weighted crunches, it was not working that well for me. Probably because I was only doing one type of crunches with my weights…. trying not to drop them on me or injure myself!!!
    What did it for me was doing different types of crunches twice a day. I used to do about 400 once a day, but now doing about 125 only twice a day and I’m getting better results.
    Stripping away belly fat, is a major pain. I stopped eating after 20h00. This was hard for me, because I got into the habit of eating a full meal just before going to bed. Haven’t done so in over 2 months, MAJOR DIFFERENCE. The belly goes in instead of going out. It’s super cool!!!!

  31. >>extended warranty?

    That’s the thing, it’s just a ploy for shops to milk more money out of you, and by the time anything breaks down anyway, the hardware will be redundant and something new and better will be out thats worth replacing said item with anyway.

    That and most manufactorers will repair stuff for free if it breaks anyway, making shop warrantys useless.

  32. @ Joe – RE: “Audiences are much more sophisticated than they were ten years ago. They want to be entertained but they also want to be challenged.”

    I both agree, and disagree. The disagreement part falls under my comments to Sparrow. I don’t think audiences are all that more ‘sophisticated’, as they are critical. Everyone’s a critic, as they say. And that attitude has created a more negative viewing audience, one that’s harder to please. I’ve been guilty of it myself (remember the Wraith? 😉 ), but at least I recognize that – in the end – it is only a tv show. Some people don’t recognize that – the tv show becomes their life – and when that happens the audience becomes harder to please.

    I want to say more, but Mr. Das is glaring at me…I think he wants breakfast. But don’t worry, I’ll be back! (Eventually…)


  33. Honestly Joe, I thought the stones were one of those little plot devices that was something to be built into a larger thing, If you know what I mean.

    I know you’re done with some suggestions, but this literally just hit me. There are some seriously elderly people on the destiny, I cannot help but wonder what it must be like for one of them to be switched with the stones to a person with a younger body, the same for that younger person in the older person’s body. I also want to know if the stones can switch a person’s sex? You know the guy/girl switch, I think it may make for a fun little plot bunny with Eli, but then again this was not the formulation of the request you wanted.

  34. You know, I never thought I would need an extended warranty on my laptop. Then it got the same fake antivirus virus 4 times during December and I had to shell out to Best Buy to fix it.

    The best part? $200 later I figured out how to remove it myself after it appeared for the 4th time.

    I hate technology sometimes.

  35. @John Morrison. Now, that is a good point you make. I don’t know if psych tests would be so unreliable as to allow a lot of unfit people to slip through, or that those people would all end up on the same mission, but I see your point. As it is, I’m ready to wait and see how the rest of the season unfolds.

  36. Those are some snarky questions. He asked us what we think of the show, guys! Even if we have to wait a season to see some of our ideas come into play (which in some cases it sounds like we won’t have to), it seems kinda ungrateful to say rude stuff about how he’s “currying favor” or “explaining things away”. If you don’t like the show, why on earth are you watching?

    Love the show, can’t wait to see the next half of the season.

  37. @das
    “*wads up a snowball…glazes it with water…puts it in the freezer, and waits…for July…*”

    Now THAT snowball you can send down here to South Texas. In July, it would probably cool our home office…for an hour.

  38. My rule of thumb… if it’s under $200. I don’t bother with the warranty. But over and it’s something that I’m using everyday, then I’ll likely get it.

    However, in your case, you probably spend more in dining expenses in a week than what the machine cost! Although, I do suggest that you vaccinate your purchase with a good security/antiviral software package! You wouldn’t want any nasty Wraith viruses hiding in those candid shots of Carl and Ashleigh plotting your next bout of cyber demise…

  39. I haven’t read all the comments, so sorry if this is been said before about the communication stones. My biggest problem with them has been the lack of experts coming onto Destiny when people go to Earth. I thought it would have been a natural A/B story and it has only happened once. To expect the US military NOT to send so called experts to check what Dr. Rush is telling Young when not too many people trust Rush is a poor plot point IMO. The parameters should have been established early in the series and not given out piecemeal.

    While that approach is appropriate and understandable for knowing more about why the Ancients built the Destiny and how the Lucian Alliance knew about the Icarus base, the stones should have had their use explained much better early on. I think that this, the overall too dark of tone, and no explanation of Young’s comment of why these are the wrong people given that they were already at Icarus are what are the biggest story mistakes made in the series so far.

    The only reason I will stick around and watch the 2nd half of the season are the promises made by JM about the story direction. Of course, these types of promises were made about the last 2 seasons of Atlantis too and, in my opinion, were poorly and inaccurately dealt with.

    SGU is on its death bed for wanting to view it to me and it is not about having a serialized show, but how the stories have been handled so far. I was not sure how well this group of writers could handle a serialized story given what I have seen in the previous two shows. Maybe I will be proven wrong, but so far, I believe that the story has not been told too well given the basic premise.

  40. I have a simple rule. If I can drop it, it’s insured. That goes for cell phones, Laptops, nuclear bombs (the casings crack very easily when dropped)..

    If they make you pay for the warranty ignore them and just add whatever to the insurance. A laptop especially won’t last two years. Well, it wouldn’t in my hands anyway. 😛

  41. Thanks for the info about the SG prop sale. I am hoping that MGM’s shakeup will be a good thing and they will start producing SG films!

    Congrats on you new computer and I hope it performs flawlessly for you!

    If someone wants one of those Ab machines, try the second hand stores. They are full of them 😉 .

    Narelle: I’m so glad PG15 has reprogrammed you. Ducks on this blog end up as a picture of foie gras 😉 . Or is foie gras from a goose? Either way, you get the point!

    Das: I didn’t explain fake flirty well yesterday. I meant to say opportunistic flirty. Sincere flirters is so much fun.

  42. @ Chuck – That’s EXACTLY what I’m talking about! And though that commentary has a political slant, the ‘miserable American’ is really all-inclusive – race, religion, political affiliation – it doesn’t matter. Thanks for sharing that link!

    @ Glider – Yes, yes it might. OR, it might leave a really good knot on the top o’ Joey’s pointy li’l head. 😈 Of course, I’d never REALLY throw such a thing at Joe, ’cause – ya know – that would just be mean…and I’d probably be arrested for assault. I might, however…stuff the iceball down his britches, just to watch him go shimmy, shimmy, ko-ko bop trying to get the dang thing out! 😀

    (Joe, I love you, I really do…inanon-creepykindaway. It’s just that I’m feeling a bit frisky…probably has something to do with being locked in the house for two days… 😛 )

    @ Tammy – Oh, totally…yeah, they’re the worst. Hubby’s nothing like that. Thank goodness. 🙂


  43. Hi Joe,

    On SGU:
    Thanks again for the chance to comment and for your replies so far…I’m looking forward to April to see how SGU 1.5 plays out.

    On SGA/SG1 Movies:
    I saw that MGM got an extension from it’s lenders until March 31st. (I’m assuming that the $3.7B debt problem is part of the “difficult environment” you’ve referred to in previous posts).

    You may not be able to answer this (as I’m sure there are very few answers to any of this at the moment), but I have to ask 😉 :

    After the dust settles with MGM debt can we expect some definitive statement on the SGA/SG1 movies?

    My kids are stuck in an “Are we there yet?” mode on the movies, and I’d like to give them a timescale (i.e. “when MGM’s debt problem is settled”) rather than just continuing to say “ummm…I don’t know”.

  44. Hubby has a laptop in his semi, a Gateway display model from Best Buy. Yep, extended warranty, and since the thing took quite the beating while traveling, the warranty paid for itself. I have a cheap POS which is currently in the extended warranty hospital. Will we extend the warranties? No, because we’ll be buying newer laptops when the time comes. All a matter of knowing how long you’ll hold out for new tech.

    Abs? Mine were destroyed by surgery; from early in my 20s (sad tale of woe) to now (colon cancer and failed internal sutures). I now have interesting scars, numb areas, a belly slump, and a large mesh screen inside. Nothing says pain like incessant nerve firings when the mesh shifts around. Yeah, aging, and cancer, suck. I’ll have to have skin tucks when I finish losing weight. Right around the time I’m ready for cremation I figure.

    What? Not Macabre Humor Sunday?

  45. Although I’ve been more of an erratic reader than a regular, it’s always so worth reading your blog! That was the BEST extended warranty speil ever! So good, in fact, that if I ever end up in a situation where I can use it, I will! Nice response on your part too Joe, I wish you’d managed to get a picture of his face. Any chance you could describe it in detail for us? Cheers, Amz

  46. Hi, this is me de-lurking.

    One question: when the employee was running through his spiel, was there a supervisor lurking in the background? Having worked in retail, I can offer the following insight: the over-enthusiastic salespeople are not naturally that annoying. Usually. The company has put time and effort into training them to behave in a way that 90% of the population will find intensely irritating. My guess is that your guy had been told to push the warranty or else.

    Why companies do this I have no idea. Maybe the idea is that the customer ends up buying whatever you’re hawking just to get you to go away.

    Oh, and a SGU question: Any hints as to what’s in store for the show musically? What was behind the different approach in SGU?

  47. I’d love to ask you a food question if i may? Which restaurant would you recommend for great Indian food? I’m a sucker for butter chicken and other curries.


  48. So sorry to hear about Kage Bakers passing, may she rest in peace now. Prayers and hugs to her family and friends.

  49. Very sorry to hear of Kage Baker’s death. She was so young.

    Bad week for electronics. First the new microwave quit. Then the earphone jack on my 3-month-old ipod nano got all wonky. Base cuts out and the audio freezes if you move the darn thing with the earphones plugged in. Luckily the manufacturer’s warranty is in effect and it is going back to be fixed or replaced.

    @ joe: Wow, that was quite a mailbag. I enjoyed your story of the rejected extended warranty. So you got a laptop for your office, too? Didn’t you just buy a Macbook Pro? Or was that just a work/travel laptop? I have problems working with the keyboards on laptops – not enough slant.

    @ das: I hope things go well with the revamping of your favorite hang-out. W00t! Nice snow – looks light and fluffy.

    @ chuck: thanks for the link – that was a wonderful article and seems to sum up people’s attitudes these days quite well.

    @ gilder and das: I, too, have snowballs in the freezer… mwah, hah hah!

  50. That is such sad news about Kage Baker, my prayers are with her family and friends. I think it great we all ad an opportunity to be introduced to her thru your site, Joe.

  51. It took me a while (and a semester ending) before I could read Kage Baker’s In the Garden of Iden. Of course, by then the discussion was over, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    So sad to hear of her untimely passing. Thanks for the (albeit indirect) introduction.

  52. I’ve been reading your blog for three or four years and I don’t believe I have ever seen a detailed post about the writers discussing weither or not the stargate program should be made public. Was there ever one?I was disappointed by the cloak coming on at the end of Atlantis, the city of Atlantis returning to earth in sf bay would have been cool.
    Have enjoyed sgu so far. Agree with the general consensus though, the stones stink. It felt like the stones took away from the character interactions on the ship.

  53. DP thanks for posting. I, for one appreciate the care you exhibited to advise us of the content of the link.

    Sorry to hear of Kage Baker’s passing.

  54. ::Overmind One writes: “Thing is, the declining ratings and negative commentary all over the internet has prompted them to ASK US what we really want.”:::

    OMG.. This person’s view and mine show how wide apart perceptions can be.

    This weekend I was reading your last few posts and said to my daughter… you know, Joe asks what people want and then he either confirms it was already planned or tells them why they aren’t going to get it. I was laughing, btw. Of all the REASONABLE things that might be said about you, suggesting you will do what people want instead of what you think is good (even if you are wrong… have to add that you know)… well they haven’t been reading too closely.

    Also btw, did you ever think of being a stand up comic? I see a whole series based on internet scam letters and events like the guy today.

  55. tech question someone else posting might know… how do people get pics? I am member of wordpress, have blog, have pic.. yet mine is whatever strange thing Joe has.

  56. @Debra

    I just found this out myself…go to

    and click “Get Your Gravatar today”.

    I was some sort of amoeba with tentacles (like just about all the other unassigned Avatars)…yuk.

    You’ll probably find that “Debra” is already taken as a handle (I was JeffW a couple of comments ago), but it forces you to pick a unique handle (as in unique on the whole internet!). So, you probably have to change your handle.

    Does Joe pick the Amoeba defaults? And does that tie into Haggis somehow? Hmmmm….

  57. “Arctic Goddess writes: “As an aside, since POW’s stuck in prison camps often find ingenious ways to make hooch, I’d expect some of the boys on Destiny to try the same thing.”

    Answer: Brody’s on it.”

    And this is one of the many reasons why Brody is THE MAN. Looking forward to the “everyone is hungover on not-sweet-potato hooch” episode!

  58. Bestbuy would just send your laptop to the manufacturer as they did with mine. After four weeks I went to the store and inquired if my laptop had returned or what the heck was going on. The geeksquad guy goes in the back and comes walking out with this surprised “Oh here it is ! It must’ve just come in today !”

    Yeah right… and guess what it was a completely new laptop which meant I lost everything on the old one.

    The guy then asked if I wanted to pay 70 bucks to start it up. I asked if he was kidding and surprisingly he wasn’t.

  59. @ Debra

    “OMG.. This person’s view and mine show how wide apart perceptions can be.”

    The comment I made is based only on factual information. The ratings HAVE declined to almost half (season 1.0), the DVD sales are flat and the reviews of the DVD (both BluRay and Regular) are negative. This indicates that a majority of people who have watched the show do not like the new direction. Most of those messages are very well written, but intelligent, educated people.

    I have my snarky attitude because I was insulted by Mr Mallozi’s rant a few months ago where he basically said he was going to do this the way he wanted, and our Stargate format was passe. We were going to be in for a “loooooooong haul”. He implied that “old” Stargate fans were IQ challenged. Just LOL.

    Now, there is a 5-part questionnaire on this blog asking what the fans like, dislike, and want changed? Exactly how am I supposed to interpret that? Why ask at all, if the SGU producers are so sure they have a winner? Just trot it out as is and hope for the best seems to be whats happening. There is no way Mr Mallozi knows how the second half will be received, but he certainly wants us to watch. If “Space” does not deliver, the result will make itself apparent by episode 13 or 14. The ratings will tell.

  60. @Overmind One

    Internet reviews are a ridiculously unreliable way to gauge consumer response to anything. People who are unhappy criticize, people who aren’t don’t, (generally speaking.) The big breakthrough of the internet seems to have been to allow isolated crazies the ability to find each other and believe their views are the mainstream.

    Granted, the ratings for Universe aren’t exactly stellar, but we are talking about a niche genre show airing on a niche genre station in the Friday night “death slot.”

    SG-1 and Atlantis, despite being fine shows, were not exactly ratings gold-mines either. If they were, they wouldn’t have been canceled in the first place.

    TV ratings are bad all around, not just for Stargate. And why buy DVD’s when the shows can be found easily on-line and are repeated ad-nauseum on TV. (I actually did buy all the SG-1 DVD’s, but never got around to the Atlantis ones). Don’t kid yourself into believing YOUR views are universal just cuz’ you found some like-minded souls on the internet. Sure plenty of folks dislike the new show. Plenty of other folks love it. We’re just lucky there are scripted shows of ANY kind left on TV. I get the feeling network suits would be perfectly happen to replace everything with American Idol and professional wrestling.

  61. Just wanted to pop in and say – in regards to a theme song – that I am loving the minimal approach you guys are using for this. I’m a musician and while I love a good theme, I’ve found the general environment of Destiny to be very inspiring for me.
    Great job on everything, I’m a relatively new Stargate fan, watching all of SG1/A on DVD, so this whole “waiting-until-the-next-episode” thing is new to me, needless to say, I’m itching for more.

  62. First, I love SGU. I’m really looking forward to the return in April!

    Regarding your experience with the extended warranty pitch, here’s a trick I’ve used successfully in response to persistent sales people: as you may know, the sales commission on the warranties is much higher than on the product itself. So, after saying “no” a few times, I will finally say something like “tell you what, I don’t want the warranty, but I know you make a higher commission on the warranty than on the product. If you want, I will help you out: if you can discount the price of the product by an amount equal to the price of the warranty, then I’ll take it.”

    I’ve done this four or five times, and so far it’s worked every time. Of course, I’ve still never filed a claim against an extended warranty, but even so it seems like a win-win approach.

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