First thing I did when I got in this morning was pop my head into my writing partner’s office and chime: “Who wants to go to a playback meeting?!”

Paul sat back in his chair and looked skyward as if considering.  A few seconds of not-so-serious contemplation and then: “No, I don’t think so.”

“I hear they’re bringing cookies,”I said.

But he wasn’t convinced.  And so, I had to go it alone: an early stunts and special effects meeting that blew by, a laborious hour and a half long playback meeting, and an equally long and involved visual effects meeting.  When VFX Supervisor Mark Savela presented us with the visual effects budget for the episode, I thought Producer John Lenic was going to pass out on the spot.  My buddy (and Exec. Producer) Carl wasn’t fazed when he heard the number.  He merely shrugged and said: “Hey, we knew it was going to be big.”   Well,  yes.  Big.  Not BIG!   And so, to ensure we have enough money left to make the remaining fourteen episodes (or alleviate the need to make that special clip show three-parter), Director Andy Mikita and I spent an hour going through the script, tightening up here and there, trimming where we could, and shaving down that number.  As a result, the VFX budget for Awakening now falls somewhere between big and BIG.  BIg I guess.  But what an episode it’ll be!

Later that afternoon, Director of Photography Jim Menard invited us down for a little show and tell.  Would love to dial you guys in, but I’ve been sworn to secrecy.  Which means I can’t tell – but no one said anything about not showing…

I left Andy, Jim, and the rest of the gang to their animated discussion of gobo’s and headed next door where watched Director Will Waring work his magic.  Three of the actors flagged me down to tell me how much they loved Trial and Error.  Especially scene 61!  I thanked them, but told them that episode 6 was all Paul.  And I have to agree with their assessment.  Trial and Error is, in my (and Carl’s) opinion, the best script Paul has ever written.  And, to date, he’s written some damn terrific ones for Stargate: Universe = a significant pass on Justice, then Divided (one of my personal favorites), Subversion, Intervention, and Trial and Error.  In fact, I’d go so far as to say that Paul is at the top of his game.  I’ll be interested to hear what you all think when Divided airs this Friday on SyFy and Space.

Also ran into Exec. Producer Robert Cooper who took me to task for not providing the correct answer to the question: “How were the aliens able to penetrate the shield?” in episode 11, Space.  The correct answer: They were able to penetrate the shield because the area they land on is unshielded.  Moments earlier, Lieutenant James cuts power to that section in order to save the lives of those trapped in the corridor, unwittingly giving the aliens their opening.  So there ya go.

Tonight, at Ashleigh’s insistence, Carl, Lawren, the Girl Wonder, and I had dinner at a vegan restaurant.  For those who don’t know, veganism is to vegetarianism as lobotomizing is to trepanning.  The benefits derived from submitting to either is highly debatable.

Carl and I got there early.  Lawren stumbled upon us quite by accident, walking in to what he assumed was “some warehouse” to ask for directions and discovering the warehouse WAS the restaurant.  Finally, Ashleigh arrived and the festivities were underway!

We perused the menus…

Carl Binder in "Everything Looks So Good!"
Lawren was somewhat dubious.
While I was my usual joyously positive self.
For her part, Ashleigh was all business. She's a professional after all.

After enjoying some very good vegan cocktails (a.k.a. protein shakes), we were served our appetizers…

Ashleigh, Carl, and Lawren had the home made bruschetta served with a Peruvian olive medley.

It was unlike any bruschetta I’ve ever eaten (or care to eat ever again).  Carl likened it to eating pressed cork.  The medley, the waiter explained, offered a tasting of the various stages in the life of an olive – which seemed from young to mummified.

Lawren discovers just how sharp and olive pit can be.
I went with the carrot avocado veloute with creme de coco. It wasn't bad, but was closer to mousse than soup.

Carl scooped up a spoonful just as the waiter came by and parked himself, tableside.  Carl paused, waited for him to move on.  He didn’t.  Instead, he grinned widely, looked on expectantly, and waited.  No doubt his internal monologue went something like: “Put it in your mouth.  That’s it.  Now swallow.  Swallow!”  Carl finally did, and managed a brave face.   Satisfied, the waiter left us, allowing Carl the freedom to proclaim my chilled veloute “terrible”.  But that didn’t stop him from suggesting Ashleigh sample some “before it gets cold.  Or colder.”

At one point, one of our initial reactions to something we tried was so hilariously horrific that Ashleigh started to choke and had to get and leave the restaurant.

Moving on to the mains…

Carl Binder in "What the Hell Did I Order?"

Ashleigh had the Creamy Zughetti - zucchini spaghettini with fresh cashew dill sauce. She enjoyed her main. Of course, she also enjoys those dessicated root vegetables some people try to pass off as chips.
Carl was horrified to discover the lasagna he ordered contained neither pasta nor cheese and, for some reason presumably other than pure spite, was cooked to a temperature not exceeding 140 degrees. Still, it wasn't as bad as he expected - although he wasn't a fan of the zucchini.
Lawren had the Jumbo Thai Coconut and Pear Roll served with kelp noodle salad. Holy smokes, was this not good! On this outing, however, Lawren did NOT end up with the worst dish of the night.
That distinction went to me and my Masala Cakes - almond cakes infused with Indian masala mix and chutney. "They scratch my throat!"I protested. "They'll scratch something else coming out,"was Carl's response as he eyed the dry little lumps sitting uneaten on my plate.

Despite everyone else’s protests, I insisted we order dessert.  “After all,”I said, “when’s the next time come back?”  I could have answered that question after the appetizers – but, anyway, for dessert we had a so-so apple cinnamon torte, an alright chocolate-cashew cheesecake, and a surprisingly great ganache…

Moist and chocolatey. We ended the meal on a high note!

My only other complaint about this place (besides the food and ambiance) was the caustic atmosphere that had our eyes watering throughout the meal.  It was as though, as Carl put it, someone was slicing a giant onion at our table.  Ashleigh suspected it was a byproduct of the dehydration process the restaurant put much of their ingredients – including onions – through, which I suppose is more plausible than my “the place next door is a chemical factory” theory.

All in all, pretty bad.  Short of force-feeding us potting soil and balsa wood shavings, I can’t imagine Ashleigh doing any worse by us. Of course, in all fairness, I’ve yet to sample her home cooking.

Today’s blog entry is dedicated to our friend Deni.

72 thoughts on “April 7, 2010: Prep and Production Happenings! We go Vegan!

  1. how dose the visual effects budget work, didn’t MGM recently start their own in-house studio?

  2. @Deni I’m just so sad to hear about your pup. And I can’t image what your family must be going through. Sometimes there just aren’t words. But my heart goes out to you and I’ll be thinking of Elway and hoping for the best.

  3. Going through previous post it seems like a few people have a creative side to them and I bet all of us Stargate fans are always coming up with ideas about the show.

    Have you ever thought about letting us fans give input on an episode? Whether it be just something that happens in an episode, or even giving us some guide lines and letting us come up with an entire episode our selves. I’m not saying you guys aren’t doing an excellent job on the episodes or anything (which I happened to very much enjoy the first half of SGU season 1). I just thought it would be an interesting idea. It would almost be like the fans choice dvd of Stargate Atlantis.

    However that might be a lot harder to do than it sounds……

  4. @Das, PBMom, sorrykb: Good to know you’re there, thank you so much for the kind thoughts. I keep hoping this is a nightmare. I’m up, watching Elway sleep next to me, and I can’t begin to imagine life without him. I cough, he wakes up to check on me, and when I tell him I’m ok, he wags his tail and gives me sleepy kiss. I’m amazed by him, at how he loves and how much he gives me every single day. I’m still hanging on to the last shred of hope, hey, who knows?

  5. Hi Joe,

    Hope all is well. I got a quick question buddy:

    How the hell did the blue aliens get a hold on a long range communication stone?

    Also is it true that each season the Destiny is travelling through a new galaxy?

    Thanks buddy

  6. “Also ran into Exec. Producer Robert Cooper who took me to task for not providing the correct answer to the question: “How were the aliens able to penetrate the shield?” in episode 11, Space.”

    Did you shout, as he left, “At least I know you read my blog!”

    I would have …

  7. Alright, this is getting ridiculous.

    First she wins the NCAA thing, and now you guys willfully followed her to a Vegan restaurant? Why? What are you guys thinking?

    First of all, the restaurant looks like a warehouse. Does anything good ever come out of warehouses? NO! It’s always been the hideout of thieves, kidnappers, murderers, the Trust, Athena’s operatives, and mega-high ratings for the Syfy channel!

    Secondly of all, did you really think there’d be something GOOD at the restaurant? Perhaps you had hoped that they’d accidentally slipped some kobe beef into the many salads that they have? That they’d laced the, um, other salads with foie gras? That those olives were secretly eggs dyed a different colour (which was what I thought they were before I read anything)? I mean, you guys are pretty much playing out the aloof-guys-acting-dumb-around-smart-and-successful-and-sexy-girls stereotype that you see in every single commercial today. It’s not right. We are smart! S-M-R-T! Smart!.

    I mean, I expected Lawren to go because everyone knows that he has a crush on Ashleigh; I suppose we expected you to go because we know that you know that your suffering hilaritizes us. But Carl? Why Carl why?! I thought you were smrt.

    Alright look, time for revenge. How about inviting Ashleigh to Refuel so you can eat an entire pig’s head in front of her? Actually, I’d say eat a pig’s head regardless, just to cleanse your system of all this vegan nonsense.

    Do you know why it’s “vegan”? Because vegans don’t have enough energy to say the entirety of “vegetarian”. That’s 3 syllables too many! Besides, they need that extra energy to protest stuff and/or act like they’re better than the rest of us.

    I mean, you need a lot of energy to make hot air, you know what I mean?

    Ok, obviously that was all tongue in cheek. Hopefully no one was offended.

    Oh, do you know what’s delicious? Tongue and cheek, preferably from a pig’s head. 😀

  8. Deni….{{{Hugs}}}

    Joe, was really trying not to make a comment about your main dish…but your comment and Carl’s just kinda say it all and then to look at the platter – one has to laugh. It looked worser than medium poor plus there was a sprig of mint to boot. sad……

    The chocolate thingey does not look like it could salvage the evening, however given the other dishes just about anything with chocolate would inject some hope.

    Hope Ashleigh appreciates the great effort you guys exert to try something different.

    Which of the night’s choices would you have submitted as a WFP? Well, maybe not…that would have been mean to Ashleigh.

  9. “Clip show three-parter?!” NO! Please no lol – Joe, arnt you the least worried that MGM might auction off the franchise to people who dont care for it? What if the budget you’re talking about gets drasticly reduced?

  10. So very sorry Deni! You did the right thing for Elway and I know how hard it was to put him first.

  11. I used to make a really yummy summer lasagna that used thinly sliced zuchinni for the noodles. No meat, but real cheese. Mr. Noelm was not amused.

  12. Also, my sympathies to Ashleigh, for couple of hours she wasted with you bozos 😉 .

    I could never go Vegan. What is wrong with using eggs? If you get the eggs with humane methods, who gets hurt? It keeps the chickens employed.

  13. 1) I noticed that the jump countdown bears some similarities with that hatch clock in Lost, particularly the locations shake when the Stargate doesn’t close/numbers aren’t inserted. Is this merely a coincidence, or not?

    2) Change of topic, now that the Jaffa no longer believe in their “gods”, does this now make them a bunch of Atheists?

  14. I think the point about the shields being down in that area of the ship (and the fact that Chloe’s quarters were in that particular area) should have been mentioned in some of the dialogue as it never really came through on screen. I may have to watch the episode again in re-runs or dvd in the future just to verify that though, as we had a crowded house that night and a few things were lost on me while watching the episode.

    In regards to your most recent (out-of-the-office) adventure, I applaud the bravery (and open mindedness) of yourself, Carl and Lawren for at least trying something different. Personally, while I do enjoy eating at new restaurants from time to time, my great fear is that nothing on the menu will look appetizing and anything I order will not be worth the price I paid for it and I’ll walk away hungry or possibly even sick.

    Thusly, I am content to live vicariously through your experiences. Many thanks for always providing pics of the food in question as well. But doesn’t everyone else at the table get a little annoyed when your taking pictures of their food (or what their faces look like when sampling the food)?

  15. @ “They’ll scratch something else coming out…”

    😆 Sometimes I really love Carl! 😆

    RE: Veganism. I honestly don’t get this. Mebbe it’s my belief in God, and the [Biblical] fact that he gave the Israelites a land flowing with ‘milk and honey’ – as a blessing – that I just can’t buy into this extreme animal-free diet. And yes – I’ve heard all the arguments (‘it’s not natural to consume animal milk, the milking process is painful and inhumane, honey is meant for bees and is indigestible for humans, etc…”), and I’m still not sold on the whole vegan thing.**

    (**I could easily be a vegetarian, save for the fact that I really love bacon and a good burger… especially bacon ON a good burger – with bleu cheese! Ah, yes, the bane of the bacon bleu burger…with fries and a pint of Guinness… aaaaaaand… now I’m hungry. 😛 )

    That said – HOW DOES A VEGAN SCREW UP VEGETABLES??! I’ve had vegetarian lasagna and it’s delicious! Okay…it had cheese, but still…it also had egg-free PASTA! I’ve made some delicious vegan-esque sandwiches and salads…it’s just stuff you can’t screw up! And bruschetta? It’s – what? Tomatoes…onions…basil…so far, no animal products…olive oil…and bread. Okay – you can use oil instead of butter when baking, and there are vegan egg substitutes that mimic what eggs do in baking…which might be better than using tofu, or something. You can’t screw up bruschetta if you’re a professional preparer of vegetarian/vegan meals!

    Only a bad cook with bad taste buds can make a bad vegetarian/vegan meal.

    Oh, and those ‘dessicated root vegetables some people try to pass off as chips’ ARE good. You won’t get me agreeing with you on this one. I mean…a potato chip is just a ‘dessicated root vegetable’, too. 😉

    You guys (and Ashleigh) just need to find a good vegetarian restaurant. (Is Ashleigh vegan or vegetarian?) For vegetarians who eat dairy and eggs, the possibilities are endless! Some really good stuff out there. Hell, come over to my place, and I’ll whip up a tasty salad of rice (brown, red, black, white…your choice – I have it all!), seasoned black beans, tomatoes, green onions, cilantro, mebbe some corn and/or jicama, hot peppers (your choice), garlic…a bit of olive oil and just enough lime juice to give it a little bite, without the puker. Salt and pepper to taste. I mean – you canNOT screw that up! Unless, of course, you’re trying too hard to be ‘fancy’.

    Have a good day, sir! And for crying out loud – hurry up and eat some brains, or cod sperm, or something, before you waste away to nothing!

    das

  16. Hello Joe.

    Sorry about the meal. I have to give you credit. You are a braver man than I. I wouldn’t have the guts to go to a vegan restaurant. I fear the people there might think me an anorexic. 😉

    Throw a porterhouse in front of me, on the other hand, and I will show you a magic trick. I will make the steak disappear, replaced by a clean bone, that you can take home for the dogs.

    Thanks for the production update. “BIg” huh? Sounds interesting, I can’t wait to see it. Thanks again for keeping us up to date.

    Best wishes,

    Bryan

  17. G’day Joe.

    My girlfriend and I have decided on a spur-of-the-moment trip to Paris this weekend. I fully intend to visit Pierre Hermé and finally sample these fabled Macarons of which you gush.

    Any recommendations on flavours I should try?

  18. do you have any good Ethiopian restaurants in your area? They’ve been consistently an amazing place to go for good vegan food – my meat eating cohorts generally do not realise the menu does not contain meat until after we’ve eaten.

  19. Okay… back to pig’s head…

    Are you familiar with the dish from the Caribbean – Barbados, specifically – called Pudding and Souse? The way the hubster’s family did the souse was to boil a pig’s head or feet marinated in and served with a cold pickle of onion, cucumbers, limes, parsley and hot and sweet peppers.

    The pudding is made from the intestines of the pig which are stuffed with highly seasoned sweet potato.

    There are quite a few recipes on the net and any part of the pig can be used.

  20. Hi Joe,

    Liked seeing the pictures of the vegan meal. It reinforced my thoughts that being a vegan is NOT for me. Bryan’s comments about a porterhouse steak reflect my food tastes as well though my steak would have to be smaller.

    Saw the article about food diaries and thought of you.

    Thanks for the production update. Can’t wait to see it.

  21. @Deni

    I’ve been there a few years ago. I truly believe that our pups tell us when they’re ready to go. All we have to do is listen to them. My boy told me and that was the moment I was at peace with his leaving. Best wishes to you.

  22. @das: Killing of animals falls, in Judaism, as an allowed but pretty hated event. Hunting forbidden. I know many Jewish vegans and vegetarians. (I’m not one of them, but it is very much in line with Jewish beliefs.)
    http://www.jewishveg.com/ja.html
    http://www.jewishveg.com/schwartz/quotations.html

    LOL, Joe you can find enjoyment in pig head but not vegan? If the food was that bad, either Ashleigh did it on purpose, she has a poorly developed palate and you need to read reviews and find a GOOD place, or you need to save eating vegan with her for when you are being punished. 🙂

    Thanks for the laughs. I love your pictures of the faces of horror.

    @Deni.. the time to let go is when hope causes suffering. Sadly no one can help you make that call but in heart we are with you.

  23. i guess i dont have to think twice about going to a place like that now! you tried it for me…

  24. Well, to think I was considering trying a vegetarian restaurant. Go MEAT!

    So, cookies in the playback meeting or no?

  25. your simile of vegan to lobotomy was genius. Was this excursion due to losing the pool, or an attempt to induce Ashleigh into not gloating so much? We really should hire a P.I. to follow Ashleigh around. Anyone who purportedly eats that stuff all the time can’t have enough reserve energy to walk and talk at the same time, much less find new ways to torture you. There has got to be a hidden cache of animal-derived food substances somewhere, along with a shake machine. Appreciate you sharing the experience with us. And Carl definitely got it right on what that dish is probably going to do you you at some point.
    I’m already resigned to catching the second airing of Divided, as I’ll be at Ravencon. Anyone in the Richmond area may want to check it out. Lots of authors there, including Lawrence Watt-Evans. But I WILL see the episode, even if it means going to work without adequate sleep. I have high hopes for this episode, and your coments on it have me optimistic that this will be a great episode,
    Thanks for sharing your culinary misadventures, and hope you don’t catch too much grief from the demi-goddess for your honesty.

  26. Although it sounds like you had a busy day, it must be amazing to work in an environment like that. It’s so full of creative people. I mean one day it’s a flame thrower, next its how to shoot someone for the greatest visual effect (light smoke/dark smoke). It does sound like there is a lot of problem solving (budget issues, plot lines/continuity etc.). Maybe I’m weird but I LIKE problem solving; it’s like solving a puzzle. I think the behind the scenes stuff is fascinating.

    Now for the food experience….

    Some of it was nicely plated. (O.K. I’m stretching it to find something positive to say.)

    The carrot avocado veloute reminds me of when I changed my nephew’s diaper when he was little.

    Yeah go with the chocolate. It’s hard to screw up chocolate. Unless of course it’s carob. It is not JUST like chocolate and don’t let them tell you it is.

    …and could they turn up the lights any brighter? Then yes, let’s paint the walls white, so we can really make it light in here. Who cares if we blind the patrons.

    Carl is hilarious, very deadpan, you gotta love it!

    I think Ashleigh was continuing with her campaign of retaliation and was messin’ with you. Carl and Lawren, unfortunately, got caught in the crossfire. If she brings in the chocolate chunk cookies, you have been bugging her for; I would not eat them if I were you…. seriously. Do they still make chocolated Ex-lax? Although it may help with the Marsala Cake problem.

    Have a good one!
    Kymm

  27. So, Joe. We’re all waiting for the answer. Did they scratch something else on the way out?

  28. About that shield problem: But immediately after the abduction, the shield’s back and it’s protecting the hole. So now I don’t understand…

  29. BIg? Big is good, I like big. Oh. Wait a minute. Nevermind. Blush blush. (Someone had to do it.)

    Know what’s worse than vegan? Raw fooders. At least vegans aren’t opposed to cooking their food, which isn’t much of a distinction, but critical. Raw foods only means a lot of chunky shakes and undressed salads. We’re talking not even oils here! My raw food friends, and I use the term loosely, will do little more than wash and trim their produce. A juicer/blender is the only appliance in the kitchen. Yes, I know a person who will not even drink hot tea. No thank you.

    I do make vegan food now and then by mistake. Usually one of my soups such as Carrot Dill or Curried Pumpkin. And since I’m off dairy (arthritis) and use rice milk (no soy, BC), my rice puddings are vegan. Yeah, I sweeten with agave sometimes. But the name of the cow in my freezer is named “T-Bone”. I think the sibling we’ll consume next is “Chuck”.

  30. Hi Joe

    Whilst I do find your antics during your ventures to vegan/vegetarian restaurants amusing — I feel bad that you haven’t enjoyed the many tasty eats that are available! My friend Christa is an amazing baker/chef in her own vegan rights. She does catering, delivers and has a new sampler program that for one month you get a half dozen goodies each week. I strongly suggest giving her wares a bite — you won’t regret it! …unlike those masala cakes.

    http://veganmania.com/

    Cheers,
    Kirsten

  31. Oh forgot to say that the Canadian dollar hit parity with the U.S. dollar yesterday. Perfect time to book your roadtrip trip. (not that it’s any of my business).

    They do say that there could be a backlash of less people travelling to Canada. I’m sure that will break your heart given you were so happy to see everyone come to Van for the Olympics lol.

    Kymm

  32. @Deni

    Be strong. I remember before Casey passed away. She would always come over and give me a slobbery kiss. This one time, she made it half way, and then her hind legs gave out. She looked at me as if to “sorry”. At that point, I knew it was near the end. You have my sympathy and best wishes.

    Sincerely,

    Bryan

  33. No offense to anyone who might be vegan…I am sure they truly are lovely people…but I would rather eat one of the ration packs from The Fifth Man.

  34. You have my sympathies for having to sit through that meal… as someone above said how can vegans [or anyone for that matter] cock up vegetables that badly? I’m not a big of Courgette/Zucchini or Aubergine/Eggplant but I’d rather have Moussaka [with or without meat] than that insult to Lasagne your friend was served.

    I agree with you on those root vegetable ‘crisps’, they’re usually bland with a side order of bland and seasoned with… well… nothing… give me potato ones any day… though i did have some Cassava [root] ones that were… interesting…

    All in all it further proves [to me at least] that vegans are mental…

    … now where did I put that steak?

  35. @Deni – thoughts and prayers to you. That’s so sweet of Lauren, she’s very thoughtful.

  36. Isn’t there a difference between vegetarian and vegan? Don’t vegans eat foods that are strictly animal free, like no broth made from chicken or beef, no cheese, eggs? Where as vegetarians will just not eat meat? If that makes any sense…I’ve been home sick with something… no voice, dry scratchy throat,body aches…so if I’m not making sense…

  37. Hi also does Earth still have any Zpms aside from the ones on Atlantis in San Francisco.
    Oh did Atlantis get moved to say the navy base at Treasure Island or is it still where we last saw it?
    I love the idea of the Communication Stones connecting to the Aliens and not Earth this time didnt see that one coming well done.

  38. Hiya Joe! That meal looked like torture. Not sure I could have sampled the voloute in particular.

    Is there an address to send a letter to requesting/supporting the SG movies? I thought Syfy, but is it really a studio decision at this point?

  39. Your article makes me want a big ol’ steak! Noms noms noms!

    Vegetarians I can understand. Most Vegans are just food snobs. Eggs are laid by chickens naturally; all you do is collect them. I don’t see how this is cruel.

  40. Whoa! Rush lost his rings in “Space”! Who can I hug for this attention to detail and continuity?

  41. Good day Joe!, Next time just go for the dessert at the restaurant, might not be as unpleasant an experience. well maybe it won’t. Carls expressions are great!! My son is a vegetarian about 12 years now I think, he does well with it, when he visits we fix meals accordingly, not hard to do, but I never tried anything as exotic as your meal appears,,lol. He is not a vegan, I worried about him at first but like I say he is good. and maybe this was that April fools joke you were expecting…but a good idea to be wary still.

    @Deni, really so sorry for you and Elway, thoughts and prayers are with you and your family there. best of wishes *hugs*

  42. God that’s funny, you guys should go vegan more often. Next week: the Buddist deli.

    The food looks really cool tho, pretty colors, really weird and alien. The zucchini noodles looked good as did the big Thai platter. It’s too bad the food wasn’t a hit but it would make an awesome alien food prop for the SGU cafeteria.

    Why is the restaurant so bleak looking? Sterile walls and bare flourescent bulbs give the place a bleak look. I seriously doubt those olives came from Peru. The only way they are Peruvian is if they were harvested by Paddington Bear.

  43. PS, I was about to recommend the Au Pied de Cochon in DC’s Georgetown area but it’s apparently long closed. A Russian spy once escaped his handlers or was kidnapped and drugged by Americans depending on if you believe double agent Russian spies.

    For your culinary visit to the States I recommend the Carlyle restaurant just outside DC in Shirlington, VA. You can stay at Pentagon City mall’s Ritz Carlton and have shopping, food, Metro and cabs all connected to your hotel. Hey you guys write about DC all the time, you should go down and check out the real thing for inspiration and write it off as a business expense.

    The Occidental restaurant at the Willard Hotel is very cool, very DC.

    http://www.greatamericanrestaurants.com/carlyle/

  44. Wow. Some cool SGU stuff!!! Thanks for sharing. You got me psyched to see the VFX in awakenings.

    Oh and just a quick question.

    Will season 2 of SGU have a clip show in it?

    Thanks so much,
    Major D. Davis

  45. Joe, thank you so much for the review. I now know that if someone invites me to a vegan restaurant I will schedule an emergency back surgery that conflicts with the dinner date.

    You’re a tastebud-saver.

  46. Questions for Elyse:

    Was the water cold?

    Did you and Robert Carlyle get training beforehand for the underwater scene? If so, what did they teach you?

  47. you must have done a fantastic job to get these guys to like your show:

    http://www.aintitcool.com/node/44570

    — you mentioned how you regretted integrating asgard tech with earth ships; i want to say that asymmetric warfare is pretty interesting too, so i dont mind having SGC policing the galaxy with a strong arm because no matter how powerful one is its still tough and opens up lots of political dilemmas.

  48. Hi again everybody, a quick update on Elway. After reviewing all results from lab tests, x-rays and ultrasound at UF, it was pretty much decided that this thing was an aggresive cancer and that the most we could hope for by doing surgery was to buy him a couple, maybe three months. Based on that, we had decided on euthanasia tomorrow morning, letting him go easily while he didn’t feel too lousy. One of my regular vets was there and we had a long talk and she said to let him have whatever he wanted tonight, so we got him a huge rare steak, mashed potatoes (and he even ate the veggies) at our favorite restaurant, some ice cream for dessert. We’d done a needle aspirate expecting to get nothing or just more bad news, but as luck would have it, it actually showed that this could be a hematoma or an abscess, which can be resolved by doing the splenectomy. At this point, nothing is certain, and it could still be cancer, but I think we’re probably going to at least try to give him a chance and do the surgery either tomorrow or Monday. I’m exhausted and I can’t write or think any more today, but will keep you guys updated as we go. You guys are the best, and maybe, just maybe all the prayers and good thoughts will help 🙂

  49. So this is random, but I was perusing some of your older blog posts, and correct me if I’m wrong, but shouldn’t your yearly chocolate party (and associated choco-hangover) be happening soon? I live for all the pics of those glorious chocolates. Yummy.

  50. Hey Joe, thanks for EVERYTHING. No matter where this winds up, it’s really nice to have your blog and all the wonderful people here to come to every day. Whether it be to celebrate or mourn or everything in between, what a nice bunch we are 🙂

    @Das: I’ll write tomorrow, too pooped and still have to go to the airport to pick up the kid.

  51. @Deni – hugs…

    @PG15 – you so remind me of Terry Pratchett… you need to write funny columns for a newspaper.. actually, you are very much like Danny Katz!

    That food looked awful, just like the surrounds… I guess that’s a big fat vegan ‘no’ for another visit!

  52. Remind me to take Ashleigh to lunch when I finally return to VanGroovy. The vegan dishes seem to fit my food-sensitivity restrictions, and I grew up with a gardening father.

  53. Great post, Joe! Your vegan adventure had me in stitches, and the lobotomy simile was spot-on. The dishes did look well presented, though. But… yeah.

    Also, thanks for the effects teases!

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