I hopped out of my car this morning and was about to head upstairs when I noticed some dress blues on display in the costumes department…

I didn’t recall seeing O’Neill in any of the upcoming scripts and asked SGU’s Costume Designer, Val Halverson, what was up.  Was Richard Dean Anderson make a secret guest appearance on the show, an appearance so secret that even I didn’t know about it?  As it turned out, sadly, no.  O’Neill’s uniform was brought out of stasis for the set tours Rick was doing the other week.  False alarm.

Our Costume Designer, the lovely Val Halverson.

I headed upstairs, unpacked, then went down and grabbed an egg white omelet from the truck.  My writing partner, Paul, was also in bright and early to supervise the on-set action on Alliances.  After our breakfast chat and updates, he headed down to Stage 6 to negotiate the rubble while I headed over to join the location scout for The Hunt.

“Aren’t you going to be cold?”asked Producer John G. Lenic once we’d all piled into the van.

I couldn’t help but notice that everyone else was decked out in jackets, vests, and windbreakers.  “I’ll be fine,”I assured him, figuring that having experienced endless deep freezes in Montreal, an early morning walk through the forest would be a piece of cake.

And then it started raining.

Thankfully, by the time we arrived, the rain had slowed to a light sprinkle.  We disembarked and headed into the brush led by our sherpa guide.

We were looking for an area with dense foliage that we could supplement with some magic from the Greens Department, a clearing, a potential camp area, and various other little script peculiarities.

Locations Manager Heather Vedan takes over when after our sherpa guide is devoured by coyotes.

Director Andy Mikita snaps Lakhpa’s unfortunate demise – while Director of Photography Mike Blundell looks on with mild indifference.

Something left over from those Twilight movies.

Bear-proof garbage container. Really.

It's a long way down - and perfect.

Creepy tree? Check.

Creepy footbridge? Check.

That O.S. spot would be great for one of the big reveals.

Anyway, the location was perfect.  All we need now is a house for the Tamara flashbacks, a cave, and to finish off that big shipboard chamber.

Whew.  I am feeling exhausted.  It could have been the early wake up or the fitful night’s sleep or yesterday’s grueling work-out, or some mysterious ailment (Could I have been bitten by a tick?).  I made the mistake of wondering aloud within earshot of Ashleigh who offered an alternate possibility.  “Maybe you’re dying.”.

“Imagine if your prediction came true and I droped dead,”I said.  “What would you do then?”

“Probably by a lottery ticket,”she informed me.

Ashleigh. I could have chosen a much goofier shot.

After lunch, John Lenic and Tanja Balic came by to show us one of the possibilities for this year’s crew gift.  Carl, who happened to be in my office at the time, said “If I can put in my two cents…” and then proceeded to offer up about a buck twenty-five in opinion.

Carl models our potential crew gift.

I could've used the jacket this morning.

Look who we found waiting for us in the writers’ room today (turns out we’d inadvertently locked him in last night): the subject of yesterday’s blog entry, none other than our amazing Visual Effects Supervisor Mark Savela who wanted us to approve some shots…

SGU's VFX Supervisor Mark Savela. Note the cool colorful alien ship on the (O.S.) t.v. screen.

Later, I swung by post to approve the “previously on” for episode 10, Resurgence.  On my way, I stopped by to say hello to my good friendo Kerry –

She's doing something new with her hair. I told her I LOVE it! In typical Kerry fashion, she denies she's doing anything new.

Meanwhile, on the home front –

Jelly continues her recovery following her stem cell treatment.  She seems a lot happier (definitely a lot more vocal) and has tons more energy, scampering around even though her floppy back legs (atrophied from lack of use although I’m sure she’ll eventually build back the muscle) have a hard time keeping up with the rest of her.  Still, not bad for a twelve year old.  Many dogs her age aren’t as lucky.  Hell, many dogs younger than her aren’t as lucky.  Which reminds me of this little website someone recently brought to my attention: http://www.orangedog.ca Its owner has created “an online gathering place to share and celebrate individual acts of animal kindness”.  There’s also an online shop offering a host of doggy merchandise, a portion of the proceeds from all sales going toward something called The Freedom Flight Program which flies unwanted and abandoned pooches from California to loving homes in Canada.  So far, they’ve sponsored four such flights, rescuing 313 dogs.

Tomorrow, I play catch-up with the mailbag.


47 thoughts on “August 26, 2010: Location scout! In and around the offices! Jelly’s progress! Orange Dog!

  1. “By a lottery ticket”? Jooooeeee..

    Reminds me of a joke. Man takes out girl for a walk… she stops at a jewelry shop window and stares lovingly at a diamond ring.

    She smooozies up to her man and says.. ‘Go buy it for me’

    So he does.. he walks right by it.

    Yay!!! for Jelly… chuck her on the treadmill to get those back legs mobile again 😛

  2. Hello Joe,

    Glad to hear that Jelly is doing much better. Hmmm. Sounds like an interesting trip while scouting locations. Didn’t I see those rocks in Ark of Truth? Twilight? What’s that? (my sister would kill me for that…)

    In a previous blog, you said you’d hold questions about the movies till the end of the month… Had to ask. Sorry. 😉

    Well, back to work. Best of luck on location, and please give Jelly a BIG hug for me.

    Best wishes,


  3. Joe, that’s mean, absolute torture, for you to tease us with a picture of O’Neill’s uniform and the idea that he might have a special guest spot in SGU season 2 only to say that he won’t! AAAAAAAAA! :-p



  4. Hi Joe, so happy to hear Jelly continues to improve. Nothing like seeing them happy! I like the link you provided, but always wonder why nobody makes sweaters for big dogs. They get cold too!

  5. Thanks for the pictures! I hope you feel better tomorrow.

    Loved hearing about Jelly and glad she is doing so well.

    I put the orangedog link in my favorites. I’ve heard about dog transport. God bless them! I wish all people would care so much for the helpless.
    Did you read about the lady that threw the cat in the trash? http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/08/25/earlyshow/living/petplanet/main6803979.shtml

    Annie from Fremantle Thanks for the joke!

    Sleep well Mr. M.!

  6. Thanks for the pictures. Looks like it would be a good location.

    Great joke, Annie!!

  7. Love Ashleigh’s sense of humor. buy a lottery ticket. That reminds me. Driving home the other day, I actually saw the end of the rainbow! Alas, I was on the interstate and the end was just off the side and down about 30 feet. Driving too fast to look for pesky leprachauns.
    Glad to hear Jelly is doing better. At this rate she’ll be ready for the Iditorod by next year.
    Keep enjoying the great outdoors, and don’t sweat the ticks. There’s only a teeenty weenie chance you would actually contract something. And most tick diseases are the nice lingering sort, so you would have plenty of time to dictate your memoirs and finish off any outstanding projects.
    On that cheering note, thanks for the daily post and don’t forget the rain poncho next time.

  8. Freezing isn’t always a bad thing. In your case, if (in the scene) one of the characters makes a reference to it being cold, it may help with the delivery of the line. In my case, I froze my ass off at the Continuum premiere on the Midway. HOWEVER, the weather made the Arctic scenes incredibly intense…like I was on the ship, too.

    What sort of precautions are taken against wildlife (eg. bears) when you’re shooting on location?

    Thanks, Joe!
    Have a great weekend.

  9. I’m still holding out hope that the “invisible” O’Neill will make a cameo on Season 2 of SGU!!!

  10. G’day Joe

    I got all excited and hot under the collar when I saw Jack’s uniform, even heart palitaions. then came the big let down, no Jack in Season2. BAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW AAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW
    Please please tell me Samantha Carter-O’Neill will make an appearance even a teeny tiny, incy wincy, itsy bitsy one. PLEASE!!!!!

    Love the photos for the location shoot. Looks creepy. Oh I love rainy days. Going out and playing in the rain and flood waters, dancing about and being silly.


  11. Geee… it rained… in Vancouver… now who could’ve possibly have seen that coming… *said with a teeeeensy bit of sarcasm….*snicker* Looks like a great location though…

    Awww that’s great news about Jelly, I sure hope she keeps it up!!

    Carl – you just found a second career!!

    I have a question for the mailbag that I would like to re-ask if I may. If someone were to ask you specifics about a book that you had read in the past, say 5 years ago or longer, would you remember?

    Have a Good One!!

  12. Oh, come on. It wasn’t that cold. They all had shorts on. I bet you could have used that rain jacket though.

    Ashleigh is a very funny gal.

    Nice to hear about Jelly. She’s looking great.

  13. I wanna live in those woods. With Todd. (Oh, and Mr. Das, of course…Todd would be our pet.)


  14. Hi Joe,
    Your blog has been the highlight of my online reading! Thanks for the entertainment.

    Question: how is it decided who will direct each episode? Does it just rotate, or do some directors only direct some particular writers? Is there a rhyme or reason to it or completely random?

    Not sure if that’s a repeat question; if so, I don’t recall the answer.

    Thanks for the hours of quality TV viewing. Eagerly awaiting season 2 for more!
    Patty O

  15. Very cruel to tease us with the picture of the dress blues right off the bat. Much as I’m enjoying SGU, I’ll always have a soft spot for O’Neill of Minnesota…

    The link to Orange Dog made me feel all guilty for being a Californian: Things must be pretty bad here if dogs have to flee the state on “Freedom Flights.” Sounds like a worthy program though. I’d do my part to help, but my building doesn’t allow dogs, so I’ve settled for giving lots of attention to my parents’ wonderful scruffy mutt they found at a local shelter. And my own not-so-scruffy adopted cat, who’s spent much of the evening trying to add cat-typing to my job applications. (Who knows — It could help.) 🙂

    Glad to hear that Jelly is doing so well. She’s lucky to have a human who looks out for her.

    – KB

  16. das – Smooches back!
    When I was standing looking at that hideous carving I got asked, “Who would want that?”. I was laughing to myself as I replied, “I don’t know about wanting it, but I know who it’s going to scare the crap out of.” 😉

  17. Love the photo of Jelly who looks absolutely regal as she decides what to do next.

    Ohhhh, where can I get in line to buy one of those jackets?

  18. G’day Joe

    I just had a thought (and yes it did hurt) IF Jack O’Neill is not in Season 2, that means he is retired and happily living the married life with Samantha.



  19. @Deni: If I didn’t have so many Un Finished Objects (UFOs), I would be willing to try crocheting a large-dog cover, for a fee. Try me in a month or two.

  20. *whoosh*. Did Narelle just fly by, or was that Supergirl?

    Joe, congrats to Jelly! Hope I receive as much benefit.

    BTW, there are several good caves and caverns in the San Antonio area, and Texas film incentives are better if you hire Texans. I hope to be cleared to drive after Tuesday, so when can I expect to guide your location scout? 

  21. @ Narelle – I think I’d buy something like that and put it in my garden in hopes it would scare all the other spiders away. Of course…then I wouldn’t be able to go in my garden, either… 😛

    I have a kitchen spider. It’s probably a tiny version of the huge Huntsman you guys have down there…but mine is very small…MAYbe the size of an American nickle, with legs spread – at most. It does have longer front legs, shorter back legs, that’s why I think it might be a distant relative to the Huntsman, but it doesn’t have it’s brood with it…at least, I hope not. It lives in the corner of my kitchen, up by the ceiling. Too high for me to get to, and Mr. Das said just leave it because it’s not hurting anything. It’s been there at least a year. I forget it’s there. One of these days, it’s gonna pop out in front of me and scare me to death!


  22. Also, my kitchen spider is named Boris. 🙂

    I am wide awake.

    I really need to go to bed.

    I hate when this happens.

    Any suggestions?


  23. Question for the mailbag:
    What is the current status of the Lucian Alliance? Is it now a loose coalition of warlords, or is there another big leader? Last time we saw Netan he got appearantly killed by Ventrell, what happened after that?

  24. Hi Narelle! I hope you had a great trip!

    @das: interesting link yesterday – not, just an albino but an autistic albino – or maybe just an Asperger syndrome albino, since he seemed pretty high functioning. Yep, he’s right up your alley! Might prove to be an interesting comic, too.

    And is that a wolf spider you have living in your house? We get them once in a while – great for keeping the little insectile pests under control, but scary if you aren’t expecting them.

    @joe: great creepy tree!

  25. Hey, I think I know that creepy footbridge. It looks like one used in an episode of Highlander. Is it by chance over a large stream / small river?

  26. @ Sparrowhawk – I ‘fell in love’ with Sam (the autistic boy) the instant I read those pages. Believe it or not, I was a lot like that when I was that age (16ish) – I couldn’t even order for myself in a restaurant until I was 18 or 19. I was painfully shy, always hiding behind someone or something, especially around people I knew. Oddly enough, as I got older, I became very outgoing around strangers – and now I’m downright obnoxious – I’ll just walk up to a complete stranger and start a conversation. 😛 However, I’m still very withdrawn/reserved around people I know, and find it hard to converse normally with them.

    I seem to have NO problem on the interwebs, though. Yakkity, yak, yak, YAK! 😛


  27. I’ll happily volunteer my house for any earth-based scenes you need. No charge. (Except of course flying everyone down to Reno.)

  28. Nice creepy footbridge. I do believe I have seen it before. Where would one get “real” directions to said location should one be making a visit to the area in the next year or two, or any of those other forested locations that we have seen and loved over the last 12 years or so? Pleeeeez, with chocolate on top!! 😀

  29. @ Sparrowhawk – I have no idea what sort of spider it is – it’s a hunting spider, of some sort, since it doesn’t build a web. I’ve been looking, just can’t find a picture. I don’t think it’s a wolf spider, and it’s not a funnel web. It’s not hairy. I dunno…but I just read that a female house spider can lay 3000 eggs in one year. I have a load of house spiders around here, especially on my porch. I think I need an exterminator. 😛


  30. Hi Joe, Hope all is well with you and your family.

    I have a question…. I have a story idea (don’t worry, it’s not a pitch), and I’ve always wanted to sit down and hammer it out. If I was to actually put it down on paper (digital media now), to shop around to a potential agent or publisher, what method would you recommend? Write it up as a novel, script, notes? What software is typically used to write scripts? Is it just done in MS WORD?

    Any advice you could offer?

    Thanks Joe for all you efforts.

    P.S. Love the trailers for SGU 2.0!! Can’t wait!!!!! Keep up the awesome work (You and the crew)!

  31. @das: I counsel caution when it comes to exterminators: sometimes you just trade one problem for another. Those house spiders may be controling a lot of smaller, potentially annoying pests and you’ll only realize it once they’re gone and the small pesties make themselves known.

  32. PS: I just found out that was on the Cold Mountain soundtrack. Never saw the movie. I’m kinda tired of evil albinos.


  33. Glad to hear Jelly’s happier. Sorry to hear Mark S lost out. 🙁

    Speaking of losing out on Emmys, have you seen Fringe? Last night’s re-run reminds of SG1’s Window of Opportunity, although Fringe’s humor is more along the lines of X-Files’. (Well, like the rest of Fringe.)

  34. Orange dog, how awesome! And yay for Jelly!

    I’m on the road this evening, Burning Man here we come! Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do while I’m away.

  35. If the amazing Dr. Samantha Carter ever does end up marrying O’Neill, I have a feeling she would keep her name. **secretly hopes to find out soon one way or another**

    @Shawn Cassidy: I just recently realized that your handle is an actual actor’s name…and that actor was quite dreamy in his time! So, um, nice handle. *blushes* 😀 😉

  36. @ Sparrowhawk – I don’t think you have to worry. Yeah…I am terrified of spiders. You wanna know how terrified? All summer long I’ve been swatting at my own arms, sometimes in a panic. Why? Because my hair has grown past my short sleeve shirts, and it brushes against my arms and I keep thinking it’s spiders crawling on me. The hair on my head, that is, not on my arms. 😉

    Now…we all know that spiders freak me the hell out, and that’s why I try to desensitize myself and lessen my fear by forcing myself to look at spider pictures, and also why I tolerate them as much as possible if they’re in my living space. It’s helped. I have come to realize that MOST spiders 20 feet away are not going to jump on me. Most. There’s a few I still don’t trust.

    Anywho…since a spider could kill me (ya know, give me a bleedin’ heart attack, or stroke or something), you would think that I would want to kill them all – get them out of my house and out of my life. However, besides being a bit masochistic about stuff like this, I also have a very strong live and let live mentality – I don’t want to kill things unless it’s absolutely necessary. And just think – spiders aren’t sexy hawt like Wraith, so my hope that the Wraith survive has nothing to do with just how they look. I wouldn’t want to see any species totally wiped out – not the fictional Wraith, and not the very real, and very creepy crawly arachnids.

    So, no exterminators unless I end up with some sort of infestation. My hopes is that – with the increasing number of bed bug reports (with Philadelphia and NYC leading the pack of infested cities) – the spiders will keep those blood suckers at bay, at least in my little corner of the world. 🙂


  37. Wow, no love for the Sherpa, I see. You’re sojourn in the wilderness has hardened you.

    I’m listening to “Irene and The Morrow” on Last.fm, they have the entire Gattaca AND Blade Runner soundtracks. I’m in heaven.

  38. Glad to hear Jelly’s recovery is coming along nicely. I work for Vet-Stem, the compnay that processed Jelly’s fat for her Stem Cell Treatment. I wondered if you woul dlike to provide a testimonial about Jelly for us.

    Again I am so glad she is doing well, she is a very cute little girl.

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