All I’ve been hearing about for days is “the snowstorm”.  “The snowstorm is coming!”  “Big snowstorm on the way!”  “Get ready for the huuuuge snowstorm!”.  Well, it finally hit last night.  And, this morning, I woke up to this –

That’s it?  THIS is the result of “the snowstorm”?  I can’t tell you how disappointed I was.  I was expecting snowdrifts as high as my hotel window (I’m on the 18th floor) and, instead, was woke up to little more than a light dusting.  What a rip off!  On the bright side, the expected snowstorm caused us to relocate today’s spin session to one of the hotel conference rooms.  I was able to sleep in and enjoy a leisurely breakfast before heading up to the second floor and wandered about in search of the right room.  Eventually I gave up and headed over to guest services where I was told that whoever reserved the room had requested the name of the production be kept quiet.  Ooooh.   Super secret stuff.  To all those asking, no, the super-secret show is not science fiction – nor is it any of the shows you’ve guessed yet.

I was directed to the right room –

I was the first one there.  Klaus arrived soon after.  He took slight umbrage to my referring to him as “the numbers man” in yesterday’s blog, then redirected his ire to the infernal coffee machine that, apparently, was a disgrace to coffeedom.  I’m not a coffee guy but I could sympathize.  I feel somewhat the same way about supermarket chocolate.

Rob was the next one in, and he came bearing treats –

Who's the hungry writer/producer?
Chocolate croissants!
Madeleines and brownies!

Finally, Paul and Alex arrived and we got to work, spinning episode 2.

Alex has his morning coffee and is rarin’ to go.
Rob’s “I can’t believe you actually think that’s a good idea” look.
A pic of Paul only uploaded to prove his isn’t a figment of my imagination.
The numbers man goes with “three”.

We made some great progress on what promises to be a fun story, beating out a couple of acts before running out of steam.  And time.  Alex was especially pleased with the way the day went, less for our show-related accomplishments than the fact that lunch was much more downscale than our recent meals.  We went to Fran’s Diner where he was finally able to enjoy a burger.

I've never seen him so happy.

Dinner was very different however.  We headed over to Colborne Lane, another one of the restaurants on my Toronto Top 10 wish list.  Still, reveling in the warm afterglow of that hamburger, Alex allowed me to order for him.  I thought about getting him the foie gras, but ultimately decided to go with some menu items I figured he’d enjoy.  And he did. He loved both his scallop appetizer and his beef tenderloin.  In fact, all of my fellow diners enjoyed their dinner.  I, on the other hand, thought the plates good but overcomplicated.

Squash soup with duck confit, brown butter, maple, and asian pear. The confit lay at the bottom of the bowl, hidden beneath a thin maple sheet that melted once the squash soup was poured over top. I quite liked the soup and brown butter combo, enjoyed the duck, but found some of the maple bits a chewy distraction. I also thought the pieces of a asian pear an odd textural addition to the dish.
Wild mushroom risotto with reggiano, whipped mascarpone and black truffle. Oh, and the wholly unnecessary addition of watercress.

For dessert, Paul and I, ever the romantics, went with the liquid nitrogen ice cream for two – served tableside, natch.

White chocolate creme fraiche ice cream. No discernible white chocolate sweetness but more of a pronounced creme fraiche tang - which I like if it's being served as an accompaniment to another dessert, but on its own doesn't really carry the dish. An odd assortment of accompaniments including a bizarre pumpkin flan I couldn't finish.

Sadly, the storm has passed so it looks like we’ll be doing our spinning in the production offices tomorrow – back to that desolate tundra where the Russian mobsters ditch nuisance corpses.  On the bright side, Rob says he’s bringing bagels.

52 thoughts on “February 2, 2011: Toronto Day #2!

  1. Are you guys doing an adaptation/spinoff of a book?

    Also, I think the biggest news story of the week isn’t about Egypt, Australia, or Snowstorms. The big news is that Klaus is the new Carl Binder. Out with the old, figuratively speaking, and in with the new.

  2. Hmm, is the video supposed to be only 1 second long? I notice that for some of your video posts, they tend to warp by, and I never know if it’s my browser (Firefox) or the hosting site. Happily, almost none of the vids of the dogs are thus affected, but some from Tokyo and definitely this one.

  3. Hmmm….I’m thinking it’s a comedy. At least I’m hoping so. It would be fun to see your wit totally unleashed.

  4. Hey, someone served your dessert plate upside down! Weren’t they paying attention?

    I had a wonderful day. 12 hours of nonstop entertainment. By “entertainment” I mean “complaints about snow.” No, the police department does not control where the plows go. I’m sorry your street hasn’t been plowed, but we have no influence over their route. Yes, I do have an emergency phone number for the street department, but no, I’m not going to give it to you because it’s for EMERGENCIES. No, we’re not going to arrest your neighbor for shoveling snow from his driveway into the street. No, we’re not going to arrest the snow plow driver for putting snow across your driveway. No sir, there’s no law against “spiteful parking.” I realize your neighbor is parking his car directly across from your driveway, and I believe you when you say he is doing this deliberately because he doesn’t like you. It’s irritating and thoughtless and frustrating, but it’s not illegal. Yes, I’m serious. Not illegal.

    The kicker, though, was the bail bondsman who wanted to arrest a guy on a felony warrant. He was quite irritated with me because I wouldn’t give him helpful information out of our secure databases, which would get me fired and possibly sued. Believe me, if I was going to misuse my KCJIS clearance, I would have looked up David Hewlett’s home address years ago!

    Bondsman: “I want to arrest this guy, but I don’t know which apartment in this complex is his. I’m trying to arrest a bad guy here, and you don’t seem to want to help me. Can’t you tell me the apartment number?”

    Me: “No, I can only give that information to other law enforcement agencies. And, if we HAD that information we’d arrest him ourselves and save you the trouble.” (HINT, HINT, we don’t KNOW the apartment number, either, mister!)

    Bondsman: “Oh, RIGHT, okay, well, do you have an emergency contact number for the manager of the complex?”

    Me: “Yes, but I can’t give you that either, since it’s not public information. It’s information for law enforcement only.”

    Bondman: “Seriously?? What if there was a serious problem here, a fire or something, and I called you? You really wouldn’t give me the number then?!”

    Me: “No, I’d send the POLICE and the FIRE DEPARTMENT, and if necessary THEY could call the emergency contact number.”

    Bondsman: “Oh.”

  5. You get a piddly snow storm and QLD gets a big arsed cyclone…bloody huge and terrifying it was..

  6. LOL, well some are happy to not get Snowpocalypse. Sounds like things are going well. When will you know if it’s a go and any news on SGU?

  7. “Chocolate croissants!” ?? What is that ??

    Come on Joe!!

    It’s “Pains au chocolat”

    Be carefull next time lol.


  8. Not Sci Fi? Now there’s a twist.

    Awesome to see Rob’s smiling face again!

    Stay warm 🙂

  9. Check this:
    The name of the secret project is: WRESTLE GATE.
    This new show will perfectly be customized for Scifi friday’s night needs.
    Just fits right in. Obviously it’s not scifi like Joe said. Meh Scifi channel financing scifi shows ? Meh.
    Maybe Hulk Hoggan as a cybord, maybe…
    No pun intended (at least not at Joe)

    Note: occasionally angry fans will be invited to the shows as extras, to vent out their anger (God knows if some angry fans need to vent).

  10. @ dioxholster – I fell asleep early tonight, woke up at 1am and started watching the news. Horrible day yesterday in Cairo. I am very concerned for the people, and for the city, and the country. We have many people from Egypt here (most are from Alexandria). A very nice lady worked at my bank and she just returned recently with her husband to Egypt. I am concerned for her and her family. I’m thinking of stopping by the restaurant where her husband worked to see if they have any news (they’re Egyptians, so I’m sure they keep in touch). It’s just amazing how things have gone from bad to worse so quickly.

    I don’t take political sides, but I do feel for the people who don’t want to participate in the violence but are still caught up in this revolution, those who hoped that change would come about peacefully and are now watching as their country and their people fall into chaos. Very sad.

    @ Joe – It was nearly 50 degrees here today (well, yesterday), and not a snowflake in sight. They had forecasted just rain for us, and we hardly got any of that. I’m grateful since I had to go up the road about an hour away today. But I do understand the disappointment that comes when you expect thick, rich vanilla butter cream icing and you only get a powdered-sugar dusting instead. 😉

    I am a bit curious about this show. I thought I had it figured out…I still don’t want to give my guess away, however. I’m happy that the main character seems to be a ‘he’ (a lot of female-driven shows coming out lately, and they just do not appeal to me). I thought maybe it was someone who has appeared in print and on the screen – but now I’m not sure. You ARE such a tease, sometimes! But I also understand the need to keep things under wraps until the deal’s done and production is underway.

    Two things I am worried about: 1. He’s a lawyer (I hate lawyer shows), and 2. He’s not an albino. 😀

    Just kidding on point 2, of course, but totally serious on point 1.

    Whoever he is, I wish he could have long hair. Only villains have long hair anymore…except in manga/anime. I know long hair is still frowned upon, though. I was watching football (soccer) news the other day, and the lovely Andy Carroll was the subject of much mockery by the newscasters because of his hair:

    In fact, they seemed to be more fixated on his hair than on the fact that he just signed with Liverpool, going on about how he’s now the highest paid player with a ponytail. 🙄

    God…I really went off on another one of my famous tangents there, didn’t I? That’s what happens when you wake up at 1 am and can’t get back to sleep. 😛

    I had more to say, but I forget what it was now. I best get back to bed…just hope I can fall asleep now. You know what would help me fall asleep? Some endorphin-releasing … chocolate….

    Here’s some interesting reading for any chocoholic like myself:

    (Perhaps this explains your perpetual case of the munchies, Joe. 😉 )


  11. Hi Joe,
    Yesterday i watched the movie The Man from Earth

    I really enjoyed the movie!
    its about a cave man that is immortal and he has walked the earh for 14.000 years sofar.
    This is the first time that he’s gonna tell the friends he’s leaving his life story witch ofcource is verry hard to believe.
    maybe you’ve seen it?

    Allso a little SGU question.
    Is season 2 part 2 ever gonna be aired or for sale on DVD?
    it wouldnt be fair to ask fans to buy the blueray’s/dvds if we never gonna see the end of the season 🙂
    i hope you can give us some good news about it.

    one other thing,
    the SyFy channel is avalible in more than one country, do they accumulate all the viewer ratings for all counrt’y’s and than make a dissision to cancel a show or is it based souly on the canadian/USA ratings?

    Goodluck dodgeing the russian mobsters!
    I ran in to them in moscow a couple years back , costed me 100 US$$ to get my life back :S strange city moscow is.
    Ever been there?

  12. worth a look:

    So whats the name of the show? is it a remake? or based on a book? Is it, Highlander???? is it, Batman TV show?? is it, ah i give up, no wait im gonna get it later somehow. How hard can it be? You said it was based on a franchise, and it has something to do with Toronto, so I can pinpoint what it is easily. Would be cool if you make a contest out of this.

  13. Is it me or did that risotto look strangely like the squash soup? They have really gone overboard with that watercress. If you’re adding it to the plate to add a bit of color, a couple of leaves will do imho. A fist-full is clearly too much.

    I know what the super secret show is. It’s a spin off to the series ‘Numb3rs’ and it’s called ‘Letters’ isn’t it?

    On the other hand, seeing that you’re in Canada, I would love to watch an alternate-history mini-series about a group of people who have just started to serve on board the first pykrete super-carrier Habakkuk during WWII. And I couldn’t have made that sound more boring if I tried. 🙂

  14. Um, Joe?

    I’m sorry to say this, but that picture of “Paul” is, in fact, a picture of a plain, white wall.

    The others will hate me for revealing this awful truth to you, but I don’t care. It’s time you knew. Paul is not real. He’s never been real. He’s always been just a figment of your imagination.

    His episodes? All written by you in your sleep, with the confusing results turned into sweet, sweet episodes by the other writers while you weren’t looking.

    Did you really think that all those episode credits listing both of your names despite the fact that you no longer wrote together were just contractual obligations? No. It was to give you credit for episodes that you actually wrote even though you thought “Paul” did.

    As for episodes that you wrote that you actually THOUGHT you wrote…well, they included Paul anyway to keep up the illusion; they thought it’d keep you thinking you’re sane for a bit longer.

    Now, you may finally embrace this fact and let “Paul” go.

    Next, we’ll work on this “Carl” that you keep talking about. I’m afraid the truth of what he is will shock you even more.

    So hey, have you hard about the results from the Kepler space telescope that NASA released earlier today? 1200 potential planets outside of our solar system! 54 of them in orbits that allow for liquid water to exist on their surfaces, and 5 of those are about the size of Earth! This is amazing news!

    Of course, these are all preliminary and some could turn out to be false positives, but it looks like most of them are going to be confirmed somewhere down the line.

    And this is just the beginning! Kepler is going to spit out data for another 2 years, so there are more planets a-comin’! 😀

  15. Joe,

    What exactly is it you guys are working on? Something for SG? Or a completely different project Sci-Fi related?

    Either way I will be checking it out.

  16. Hello =)
    Comment ça va ?

    Pouahhh ça une tempête de neige? Même à Paris y’a eu plus de neige lors de la tempête ^^!

    Tiens, ça me fait plaisir de revoir Rob 🙂

    Alalal macarons, pain au chocolat, madeleine, que de la nourriture made in france *proud*:D

    Passez une très bonne journée, gros bisou 🙂

  17. Nice, nice food pictures! And I learned something too. I had never heard of liquid nitrogen ice cream–much less seen how it was made. Thanks for the video.

    Glad things are going well and that the snow wasn’t bad where you are.

  18. Oh look, Paul is really there. Hi Paul. One could think you don’t really like Paul as he hardly ever gets his picture in the blog. :p

  19. Joe:

    Donts worries about da snow…here in Chicaga, we’s gots youse snow right heres!

    About 18 inches of it anyway…

    I currently smell like two-cycle engine-oil and salt…heading for the shower after this comment!

    BTW, when are you likely to be able to tell us about the “Super Secret Project”? Sometime in the fall?

    Have a safe trip back…

  20. Hey, Joe.

    Do you think you could give us some info on the SGU main cast and the supporting cast. (e.g. Young, TJ, Scott, Chloe, Greer, Vanessa, Eli, etc.)

    Info like their Birthdates ([MM/DD/YYYY]not the actors or actresses), ages, heights, favorite foods, etc.

    It would be greatly appreciated, and if you could give us some info on the main cast of SG-1 and SGA that would great!

    A hopeful stargate fan.

  21. @PG15 : I can’t scroll up for fear of actually seeing Paul in the picture. I want to but can’t!!!

  22. You are welcome to any of my 14 inches of snow from that snowstorm. Preferably, come take it off my car.

  23. How awesome is Rob for bring all those goodies?

    Das: interesting article on chocolate. It reminds me of when my dad was very sick and anorexic. The doctors had him on a drug that increases appetite. My dad was extremely underweight at that time and the drug was literally, a lifesaver for him. When my dad started going to the V.A. hospital they took him off the drug because it had marijuana in it. WHY take a dying man off the one drug that is doing some good? Were they worried he would get addicted? He was “dying” and he wouldn’t have been addicted for long. Shortsighted, legalistic administrators, no doubt. I know it’s off topic but I really wish they would legalize marijuana for medical reasons. Imagine the taxes it would bring……

    On Egypt: I heard a phone interview from a little old lady trapped in her apartment among the protestors. Very scary! I am praying it doesn’t come to another version of Tenement Square.

  24. @ dioxholster – Very inspiring picture! Thanks for sharing!

    As far as that tv show goes, yeah…I was hoping it was gonna be a Batman show, too – seeing as how Joey’s been reading so much Batman lately. Oh well, I guess the Bat Man would fall under sci fi, so it’s not that. poo.

    @ PG15 – 😆 YOU win the blog for the day! 😀


  25. I would have to second wanting this to be a comedy, I think you’d be great at it. But likely, just another drama…

    To everyone struggling with Snowpocalypse Part 2, stay warm & take your time digging out! Spring is nie!

  26. “To all those asking, no, the super-secret show is not science fiction – nor is it any of the shows you’ve guessed yet.”

    From a narcissistic POV, this statement very carefully does not eliminate bank heistery from the running.

  27. @ Tammy Dixon – I’ve never used an illegal drug in my life, not even marijuana. However, I am all for the legalization of marijuana for medical use. It is unreasonable that drugs as dangerous as opiates (and to a lesser degree, cocaine) are legal for medical use, and marijuana is still banned, regardless of its known benefits. Marijuana is still considered a Schedule 1 drug along with heroin (no medical use, highly addictive), while other opiates and cocaine are considered Schedule 2 because of their medical applications. I suppose that’s why the penalties for marijuana possession are so high, sometimes worse than that of harder drugs. Addictions – those of no real benefit – come in all sizes. The thing that gets me is that I have a friend who’s about ready to explode her heart because of her Red Bull addiction, and yet that’s perfectly okay because caffeine is not an illegal substance. It may not be illegal, but that doesn’t mean it’s not dangerous.

    They put my dad on Marinol when he was in the hospital back in 2000-2001. He had a staph infection (MRSA) around his heart, and was near death for several weeks. Afterwards he couldn’t eat – just couldn’t keep anything down – and in three and a half months lost 70 pounds. Finally, to stimulate his appetite, they tried Marinol. Thing is, he was also on pain killers, and the combo just made him totally stoned out of his mind! 😆 They had to take him off of it, but he really wasn’t able to eat until he came home, then his appetite came right back, along with the weight. 😛


  28. Curiouser and curiouser. I had a thought of what it could be now that it’s not sci fi and you speak of one lead male character and not a team or group, hm.

    Nope, got nothin’, but now I’m even more intrigued because I really liked “Vegas”, I hope there is a bad ass hero in it.

    Hey Christina Cox aka Major Anne Teldy will be on Bones tonight, she’s so cool. If you are casting for this possible project then snap her up, she’s terrific.

  29. No brain raviolli pics? Dissapointing LOL..

    Anyway I love the snow, but hate the Ice, when it’s icey it’s a challenge all in itself to get from point A to point B without falling on my butt lol

    Have encounted some pretty bad Ice these past few months, the kind that if you step on it you sliideee.. Would be fun if you knew it was there but if snow covers only a little.. Annoying.

  30. Das This drug was called Periactin. It’s an antihistamine but has appetite stimulant side effects. Periactin has been known to help with pediatric migraines (my son was on it for a while). It works great in anorexic cats too! If you have any old, sickly cats, ask the vet about it (cheap). I’m glad your dad recovered.

    I hope they don’t put dark chocolate on a controlled substance list 🙁 . That would be one law I WOULD break. 😉

    snakey: “CSI: Toronto”, great idea!

  31. If you don’t get a better picture of Paul and his beautiful eyes, I’m going to have to believe pg15 is right.

    Well so far the Super Bowl is a bust. Ice and snow came through last Monday night and with temperatures not getting above 20 degrees ever since, the Dallas/Fort Worth area is socked in. The main roadways are passable now but all the side streets and neighborhoods are a skating rink. They had scheduled all these Super Bowl parties and events for the entire week, but no one can get out to go to them. I feel sorry for all the organizers and merchants. It is suppose to get above freezing Saturday, but the ecocomic damage is going to be big.

  32. this new project sounds great but I really hope that if – god willing – SGU’s third season starts to look more likely, and it comes down to a choice between staying and doing SGU or going to Toronto to do this “secret show” that you make the decision to do SGU. It’s such a great show and it really does deserve a third season!

  33. Got to love when they play up the weather, though I have seen worse (grew up just south of the Snowbelt in the Chatham, Ontario area). The last big storm I saw was that wack of snow we got here in Vancouver 2 years ago. That is what I left Ontario to get away from.

    Can’t wait to see what this super secret project ends up doing. Knowing you and Robert are involved. You know it will be GOOD!!!

    Oh BTW…did you get a chance to try Five Guy Burgers yet??

  34. Hi Mr M!

    I am intrigued!! The Super Secret Project in TO! For a long time, I’ve always thought that you, Paul and Rob would be the perfect combination for a re-boot of an old TV Classic from the 1980’s : Greatest American Hero!! I realise this is (kinda) Science Fiction….but one can live in hope. The “fit” would be perfect for you three musketeers.

    In any case, I loved the Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream. The waiter sounds second generation Irish….the cadence of his speech is Canadian (with that slight inflection at the end?) but the pattern is Irish.

    Hope the project goes well. Looking forward to hearing more.


  35. Now on to number 9 on your Toronto list. Its good to see you are getting your daily intake of sweets. Rob is a great guy, understands the needs of the many. The fries and hamburger look outstanding, yum. Keep on eating, er I mean working, have fun. Safe journey back to Van. The dogs await your return with milkbone breath.

  36. We are expecting 1-3 inches of actual snow accumulation tonight in Houston No school already for tomorrow. It’s rare that it sticks to the ground. Looking forward to it. It might actually look like Toronto around here for a few hours. Then Sunday, it will be 60 again.

  37. @Tammy: Will ask the vet about Periactin tomorrow for Spot (my “stray” that’s been eating here for 6 years). We’ve ruled out a bunch of stuff, but he’s still skinny. He eats, but could do better. Meanwhile, he’s moved into the house to escape the cold and rain, and I’m horribly allegic. I put him in the spare bedroom and he’s learned how to use to the litter box! Now all the rest of them want in. 🙂 They all have fabulous shelter from the weather, are fed like piggies, but noooo, that’s not good enough. Thanks for the info!


    Otherwise, Mr. Deni has a cold, staying away from him (he gets a cold, I get really sick for weeks), so he gets to sleep with the cat. Elway, Molly, Summer and I have tons of room now! The rain has been non-stop since yesterday. Enough!

  38. Deni: get a pill cutter. The dose is 1/4 tab every other day, but the vet will fill you in. It works great for an appetite stimulant, not so good for my son’s migraines. I’m pretty sure the VA was wrong about it having “marijuana” in it. I asked two neurologists, my son’s pediatrician, all my veterinarian friends and searched the internet and didn’t find any evidence of that particular component. Valium increases appetite in cats (it’s a weird cat thing) too but the vet probably won’t give you a RX for that 😉 .

  39. Could you please cast Joe Flannigan in your secret project? We miss him….. 😛

  40. The disappointing snow in the city is just because it’s the city, it all melts there faster. I’m from Burlington originally–head out to the suburbs if you want to see big snow piles =)

  41. That storm you were looking for hit New England instead. We got snow, freezing rain, and even some hail. My office was closed because of it, and now the sidewalks are all caked with ice.

    So… is this new production looking for a writer’s assistant / continuity person / snack finisher? I liked Toronto both times I visited, and I’m a good baker. And a great eater. And my boss keeps saying I’m “detail oriented”. (Kidding, kidding. Sort of.)

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.