In addition to the mad scramble to get things settled before leaving Vancouver, I now face the added complication of trying to find suitable accommodations for the length of my Toronto stay.  I say “complication” because, for a city that purports to be “production friendly”, Toronto is shockingly lacking in its ability to provide a satisfactory range of living arrangements for production personnel.  Sure, there are plenty of apartments available but just trying finding a furnished house for rent.  The selection is meager unless, of course, you don’t mind being banished to the fringes where the pickings are adequate and the daily commute interminable.  Compare this to my experience in Vancouver where dedicated agents deal with the reality of out-of-town actors, directors, and producers, offering up a wide selection of choices for those who: a) may not want to live out of an apartment and/or b) don’t have the luxury of spending their days shopping for night tables, frying pans, and forks.  Yet one more thing Vancouver has over Toronto.  So far, my limited options are a couple of houses near the studio (which happens to be located on the outskirts of the city in an area so remote I can give up all hope of enjoying a decent restaurant meal for the duration of my stay), and a few sad-looking places twenty or so minutes out.  Meanwhile, the clock continues to tick, tick, tick…

After looking into alternate means of transporting my dogs cross-country, it looks like I’m down to three possibilities:

1) I purchase two round-trip tickets to Toronto for two friends (0r acquaintances, or friendly strangers) and have them each take a dog.  This way, we make one trip and all four pooches arrive in Toronto at the same time.  While ideal, this option is proving problematic.  Finding two people willing to accept free round-trip tickets to Toronto is difficult enough, but finding two people willing to accept free round-trip tickets to Toronto that would have them departing Vancouver the 17th, 18th, or 19th of March is damn near impossible.

2) Akemi and I fly to Toronto with Jelly and Maximus while Bubba and Lulu stay behind with the dog sitter.  The following weekend, Akemi and I fly back to Vancouver, then return to Toronto with Bubba and Lulu.  More of a pain in the ass but at least I avoid the nightmare of attempting to corral and control four dogs on one flight.  It will also allow us to fly business class (which only allows two pets per cabin) meaning the dogs will have a little more leg room.

3) I cut my losses, thank everyone for the wonderful experience, and stay in Vancouver where I open up a quaint little SF & Fantasy bookstore with an ice cream shop in the back.

Thanks to everyone who weighed in with their suggestions for comic book artists worth checking out.  Incredibly talented people, all.  I’m slowly working way through their galleries and will be sending my editor a wish list this weekend.  In addition, I should also get around to sending him the scripts for issues #3 and #4.

Got a new camera yesterday because the old camera started doing THIS –

For those of you asking…

Akemi’s Scalloped Baked Sweet Potato Recipe

2 medium sized sweet potatoes

200 ml milk

200 ml cream

2 pieces garlic

40 g gruyere cheese

a pinch of cayenne pepper

a pinch of nutmeg

salt and pepper to season

Peel potatoes and slice to 1 cm thickness

Assemble all ingredients in a pan (except cheese and one piece of garlic) and bring to a boil, then turn turn heat down to medium-low and allow to cook for ten minutes until potatoes are cooked through.

Arrange potatoes in a casserole dish along with sauce, then sprinkle with minced garlic (the other piece) and cheese.

Bake at high heat until browned.

A couple of treasures I brought back from the Production Office:


Original animation cell from The Simpsons episode "Weekend at Burnsies".
Heh. Snagged this one off the recycling bin. Think it might prove a handy prop in an upcoming photo essay.
Carnivorous insects from SG-1's "The Scourge".

Back to the office tomorrow for the Day 1 mix of episodes #220, Gauntlet.

Today’s entry is dedicated to blog regular Deni.

40 thoughts on “March 2, 2011: More T.O. travel planning! Akemi’s scalloped sweet potato recipe! Production Office treasures!

  1. correct me if im wrong. But seeing as its March 2nd should the title not be March 2?

  2. Just a suggestion – have you checked if Air Canada has an upper limit on the number of in-cabin pets they allow? Not per person, but per flight?

    For some reason I’m recalling something about “maximum two in-cabin animals per flight” but I can’t remember which airline.

  3. I think you’re a month behind in your header. Or is it a subconscious attempt to give yourself more breathing room before Having to move…. ?

  4. Best of luck on the new show Joe, Now TELL US WHAT IT IS!!!! 🙂

    And that’s what happens to cameras when you crack their screen…

  5. Aw, Joe, I’m flying INTO Vancouver on the 18th. If it were me, I’d go with option 2. As you said, more room for the dogs and you can take more stuff in your luggage on the 2nd trip.

    Did your old camera start doing “THIS” after it was dealt some sort of heavy blow, drop, etc?

    The scalloped baked sweet potato recipe looks delicious. Can’t wait to try it. Thanks for posting it!

  6. I say go with option 2…seems less painful Joe

    Cheers, Chev

    p.s. can you live in an apartment for now while you find a furnished house to rent?

  7. p.p.s Re camera: I’ve been telling you for years to get a new one…what kind did you get? Is it my imagination or are the photos clearer? Take some indoor people shots – they are the ones that used to ghost.

    Cheers, Chev

  8. Oh these are sweet potatoes. I thought they were just regular potatoes. Oh well, I’m sure either will work. But something with sweet potatoes instead of regular would be a nice change of pace.

  9. Snagged SyFy slogan “off the recycling bin”? Was it slated for recycling or used as a sign on the recycling bin?

  10. How was your dinner with Ivon and Mike Dopud? Any photos? The three of you would be great eye candy for any women in the restaurant.


  11. …solar flare?

    Oh…and while the SF/Fantasy Bookstore/Ice Cream parlor probably wouldn’t be as satisfying creatively (or financially…) as launching a new series, I personally vote for that one. Somehow Vancouver and you parting ways just doesn’t seem right….


  12. Is it rude if I ask how much weight Jelly has lost…she looks pretty amazing.

    Cheers, chev

  13. Here’s a thought…

    Buying all those extra plane tickets for friends/etc to transport the dogs is obviously expensive, and problematic since you have to work their schedules into it.

    Have you considered posting an ad on Kijiji directed at other people who would be flying out that day on the same flight?

    If you could convince someone(s) else who is flying anyway to take a dog each, problem solved. You’d be on the same flight. If the dogs are in the same cabin, you wouldn’t be far away. If you got to the airport early enough, you could probably convice the ‘ticket counter people’ to put your seats side by side to each other. I can’t see your dogs “disappearing” in such a situation either.

    Of course you could offer them some kinda stipend, which would likely be far, far less then the price of tickets for people you know who are solely travelling for the dogs. And being in the television business, i’m sure there are other littly goodies you could entice/bribe a person with as well.

    It’s a little dependent on someone who’s flying on the same flight (or someone knowing someone on the flight) viewing your kijiji ad with enough time to act on it. But it’s totally possible.

    I don’t know if your on facebook, but the facebook “marketplace” feature might be an idea as well. If your not on FB, I’m sure one of your close friends is, and you could probably reach more people then on Kijiji.

    Hope that helps,


  14. I was going to graffiti the SyFy image with a silly alternative, syfy-slagging, slogan.. But then I realised that “Imagine Greater” pretty much says it all, anyway.
    That’ll do.

  15. Deni: so sorry about your kitty.

    Mr. M.: I vote for option 2.

    Carnivorous insects: They look like roaches to me, “shudder”.

  16. Joe have the dogs flown before? I hope they have a pleasant trip. It sounds like number 2 is a good idea. Joe maybe sell all your tidbits from the ofc and shows and stay in Van,(make extra money) might work for a while. Where is a good realtor when you need one…
    Thanks to Akemi for the recipe, sounds delicious as well as looking it.
    @deni, sorry for your loss. it is hard to lose our pets, part of the family. {{hugs}}
    @das the picture looks great, and how neat to meet the authors, I have never been to a signing, I should check this stuff out, thanks.
    I agree the camera is toast, I had a recall on one canon when the screen sorta looked like that, but not totally busted,,hmm. Yes, time for a new one anyway, more bells and whistles. Have a better day!!

  17. Hello 🙂 ça va ? Moi très bien!

    Et oui ce n’est pas facile de se déplacer quand on a des animaux, en tout cas j’espere que vous allez vite trouver une solution adéquate!

    Combient de temps avez vous l’intention de rester à Toronto?

    Miame =P merci pour cette recette!

    gros bisous!

  18. Haha. Just realized you were looking for comic book artists. I read it as book artist which is why I rec’d what I did. That’s what I get for reading this on my iPhone before I’ve eaten breakfast. Sorry for that.


  19. Well, I could probably help you out with option 1, though I’d have to start out and return to Toronto, rather than originating in Vancouver. And the timing could work. But that still leaves you trying to find another person, then dealing with four dogs on arrival in Toronto. Kevin’s suggestions sound plausible. But I can see you going with the two weekend round trip flights to ferry them over time. Certainly that would be the easiest on you in terms of stress. It just means two of your pooches are left without you or their buddies. But given your Tokyo trips, they shouldn’t be too stressed out by it.
    Thank Akemi for the recipe. I’ll be trying it out at work, where we’re always looking for something new and tasty. Luckily we’re civilized enough down here I can actually get hold of the requisite cheese. Will let you know the results next week.
    thanks for the update, and good luck on finding a suitable place in the near future. And serious condolences on the location and dearth of eateries. Guess you’ll be doing some serious driving on weekends. Just cannot imagine you not eating out for an entire year…

  20. Joe – sorry I haven’t given much feedback on artists – I’ve been terribly busy lately.

    But I will offer you this – I loved the art in that Wraith mini I sent to you (not sure if you ever got around to it).

    Kyle Hotz did the interior art:

    And Clint Langley did the covers:

    Loved that entire book, both for the story, and the art. Rarely do two come together so well.


  21. I quickly scanned today’s post, saw the photo from ‘The Scourge’ and thought “Oh No! He’s eating BUGS now!” . (Not that that would totally surprise me). You definitely have a more adventurous palate than I.

    I think that finding a suitable place with just a 20 minute commute in Toronto is actually pretty good.

  22. Since I live an hour a way from Toronto and would be more then happy to pick up and help you just let me know 🙂 I can find my own way to the airport and home so the “round trip” would be from Toronto to Vancover then Vancover to Toronto 🙂 See how easy that could be!!

    Just thowing my services out there for you since I wasn’t able to help you with your other problem that we talked about!!

  23. Regarding Akemi’s recipe, when you say pieces of garlic, do you mean cloves?

  24. I’m not so sure about your “friends.” Sounds like they may be more interested in a free vacation than they are in actually helping you out.

    I’d say go with option 2. Assuming you have proper dog-care in Toronto while you’re fetching the other two.

  25. I was telling a friend who also has a number of dogs about your transportation issues. She said she’d heard of a couple of pet transportation companies that will transport dogs. I googled and found this one: Might be worth checking out if you haven’t already.
    Good luck. – Long time reader, Jennifer

  26. If you did open the book store and ice cream parlor, what kind of ice cream would you serve?

  27. Is that a six pack I see on…is that Bubba or Jelly? Looks like the diet is working. The two trips while earning extra miles sounds like a good deal.

    Then on the return trip at the end of the season you’ll have enough info on charters to do that on the way back.

    When time is running out I tend to throw money at problems to make ’em go away, so multiple business trips sounds like it would be fun.

    I tried shipping a ton of my stuff via UPS; it’s a good way to get bulky stuff shipped cheap, so maybe with a bunch of boxes of sheets/kitchenwares/doggie beds you need you can break out the air matresses.

    Akemi has such great taste in fashion (love her boots!), I say let her loose with some catalogs pre-move, so that the stuff arrives soon after you get there. If I could redo my place I’d use Crate and Barrel 2 (CB2), West Elm and the MoMA museum store; the MoMA and the Pompidou have the best museum stores with mod art kitchen and housewares:

    With all the mileage you’ll earn you can hop to Paris on break.

  28. Can’t wait to try Akemi’s recipe. LOL so I guess she IS going with you. Good, won’t have to worry about you being alone while you try out scary new places to eat.

    LOL on the idea he was eating bugs. Let’s take a vote.. who would REALLY be surprised if he already had tried them? Ewwww.

    Hey you got 2 blog folks willing to help! Sounds like a plan if you want to take all at once.

  29. Hard to imagine people not wanting free round trip tickets to toronto, if anything it’d be a perfect shopping experience for someone, fly in, take a shopping trip, fly home, all for free.(Well minus the shopping lol)

    Hope you have some luck anyhow.

    Anyway only a few more days till SGU comes back, although slim, it does seem kinda exciting to me to see how well it does.

  30. @Jayenkai

    I was thinking the same, are we supposed to imagine a Syfy channel with something more than Reality shows, wrestling and casual viewer orientated programs? Or are we meant to imagine a Syfy channel with some proper Sci Fi shows?

  31. If I were in Seattle, I’d go up to Vancouver to take one of the pooches. 😉 Have a friend near(ish) I could visit. Alas. 🙁 Good luck getting all moved!

  32. I am so sorry for you that you have to move here. It is a dismal place to be and you are right, finding a furnished place is near impossible. It took me nearly a week to find a place for one of my visiting coworkers from Vancouver when she came over for a month. On the other hand, there are some really good places to eat. Try Karma Sutra on Bayview st. near Eglinton if you like Indian food.

  33. Hey, how about a variation of #2. You and Akemi fly 2 dogs, Lulu and Jelly, out to Toronto and leave them with Fondy. Would she be willing to keep them for a couple of weeks? She is experienced and they know her. Lulu would fit right in and Jelly would be no trouble. Max and Bubba stay with the sitter back home. During the first week, you and Akemi find a place and get settled. That’s right! You got one week to find and place and get it ready. Then you and Akemi fly home the next weekend. You get Maximus and Bubba and fly them to Toronto to your new house or appartment or whatever. Then you just go pick up Lulu and Jelly from Fondy’s house. Later, when you find a “more better” place to live, or whatever, you can do a “light” move no more than from one side of town to another.

    Tell Akemi “thank you!” for the delicious looking and sounding Scalloped Sweet Potato recipe!! As soon as I figure out how to translate a “ml” and a “cm”, and what the heck is “40 g gruyere cheese”, and what do you mean by “high heat”, I’m making that! My mouth waters just looking at the picture of it!

  34. an sg1 question, joe. i’ve been watching seasons (i’m on s4 right now).

    k, when the gate is activated and the sgc sees the code a team will send through to let them know it’s them (and so the iris is opened hopefully), is there a ‘yep, we’ve opened the iris’ message or code sent back to the team, to let them know it’s clear to go through the gate?

  35. I vote for the sci/fi ice cream store! You can have flavors like ‘spaceship strawberry’ and ‘alien ala mode’, etc.

  36. My husband and I plus 2 cats stayed in a furnished apartment in midtown a few years ago. All I can say about the experience is that I was glad it was over after a month! That said there are alot of options for furnished rental in Toronto the problem is that much of it is expensive and either in the Entertainment district, or midtown.

    I am guessing that you will be working closer to Leslieville or Torontos east end as that is where most of the production houses are.

    There are a bunch of houses going on the market in the area right now as it is spring but not sure if your length of stay actually warants buying.

    Nevertheless I found a few sites dedicated to furnished rentals that looked promising (and alot less sketchy than where we stayed around 2006).

    and then this is the company we used in 2006. Just know that some of the furnished suites are in an old folks home.

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