With two weeks to go be our (probable) move to Toronto, I’m no closer to: a) finding somewhere to stay, b) finding something to drive, or c) figuring out how I’m going to get my dogs there.  Ashleigh was kind enough to volunteer (herself and a friend who may or may not know she’s been volunteered) and help out, but I’m still torn over whether I’d be better off making one trip or two.  On the surface, one trip would seem ideal but I have a feeling attempting to control and coordinate two dogs at a time may be a hell of a lot easier than attempting the same with four – especially when Bubba starts howling and gets the rest of the gang to follow suit.  Given the fact that I may be living out of a hotel when I first get there, two may be easier to handle that first week. Also, two trips mean twice as many items I can transport.  Then again, two trips also means twice as many trips.

On the bright side, the dogs’ new diet and exercise regimen is paying off – to varying degrees.  Jelly started at 17.2 lbs two weeks ago, weighed in at 17.0 last week, is now an aerodynamic 16.4 lbs.  Bubba, 26.0 lbs even two weeks ago, trimmed down to 24.6 lbs last week, is now a relatively light on his paws 23.8 lbs.  Lulu, 24.0 lbs two weeks ago, then 23.4 the following week, is now almost down to her fighting weight at an even 23.0 lbs.  Finally, Maximus’s progress has been slow, but at least he’s headed in the right direction.  25.0 lbs two weeks ago, 24.8 lbs last week, now boasting a trimmer waistline at 24.6 lbs.  At this right, he should be ready to fly by mid-June.

Anyway, hopefully Christine, our dog-sitter, will have more luck getting them out and about.  Our daily walk routine consists of taking Jelly out for a meandering stagger-about, then venturing out with the other three who all do their own thing when we hit the sidewalk.  Bubba’s a runner, Maximus likes to take his time and Lulu does this thing… Well, this is just a snippet of what I have to put up with –

My farewell Vancouver tour continued last night with dinner at Miku on West Hastings.  Excellent sushi and a little taste of Japan on the menu –


Shirako tempura!

Boy, this took me back…to THIS specifically –

It was the first time I’d seen it on a North American menu and I was curious what the staff was calling it.  Back in Japan, the waitress at the hotel where I first sampled it referred to it by the innocuous moniker “milt”.  At Miku, they were going with “fish roe” which is close but not quite…

After dinner, we enjoyed the best ice cream in Vancouver at Bella Gelataria.


James, the owner, has a bunch of terrific events upcoming.  Terrific events I’ll miss because I’m heading off to Toronto.  But, for those of you lucky enough to be in the city, Bella Gelataria will be kicking off a Cherry Blossom festival April 4th!  In addition, James has a bunch of new products in the works including –


His version of spumoni.


And much, much more!

The farewell tour continued today with a visit to DB Bistro Moderne which, sadly, is scheduled to close its doors next weekend.  The place was hopping and Manager Chris Gonzalez was kind enough to accommodate us with some comfy bar seats –


I had my consistently good salmon and avocado club while Akemi enjoyed a squash risotto.  We had a hard time deciding on desserts so I made the executive decision to go with all of our choices –











Battle Sundae: S’more Sundae with malted fudge Sauce, graham cracker ice cream, and toasted Meringue (left), and Pumpkin Pie Sundae with pumpkin custard, creme brulee foam, speculoos cookie, and ginger ice cream.  The S’more Sundae was the hands-down favorite

But these two desserts were our faves: Chocolate Salted Caramel Tarte with caramel pecan nougatine ice cream (left) and Sticky Toffee Pudding with roasted apples and brown butter ice cream.  It was close, but the Sticky Toffee Pudding won the day.

Before we sat down, Chris admitted to being a tad jealous because he’d had drinks with Chef Rob and Chef Ted the other night and, apparently, they are planning an unbelievable goodbye feast for yours truly.  Refuel (and Fuel before it) has been my favorite dining destination over my time here in Vancouver.  It was where I held my annual chocolate parties, where Marty G. and I would go to broaden our culinary horizons by dining on everything from lamb heart tartare to pig tail consomme, where I’d drop in for a quick and casual bite when I didn’t feel like cooking.  I’ll miss it (and Tom and the gang) a lot and have no doubt they’ll send me off in fine style with a multi-course meal to rival the ones I’m going to enjoy in Vegas next week.

Hey, speaking of Vegas – check out what also came in the mail from the super-secret restaurant, e by Jose Andres (check out the intriguing details here: March 3, 2011: Gauntlet! The dish on that super-secret restaurant! And lunch at Refuel!):


I never thought my life could be...anything but catastrophe...but suddenly I begin to see a bit of good luck for me...'cause I've got a golden ticket!

Today’s entry is dedicated to blog regular PBMom!

justin1985 writes: ““@SaveSGU The reason we can’t continue SGU is the same reason we can’t continue any of show…unfortunately, not enough viewers. […]” Comments?”

Answer: Sure, makes sense.  Of course, it begs the question “Exactly what is enough viewers?”.  Unfortunately, there’s no straight answer because it: a) depends on the time slot and b) depends on the show.  It’s not a level playing field.  In hindsight, airing on Friday nights was clearly preferable to airing on Tuesday nights while airing during the summer (which is where SGU was supposed to originally air) is much MUCH better than airing during the fall.

don writes: “Do you think that a decision on SGU movies being made will largely be decided by the ratings on the back half of season 2?”

Answer: The ratings of the back half of season 2 will have absolutely no bearing on whether or not Brad and co. proceed with movies.

jojo writes: “Have you thought about staying in a hotel, temporarily, or maybe even for a while, until you find something better?”

Answer: That’s the way it’s looking.  Hope the hotel doesn’t mind dogs.

Expletive: BMP writes: “Bey, you’re always eating the best, but I must ask; how much did all of that cost?”

Answer: Considerably more than tacos at your local Mexican eatery, but considerably less than a passion for golf, a love of video games, or a drug habit.

Stentor writes: “Hey Joe, any idea what time the Thomas Haas store on Broadway closes on a Wednesday night?”

Answer: Pretty early.  5:00 or 5:30 I believe.

hal ehrlich writes: “I was wondering if you guys have thrown any ideas around for another incarnation of Stargate?”

Answer: Nope.

Tammy Dixon writes: “Will you have to sign a non-disclosure before dining at the super-secret restaurant?”

Answer: Possibly.  There’s a “We respectfully request that guests refrain from the use of video or still cameras as well as mobile phones during their dinner serve at e” clause on the reservation form I signed.  I anticipate being frisked on the way in, so will be purchasing a small camera I can hide in my mouth to avoid detection.

Quade writes: “1) What ever happened to the 20+ episodes per season, 1 new episode a week excluding holidays & December format?
2) Do you think the change from that format to this new “mid-season hiatus”, airing episodes sporadicly through the year is what is actually hurting the TV industry?”

Answer: Chalk it up to the networks’ changing tastes/needs.  As to whether breaking a show up hinders or hurts it – I’d go with the latter, especially in the case of serialized shows.

Luis writes: “What happens to the SG Set at the end of SGU? are most of the writer’s and producer’s already gone to other projects??”

Answer: The sets are still standing as Brad and co. await word on possible movies.  As for the writers/producers – some have moved on, some stand ready to start work on a continuation of the storyline should they receive the green light.

37 thoughts on “March 5, 2011: Dog fitness! The Vancouver farewell tour continues! “Greetings to you the lucky finder of this Golden Ticket, from Mr. Willy Wonka!! Present this ticket at the restaurant gates at eight thirty on the evening of the ninth day of March and do not be late!” Also, some mailbag!

  1. Hi Joe!

    The food you post pics of (almost) always looks delicious!

    I have a theory about the location of that super secret ‘e’ restaurant: the dining room of someone’s house.


    Have a nice day,

    Sean D.

    p.s.- May 15 = the big commencement day: I’m hooded Dr. D.! getting close! 😀

  2. ‘speculoos’?? I know ‘speculaas’ which is a Dutch spice biscuit… sooooooooo yummy…

    I looove watching vids of your pugkids . Keep em coming 🙂

  3. That dog walking video is sooooo funny! The contrast from Maximus to Lulu is hilarious. I think Lulu is walking that way to gain sympathy from passer-byers. “Oh look! That dog has no front legs! Poor sweet baby!” Lulu is either a very smart dog…or she’s crazy.

  4. A direction question:
    Wouldn’t the 10 last episodes mobilize the troops AND Syfy to counter the cancellation or it’s a done deal as of the serialized weekly show ?

    The decision to cancel and the show broadcast schedule appears to be totally out of sync. What a terrible way to do business… I mean seriously… Syfy decision making method is fucked up. And they completely miss the fans interest. You don’t end a 14 years old franchise without reactions.
    Doesn’t Stargate top any other Scifi franchise in North America?

  5. About something to drive: Does Vancouver have a drive-away service wherein you hire someone to drive your car to your destination? I believe a lot of college-age kids do this (through the service).

    Anne Teldy

    P.S. Googling brought up these hits. Maybe worth a look.

  6. Joe, if the sets are still standing for SGU, why were set visits for the Creation Stargate convention in April cancelled? I know lots of fans were looking forward to one last run through their favorite Sci-fi diversion.


  7. Thank you again for the blog dedication. For the first time in a very long while I could actually say I was feeling a bit depressed today (with actual tears). I’m going to miss being part of a flash mob on Sunday to ABBA’s Dancing Queen. Enough to depress anyone, I’m sure. LOL.

    Enjoyed the dog videos. That sure cheered me up. They seem to be doing very well on the diet and exercise regimen as far as the poundage goes. I bet they will be ready in no time.

    And I’m glad someone is enjoying food. The supmoni thingee looked delicious. Actually all the desserts looked scrumptous.

    I always hope things work out so that you get to TO with the dogs with the least amount of stress. Vegas should help you relieve some of that stress tension valve.

  8. Hey Joe I’m glad to hear your aclimating to your new enviroment with ease! lol sorry man, I had too. I have a suggestion for you though and I think it might help. And it will give you a chance to rest and resituate for all things up and coming. Give what ever you haven’t allready sent to Toronto to a moving company, first i suppose you should find a storage company for the movers to go to. Then give it to them and forget about it. Book a ticket for you and your two dogs on a train! Its not as direct as a plane but it will be pleasent and possibly healthy for ya. They have containers for pets, but I’m sure they rent entire cars or rooms also. And you could ship a vehicle with CP Rail also, Cheap Cheap Cheap! Not pennies but not the price of another car or what eva! But maybe that way you can delay the immeadiate inevidable and not be completly with out a place to go and possibly find a real score along the way!
    I read in one of your replys that Brad is awaiting the possible go ahead with SGU movies, I have to tell ya, thats pretty dang exciting news. I hope its partly because of the thousands of letters MGM has received from what was a mythic awakening of voices from the SG fan world. But good news none the less. Besides all the casts and crews and writers I feal badly for, myself included. I feal horrible for Robert Carlyle. Why I don’t know, But I can’t help but feal that someone just ripped the perverbeil chair from underneath him and he was like hey, where the hell did my f’ing chair go? Like he’s almost royalty in the acting world. Ok I’ll stop their but I hope the movies get green lighted and that your in business once again and stronger then ever. Godbless and Goodluck in Toronto Joe. And please keep us posted on SG Related Info and Good News! Thanks

  9. Hey joe
    just wondering if in case brad and co are given the green light for the movies will you return to help write them? or will you be to busy with the new project? maybe possibly a consultant at least?

  10. hi, joe,

    what’s the state of the 3rd sg1 movie?

    what about a mini series coving ALL the stargate shows?

    i feel i’m watching a slow death of the franchise, and i really don’t know why it’s happening…

  11. D’aww, your dogs and awesomely adorable. Fingers crossed that you get your moving issues sorted out.

    Hope to hear some good news soon about SGU soon. 🙂 I know some fans disapprove Brad (and co?) working hard on getting a conclusion for Universe instead of SG-1/SGA movies. I, on the other hand, am very grateful for this.

    Since third season isn’t an option anymore, I’d love two movies to complete and finish the story. Part one and part two, it’s less than one season (you told that time would also be enough to reach the ending you had planned). But maybe two movies is enough and the story won’t be rushed and crammed.

  12. I hate to see anyone suffer moving home trauma.
    I’d like to offer to drive your lovely pets from Vancouver to Toronto safely. (17 years accident free with 105 cities driving experience)
    However you would have to pay for car rental, fuel, doggie hotel expenses for the duration of the trip.
    Why would I want to do this? Well I enjoy travelling and have never done such a trip in Canada – so if your paying ill go..
    Odds of you accepting 1 in 1000 but I figured it can’t hurt to ask.
    : )

  13. Majorsal says it’s like watching the death of a franchise. I agree, it is and it doesn’t make sense. Joe, is STARGATE just not popular anymore? Does MGM desire more STARGATE or have they lost interest?

  14. LMAO at Lulu – what a dignified walk she provides for you, Joe! Still, better than my old black lab that thought grass was for walking/sniffing/rolling and parking lots and sidewalks were for pooping. That said, what the hell is she doing?

    This whole (maybe) move of yours would have me going mental! Maybe it would be a good idea to get a pet sitter for a couple of days and go to Toronto to find a place to live (and everything else you need). At least then you’d have peace of mind knowing the dogs would have a new home to go to.

  15. I enjoyed the videos of the dogs–we have some dogs in our neighborhood that try very hard to get away from their owners when they’re walked. It’s always entertaining to watch.

    Oh, and the food looks fantastic. Can’t wait to see if you can actually get a camera into the super secret restaurant in Las Vegas. I have a friend who lives there. I’ll have to see if she’s ever heard of it.

    Have a great day!!!

  16. How is it that you don’t weigh 450 pounds? You must have the metabolism of an 18 year old. I put on weight just reading, “Four desserts!” You must be blessed. 🙂

  17. @PBMom: Tears are good sometimes, and geez, you’ve been through a lot! Hope you’re feeling better today!

  18. Hey Joe,
    A golden ticket?! How awesome is that! lol I would love to go to an exclusive restaurant like that. If I was along with you I’d probably embarrass you by not knowing what everything is and resort to asking for a steak medium with a baked potato heaped with all the fixings on it. 🙂
    I like tuning in to see your doggies progress. 2 trips sounds like the key to making it a little more manageable.

    I hope they can put those Staragate Universe shows together in case this “Uncancel Stargate Universe” fan movement doesn’t pan out. I’m seeing a lot of passionate fans and a lot of them are still just finding out that they are cancelled. I also see the video maker of that last colossus fan vid you commented and posted is out there again! He put together another compact vid together putting his two cents in on saving the show:

    Looking forward to seeing progress on your other show. Keep us posted!

  19. Love the golden tickets. They’re just really playing up this secret/special thing, aren’t they?

    Also, Lulu is hilarious! It’s like she’s thinks she’s a cat, about to pounce on something. One of my friends’ cats think they’re dogs, so it makes sense.

    Those desserts…stop teasing us, Joe! They look so good and I can’t have any. 😉

  20. I think Lulu is scent marking by rubbing her neck on the grass. That is were her scent glands are located. My cats do that all the time, just not when they are walking! Regardless, very cute indeed!

  21. Personally I think SGUs viewer problem isn’t an issue of the amount of viewers watching it, but more with the amount of viewers with trackable boxes i.e the Nielson ones watching.

    With 25,000 households out of a population of several hundred million being trackable it doesn’t seem fair somehow to judge the tastes of those with Nielson box’s to those without.

    Here’s a question.

    This is more theory than anything else.

    If every viewer in America was tracked by whatever means worked when viewing TV programs, do you think SGU would get the required amount of viewers to get a third Season?

  22. @annie
    Speculoos is the flemmish word for Speculaas…Flemmish as-in the dutch-speaking part of Belgium. So they are kinda the same (small difference in shape, size and minor taste difference)

    On the market there is a speculoos-paste – much like peanutbutter. Made of the speculaas. :o)


    Loved your dogvideo’s, reminds me of my own dogs…They got a few ‘weird’ things going around…One of my dogs keeps hunting his own tail, the other one think he can eat EVERYthing that he sees.

    Keep the dog-vids coming; love them!

  23. A camera in your tooth? I’m not sure I would want to see that video 😉 .

    Good luck with your decision on “how to move the pups”.

    PBmom: sending healing vibes!

  24. Dang. nearly a perfect post. clips of the doggies, food and dessert, and a bonus Ivon video. The only reason you don’t get a full 10/10 is the whining. Yes, whining. At the two week mark, you should be firming up your plans. And Ashleigh’s offer sounds like a great one. Just make sure she and her friend don’t fly back to Vancouver for a few hours, or the next day, and you have the handlers you need to get all four dogs to their destination. Of course, that leaves you at her mercy for the extra time, but what a great way to say your last goodbyes!
    You’ve also given me thoughts to starting a dog friendly chain of hotels. Not just one that lets you keep dogs in the rooms. One where a certain percentage of the rooms have dog runs attached to the room. And of course doggie spas. There’s money in them thar paws…
    More seriously, I wish you the best of luck trimming down the dogs, and getting everything gathered up. On the plus side, the stress and activity of the preparations are helping to keep all those fantastic desserts from sticking to your own ribcage. It would be ironic to get the dogs all trimmed up only to find yourself having trouble fitting into your suits.

  25. @Randomness: I agree with you. I was actually thinking about this earlier, and I realized that, with all the choices available to viewers today, there is no way for the Nielsons to be statistically accurate anymore. They might have been accurate when the number of networks was much smaller, but with 200+ channels available now, I can’t see how they are accurate now. Will be curious to see what Joe says if he responds to your question.

  26. I have two suggestions in your search for a travel method and hotels that allow dogs.
    1. I went to http://www.expedia.com and looked up hotels that allow pets in Toronto. Since I know nothing of the city, here is the whole list. You can add other preferences to narrow the search as you need.

    2. As for two trips and four dogs: Perhaps you could rent a van and hire someone to drive it. You will be in your vehicle with your 2 most difficult dogs, and the hired driver will be in the van with your calmer babies. Results: all doggies with you, one trip, twice as much stuff, AND since the person is being paid to do a job you will not be relying on the goodness of that person’s heart. And you won’t owe him a ginormous favor because he’ll be paid and done. You would have to pay for the driver’s food, lodging and a ticket back to Vancouver.

    This would be so much easier than finding a friend to do it, cheaper than chartering an aircraft, faster and cheaper than making two trips, and you’d have your babies with you the whole time. No boarding, or pet sitters or worrying if the two left behind are okay.

    3. Another option would be to rent a motor home. That would solve your lodging problem both on the way and after you get there. You wouldn’t have to hire a driver. You can drive as long and rest as long as you like. Motorhomes have built in bathrooms. Doggies can sleep on the sofa while you are driving. You can tow your car hehind the motor home. Just watch those wide right turns.

  27. LOL I wish you could tape the dinner… how will you possibly EAT without taking pics? I mean, that’s part of your routine. OMG people going out with you must hate you or they’ve adjusted to being photographed. LOL on the cod sperm. That was pretty funny as he tried to decide if he’d had it in his mouth before. LOLOL. You are a bad man.

  28. I tried out Akemi’s scalloped sweet potato recipe today and very tasty it was, yum! Passed it on to my Mum who is also a sweet potato fan and got curious, so she’s going to try it as well. Next time I might use a bit more Cayenne Pepper though. Since I’m not the most experienced cook, I was a bit worried about overdoing it but it was fine. So next time I’ll be bolder. 🙂

  29. cod jizz…… 😛

    Next time you have a friend devour some genitalia (or bi-product of genitalia), please videotape it….. it is quite amusing. 🙂

  30. My husband won’t eat the buckeye cake because he says it’s “too rich”. I never heard that phrase until I met him. He’s an awesome husband in every other way.

    I checked. He didn’t make that phrase up and it has a life of its own in the English language apart from the phrase “too rich for my blood”. (as shown in the following graph)


  31. @Dallas Marshall(#3) and Joe:

    I’ve done some RV’ing myself (my wife and I have a 32ft Travel Trailer). My longest trip so far has been Chicago to Orlando and it took two days.

    If you’re considering this, it will probably take at least 5 days (driving a minimum of 8 hours a day), and the cost would be around $1,400 to $1,800 (plus fuel).

    Some links that may help:

    RV Rental (Vancouver to Toronto):

    An example Class-C RV Model:

    An RV Campground resource (for planning the stops):

    Lastly, go get “RV” with Robin Williams and watch it…several times 😉

    The advantage of this? Just about every RV-Park I’ve been to has been very dog friendly. Our dog travels with us all the time.

  32. Oh, if you do RV-it, you’ll probably have to drive through Chicago. You’re welcome to stop by and spend a day in Chicagoland. Barb and I can take you downtown (via Metra…you DON’T want to take an RV there!) I can even arrange for dog-sitters if needed.

    Maybe one of these would interest you:


    Let me know…

  33. I’m visiting Bella Gelataria first chance I get.

    @Randomness You’re so right. I don’t live in the United States, and though I had issues with SGU originally, I still watched. neilson is a bunch of crap.

  34. Hello Joe, i have see that on twitter…

    “People at SyFy and elsewhere have hinted that if SGU could meet or exceed its launch ratings, they might reconsider the cancellation. Which means that the show could be saved, if somehow its ratings were higher.”

    true ?

    thanks Joseph.

  35. It’s obvious that Lulu’s is running the last leg of the Marine Corp obstacle course at Quantico; notice how she hunkers down below the imaginary razor wire. Have you ever seen Lulu saluting? This with her Chinook chopper sound effects is convincing me that Lulu has a secret past in the military, most likely in the Corps during Desert Storm.

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