Today marked the end of our my first week in Toronto, and it was a productive one.  Amid the madness of the pre-production process, we managed to break two stories (episodes 4 and 5)!

I also managed to put on five pounds.  The shape of things to come?  I’ve got to stop doing less burritos and burgers and more homemade meals.  Like this one…

You can always tell when Akemi packs my breakfast.

I also need to find that gym.  And, quite possibly, furniture for a new place. Saw another two places today.  The first was so far out of the way, Robert Cooper would be my neighbor!  The second was sad and creepy-looking on the outside, but nicely furnished on the inside.

So, to reiterate, my choices so far:

1. Stay where we are.  Pros: Furnished, well-situated, quick and easy access to doggy daycare, restaurants and downtown area (for Akemi).  Cons: No security system in apartment, kind of small, .

2. Townhouse #1: Pros: New, clean, well-located in nice neighborhood, not far from downtown, modest backyard.  Cons: Unfurnished.

3. House #1: Pros: Well-located in nice neighborhood, fenced-in backyard. #2: Old, no air-conditioning, unfurnished, probably haunted.

4. House #2: Pros: HUGE, enormous fenced-in backyard, squash court in the basement, Robert Cooper as neighbor.  Cons: Old, unfurnished, very remote, Robert Cooper as neighbor.

5. Apartment #1: Pros: Nicely furnished interior, well-located in nice neighborhood.  Cons: Weird-looking exterior, lobby hallway looks like something out of The Shining, no backyard.

"Come play with us, Danny."

Uh oh. I think they're looking for Carl.

So, them’s my choices.  So far.  I intend to keep looking (maybe even look into a condo) but time is running out.  We’ve only got the place we’re in until April 4th.  If I don’t find a place by then, I’m going to have to start living out of my office.

Which isn’t as bad as it sounds.  Work has become my place of refuge, the only place I’ve truly been happy since moving to the land of cold and concrete.

And I’m not the only one.  Check out Carl –

Another story broken. Carl is thrilled!

I’m trying.  I really am.  Tonight, I went out to dinner with Akemi and Alex.  We checked out a Japanese restaurant called Omi which was highly recommended over on the chowhound boards.  High recommended!  If this is the best of what Toronto has to offer, I may as well just give up any hope of ever enjoying sushi in this city.

Having said this, I should report that Alex seemed to enjoy himself. Which doesn't bode well for any future Berlin sashimi ventures.

Today was the day Jelly and Maximus had their interview of St. Roch’s School for Gifted Canines.  Their assessments lasted about thirty minutes each.  I regret to report they failed to wow the judge.  Their excessive panting around the puppies (a sign of anxiety, they say) and reluctance to take part in any sort of extended play (they prefer to lie about and observe the action from a distance) makes them less than ideal candidates.  The invigilator suggested they’d be better disposed to a home setting from where they can partake in the occasional walk.  Bubba and Lulu, who are infinitely more playful and less, well, lazy, are scheduled for their interviews on Monday.

A friend pointed out that, for the money it would cost me to send the dogs to daycare, I could hire a full-time nanny.  Believe me, I’ve thought about it.

Tomorrow, I head back to Vancouver for all of a day.  In tomorrow afternoon and out Sunday morning – just enough time to run some errands, pack two more suitcases full of belongings, and squeeze in one final Van city dinner.  This time, Lulu and Bubba will be flying in style along with the lovely Leah Gauthier who’ll be backing me up on the dog transport on this one.  No doubt she’ll be offering a detailed account of the experience over on her blog here:

48 thoughts on “March 25, 2011: I’m going to have to start living out of my office.

  1. Joe –

    Is it possible to bring your dogs to work with you? 😀

    That’d omit the need for a nanny and it’d make things at work all the more fun and interesting. 😉

    – Sean D.

  2. Patrick Gilmore’s always linking to the Keepin’ It Leal blog from his awesome Twitter feed.

    One of the cons in living situation #1…not what I’d admit publicly on my blog, but if your evil militia is setting up a trap for intruders… maybe I shouldn’t be blowing your cover. Hey, your “about” page is generic now, whatever happened to the evil militia?

  3. 4., Joe, 4. You and Rob can car pool, which will save money. Rob can cook for you on a regular basis, which will save both money and your stomach. And think of all the exercise you and the pups will get in that enormous back yard! Plus, old houses have character which lends itself to a more creative atmosphere. The remote thing may be a problem, but with all the money you saved and will save by not chartering a plane, and eating at Rob’s, and exercising in your back yard instead of a pricey gym, you can afford to buy furniture, and a car for Akemi! There. Problem solved. 🙂


  4. My advice would be to take choice number two, from the sound of things. Don’t worry about anything that’s unfurnished. It seems to limit your choices and it’s not really that big of a deal. Just buy cheapo stuff from garage sales, craigslist, whatever, or from wal-mart type places, then replace them as you go. It’s obviously been too long since you’ve been a college student if you can’t remember how to cobble together some temporary furniture.

    As for the dogs, can’t you just give them a room or fenced-off part of your house while you’re away? Or do they need medications or something throughout the day?

  5. The sets aren’t built yet…I’m sure you can write some doggie dormitories, writers’ dormitories, and maybe a Kitchen Stadium into a script. Have the sets built out of the way….just take the dogs for walks on the days the EXPLOSIONS are scheduled.

    What’s the spoon for?

  6. Since you are not liking Toronto, I’d get a big house, with a big fenced in backyard for the dogs, big gourmet kitchen so Akemi can make you sushi , that looks out into your big living room, big wood panel office for all your writing, big bedrooms for guests, nice sunroom for reading, a big basement to play in, so comfortable and enjoyable it will be your refuge. So actually, option 4 (House #2) sounds wonderful. If Cooper comes over, just pretend you are sleeping and don’t answer the door. 🙂

    I think you will begin to enjoy Toronto more as soon as you get a crew in there, and all the actors. You know, the more to share the misery, the funner it will be.

    Jelly and Maximus failed to wow the judge?! Say what?! What kind of fancy, shmancy, pantcy place is this?

    Have a safe flight!

  7. Got to agree with Das!! If all else fails and you can’t find anything else at least you have Rob!!

    And I hear Ikea sells cheap furniture, also here you have to have an engineering degree to put it together but hey I’m not great at that sort of thing.

    I downloaded an app called iCollect books (they have a few versions) and after it crashed, and I emailed them to fix it, it has worked great. I’m proud to say that I own about 120 books!! Great start to my “one day hope to own a house big enough for a dedicated library”. I’d be curious to know how many you own??

  8. Loved Akemi’s note. “Thank you for everyday.”

    Hope you find a place you like FAST, but remember, it’s only a year… then decide later if you need more permanence… just make it livable for now.

  9. Something that just came to me. In the SGU premier episode, Telford was waiting to lead a team through the gate once Rush decoded the 9th chevron. Supposedly it would have consisted of mostly military but some science types as well. Did any of them make it through the gate to Destiny? Or did all the military members of that team use the F-302’s to fight the L.A.?

  10. By the way, I’m going to start cutting my strawberries that way. Thanks Akemi!

  11. @ Debra – Awwww! I missed the note because I didn’t blow the picture up. That is too sweet! I used to leave notes like that for Mr. Das when we were newly married. Now I leave him notes to clean the kitty litter pan and take out the trash. 😛

    @ Penny – Also, Rob can house sit when Joe goes away, and help him when Joe can’t open is garage door, or his car door, or his house door…or when he loses scripts Rob can help him look for them. AND, since the place is remote, Joey can go out and get the mail in his underdrawers! (I’m figuring he likes those little Gregg Homme dungeon briefs. 😉 )


  12. Joe, as someone that lives a bit out of our main city, to be happy with your surroundings when you log off makes it worth it. Sure, I have to get up a bit earlier to head to clients, but I wake up to kookaburras, great sunrises and it makes the start to a hectic day manageable. But my boss is 2 states away.

  13. House #1: Just think of the stories you’ll have about ghosts.

    House #2: Carpool! Of course, if you and Rob have different schedules when production starts, that won’t work. But hey, you can play squash and lose those five pounds quickly.

    Apartment #1: Are you sure that isn’t haunted too? Hallway from hell. Yikes.

    Looks like the townhouse is your best bet, for now. You still have a little bit more time though. Good luck.

    Akemi is so adorable. Reese’s peanut butter cups. Did she mean that for breakfast or just a snack?

    P.S.–Be nice to Carl. Hey, you could be roommates. Or not. Or he could go live near Rob.

  14. Sorry to hear about the dogs man. When it comes to moving everything sucks. Last summer I moved to a dream apartment in Kansas City, Missouri. Close to work, plenty of parks for my dogs, and great restaurants. Since then , lost my job, haven’t found a new one, and moving into my parents place in Tennessee this summer, gonna love being in that small 3 bedroom with them and our combined four dogs.

  15. Hi joe:
    I was wondering if there is anyone that is keeping a blog or something similar about any SGU news like you used to do for us ? I noticed lately that you have turned most of your focus on your new job. (Hey I dont blame you for that) You can’t keep on living in the past or you will never get to where you want to be !

  16. If you are planning on spending any part of summer in Toronto, you (actually the dogs) need air-conditioning so no house #1….

  17. Hey, i know i am wrong here… but can any one say me if there will be a Stargate Universe Season 3?

    I hope so much !!!

  18. I’m putting my vote with Das’s, Penny’s and Ponytail’s, on House #2. A big yard would be lovely for the pups. You could hire a local kid to come by and walk the dogs. If Rob has lived there a while, he will know some good candidates.
    Of course the dogs are stressed now! They haven’t recovered from the move.

    I loved Akemi’s packed lunch. Especially, the large candy bar 😀 .

  19. My post bit the dust. I think I will never quite remember to copy before hitting post. Now I am tired and will pass on tormenting us both with my dribble. I’ll make up for it tomorrow. *smiles*

  20. I still don’t understand why you can’t work from Vancouver. Video conferencing can handle your presence in the writers room. So why not just stay in Vancouver and call it a day?

  21. Does the doggy day care recommend a Pre-K type of program for those that don’t do well on the entrance exam? 😉

  22. With the info given. I’d first suggest home number three. You have a couple of months to see about having some a/c installed, and you can buy enough furnishings to make the place livable. Location is extremely important, and a place with neighbors to help keep an eye on things would be a plus. And a good sized yard for the dogs should be worth the inconvienance of the shopping needed to bring the place up to snuff. Not to mention the ghosts would make for a cheap security system. Second choice would be the townhouse. Still have to shop for funishings, but Akemi could help, and you won’t have the hassle of trying to find a contracter for the a/c. The dogs and Akemi deserve better than a cramped apartment(heck, you deserve better too).
    Good luck with the run back to Vancouver and back. And if the day care place doesn’t believe your obviously superior animals are worthy of them, they are hallucinatory and undeserving of your patronage. And with the full time sitter, you have the bonus of an extra security system when you’re not home.
    Hope you enjoy your meal on the west coast, and wish you luck on finding places in Toronto that can eventually impress you.

  23. Joe, listen to what Narelle from Aus says. Lots of Texans don’t live in the city. We live just outside the city and commute in to work each day. At the end of a stressful day, you drive home to your little oasis you have created. Big houses on a couple of acres, pool in the backyard, under the stars at night. Heaven. Toronto may be bad but your house can be your haven.

  24. Call me a bird-brain (how about Big Bird brain? makes me feel better about my adolescent self) for posting on your previous entry first. Busy, hectic last few days.

    On to the matter at hand: I really do feel for you concerning your housing dilemma. I think Narelle makes a really good case for distance; but obviously, we’re all just here to lend advice, consolation, encouragement, humor appreciation/generation, or whatever the situation seems to require – well duh, everyone knows that. I seem to be picking up the bad habit of talking to myself, now that second childhood is setting in. (Does it sound like I need a good talking-to? Hell if I know! Still dealing a bit with bipolarity.)

    I really, really hope you can catch every drop of enjoyment available for your brief stay back in Van. A month ago, I thought I’d be going back to Colo; but a phone convo with a strongly hierarchical Hispanic matriarch, with religion as a focal point, effectively ended those plans.

    To bring things back ’round to you, now that my travels will be with my aunt, and she’ll be in Van for something over two weeks – that fair city is all over the place re. being one of the best travel destinations in the world, and I confess to pushing her in Van’s direction – I was thinking how nice it would’ve been to meet you as someone who has been a friend. (Tramps and teamsters?? Water under the bridge; and the vibe I get is that the river runs both ways, re. that issue. Thank you. . .)

    . . . And I was daydreaming that one way or another, I could meet someone called “Gadget Ho,” so we could hit the major gadget shop in town, and then maybe go chill over a hot brew at a local latte lounge and kinda get a feel for face-to-face friendship. Oh well – bad karma, this time. SGU, where are you? *sighs*

    Please excuse my verbosity; it’s part of how I keep stress under control.

    Best wishes / luck to you, Akemi, and the pooch-family for housing, daycare, and anything else that might be a problem. Like having a Cowboys fan as a neighbor. *ww*

    *waves to Derek Petrovsky* Y’all stop by for coffee ‘n homemade apple pie, hear? And don’t worry none ’bout the snow – we’ll shovel that up so no one falls down the hill whiles tryin’ to go up. – You get my point? Okay, then. Good to have good neighbors, an’ this critter don’t mean you no harm. Don’t understand others bein’ all in a rush to judge when they’re ignorant ’bout other folks’ situations an’ circumstances.

    Joe, you’re a trooper (trouper? Both.)

  25. Okay, I’ll weigh in on choice #2, Townhouse #1: New, clean, well-located in nice neighborhood, not far from downtown, modest backyard and unfurnished.

    Also agree with Shawnathat furniture isn’t hard to come by and you have Akemi to assist in choosing.
    Add up those pros and cons and what feels right, then just jump in Joe.

    I remember you once said the crew at Stargate had worked so long together over many years that they worked like a well oiled machine (paraphrase). That advantage doesn’t exist yet on this new job. But having the familiarity of Rob, Paul and Carl must be a great comfort. I truly wish you all great success!

    By the way I chuckle every time you refer to “the Germans”.

    Hey, what does Carl do for living space? His family is in California, right? Does he commute back home each weekend? Or did he relocate his family to Toronto too? And Paul, did he move his family? Don’t think you’ve shared their exploits here. Or did I miss it?

    Good luck flying with Lulu and Bubba.

    Chill’in by the Jersey Shore…

  26. One more thing, if that doggy daycare doesn’t accept your obviously talented, smart and precocious pups, then that establishment is lacking in judgment – period. 😉


  27. Hey Joe,
    Any idea when you can tell us what you actually work on? Dying of curiosity here.

  28. Reading much? Just finished Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn:The Final Empire. Liked his use of allomancy in it.

    Congratulations on the new job and best wishes!

  29. I haven’t tried Omi, but I can recommend Sushi Couture, near Bloor and Bathurst. It’s the new restaurant from the former Japango sushi chef, and they’ve had very good sashimi when I’ve visited. I hear the omakase is excellent, but you’ll need to request it in advance I believe.

  30. @Tobias No there won´t be a third Season of SGU.The Network cancelled SGU so the main investor for the Show is gone.
    All my hope is a Story-Finale in a Direct to DVD/Blu-Ray movie, but as time comes by it seems really unlikely.

  31. @hal ehrlich

    It’s not like Joe doesn’t want to post SGU news, just there is no SGU news to even speak about, the show is cancelled, everyone has pretty much moved on, all but 1 of the main Stargate Universe writers are working on The Transporter, most of the SGU cast have shows they’re either trying out for, currently cast in, or hope to appear in.


    Though I don’t like Sushi myself, are you absolutely sure there are no places what so ever that serve decent Sushi Joe? Surely there is an obscure little restuarant somewhere that has some perfect Sushi lol

  32. @3. House #1

    I would say this, if you can get air con fitted, you’d have a well located house, in a nice neighborhood.

    Granted, sounds like you’re going to have to speand money either way to get the perfect house, so you may as well get the one that you feel is well located, and in a nice area, the only cons would be whats inside the house.

    Even if the house is haunted, its not like Ghosts can hurt you.

  33. The unfurnished pad seems like a great chance to create a distinct funky space separate from your comfy house in Vancouver. You can have a Vegas lounge living with a king size bed for a sofa, tv mounted on the ceiling, and a bathroom jungle with hanging vines everywhere, tube system that run throughout the house so that the pugs can travel around. Paint murals of Che or Bob Marley, have an Elvis kitchen. My dream apt is the penthouse in Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.

    I have rediscovered the (low cal) joy of hummus on Wasa crackers. Wasa with cream cheese in the mornings is simplyfing my life, and all the extra fiber is giving me a boost in energy.

    You and Akemi should partake in a dance or martial arts class, great exercise.

  34. Oh, Townhouse #1. Throw a rug and a futon down, maybe a board on a couple cinderblocks for your TV stand/bookcase, and some crates and baskets for a dresser. Paint it all one color, preferably black or white and call it “Classic post-modern minimalist decor”.

    You will need one glass vase and that terrible statue.

  35. I vote: Townhouse and look into rental furniture. There are a couple of companies in the states that do it (CORT is one that comes to mind). They may have them in Canada, too.

    Akemi is so sweet!

    About the doggie day care: are your dogs trying for an athletic scholarship? If not, why are the judges so critical of their laziness? Snobs!

  36. I vote for option 2 townhouse #1. cause it has all the pros you want with only one con. Picking out furniture is easy: paying the bill usually isn’t. or delivery. but I am sure you can find something you like. Having moved many times, location can’t be changed and does mean a lot as well as roominess. plus the kids need a backyard to lay out in the sun and sniff around. Having lived in houses, going back to an apartment with a shared hallway is really uncomfortable. Even in hotels, I ask for the room closest to the exit door so I don’t have to go down the hallways. just my opinion.

  37. My vote? Option 3: House #1 that is haunted and lacks air conditioning!
    Dude, I’ve been to Toronto in the summer, and I don’t think you’ll be needing air conditioning. Unless you find 60˚ F to be unreasonably hot.

    Of course, if you weren’t joking about being neighbours with Rob, that house would be great–the extra gas cost for the commute would easily be offset by carpooling with him!!!

    And regarding the furnishings: I’d recommend Ikea if you’re worried about cost. (Canada has Ikeas, right?) I plan on driving all the way to Philadelphia to buy the furnishings for my future home/apartment at the Ikea there!

  38. “A friend pointed out that, for the money it would cost me to send the dogs to daycare, I could hire a full-time nanny. Believe me, I’ve thought about it.”

    How about a nanny/housekeeper/assistant ?
    That would maximize the money paid and give the nanny/housekeeper/assistant more varied tasks.

    As to the housing.
    “Townhouse #1” or “House #2” would be my choices.
    In fact “House #2” sounds like it has more long term potential for customization. And it sounds awesome for the dogs.

    And the squash court in the basement…
    Am I the only one that thought “Ooh. Home Cinema and Entertainment room with 3D projector and…..”

  39. Your dogs need a back yard Joe. I vote for Townhouse #1. You get to have fun (or Akemi gets to have fun) picking out furniture, but it’s a bit smaller than a house so not so overwhelming.

  40. The unfurnished townhouse with air and a backyard gets my vote. We lived in TO for years, first in the Junction then Jane and St Clair – every area has it’s best and worst aspects. Frankly, it almost sounds like you dislike Tarana because it’s not Vancouver! 🙂 Which I can kind of agree with, but Toronto has its bonuses. Wait till summer.

    About sushi, I can’t help you. We’re in Ajax now, which would likely be RIGHT out of your driving area, and our favourite sushi house (Makimono) is only based out east. Pickering, Ajax and Whitby.

    Investigate dogsitters. They come in daily, once or twice (as the dogs need) and walk them, play with them and assure them Daddy’s coming home.. 😉 Seriously, they were lifesavers for a friend with two Shiz-tus(? never learned that spelling) and a job in town.

    Good luck. Give the Big Smoke/Hogtown/TO a chance. It’ll grow on you.

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