So what are you guys reading?  Watching?  Before leaving Vancouver, I loaded up my kindle, stocking up for the long months ahead.  I figured I’d blaze through the selection in no time.  Instead, I’ve managed to read a whole half book since hitting T.O.  The fact is I just haven’t had the time.  Between the show and the settling in and the walking of the dogs and the blogging and the trying out of the new restaurants, I’ve been lucky to have any time for much else. Still, I have been enjoying my latest read –

With the exception of The Gunslinger, the first book in his Dark Tower series, Stephen King has never disappointed.  His latest is a collection of four novellas.  I’ve only read the first two – ” Big Driver” (the one I started with because, inexplicably, my kindle opened the book on the second story) and “1922” – and both are classic King: creepy, often grisly, and deeply unsettling, mainly as a result of his ability to craft believable characters with whom the audience can sympathize.

Would love to be watching more but, alas, the crappy DVD player in the apartment is pretty damn finicky and will only play one of every four dvd’s.  We were working our way through Top Chef Masters which, alas, I thought was going to a lot more fun than it actually is.  Also today, I swung by Anime Extreme and picked up a few titles I won’t be able to watch anytime soon unless I get a new DVD player…

I believe one of you recommended this one.  Anyway, Akemi can’t wait to start watching.  Which she’ll have to, of course.  Also…

Watched the first volume of this hilarious over-the-top series a couple of months and loved it.  Haven’t been able to track down volume 2 yet but snagged volume 3 when I saw it sitting on the shelf.  And…

An Akemi request. Any Sgt. Frog fans out there?

We took a walk through Chinatown, stopping to check out a barbecue restaurant for lunch.  The service was perfunctory (typical of most casual Chinese eateries) but the food was quite good.  While Toronto apparently can’t serve up a sushi platter to save its reputation, it DOES do Chinese well…


The barbecue platter. We went with the barbecued pork (very good), the soy barbecue chicken (tastiest of the three, but cold), and the barbecue duck (lacked the mahogany crispness of ducks I’ve had elsewhere). That dipping sauce of minced green onions, ginger, and oil was killer.
I’m not a huge congee fan but this version, with scallops, was outstanding.
My papaya shake.

Playing tourist in Chinatown.

After lunch, I put prepped my port-raised short ribs, then headed to the Senses Cafe where I met up with an old friend –



I hadn’t seen her since leaving Montreal for Vancouver some twelve years ago.  And she hasn’t changed at all.  Loved working with her back in my animation days and enjoyed catching up over desserts –


Of the three desserts we shared, I thought the coconut and white chocolate cake was the clear winer.

Anyway, she’s in town for some Writers Guild of Canada to-do and we’ll be meeting up again tomorrow night for dinner at Lai Wah Heen, purported to be the top Chinese restaurant in the city.

Hey, my second to last episode of Stargate: Universe, The Hunt, airs this week.  It’s an interesting episode in that I tried very hard to make sure most every character got the opportunity to make a contribution.  I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts and will make it a point to field your questions after the episode airs.  Tomorrow, I’ll upload the pics of “the beast”, from concept design to sculpt to almost finished.

31 thoughts on “April 9, 2011: Reading, eating, watching. And you?

  1. Eden of the East is a masterpiece pure and simple, the main character starts his journey naked with a phone with 8 billion yen on it and tasked with saving the nation.

    Simply put, Joe when you start watching it, be prepared for one of the most surprising and awesome endings you have ever seen, and by this I mean just how it all plays out.

    Speaking of which Eden of the East also has 3 movies, the 1st and 2nd movie follow the main plotline the 3rd movie is more a recap.

    Seriously Joe when you watch, seriously post your thoughts on it. Especially the ending, it may only be 11 episodes long but the way it comes at you, you’l love.

    I don’t like Keroro Gunso(Sgt Frog) Sorry just not my kinda show, did try and get into it but, impossible!

    Anyway some stuff that I found good.

    Black Butler(Akemi would probably like this)

    Sacred Blacksmith(Fantasy show with some romantic elements, very girl likes guy but can’t admit situations, but guy is an awesome blacksmith)

    Kenichi(50 episodes long, funny martial arts/comedy anime)

    Tower of Druaga(Both seasons are out now in one boxset, loved this series, again another fantasy anime, with swords, magic etc, first series isnt very serious, gets serious with season 2)

    Durarara(Only available at sellers?)(Dual audio release anyway, based in the same universe as Bacanno)

    (Anime out this month in America/Canada)

    K-On!(Very popular slice of life type show, the highest selling show in Japan even, only 4 episodes on the Blu Ray/DVD though, out every 2 months)

    Melancholy of Haruhi-Chan Suzumiya & Nyoron(If you love Haruhi you’l love this..)

    Clannad and Clannad After Story(2 very good anime shows)

    Clannad Movie(Awful animation, good story)

  2. And I forgot to mention Bamboo Blade, an anime series based at a normal Japanese school where the focus is on Kendo, basically a loser teacher teaches a bunch of girls how to do Kendo, most of the girls are stronger than him at the sport, very slice of life, good if you like Kendo and a light anime thats harmless that focuses on the characters.

  3. Did you bring basically nothing from home? What if this job pans out to longer… will you then move your stuff? Get a dvd player for crying out loud as even cheap ones work quite well.

    My life is consumed this week with Comcast. We haven’t decided where we are moving when my daughter finishes college, but we do agree having another cable option than Comcast is a big factor. 🙁

    Typical interaction:
    No outages, it is you.
    No … it isn’t.
    Yes, it is. Stand on your head, twist around and touch the floor while holding your dog above your head 3 times.
    Twist the other way, count to 553.
    Oh, must be an unreported outage.


  4. You mean you will answer questions after it airs in canada on tuesday right!

    Anyways i am reading The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan, so far about 5 chapters in and its really captured me with the interesting narrative. The story is told through a tape recording in which the two main characters are describing the past events, seemingly a lead up to the climax in which i assume we would view the events in real time. But only a guess at this point, book 2 in the series comes out next month.
    As for eating i had some really bad chinese food tonight and am not feeling good at all, never going back to On Yuen.
    Also i am finishing up Season 3 of my Seinfeld complete series box set, aswell as watching through Season 1 of Star Trek TNG with my g/f who has never seen any of the shows before.

  5. Not a fan of congee? It is bland and basic but it can be fantastic. It’s all about what you add. I think about about it like chicken broth; I don’t like it alone but add the right things to it and it is fantastic.

    Plus congee for me was the start of a special friendship. Years ago, when my son was in pre-school, he made friends with a boy in school whose parents spoke next to no English. They were originally from Kowloon and then moved to Chinatown in New York before moving here. We live in a very non-diverse area (mostly European decent). The parents have the Chinese restaurant in our town. We would go to the restaurant to help the son with his homework; it wasn’t any trouble because it was the same as my son’s. When summer came sometimes we would go to the restaurant in the morning before they opened so the boys could play. (How do you ask a parent who doesn’t speak English if their son can come over your house to play with your son?) The mother started asking me, through non-verbal communication, to have congee with her for breakfast.

    Now years later we are all fast friends. They still speak very little English (and we have only learned a little bit of Chinese except for out son who has learned a great deal) but through a continual game of Charades crossed with Pictionary we communicate surprisingly efficiently. (We found that the boys were not always very trustworthy being our translators when they would translate, “Is is okay for my son to come over today?” to “Would you watch my son because I have to work today?”)

    Anyway congee always makes me think of the beginnings of dear friendship.


  6. Last read:
    “ANGEL OF VENGEANCE” by Trevor Munson

    *DO* read this Joe! It’s great Noir, with a twist…

    Last Viewed:

  7. Currently, I’m reading an urban fantasy called Magic to the Bone, by Devon Monk. I’m mostly reading it because apparently the author lives in my city and she’s having a book signing soon. I’d like to go, since I’m curious to talk to a local author who’s actually published, and I figured I ought to read at least one of her books first. I’m not very far into it yet, but so far I have the feeling that it might be one of those where I read the first one and don’t really feel like reading the rest of the series.

    As for TV, let’s see… Dexter, Vampire Diaries, The Office, Community, House, Being Human (mostly the US version so far), How I Met Your Mother, Big Bang Theory… A lot of those I’m caught up on and am just trying to catch the new eps as they come, but some I’m still catching up on. Really enjoying Dexter. Vampire Diaries has grown on me; I like it, but it’s not without some logical problems at times. Being Human’s good so far. The Office and Community are consistently awesome, but I haven’t liked the last couple seasons of Big Bang Theory as much as the first couple.

    I feel like I should watch more anime as I’ve liked a lot of what little I have seen, but it never seems to occur to me to do so.

  8. Started reading Steven King’s UR on my iPad which is a short story about a pink Kindle. So far it’s good.

    Also brought to work with me today “The Next Queen of Heaven” by Gregory Maguire I enjoyed his writing for “Wicked” and “Son of a Which” but this is the only other book of his I’ve picked up.

    Recently picked up Fringe season 1 on Blu-Ray but haven’t yet started in to it.

  9. Still haven’t been doing as much reading as I’d like here, but I have been doing some watching. “Justified” on FX is having a great second season, and “The Killing” on AMC turned out to be quite good. Watchable, unique leads, and the show is unafraid of taking its time. The grief of the parents is pretty brutal, though.

  10. Right now I’m not reading or watching, much of anything. Still eating, but nothing spectacular. I’ve been under a ton of stress lately – I can’t seem to get through one day without some major ‘disaster’ (I’m pretty sure I’ve turned into Murphy, or Job.).

    Reading: Right now, nada. Comic book order is delayed, I’m all caught up with Pendergast save for the last book, which I’m saving for special, and really, I don’t have time or energy to read right now because if I even try, I’ll just fall asleep face first into the book. That said, when I do have the time and energy, my comic book pull still includes Iron Man, all things Wolverine (plus Daken and X-23), Secret Six, Astonishing X-Men and Uncanny X-Force, and some minis – Sherlock Holmes, Sweets (which has just one ish of the mini left), and a new Solomon Kane mini that’s just coming out. Also, BOOM! has a new Elric book (and story) coming out – not written by Mike, but he has faith in it, and so do I.

    Out of the hero-type books I just mentioned, the two best are Uncanny X-Force and Secret Six, in that order. Joe, you’ve read Secret Six so no need telling you why that’s good, but you might want to give Uncanny X-Force a try. It’s much different from X-Force – not so confusing. The first arc of Uncanny X-Force just blew me away. I am now in love with Fantomex, and it has ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with the fact that he’s all in white, and has a personality very much like Elric and Zenith…nothing, nothing at all… *shifty eyes*

    OH, okay…yeah, I have this thing for pale, arrogant types lately. 😛 Blame it on Steve and Todd! 😀

    Watching: Rugby. Super Rugby (club team competition between SA, Aus, NZ), and Magner’s League, Heineken Cup & Amlin Challenge Cup from the British Isles and Europe. That takes up the best part of my weekend and sometimes the week. I squeeze in Castle, SGU, NCIS, and now CHAOS, and when they’re airing (which is soon) White Collar, Psych, and Scanctuary. If I remember and have nothing else to do, I’ll watch COPS, Doctor Who, and old movies, and any British detective movie that comes on. However, truth be told, I am very bored with tv and right now so mentally distracted that I either fall asleep during the show (and have to re-watch during breakfast), or I just can’t remember what I had just watched. I think I have Alzheimer’s.

    Eating: With my kitchen torn apart for a week (finally got the cabinet bottoms rebuilt and everything put away last night, woo!), we’ve been eating out at a new Greek diner that just opened down the street, or ordering in. I did manage to cook one nice dinner amid the mess of my kitchen – bacon-wrapped filet mignon, asparagus sauteed in garlic and olive oil, and good ol’ baked potatoes with butter and Greek yogurt. It was all very good, but not the most enjoyable setting for a nice dinner – we ate in front of the tv because the table and countertops were all loaded with crap from under the sink.

    I don’t do well with my life all turned upside down and so I’m a bit distracted and stressed lately, and that makes it hard for me to focus and concentrate on unimportant stuff, except rugby. I still love watching those sweaty, smelly great big blokes rolling around in the mud. Now, if only they were all albinos…


    (Yeah, some things never change…)


  11. Reading: A Dark Matter, by Peter Straub. He’s one of those writers that, upon picking up his book, I wonder if I will ever really be able to get into it. And then I’m 1/2 way through it and roped in 🙂

    Watching: Documentary last night on Lemmy from Motorhead. Tron (new one), also Endgame.

    Eating: Made a BBQ pork roast last night, with beer. I don’t drink beer anymore but it’s nice to cook with. So, this morning – cold pork slice 🙂

  12. Watched that film “The Eagle” thought it was pretty good, great to see how they portrayed the ancient Scot’s it was just like how I would image they would be 2000 years ago.

    I did think though they could have taken a leaf out of the TV Series “Spartacus” regarding the Roman side of things, but they still made a good effort.
    Overall for the type of film I thought it was Brilliant.

    Watched “Battle Los Angeles”, still not sure what to make of it.
    Acting was Great, Effects were awesome but still I felt it needed the Stargate Team’s touch.

    Looking forward to Monday night’s SGU looks awesome and you right up’s got me even more excited.

    Joe, I know your asked this all the time, have you heard anything, has Brad say anything, but I was wondering what does Joe think? Do you think you’ll get to wind up the story?


  13. We missed the first ep of Top Chef Masters (if only Bravo would re-play shows endlessly so we could catch it!) but, come on, wasn’t it worth watching for Christina Hendricks alone?!

    I was thinking about casting of Frank for the new show. Has the role been cast yet?

    Henry Cavill might be good in the part, if you scruff him up a bit. Same with Jamie Bamber if, you know, you could get him to be about 5″ taller. Richard Armitage? Aidan Turner I could see. Idris Elba would be great, but could you get him?

    Is he gonna be bald or is that not a necessity?

    Reading: Tons of stuff about modern design & architecture

    Watching: TRON Legacy (my wife hasn’t seen it yet); seeing Source Code tonight

    Playing: Played the Beta of a game called Sanctum. It was ok, but too easy, and the latest version is broken. But…Portal 2 in 9 days, woot!

    Eating: Haven’t cooked in forever. I think I might make a bunch of chicken and/or veal cutlets today at some point to have as part of breakfast for the next week. Always like to have some meaty protein with my breakfast, and sausage gets old. (bacon never gets old)

  14. Right now, the only thing I am reading is this daily blog. I look forward to it every day. It is very intertaining and interesting and is packed with tidbits of one man’s daily life. I read all the comments too. They are the “icing on the cake”.

    I am trying not to watch so much TV. It is irritating me that they put good shows on in the evening, when I should be outside sitting in the sun reading a good book, or playing with my dog, or working in my yard, or inside cleaning my house. I am feeling like TV producers are conspiring to keep my house dirty and me sitting on my butt, never seeing the light of day, just staring at the TV.

    @ Das – hang in there.

  15. Lately I’ve been reading (or re-reading) some Legion of Super-Heroes stories (reading both the current title and some of the trades reprinting older material like the Great Darkness Saga). Been eating a pizza I ordered last night while watching Riese: Kingdom Falling (starring Patrick Gilmore and Peter Kelamis, narrated by Amanda Tapping) on Space channel. Had some of the pizza left over so I ate it again today for dinner.

  16. I’ve been watching the BBC show “Sherlock” obsessively. Who would have thought that setting Holmes and Watson in 2010 would work so well? GeekBoy and I actually sat down and tried to draw the floor plan of their flat. We’re warped.

  17. Just started reading the windup girl by paolo bacigalupi. A hundred pages in and its really good. Im watching community,supernatural,smallville,justified,stargate (of course) and have just started watching doctor who for the very first time (last years series). Its a really charming show.

  18. Not reading a whole lot interesting right now—starting to do homeschool planning for next year.

    Same for television–except for SGU of course. But my kids have started to like Mondays though since I have designated it as baking day, LOL. Nothing like sitting down to watch SGU with a warm chocolate brownie cookie or sugar cookie in your hand. Yum!!!

    Hope the rest of your day is good. We are headed to the bookstore. Maybe I’ll find something interesting there.

  19. The dipping sauce of green onions, ginger, and oil is similar to my mother’s except she also adds in oyster sauce and soy sauce. She always adds in hot oil. This version is a lot tastier, IMO.

    Despite growing up eating congee, I’m not a big fan of it, either. My dad makes a very good version using fish, and it is suprisingly good.

    Have you been to the Chinese malls out in Markham yet? I’m thinking of Pacific Mall in particular. They have a large Chinese food court, as well as stores selling all and sundry. Might be worth a couple of hours of a weekend afternoon if you and Akemi are looking for something to do.

  20. Hi Joe,

    I don’t know if you’ve seen the Doctor Who episodes ‘End of Time’, but….(if you haven’t, just ignore this comment.) there’s a line from that episodes Main Bad Guy keeps nagging me.

    Near the end, Rassilon – the wacko Time Lord President – plans to destroy the universe by letting a rift eat it. The Master then says that is suicide and here it comes….

    “We will ASCEND to become creature of conscientious alone. Free of these bodies. Free of time, and cause and effect. While creation itself ceases to be !”

    So my question to you is….what would the Ancients have done if the Doctor had failed to stop them ? Would they just have let a whole planet of wacko Time Lords ascend ?

  21. Watching Survivor, Amazing Race, The Ultimate Fighter, SGA reruns, SGU occasionally, and waiting for return this week of Fringe, Sanctuary, and Supernatural – all three, in my time zone, on at exactly the same time, dammit! So, Fringe live, Sanctuary second showing, Supernatural when available online.

    Reading Brian Greene, The Fabric of the Cosmos. My eyes can only take an hour or so of reading, so it’s better to read something best digested in small chunks, anyway. (If I read good fiction, I’ll get carried away and end up with a lousy headache and unable to focus for the rest of the day.)

    BTW – checked out the SyFy movie of the week just because Joe Flanigan was in it… Good Lord, what a hash! Joe F. did his best with what he was given, but ouch! Apparently all the budget went to a good CGI creature, nothing left for writing (stream of cliches) editing (randomly inserted background shots) or plot continuity (foreshadows and hints leading nowhere, a character left hanging fate unknown, an ending that wasn’t one). That’s two hours I’ll never get back.

  22. Not reading anything at the moment. I tend to watch a lot of TV though. My favorite network is History Channel…Top Shot…Pawn Stars…The Universe…Modern Marvels…just to name a few. Plus, I’m a history buff. Also, love Discovery Channel….Mythbusters….Deadliest Catch (can’t wait for season premier on Tuesday :D)…and Dirty Jobs. Also love The Food Network.

    Joe…that BBQ platter made my mouth water and my stomach growl. Yummmm! That looks sooo scrumptious! 😀

  23. Been reading

    The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day


    Froggy Goes to School – a bit of a propaganda piece, but a decent conversation starter

    About to watch

    The Hill starring Sean Connery


    Watching a bit of Initial D again, but my attention is split when I do. Did you know there was a live action version out there? They cast the goofy buddy perfectly.

    I like how the live action characters seem a little grungier. The real life people who race on public roads aren’t the stoic characters we see in Initial D. They’re the reason I can’t take my kids on walks anymore.

  24. Hey Joe

    Watching: SG:U (of course), Castle, Fringe, Nikita, NCIS (and LA), Hawaii 50 and, when available, Haven, Eureka, Warehouse 13, Human Target, Doctor Who and Torchwood.

    Reading: Well, listened to, The Orc King and The Pirate King and am looking for The Ghost King (all books by R.A. Salvatore).

    Eating: Nothing good for me 🙂

    Oh, I’ve also been watching curling (my other sport weakness after the NFL). Canada’s playing for the World Men’s gold medal tonight against Scotland. We’ve beat them twice so far this tourney but they are a tough bunch.


  25. Cute outfits in Eden of the East, reminds me of Candy-Candy. I grew up on Capitan Futoro and Mazinger Zeta. It’s all good.

    The barbecue looks very tasty. Do you think you’ll work with Anne Marie on some new cool animation project? Surely you have at least one epic anime Cowboy Bebop-type show percolating on the back burner?

    Animated Stargate? A great way to bring in new fans, think of those Trek cartoons.

  26. I’m also watching Upstairs Downstairs; not as engrossing as Downton Abbey but very good.

  27. Shiny – There was an animated Stargate show some years ago called “Stargate Infinity”. I doubt it brought in many new fans, though… 😛

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