With the UFC in town, last night was fight night. But rather than join the tattoo an weird beard crowd at the Rogers Centre for the various beatdowns, I elected to spend the evening with the lovely Erika Kennair, SyFy Executive and former SGU point person. Erika was as disappointed as any of us by the cancellation decision and it was nice to catch up with her, reminisce, and enjoy a fantastic meal at my favorite Italian restaurant in town: Scarpetta. To be honest, I wasn’t blown away by my dinner at the Vegas location, but after watching an episode of The Best Thing I Ever Ate in which one guest (could have been Ted Allen) talked up the restaurant’s signature Spaghetti, I decided to check out Scarpetta’s Toronto location. Ted was right. The spaghetti is amazing (creamy tomato, burst of basil, and texturally toothsome delight). And so are many of the pastas on the menu.
The night got off to a bad start however. I figured Italian would be perfect because Erika is a vegetarian. We placed our orders (multiple vegetarian dishes which we split, and an order of the tagliatelle with the guanciale on the side) and, while waiting, were served the bread basket. “Try that bread,”I advised pointing out one particularly memorable slice. “It’s amazing.” She popped it into her mouth, took a couple of chews, then stopped and a perplexed look played over her face.
“What is that?”she asked, eyeing the bread stuffed bread on her plate suspiciously.
“Uh, fig jam?”I offered, hoping against hope.
“That’s meat,”our waiter informed us.
We started with two sides, both excellent: roasted carrots with lentils, and sweet roasted onions with raisins and goat cheese.
And then it was time for dessert. Or, should I say, dessertS. I love a female dining companion who can keep up…
A great meal with great company. And, after dinner, Erika dropped by to say hello to the dogs. Not surprisingly, they really hit it off. Jelly, Bubba, and Lulu spent the entire time vying for her affection. Maximus, on the other hand, who always plays hard to get, sat in his bed and snoozed.
Anyway, it was great to catch up and reminisce over old times.
Speaking of old times, I believe the last time I stepped off Stargate memory lane, we had just wrapped up y first year on the show: SG-1’s fourth season.
Moving on to SG-1 season five…
So, right after wrapping SG-1’s fourth season, the writers’ got together (at that time, Brad, Rob, Paul, Peter, and myself) and started spinning ideas for what was intended to be the show’s fifth and final season. We broke stories through November and then, with December almost upon us, all headed our separate ways to enjoy the holidays – well, as much as could be enjoyed given that we had scripts to write. For my part, I headed back to Montreal where I celebrated Christmas with my family. After years of doubt, my parents had finally come around to the fact that maybe I COULD support myself as a writer after all. Years back, when I’d first informed them that I was leaving my 9 to 5 position at Cinar for the uncharted waters of freelance work, they were horrified. My mother couldn’t understand why anyone would leave the comfort and security of an office job for the uncertainty of freelancing. When I explained that it would mean actually making more money (and spending less time on the clock), my father was dubious. Especially after hearing what I would be earning in my first year. “So you’re telling me you’re going to make more than the Prime Minister?”he challenged. To which I shrugged and said: “It’s not my fault the Prime Minister is underpaid.” But finally, after years of freelancing, when it became evident that I wouldn’t need to hawk my comic book collection or subsist on ketchup soup, my parents began to see the light – and it was after that initial year on Stargate that they finally came around. Unlike the animated shows I’d worked on, here was a series that friends and co-workers were familiar with, a show they could actually watch – at least until my name popped up during the opening credits. For some reason, it actually felt more real to them. I’m sure I was as relieved as they were.
We headed back to Vancouver in early January and geared up for the big series finish. Along the way, as we were wont to do every hiatus, we opened the doors to freelancers in our quest for a new staff writer. Ron Wilkerson, who had SF experience working on both Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Voyager, won the position on the strength of a terrific phone pitch. We bought the story (what would later become the episode Red Sky), and welcomed him aboard. Ron got the office next door to mine and, every morning, he would announce himself by stepping into my doorway, coffee mug in hand, double-stamp his feet to get my attention, and greet me with a cheerful: “Morning, Joe.” “Morning, Ron,”I’d say and then, with a big smile, he’d be off, working his way down the corridor. He was a smart, incredibly nice guy and, over the course of his stay with us (and beyond) ended up writing about a half dozen episodes. I later learned that his creative mind wasn’t limited to script work. In 2003, he invented the BreakMaster Digital Green Reader, a device used by golfers (many pros included) to locate the downhill direction of the green! I salute his ability to actually put his golf knowledge to practical use. If I could follow along the same lines and invent a device that could benefit fans of either anime, science fiction novels, or nutella.
Next entry, more season five memories: Serpent’s Hat! Puppy Maximus! And more fandom rumblings!