Today, we took Maximus for his last visit to University of Guelph’s small animal hospital.  He finished up his radiation treatments two weeks ago and, this morning, he was in for one of his last anti-cancer vaccines.  While the initial results of the radiation treatment were encouraging in that we saw a shrinkage in the mass of the tumor, ensuing treatments had little effect and, eventually, the tumor returned to it’s original size suggesting a particularly aggressive melanoma. According to the radiation oncologist, our best shot now is that the anti-cancer vaccine encourages his immune system to fight the cancer.  Positive results would manifest themselves in 2-3 months after the initial vaccine – which was two months ago.

When we get back to Vancouver, I’ll take him to a holistic vet and see what they can recommend for my little guy.

This is Maximus's routine. We check in and he immediately goes into hiding, no doubt hoping no one will notice him under there.
We leave Maximus for a couple of hours and kill time at the local mall. Akemi enjoys a cappuccino. Or, should I say, Akimmy.
For lunch, I had a subpar gyro and a doughnut medley for dessert. Double chocolate all the way!
Maximus is usually fairly sedate, but he is at his most excited when we pick him up after treatment. Here he is looking downright hopeful.
And happy here. He knows we're going home.
He and Jelly are sun hogs. Can't wait to get back to Vancouver and see the two of them settling back into their routine of lying side by side in the backyard.


kabra writes: “Does she see us Westerners as an odd sort? What was her biggest adjustment?”

Answer: Funnily enough, her biggest adjustment was the customer service here in North America.  Let’s just say it’s a little less professional here than it is in Japan.  One of the things she found particular odd was the post-purchase exchange.  She would say “Thank you” and the salesperson would respond “You’re welcome”.  In Japan, she would say “Thank you” and the salesperson would say “Thank you” back.  For the life of her, she couldn’t understand why people were saying “You’re welcome”, as if they were doing her a favor, when, in fact, she was the one helping them out by shopping at their store.  I explained that the employee mindset is very different here than it is in Japan.  In Japan, employees consider themselves part of the company they work for, so they ARE thankful for your business.  In North America, employees are hired guns with no real loyalty to the company they work for, so they couldn’t care less whether you shop there or not – unless, of course, they’re swinging some sort of commission on the sale.

archersangel writes: “i support an akemi Q&A too, but maybe start her off slow with 1 or 2 questions first.”

Answer: I floated the idea today and she loved it.  I also suggested we do a regular Ask Akemi advice column to get her unique Japanese take on matters of burning interest to the readers of this blog.  She said she’d think about it.

James Runciman writes: “Joe, i’m a moderator for alvaro’s comicboards (
and i was wondering if you’d like to do a q+a for us if your interested?”

Answer: Sure.  How to proceed?

James Runciman also writes: “i was also wondering what other project you’d like to eventually go on to?
what kind of influences would you say you’ve had for dark matter?”

Answer: Future projects?  Not sure.  Paul and I are entertaining several possibilities.  Ideally, however, we’d love to do our own show – preferably Dark Matter which launches in comic book form in January and which we’ll be going out to pitch as a television series soon after.  As for influences for Dark Matter? Hmmm.  Tough to say.

Jasper writes: “1.) Do you walk around with a notebook allday to make notes for your blog/writing assignments?”

Answer: Nope, it’s all in my head.  Which is why I get it wrong half the time.

“2.a) you mentioned that you have a Home Theatre, Did you build it your self or did you have a company working on it?
2.b)Can you show us some pix/ tech spec’s of the room
2.c)what are tech spec’s of the room and equipment”

Answer: I hired a company to build it.  Pics and specs will have to wait until I’m back in Vancouver.

“3.a)Do you have a 3D projector and what do you think of the 3D revolution that is going on.
3.b)Do you think that ,in time tv shows will be broadcasted in 3D, that it will add something extra for you as writer to keep in mind while writing the stories?”

Answer: Honestly?  I think it’s a fad.  3D productions are nothing new, only the technology and experienced has changed.

iom666 writes: “Oh medical exam ?? so that means you’re the sponsor for Akemi’s permanent residency permit ?”

Answer: That’s the plan.

24 thoughts on “September 22, 2011: One final trip to Guelph for Maximus! Mailbag!

  1. Maximus looks very happy when he knows he is going home. I can’t wait to see what happens when he gets back to Vancouver.

  2. Akemi’s is going to get flooded with questions! Maybe it’ll give you a little break. 🙂 Max, as usual, is adorable. Kisses to him from us!

  3. Ditto what PBMom said.

    Re: “Ask Akemi”….yes, yes, PLEASE Akemi, please say yes.
    That would be sooooo cool.

  4. Dear little Maximus is in my thoughts – he’ll fight the good fight… Hopefully, Akemi has a steely-eyed negotiator to secure her a good deal for any future gigs. Do not tell us that you plan to sweet-talk and smile her into stepping into the lion’s den with proper recompense…

  5. *hugs and kisses for Maximus* Breaks my heart when he hide under the chairs. Looks so nervous and scared. I just wanna hug him and give him belly rubs. Poor Maximus. I just hope and pray the tumor goes away. Love it when he know he’s going home. Happy doggie. 🙂

    Akimmy! LOL 😀 I love it! Would’ve loved to see Akemi’s reaction when she saw her name like that. 🙂 I would a Q&A from Akemi. 🙂

  6. Heh, that’s okay, Starbucks (or anywhere else for that matter) can’t get my name right, either, and it’s not foreign.

    Maximus looks adorable, even when hiding.

    And I think you’re spot on with the customer service exchange.

  7. Crappity crap crap CRAP! I missed another mailbag. 🙁 Oh well…I guess I’ll never find out if you manscape. 😉

    Still rooting for Maximus! As an owner of two old, ailing cats, I know how hard it is to face the inevitable, but I also know I can do my best to make them as happy and as comfy as possible in their golden years. Or, as it is in our house, in their puke-y, miss-the-litter-pan, caterwauling in the middle of the night, years. Still, I love them!

    And I am totally all for an ‘Ask Akemi’!! That would be so much fun!

    Have a good night, Joe, Akemi and the pups!


  8. I would LOVE an Akemi section. 🙂
    I am so very sad the treatment hasn’t shown improvement. Hoping the vaccine helps. So wonderful to see him excited to go home. I hate the C word.
    Any idea when you will head home?

  9. i didn’t expect a response to my statement. cool!

    quoting: scigirl451
    Do not tell us that you plan to sweet-talk and smile her into stepping into the lion’s den with proper recompense…

    i agree. if she reads the comments here, she know this is a rough crowd. 😉

  10. Go Maximus, good luck little buddy! Makes me chuckle to read the Akemisms, fun stuff. Akimmy, thats cute,guess it was close.
    Was just reading about a burger place in Vancouver, Splitz Grill, any good? ever been? I don’t live there, so just reading about it made me hungry.
    and thanks for the donut pictures, that was killer too.
    Have a good night!

  11. “In North America, employees are hired guns with no real loyalty to the company they work”

    I believe that loyalty would be there if the companies/bosses would be more loyal to their employees than of the dollars sign. Here they cut jobs because it will raise the value of their stock, or it can raise their salaries from 2 millions $ to 4 millions $. I remember a few years ago Bell cut for 40 millions $ of jobs. Bell’s big boss give himself a raise of 40 millions $. From 2 M$ to 42 M$. And he retired after that year.

    Are Japanese companies loyal to there employees ?

  12. Loved the dog pictures. I’ve seen someone walking a dog that looks very similar to Maximus–always do a double take when I see it, LOL.

    I would love an Akemi section too.

    Question to all: What’s the easiest site to set up for blogging/writing? I’m thinking of putting something together for myself, and now that my computer is working again, it’s actually possible. Yeah!!!

    Have a great day!!!!

  13. Those puppies have such expressive faces. They look happy and content. Poor little Maximus – he’s a trooper.

    That;s interesting how Akemi sees us, and her view kinda makes sense. Yes the quality of customer service here is well not great. And it’s funny – I have worked retail and in my last job (shudders) I would say “Thank You” if someone purchased something in our store. I was at Restoration Hardware at the time and the customers could have gone down the way to Pottery Barn and I would thank them for coming in even if they didn’t buy anything, And I must say the team we had at the time received stellar reports from our home office and from customers, but that was just us at the time. In my last job ( scheduling surgeries) – I would thank the office for calling us – they could have easily chose the other hospital in the area – well depending on the patient’s insurance (let’s not go there). But the more we booked the busier we were. So the customer is thankful we helped them and we are thankful they used our services etc. Interesting.

  14. Hi Joe,

    I thought I’d pass this exciting bit of info along….

    FTL has become a reality.,2817,2393444,00.asp#fbid=X6EnxD3JmK1

    …this was just announced (Thursday, 22 September). If it’s possible for particles to travel faster than light, then that could turn the world of science upside down and science-fiction right-side up.

    Here’s a copy/paste of the article linked above:

    Researchers Claim Particles Can Travel Faster than Light

    A team of international researchers said Thursday that they have discovered particles that appear to move faster than the speed of light.

    If true, the results would completely overturn the principle that nothing can move faster than light itself, a staple of science fiction. In movies like Star Wars and Star Trek, warp drives, hyperspace and other means are used to propel fictional space travelers around the universe.

    A team of researchers shot neutrinos over a period of three years from the CERN particle accelerator in Switzerland to detectors at Gran Sasso 500 miles away, according to a Reuters report filed Thursday.

    Light would have covered the distance in around 2.4 thousandths of a second, according to the researchers. But the neutrinos took 60 nanoseconds — or 60 billionths of a second — less than the time that light would require to travel the same distance. To reach Gran Sasso, the neutrinos had to pass through water, air and rock, Reuters reported.

    “I just don’t want to think of the implications,” Antonio Ereditato, the spokesman for the research effort, told Reuters. “We are scientists and work with what we know.”

    Ereditato led a team of researchers known as Opera, which was a combined team from both CERN as well as the Gran Sasso facility in Italy. The team will provide its official results on Friday, where they ask other researchers to double-check their results.

    CERN, of course, was most commonly known for its Large Hadron Collider, which began smashing particles together in 2010. At the time, conspiracy theorists worried that the the world’s biggest machine, which slammed beams of particles together at a record collision energy of 7 tera-electron volts (TeV) or 7 million million electron volts – would potentially destroy the world.

    Albert Einstein’s famous equation, e=mc^2, established light’s speed, 186,000 miles per second as the upper boundary for velocity. It also established light’s speed as a “cosmic constant,” as Reuters noted.

    Here’s an article from Reurters on the subject that was posted today:

  15. I vote “yes” on Ask Akemi!

    I agree with her on the whole customer service subject. In general, I encounter the same thing and have a similar reaction. But the check-out folks at my local grocery store recently started saying “Thanks for shopping here – we appreciate your business!” I’m pretty sure it’s a scripted thing for them, but it still makes me feel better.

  16. Dear Mr. Mallozzi, for 2 yrs or more?? your blog is the only one I have read daily. Hell, I don’t even read other blogs twice a year. Until now. I have decided to become unfaithful to you. I am now also going to make this blog a regular.

  17. hey Joe, I just read they are gonna remake your “favorite” movie, scarface, you think thats a good idea? 🙂

    When you pitch Dark Matter, is it gonna be for syfy or another network? And does Dark Matter have your signature humor in it? or is it super serious?

  18. Ramble: One evening I was shopping at Saikaya, up on the top floor where they had the special regional displays (kites, knives, foods, one time just pickled vegetables). My purchase was being carefully wrapped, and I was the last customer on the floor. As I descended the escalator, I quickly figured out I was the last customer in the entire department store. At each floor the escalator attendant ladies in the white gloves stood by to say thank you and farewell, the floor managers at their sides. I could see every counter as I rode down, all the cashiers and sales clerks smiling and bowing goodbye to me from across the displays. Not one person was ringing out their register or closing anything up until I was out the main doors. I felt guilty that I was keeping everyone waiting! It made a deep and lasting impression, and I can’t imagine this level of service at any American store.

    Most Americans are wowed by the package wrapping, I know clerks go to special training just for that skill! We aren’t talking gift wrap here, packages in nicer stores are all neatly wrapped up in paper. Only the newer discount stores merely toss things in bags. I miss Daiei! I still use all my canvas grocery bags I bought there, some are going on 20 years old and are still hanging tough.

  19. Hi Joe:

    When I read this blog, I thought of you and your comment that you write your blog to stay sharp as a writer.

    He says: “No one ever gets talker’s block. No one wakes up in the morning, discovers he has nothing to say and sits quietly, for days or weeks, until the muse hits, until the moment is right, until all the craziness in his life has died down.

    Why then, is writer’s block endemic?

    The reason we don’t get talker’s block is that we’re in the habit of talking without a lot of concern for whether or not our inane blather will come back to haunt us. Talk is cheap. Talk is ephemeral. Talk can be easily denied.

    We talk poorly and then, eventually (or sometimes), we talk smart. We get better at talking precisely because we talk. We see what works and what doesn’t, and if we’re insightful, do more of what works. How can one get talker’s block after all this practice?

    Writer’s block isn’t hard to cure.

    Just write poorly. Continue to write poorly, in public, until you can write better.”

    Good point, don’t you think?


  20. Hello Joe!
    I’m a huge music geek, and so I was wondering if you’ve heard anything about an SGU soundtrack release? Not the songs they used that were by other artists, but just the composed stuff (was Joel Goldsmith the only composer, or were there others, I can’t remember)

  21. Bless you guys. Max I really pray things improve for you, miracles can Happen.
    Joe you Deserve a medal for your efforts helping the wee guy, pure love and devotion.
    Fingers Crossed.

  22. @ Dr. D (Doom? Destructo? Dionysus?) thanks for posting the radical cool FTL news, I love to read about new scientific breakthroughs, I feel like we’re in that Wright Bros/Earhart phase in scientific development, new centuries always seems to spawn whiz bang ideas.

    Kisses to Maximus, he looks so tiny hiding under there.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.