Heading out to dinner tonight with some old Stargate friends.  A late dinner.  I know that many don’t consider 8:00 p.m. late (hell, in France and Spain, they often don’t start eating until 10:00 p.m.) but so far as I’m concerned, late dinners are a young man’s game, secretly designed to segue seamlessly into an 11:00 p.m. bar call.  Now don’t get me wrong.  I’m not passing judgment.  Back in the day, I used to go clubbing all the time.  Me and my buddies would start the night at the Peel Pub (or over at the Stanley Tavern frequented by old war veterans), knocking back watered-down beer before heading over to the Thunderdome.  We’d make sure to get there before 7:30 p.m. so we could skip the cover charge and enjoy the $4 pitchers until 11:00 p.m. Four hours later, we’d shut the place down and walk three blocks over to Kojax for souvlaki (where a friend’s friend once ordered the hot sauce and suffered an all-night nose bleed).  Five blocks over we’d catch the late bus that would leave every hour on the hour, depositing us on the West Island forty-five minutes later.  A fifteen minute walk home and I’d be in bed by 5:00 a.m. with the birds chirping, the sun rising and, three hours later, mom vacuuming and singing church hymns at the top of her lungs.  Those were my Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights for most of my university years.  On the surface, it seems exhausting but, at the time, it was nice, comfy little routine that allowed me to pass the time between not going to classes and arguing with one of my several crazy girlfriends.

On those nights, my partners in crime varied, but the core group remained fairly consistent.  There was Nigel, the artist – a soft-spoken literati with a penchant for modwear and the Premier League who once broke his ankle while cutting through a parking lot in the dead of night, racing to catch that 4:00 bus back to the West Island – and save himself $2 in cab fare.  There was John, the baby-faced boozer who always got into trouble whenever he drank but usually managed to emerge unscathed (except for the time that girl knocked out his two front teeth).  There was Ramesh, the voice of reason, who always managed to maintain a certain level of lucid sobriety and borderline dignity that the rest of us would speed past with alarming regularity. And then there was me.  On rare occasions, my writing partner Paul would join us but he was never one for beer or crowds, preferring the quiet dignity of numerous glasses of scotch over conversation.

I can’t say I miss those days, but I do miss the camaraderie, in general, and the company of my olds friends in particular.  I think fondly back to that time Nigel tried sake for the first time – got so drunk he wandered off, couldn’t find his way back to the party, and ended up leaving his comb on the windshield of John’s car as a cryptic message to us (“Hey, what’s this dirty comb doing on the windshield. Wait!  That’s Nigel’s comb!  Comb.  Home.  Nigel’s one home!”).  That time John picked a fight with three burly rugby players in the dead of winter, ended up down on the ice, slipping and sliding, unable to land a punch – until his buddy, visiting from out west, hurried over to see what was going on and ended up getting slugged; a broken nose for his troubles.  That time I woke up, having dreamt I’d done a half dozen beers, two zombies, tequila shots, and several cigars the previous night with predictably disastrous results – only to quickly realize it hadn’t been a dream after all.

If not altogether great times, they certainly were memorable.

And what about you, dear readers?  Keeping in touch with your old friends?  Ribald memories of note worth sharing with the rest of us?

A modest mailbag:

CMDragonia writes: “This year my friends are having a cartoon/comic themed New Years Eve party. What could a female red-head (with a blonde wig just in case) dress as?”

Answer:  Jean Grey – Phoenix, of course.

Gen writes: ” Made your truffles last night Joe. Thanks for posting your recipe a while back. I used some 60% cacao and rolled some in cocoa, some in finely chopped walnuts. Turned out pretty well, I think, though I need to work on my rolling technique (I’m thinking I tried to work with it too soon after taking it out of the fridge). Any suggestions?”

Answer: Yes.  Make sure you leave it in the refrigerator long enough – I’d suggest overnight – so that it doesn’t melt in your hands.  Also, consider using Akemi’s two-spoon technique – scooping the chocolate and then molding it back and forth between the two spoons before using your hands for that final roll.

Shiny writes: “What was the best dish of 2011?”

Answer: Hmmm.  Hard to say.  The truffle risotto at Campagnola Roma?  The veal rack with Hunter Sauce and shaved white truffles that same night?    The basil and tomato spaghetti at Scarpetta.  About a half dozen dishes at Buca in Toronto.

Preston writes: “OK. What’s up with all the Jello in Stargate?”

Answer: The jello – specifically blue jello – was an inside joke amongst a couple of the (SG-1) actors that took on a life of its own.  It wasn’t uncommon for different behind-the-scenes individuals to leave their mark on certain episodes.  In addition to the blue jello, there was Director Martin Wood’s enormous wrench, Director Will Waring’s hidden pineapples, and Director Peter DeLuise’s numerous cameos.  That conspicuous snickers bar in SGA’s The Ark was an oversight and not a signature prop.

Christoffer Grandin writes: “I gather that you’re not a fan of video games., though if it’s due a genuine dislike for the forum or a lack of time I won’t hazard a guess on. Anyway, my question. As a fan of Scifi, have you at the very least read anything about the video game series “Mass Effect” by Bioware? Maybe peeked at wikipedia? Of course I can’t be sure, but I think you’d enjoy the story that powers this award winning role playing series.”

Answer: It’s not that I don’t enjoy gaming.  Quite the opposite in fact, which is why I avoid starting a hobby that could potentially take over my life.  And, yes, I’ve heard very good things about Mass Effect.

26 thoughts on “December 10, 2011: Later dinners and even later nights! A modest mailbag!

  1. “Preston writes: “OK. What’s up with all the Jello in Stargate?”

    Answer: The jello – specifically blue jello – was an inside joke amongst a couple of the (SG-1) actors that took on a life of its own. It wasn’t uncommon for different behind-the-scenes individuals to leave their mark on certain episodes. In addition to the blue jello, there was Director Martin Wood’s enormous wrench, Director Will Waring’s hidden pineapples, and Director Peter DeLuise’s numerous cameos. That conspicuous snickers bar in SGA’s The Ark was an oversight and not a signature prop.”

    See Joe. This is why we need to hear your behind the scenes retrospect on your days on Stargate Atlantis. Pleeeease.

  2. While you’re at it, could you also fix…, “Comb. Home. Nigel’s one home!” Did Nigel have several homes?

    @ das – I bet Joe’s been in the sake.

  3. Saw Michael Shanks on Flashpoint this week…guess that’s why he was in Toronto when you met up…..he was not a nice guy! Saw him in The Preacher’s Wife a few weeks back and again, not a nice guy…..although I love Daniel…good to see him in these character roles…

    And hey, did you read The Hunger Games?

  4. My daughter says she doesn’t understand how someone so “debraly” has so many great friends. If I love, I love you. I don’t pull punches, but I’ll stand by you and I value mental health and honesty above passive/aggressive niceness any day. So friends– I have friends I stay in touch with that go back to when I was age 5 to 7th grade, high school, college, people who bought my dogs and became family. A bunch of opinionated strong folks who don’t care if someone has a different opinion and don’t feel you are dissing them if you don’t agree. Which answers my daughter’s question– I have great friends because I value the strong healthy people who actually are mentally sound (albeit crazy in other ways 🙂 ) enough to actually BE friends, and I give them all I have.

    On Blue Jello– WHO is the ones behind it though.

  5. Aww, those sound like good times. I can’t say I’ve ever done that regularly, but the occasions I have, it’s usually good fun (namely because I stop drinking at midnight or one and sober up, hence no hangover, unlike all my unfortunate friends who continue to drink into 3am). Although, I gotta say, I’d take the $2 cab fare over 45 minutes on a bus. I’m sure it’s the same for you now (especially in a big city), but just getting across my town which takes less than 20 minutes (only as a result of poor city planning) costs about $30. Hell no.

    To @CMDragonia I also suggest Poison Ivy, Mystique (a personal fav), Mary Jane (if you don’t want to put together an elaborate superhero costume), and Barbra Gordon’s Batgirl was a redhead. Also, I found this awesome art of blondes and redheaded superheroes: http://tights-and-capes.tumblr.com/post/13468238091/bottom-artwork-by-dustin-nguyen I admit, I don’t recognize them all, perhaps Joe could identify the lesser known redheads.

  6. @CMDragonia Oh, oh! Also Black Widow and Pepper Potts (another non-elaborate costume character). Can’t believe I forgot to list those two.

  7. G’day Joe

    It is because of Stargate and Samantha Carter that I am addicted to blue jelly (jello). Would not have tried it before that, used to be red.

  8. Hey, how do I send messages for the mailbag to you? I can’t find the contact form/email address? 🙁

  9. There are mmo games that are supposed to have limits on how much you can play and promise not to take over your life, but I’ve found they still do, especially in the later game. The game we’re working on was designed to keep that promise.

  10. –Fantasy Football question–

    Hey, Joe!

    I’ve never played fantasy football before so I was wondering if either you or the guys could answer a question for me. I know that it is stat driven, so I was wondering when it came to QB’s which is a better pick between 2 types of players:

    Type 1- Cam Newton, a QB who throws for big yardage each game, runs for TD’s, but also throws a lot of interceptions


    Type 2- Tim Tebow, who although hardly ever has a turnover doesn’t throw for much, but still puts up big numbers just not QB stat numbers

    ….It seems like both players have some great stats, but vastly different ones which made me wonder how that affects their Fantasy Football numbers.

    Good luck in the playoffs!

  11. @ Ponytail – Ah, drunk on sake. Hmm. See, I was thinking more along the lines of ‘power’. 😉

    @ Joe – Today I had a yummy duck confit mac & cheese for lunch (and dinner 🙂 ). Delish!

    Now, to your question. Not really sure what you’re asking for, but I guess it’s tales of our wild youth. I’ve always been a night owl, and in my younger days I was a bit of a bar fly, too…or, more like a groupie for local rock bands. And one jazz band. And a couple acts up in AC. 😛 I never drank too much (I had a routine of drinking one or two screwdrivers, then switching to plain orange juice for the rest of the night). As for the groupie part, I just loved hanging with the band, waiting for them to wrap up for the night, then hunting down an all-night diner for something to eat, and a place to hang out and talk. Thing is, I was a virginal groupie… which I’m pretty sure is an oxymoron. But like I said, I didn’t drink hard and that helped me keep my head…and a few other things. 😉 My ‘friends’ where the bands, and for the summer they were the people I spent my free time with, and that was good enough for me. I’m not very good at maintaining long-term friendships, so I lost contact with most when they moved on or stopped playing or whatever. Still, I can look back on those days with fondness, remembering the fun we had the stories we told. And the guys in the jazz band where something really special. Two of them were brothers, and both very much into the 1930s and 40s. Since I was a big fan of that era, too, we would just talk old movies and old fashions and old everything…and they were funny as hell so that was a big plus, too. Really good times, and now I’m all melancholy thinking about it. I know they’re still in my area, and still performing (they must be in their late 50s now), but I don’t seek them out. Some memories are best left unspoiled. 🙂


  12. @ sge – If you have a question for Joe, just use this comments section of his blog (like you’ve been doing). Joe reads every comment/question. He may or may not ever answer your question, but it never hurts to ask. He does mailbag Q&A’s when he feels like it. Sometimes he will say he is taking our questions for a mailbag inclusion within the next day or two. You’re in the right spot, so go for it!

    1. @Ponytail – Thanks!

      @ Joe:

      The late-season 3 Atlantis episode “Submersion” had a downed Wraith Cruiser on ocean floor. The expedition told the Wraith Queen all it needed was power (they could have been lying).

      Whatever happened to that Cruiser? (I think it would have been destroyed by the Asuran laser weapon during late-season 3’s First Strike, if it was left where it was.)

      It would have been nice to have used the ship at some point in the show 😀

      PS. How are the dogs?

  13. I’ve been reading over old SG1 transcripts again. It amuses me to think that I used to find Stargate so scary that whenever it was on, I’d turn off the tv. Of course, I was a lot younger back then and watching Alien has reduced the terror of seeing somebody becoming a Gouald (forget how to spell it). It was the flashing eyes and the Jaffa pouches – albeit not as scary as Chinese vampires (that kept me awake for 6months). Had I all the Stargate DVDs I’d watch ’em – they’re on my wish list.

    I’ve also realised how un-Amanda Sam Carter is.

    As for clubbing and drinking – I’ve never tried and don’t plan to. I’m more likely to end up under a table sleeping.

  14. I do compartment lunches because they help me plan appropriate portions and variety and handling the trays is easier than laying out a sack lunch. If there were pressure to make the lunches over the top beautiful, it would be harder, not easier. I have enough to do as it is, TYVM.

  15. HI Joe! No real wild times for me, either. Living in a Latin American country growing up, we’d go dancing at least 3 times a week (with men that knew how to dance), and although some of my companions did drink excessively, I was never into it. I was pretty naive when it came to drugs, too, and never did any of those. We’d go and listen to mariachi bands for a buck a song at one of the main plazas (and sing along at the top of our lungs), go out to Danny’s pancakes for banana pancakes at 4 a.m., that sort of thing, but all in all, a pretty innocent time for me. The one time I got drunk with my friend Stephanie, a bunch of the boys came over and we decided to go to the lake. How we got there and back as drunk as we were, I’ll never know. Mind you, the road to the lake is a steep mountainside, full of curves and, well, Guatemalan drivers. I puked in Sergio’s mom’s new Mercedes Benz, on the sidewalk and at Stephanie’s house. I wanted to die. Stephanie was 9 sheets to the wind and decided to flood her house. Yep, you heard right. Her mom was sound asleep and Stephanie turned on a couple of hoses and put them inside. By 4 a.m., shit was floating around the house. That was the last time I got drunk. One time did it for me. Sure, I love a really good bubbly, but one glass and I’m usually done. Still, all in all, more mischief than real trouble, and very fond memories!

  16. I have a Boston mix so I know ALL about embedded dog hairs. I haven’t seen anybody address it yet so…I have developed the perfect solution. You open the spot as wide as you can and stick on a piece of duct or packing tape. Really rub on the tape so it adheres to as much skin as possible. Then- pull it off. Slow or fast doesn’t matter. The hair will be stuck to the tape and come out as you pull. Repeat as necessary but I’ve never had to do it more than twice.

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