Hey there, buddy - nice job.

It’s been non-stop partying at Snow Monkey central since my Snow Monkeys wrapped up their first ever post-season victory in R.I.P. Stargate fantasy football league action.  This sets up a big semi-final showdown against the much-reviled, #2 ranked Popular Vote Petunia next weekend and, while all the experts (and their data-based computer-generated projections – ie. Madden 2012) are predicting a Snow Monkey loss, my wild and woolly warriors are focused on an upset win.  It’s actually a double-celebration over at Snow Monkey central as the team has also advanced to the playoffs in my other NFL.com fantasy league where they’ll be playing the #1-ranked team in semi-final action.  Should be a busy weekend, so please don’t call between 5:00 p.m. Thursday afternoon and 1:00 a.m. Tuesday morning. Thanks.

My eyes are bleary from research.  First off, I’ve been reading up on the various rules and regulations covering Japanese-Canadian co-productions.  Unfortunately, while I’ve read a lot, I’m having a hard time getting a handle on the procedures for securing funding and participation.  Fortunately, I’ve got a fresh pair of eyes in Ivon Bartok who informed me he will join me in Tokyo early next year if I’m able to set up some meetings for our potential projects.

Also on the new project/research front – have been doing a lot of reading on the Italian renaissance of late: political intrigue, soci0economic factors, military conflicts.  A lot more interesting than international co-pros.  I hope to get through the last of these tomes sometime by the middle of next year, then start writing the first draft of the script during the summer.  A trip to Italy may also be in the offing (research, natch): Florence and Milan mainly, but a little Rome and Venice as well.  And, now that I think about it, given some of the more intriguing developments of the historical narrative I’ll be pursuing: Naples, Bologna, Genoa and Perugia.

Anyone out there an Italian historian specializing in the Italian city-states?  Or an expert on Canadian-Japanese television co-productions? If so, you could well be my new technical advisor/consulting producer!

Ten days to Montreal and I just saved 2/3 on my round-trip fare by canceling my initial booking and taking advantage of a special seat sale.  Normally, whenever Air Canada sends me those “Great Deals!” emails, I delete them immediately.  This morning, however, I elected to check one out and, as a result, ended up getting the same return flight at 1/3 the initial cost.  Well, either that or I was redirected to a phishing site resembling the official Air Canada where I just gave them my visa number.  Guess I’ll find out next Friday when I try to board my flight!


DP writes: “Could it be that learning what you needed to know to write a comic has ruined your ability to enjoy them for a time?”

Answer: That’s certainly the case in film and television.  My ex used to hate going to see movies with me because I used to grumble and grouse about the lazy writing, trite conveniences, and ridiculous logic all the time.  I do less grumbling and grousing nowadays – but only because I see very few movies, limiting myself to a few television shows whose dramatic developments and “shocking twists” I regularly predict, much to Akemi’s amazement.  Aint nothing amazing about it.  Honest. In the case of comic books, I possess nowhere near the experience that would allow me to pass that sort of judgement.  Of course, I still bristle at the occasional plot contrivances, but my reasons for not following a title have more to do with personal taste than any failure on the part of the writer or artist.  I’ve read at least three issues of about 50 titles so far and am sticking with about 20 of them.  Those numbers may fall off as well but even if I’m only following ten books (in addition to favorites The Walking Dead, Scalped, and Chew) I think that’s plenty.  Do you read?  What are you enjoying?

Shiny writes: “There used to be an old fashioned bakery a block from work but it’s gone. So now I will have to scope out the coffee shop and pray they have pecan pie.”

Answer: I have a weakness for pecan pie, especially when it’s served warm with a healthy double-scoop of vanilla ice cream.  The one Patrick brought over this past weekend was surprisingly good – and available at your local Whole Foods market.

Maren. writes: “But skipping across your blog I stumbled upon the Asterix-comics in your “recently read”-list. I am myself absolutely fanatic about them and I was surprised to see them there. After all they have never been published in english language, have they? But then as you are fluent in French, not all that suprising, I guess.”

Answer: While they have been published in English, I picked up the French versions because those are the ones I originally read in high school (French immersion).  Will have to finish re-reading them all before I can pick a favorite.  Haven’t seen the live-action movies and I was, frankly, reluctant to – but if you say they’re good…

jonathanquirk writes: “…may I recommend “Atomic Robo” from Red5 Comics…”

Answer: Yes, you may.  I’ll be sure to pick it up tomorrow when I’m at The Comicshop

Mike A. writes: “Oh well, my money league is the one that matters most in the end and in that one, my guys look to have some pretty stellar matchups next week! Big points, here we come!!”

Answer: Best of luck.  I face a tough match-up against an opponent with an awesome backfield made up of Arian Foster, CJ2K, and MJD.  I’ve got to hope my receivers put up some big numbers.

Paloosa writes: “This week I’m hoping my luck holds up for the vestibular problems I’m going to be tested for.”

Answer: Fingers crossed for you.  Keep us updated.

24 thoughts on “December 13, 2011: Snow Monkeys, Project Research, and a Mailbag!

  1. If you need a point man in Italy or a food taster or perhaps someone to carry your bags I would gladly volunteer. I lived there for ten years and would happily return.

  2. Hello everyone!!

    Well I’m finally home from my one month trip..was quite an adventure..been trying to catch up on all that’s been happening…a lot!! Here’s a few things

    Congrats to Joe’s Snow Monkeys… I have complete faith you’ll be able to kick the desperate, but entertaining Tio’s butt….hmmm that doesn’t sound right…ahhh you’ll figure it out.

    Good luck on your future adventures in Japan and Italy…sounds exciting…need a web designer/assistant?

    Thanks to 2cats, Deni, Ponytail, PBMom, Tam Dixon for your kind words..if I’ve missed someone sorry…thanks to you too. Tam yes James did tweet the photo…he took it on his iPhone.

    @PBMom – I hope you’re better soon. Also best wishes to Paloosa *hugs*

    @JimFromJersey – Really sorry to hear about your wife’s job. I’d really like to do something to make your Christmas brighter…even if it’s something small like sending your family a gift basket…you’re in my thoughts..hope for some good news.

    Update on my broken wrist – I have an orthopedic surgeon appointment n Friday and he’ll decide if it needs a pin. I’m coping…it’s my right hand & I’m incredibly right-handed…most difficult thing so far has been tying shoelaces & putting on a bra…but I can now do both one-handed…yay!!!

    Cheers, Chev

  3. As far as comic books, the only thing I can recommend is watching Seasons 1 and 2 of Jericho on DVD, then buying season 3 in comic book form. Original writers of the show, same characters in the comic. I enjoyed seeing Jake & Hawkins in action again.

    I think I’ll immediately brush up on my Italian history or my Japanese-Canadian legalese so I can apply to be your assistant. I need a new career.

    Congrats on getting the better air fare. I always love when I find bargains. I need to find my Yankee Candle coupon and I hear Godiva has 25% off for their preferred customers (that would be me) tomorrow only. I only have 1-1/2 hours to buy gifts for 15 people (people at Patrick’s school). I still have no idea what to get my husband. We have a $50 limit (at this point at least but sometimes we have to edge that up a little bit if we find something, say $49.99 because there is sales tax). He wanted to possibly get a Kindle (bottom line one) so I began researching Kindle versus Nook and found out the Kindle doesn’t have touch screen. After playing with Patrick’s IPad that is not going to be tolerable to him (spoiled brat). The bottom-line Nook is being offered for $99 which is double which we’ve budgeted, but maybe I can reason it that part of it is from me and part of it is from Patrick. I can justify just about anything if you give me a reason to. I’m going to see if I can manage to look at it tomorrow during that 1-1/2 hours I have. I looked into the next line up, but we approach the $200 mark and that is just not possible.

    Then I still need to buy something for my one sister (who has no kids and is not married). I don’t like the idea of her not having gifts at Christmas; it can get lonely. Hers is easy: A combo birthday/Christmas present–she just bought her first house and moved in a few months ago & she could use a gift certificate to Lowe’s. As far as my other sister, I stopped buying for my nieces. Let’s just say that my sister games the system because she feels she needs to provide my nieces with a huge number of gifts to make up for the dysfunctional home she provides. She and her husband could surely provide them with limited numbers of gifts that they pay for on their own (like we do with Patrick), but she enlists the help of every social agency who will take them. It really, really upsets me. So I stopped buying them anything. They don’t need another present which they are likely not going to like (and my sister lets it be known that if you don’t provide them with a gift they want, she will return it and get them something they do). This has gone on for years and years now. It’s not like they had 1 or 2 difficult years and then when these agencies called again they said to them let it be someone else’s turn. Sorry, venting.

    On the bright side, tomorrow (or today I guess since it is after midnight here) will be Patrick’s 1st birthday party with friends (his classmates) at a location other than his school or home. They’ll have pizza and cake and get to jump around on things where I will be amazed that they don’t vomit up what they just ate. I pick up his cake at 11:30 (so I only have from 10:00-11:30 ish to shop at the mall), then head over to his school (45 minutes away). His official birthday is Saturday, Dec 17. He will be 16. I think though the party is more for me so I can claim it as another “first” instead of being focused on things he is not able to do that other 16 year olds are doing now with their parents (driver’s permit, dating, looking at potential colleges, etc.). I don’t know how parents can afford to do stuff like this every year with their kids (we never had birthdays like this when I was growing up; you had a party at your house with your friends). But I owe the kid 15 years of birthday parties.

  4. A 40% “success” rate doesn’t sound that bad, actually, especially considering the number that you’ve read. I have been cherry picking the ones I’ve been buying, so additions to my pull list are suffering from a bit of selection bias. But based on my success rate it appears that you can, to a certain extent, judge a book by its cover. I’m going to check out more titles but at a slower rate than you have been. Any new purchases planned this week? I’m planning on checking out The Ray #1 (of 4).

    I grew up on Asterix and also Tintin. My dad was going to government French school in the 1970s and he would read the French versions to me, translating them on the fly. Thus I know all of the characters by their French names and my repretoire of French puns was probably larger than my French teachers would have liked.

    Speaking of Tintin, are you going to see the movie when it comes out in a week or two?

  5. @PBMom: Happy Birthday to Patrick (today and the 17th)!

    @chev: Hoping you don’t need a pin, good luck! 🙂

    It’s looking pretty bad around here all of a sudden now, too. Mr. Deni’s car took a shit last night, so I’m sans car for who knows how long. To top it off, he came home last night with the news that the company he works for is likely to close within the week, just like that. He already took a huge pay cut, no idea what we’ll do now. Still, trying to focus on the kids coming next week and counting my blessings.

    1. @Deni Oh my goodness. I am soooo sorry to hear this. To have the car go out AND Mr. Deni losing his job? All I can do is say a prayer that he can find something very soon. XOXO

  6. Alas, my only expertise concerning Italy is Milan’s High Streets. If you need fashion-based advice, though, I’d gladly help!

    I’m with you on those “shocking twists”. Not, obviously, because I’m involved in the production of TV, but because I watch so dang much, I have all the tropes memorized and am quite good at catching the foreshadowing (especially if it’s who the murderer is. I can’t think of the last time I didn’t guess the character more than 15 minutes in). It does take some of the fun out of it. Why is no one creative anymore? 😉

    Your projects sound so intriguing! I hope they come to fruition, not just for your sake, but for my viewing pleasure’s sake, too.

  7. Joe,

    I am not on expert on Italian city states but I do know quite a bit, particularly about Florence.
    I could also make restaurant recommendations for Florence, Milan, Venice among other Italian cities.

    I must have missed something. Are you not taking your annual Japan trip with Ivon?

    Quick question about Ivon: When are we going to finally see that Blooper/Outtake/Behind the scenes DVD from Stargate SG-1 or any other Stargate related special features production?


  8. @ PBMom, congrats to Patrick and his parents on his 16th birthday! What a wonderful milestone of a birthday party! I also have to try not to think of the milestones my son’s same-age peers are passing, but in the case of dating, I am soooooo grateful not to be dealing with that.

  9. astérix et obélix mission cléopatre est le meilleur des 3 films (les 2 autres sont des navets). Mais les films en dessin animé valent le détours (surtout ceux avant 1990).

  10. I read mostly non-fiction. I read so slowly I practically memorize stuff so non-fiction’s a better fit for that.

    For fiction, I read (or listen to on CD) mostly science fiction novels because there’re plenty of good ones to choose from still. I like stories set in science fiction universes because they better divorce themselves from the author’s biases that may affect how things play out in a more real to life universe. And there are lots of explosions.

    I’m in the middle of Asimov’s Nemesis, Grumpy Badger’s Christmas, and Bad Kitty Meets the Baby. Two of those are read-alouds for the kids. 😉

  11. I had a to settle for a mini apple cobbler yesterday; no where near as good as pecan pie.

    I’m hooked on mixing spice gum drops with Raisinettes; it tastes like old fashioned Christmas with a chocolatey chaser.

    I recommend watching Secrets of the Dead for your Rome research; not just because I crush on Liev Schreiber’s narration but because of the amazing discoveries of their research into every day lives of the bones they dig up. Little things like how amphoras were designed to stack up efficiently in the hold of ships and the truth behind some greusome massacres at a Roman encampment in York. The Romans had such a huge reach:



  12. I make a mean pecan pie. The first time I tried, I was amazed at how simple it was to do! My crust still needs a bit of work, good, but not perfect. I want to try a maple-pecan pie too.

    Just got home from surgery (hernia), so I’m drugged up and ouchy. Hubby is here to tend to me, and the cat is snuggled up.

  13. Well, since you seem receptive to comic book recommendations, I have two series you might enjoy. The first is “Irredeemable” by Mark Waid, which examines what happens when the world’s most beloved superhero turns villain. I also recommend Mark Millar’s “Nemesis”, which he describes as “What if Batman was the Joker?” As you can see, I enjoy series that examine good turned upside down.

  14. @Maggiemayday: Glad to hear you’re home and can put the surgery behind you in time for the holidays. Feel better soon! 🙂

  15. @ Chevron7 – glad you made it home safe, sound, and almost in one piece. 🙂 Have you tried fastening your bra first then wiggling into it?

    @ Deni – oh man!, sorry about your husbands job! That is very frightening. This economy is sucking the life out of everyone!

    @ Maggiemayday – hope you get to feeling better real fast. A friend of mine just had hernia surgery too. He hurt and whinned like a big baby for about 4 days, then suddenly felt much better. Since you are a girl, you will probably feel better in a day or two! 🙂

    @ PBmom – I’ll save my Happy Birthday to Patrick for Saturday. I won’t forget! (I better write it down!)

  16. @PBMom and Ponytail: Thanks for the good thoughts, kind words and prayers.
    I’m trying not to worry too much and trust that things will work out, somehow! That said, something’s gotta change… 🙂

  17. @maggiemayday Glad your hubby is there to help. Hope the surgery goes well and you have no complications postop. Hugs to you.

  18. @Deni – I sincerely hope for the best. These things have a way of working themselves out.

    Best of luck with the Dark Matter pitch, Joe! I’m really hoping to see I turn out.

  19. Joe, I was a history major in college and have done some research on Italy during my time, and enjoy diving into new parts of history, would love to help out if I can.

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