Over the past two months, I’ve had a lot of friends send me pictures of themselves reading my comic book, Dark Matter, obviously seeking to impress in the hopes that I will think of them when it comes time to cast the series/mini-series.  While I’ve certainly appreciated the gestures, none have really moved me enough to decide right there and then: “That’s it!  I have to cast this individual!”.  That is until today when I received the above pic from my former Stargate ace editor Mike Banas P.I.  Mike informs me that he and wife (former Stargate Associate Producer Jennifer Johnson) have been so busy working on home renovations that their dog, Ruby, has had to entertainment herself.

I guess it’s true what they say. Golden Retrievers ARE smart dogs!

Today, I celebrated Ivon R. Bartok Day by going to lunch with the birthday boy.  We were joined by Robert Cooper at La Tacqueria for – what else? – tacos!

The Birthday Boy!
The tacos = chorizo and mushrooms, tongue, mole chicken, and beef cheeks.
And Mexican coke!

We talked projects on the go including Rob’s own terrific horror feature (based on true events!) that I’m sure he’ll tell you all about the next time he swings by for a Q&A.  We got together for a couple of hours and then it was time for Ivon to head back to his place and get back to work on our horror movie sizzle reel.  Birthday or not, that trailer aint gonna produce itself!

Two conference calls scheduled for today but the second one, rescheduled from last week, has been rescheduled to next week.  The first one, I’m pleased to report, went very well.  We discussed a terrific property that, if done right, would be a lot of fun to work on.  The people I spoke with are apparently eager to get going, so Paul and I will take the weekend to go over the source material and then get back to them early next week and see whether we’re on the same page creatively and production-wise.  In the meantime, our agent will continue his inquiries.

It would seem that, lately, everything is coming up horror for me. From a creative standpoint anyway.  Over the past few days, I’ve been working on fleshing out the story for a new horror feature idea (I do some of my best thinking while I’m driving or walking the dogs) I’d like to get started on once I’ve finished my rewrite on the first one.  I’ve lined up some horror viewing to get me in the proper mind frame: The Devil’s Backbone, Cold Prey, Calvaire, and Imprint (Takashi Miike’s banned episode from the Masters of Horror series).  Of course, I’ll be watching alone.  Akemi can barely get through an episode of The Walking Dead.

Fortunately, while I’m focused on screening horror movies, she can turn her mind to equally productive matters.  Like, say, making pistachio chocolates…

Some interesting entries in the “It May Surprise You To Know (t.v. edition)…”  And plenty of surprises.  Reminds me of the time Ming-Na told me she was a closet Hoarders fan.

Today’s blog entry is dedicated to belated birthday gal Deni!

36 thoughts on “March 8, 2012: Ruby, birthday lunch, and horrors of horrors!

  1. Belated Happy Birthday, Deni! Happy Birthday, Ivon!

    Sounds like your “time off” is over, Joe!

    Lunch looks good, but where is the horchata? Beef cheek tacos? My son went out for beef tongue tacos just last week!.

  2. Thank you, Joe, so sweet of you! Lunch looks delish, made me start thinking of a Guatemalan restaurant in Houston I used to go to with my daughter – they had the best taquitos and horchata. Speaking of my daughter, she’s moving back to the USA! Happy dances around here since I got the news. 🙂

    @Sparrow: Thank you!

  3. Rob Q&A ? Cool! Glad Ivon had a great birthday lunch.

    Mike Banas is a smart man. As much as I love your dogs,Joe, in my heart, golden retrievers rule the universe–his Ruby, my Maddie.

  4. Hi, Joe.

    Just catching up on your blogs. And I read Cookie Monster’s review of SUPERMAN III.

    If you don’t mind passing it along for me, I have a question to ask Mr. Monster.

    —– —– —–

    Dear, Cookie;

    WTF DO YOU HAVE AGAINST BUSTER KEATON????!!!!???? I mean… O. M. G. It’s Buster freakin’ Keaton! The man who made THE GENERAL!! Why would you even include him in a review about ANY Superman film?

    —– —– —–

    Joe! Was Cookie smokin’ a little somethin’ somethin’ extra to get him through Sups III? And by smokin’ I don’t mean something to do with fish, unless he was smokin’ some mahi mahi (with a side of poi).

    I. Mean. Really. Like I said above… “O. M. G.”

    – Brandon

    P.S. Good luck on getting projects going where you may end up with some Stargate alum. But you better hurry up and get those things cooked. Primeval: New World might be grabbing them all up… ;D

  5. A belated happy birthday to Ivon!


    And Mexican Coke!

    So, what did you think of it? For me it brings back memories of my Grandma’s country store and the old Coke cooler she had there…

  6. You should be careful with that Mexican Coke. I hear those Drug Cartels are really intense about oh wait you mean the drink not the drug nevermind.

    Just dropping by to procrastinate from work and check in on everyone! Hope everything is going well on you guys’ end! In my neck of the woods I’m up to my neck in work and I’ll probably be stuck in this condition for the next month or so. Should be fun!

    Happy Birthday Deni and Ivon!!

    Also, I’ve spent an extraordinary amount of time in the last while reading and following a webcomic called Homestuck. Have you heard of it? I suggest you take a look if you have some free time lying around:


    It’s about 4000 pages long right now. But then, you do read fast. 😉

    And just like that, I disappear into the Internet ether. See you guys some other time!

  7. Happy Birthday Mr. Bartok!! I’m sure Joe and Rob were more than happy to help you celebrate by going to lunch!

    @ Deni – Happy Birthday girl! Your present was getting the news your daughter is coming home! Glad it was a good one!

    My last dog was a Golden Retriever/Border Collie mix. She was a great dog, a great companion dog. Ruby is gorgeous! Makes me want one…

    So what’s going on tomorrow? Why the special pistachio chocolates? (Would love that recipe, btw.)

  8. e was wonderful. they did the uni sandwich again, but i’m not a seafood fan, so they made me a pepper sandwich instead which was great. also, instead of turbot, i had a zucchini dish. puree on the bottom and a gelee of the seeds of zucchini. so freakin’ good. i’m number 3160 🙂

  9. Wishing Ivon a wonderful and happy birthday! 🙂 Those tacos look scrumptious! Except for the tongue. Not my cup of tea.

    I can’t watch horror films. I have an overactive imagination, and I’m easily spooked. If I watch a horror film, I’ll get nightmares and won’t sleep for weeks.

    A Rob Cooper Q&A?? That would be cool! 😀 Can’t wait! 🙂

  10. Mmmm, street tacos. 2 for a buck on Wednesdays downtown at the trucks. And yeah, we can get Mexican coke over at Rancho Market. Yum.

  11. Happy Birthday to the Birthday people 🙂

    Speaking of horror, I’m not hugely into the genre personally. Not sure why I just don’t like the blood and gore etc

    Which is strange as I’ve seen a few anime shows with this but I can’t seem to stomach the stuff acted by real people lol

    Speaking of casting people for Dark Matter, hope you look at BJS, thought he did good in SGU as Matt Scott, certainly is the kind of actor that would suit an adventure type Scifi show perfectly in my opinion anyway.

  12. Hi Joe! Can’t wait to hear what the horror ‘property’ is. Good luck!

    My ‘it would surprise you’ is in the radio realm more than TV, where I share your tastes + Hoarders. No, my secret is that I listen to Howard Stern for 4-5 hours per day on Sirius. I’m totally hooked on his whole world. Bababooey to you all!

  13. Did you tell Lulu it was her boyfriend Ivon’s birthday? Did she vomit when she heard the news? Did she get him anything? Has he come over to see her lately?

  14. Happy Birthday Deni! And if the Retrievers of the world try and take over, our two pups will just sit on them.

    Das & PBMom – I don’t hide the fact I’d like Jon Stewart to run for President of the World and would be happy to have brain babies with him, so yeah, a fan, but it’s getting harder to access The Daily Show here in Australia. The website doesn’t allow viewing here and he’s only on Pay TV now. Fortunately I can still get my fix via the iPad app which doesn’t discriminate location. He can be the difference between remaining sane and going a whole lot of crazy at the end of my day. It’s nice to know that someone else is looking around at this world and saying, “WTF?”.

  15. Just a quickie…

    @ Brandon Williford – I’ve already scolded Cookie Monster about comparing Mr. Keaton’s mad skills with anything in a craptastic Superman flick, but it doesn’t hurt to have someone else give him an earful, too! Hopefully he’ll even answer your question, because I know I sure do want an explanation, as well.

    @ pg15 – Good to see you, old man! 🙂

    @ Deni – Good to see you, old girl! 😉

    RE: Mexican Coke – Best stuff on the planet – I only wish I could drink it! (I gave up sodas about 8 years ago, though I will steal a sip now and then.) Mexican Coke is made with sugar, not corn syrup, and you CAN taste the difference. It’s fresh and clean, without that cloying aftertaste that’s become the signature of most soft drinks today. I used to buy cases of the stuff for Mr. Das from my local comic shop, but now our grocery store carries it, so just pick up a bottle every now and then when he gets a hankering for REAL Coke.

    Have a good night, Joey & Co.!


  16. @ Narelle – You have fine taste in World Presidents! 😀

    Also, I’ve been meaning to ask you something…

    Are there different dialects (not to be confused with Daleks) in Australia? I was just thinking about this while watching Super Rugby, and realized I couldn’t tell the difference between an Australian, and a New Zealand, accent. (I know, I KNOW!) Then I got to wondering if there are different dialects in Australia itself. America has regional dialects, and so does England, and even a small country like Scotland. I can hear the difference in all of them, but I’ve never been able to hear a difference between Australian accents. Can you help me out?


  17. @Das, Ponytail, pg15: Thanks, kids!

    @Narelle: Thank you! It was Elway’s “birtrhday” too (close enough, so we always celebrate his with mine), so he had his own cake with candles and singing, loved every minute of it. The way he’s tooting tonight, he could sit on
    anybody and win! Send me some new Ralphie pics, hey?

  18. Mmm…Mexican Coke. Why doesn’t Coca Cola figure out that people like real sugar better? The only reason I think they don’t do it is because it doesn’t stay as fresh as corn syrup can in plastic bottles. That and I’m sure it’s a smaller profit margin.

    I saw something interesting today on my tv’s guide. SyFy’s starting to rerun SGU. Seems odd. I get them rerunning SG1 and Atlantis, they showed those shows all the frickin’ time. Kinda like USA does with Burn Notice. But SGU? Feels a little “too soon” to me. Oh well, I’ll be watching! As long as they’re on at decent times.

    -Mike A.

  19. Happy Birthday Deni!
    Golden Retrevers are plain awesome! Obviously this one is as well. Great to hear you have some time off to meet old friends, but srsly… those tacos look horrible. Then I guess I never really had real ones here in Germany. I just hope they taste better than they look, lol.

    So cute that Akemi leaves you messages! GO Akemi!

  20. @dasNdanger – The Australian and New Zealand accents are very similar. South African is pretty similar too. I explain the difference to people like this:

    Australians say “feesh and cheeps”
    New Zealanders say “fush and chups”
    South Africans say “foosh and choops”

    It’s all to do with the vowels.

    As far as accents within Australia, there’s not much difference. If you put a Queenslander and a Tasmanian next to each other you might be able to pick up the difference but it’ll be pretty slight. However, different cities and states have different names for things, particularly if it’s slang, so you can often place someone from their slang.

    Mmmmmmm, tacos! I now have a hankering for some Mexican for lunch today!

  21. Belated birthday greetings to Deni, great news about your daughter moving stateside.
    TFAW emailed me to say comics are in the mail,,hmmm, waiting patiently.
    Special occasion cookies? any cookie is a good occasion, right Cookie?!?

  22. Hey Joe,
    Do you know what kind of tablet that is that Ruby is perusing? It looks like it fits down into a QWERTY keyboard. I Neeeeeeeeeeeeed one of those! Maybe you could ask Ruby’s people if you don’t recognize it…

    Plus if I got that, I could buy the digital edition of Dark Matter! Much as I love my e-ink Kindle, it just isn’t made for that kind of graphic material.

    And as for horror, hey, what is in the water? Or maybe it’s just the prospect of another U.S. election year (I’d rather have a zombie in office that any of the current slate of candidates) that have our minds turning to dark matters (hey, like how I slid that in?). I have long been an author or romantic paranormal and suspense stories, and yet a few weeks ago I woke with the plot for a horror short in my mind and hammered it out as quickly as I’ve ever written anything. It kind of skeered me that my mind could even go there.

    But meh…I really liked how it turned out so I’ve got it submitted to a publisher for an anthology. We’ll see how it turns out.

  23. Okay, my day just got a little brighter: Johnny Depp is playing Barnabas Collins in the Dark Shadows movie. I used to race home every afternoon after school to watch that show on TV.

  24. Deni: Happy Birthday! I’m happy for you that your daughter is moving back.
    Your birthday dinner sounded yummy! I love Mexican food.

    Ivon: Happy Birthday!

    PG15: Hiya!

    Ming-Na: I like Hoarders too! After watching that show, I’m prepared to clean/organize my house for hours. It’s a good motivator.

    Narelle: What do you against Jon Stewart? Have you seen the before/after pictures of past Presidents? Take a happy go lucky guy like Jon and put the weight of a country on his shoulders. Tisk, tisk. 😉

    Goldens are smart AND sweet. I miss having a dog but it will have to wait until I get a big piece of land. Then, I’ll probably just get a mixed breed pup. The best traits of several dogs! 😉

    Yesterday we had a Irish Setter mix come into our local humane society. I mention it because the dog’s ears weren’t symmetrical. I’ve never seen a dog with ears that weren’t lined up. Pretty odd. One ear was on top of his head the other ear in the normal side position. I hope it doesn’t hurt his adoption chances. Some oddities go fast (Polydactyl cats for example) but I don’t know about unsymmetrical ears. We will see.

    One bit of local good news is that Memphis FINALLY charged three Animal Shelter workers with cruelty. They had pitbulls “disappearing” out of the shelter for years. I kept wondering why they weren’t doing something about it. It doesn’t take a genius to know what happened to the dogs or that it had to be an inside job. Turns out the police had an undercover officer in there gathering up evidence. I’m hoping/praying they will finally get that shelter cleaned up. There are a lot of foxes in that henhouse though. http://www.abc24.com/news/local/story/Three-Memphis-Animal-Shelter-Workers-Arrested-for/y9xg0_dIjkGV2gmICO3SsA.cspx?rss=59

  25. BeBelated Birthday wishes Deni 🙂

    @Sparrow Prepare to get even happier…perhaps…
    JD will also portray Kolchak in the latest Night stalker reboot! AND

    in an alternate universe where I get my wishes, JD will portray Poe in the Tim Burton directed biopic!

    Rob Q&A? yayyyyy! He has very kind eyes, seems a super gent.

    @Joe, ever eat cornbread, or grits?

    Mexican Coke, meh…Sweet Tea rules!


  26. @Tam Dixon, Birdy and Airelle: Thank you, guys!

    @Tam Dixon: Nice bit of news, but you do wonder how much of this goes on everywhere. Still, it’s nice to know somebody cared enough to investigate and then arrest these bastards. 🙂

  27. I saw this and had a big laugh. Wanted to share: http://twitpic.com/8u2nan the caption read: Possum broke into the local bakery and ate so many pastries he couldn’t move! This is how the bakery owners found him!! This photo is from Australia. This doesn’t look like those Ninja possums that Narelle described.

  28. @ Line Noise – Thanks! That’s actually quite funny! 😆

    @ Tam Dixon – Poor possum! LOL! Just like me after a big Italian dinner with lots of pasta and cannoli! 😀 …I mean, 😛 .

    @ Sparrowhawk – Depp is killing me. Not because of Dark Shadow, but because of this:


    I just canNOT wait! Before Wolverine, before the Wraith, before Elric, and albinos and Pendergast and rugby and everything else, my sole obsession was Native Americans, from childhood on. It’s why I always wanted to be an archaeologist or anthropologist. It inspired my art. It kept me sane during my high school years. Though it’s taken a back seat to current obsessions, it’s never left me entirely. And now this. I’ve watched just about every version of the Lone Ranger, and I am hoping this is the one where Tonto finally gets one over on ol’ ke-mo sah-bee. 🙂 Looking forward to it very much!


  29. @Prof.Madmax: Johnny Depp as Kolchak? Yeah, he would be good in that role, too.

    I saw that he is also going to be in The Lone Ranger as Tonto. Strange but true.

    Ooooh. I like your idea of Depp as Poe. And why not in this universe? It could happen…

    @Tam Dixon: I’m glad they got the guys “disappearing” the pit bulls.

  30. Odd question for your next mailbag Joe but was wondering, have you ever considered doing a show like Infinite Ryvius before in TV form? Obviously not copying it for obvious reasons(lol copyright) but the general idea of a group of people essentially trapped aboard a spacecraft, forced to fend for themselves, to work together and learn how the ship works to overcome any attacks aimed at them?

    Sounds a little like SGU but personally I think that would make good TV personally.

    Certainly the way the ship was divided into several factions in the series.

  31. Happy Birthday Ivon! It was so nice of you to take time on your birthday to do charity work by going to lunch with a sort-of unemployed writer-type.

    Did ya miss me Joe? 😀

    Catching up:

    I may be a bit biased, but personally, I think Ava is a fine name choice for any baby. Though with the rise in popularity for the name, it is rather disconcerting to be shopping at Target and hear a stern mom voice proclaim, “Ava! Put that down right now!” or something similar. Yes, I usually obey. 🙂

    Surprised I watch: Millionaire Matchmaker – usually detest the dating shows, but I love Patti’s philosophy. Suburgatory – My older one and I love this show; it is our town/neighborhood. I also watch a lot of sports, especially hockey and cycling. One of the ways hubs and I got to know each other was me sneaking into engineering to catch snippets of hockey games, cause the nights he worked, he always had one of the satellites tuned to the game. Even now, we have season tickets to our local minor league team.

    What I love about Akemi’s chocolates is the note! She obviously knows you well, Joe.

    @das — He almost could pass for a wraith in that paint! *wonders what Todd would look like with dead raven on head*

  32. @das: I saw that picture of Depp as Tonto and nearly fell off my chair when I saw the crow/raven on his head! I can’t wait to find out that the heck that is all about. But we have to wait until next May for that one.

Leave a Reply

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