Another Stargate mini-reunion of sorts the other night.  I got the chance to catch up with some old friends over nachos and ale, several of whom you’ll no doubt recognize from such places as twitter, Stargate behind-the-scenes features, and this very blog.

March 21, 2012: A Mini Stargate Reunion!  Last Lunch At Refuel!  Nfl Update!  Sucker Punch!  And A Mailbag!
My former arch-nemesis, Ashleigh, and my former lodger, Lawren, having an awesome time.
March 21, 2012: A Mini Stargate Reunion!  Last Lunch At Refuel!  Nfl Update!  Sucker Punch!  And A Mailbag!
Mark Savela, Jennifer Johnson, and Kerry McDowall.
March 21, 2012: A Mini Stargate Reunion!  Last Lunch At Refuel!  Nfl Update!  Sucker Punch!  And A Mailbag!
Ivon Bartok and Mike Banas P.I.

It’s good to hear everybody’s keeping busy – but hopefully not too busy because when I get my next show off the ground, I’ll of course expect them to drop whatever they’re doing to come work for me.

One of my favorite restaurants in Vancouver closes its doors March 24th and, although Refuel will be no more, its sister restaurants Campagnolo, Campagnolo Roma, and the soon to open Fat Dragon, will live on.  Today, Akemi and I dropped by for a final lunch at our former stomping/eating grounds.  For her, a rocket salad and soup.  For me, a burger.  And not just any burger…

March 21, 2012: A Mini Stargate Reunion!  Last Lunch At Refuel!  Nfl Update!  Sucker Punch!  And A Mailbag!
Hand-ground dry-aged Alberta beef with cheddar cheese, bacon, and home made mayo (Oh, and I had mine topped with an onion ring) - served medium-rare.

Wait!  Did you say “served medium-rare”?  Why, yes.  You can read about it here: Medium-rare burgers are taboo in Canada but may not be as ….  You have two more days to try one.  Refuel’s last dinner service is this Saturday.

March 21, 2012: A Mini Stargate Reunion!  Last Lunch At Refuel!  Nfl Update!  Sucker Punch!  And A Mailbag!
Akemi enjoys a fry.

Wow.  Lots happening in the NFL over the past few days.  My thoughts on –

The Broncos signing Peyton Manning = Good luck to them.  He’s coming off multiple neck surgeries and, even before going under the knife, wasn’t exactly playing great football.  Was it a problem addressed by the surgeries or was it the telltale erosion of skills over time?  Hey, anything is an improvement at the QB position for this team but, even in a best case scenario, Manning will have his work cut out for him given the quality of his new divisional opponents.  He’ll no longer be throwing against the likes of the Bills or Dolphins D.  He’ll be up against the always tough San Diego Chargers and the improving Raiders and Chiefs.  If I was a Broncos fan, I wouldn’t be making those Superbowl plans just yet.

Tebow to the New York Jets = I actually think New York is the perfect home for him – somewhere he won’t threaten the established QB by competing for the position yet a place that will allow him to see some limited action. He’s got a long way to go and backing up someone like Mark Sanchez is a perfect opportunity to improve on his suspect quarterback skills.

Saints suspensions = While I agree that punishments were warranted for the bounty program that rewarded players for injuring opponents, I feel that suspending head coach Sean Payton for a year is way too harsh a penalty.  My misgivings stem not so much from my opinion of what they did than from the fact that many other teams have (or had) the same mercenary policy, whether unspoken or otherwise – but only the Saints got caught. It’s like an article I read the other day about a couple of neighborhood gas stations being fined for price fixing.  My response was: “Great!  Now let’s go after every other neighborhood gas station!”.  Believe me, it’s no coincidence that all the local gas prices seem to fluctuate in tandem.  Whenever the price skyrockets, they say: “Hey, the price of oil just spiked.  It’s not our fault.”  Then, when the price of oil goes down and they’re asked why the prices at the pump remain steady, they say: “Hey, it takes a while for the lower costs to work their way through the system.”  In other words, instantaneous when the price goes up but anywhere from  two weeks to never when the price drops.

Finally got around to watching Sucker Punch this morning.  Tsk tsk tsk. And I was so looking forward to it too.  (SPOILER WARNING)  Talk about depressing.  I disliked this movie for the same reason I disliked Brazil – almost the exact seem reason given that the set-up seemed to be an homage. In Brazil, our protagonist is about to be lobotomized when he is rescued.  He embarks on an adventure, battling against his oppressors until the narrative is pulled out from underneath the viewer and we cut back to the lobotomy session and realize everything we just witnessed was in the mind of our now lobotomized hero.  In Sucker Punch, our heroine is about to undergo a lobotomy at which point we – well, I’m not sure.  We’re flashing back and witnessing the grim events of the institution play out in some alternate fantasy version.  If that’ s not confusing enough, this movie commits the egregious error of doing fantasy sequences within fantasy sequences.  Ultimately, we come back to the lobotomy session and learn that some real-world version of the events we witnessed did happen, but it’s still lights out for our heroine who is now a vegetable. The visuals are spectacular, the battle choreography incredible, and yet the movie ends up a bleak, troubling, and ultimately unsatisfying exercise of wasted potential.


Tam Dixon writes: “Would you eat chicken feet with a smile? Could you?”

Answer: Yep.  Have had them at dim sum.  Not much meat to them. And, uh, Jeff – you’re not supposed to eat the toenails.

Sue Jackson writes: “I’ve eaten was alligator. It’s not bad…and it does taste like chicken.”

Answer: I found it closer to veal or frog legs.

JimFromJersey writes: “But last summer I did eat pigs brain as I was carving the deliciously wood-fired oven roasted sucker down for a party.It was “meh”. I didn’t much enjoy the texture, and it was very metallic tasting.”

Answer: Actually, I don’t mind the texture, especially when fried so you have the nice textural contrast of the crispy exterior and creamy interior.  But the metallic aftertaste you mentioned IS a turnoff.

Ponytail writes: “Everytime I make a peanut butter and bologna sandwich with mustard, I recognize I’m a little odd.”

Answer: Okay not, that IS odd.

Quade writes: “I recently picked up The Walking Dead Compendium 1, and while I wasn’t blown away by the art, the story is definetly keeping me interested. It’s surprising how unparallel the show has become since the first two or three episodes.”

Answer: Yes, they’re two separate entities – which is great because it allows you to double your fun by following two different versions of the same concept.

Vincent Messager writes: “Shall you still dream to create an end to it, I recommend you look for money outside US as the ROW (rest of the world), I am sure, really enjoyed SGU and probably more open minded than US viewers. Canal Plus for example ?”

Answer: All roads go through the studio that owns the rights to the Stargate franchise – MGM.  If they’re interested in pursuing a continuation of the series, it’ll happen.  If they’re not interested, it won’t happen.  The notion that SGU went off the air because we didn’t have enough money to continue produce the series is a false one.

Janet writes: “My Mum and family and the house are fine. If the storm took a detour North-west, they would have been right in it.”

Answer: Good to hear.  It’s been some crazy weather.

Line Noise: “Why were countries firing live nuclear weapons!?!?!?!?!”

Answer: Y’know, now that you mention it, that’s a hell of a good point.  I assume this isn’t common practice.

Line Noise also writes: “Why does Supes care if there’s nuclear armageddon? He can just fly around the Earth really fast and turn back time, can’t he?”

Answer: Yes.  If the first Superman movie taught us anything, it’s that anything that happens in the Superman franchise has absolutely no consequence because it can all be undone.

DP writes: “I don’t think the subway is still safe just because Superman said so – I live in a world w/o Superman. What happens when the operator passes out in MY world?”

Answer: I love how Superman suddenly becomes a medical expert on exiting the front of the subway.  “He’ll be okay,”he tells the cops, referring to the operator who passed out.  “He may need to see a doctor.”  You think?!

Deborah Rose writes: “And since when do you get dna from hair cuttings? follicles, yes. But not the ends of the hair.”

Answer: Imagine how much more powerful a clone he could have created with the proper genetic sample?

gforce writes: “I thought the effects in the opening sequence were actually pretty good and gave me some hope. However, apparently they blew their entire budget there. Because the rest were pretty much… ew.”

Answer: In all honesty, I felt the same way.  The opening sequence, while silly, did give me some hope – which was immediately crushed with the introduction of the John Cryer character and ensuing sequence.

gforce also writes: “Ultimately, what’s so disappointing is that there is the idea of a much better movie in there somewhere.”

Answer: So it was with every one of the Superman movies – so much wasted potential.

gforce also writes: “What I was hoping for was that once Superman rid the world of the weapons, he would come to realize that the nations didn’t necessarily WANT peace, he realizes that the basic problem of why the weapons are there hasn’t been solved at all, and humanity themselves must solve the problem.”

Answer: Yeah, that WOULD have been great.

Kathode writes: “When countries fire off their nukes, Supe catches them and redirects them to his giant Nuke Net in space. Once it’s filled, he hurls it into the Sun. End of nukes. Wait a minute! Why were those countries firing off their nukes in the first place? Do countries normally go around firing nuclear missiles into space? Isn’t the usual protocol to stockpile your nukes underground, waiting for the day you hope will never come? Shhhshhhshhhh….”

Answer: It does seem a tad wasteful.  I guess that’s why they’re so damn expensive.

Kathode also writes: “There’s a really bizarre scene in Lex’s penthouse just before the introduction of Nuclear Man. Jon Cryer’s listening to his Walkman, and Lex is dancing with some woman dressed in 18th-century French garb, a la Marie Antoinette, complete with the ginormous white powdered wig. What’s going on there? Is this some sort of kinky prostitution gig? Did Lex hire an 18th-century-France-themed hooker???”

Answer: Haven’t a clue.  Let’s chalk it up to good ole supervillain eccentricity.

Kathode also writes: “Then after Supe gets his powers back, he just happens to show up at the foot of the Empire State Building right when Nuke shows up, looking for Lacy. And Nuke asks, “Where is she?” And Superman magically knows what he’s talking about. Supe obviously read the script. That, or he’s psychic. But why does Nuke show up at the Empire State Bldg looking for Lacy? He LIVES in that building! It’s where Lex’s penthouse is. If there’s one building in Metropolis where he should know Lacy isn’t, it’s that one. Why doesn’t this showdown happen at the Daily Planet building?”

Answer: In most other movies, I would complain about the fact that they focus all their attention on the spectacular visual effects and completely ignore the  most important part of the production – the damn script! – but in this movie they were equal opportunity ignorers.  The script was horrendous and those visual effects…yeesh.

mayankgureja writes: “Let me start off by saying you’re one of the reasons why I got back into writing, after having left it a few years ago to pursue other interests. You made me realize that I actually missed it, and I’m starting to pursue a few publish-worthy pieces!”

Answer: Nice to hear.  Keep at it!

Maryanne writes: “I haven’t seen a mention of March Madness here this year. Are you not participating Joe?”

Answer: I didn’t join a pool this year so my interest is somewhat muted.  Still, rooting for Cincinnati, Xavier, Marquette, Michigan State, Baylor, NC State, and Ohio, and rooting against Kentucky, North Carolina, Kansas, Ohio State

slamaina writes: “Any chance you will be making an appearance at the last Vancouver Stargate Con?”

Answer: Nope.  Know nothing about it.

paloosa writes: “And what happened to the listing of the months on the right side of the blog? My computer is slow, and it was so easy to click on it to catch up.”

Answer: Just click on the archives and scroll down.

Ponytail writes: “Hey Joe, if you can say, which main characters in Dark Matter were your creation and which ones were Paul’s?”

Answer: I developed Dark Matter on my own for several years (characters, story, arcs, etc.) and wrote a first draft of the script.  Paul did the rewrite and helped to redevelop some of the existing material.  I took the lead on Dark Matter.  He took the lead on another project he’s been working on – a pilot script that I’ll be reading tonight.

25 thoughts on “March 21, 2012: A mini Stargate reunion! Last lunch at Refuel! NFL update! Sucker Punch! AND a mailbag!

  1. @Joe:

    And, uh, Jeff – you’re not supposed to eat the toenails.

    Thanks…I figured that out later on. At the time, well, no interpreter, so…yeah.

  2. “And, uh, Jeff – you’re not supposed to eat the toenails.”
    “But last summer I did eat pigs brain…I didn’t much enjoy the texture, and it was very metallic tasting.”
    ”Actually, I don’t mind the texture, especially when fried so you have the nice textural contrast of the crispy exterior and creamy interior.”

    Okay, that was so gross I almost lost my Chimichanga!

  3. That, my friend, is a hamburger!!!

    Great to see some of the gang back together. You’re right – they better be available when we need them for Dark Matter! (Or whatever is the next project to go ahead…)

  4. No plans to attend one last dinner at reFuel? I wasn’t expecting a final blowout banquet, but it seems to be a bit of a letdown without a final dinner, even a modest 3 course meal. I do see the advantages of a lunch, more casual, and that burger looks to die for, expecially cooked rare. As you have pointed out, you can look to dining at some of their other restaurants. But it feels like another piece of Stargate has faded away, since we’ve been regaled with Fuel stories throughout your years of blogging during the shows’ run.
    Thanks for sharing, lots going on through this weekend, and will work to keep up.I feel guilty every time I realize I’ve not clicked onto your site in over 24 hours.

  5. Hey, Joe!

    Have you ever seen the movie “Passage To Marseille” (1944)? It was directed by Casablanca director Michael Curtiz and starred a lot of the same usual suspects like Bogey, Claude Rains, Peter Lorre, and Sydney Greenstreet to name a few. The flashbacks in the movie have flashbacks which have flashbacks… in fact at one point they go 4 flashbacks deep. And people thought ‘Memento’ was confusing.

    One thing about the Sean Payton ordeal, is that when the NFL first starting investigating the bounty program he adamantly denied that the Saints ever did such a thing, however after more and more stuff started finding the light of day he then acknowledged that it went on. The NFL came down hard on him because they felt he initially lied to them during their investigation. As to whether he honestly knew about it or not, I don’t know. But it reminds me of baseball player Rafael Palmerio pointing his finger in front of the steroids investigation committee yelling “I have not, nor ever will use steroids” and then a few months later get busted for steroid use. Did Palmerio knowingly use steroids? I don’t know, but his name & integrity got tarnished regardless.

    My question about the bounty program is where did the money come from to pay the “bonuses” to the players? Reports say that the Saint’s books don’t show any records of those payments. So it was either ‘off the record’ or out of the Defensive Coach’s pocket, or someone else’s pocket? Unless the Defensive Coach was paying them on his own and not telling anyone, then the Saints organization had to know about it the whole time, which would mean that Sean Payton knew about it the whole time too. Also if the payments were off the record, then that means there were no taxes involved which could be huge legal mess for the Saints if the government tries to get involved.

  6. Oh, don’t get me started on the absence of medium-rare burgers in this wretched province. I’m so sick of the government telling me what I can and cannot eat, as if I’m some helpless moron. Why can’t we just slap a warning on the menu, as Washington does, to the effect that “undercooked meat can cause foodborne illness; eat at your own risk” and let the diner decide? If I’m old enough to drink alcohol and vote, am I not old enough to decide what to put in my stomach? If you’re really that worried, make me sign a fucking waiver right there at the table that I’ve been fully informed of the risks and that I won’t sue if I get sick. I can’t wait until I get citizenship, because this is going to be my celebratory first political cause: to rid BC of patronizing food and liquor laws. (In addition to enjoying a medium-rare burger, I also want to be able to buy beer and wine in the goddamned grocery store — and on Sundays!) It’s time for a revolution! A return to sanity and personal responsibility for one’s own consumption! Who’s with me?

  7. I’m heading to Refuel tomorrow night with a couple friends. I went once before and got the confit duck leg (which I can’t resist ordering, whenever I see it on a menu). I think my fiancé got the buttermilk fried chicken. I’ll have to force myself to get something different this time. Hopefully, all 3 of us will want dissimilar entrees and we’ll get to sample more items — especially since one of our party has never been there, and this is her last opportunity to taste their delights after having read your blog postings about them. Luckily, all this recent Sun Run training is allowing me to pack in the eats with very little guilt!
    *squeals “Eeeeee!!!” like a happy, happy girl*

  8. Cool reunion, hire these people. If you got some of the Stargate cast, that would just be icing on a very awesome cake.

    I don’t follow the NFL as much as others (I live on the other side of the world) but I do like to keep track of how the Broncos are doing purely because they share the same name as the Brisbane Broncos, the rugby league team I follow here in Australia. I am excited by the signing of Manning. I think a guy like that is good for the spirit of a team and if he can back that up with some good on field performance, I think that team could go far…

    That burger looks pretty nice, but I’m not a fan of medium rare anything.

  9. Oh please, John Elway made a stupid move getting rid of Tebow. In another year or two, who knows, maybe. But Peyton Manning? WTF is Elway thinking? And 96M for him? WTF? I’m a huge Broncos fan from way back. Hell, I even named my dog after John, but he was out to get Tebow from day one. After so many years of one shitty QB after another, I’m afraid we’re in for another long year. Oh well, at least I can torture Mr. Deni by cheering on the Jets. J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets! I used to be INSANE with football and the Broncos, but now, not so much. Probably a good thing. 🙂

  10. Hi Joe,

    With all those culinary ‘delights’ that you have, is there any that you would NEVER have? In Cambodia, and with some South American rainforest tribes, spit-roasted Tarantulas are the local delicacy. I can barely look at them, let alone eat them! Oh, and Kangaroo testicles (a favourite dish on I’m A Celebrity: Get Me Out of Here). Even if I liked the taste, I’d be wincing at the thought with each chew…

  11. It was great seeing the pictures of everybody. That picture of Lawren and Ashleigh, you probably made them try chicken feet 😉 !

    I have no doubt you smiled your way through a chicken feet dish. I would like to second JeffW’s nomination for “Wing-man” if you make a Chicago visit. Anyone that could smile through chicken feet, can take anything you throw at him!

    I’ve had frog legs and rattlesnake before. It tasted like chicken to me.

    Janet: I’m glad your family are ok.

  12. That’s a GOOD looking burger!

    Now that I think about it, texturally, the pig’s brain would have been good fried. Next time!


    THAT is a great article. Great points were made by fans of less than well cooked, especially Chef Rob. And rather than actually doing their jobs, because “it’s impossible to inspect all of Canada’s beef supply”…they just outlaw ground beef cooked below 71*? Lazy and irresponsible.

    I always cook and order medium rare burgers. When out, of course I’ll ask if they are fresh or frozen. If frozen, I’ll skip it all together.

  14. Thanks for sharing the photos of the old gang, smiling faces and all. and how the heck do you begin to eat that burger piled so high, where is the video of that,?? it does look yummy! Have a wonderful day,
    ~~btw, got the 3rd installment in the mail of DARK Matter, off to read, thanks for wriing.

  15. Re: Gas Prices

    There is no price fixing going on at the corner stations. The Feds have said that they can find no evidence of such price fixing (well, except for those stations in Ontario); therefore, it doesn’t exist. And the moon really is made of green cheese.

    Personally, I’ve always found it odd that every station in town runs out of gas at the same time, has to be resupplied on the same day, at the same price, and, as a result, the price at the pump must, of necessity, go up. Nothing fishy about it according to the Feds.

    Re: Cancellation of SGU

    Here’s my conspiracy theory: ABC and SyFy were in cahoots. ABC was developing a new show and, just like the StarGate folks, had a particular actor in mind for one of the key roles. Problem was, he was otherwise engaged. Conundrum. How to free him up?

    So, ABCs people approach the SyFy people and make it worth their while to “tank” SGU by putting it up against NCIS, which was all but guaranteed to make the ratings fall, thereby justifying cancelling SGU.

    Once the inevitable happened, ABC moved in and snagged their guy. Didn’t even make him move to a different studio to film the new show.

    I have to admit, though, he’s perfect as the “batshit crazy” Rumpelstiltskin and the debonair Mr. Gold. Mr. Carlyle is an extremely talented actor, and I’m quite enjoying his portrayal of these characters.


  16. Wow. That burger looks dangerous. I think when you order that heart-attack-on-a-bun, that a defibrillator should come with it. 😉

    I for one think that Tim Tebow would be good for the Jets. I think he could bring good vibes to the team. I think he would a good team player, and I can see him taking over Sanchez’s role. I’m sure Sanchez feels treatened, and he should. Or…may be Sanchez will thrive to be a better player. 🙂

  17. Oh I’m making my Super Bowl plans, Joe. I don’t care what you say! The Chargers just lost Vincent Jackson and Tolbert, and picked up our chumpy underperforming 3rd receiver Eddie Griffin. The D is aging and porous. The coaching is woeful. In short, they suck. The Raiders mortgaged their future for the craptacular Carson Palmer, and hired our rookie D-coordinator as their head coach. Utter incompetence as usual will result in a total suck-fest. The Chefs will have a good ground attack but Matt Cassel is not a starting QB, and they lost Carr, their best cover man. If their injured starters come back okay after missing last year (Moeaki, Berry), they should be 2nd place in the division. The point is: these weak division opponents should ensure a gaudy record and a playoff bye for the Broncos. Conclusion: the road to the AFC championship now goes through DENVER!

  18. Is there some logic I am missing that makes rare steak legal but not hamburger? LOL, my friend, when asked how she likes her steak says “Wipe it’s butt and send it on over to the table.” While I usually like my hamburger only slightly pink, I could eat it raw.

    Okay, I don’t like comics or graphic novels. You know that or at least I have said so. But I love you. And I have enjoyed this blog for a long long time. So I am going to order all the comics and read them. Who knows, you may have a new convert. 🙂

  19. @ Tam Dixon, JeffW, ??Sparrowhawk??, and a few more whose names I do not remember (gettin old) in the Chicagoland and vicinity and /Illinois area.

    WHEN Joes decides to do the swing by Chicagoland – we can do the Joe Chicagoland Foodie Gathering.

    Planning for you Joe. So, please pick a good timeframe to do this so we can all manage to get together.

    Just thinking out loud….just sayin

  20. What’s the big deal with the chicken feet? I used to eat them all the time as a kid when going out for dim sum. Not the most filling dish, but hardly the worst thing in the world that you could eat, either. And, given the right marinade, it can be downright tasty.

    My mom made a cow brain soup once. Now *that* was gross. Completely unappetizing in aroma, taste, and appearance.

  21. @Sylvia: Yep, I’m in the Chicago area and would love to be a wing … uh … person for a foodie gathering.

    Hypothetically you can’t get medium rare burgers around here either, but some restaurants will do them that way for you if you are a regular customer.

    @Debra: The reason burgers are risky and steaks are not is the grinding of the beef: it gives bacteria more surface area on which to grow, so if the beef is contaminated you more likely to get a higher number of bacteria from rare ground beef than steak or roasts.

  22. Agree on your take of Tebow. He still has a lot of growing up to do in the league. I’m not sure that the Jets offensive is the place though. Surprised that Miami didn’t take him. I think it will make Sanchez work a bit harder. Peyton may have one or two good years in him. Is he worth what they paid for him? Doubtful.

    It pains me to see players being paid to take out opposing players. Having a son that plays high school football, I get sick to my stomach every time there’s a big hit, whatever team. I see many of the coaches still celebrating when it happens. It has to start young, to teach the kids that it’s not alright to pop someone to the point where they have to be taken off the field. I’m sure there are other teams out there in the NFL that did the same thing with offering bounties.

    Not loving the medium rare ground beef. I’ve had food poisoning a few times in my life. Now I’m very, very careful. Going to the emergency room is not fun.

  23. The strangest “food” I have ever eaten was done so completely by accident. My father moved to Colombia when I was young, so when I went to visit him he took me on a cross country car trip. Long story short, we stopped in a tiny town that happen to have an art fair going. I smelled the most incredible burgers and ate two. Halfway through my third my fathers girlfriend says “Oh! You like X!” (I have blocked out the name), I say “huh? What’s X?” She explains to me that they cultivate special worms and grind them up for meat. She then points out tiny green spots in my burger that were the “eyes”. Well, I turn three shades of green, look down at the half eaten burger and realize that if I had to finish it off…

    Still one of the best burgurs I have ever eaten (think beef and pork combination), ut I dont see myself eating one on purpose.

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