I’ve been feeling stressed-out of late and so, at Akemi’s behest, I booked us an hour-long couple massage at the local Absolute Spa.  We left the house well in advance of our 1:00 p.m. appointment yesterday, figuring we could relax in the sauna for half an hour beforehand.  We were only a couple of blocks from home when I happened to notice a dog wandering up the sidewalk, no collar or owner in sight.

I slowed down, expecting the owner to turn the corner and put my mind at ease, allowing me to be on my way.  No such luck.  The dog scampered one way, then the opposite direction, then stopped to sniff the bushes. I pulled over and looked on as the dog wandered about, ambled onto someone’s lawn and promptly relieved himself.  I watched and considered.  It clearly wasn’t a stray and had probably wandered off from someone’s back yard.  I could just leave him be and assume the owner would soon notice him missing and take up the search – or rely on some benevolent neighbor who wasn’t going to be late for their massage to take him in.  But I knew that even if a happy outcome was probable, I would regret not knowing for sure.   And so, dismissing any hope of that pre-massage sauna session, I made a u-turn, parked across the street, and got out of my car.

The dog, who looked like a cross between a pug and a beagle, eyed me suspiciously as I stepped out onto the sidewalk.  “Hey, boy,”I called, waving him over.  “C’mere.”  C’mere?  And then what?  Bundle him up in my arms and deposit him in my car?  Drop him off at my place and then decide what to do with him when I got back from my massage? Well, yes.  I figured I would put him in the kitchen where he could do the least damage and move my dogs to the living room.  And then I suppose I could call the City of Vancouver.  The local SPCA was also a possibility but I didn’t know if the shelter had a no-kill policy.  By giving him up to their care, would I possibly be complicit in his death? I didn’t like that prospect and decided right then and there that I would leave my name and number and, if he didn’t find a good home, that I would adopt him.

But I had to get him in the car first.  I opened the back door wide and called him over, motioning him inside.  Hey, check it out.  Free ride!

The dog wasn’t having any of it.  He reared up, barked, and paced around nervously.  “I have some treats!”offered Akemi who had followed me out of the car.  She pulled out her treats, little bacon-flavored ginger-bread-man-shaped cookies she keeps in an Altoids tin, and tossed one over.  He cautiously approached and snapped it up. She tossed over another.  He wasted no time snapping up that one as well.

I took a handful of treats and began to lay a path, from Akemi to inside my car.  The dog sniffed the first treat and downed it.  Then another. We were on our way!  Everything was going according to plan when some guy came barreling around the corner and startled the dog.

By calling its name, Rufus, and then stopping to throw me a “What the hell?” look.  There I stood, in my leather trench coat, treats in hand, alongside a winding trail of tiny bacon-flavored cookie men leading straight into my getaway car, the very image of a heartless dog-napper.

“Oh,”said the guy.

“Oh,”I said back.

An awkward silence during which dog Rufus finished off the trail of treats and parked himself at my feet, casting a longing gaze from the bacon-scented back seat of my car and back to me.  The look on his face seemed to say: “Well?  Are we doing this?”

“I thought he was lost,”I explained, “and when I didn’t see anyone around – ”

“Right,”said the owner, nodding to curtail further discussion.  “Well – ”

“So – ”

“Thanks for taking care of my dog.”

“Sure,”I said.  “No problem.”

I considered informing him that ole Rufus had taken a huge dump on his neighbor’s yard that he might want to consider cleaning up, but he and Rufus were already on their way and, besides, I had a massage to get to.

Anyway, things ended happily enough.  Rufus returned home safe and sound and, more importantly, I was able to enjoy a guilt-free massage.

Oh, and the spa ended up letting us use the sauna after our session.

To be honest, I don’t even like saunas.

Continuing our trip down Atlantis memory lane…

THE HIVE (211)

A powerful pay-off to the intriguing Lost Boys, The Hive is Atlantis at its best – with plenty of twists and turns, great character moments, and spectacular visual effects.  And, as an added bonus, we develop another aspect of wraith mythology with the wraith worshipers, humans who serve and revere the life-sucking aliens.  More is made of the divisions inherent within the enemy, something Sheppard exploits at episode’s end to save a human civilization from a mass culling.

David Hewlett, as always, is firing on all cylinders, this time delivering a performance that shows a side of Rodney we’ve never seen before – intense, overwhelmed, physically and mentally tortured.  As for Ford, he goes out in a blaze of glory, redeeming himself by distracting the enemy so that his friends can make good their escape.  Or does he? Sheppard thinks it very likely that their resilient comrade found a way off the hive ship before it was destroyed.  I’d like to think so too, that Ford is still out there, harvesting wraith and fighting the good fight. But the fact that we don’t see the character again after this episode would suggest otherwise.  Still, as we always say whenever someone gets killed off: “This is science fiction.  Anything is possible!”.

EPIPHANY (212)

Oof.  This episode was the equivalent to season one’s Sanctuary – slowly, somewhat silly, and, occasionally, downright painful to sit through.  A great door in (the time distortion portal) is undone by a story involving a community of space-hippies who are being stalked by an invisible bogeyman (the stand-in for the creature during production was a guy in a pink monster suit that would have us in stitches whenever he appeared on dailies).  Sheppard joins the commune and he is revealed as…The One who will lead them.  As prophecized, of course.  It turns out the monster is actually a manifestation of their own fear and, to defeat it, they must come together as one – just like the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers did in in the movie in order to revive their boss, the giant head.  The power of love inner strength vanquishes the monster and the episode ends with a good ole fashioned mass ascension.

Oh, yeah.  Like I started to say in last night’s entry.  The results are in on Gateworld’s Atlantis Season One Awards!  The fan awards covered categories in best individual character moments, best team moment, best alien race, best individual villain, coolest ancient technology, coolest alien technology, best guest star, and best episode.  Found it odd that Rising I and II weren’t in the best episode category (which, I believe, they would have won handily).  Anyway, you can check out all the results here: Atlantis Season One Awards: Results!

28 thoughts on “July 1, 2012: Post-massage dog-wrangling! Days of Stargate: Atlantis Past! The Hive! Epiphany!

  1. Wow, I wish that dog story came with video. AWK-WARD.

    I do agree about Epiphany – one of the weaker SGA episodes for sure. It was just kind of… boring. It kind of reminded me of ST: Voyager’s “Blink of an Eye” although that was a more interesting take on the whole time differential idea, I think.

  2. Epiphany – Loved the whole time distortion thingy [I could use it in Real-Life!]. However, the bogeyman bit was just a tad too “Forbidden Planet”…

  3. ”I have some treats!”offered Akemi who had followed me out of the car. She pulled out her treats, little bacon-flavored ginger-bread-man-shaped cookies she kept in an Altoids tin, and tossed one over. He cautiously approached and snapped it up. She tossed over another. He wasted no time snapping up that one as well.

    I took a handful of treats and began to lay a path, from Akemi to inside my car.”

    You two are awesome. 🙂

  4. I’ve always brought home stray dogs (much to Mr. Deni’s chagrin), and I’ve had a couple of encounters like yours. 🙂 I was just in the car with Mr. Deni a little while ago, me still crying over Elway and poor Mr. Deni trying his best to make me feel better, and we got to talking about one of my other doggie loves, Riggs. We picked him up in Homestead, FL while out looking for handmade tortillas. We saw a large black pup in the street, and Mr. Deni pretended not to see him. He started to drive away quickly, really not wanting yet another stray living at home. Yeah, right. In minutes, I had him stop the car and like you, had a trail of tortillas leading up to our car. The poor guy gobbled them down and then I nabbed him. The neighborhood we were in was mostly illegal immigrants, very poor, and I knew this dog would be better off with me, but I asked around if anybody knew where he belonged and nobody did. A little while later, he was in my lap, his legs extending all the way to the dashboard, licking my face like we were old buddies. He turned out to be one of the best dogs ever, sweet and gentle with the kids, but a real “I will kill you where you stand” attitude with strangers at the door. He kept me safe when hubby worked nights, sleeping on Mr. Deni’s side of the bed with his head on the pillow. What I would give to have him and Elway here right now… Our move is proceeding somewhat awkwardly, but hopefully we’ll be done by next weekend. Trying to move as many boxes and small stuff as I can now in order to have the kitchen and bathrooms done. Much to do, and I’m having a bit of an issue leaving this house and all my memories of Elway. Silly, I know, but there it is.

    Epiphany started out nicely, but for me, got too silly. I did enjoy The Hive, though!

  5. Spotted a stray today myself(alas, I was NOT headed to a nice massage appointment). Unfortunately the dog in question took off before I could entice it with a bit of steak I happened to have in the car. The best I can hope for is that I at least drove him away from one of the heavier traffic streets in the area into a field with residences nearby, where someone else might have more luck. One good thing about this town, people tend to either gather in strays, or call for animal control quickly. And ours is a no kill shelter, so no residual guilt there.
    Ephineny did have a few good moment(Xena and Conan). And the time distortion thing was cool. The Hive was a terrific episode.
    Well, power outages have enticed my sister to move back in for the night. How odd she wants not only air conditioning, but hot water for a shower in the morning. At least it looks like the storms tonight are all far to the west. At least the power company can get some customers back online before the next hit.
    Hope the stress levels drop, and have a happy Canada Day. Looking forward to our birthday bash down here on Wednesday, though with the weather it’s likely no fireworks this year.

  6. You creepy dog-napper, you. At least you didn’t try to convince the dog that it’s owner sent you to take it home.
    On an unrelated note, I’m up in Vancouver on vacation at the moment. I know you have connections, so could you please talk to the powers that be and have them throw in a few days of sun between now and Sunday? :-). Thanks!
    – KB
    P.S. Happy Canada Day.

  7. @ gforce – Yeah, of all times for Joey not to be taking video or pictures. I think he’s hiding something…

    @ sg1efc – Awesome dognappers, that is! 😉

    das

  8. Well at least you had the best of intentions and the dogs welfare at heart Joe, can’t do any better than that.

    That said, some owners don’t take good care of their pets. I saw a dog wondering around near my area recently too, it’s a fairly quiet area so not too many people around but sure enough the dog had a smartly dressed owner that went to pick it up after crossing a road. Making me wonder if the thing just escaped from a near by House/Yard or something or the owner was just careless.

    It’s easy to care when you see an animal thats not meant to be wondering around on its own, wondering around on its own, a fairly normal reaction il’d say.

    On the Atlantis subject, sad to see Ford go to be honest, I liked his character and as with Weir later on in the series, he didn’t deserve to go. That said his story arc was fairly interesting, if not abrupt.

  9. “Happy endings” and “massage” in the same paragraph… Only you can get away with that Joe, only you…

  10. The Hive was a great espisode! Always liked the inside of hive ships. The wraith are awesome aliens. We find out Ronon carries a lot of hidden knifes on his body. “How many of those you got?” “How many do you need?” How does Beckett know what Rodney is going through? The ending is a very happy one. Except sorry to see Ford go.

    Epiphany was a good episode. Way back when I first saw it, I thought it was kind of boring and nap inducing. But it gets better with time. (no pun intended) Love the first part about the mysterious cave and the time difference. Lose the monster and I think this episode would have been better. It just needed some more tweaking. Still good.

  11. “Jealous I get all the women and you don’t!” is my favorite line of The Hive (and probably the whole series) during Rodney’s delirious rant. In fact, Rodney’s enzyme adventure and David Hewlett’s performance is the highlight of the episode for me. Ronon’s endless supply of knives was also humorous.

    Epiphany was a good stand-alone episode. It felt similar to a SG-1 episode where O’Neill was left behind on an alien planet and he hooked up with some alien chick.

    I’m looking forward to what you’ll write about Grace Under Pressure.

  12. years ago now, I did bring home a big puppy that was gonna get hit by a car for sure,(my thoughts) after work one evening. Need less to say hubby said, uh, this dog has a collar and our already 2 dogs were not the least bit pleased at the new addition…so a little while later I took the big puppy(x bet sheperd and some other big puppy) back to the location I (rescued) found it and the next morning I did not see it so maybe(hope) the pup went home…
    So thanks Joe and Akemi for trying the rescue, you never know what the backstory is. And Akemi, handy to have those treats with you. I am not sure I like saunas either, makes my hair frizz..
    ~@das did you see the new schedule for Lewis and Hathaway on PBS??, starting July 8th here(FL) 4 episodes..

  13. *Hugs Joe* Awwwww….your such an angel Joe! 🙂 How nice of you to care for that doggie. 🙂 God bless you for being such a wonderful and caring human being. 🙂

  14. @Ponytail on losing the monster:

    I agree…I think this would have been a much better episode without the energy monster. It just seemed too simple an explanation. The ancient descendants have how many countless eons inside the bubble to figure out the causes of the energy monster and they never do?

    Maybe some of the tension lost (with the deletion of the energy monster) could have been replaced with an imminent time-shield failure/wraith attack (we have to figure out ascension now!) And then you replace the “fear of the monster” with “fear of the wraith” as the key element holding them back from ascension. Add in a few flashbacks to when the bubble was first setup (complete with an on-going wraith attack), and you cement the idea of an “institutionalized fear of the wraith” holding them back from ascension.

    You could even have the wraith gain access inside the bubble (partial shield failure) to force the ancients to confront their fears. Imagine a scene where a wraith is about to feed on one of the ancients…the ancient is a first frightened, then seemingly reserved to his fate, and then as the wraith starts to feed, the ancient has a look of peace and suddenly ascends! Add in a wraith frustration “howl” at this point.

    Thoughts?

  15. Hi everyone! I just got back from Seattle. Sadly, my schedule was too full to swing north to Vancouver… maybe next trip. However, I did snag some pretty excellent macarons at Le Panier, drank fabulous coffee at Fonte, had an amazing hot stone massage at Hotel 1000, experienced the unique staff at Three Girls Bakery at Pike Place Market, visited the “shrines” to Nirvana and Jimi Hendrix (I didn’t realize he was from Seattle) at the Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Museum http://www.empmuseum.org/index.asp . They had Captain Kirk’s command chair with a pile of Tribbles, Lieutenant Uhura’s uniform and com thingie and a lovely display of weapons including Ronan’s weapon and … wait for it…. a Wraith gun! And a Dalek! Also of note were a fun exhibit on horror films where they had Buffy’s Mr. Pointy on display (among other things). Now I have to get started on the post-vacation laundry and deal with the 95 degree heat after a lovely 6 days of 60’s and 70’s. *sigh*

    You did a good thing with that dog, Joe, even if things got a little awkward at the end. I have “dognapped” a couple of dogs over the years to get them back to their homes. Luckily both had tags so I could call the police and give them their tag numbers so they could look up the dog’s home address and I could contact their owners.

  16. That is a sweet story. Both you and Akemi should be proud. This story could have easily have been written with a different ending. Bless you both for helping!

    Epiphany wasn’t bad. It was an interesting concept. However, the writing collaboration must have been like running through mud. I remember you had a “newbie” writer that didn’t know how to compromise much. Live and learn, nuff said.

    The Hive was pretty good. I liked Ford and wished sporadic appearances would have worked out. David Hewlett always rocks!

    Das: You have a gift for words. As much as I dreaded the image, it came to me crystal clear. Payback now: http://twitpic.com/a331y6
    That’s me swimming laps, cool as a cucumber in a giant cesspool of germs 😉 .

  17. I’ve always like Epiphany. My only problem with the episode was how old were the hippies? Were they long lived like the Ancients or had their parents just stumbled into the area a few years ago?

    Okay so I have a similar cat story. My house has a screen in porch I let my indoor cat play in. This was about ten years ago when I first got my cat. One week another cat started to show up in my yard and face off through the screens with my cat. This went on for a few days when one day my cat got really mad and attacked the screens to get at the other cat. She succeeded, tearing through the screens and getting into a nasty fight with the other cat. I broke it up and the other cat ran off.

    The next day I look up from what I am doing to find the other cat had climbed through the hole in the screens and is meowing at the door to the house. I step outside and manage to grab the stray cat. It’s obvious it’s domesticated but there is no collar. My city has a tagging requirement for all pets so I decide to take it down to the local shelter and have it scanned to see who owns it. Just my luck no tag. Well I’m not too happy with the hole in my screens so I leave the cat with he shelter.

    3 days later flyers go up on the local telephone poles with the cat I’ve shipped off to the shelter pictured, it’s a 12 year girl’s pet, who was a neighbor directly across the street that hadn’t been living there long. UGH! They had evidently just adopted him at about the same time he started to appear to fight with my cat. So I called the number and informed them that a person I knew a few streets over had caught a cat that fit the picture and hauled him down to the local shelter.

    2 days later the little girl shows up on my porch offering me the $100 reward for notifying them where their cat was. Double ugh! I refuse the reward and tell the girl to go buy her cat a lot of treats with the money instead. Now that was uncomfortable!

  18. Dogs could get killed or cause an accident – you’re much more social-minded than I that you get around to thinking about the reunion. I’m driving a car my insurance totaled over avoiding a loose dog. I didn’t think as far through as you did when I stopped for a lost dog. I come from a much different background than you and I wasn’t ready to touch a strange dog, but the ruckus I made in trying to keep it cornered away from traffic with my voice was enough for the owner who was looking for him to find us. I didn’t look like a dognapper – I looked like someone without a plan.

    —-

    Soooo….I had another incident like that only it was a toddler sitting in a ditch by a busy road. We very easily stopped two lanes of traffic by simply being the first to stop – he was standing by then. It apparently takes one car stopping for people to do the right thing, NOT a toddler that everyone can clearly see is in danger.

    We did little more than get out of our car before a guy who was obviously the father came running out of the woods. I’m still traumatized to realize the extent to which people abdicate responsibility to the mob after seeing how many hundreds of cars passed that baby and I haven’t viewed the human race the same since. I even remember thinking, “what does everyone else know that I don’t that this is okay and traffic keeps moving?” That ridiculous thought slowed me down so I can’t say I’m not guilty of some of it either. I’m sick of myself over it, too, because of what the hesitation could have meant.

    —–

    The Hive – awesome action. It made me think, “how would I clever my way out of a baddie prison?” I figured it out, a couple times over, but I’m not tipping my hand yet.

    —–

    Epiphany – the triumph of intellect and romance over brute force and cynicism 😉

    How much MIA pay was Sheppard entitled to after Epiphany?

    —–

    So…I agree that The Rising was an epic-ally awesome episode. It can appeal to a very wide audience, but the voting is by the deepest of fans so that changes the criteria for what makes it awesome a bit.

  19. As per JeffW:

    “I agree…I think this would have been a much better episode without the energy monster. It just seemed too simple an explanation. The ancient descendants have how many countless eons inside the bubble to figure out the causes of the energy monster and they never do?”

    Gah, no kidding. They can’t be THAT smart. Certainly not ascension worthy. I liked your idea for “more peril” much better.

    Oh, just in the process of watching “Batman and Robin.” Oh. Ehm. Gee. An object lesson in why you should never say “it can’t get any worse, can it?”

  20. I took in a pug who was running loose in front of our house a couple years go. I’d seen the owner walking him and another pug almost daily for some time, but I had no clue where they lived. Not on the block for sure. Friendly dog, freaked out the cats. Energetic and wanted to be in bed with us. I did call the shelter, no microchip when they came out. They are a kill shelter, but not if they know the owner is looking for the pet. The woman assured me I’d get the dog back if the owner didn’t claim him. I have since seen them walking by, so there was a happy ending after all.
    Now if the barky barky little shitzus next door would just get out and be adopted by someone several blocks away, I’d be more than a little pleased.

  21. @ JeffW – yes more peril, but of what kind? Not sure I want to substitute the monster for wraith. I think the wraith are scarier. They were living in such an idyllic place. I wonder about the time thing going on there. Does time fly when your having fun? Or does time goes by faster because you do the same thing over and over again without thinking about what your’re doing. Their life was that way. I just thought the monster was a bit cheesy. But you got some good ideas there.

  22. I know I’m late but had to chime in… Epiphany was so strong when Sheppard was alone in the cave, wondering why no one was coming through to help him. Joe F did a great job there. I think the whole ep could have focused on Sheppard trying to survive while Rodney, “Conan and Xena” tried to get to him. JMO. Very curious how it ended up the way it did. I know Joe got a story credit on it, while Brad said he hated it afterward??

  23. While what you did was noble, a sad tale happened to my friend who rescued a dog on a busy freeway. She took the dog home thinking things would be just fine. The dog killed one of her other dogs. It broke my heart.

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