Hurrah!  I’m pleased to announce a new Stargate-related Q&A!  Mark Nicholson joined the franchise in SG-1’s tenth season (Atlantis’s third) and worked BEHIND the scenes, helping to build a lot of the amazing things you saw IN the scenes.  He was with us until the very end, Universe’s last episode, and, along the way, his contributions included everything from high-tech gadgetry to awesome weaponry.

So, what was his most complicated build?  His strangest?  His favorite? They say that every picture tells a story, so I’m sure every prop has at least two or three!

Let’s find out.  I’m gathering questions for Mark (who is, as it turns out, a long-time reader of this blog).  Post ’em if you got ’em.  I’ll gather them up through the weekend and then send them Mark’s way early next week!

A little while ago, I was invited to take part in something called a Blog Hop by another blog reader, Amanda Ball.  The Hop is essentially a promotional tool that introduces readers to new authors.  A writer is chosen to answer a series of ten questions on their blog about an upcoming or new release and, a week later, they hand off to another writer who does the same on their blog.

Amanda’s Blog Hop entry is up here – – in which she discusses her latest book: _Famous…or Not_

In my case, my works-in-progress are super-secret hush-hush (please forget I mentioned this and promptly destroy your laptop after reading this entry) so I’ve decided to profile Dark Matter, my comic book series (the first three episodes four issues have been collected as a trade paperback).  Why?  Well, because the TPB was released a few months ago and…well…let’s just leave it at that for now (Seriously.  I need you to destroy this laptop after reading this entry).  I’ll be fielding the same ten questions next week after which I’ll be handing things off to award-winning New Zealand author Mandy Hager (Mandy Hager – Writer) who will be talking about her latest release, The Crossing ( over on her blog the week following.

1Fernando, meet the blog gang.  Blog gang, Fernando.  This beautiful young husky was recently adopted by my sister following the passing of her beloved Aspen.

1Rather than get a puppy, she decided to help out a dog in need – and Fernando was an ideal candidate, one of 45 other dogs (and 4 cats) rescued from an abusive environment last September.

1Despite his rough early years, Fernando has proven a very sweet and gentle addition to sis’ household – although, apparently, he’s a little mischievous.  According to Andria’s facebook update:

“Yesterday Fernando crawled under one gate and jumped another to get out of the kitchen when no one was home. He also started un-decorating the Christmas tree. Today, we gave him free access to the middle floor with Roxy. He dismantled the pet fountain and continued to un-decorate the tree. Hint taken… time to take down the tree.”

Who?  Me?
Who? Me?

He’s special for a lot of reasons, but one in particular.  Can you guess? Notice anything about him?

1You sure?  Nothing?  Take a closer look.

1Still no?

1He’s blind.  Sis thinks he may be able to distinguish light in one eye, but that would be the extent of his visibility.  Still, you wouldn’t know it.  Mom didn’t – even after spending an hour getting to know him. He’s very smart, has already figured out how to use the pet fountain and, apparently, looks up and cocks his head when someone talks to him.

1A wonderful addition to our extended family.

47 thoughts on “January 17, 2013: Stargate Q&A! Blog Hop! Introducing Fernando!

  1. Looks like a lovely dog Joe, your sister did an incredibly kind thing giving that poor soul a home for life, and a family to love him. Many people would turn their nose up at adopting a dog with disabilities, it’s lovely that there are people in the world that can look beyond that and show compassion to those most in need.

  2. Fernando is a beautiful dog, and a sensible one too, that even when blind he knows when it’s time to take down the Christmas tree! 🙂 SIs is a very wonderful person.

    Question for Mark: How much input/freedom did you have in designing the items for the franchise? Were you able to have a lot of creative leeway or were things pretty much drawn up for you already?

  3. Kudos to “Sis” for adopting rather than taking in a puppy from a breeder, or worse, a pet store. We have to encourage everyone to put a stop to puppy mills.

    As for a question for Mark Nicholson – my question: I’d like to know if you needed any special education or training to get into your current field. Did you want to work in the entertainment industry so looked for a job you could do and enjoy within it, or did you have an affinity to creating props and the rest naturally followed?


  4. What a beautiful pup, No I could not tell he is not able to see, he looks out the window so intent. He needed a good home and your sister is an angel. Wow, thanks Andria!

  5. Oh my goodness, what a cutie Fernando is! Love his name, too! Welcome to your blog family, Fernando! And Sis, you’re the best. 🙂

    Oh yeah, everybody, my son, Brandon, got into the MBA program at UF! He’ll be doing some of it online, but at least we’ll get to see him a little more often when he has to come to Gainesville. I’m so proud! He’s coming up tonight and will be here for a week, so I’m pretty happy tonight. 🙂

    Have a good night!

  6. 1. Joe, I’m slow. I now get your e-mail. No worries…I know shipping live Wraith must take longer. 😉 (Who am I kidding? I’ll be lucky if I get a partial roll of toilet paper from the exec bathroom at the old Stargate production offices. 😛 )

    2. The book thing sounds interesting. I checked out the one you linked to. Will you be answering your questions here, or elsewhere?

    3. Sis is great!! What a wonderful thing to do for a beautiful pup in need of a little tlc. I wish Andria and Dog Shaming protege, Fernando, many happy years together! 🙂


  7. We have a rescue dog too. He is not the brightest boy in the bunch, but he is cute and boy is he happy with us and we with him. We laugh because a while back my husband came in from a walk and managed to get our other dog in the house, and assumed Murphy came in too. Forty-five minutes later my bridge club showed up to play at our house. There was Murphy sitting on the steps in the dark waiting patiently for someone to open the front door. Our other dog would have been five miles away by then, but I think Murphy decided he had done the lost, abandoned dog thing already and it wasn’t the life for him — and we weren’t getting rid of him if he had anything to say about. Needless to say, my husband was in the doghouse, but Murphy and I forgave him.

    It sounds like Fernando will be great addition to your family. I wish your sister much happiness with him.

  8. Awe, Fernando is a beauty! Congratulations to Andria! I am so glad she went ahead and got another dog. And what a lucky dog Fernando is! Welcome to the world of love, lavish attention, luxurious care, a neat Uncle, great cousins, and ice cream! And we get to watch you grow! Enjoy your new life precious baby. How sweet.

    Hey Joe could you post a few pictures of Mark Nicholson’s handiwork so I know who I am talking to and have a better idea of questions to ask him. Did he help make that minature Destiny?

    @ JeffW – Sorry for your loss.

    @ Deni – congrats to your son!

    @ Das – I didn’t get Jason Momoa mailed to me. You better not get a Wraith mailed to you or there may be a cat fight here. 😉

  9. G’day Joe

    Hello Fernando. You may have started with a crappy life but you sure have landed into a great and caring family.

    No, I could not tell he is blind. But he is gorgeous.

  10. Hello Fernando! You are a beautiful and lucky boy. Congrats Andria on the new addition to the family. 😀

  11. @ Ponytail – But you miss one very important thing – with the proper materials, I can build by own Wraith! All Joey needs to do is send me a long white wig, some rubber facial prostheses, green body paint, yellow cat’s eye contacts, and a black leather commander’s coat, and all I have to do is slap that stuff on Mr. Das like he’s some kind of Mr. Potato Head play toy!

    Of course, if I did that, then Mr. Das would insist I dress up like Savage Teyla…which just ain’t gonna happen. 😛


  12. Joe – I’ve been a lurker and daily reader since SGU was canceled (I anxiously hoped for a resurrection)…much more to tell you another time, but I am surprised no one else picked up on your cryptic note (maybe they are just smart enough not to make a big deal out of it). If it’s what I think it is, I am pumped to see your work on the screen again…since SGU’s cancellation (my first ‘SG’ show!), I have watched all 10 seasons of SG-1, and just started SGA…I loved SGU and look forward to seeing what else you bring to life on TV! Thanks for pulling me in with your blog – some of your cookie monster movie reviews had me in tears!

    Question for Mark – What equipment/technology/weaponry did you hope the crew of the Destiny would eventually discover on the ship had the show continued?

  13. @ Das – Okay, Mrs. Potato Head. Whatever you say. But you better not get “a live one”… 🙂

  14. Welcome, Fernando! Your new mom will take excellent care of you. 🙂 Good for you, Andria, for adopting a special needs pet. I have a three-legged cat who has proven herself to be very resilient — smart, adventurous and she has no idea she has an invisible leg. She tears around the house at top speed and climbs or jumps to the highest and most precarious summits. I’m sure Fernando will adjust very well to his new home. Also, he’s a beauty!

  15. @Joe:

    Fernando is beautiful. And huskies can certainly be mischievous. Our husky has torn up our deck lattice-work and managed to dig a secret tunnel under the steps to the dog run. We would let her out into the dog run, and later she would appear barking at the deck gate wanting to be let back on the deck. It took us a couple of weeks to figure out how she was getting out, since her “tunnel” was pretty well hidden.


    Thanks for the condolences. My friend is coping as best can be expected.


    I needed a laugh tonight (but maybe not the mental imagery 😉 ), thanks! 🙂

  16. @ JeffW – Glad I could give you a smile! And very sorry about your friends’ loss. So tragic, and so young! My heart goes out to his family.


  17. @ Ponytail – Hmmmm…I wonder if they come in blow up models? 😉 (Keep in mind that I have a nearly 6′ Captain Jack Sparrow guarding my ‘ship room’, sooooo…yeah. I really need to stop spending money on foolishness. 😛 )


  18. Welcome to Fernando and bless your sis for adopting not only an adult but one with probably blindness. Your mom truly did a good job raising you guys. 🙂

  19. Fernando is a beautiful dog! I echo everyone else’s sentiments; your sister is a truly amazing woman. You are definitely the good guys and Fernando will be loved every single day! 🙂

  20. I assume the name “Fernando” was adopted too? Every time I read it now I’m going to have the Abba song in my brain for the rest of the day! Thanks a lot!

    So, it sounds like there’s good news about ████ ██████ being ██████ ██ for a ██ ██████!!!!! Tell us more! Has it been ████████ or is it in ██████████ hell? Is there a major ██████ involved?

  21. @JeffW: My condolences to you and your friends. It is a terrible thing to lose someone so young.

    @das: You are right. I’ve been skulking around, but not interacting much. Recovering from my knee surgery and trying to get myself and the house shaped up during my time off keeps me off the computer.

    Congratulations to Sis and Fernando! Looks like a match made in heaven.

  22. 45 dogs and 4 cats? That is so sad! Not all are as lucky as Fernando. Your sister is so smart. The best medicine for grief is to do something for someone (or something ) else. What a great tribute to Aspen’s memory as well.

    The others asked pretty good questions for Mark Nicholson. The only thing I can think of is to ask for some of his favorite SG memories. It makes me feel like I was there.

    I can’t feel my index finger on my left hand and I’m having a lot of problems typing (not going to be loquacious this morning). My Raynaud’s syndrome is getting worse. Dr thinks I may have some kind of autoimmune thing like lupus going on. It attacks your blood vessels or something. So far just some minor annoyances like my fingers going numb, rashes, so I can’t complain too much. I’m very lucky to be so healthy.

    Jeffw: Prayers still coming to you and your friend.

    Deni: Congrats!

  23. What a sweet dog! And good for your sis taking on a rescue animal. Our wee boy is one of those too. He has brought us nothing but joy, and I would recommend adopting a pet to anyone.

  24. Fernando is a beautiful dog, he has a great smile and seems awesome. Best wishes! 🙂

    @ JeffW:
    My condolences also on the loss of your friend Eddie.

  25. *WAVES* to Fernando. Oh wait…”Hey Fernando!” Welcome to your furever home! He is beautiful. Good luck with him, Andrea!

  26. I… Can’t… Get … This… Damned laptop to… fit in the shredder!

  27. Quite a beautiful dog. I’m don’t think I could take the walking/running required of a husky. I’ve been told they have a tremendous amount of energy to burn off or otherwise they become, ah, antsy, sometimes destructive. Or so I’ve been told. Maybe she could try a treadmill in the morning and night to help burn off some of his energy.

    My Jack Russell is a terror, or was a terror. He’s not as bad as he was, but he’s still the most stubborn dog I’ve ever met. I’ve tried to get him to go on our treadmill, but he’s not having any of it. I’ve put him on a diet because he has put on weight. Of course that’s my fault. He will sit in front of the cupboard where I put his treats. He will sit there for literally hours until I give in.
    It really peeves me that my dog has more willpower then I do.

    I have questions for Mark Nicholson, if he doesn’t mind. I’ll repeat the questions I had on the shotguns with drum magazines if that’s OK.

    How did you make them, what did you use, fiberglass? Actual metal parts?
    Did you base them on actual firearms?
    How long does it take you to make them?
    Did you make each one a one off, or did you make molds?
    Do you weight them so they feel more realistic?

    New questions:
    Do you make all your props pretty much the same way?
    How did you get started building props?
    Are you working on any other shows these days?

    It’s a lot of questions, so I don’t expect them all answered, if any. Thank you Mark for being kind enough to answer our questions , and thank you Joe for giving us this opportunity.

  28. @Line Noise

    Whats with the censorship of your second paragraph? I generally don’t read other comments after commenting here, but did so today and find your comment mysterious lol

  29. Congrats to your sister on the fantastic addition to her family! Thanks for saving a life!

    And all of the questions I could possibly come up with, Mike from Canada is already asking them, so awesome, my want-to-know stuff is covered! Thank you for the opportunity though.

  30. Fernando is beautiful. Love the way he crossed his paws.
    @Sis – you go girl….right on!

  31. Sis — Fernando is a beauty! 😀 A thousand blessings for adopting a wily husky with almost no vision! Someone else might not have, but you saved him. Looking forward to more pictures & stories in the days ahead. Do you have a fenced-in yard? Is he chipped yet? (You know how they like to run.) Congratulations! Yes, I too have the ABBA song “Fernando” in my head. 🙂

    Deni — Wonderful news about your son. How are Lauren & baby Michael? Those crazy boxers!

    Tam — Keeping you in my prayers! With an auto-immune involvement, anything you can do to boost your immune system will help overall. Including, sadly!, avoiding sugar. Will write ya later.

    JeffW — Have been sending prayers your way since you first told us, but have forgotten to say so. After losing my friends last month… it still is very hard. Words are never good enough. Give your friends lots of TLC, and yourself some time.

    Mark Nicholson — How cool was it being a Prop Master for Stargate? And now your creations are collectibles! A different kind of question would be about the overall style or look of each show, and getting the props to match the set and scene. What were your points of inspiration? It looks sort of like there’s an Art Deco feel to Atlantean objects, but still sci-fi. I liked the tall, copper standing piece of art in Woolsey’s office that Joe liked. Also, I’m not normally big on weapons, but Ronan’s/Jason Momoa’s big ol’ gun that charged up with sound effects was my favorite. Did you get to design that?

  32. Fernando is a handsome lad, beautiful face and ears. Thank you Andria for being so open-hearted and kind. I’m sure he appreciates your love and will return it in buckets!
    All of my cats, save one, was from a shelter. The one was a rescue from another’s over crowded home. Each kitty has been a true blessing, a good friend and full of kitty-liciousness. Enjoy Fernando’s company!

    I don’t have any questions for Mark, but do thank him for all of his creativeness and beautiful items seen in Stargate. A set is empty without the props, set decs, etc. and helps the actors feel “in character”. Kudos to Mark!


  33. for the love of Beckett: Thank you! Lauren and baby doing well! Lauren’s tired a lot. 🙂 Crazy Boxers are just that. 🙂 xoxox

  34. Cute doggy. 🙂 Dogs have the benefit of not being primarily sight-oriented in the first place. Blindness for a dog is probably about as troublesome as a human with no sense of smell.

  35. Is this a fill in the blank game from Line Noise? Can I try…?

    So, it sounds like there’s good news about ████ ██████ being ██████ ██ for a ██ ██████!!!!! Tell us more! Has it been ████████ or is it in ██████████ hell? Is there a major ██████ involved?

    Dark Matter
    green lit
    TV series


  36. I AM SO EXCITED! Fernando? Love the name and he is just beautiful. Of course, now ABBA’s song Fernando is playing in my head. Our Buddy was a rescue golden and I am pretty sure he was deaf. I would not be able to tell he was blind either just from the photos (especially the one of him looking out the window). Does Fernando know he has now become famous and is already breaking hearts here on the blog? Congratulations Andria (and the rest of the Mallozzi clan)

  37. Oh Andria, what a handsome boy Fernando is. He must be able to see something if he was able to jump a fence. My opinion is that Huskies are one of the better kept secrets of the canine world…. Lovely creatures and great disposition… and mischievous??? Bien oui. Now if only we could do something about the fur flying all the time. Do you have any secrets as to how to control it?

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