Vancouver is celebrating a month long Hot Chocolate Festival and I am trying my damndest to sample most of the 63 flavors available at the 23 locations around town.  I got off to a late start but I’m making up for lost time.  7 down, (about) 56 to go!  I’ll have a full report for you in about three weeks.

If, while you’re waiting, you too would like to check out the festival, head on over here for all the details: http://www.cityfood.com/events/hotchocolate2013/


Just received word that author Mandy Hager has posted the responses to the 10 Blog Hop questions!  Head on over to her blog to get the scoop on her latest book, The Crossing: 


Sadly, to today we bid adieu to our dog-nanny, Christine, who heads east for job training for her new career.  The dogs will no doubt miss her, but Akemi and I will miss here even more since we now have to find someone to step into her dependable dog-sitting slippers.  Yep, all we need to do is find someone with experience who we can feel comfortable leaving behind to take care of our dogs – and home – while we’re away.  Or we can put thoughts of a Vegas getaway or another Japan trip on the back back back burner.  I mean, seriously.  Jelly is almost 14!  I think she’s ready for the responsibility of taking care of her siblings.

Continuing our trip down SGA memory lane with…



Over time, writer/Exec. Producer Martin Gero became the go-to guy for our Atlantis big event episodes.  And, really, you couldn’t get any bigger than this fifth season midseason two-parter chock full of action, dazzling visual effects, shocking twists, Stargate mythology, and topped off with a visit from none other than Daniel Jackson himself. Honestly, what more could you ask for?

The thing I remember most about the shooting of this episode was the visit by a special needs boy and his family.  They’d won a set visit and, as thrilled as they were be there, they were triply delighted to be meeting and spending time with Dr. Rodney McKay.  And spending time with actor David Hewlett, I’m sure, far exceeded their expectations because he was nothing short of delightful company.  I watched him interact with the kid and his family, making the time to sit and chat with them between the various shots, genuine in his interest and enthusiasm.  And then, later, hurrying over to catch them before they left for the rest of their set tour to arrange a lunch meet-up.  Really nice to see.

Friday Night Lights alum Daniella Alonso steps into Jill Wagner’s boots as Traveler’s rep Katana Labrea (photo courtesy MGM Television)
Art Department design for Lost Tribe exo-suit.
And, the finished product (photo courtesy MGM Television)
Under all that (faux) armor = Stunts Coordinator James “Bam Bam” Bamford (photo courtesy MGM Television)
Todd adjusts his bluetooth (photo courtesy MGM Television)
Every season, we we would measure to see how much taller our guest star Asgard had grown.  Another two inches! (photo courtesy MGM Television)
David Hewlett and Michael Shanks = BFF!
Writer/Exe. Producer Martin Gero directs the Rodney/Daniel scenes.  JacKay?

Resident film reviewer Cookie Monster drops by tomorrow as our Supermovie of the Week Club reconvenes to discuss Superhero Movie. Don’t forget to watch!

No.  On second thought – don’t bother.

30 thoughts on “January 27, 2013: Hot Chocolate Fest! Blog-hopping with Mandy Hager! Doggy Blues! Days of Stargate Atlantis Past! First Contact!

  1. Jill Wagners the lady from Wipeout too. That’s the only thing I think of when seeing her name lol She hasn’t had much in the way of an acting career.

  2. Oh and Daniella Alonso has done quite well for herself, she’s in Revolution now. Decent show that. Atlantis had quite a few people cast in random roles that went on to make something of themselves career wise.

  3. That’s one of my favorite pictures of Todd. I think it’s because I imagine him next running his fingers through his hair, then tossing it back this way and that like a model in one of those shampoo commercials. 🙂


  4. Ok so I’m a dunce, are we talking Vancouver BC for the chocolate festival or the other Vancouver ?
    I love chocolate but somehow if it is BC it’s probably too far to go. I envy you your chocolate indulgence.

  5. Did WordPress do an update on you? Something looks different/fishy.

    What a great idea! Hot chocolate flavours all over da place….cool!

    Loved Lost Tribe. I was disappointed you didn’t get the opportunity to explore the concept of another bunch of Asgards with not so friendly a disposition. Going to war with those guys would have really created an interesting plot line. Would we have dumb-won simply because we were too stupid to match them with tech? We definitely would have outnumbered them. I could imagine some unusual alliances, even more so than human/Wraith/Traveler allies.

  6. Jealous here with all that hot chocolate you’re tasting! Have some of the Put the Lime in da Coconut for me, please? It sounds delicious!

  7. I never got a chance yet (again) to watch “The Lost Tribe”, but I hope to catch up soon. I do remember loving the episode, and I agree that it’s too bad we never got to follow up on this bunch of Asgards.

    I AM going to try to get a chance to watch the Superhero Movie, although I wince at the thought. Given my schedule the last few days, I’m not sure I’ll get to it but I’ll try. Speaking of my schedule…

    Stepmom update: Probably the worst day yet. I arrived this morning to find her wailing in tears because she thought Dad was supposed to be coming to pick her up and take her home and he wasn’t there and she couldn’t understand why. So, it was up to me to explain that he had in fact passed away a year and a half ago. She initially did not want to accept that, but then thought that he had actually died yesterday (a guy in the next room actually did pass away yesterday which I suspect she was then mixing with her memory of my Dad’s passing.) She couldn’t understand why she was having memory of him passing away twice and it was scaring her terribly.

    Anyway, I got her calmed down after about two hours but for the rest of the day she was never really “there” except for maybe a couple of hours. I had to come home this evening because I was basically exhausted. Ironically, the doctor said today that her heart issues are looking really good. Hopefully she will be out tomorrow.

  8. G’day

    Hot chocolate, yummy. Have fun trying to get them all.
    Very good of David H to spend time with the visiting family during filming.

    My heart goes out to gforce and his stepmom. Hope for a speedy recovery.

  9. On the Chocolate Festival:

    It ends on February 14th? Barb is going to be upset…we arrive the 15th!

    On The Lost Tribe:

    I really enjoyed The Lost Tribe; the pacing was good and it’s always fun to see Hewlett and Shanks in a scene together.

  10. I am sure glad that you had your camera at the ready for all these wonderful photo moments. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Daniel getting hurt in the hallway is the best hallway pain scene since the door slamming on Teal’c in window of opportunity.

  12. Glad I am not there. I’ve been undergoing hot chocolate cravings since the weather turned cold here. So far I’m batting 50/50 on quality. And have yet to come across a mixture that leaves me grabbing for a second cup. Looking forward to the report.
    Lost Tribe was definitely entertaining. And it is a shame that we didn’t get to follow up on the Asgard offshoot. Or how they reacted when finding out that humans had inherited their specie’s legacy.
    Looking forward to Cookie Monster’s review, and our thanks for his dedication on plugging through the high mounds of…discarded dvd disks to make his reports.

  13. Your dog sitter Christine is leaving? Oh no!! She was fantastic! Well maybe Lawren can help you out again. You have left him in charge before and he did great. Maybe Ivon could stay if it is for a short time. Lulu would love that! You could ask Christine a hypothetical question on if a friend of hers was getting married would she consider dog sitting one more time while this friend went off to get married. Just hypothetical of course. 😉

    First Contact was awesome! As JeffW mentioned, it moved along at a quick, interesting, exciting pace. I thought I remembered Rodney and Daniel as being very annoying because they talked so fast, non stop. But when I watched it just now, I was not bothered by that at all. Strange how your views change over time. I guess absence makes the heart grow fonder and some things are better with age… Or maybe it’s the next one, The Lost Tribe where they begin to grate on my nerves. 🙂

    First Contact was so good I almost went right into watching The Lost Tribe. But I’ll wait a little bit. Woolsey wanting to deal with Todd telling Sheppard he has “less bagage with me than he does with you”. Then a very disinterested Todd cutting him off when Woolsey starts his “Today is an historical day…” speech. (Looking at the two Wraiths standing in the background made me wonder, did you all ever have a set of twin Wraiths?) Joe there were no Asgards in this episode. Are you trying to spoil the 2nd part for me? The viewer is just left wondering what is inside those heavy duty exo-suits. In the end of the part, Todd takes over the Daedalus and the gate explodes with Sheppard and Zelenka still there. Can’t wait for part 2 The Lost Tribe!

  14. Oh, and may I add, Martin Gero has a baby face! No wonder he grew a beard. Must be trying to look older. Embrace it Martin, embrace it!

  15. @ gforce – Between the meds they give in the hospital and the confusion that often occurs for older people when they are in the hospital, the hospital is often the worst place for an older person to be! Once she’s back to familiar surroundings she should get better.

    My grandmom lived to be 101. Her mind was pretty sharp, right to the end – no dementia, no Alzheimer’s – but every time she went into the hospital (usually for a small fall or infection) she would get so confused! She thought they were having birthday parties in her bathroom, and stuff like that. Once she was back home she was fine. However, once she wasn’t so fine afterwards and my mom discovered that while in the hospital they had put her on an antidepressant! My grandmother was NEVER depressed and never combative, there was no need to put her on that sort of drug. It made her totally loopy. Once she was off of it, she went right back to her old self.

    My dad had a similar experience – they gave him a ‘water pill’ that was actually anti-seizure meds or something that just happened to help with fluid retention. That made him nearly brain dead. Mom thought he was developing dementia, or worse – dying. Took him off the stuff and he was fine. You really have to keep good track of what medications you and yours are given, and the effects they have. Everyone reacts differently, some good, some bad. And doctors are often clueless about side effects, so you cannot rely on them to see the warning signs of a bad reaction.

    I also think hospitals mess up older people because they lose track of time due to the constant wakings and overall disruption of routine. Once they’re out of the woods it’s best to get them back to familiar surroundings and hopefully that will do the trick.


  16. Arrgghh, I keep typing a comment the last few days, I hit something (no idea what), the whole thing disappears and I get fed up.

    Lost Tribe’s one of my favorite episodes, Joe. Are you surprised? 🙂

    @gforce: Glad to hear your stepmom’s heart issues are better, sounds like she had a hellish day. I hope everything’s better tomorrow. Big hugs!

  17. I feel your pain. For years my elderly neighbor was our dog sitter for about 12 yrs when I had long weekend trips. He was amazing, they loved him, he loved them. When he had declining health and was in a nursing home, we often boarded and hated it for a couple of years. Then a new neighbor moved across from us about 7 yrs ago and she has chow mixes, very dog oriented and does great when we want to get away. So for 20 yrs we’ve sort of lucked out. As for Jelly babysitting, come on– you know how mean older siblings are! Man up, find someone else, lol.

  18. Lost Tribe and First Contact was up in the top episodes for me. The Asgard reveal was waaaaaayy cool. I thought MS and DH did a great job together and had great chemistry. pity someone who had to write for both of them because they had to write extra pages or the episode would be under time, but the audience gets the benefit. Loved it!

  19. That photo of Shanks and Hewlett is one of the best ever!!…Oh how I wish we’d had a Season 6 with more appearances from Michael…think how much script you could cram in each episode with the speed those two talked at…

    Am bummed the Hot Choc Fest ends before I arrive in Vancouver…however I’m hoping that there will be many other tasty treats to enjoy…primarily fish and seafood for me hopefully..

  20. I love Vancouver. I live festivals. My daughter just spent time there with Cirque…I’m going to ask what her favorite part is!

    Yummy hot chocolate ☕

  21. I have yet to find a hot chocolate outside of France which I like, unless I make it myself. Milk, and a melted chocolate bar, A lot of whisking.

    Are you in the marshmallow or not a chance in hell of marshmallows camp? I don’t care for them 99% of the time.

  22. @ Ponytail – Mmmmmmmm…twin Wraiths. (You have to say that in a Homer Simpson ‘donuts’ voice, btw. 😉 )


  23. I’ve been drooling over the hot cocoa pictures on Akemi’s blog for the last few days. How was the Monkey Choice? I’m not sure I would like banana’s in hot coco but it’s not liver, so I’d try it. That chestnut tart looks very good also. Do you get any mixes or recipes from the festival?

    I liked the interaction between McKay and Jackson in First Contact. I’m not surprised Hewlett was so gracious with the onsite guest. He seems so “kid” like and great dad. Some of his tweets describing life with his son are hilarious!

    gforce: Oh my, I feel for you. I hope today goes better.

    JeffW: Great it’s going so smooth (fingers crossed).

    Deni: Did you have any links in your post? I think that’s why it keep eating my posts before.

  24. Joe,
    I have no doubt of David Hewlett’s sweetness. When my daughter was in high school, she emailed him to ask questions for a web project she was doing in her technology class. She was to make one of a famous person. He not only answered her questions, but in form of video!!! The two of us went to the Chicago convention a few years ago and loved it. Got to quickly meet Michael Shanks and listened to Chuck Campbell talk about Stargate Atlantis. Was thrilled to see him on SyFy the other night. He is such a sweet and funny guy!

  25. I’m trying to separate the two episodes in my mind, but I can’t quite remember what was in which one. I liked the action, Todd, seeing the Asgard again (although I remember being upset that I was spoiled before the episode aired). I think I liked this ep better than the next one though. I did not like Daniel at all in these, however. He was my favorite character in the early days of SG1. I liked his nerdiness and idealism. But here he was “Action Jackson” all buffed up and cruelly snarky. Not attractive to me at all. I liked occasional visits from the SG1 folks, (Teal’c’s visit was impressive indeed), but I was really put off by Daniel here.

  26. I don’t drink, but I’ve suggested a fun drinking game is “Stargate!”.

    You play by watching a Canadian (or other) produced show, and every time you see someone who was on Stargate you yell Stargate! and take a drink.

    My wife has gotten a bit tired of me pointing out Stargate actors. I don’t know why, it’s a lot of fun for me.

  27. @Tam: Nope, no links. One minute it’s there, then it’s gone. *POOF* 🙂

    Boxers had baths yesterday and they were so cute, smelling (and looking) like angels. The white parts were white and they were shiny. I washed sheets and comforters and doggie blankets and everything smelled like Downy. Today, the white parts of the dogs are brownish, have had to put an old quilt on the bed and Cody is outside leaping (his latest) while Riley chases him. They are also trying to get to China, I believe. Their faces are covered in dirt. 🙁

  28. @Mike from Canada

    You might like Continuum which has Tony Amendola(Bra’tac) in a lead role. He has quite a lot of screen time when he does appear, certainly does well too. Lexa Doig has quite a lot of screen time too, certainly a bit more than she did on SG1 anyway.

    My only complaint is that they killed off Mike Dopuds character so quickly lol

  29. Hey Joe,

    When the mid-Season 5 duology aired, I remember there was an interesting theory that accompanied some of the feedback threads I frequented.

    The theory went that the presence of rogue Asgard in Pegasus during the Ancient-Wraith War meant that the Wraith had likely encountered beaming tech — thus explaining how the Hives back in “The Siege” had managed to jam Daedalus after only a brief encounter. They already developed a countermeasure 10,000 years earlier and had merely pulled it out of cold storage when they realized Atlantis’ new tenets also had access to it.

    Was this the intention when the episode was conceived? Did the writers ever discuss anything like this?

  30. So I guess when I return to Vancouver I will have to come during this hot chocolate festival because I’m still searching for the perfect cup. I like my hot cocoa very sweet. I guess I should maybe try making it myself? Nah… too much work. I have mail I haven’t opened for 2 weeks sitting here.

    Sorry to hear Christine is leaving. Lawren and Ivon are great choices for backup until you can find another person. I’m finding out myself how much people are loyal to their pet sitters. My new neighbors moving in across the street are very happy to hear I pet sit.

    The story about the set visit touched my heart. I liked David Hewlett before–this just made me melt. What a terrific person.

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