Thanks to everyone who took the time to offer their sage advice on my recent “dilemma of the day” (February 10, 2013: Let’s all pitch in and help me plan my life!).  I was actually leaning one way but, after reading some very convincing arguments, am now reconsidering. Tomorrow, I’ll be meeting with my accountant who will no doubt help shed some light on/further complicate the issue.

Meanwhile, things are…progressing (?) on the projects front…

The SF series: Hmmm.  I was kind of hoping we would have received the good word by now (that word, of course, being: “Go!”).  We have broadcasters on board but require another piece or two of the financial puzzle to complete the package.  I refuse to end up in a situation where I’m expected to produce a show with little cash but a lot of good intentions.  Space ships don’t come cheap, y’know?

The Urban Fantasy series: We’ll be delivering our second draft tomorrow.  Word is we’ll be shooting the pilot this spring.  Beyond that…who knows?

The other SF series: Has garnered a fair amount of interest on the concept alone (based on a pre-existing literary work).  It’s with the lawyers now and, whenever the deal gets sewn up, we can finally start working on the script.

The Drama spec: While the aforementioned are all very promising paying gigs, it never hurts to have a few scripts under your belt…just in case.  I’ve decided to simply go ahead and outline this female-driven “fish-out-of-water” pilot.  I’ll spend a few days beating it out and then, once a satisfactory structure is in place, I’ll crack open a bottle of Jagermeister and spend the weekend hammering out that first draft.

The SF/Horror/Fantasy spec: Ah, why choose one when you can do all three at the same time?  Colorful characters!  Humor!  Over-the-top action!  Writing this one will be a lot fun – provided I have the time.

The Horror movie: It went out a couple of months ago and has engendered some interest, but nothing solid.  This one seems like a no-brainer to me and, depending on how these other projects pan out, I’m thinking of pulling it back in March, financing it through Kickstarter, and producing it myself.

The Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival ends in three days!  You better move quickly if you want to check out  the 50-some flavors available around town.

I, of course, have been trying my best.  But, evidently, my best won’t be good enough in the end.  Still, I gave it a game effort.

I started off sampling fourteen different hot chocolates in the the first week of the festival: January 31, 2013: The Hot Chocolate Festival!

Followed by another ten soon after: February 6, 2013: The Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival Tour II!

And, most recently:

1Tosca: Dark chocolate and rum served with a choice of chocolate or liege waffle sample.

Available: Every day of the festival at Leonidas #29 – 1055 Canada Place (Vancouver Convention Centre West), Vancouver.

A fine hot chocolate though a touch too boozy.

1Frozen Noisette: Melted praline blended into frozen yogurt, topped with a shot of melted chocolate, and finished with crushed hazelnuts. Served with a choice of chocolate or liege sample waffle.

Available: Every day of the festival at Leonidas #29 – 1055 Canada Place (Vancouver Convention Centre West), Vancouver.

A double rarity: gjianduja-based cold hot chocolate.  And it was utterly, doubly delicious.

1Beyond the Milky Way: Dark chocolate (64%) made with almond milk and coconut milk, flavoured with natural pear extract. Dairy free.

Available: February 2-8 at French Made Baking 81 Kingsway, Vancouver

Liked the chocolate a lot but thought it was weakened by the almond and coconut milk.  The pear was very subtle.

1Rose of Ecuador: 64% dark chocolate – origin: Ecuador. Infused with rose petals, and served with choice of chocolate square.

Available: Every day of the chocolate festival at Chocolaterie de la Nouvelle France 198 East 21st Ave., Vancouver, B.C.

Finally!  A rose-infused version that makes use of dark chocolate instead of the standard white.  And it was wonderful.  A perfect balance of flavors.  That gang here definitely know their hot chocolate!

1Anise:  64% dark chocolate – origin: Mexico. Infused with aniseed, and served with choice of chocolate square.

Available: Every day of the chocolate festival at Chocolaterie de la Nouvelle France 198 East 21st Ave., Vancouver, B.C.

With the exception of the Orange Blossom, every hot chocolate I’ve had at Chocolaterie de la Nouvelle France has been incredibly well-balanced.  Here, the licorice flavor is present but compliments rather than conquers the chocolate.

1The Emily Rose: Orange drinking chocolate, topped with housemade rose-coconut marshmallows.

Available: February 2- 14 at Cocoa Nymph 3739 W. 10th Ave (at Alma), Vancouver

Cocoa Nymph makes a damn fine cup of hot chocolate.  The tartness of the orange combined with the sweetness of the coconut and the bitterness of the dark chocolate to deliver one of Akemi’s favorites.

1The Josiah: Basil drinking chocolate topped with housemade strawberry marshmallows.

Available: February 8 – 14 at Cocoa Nymph 3739 W. 10th Ave (at Alma), Vancouver

Basil drinking chocolate?  Really?  Oh, yeah.  Really!  I was admittedly dubious but one taste thoroughly won me over.  The best hot chocolate I had this week.

I’m really going to have to make these last few days count!


27 thoughts on “February 12, 2013: Decision, Projects, and Hot Chocolate!

  1. @Space ships don’t come cheap, y’know?

    On the bright side, having a low budget to start off with would be good for the imagination, like about how being able to use what money you have effectively for each scene. You’ve done it with Stargate(Although the series had a much higher budget) you could do it again. Have faith in your abilities.

  2. You are a busy guy, Joe! As far as the house debate goes, I for one am much on the stay in a/the house side personally. I would never go back to apartment-style living.

    You are absolutely right to stick to your guns on the financial backing of any show. Nothing would kill a great concept faster than crappy execution.

    How you’re able to get all that stuff done and still have time for the (delicious) hot chocolate tour is amazing!

  3. I’ve decided to simply go ahead and outline this female-driven “fish-out-of-water” pilot. Is it about a female french bulldog named Lulu living in a house full of female pugs dominated mostly by one name Jelly and one poor little male that has to put up with all of them? I thought so.

    I’ll take anything you can get going!

    I never once thought of putting alcohol in my hot chocolate. Great idea! The stronger, the better!

  4. Hi Joe: I really do not want to be the damp rag at the party, or the black cloud over the parade, but I have been thinking about all your hot chocolate trips (which sound wonderful). Ever vigilant about my own possible health issues as I get older, I spend a great deal of time researching various topics. Did you know that thin people can get diabetes? It has to do with a predisposition to the disease, but, it is also about lifestyle and consuming large amounts of sugar. There is a very good article about it here:

  5. If you hadn’t given up on that militia, you could just send them out on horseback and have scout reports on the rest of those hot chocolate varieties lickety split.

  6. I love that you have several projects in development and cannot wait to see what you bring to air. Me thinks you might need a female writer for your female driven show, if it gets beyond the pilot stage – hint, hint.

  7. YUM. Especially The Rose of Ecuador. I so want a taste of The Josiah, too. 🙂

    Mr. Deni let out Bobbycat by accident this morning, and when she wasn’t back by mid-morning, I started to worry. She’s gotten out once or twice and always comes right back to the back patio (IF the door is open). Well, he told me about it when I was sound asleep, and I remember telling him to open the patio door. He didn’t and went to work. Later this morning, I went outside and heard her meowing under the deck, so I called her, hoping she’d come out the way she came in. We’ve pretty much made it impossible for anything to get in or out of there because we had all kinds of critters down there (snakes, too), so I was wondering how she’s managed to get in, when I noticed some of Cody’s handiwork. Well, I called Mr. Deni and explained that no matter what I did, Bobbycat was not coming out and that she was starting to sound a little panicked. He left work and came home, took much of the deck apart (the whole time, I’m thinking, shit, what if she got out and I didn’t notice…) and no Bobbycat. He then concluded that she must have gotten in a tunnel that he found and that she was unable to turn around and had died. I kid you not. I was going nuts by then, told him to go and find a backhoe or something and figure it out or I was divorcing his ass for letting my cat out. 🙂 He went back to work and around 5 p.m., Her Majesty comes back, fresh as a daisy, asking for food. Oops. 🙂

  8. So many projects, where do you find all the time, and what a reward, hot chocolate, what great fun!!
    I would not have been helpful with any advice for moving, I am trying not to think about my son moving from Chicago to New York, I know, I know, better opportunity, but one will worry. I guess you have to think of the bigger picture, I am still trying. I hope you find the happy place your are seeking.

  9. Westminster Best in Show: Affenpinscher. Cute little fart, but I was hoping for a bigger dog this year.

    Also, looks like the ex-cop cop-killer is dead in California. Thank god that’s over.

    Now, I just spent three hours on my backside watching a dog show, I think I need some exercise. 😛


  10. I was wrapped up in things like car troubles and taxes, then when I signed on last night, could not get word press to open for anywhere.. so I am 2 days behind.

    You love your house. If you can afford to keep it, then keep it. Your listed advantages are money (if you can AFFORD to keep it, is the profit worth giving it up?), more social (you have a pretty good social life already… teach Akemi to drive and get her a car) and that you don’t really use all the house you have.

    I am perplexed why buying a smaller house is not on the table. It seems the ideal solution– find something that gives you privacy, more realistic space at a smaller cost and closer to town.

    You seem to have your spirit of adventure and different things locked on food– moving, not so much. Feeling at peace in your surroundings is pretty priceless.

  11. I’m a little late to the condo vs. house debate so my apologies if this a bit off topic, or covers stuff already mentioned…

    I sold a house that was too big for me, and too far away from ‘the city’, and bought a condo in Toronto. And I’ve regretted it ever since – if it wasn’t for work, I would sell and move back to a house outside of the city (since that’s all I can afford). The following are just a few of the reasons why I want to move out of a condo: My condo neighbors bought their kid a piano, he plays it every day – badly. Until they moved out, my downstairs neighbors had a big huge subwoofer attached to their stereo which meant two years of annoying thumping sounds at all hours. Over the course of ten years my condo fees have doubled. I’ve lived in rental apartments before, and never had the building super enter my apartment when I wasn’t home – the condo people do it at least twice a year (ex: annual smoke detector testing). One year they were in my apartment 6 times.

    While housing in Canada may soften, I don’t think we’re ever going to see the kinds of major corrections that have happened in the past, or still happen elsewhere. Most of the major housing corrections in the last 40 years in Canada have happened because speculators drove supply up past demand. Then the small time speculators found themselves with properties they couldn’t quickly sell and because they couldn’t afford the carrying costs they were forced to dramatically discount the property to get out before they lost their shirts. Now while there are still people speculating in the real estate market, the number of speculators has dropped dramatically in Canada. A while ago the rules regarding mortgages changed, and now people buying investment properties, either to rent, or flip, have to put down at least 25% to get a mortgage. The days of small investors putting down 5% on a new, under construction, property with the intent of flipping it shortly after closing are over.

    Canada will still continue to have housing booms, but with the bulk of small speculators driven out, it’s highly unlikely that we’ll have bubbles. So short of a major, 3+ year long recession, you’ll get minor cooling off periods with minor price drops, but no major price drops. And since condos don’t tend to appreciate as fast as houses, even with a cooling off period, you risk finding yourself at the losing end, financially speaking, if you decide to move back to a house.

    If, for the sake of your relationship/social life you are serious about moving closer to downtown I’d strongly suggest looking at small detached homes near the neighborhood(s) you’re considering. Avoid condos at all cost if you can afford it.

  12. I didn’t get a chance to weigh in on the house debate so I’ll do so now.

    In my opinion you should never sell an asset unless you really, really need the cash. If you want to move into a condo downtown then do so but if you can afford to keep the house then you shouldn’t sell it. Use the equity in your house to buy a condo. Rent your house out which will help with mortgage repayments. Then, if it turns out you don’t like living in the big city you have the option of moving back to the burbs and rent out the condo.

    Sounds like you’ve got a busy year ahead. Put me down for $10 on your Kickstarter project. At least it’ll give us a chance to see the trailer you did for it!

    Mmmmmm, hot chocolate! I might have to go out at lunchtime to find one . . . forget the diet! I went wandering around Bath yesterday looking for a chocolatier that I spotted once hoping to buy some chocolates for Valentine’s Day. Alas, they’ve gone out of business. 🙁 As far as I know they were the only independent chocolatier in Bath. All we’ve got left are the national franchises who wouldn’t know fine chocolate from a Mars Bar.

  13. You know it’s time to wake up when you’re in the middle of a very vivid dream about having dinner with Prince Harry, and he’s telling a story about this time when he drenched himself in Drakkar Noir and everyone who smelled him thought he was gay, and you interrupt him and say you’ve heard him tell this story before, and in you real mind you really believe everything you’re dreaming about. BTW, Prince Harry is really cute in person. :D… I mean, 😛 .


  14. Hello there,
    a lot of promises today! Can wait to see what will happen (good sci-fi please) but, for me :”…another piece or two of the financial puzzle to complete the package. ” = danger danger !
    have a nice day

  15. @Deni What a story! I’m glad it had a happy ending. When you said “died in a tunnel” my heart sank, but then when she came home, that was awesome.

    Hot chocolate: Yummy, yummy, yummy. The only one I could not try would be the one with rum in it. I might have to try making a chocolate/basil one with some strawberry marshmallows. I’ve had basil in strawberry before in a salad I think so combining strawberry and basil makes sense.

    My husband’s niece is up in Vancouver right now for business, having just finished up being in Toronto. I told her to let me know if she needed restaurant recommendations because I knew someone who had an entire blog full of them.

    I know many people (myself included) who would help you with that Kickstarter. I have a friend in Canada who is doing something and I made a small donation there. Couldn’t be a large investor, but you know a lot of small investors sometimes works well, too. I was hearing a news story about some local people who found people to fund their businesses on web sites. One was a vegetarian food truck and she wanted to expand to a store front. She got the money in 30 days. Let me see if I can find that link if anyone wants to see it who has a great idea.

    Today I start a regular pet sitting job every Wed and Fri, 10 a.m. visit and a 2 p.m. visit for a cavalier king charles spaniel puppy. The puppy is so new, my client hasn’t figured out a name for him yet. It is going to be so cool watching this handsome puppy grow up. Once his bladder matures, we’ll go down to just once a day. I think he looks like Brian Jacob Smith’s Cassie and your nemesis’ dog, too. Right?

    Arrow got renewed for a second season. That’s cool news. That means more Vancouver-based actors will show up in it, likely having been on Stargate.

  16. Oh! I forgot to comment on the “fish out of water” story. It’s Akemi, isn’t it? I think a story based on her could be a drama with comedic levity. And also a beautiful love story. Ah amore! Don’t forget Valentine’s Day is Thursday, Joe.

    But if indeed it is based on Lulu, then she is going to need her Mr. McDreamy — Ivon!

  17. Good luck with all your projects Joe. My money is on the woman driven one. Not because they’re my preference (What can I tell you – I prefer shows with guys in the lead role) but they seem to be in vogue at the moment.

  18. Ooooh, lovely hot chocolates. I’m eyeing my orange blossom water and wondering if I can make something fantastic.

    Low budget Horror movies are my favorite, even when they’re made in someone’s backyard with friends as actors. See? Another reason to keep your house, it is going to be a film set!

  19. Sounds like you have a lot of irons in the fire. I hope the projects work out to your satisfaction. I can’t wait to see some of your new work!

    It’s a good idea to speak to your account about moving. You don’t want a big tax bill later.

    Those hot cocoas look good. I like mint, pepper or raspberry liquor in mine. Has anyone tried peppermint schnapps in hot cocoa? Schnapps hot cocoa is probably my favorite way to drink it. Although, I wouldn’t mind trying that white cocoa one you showed last week.

    Deni: Glad you found your kitty.

    Das: So sorry you lost China. You may never know what happened but at least she was comfortable. Could be some kind of organ failure or poison. We used to see a lot of deaths from chronically ill pets when the temperatures were in the extreme range.

    I’m kind of bummed today. There was a kitten I was playing with at the humane society for the last few weeks. A white/spotty kitten with tons of energy but he did have a cough/runny nose/sneezing. They put him to sleep yesterday because he had leukemia. That’s the way it goes sometimes but it’s still sad.

    Have a g’day!

  20. Joe, all of your projects sound fascinating. I have a hard time plotting one book while writing another and prepping a third for publication. Can’t wait to hear more about the urban fantasy gig once you’re free to do the big reveal! And a kickstarter project would be awesome!

  21. Joe — Good luck at the accountant’s! I’ll join the chorus: Keep the house (rent it) and rent a condo. Remember how glad you were to make a fast get-away from TO? You weren’t financially tied to a bad location or bad neighbors. This way you’d have financial freedom, and make room for Akemi’s needs, too.

    Deni — So glad your Bobbycat was okay! Our feral kitties have disappeared and come back so many times. Cats must not hear the humans’ “Where are you!?” vibes the way dogs do. While we worry, they seem to stroll back so nonchalantly.

    Das — Am so sorry to hear about your China kitty. Not knowing is the pits. Praying you find out eventually… I have my own boo kitty now. 🙂 He’s one of the feral kittens that will be a year old this spring. Midnight is all black with a diamond pendant spot of white at his neck. Gleaming gold eyes, super friendly, likes to snuggle, and purrs like a motor boat. (I can’t have indoor cats, or I’d think about it.)
    He’s never been late for dinner, until this week when he went missing two nights in a row. The little stinker! You’d think I’d learned not to worry by now. I tried to be optimistic, thinking someone else might have taken him in. Was I relieved when he finally appeared last night! Whew. Had to scoop him up to make sure he was okay. I’ll say! The little lothario smelled like someone else’s perfume! Good thing we finally tracked down the feral cllnic people and got him (them all) scheduled for tip/spay & neuter. That’ll help curb the wanderlust, I hope. 🙂 Can you believe I’m really a dog person???

    I caught parts of the Westminster Kennel Club dog show, right when you posted, Das. More on the first night than the second, so I missed the working group, my favorite. Best In Show was another itty bitty dog again. I know the judges like to see that “give me the trophy!” personality, but the bigger dogs don’t twitch and fidget as cutely (?) as the little guys.

    Not to worry. Thanks to the wonders of youtube, someone posted the dog show’s feature segment about breeds who love winter weather, “Best in Snow.” It includes an Alaskan Malemute, and a Samoyed, Saint, Berner, and Swissy. Andria, I don’t know why they didn’t include a Sibe, too! Do you have pix of Fernando playing in the snow?

  22. Accountant? You asked us all for advise when you had someone who could give you a better and informed opinion? Thank you for that vote of confidence, even if it may not reflect well on your intellectual capacity.
    As frustrating as it is for us with all the teases about the projects, I imagine it’s worse for you. Like the horse with the carrot dangling in front of you, always taking another step only to have the prize remain just out of reach, I marvel that you are able to maintain your sanity. Still, I do hope you get some solid word. Game of Thrones season 3 is almost upon us; it would be great to know that we have something else to look forward to once that show is over. Better yet, more than one project. Out of curiosity, how many projects would you be able to oversee at the same time, should most or all of them be approved?
    The hot chocolates look and sound terrific. Hope you are able to add a few more to your count before the fun ends. Thanks for sharing.

  23. Yikes! 😯 The double-take fairy whispered in my ear wa-a-ay late. Joe, I am so sorry. When I said “itty bitty” dogs earlier, I was thinking of the Affenpinscher who won Westminster, and weighed between 6-13 lbs. soaking wet. I did not mean all small dogs. The pug and Frenchie breeds, the blog regulars’ adopted babies, weigh in at a sturdier 20-25 lbs., and are up for plenty of good romps. The top pug at Westminster looked great on Tuesday night, and even went on to a Group placement. Here’s a better picture of him:

  24. All these new projects sound amazing! And just in time too, every few weeks one of my fave shows vanishes, plus with Fringe gone too I’m starved for sci fi, I’ve been watching reruns on Trek and SGA to make up for it.

    I hope you’ll find or build your perfect house; I’ve always wanted an ultra modern house, like that loft in Gattaca or Baltar’s house that went kablooey in Battlestar Gallactica. Then you could create a super cool office in it, have an indoor garden for the pups, solarium, endless pool…!

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