Look at them all, all smiles, pretending like they all get along.  From left to right: my former nemesis Ashleigh, Birthday Boy Carl “Ghost Writer” Binder, my gal Akemi, Ivon, Kerry (with a Y), and Lawren.  The other night, we met up for dinner at Stackhouse Burger (slow service, okay burgers, way too much bun to meat ratio) followed by milkshakes at the What’s Shaken Milk Bar.  The shakes were good, but I much prefer the version served up at Moderne Burger.  For some reason, it’s one of the few burger joints in Vancouver that actually offers milkshakes.  Romers Burger Bar, for instance, offers the inferior ice cream float.  At Stackhouse Burgers, you can get a double bourbon instead that, while good, isn’t really AS good.   What gives?

I’ve been testing out milkshake recipes at home lately, making use of varied ingredients (multi-flavored ice creams, syrups, milks, booze, etc.) with equally varied results.  The biggest issue I’ve come up against has been consistency.  While all delicious, none have quite achieved that maddening thickness that makes it all but impossible to suck through a straw.  I think I may start experimenting with thickening agents like wondra, agar or xanthan gum.  Come on, you milkshake experts.  Any suggestions?

I thought this was interesting.  Apparently, more than 100 000 people have applied for a one-way ticket to Mars, part of the Mars One project to colonize the red planet starting in 2022.


Seems like a lofty goal, but that hasn’t deterred the tens of thousands of prospective candidates who have paid the application fee ($38 dollars if you’re American) and completed their profile in the hopes that they may be among the lucky 40 selected to form the multinational crew.  Now, before you start rolling your eyes, let me point out that while an average of $38 for every one of the 100 000 applicants (so far) may seem like a cash grab, it’s estimated that the first four-person mission will cost approximately $6 billion dollars.

I imagine this blog would have more than its fair share of space-minded adventurers.  So, do tell.  Given the choice, which of the following “space” programs would you volunteer for?  And, most importantly, why?

47 thoughts on “August 10, 2013: On milkshakes and space!

  1. I voted for Atlantis, because who wouldn’t, really? 😉

    “Former” nemesis Ashleigh? I’m not sure whether to be disappointed or happy for you!

    Over today at my oldest brother’s place in NS today for their anniversary, then to PEI for a couple of days to visit my friends there. Nice time so far!

  2. i wanted to be able to choose more than one option! :p

    i’d have picked the sgc *and* atlantis… i can have both, it’s my fantasy! :p

  3. Here in the UK, I make a mad thick milkshake with Angel Delight – A powder you mix with milk and leave in the fridge to set for about 10 mins to make a pudding type dessert. However my milkshake recipe is slightly different, you make up the mix with powder and milk as the instructions on the packet read, then add to a blender the whole mix and about 3/4 scoops of ice cream, you can also add fruit/syrup, you can mix or match the flavour to the one on the packet, it’s all about personal taste. You put the blender on high for about 10-20 seconds then pour into glasses and leave to set for a few minutes and I garentee a milkshake you have to work really hard to drink through a straw. I have no idea if Angel Delight is available near you but I always find what I need on the blessed Amazon. I hope you try it and enjoy!

  4. Well, I could only vote for one, but I would also like to be part of the crew of Voyager as well as be in Atlantis (one can only dream). Maybe in my next life….

  5. Ashleigh! We’ve missed you! And Happy birthday, Mr. Binder!

    On the poll, I almost put down Dr. Who, as who wouldn’t want to have an expert like a Time Lord calling the shots? Especially with that space screwdriver.

    But then I enjoyed Farscape so much. Tough choice.

  6. Let me be a little more clear – I know you asked for one, BUT… My multiple votes would be for SG1, SGA, Voyager, Enterprise (with Captain Jonathan Archer) and who could forget Moya.

  7. I would go for the Destiny, sure there would be a lot back on Earth that I would miss including friends and family among other things but if I ever found myself in that situation where some crazy scientist has cracked the 9th chevron, has used up my one remaining chance to go home when said base is under attack. I think I could grow to accept it.

    Certainly you’d get off the ship and see various planets,. see new aliens random stuff like that. Can’t fault it.

  8. Any other time, I’d have instantly chosen that Madman with a Box…but given I’m a bit weary of saying “good-bye” to people these days, and I know his days in his current form are numbered, I think I will have to fall back to my pre-Who fantasy of being on the NCC-1701D. When TNG came out I fell in love with that ship and that crew. The thought of seeing nebulas and comets and gas giants and a starfield that went on for infinity…breath-taking. And as I probably couldn’t have made it through my doctoral program without that weekly bit of escapism…I figure I owe them. So yeah. Put me in the crew rotation for the Enterprise D please. I’ll be ready for beam-out at 0700.

    I just put ice cream and some milk in my old old milkshake maker machine, but they tastes pretty good, like right now if I was not out of ice cream.. thanks for putting the thought in my head.
    And I want to go in the TARDIS I think, they have a swimming pool. It was about 96 here today.

  10. Joe, I was wondering how the budgeting works when your the show runner. Do you have someone who keeps track of the budget for you, or do you have to keep track of everything. It must be pretty complicated. Do you have rule of thumb for costs, say x dollars per second of computer generated special effects, x dollars per day of location shooting?

    I picked the Destiny, but then I thought about it a little bit. In the StarTrek universe they had awesome healthcare plans, even better then Canada. They are generally very long lived. There is no money, everyone just does what they really want to do. I like that. The first time they try to red shirt me, I decline and go off and live my long happy life.

    Battlestar Galactica, well, almost everyone died. I don’t like the odds. And you know your going to be living close to the stone age lifestyle at the end without modern medical care. I LIKE modern medicine. If it wasn’t for modern medicine, I”d already be dead from a long slow painful infection. Yikes.

    I’d like to go to Atlantis, but I really don’t care to be Wraith chow. And I think I’d slap Rodney silly the first time he mouthed off at me. At least if Ronan wasn’t around.

    Being on SG1 would be good, if you are in the later days, you get the bonus of sorta being on the Farscape universe too. Well, some of the faces are familiar. Exploration is what I would like to do and SG-1 and Atlantis gives the opportunity, but being on Destiny would give the most opportunity to really contribute, see things no one else has seen. I am concerned about the lack of decent health care, but if I didn’t die at least I’d find out how it ended.

  11. I realized one of the positives of Battlestar is the model sixes and eights. As long as they don’t kill you.

  12. I picked Atlantis, but I too would have wanted more than one choice. I would also like a trip on Captain Archer’s Enterprise, or a tour of space/time in a blue police box!

  13. Sorry, but you’re all wrong. You must have a Frenchman in command… 🙂 Captain Jean Luc Picard all the way 🙂 Then you get to see DS9, and be on the most beautiful ship ever. I just love the look of the E…

    But Destiny would be my second choice. I just wish we could have seen more of the ship. Who knows what other wonders it held… hint: That would be a good blog entry!!! 🙂

  14. Less choices next time will make the choosing easier 🙂 I wanted to choose most of them but ended up going with the modern Enterprise. I like my creature comforts!

  15. Ugh, that’s a rough call! I want to say Atlantis because it’s my favorite (and while McKay would hate me and say my science was useless, it’d be awesome to work with that genius). And it’d be an honor to serve under Adama. And Janeway is my favorite captain of all time. Other than maybe Mal, but I don’t like the idea of dealing with Jayne. While DS9 is my favorite of the Trek shows, no thanks to living with that kind of religious dogma surrounding me regularly. The SGC seems safe and stable, but misses out on the grand adventure of NOT being home. In the end, it comes down to where I could do diplomacy of some kind – Atlantis or Enterprise. And in the end, I want to live on a space ship, so Spock and Kirk it is.

    (I know, you really needed that analysis, right?)

    Sorry about the so-so burgers (I hate a poor bun/burger ratio!) and only okay shakes. At least you had a fun group!

  16. None of the above, Joe. My heart belongs to PERN of Anne McCaffrey’s “Dragonriders” novels.

  17. by “classic enterprise” i presume you mean the one from the original series. but what do you mean by “modern enterprise”? the one from the next generation that has been compared to a hotel in space? or the one from enterprise (starring scott bakula) that has been compared to a submarine in space?

  18. From the early look of your poll, it seems my objection to Doctor Who being omitted from the list of best TV shows on that website last week was spot on.

  19. The “Which show do I love the most” side of me really wanted to pick the Red Dwarf option, but the “I’d rather not be a pile of radioactive dust” bit eventually decided against it. I went for SGC instead.

  20. As much as I love Atlantis I chose the modern Enterprise because – they have a holodeck! A couple of beeps on the console and you’re in Hawaii, or Vancouver! Heck, I could even meet up with you and Akemi for lunch! Plus, being the girlie I am I could use the replicator to make any outfit I wanted. Of course there are bad guys out in space but as long as I don’t wear a red shirt I should be okay…

    Oh, as for the milkshakes have you tried using a bit of condensed milk?

  21. @Joe:

    Come on, you milkshake experts. Any suggestions?

    I’m by no means an expert (lay or otherwise), but people I respect on the matter vary the milk to Ice Cream ratio. Too thick? More milk. Too thin? More Ice Cream.

    On the poll: I chose the SG1 teams; it’s nice to come home and have your own “space” after work (my “space” ends up being bigger than what will fit in a spaceship or a condo on Atlantis 😉 ).

    On foods:

    We had a seafood cookout last night! Steamed blue crabs, spiced shrimp, and scallops! It was so good to have crabs again! I ended up giving lessons on how to pick a crab to our midwest friends. I’ll post pictures later tonight.

    I would have invited you, Joe, but it looks like you were having fun with Carl and Ivon. Maybe some crabs in Savannah next year? I know a great crab place in the channels near Tybee Island 😉

  22. Easy way to make a milkshake thicker–*freeze* the milk (or some of it, anyway) first. IIRC, there’s a shop somewhere in the greater Boston area that does that (saw it on Food Network), although you might want to use an ice cube tray rather than putting the entire carton into the freezer.

    And happy birthday to Carl!

  23. Your milkshake flavors are more complex than mine. I like the old fashioned shake with whole milk, syrup, high calorie ice cream and I add some Oreos in the blender to modernize it. Good luck on your quest for the best shakes (wish I could be a taste tester).

    I picked SGA but I don’t really want to be a juice box for the wraith. I loved reading the logic behind everyone’s choices.

    I’m glad you all had a good birthday celebration for Mr. Binder. He deserves it!

  24. The problem with Doctor Who is it seems everyone is getting their brains taken out and put in a Cyberman’s body. And then the Doctor just looks at you and says “I’m sorry. I’m so, so sorry.”
    Screw your apology! Put my brain back in my body!

  25. The Destiny might be only sci-fi ship I’ve seen that looks like a place I’d like to spend some time.

    Not overly militaristic, or sterile, or crowded, or tetanusey. Just a quiet, haunting beauty.

  26. Hey Joe

    I thought about Firefly and Farscape but, really, I’d want to come home after an adventure, so I voted for SGC.


  27. Oh, by the way, the title of this blog had me thinking you were going to have a piece on the film Space Milkshake.


  28. I was torn between an SG team and a ride in the Tardis. I chose the Tardis as I figure it’s my best shot at not being red-shirted. His companions tend to get a few adventures in before being left in an alternate dimension or having their memory wiped.

    The key to a thicker milkshake is putting the ice cream in the blender and whispering “Milk” over it after adding a slightly melted bar of your favorite chocolate.

  29. Assuming the trips are in their prime (Babylon 5 is destroyed at the end, ya know)… and since being with THE SG team we all want wasn’t an option, I’ll do Babylon5. Unlike just being crew on a ship, I could have a life, travel at will, more normalcy but tons of already established alien planets/people/cultures to explore. Now, if I could be a Doctor COMPANION, not just a ride, well, that might trump all of it.

  30. You need a metal cup and a strong blender with all metal parts to do it right so you can be aggressive enough.

    Add just a splash of milk over the ice cream. If you put in too much milk, the glob will spin more freely and have an easier time getting away from the spindle. This is bad. Your main goal is to reduce mixing time because longer blending gives more friction which warms the concoction.

    Push the spindle all the way through the glob of ice cream before turning the mixer on. You have to keep the spindle in the most viscous part at all times to blend most efficiently. This will involve stopping the mixing over and over to re-position the spindle in the center of the biggest glob. If the mixer ever gets up to an free-spinning whirr, you’re doing it wrong.

    If the motor’s protesting, even being forced to a stop, if metal is clanging against metal, if you strain a bicep, you’re doing it right.

    Notice that I never mentioned the little clips that hold the cup to the machine.

    Once in a while, there would be one or two smaller globs that I would let go. They are needed to make the shake thicker, but the time spent chasing them down would add too much mixing time and make the shake runny anyway. I choose the lesser evil of leaving the globs alone instead of over-blending.

    Only seconds have passed by this point, but they were intense, aggressive seconds. Now, add the rest of the milk and blend just enough. Done.

    I’d go with Time Lord companion, but I’d be miffed at all the danger and only okay with it because of the good deeds that are done. I’d fit in best with the Firefly crew, but I wouldn’t volunteer for that. I wouldn’t fit in at all in the more authoritarian organizations. I’m great at deciphering and great at unarmed combat, so there’d be plenty of action-packed escapes for me, but you have to ask yourself if your employers really have it together if you need to do that too often.

    BTW, the Mars trip is one-way and there’s no way to protect from the space radiation once there.

  31. I wouldn’t go with the Tardis as I wouldn’t want to know the future. That’s spoiling things lol.

    Chances are, aboard Destiny you’l run into a fair share of planets similar to Earth but much younger, thus you’l be able to see what an earlier planet that supports life looks like 😛

  32. Oh how cool to see some of the ol’ gang!!! Happy Birthday to Mr. Carl!!!
    I was torn between Atlantis and BSG BUT only if it is the original crew, but then I would need Dr Sam Beckett’s imaging chamber thing to go back in time… so I went with Atlantis. Yah who wouldn’t?

  33. joe, do you know if brad has considered novelizing the 3rd sg1 movie script? that would be a great way of continuing sg1/stargate!! s/j♥

  34. i’m torn between several of the poll choices. almost any star trek option looks good, except for VOY. because who wants to roam a sector of space being lost & cut off from your source of supplies and replacement parts for the ship.
    the TNG-era enterprise seems like the best bet, mostly because that “hotel in space” thing. 😆

  35. I’m disappointed to see so few people voted for SGU. There is so much more to explore in that series, than what was left in SGA and SG1, in my opinion. How Eli will solve their problem. What is that background signal ? A race more ancient than the Ancients? The start of the universe ? …?

  36. @and replacement parts for the ship.

    Actually they pretty much can just build stuff from scratch in Voyager, they have the data on all key components and anything else they need. It’s only the rare stuff that powers the engines or something right? that needs to be physically retrieved. They speak about trading obviously to save the time and effort of having engineers construct stuff but if need be its done.

  37. Tam Dixon: You know I didn’t even consider the Borg and I just watched the Voyager episode where the Borg queen has the Borgs brains dissected. At least with the Borg if the Enterprise or Voyager crew can get you back they can return you to normal. Mostly.

    JOE: I drink a lot of ice coffee drinks and the occasional strawberry vanilla milkshake and what I do to make a really thick milk shakes is I add as little milk as possible and just enough ice at the end to get the right consistency. I keep as much in the chest freezer, including the icecream, a little milk, the glass and the blender jar. Thick heavy glasses keep cold longer. I add a little more strawberries frozen in their own juice with vanilla sugar to offset the little bit of ice.
    A little vanilla helps intensify other flavours, including strawberries. Not too much syrup. I prefer frozen then thawed strawberries, the color is deeper red and I think strawberries is one of the few things that freezing helps the flavour. If they are decently ripe berries.

    I’ve killed about four blenders. I’ve bought expensive blenders, medium priced blenders but the best blender I’ve found so far is the cheapest Hamilton Beach they make. It doesn’t cut up the ice and icecream as much as pulverize it smooth. The better blenders motors all died. All except the Black and Decker.

    My Black and Decker came with one stainless steel and one glass blender top and the blade broke. I had to order a replacement from the US because they refuse to allow anyone else to stock the part. It cost more for the blade (and shipping) then the new in the box Hamilton Beach blender and only lasted three months. Imagine the sound of a stainless steel blender running at maximum when one of the blades breaks off and scrambles around the inside at a hundred miles an hour. It sounded like a hundred knives dropped into a jet engine.

    The Hamilton Beach is also the only blender that hasn’t leaked out the bottom after heavy daily use. It’s all one piece, the plastic top has the blade assembly bearings molded right into it.

  38. I didn’t vote for SGU because I loved the adventures and potential of more adventures coming from SG1 and SGA. But I would have loved to see the story arch developed and brought to conclusion in SGU before it was yanked….

  39. This is a tough decision:
    1) A one-way trip through the Earth gate to join the crew of the Destiny? As much as I would love to say yes, I’m a bit of a whiner without my creature comforts.

    2) Part of the dozen or so SG teams exploring other planets out of Stargate Command here on Earth? Again, my semi-adventurous side would like it as long as it was safe and I could bring everything I need to keep me comfortable with me. And as long as I didn’t have to get any vaccinations.

    3) The Atlantis expedition? (What? You didn’t hear? The city of Atlantis returned to Pegasus!) I’d go if I got to take all my favorite things with me.

    4) The crew of the classic Enterprise? The crew of the modern Enterprise? The crew of the DS9 space station? The crew of Voyager? Any of these would work.

    5) The ranks of the space-faring marine cadets known as the Wildcards? Who?

    6) The outlaw crew of Moya? Only if John Creighton became my lover. I would want for nothing else (food, creature comforts–who needs them!)

    7) The crew of the Jupiter Mining Corporation’s Red Dwarf? ?????

    8) The crew of the Babylon 5 space station? Sure! Even during the Shadow War, it was a decent place to live.

    9) The crew of the Firefly? I never watched it.

    10) Companion to a time and space-hopping time lord? I don’t watch this either.

    11) BSG. Now there is a dilemma. The original one they never seemed to run out of human colonies to still run into while being chased by the Cylons so never really experienced true hardships. The new BSG–A very dark and very depressing place to be for 4 years and odds were 50/50 you would never make it to earth. You would have died from attacks or hunger or disease before you saw blue skies above your head again.

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