Doggy bento
Doggy bento

Hey, check it out!  Akemi packed the dogs a snack box today.  We dropped them off at doggy daycare so that they could work on their social skills and get some exercise. Lately, they’ve been doing way too much of this –


Winding down the hot chocolate festival…

Round #20…


Big Bad Wolf: A 38% milk chocolate flavoured with a blend of gingerbread spices and steamed milk.  Served with a gingerbread cookie.

At: Schokolade, 2263 East Hastings Street, Vancouver

A comforting cup with a flavor reminiscent of Christmas nights – minus the Italian bingo.  In addition to the gingerbread cookie, it was accompanied by your choice of four hand-made chocolates.  I highly recommend the pistachio!


Bacchus’ Dream: Made from 72% dark chocolate with red wine reduction and apple ginger compote.  Served with walnut shortbread (vegan and dairy free).

Available: At Cocoa Nymph, 3739 W. 10th Ave (at Alma), Vancouver

As dark and rich as the previous three Cocoa Nymph entries, but this one was my least favorite.  Unlike Akemi, I wasn’t a fan of the apple ginger compote.

Verdict: Gingerbread trumps red wine reduction and apple ginger compote.

Winner: Big Bad Wolf (Schokolade)


Winter Comfort: 100% pure hazelnut blended with your choice of milk or dark chocolate.  Served with freshly made chocolate-dipped hazelnut biscotti.38% milk chocolate served with four pieces of artisan chocolate.

At: Schokolade 2263 East Hastings Street, Vancouver

Surprisingly bittersweet, but not in an unpleasant way.


Blonde Fatale: Valrhona Dulcey caramelized white chocolate and salted caramel.  Served with “Sable Chocolat” (chocolate and sea salt shortbread).

Available: French Made Baking, 81 Kingsway, Vancouver

Odd.  I was expecting more of a caramel kick but this one tasted more like steamed milk, albeit buttery steamed milk.

Verdict: Again, I always lean toward the more flavorful hot chocolate.

Winner: Winter Comfort (Schokolade)

Continuing our Stargate: Atlantis rewatch with…The Storm!

1Ah, now this is more like it.  After a patchy start, Stargate: Atlantis really hits its stride with this mid-season two-parter.  I loved this episode.  Then again, who cares what I think.  What was Akemi’s take on The Storm?

Well, she liked it.  But, surprisingly (bewilderingly?) not as much as the preceding episode, Home.  Apparently, she prefers twists and turns over action and suspense. Nevertheless, she did enjoy the episode – and had plenty to say…

On Lord Smeedon’s initial reluctance to offer the Atlantis personnel refuge from the storm: “People not helpful.  Not like Japanese.”

She took an instant liking to Zelenka: “He looks like scientist.  Looks more scientist than actor!”‘

She questioned why the hell the (really) drunk Athosian had a GDO, insisting that it should have been in the hands of the military or, at the very least, a civilian from Earth.

A low opinion of the Atlantis military personnel when compared to the SGU marines, especially after Kolya and co. take the gate room: “SGU army guys – handsome guy and Jamil – very strong.  Army here just stand around and talk about bacon and get shot and killed.  Army in Universe is better quality.”

She demonstrated impatience with the straggling Athosians who grounded the jumper on the mainland: “I didn’t like the fact that the three of them are very late. When people say I’m leaving five minutes from now you have to be on the ship four minutes from now.”

And sympathy for McKay: “I’m so sad the fact McKay was hurt.”

Agree?  Disagree?  What were your thoughts on The Storm?


Mike A. writes: “For next year’s Hot Chocolate festival(provided you’re still in Vancouver and not in LA or some other town running a new show), how about developing a tournament bracket structure to find the ultimate hot chocolate?”

Answer: Would love to.  Theoretically.  Hell, I could sample a couple of the off-menu hot chocolates and make it a legit 64 contender bracket.  However, given the fact I only managed a little over two-thirds of the hot chocolates this year, I’m not at all sure I’d be able to sample all 64 flavors – much less sample them again in second, third, and fourth round match-ups.

alan writes: “Did you get free DVD retail sets of the 3 series you co-produced/wrote by SciFi or MGM once it came out, or did you have to buy the 3 series at the retail store on your own dime?”

Answer: I received DVD’s of all three shows (SG-1, Atlantis, and Universe) – with the exception of the second season of SGU because, by the time the DVD’s were released, production had wrapped and we had moved on.

Line Noise writes: “Joe, how much of the differences were scripted and how much were the decision of the director?”

Answer: All of the visual cues were scripted, from Weir stepping through the gate alone to the wardrobe changes to the appearing/disappearing necklace.

michaelsgal writes: “What would be the odds of this turning into a book at the very least?”

Answer: Ideally, the adventures of SG-1, the Atlantis expedition, and the Destiny crew could continue in comic book format (because, quite honestly, I don’t think anyone creatively connected to any of the shows is interested in writing books).  As I always said, it’s up to MGM – but I suspect they’re more interested in wiping the slate clean and going with a big screen reboot.

gforce writes: “Did you guys write all the technical stuff that Rodney was talking about regarding the gate dialling?”

Answer: Yes.  With a little help from our resident gate expert, Brad Wright.

arctic goddess writes: “Teyla shows Sheppard that the Athosians had command of fire by using a device that sends energy over a distance to light a candle. That lighter was advanced beyond what the expedition have. If it was an Ancient device, how did she activate it without the gene? Why was it the only advanced item they seemed to have? Why was it only seen once in the series? Every action in a script is supposed to move the story forward. How did the advanced lighter move the story forward?”

Answer: Well, somebody has been taking creative courses :).  The advanced lighter “moved the story forward” by demonstrating that, despite appearances, the Athosians were capable – and a little more advanced than one would assume.  It wasn’t an Ancient device.

arctic goddess writes: “As a Consulting Producer in Underground, what were your and Paul’s specific duties?”

Answer: As consulting producers, we helped spin and break stories, provided notes on outlines, drafts, and the various cuts of the episode.  We also offered support/input (“Weir should wear the blue shawl!”) during prep.

SGW1 writes: “Hmm, why didn’t the Atlantis team ever threaten the Genii to tell everyone the truth about them?”

Answer: They don’t roll that way.  Somewhere down the line, they would have to work with the Genii against the wraith and it made no sense to antagonize them any further or bully them into giving up their dated tech and bombs.

24 thoughts on “February 13, 2014: Final days of the Hot Chocolate Festival! The Stargate: Atlantis rewatch continues with…The Storm! Mailbag!

  1. @ Tam Dixon – I thought I replied to that…hmmmmm. *searches for missing marbles*

    Anyhoo – that’s pretty cool! I didn’t bother watching the special, so thanks so much for sharing that (sometimes those ‘behind the scenes’ things mess with my suspension of disbelief and it ends up ruining the show/movie for me).

    Okie dokie – it’s experiment time. I used to make this quiche-like thing called Serbian Spinach, but it calls for wheat flour so I stopped making it. Trying it now with gluten-free flour, see what happens. It’s really good (esp, for breakfast), and is even quite tasty cold. Here’s the recipe:

    1/4c butter
    1 med.-sized container of cottage cheese (I usually use large curd, fat content depends on preference)
    3 eggs, beaten
    3 tbsp flour
    1/4 lb cheddar cheese, shredded
    1 10 oz package of chopped frozen spinach, rinsed and squeezed
    salt & pepper to taste

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    Melt butter in baking dish (quiche-type, or square – doesn’t matter).
    MIx together cottage cheese, eggs, flour, cheddar cheese, spinach, and salt and pepper, add to baking dish (you can blend with the melted butter a little), and bake for 1 hour. Easy peasy! 🙂


    (Joe, you can delete – or keep – the same post I made under the previous blog entry, whatever you prefer)

    PS! EEP!! It just started thundering and lightning and hailing!! *runs away* 😮

  2. “When people say I’m leaving five minutes from now you have to be on the ship four minutes from now.”

    Akemi, I couldn’t agree more. I always think keeping people waiting is the height of rudeness. Loving all the comments, too!

    I really enjoyed “The Storm”, but I did wonder as well why that Athosian had a GDO. Do they hand them out to just anyone? I would think such an important device would be pretty restricted. It kind of reminded me of those “protagonist does stupid thing A, so that bad thing B can happen later” moments. Talk to Martin G. about that, will ya? 🙂

    That gingerbread hot chocolate sounds perfect. Especially I would love some given that “The Storm” here is just starting and the snow is coming down. Thanks for sending it this way, Das!! (It’s actually supposed to turn mostly to rain later, which will probably make it all the messier.)

  3. Big Bad Wolf sounds incredibly appealing. A pity no place down here offers something like that. As for the Storm, wow. Just gets better with each watching. Granted, Akemi has a point about the gdo, but then, someone among the Athosians should have a way of contacting Atlantis, and with Teyla still on the mainland, I can accept that the Athosians made a poor choice in whom to leave the device with. As for the rest, Zelinka/McKay is fantastic, the buildup of tension delicious, and I can remember screaming at the cliffhanger ending. Very solid episode, and one that begins to give us a real clue as to why Sheppard was still in the military, despite his unknown disciplinary issues. The man is dangerous, and efficient. Best moments though, Kolya and McKay. Minimal words, but so much conveyed with the actors’ expressions. Kolya figuring out why McKay was there…a hint of how efficient the Genii intelligence gathering capabilities are. Hope Akemi likes the next episode even more.

  4. The two eps together are among my most loved. Especially when you listen with the comentary. One of favorite quotes is in the Eye by Ford “He’ll be the dot getting rid of the other dots” I just love that line.

  5. In fairness it wouldn’t have made much sense to reveal the truth about who the Genii really were anyway. Team Atlantis and the Genii may have had a shaky relationship but anyone knowingly acting in a way that would get the Genii or any species wiped out by the Wraith/Goa’uld etc wouldn’t have much of a future in the SGC/Military in general. It wouldn’t sit well with the higher up surely? It goes against the entire mandate of their mission.

  6. I love “Home” too, mostly because of Shep’s awesome bachelor pad and the astonishingly cute face Flanigan makes when he flicks that bottle cap. Plus Teyla shopping, creeping fog, pizza, zombie soldiers; it’s all good.

  7. joe/Answer: Ideally, the adventures of SG-1, the Atlantis expedition, and the Destiny crew could continue in comic book format (because, quite honestly, I don’t think anyone creatively connected to any of the shows is interested in writing books). As I always said, it’s up to MGM – but I suspect they’re more interested in wiping the slate clean and going with a big screen reboot.

    they don’t have to ‘wipe the slate clean’: just pick up the stargate story 5 to 10 years later and carry on from there. new people, new teams, new objective, but keeping the same mythology intact. #respect

    is there no imagination or passion left for the stargate tv franchise?

    mgm doesn’t deserve this franchise…

  8. I agree with you on the cocoa flavor but the white chocolate does look decadent.

    Das: You didn’t miss much on the after show. His parents were the most interesting thing it revealed. Turns out they are both actors and said this might be the only chance to work on the same project with their son.
    Did you see the whole episode yet? I trying hard not to give away spoilers for you/others that are fans. I will say that I love Mary’s character even more!

    I agree with Akemi. Zelenka made a good techie. If you are going to meet someone, be on time. Jamil is very strong. I may let her do all my reviews from now on.

    I’m a sad bunny. My hubby got snowed in at Portland, Maine and won’t get another plane back until Monday. 🙁

  9. @ Tam – I watched it enough to know about Mary, etc…I just need to REALLY sit down and watch it. Mebbe this weekend. 🙂


  10. Mmm Schokolade sounds like my new favorite place that I haven’t been yet!

    I liked the mystery in “Home”, along with the backstory, but the action in “The Storm” also appealed to me. (and I agree that those tardy Athosians needed to get a move on!)

  11. If only you could convince MGM, I know any number of Stargate fans/writers who’d be more than delighted to relieve you and/or Brad of that pesky novelization task. You guys have already done the hard part with the scripts. Trust me…putting them into novel form would be a labor of love for many of us. If you ever need volunteers, the line forms here!

  12. I loved Robert Davi as Kolya and Ryan Robbins as Ladon. And the build up going into The Eye was superb,

    I agree with Akemi; the take over of the gate room seemed a little too easy and the guards were just a little too casual, especially considering the dire straights the city was in. Atlantis was their home and it was about to be destroyed, and they were talking about bacon? Bacon?!? Well, okay bacon IS bacon, but still. They should have been more alert if only because of the tenseness of the situation.

    My son David commented that if the Genii were really trying to be covert, they should have had silencers on their weapons. Maybe he’s been playing Ghost Recon a little too much?

  13. Winter Comfort and Big Bad Wolf sound delicious.

    The Storm and The Eye were among my top favorites. While one may have thought the military was soft and lax in the first few episodes, Sheppard’s “Die-Hard”-like style proved that he was a very capable soldier. Not Jamil-level capable, but in the world of Atlantis, very capable. I agree with Shana about Ford’s line about the dots. Of course with the puddle jumper having to evacuate the mainland, my husband Jeff said, “Damn Athosians; get rid of them already…except Teyla.”

  14. Wait a minute. Forget about drunkards with GDOs. How does Lord Smeedon even know about the Genii? Are they just revealing themselves to anyone now? And who is Lord Smeedon anyway? Did we miss an episode somewhere?

    Not to mention how quickly those Genii soldiers learned the layout of Atlantis so they could get where Sheppard was without getting lost!

    A decent selection of hot chocolates today. I tried another hot chocolate in my personal Bath Hot Chocolate Festival but it was so disappointing I’m not going to write about it. It was basically warm milk with a thick sludge of undissolved chocolate powder on the bottom.

    However, a colleague at work has given me a block of Hasslacher’s Hot Drinking Chocolate. 100% cacao imported from Colombia. At least, I assume it’s 100% cacao and not a block of cocaine. I’ll have to try it this weekend either way.

    Interesting to hear about the scripting of all the visual cues in Home. I even noticed on this viewing the different wormhole animation. A subtle clue that I hadn’t noticed until now.

  15. Actually, a buttery latte sounds pretty yum, even though I am not a fan of white chocolate. I think I’d like to try the Bacchus’ Dream, in theory, I like all those flavors.

    Ah, Zelenka. I had such a geek crush on him.

  16. I still can’t get yesterday’s cheesy chocolate out of my brain. Cedar and cocoa. Hmm. Sometimes blending flavors gives unintended consequences. Anyway, gingerbread and cocoa and hazelnut and cocoa are winners!

    I;m glad you are reading NOS4A2. Mostly because it reminded me that a friend recommended it and I forgot to read it. Now I can check to see it the library has it!

  17. PS, I recognize those flower-like treats in that bento box — Fruitables!!

    Also, got word on some CW TV shows being renewed (if any of you are still playing Lawren’s TV pilot game: Reign and The Originals have both been renewed. I said yes to Reign and no to The Originals. No word yet on The Tomorrow People.

  18. And PSS: This was the scoring guide so you don’t have to look back for it: “If a show get’s picked up or cancelled (pulling the episodes from their original dates will count as cancellation) your choice will be multiplied two fold. So +1 for a correct choice. -1 for a wrong choice. -2 if you bet against a show that get’s an early pickup. +2 if your correctly choose a show will get cancelled and has it’s airing cut short.”

  19. @ Sparrowhawk – It’s very good and easy to make (some Serbian spinach recipes call for fillo dough, making them a bit more complicated). Some tips: This is supposed to brown on top, so don’t panic and think you burned the thing. 🙂 If you add salt, go VERY light – the butter and cheese have salt already, so adding it really isn’t necessary. Plus, skipping the salt in the recipe means you can top it with a bit of hot sauce before eating! 😀 Pretty sure you can feel free to experiment with the cheese – the recipe calls for cheddar, but I’m guessing you can mix it up with other cheeses. I may try a bit of pepper jack next time, and may even experiment with a bit of good feta, too.

    With the butter and cheese and eggs you can figure that this is pretty rich. I especially like it for breakfast with some OJ or grapefruit – something to counter the richness. Of course, it’s almost 4pm and I just had another slice…but in my defense I ate it with cholesterol-busting blueberry juice! 😀

    Now…where the hell is the chocolate. 🙂


  20. Sure I’m keeping an eye out on the renewal/cancelation front. I’m quite interested to see what Fox does now that the X Factor is cancelled. They have quite a hole to fill in their schedule, it could bode well for fringe shows like Almost Human and The Following.

    And on the CW front, I expect The Tommorow People to be cancelled should The 100 or Starcrossed do well. I think the CW are waiting to see how these 2 shows do before deciding on The Tommorow People. Not expecting any other renewals on the network besides maybe one or two shows.

  21. How do you find books to read? Does someone send them for you to review? Book store finds? Just curious. I finished Lines of Departure. That was a fun read. I hope Kloos writes another in the series. Thanks again for recommending Terms of Enlistment!

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