Well, I’m back from my whirlwind tour of the east coast and it looks like things are going to get very busy, very quickly.  But more on that in a second.  First, here are the highlights of my Toronto and Montreal visits:


We got in for a little after 5:00 p.m.  Since we only had carry-on luggage, I figured the two hour window would afford us plenty of time to get to our downtown hotel, decompress, and then walk the five blocks over to Buca.  Of course what I failed to account for was the ridiculous Toronto traffic.  In the end, we made it – but it was close.  As always, a great meal…

June 29, 2014: The East Coast Wrap-up!The crispy pig ears.  Don’t knock ’em ’til you’ve tried ’em!  My writing partner, Paul, was insistent I NOT order these – but I did anyway figuring “more for me”.  Except that, when they arrived, guess who couldn’t keep his dubious hands off MY order?

June 29, 2014: The East Coast Wrap-up!Love their inspired pizzas that are served piping hot – with a side of scissors.  For cutting!

June 29, 2014: The East Coast Wrap-up!A dessert so big and rich and decadent, even I couldn’t finish it!  Chocolate center not pictured.

June 29, 2014: The East Coast Wrap-up!Our mystery guest – who needs no introduction for you SG-1 and Atlantis fans.

June 29, 2014: The East Coast Wrap-up!I stopped off at Akemi’s favorite Toronto chocolate shop (SOMA on King Street West), where I picked up some of Akemi’s favorite treats.

I turned in at a reasonable hour and, despite being on PST time, managed to ALMOST fall asleep at around midnight.  I was just about to drift when – I was startled by a knock at my hotel room door.  Confused and more than slightly annoyed, I went to the door and peered out the peephole.  “Yes?”I asked, making no attempt to conceal my irritation.  “Delivery!”said the guy in the hall.  Delivery?! WTF?!  Had the production office sent out some last minute information packet in advance of tomorrow’s meeting?  I sighed, loudly, threw on my jeans and opened the door to…no one.  I stepped into the hallway and there was the same guy, delivering take-out next door.  “Sorry,”he offered.  Unsurprisingly, his apology did little to soothe my by then wired nerves.  I didn’t fall asleep until well after 2:00 a.m. – and it was a fitful sleep at that.


We were picked up from the hotel at 10:00 a.m. and driven over to the production offices where we met the gang and toured the sets of the other series.  After lunch, we visited some post-facilities, then had a sit-down with other prospective personnel.  All very nice, very smart people.  Yes, when the show goes, it will go in Toronto.  Vancouver was my first choice (of course), but a host of variables make Toronto the better candidate.

A relaxed dinner with our producing partner, Jay, and a reasonably early night – but, again, very little sleep.  As I lay awake, I became acutely aware of how much I like my own bed…and how much I’m going to miss it.


I flew out of Toronto early morning and flew into Montreal in time for lunch.  Sis picked me up at the airport and took me to mom’s place for sushi and –

June 29, 2014: The East Coast Wrap-up!Fried peppers, a Mallozzi special.

June 29, 2014: The East Coast Wrap-up!Sis.

June 29, 2014: The East Coast Wrap-up!Mom and her boy Felix flanked by Roxy and Caramel.

June 29, 2014: The East Coast Wrap-up!Fernando is blind, but you can’t even tell.  He navigates the house, patio, and backyard like he’s got 20/20 vision.

June 29, 2014: The East Coast Wrap-up!Sis and Ralphie.

For dinner, Sis managed to score reservations at a restaurant I’ve been meaning to visit for, oh, going on five years now: Joe Beef, a favorite of Anthony Bourdain.  Yeah, that guy from The Taste.

June 29, 2014: The East Coast Wrap-up!The foie gras double-down.

June 29, 2014: The East Coast Wrap-up!The smoked meat croquettes.

June 29, 2014: The East Coast Wrap-up!Smoked ribs.

June 29, 2014: The East Coast Wrap-up!Dark chocolate and soft serve cheese ice cream.

June 29, 2014: The East Coast Wrap-up!Vanilla-strawberry soft serve swirl.

A fantastic meal.  The portions were enormous.  How enormous?  At one point, a heavy-set man at a neighbouring table had his chair collapse and splinter beneath him partway through his meal!


I really have to do a show in Montreal some day.  Brutal winters aside, it’s got a great restaurant scene – and a nice little dog community.

June 29, 2014: The East Coast Wrap-up!Mom’s friend, Claire, visits with Frankie.

For lunch, we had barbecued steaks and sausages compliments of…the girl master:

June 29, 2014: The East Coast Wrap-up!What?  You didn’t actually think I was referring to myself?

June 29, 2014: The East Coast Wrap-up!And desserts from Patrice.  We had a nice assortment including chocolate and caramelized banana cream puffs and chocolate-coffee pastries, but my surprise favorites were the kouign-amann (sitting in the back).

June 29, 2014: The East Coast Wrap-up!

I left Montreal on a 6:20 p.m. flight – but not before taking a photo of these flowers that mom insisted would be blog-worthy.

I returned home in Vancouver at around 9:00 p.m.  As expected, the dogs were thrilled to have me back!  Oh, and Akemi too.


Catching up on a few things.  I read three books while I was away, bringing my June total to 19 (not including a whopping 3 I gave up on!), my overall goal on the year to 90 books read.  My upcoming schedule may put a crimp in my rapid pace.

This week, Paul and I will discuss the 13-episode first season game plan I’ve put together which includes episode synopses, production demands, and all the major twists, turns, and character arcs.

The week following, we start the writers room.  The plan is to break all 13 episodes of the show’s first season over the course of July.

In late August, I head to L.A. for some meet and greets.

Since things will start heating up at the end of this year, we’ll have to pull our annual Japan trip up a few months – I’m thinking late September.

We move to Toronto in November – just in time for winter!  We’re going to have to pick up some winter garb – and fly the dogs over (which is always a frustrating and incredibly distressing experience).

I’m thinking we’ll probably go to camera in early January.  By that point, of course, the sets will have been built, the cast decided upon, and most of the scripts written.

It’ll be great to return to the world of scifi television.  Very exciting.

28 thoughts on “June 29, 2014: The east coast wrap-up!

  1. I would still be stuffed if I ate all that. Great news about the new production! Breaking all 13 episodes in one month sounds like a HUGE amount of work!

    I wish you could have kept the show in Vancouver too, it’s just – cooler. I’m sure that you guys will make TO your own though, for as long as you’re there. And hey, you guys are THAT much closer to visiting the Maritimes! 🙂 It’s only a day’s drive! A long, exhausting day, mind you..

  2. Lol, if you guys are moving to Toronto you should just miss Nick you high school buddy, who is moving to Victoria in September!

  3. wellllll, and the answer is: ……???
    In the meantime, the food looks wonderful as always and now I am hungry again.

    Glad know you are back safe and working on aggravating us with the teasers until you are ready to share….sigh, sigh,

    Looking forward to hearing of your new adventures as you return to the world of scifi television. Reallllly, cannot wait.

  4. Fantastic news! Finally, I’m so happy for you, Akemi and Paul. But sad that you’ll be leaving Vancouver. Will this be a permanent move?

    Can’t wait to hear about all the details, and hopefully some familiar faces will be back as well. And that it’s a sci-fi series is sweeet! Congratulations!

    The family looks happy and healthy, and the food is to die for! Nothing better than that!

  5. Your family rolled out the red carpet! Loved seeing the pictures and glad you had a great time. Those flowers were very blog worthy!

    My upcoming schedule may put a crimp in my rapid pace. Yes, employment does put a crimp on spare time. Sorry you have to do the Toronto shuffle with the pups again.

    Any thing you can tell us about the new show?

    Das: Finished “Two Graves” and it answered all my questions. It was the missing link.

    Today we packed up and cleaned the humane society. All the critters are in another kennel somewhere in Arkansas. I’ll miss them. 🙁

  6. Hey Joe
    Welcome back to my end of the country! Maybe if your not too cryptic about where you’re shooting this show I can swing by and take you out for a coffee or something.
    If your shooting in the far east end, perhaps you might think about renting a place in Pickering or Ajax.


    1. Naw, we’ll definitely get a condo downtown. I’d like Akemi to have a bit of a life while I’m in production.

      But, yes, if let’s definitely do coffee – or, better yet, hot chocolate and dessert.

  7. Congratulations on the show Joe! Moving is always stressful, but you’ve had a dry run, so hopefully this time will be easier. Barb and I will miss you on our visits to Vancouver though.

    My daughter Jackie was wondering what network picked it up; anything more you can tell us?

    And I’m in on the pig’s ears! That was Buca right? I’ll have to try it if I ever get to Toronto. I have had a couple of visit requests in Toronto that I may have to follow up on. 😉

  8. For lunch, we had barbecued steaks and sausages compliments of…the girl master:…What? You didn’t actually think I was referring to myself?

    No…not at all, especially since you referred to the GRILL master as the GIRL master. 🙂

    Quite the whirlwind tour of Canada! Good to see mom and sis and all the pups!

    @ Tam Dixon…sometimes a.k.a. Ponytail 😛 – Yeah, Two Graves is essential for being able to understand Pendergast’s life. In some ways it’s a reason that I don’t like too much change in my ‘serial’ detectives – you just can’t jump in anywhere, but often have to start at the beginning of a book series to understand it all. I suppose it’s one reason I really loved Christie’s Poirot and Miss Marple – they were always the same each book, so you could easily read the stories ‘out of order’. Sure, sometimes she’s add some fun little detail that would add something to the character, but she never changed anything so drastically that the reader is left scratching his, or her, head.


  9. the desserts look amazing.

    Our mystery guest – who needs no introduction for you SG-1 and Atlantis fans.

    i must confess, i’m drawing a blank

  10. The ever so handsome Alan McCullough!!! Good!! Nice to see familar faces. Who else is going to be there with you? Rob? Give us (girls) a picture of your partner Paul too. And I wanna see his eyes.

    I do not envy your move, but so glad you are getting back to work writing and producing shows. Are the dogs now on a diet? What is their flying weight…25 pounds?

    Family in Montreal is looking well. I love that everyone is a dog lover. The flowers are beautiful and the cake looks sooooo good. I may have to make some brownies to compensate for lack of cake.

    @ Das – HA!! You are too funny! @Tam you are too sweet!

  11. Here’s hoping that the Weather THIS year will be better in Toronto! — The past one was on the nasty side… Get good Boots for snow, ice, rain… snow tires too… And, the proper gear for the Dogs – They will be missing their grass! — Whatever, let me know what colours you end up in winter wear and I’ll see if I can’t find some time to whip you both up a nice woolly toque!

  12. Oh gosh, how long will you have to be in Toronto.. what do you do with the house. Glad you are headed to busy but good! Food looked great. 🙂

  13. Oh my, Hottie McCullough is back! And you are back at work, congrats! Any chance of familiar faces in front of the camera as well as behind? I’m sorry on your behalf for the 3-dog flight requirement. Could you hire an out of work actor to drive them for you? 🙂

  14. Congratulations on the new production but shame you’ll be away from Vancouver! We’ll have to squeeze in some more west coast eating before you go. Perhaps a protester-style burger? 😉

  15. Dying to know more about the show. Even a title would be something! Too bad you have to move to Toronto, though. (And in Winter! Urgh!) But hopefully this experience will be better than last time.

    Food looks good although I’m a bit of a pizza purist and believe it should be round.

  16. They are great news indeed. 🙂
    With your ability to work hard and tenacity ,just missing the bit of luck. I have no doubt that the road will be exciting and a lot of fun. If in addition is a success, you anticipate that you’re going to have less time yet. 😛

    Be careful what you wish for it might just happen. 🙄

  17. Hey Alan!

    Glad you had a productive and apparently food filled trip.

    So are you moving, moving? Like selling the Van house and setting up in Toronto?

  18. Joe, glad to hear your great news, I have been absent for a while, I guess I have a lot of backreading to do, glad to hear the news about the job, and hope it all works out for you and Akemi and the pups. Yippee.

  19. Congrats on your new show, great to see you working again. Also, welcome back to Ontario! I’m sure, at the very least, your Mom and Sis will be happy to have you so much closer to Montreal.
    Also, winters in T.O. aren’t *that* brutal… you did grow up in Montreal after all. Living in Vancouver has made you soft. T.O. barely even gets any snow in an average winter! I will agree, however, that moving in November is not ideal, but at least you miss the crazy summer humidity.

  20. Well deserved for you too Joe, you were easily one of the best Stargate writers on the 3 shows.

  21. Food! Okay, the pig ears do look delicious. Those are great pics of your gorgeous sis! My brother only aims a camera at me when I’m doing something he deems hilarious like falling out of a bouncy castle. He hasn’t put it on youtube yet, which is something. Your mom has a lovely sunny home, she’s right about the flowers, they look like butterflies.

    At least this time you guys will be heading to Toronto knowing what neighborhoods you love. I hope you guys find a place with a huge balcony and great garden for the pups.

    Could you make Montreal your base and then keep an apt in Toronto or Vancouver for work?

  22. CONGRATULATIONS!!! I think I posted for you the link to a company that flies dogs and it is at commercial airline rates. I’ll look for it. I hope your second venture on a Toronto show is a happier experience.

  23. And before I leave to go take care of a storm-fearful dog (not to mention fireworks that are going off), I can’t believe I am close to catching up again. I miss commenting and interacting with everyone.

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