Is July over yet?  Following a frustrating few weeks, I was looking forward to saying goodbye to 2016’s most miserable month and, just when the end was in sight, two more irritating little developments made it in, right under the wire.  It was a double dogtor visit for this duo…July 28, 2016: Is It August Yet?

Patient: Lulu

Age: 9

Issue: She does this weird thing where she drags her hind legs whenever she’s on gravel.  But only on gravel.

Diagnosis: Potential neurological issues.

Suggested treatment: Surgery.

Estimated cost: $6400

July 28, 2016: Is It August Yet?

Patient: Bubba

Age: 14

Issue: Two tiny masses on his head.  A year ago, he had a similar one removed that tested malignant pre-surgery, then benign post-surgery.  Aspirations of these latest growths have yielded inconclusive results.

Suggested treatment: Surgery

Estimated cost: $3600

Ultimately, what gives me pause is not the price of the surgeries but the fact that both dogs will have be anaesthetized for the procedures, always a bigger risk with these brachycephalic (snorty) breeds.  Also, they aint gettin’ any younger.  I’m leaning toward delaying Lulu’s surgery until further symptoms develop, and maybe holding off on Bubba’s until he requires his next dental so that he’ll only have to be put under the once.  Akemi and I still have to discuss.

What a nice change of pace it is to go from sitting at my laptop all day, working on scripts for season 2 to…sitting at my laptop all day, working on scripts for season 3. Turns out I may have bitten off a little more than I can chew (or, really, write) in the time allotted – three scripts in two months.  Seems doable if not for the fact that I’m not working off any handy writers’ room-generated outlines since these were three episodes that didn’t get the “full treatment”.  301 is more or less complete – but, in all fairness, I had the month of May (between wrap, cutting, and mixes) to hammer out the story on my own.  Progress on 303 is akin to walking a tightrope without a net – and approaching a pissed-off-looking seagull a the halfway point.  Yeah, I saw it sitting there when I embarked on my perilous journey but I assumed it would have taken flight by the time I drew closer.  No dice.  And don’t even get me started on 304!  Tack on an end-of-August L.A. trip and you have all the makings of neural burst.  And not the good kind.

Oh, yeah.  A new episode of Dark Matter airs tomorrow tonight.  For those of you watching live (Bless your hearts!) it’s on at 7 pm PDT/10 pm EDT on Syfy and Space Channel.

Some Dark Matter news…

July 28, 2016: Is It August Yet?

Dark Matter – We Voted Not To Space You – Advance Preview: “Masterpiece” by Amiee Hicks at SpoilerTV

July 28, 2016: Is It August Yet?

Kris Holden-Ried Joins Dark Matter Cast In Recurring Role by Michael Ahr at Den Of Geek.

21 thoughts on “July 28, 2016: Is it August yet?

  1. Recommendation: talk to an animal communicator. It is relatively inexpensive and will shed light on the medical issues so you can make more informed decisions. I can recommend someone if you like.

  2. That’s the first time I’ve ever heard “Bless your hearts” said sincerely and without condescension. I’m not sure that’s allowed.

  3. Awww poor puppies. Keep Lulu off of gravel and she’ll be fine. Wish Bubba was that easy. I have friends with dogs that have dealt with similar ground surface issues as Lulu; I don’t remember any of them saying anything about surgery to solve it. I think, if I remember correctly, more of a sensory issue than anything else. Just like children have problems with certain types of ground, so can any animal. Especially those that are on surfaces that they are not used to. She may feel unsteady because the ground slightly moves under her feet when she walks. No expert here, but pretty sure that’s how it was explained to me.

  4. Hubby had to go to IT at work to fix his laptop. While they were installing new software, one of them asked him if he liked science fiction tv or films. Not really, he said. “Surely you like star trek”? Nope. “What about star wars”? I liked the original trilogy, but nothing since then. “I know a show you will love. It is off the air now, but I still watch the DVD all the is funny, and the main characters save the world all the time. The main hero is a bookworm like you.” Are you talking about stargate? And Daniel Jackson? “Yes, how did you know that? Do you watch it?” My wife is a big fan and loves Michael shanks. I have watched some episodes with her. Like the one they shot golf balls through the big circle water thing. “The stargate”. Yep, that. “You ought to watch all the episodes. The best show. I wish it was still on.” My wife says one of the guys from stargate, Joe, has a new show. She loves it too. You ought to check it out. “What is the name of it”? I don’t know, but it airs on Friday night. The IT guy went online, found the name and said he would watch the first season this weekend. Hubby said that he never expected that he would ever know something about sci-fi that those guys didn’t know. I was impressed he remembered your first name and that you had a new show. I guess he is listening to what I talk about!

    1. Well, thank your husband for me. If he can continue this impress track record of converting a fan a day, I’ll be very pleased.

  5. Thanks for introducing me to the word “brachycephalic”. Gonna try and slip it into a conversation at some point.
    Would it help Lulu if she wore little doggie booties when out and about? Surgery seems a little extreme for a “possible” neurological disorder.
    Not to add to your writing woes but – can’t wait for season 3(no pressure!!!).

  6. Ow poor peeps.
    Perhaps Joe, you could ask for a specialist second opinion for Lulu’s condition. It may cost you more, with tests, imaging etc. but you have then followed every avenue. Also if an operation is still recommended you’d have the possibility of the specialist (with more experience) carrying it out.
    With Bubba, I’d be tempted to do as you’ve suggested and wait til he has a dental. It may prolong the anaesthetic (which in itself isn’t perfect) but then it’s only one session. Chances are, if his previous test came back negative and these little growths look similar and aren’t growing/changing rapidly, it will be the same results.
    It’s always so worrying when things are happening to our little buddies. You feel so helpless. At least in this case, neither are in pain which is the main thing 🐾
    Give them a hug from me! 😊

  7. Sorry for your doggie distress! I know how much you love those dogs!

    Excited for tomorrow nights episode, Aimee’s preview is nothing if not a tease. Gonna be a fan favorite, the android/Zoie shines, repercussions throughout the season…..aargh!! Glad to see the familiar face of Kris Holden-Reid though it looks like he’ll be doing his best Javert impression as he recurs throughout the season. “You know nothing of the law, 24601!”

    Counting down…

  8. Hi Joe & blog community,

    Sorry to see that the dogs are having medical issues. I disagree with Lulu’s diagnosis. If it were neurological wouldn’t she experience the behaviour on all surface, not just this one. I think the cause lies in the surface itself. Either walking on it is painful or the coarseness of it relieves something. I hope the vet thoroughly explained his theory before suggesting an invasive and expensive course of action. Surely surgery would be the last alternative. All the best for her and Bubba. What did the vet say about Bubba peeing where he wasn’t supposed to? Is it an age thing?

    Hugs from me!

    It’s been an eventful few weeks for me. I got new awnings and blinds for my house. Boy was it worth it, makes such a difference to the look. I’m hoping in Summer that the awnings will cool the house down. I’m trying that as I’m reluctant to get air-conditioning.

    This week I replaced my 30 year old wall heater with another strip wall heater.Finally I am warm. To go with it, I replaced the cushions on the sofa with new foam, a slightly better quality. Now I can relax without sinking down into my lounge room sink-hole lol. I’ve been catching up on the first season of Daredevil on Netflix via my Chromecast. Loving that by the way.

    The new 27 inch iMac I ordered also came in… It’s huge. Now to make sure everything is transferred from the old to new and backed up so I can re-install OSX and give the old one to my sister and her family to use.

    While all of this has been happening I’ve continued my quest for minimalism. I’m reading a great book “The Joy of Less”. My aim is to cleanse my life of the objects that are of no use or value in my life.

    I’m working on my graphic skills, learning on my own and will be doing a copy-writing course in September. All of this will be useful in obtaining a new job. I’m not in any hurry.

    Wishing everyone and their families well.

    Cheers, Chev

  9. Wow, I can’t believe Lulu is 9 already! I remember when you brought her home. My best thoughts to both doggies, and to you on the writing. You got this.

  10. I’m sending hugs to all four of you – sounds like a bit of a crap storm! I know how much worry it is when our non-human companions are not well.

    Also, seagulls in life aren’t as tough as they act. Just keep moving along that wire and they’ll get spooked off soon enough.

  11. The Aimee Hicks link to her article doesn’t work for me. Can you check it please?

    Why isn’t someone helping you write season 3? Where’s Paul gone to?

    I agree with KathyC that it’s probably an unfamiliar feeling for the ground texture on her feet. Just keep Lulu off gravel. Also agree with you Joe, to wait until Bubba’s dental visit and take care of the small bumps at the same time, (just check that the Vet will do this).

    Anesthesia anxiety for elderly pets is awful, but Bubba is strong and will come through with flying colors!

    Looking forward to tonight’s Dark Matter!


  12. Much love to your pups. So scary when there is something not right.

    Writing? You’ll get there, seagull or no.

    Most of the people I know either already watch Dark Matter, or do not watch TV unless they watch an entire series at once online. They are all younger than I, out fire spinning, doing aerialist work, yoga, drum circles, karaoke, music festies … busy, busy. Hard to recruit fans from this group. I try.

    Aaaaand, the big kitchen microwave just died. Died dead. Good thing I was a tech, I did all the usual stuff with the power strip breaker. Dead dead. Good thing we have a tiny one in the basement, or my half cooked egg would have gone into the compost pot.

  13. I’d probably consolidate the procedures too. Although, there are a lot of bacteria that get aerosolized during a dental. I’m sure the vet will take precautions. If the tumor balloons up, you could get the dental sooner. Don’t forget to have his toenails trimmed while he’s out.
    You have great vets and good instincts. Lulu will give you clues when the surgery is essential.

    Yay Jo Jo’s Husband! Did he like “Galaxy Quest”? I have a friend that dislikes most Sci-fi but nearly busted a gut watching that movie.

    Everyone getting their “Dark Matter” snacks ready?

  14. Sorry to hear about the medical issues of Lulu and Bubba. Sucks. 🙁 I think you are right, waiting a little longer for Bubba’s surgery so he gets the anesthesia once is a good idea. Good luck with the surgeries when the time comes for it. ♥
    And… don’t worry about the scripts. It’s all gonna fall into place. I am sure of it. 🙂

  15. Sending bourbon hugs and chocolate chip cookie thoughts
    to you and the pups.
    I feels ya on this.
    It can definitely compound the problem
    when we know those we love
    and care so much about are hurting too.

    I’m with the others on this about Lulu.
    I don’t think she needs surgery.
    Just keep her off gravel.
    Hope Bubba is ok -but yeah,
    probably best to wait until he goes in for dental.

    Keeping both babes in my heart , daily thoughts and prayers.

    As far as the angry seagull goes.
    You knew about it going in to the project
    – it would be there.
    You believed enough in yourself enough to take the risk
    that you would find a way to make it all work anyway.

    When everything feels impossible
    and like your head is about to explode
    the only thing left to do is take a slow deep breath .
    Take a step back.
    Let it go.

    No matter what is at stake.

    Just let it go.

    The answers tend to be there
    – But one can not see
    the solution resting in the palm in the palm of their hand
    if their fist is tightly clenched.

    Nothing is impossible
    and the seagull does not need to ‘fly away’.

    You just need to toss it a fish or two
    so it will be completed distracted with eating
    while you slowly inch your way ahead
    till you are out of its line of sight.

    Step back from what actions and words
    you want to go into the story
    and think “only”
    about the emotions you wish to convey.
    Write those emotions down.

    Structure only the simplest sentences around them.

    You need to strip the problem
    down to its very essence.

    It’s time to simplify.

    Don’t think about the story
    – only the basic emotions it conveys.
    Write your first draft in that simplest form.
    Because you can build complexity and brilliance
    from that foundation.

    Write simply that FOUR felt angry.
    That SIX felt confused
    That Android felt frustrated.

    Let it go.
    Yes, I know the seagull is there.
    SO what!? It really doesn’t matter..

    Its gonna be there no matter what you do.

    Let it go.
    Let the damn angry seagull be there.

    It’s all based in emotion.
    Even the problem of not being able
    to perform at your best
    when you feel too pressed for time.

    Remember nothing is impossible.

    I even figured out the perfect scenario for
    a TWO-FIVE hug scene via simplifying.

    It was At the end of 203 when both were at
    their most vulnerable on the verge of tears.

    TWO was down on the ground. I felt her pain.
    I felt both their pain very much so.

    No one had ever shown
    TWO any real compassion.
    This was now about to change.

    When FIVE said but “I’ve seen the other side of you
    and I want my friend back”
    – she extended her hand.

    In that moment if TWO had grabbed FIVE’s hand
    and just grabbed her so tight in a long hard
    deeply felt embrace –
    It not only would have felt perfectly natural
    but likely would have had the entire audience,
    including me, moved to tears!
    It would have
    solidified their bond beyond any doubt.

    But fear not there will be more opportunities like that.

    This is what we all want at the end of the day.
    The – emotion to move us.
    We are human.
    We need to feel.

    Please Don’t push it and us all away.

    Just simplify
    and build from there.

    Ask yourself why “YOU” found yourself hooked
    on Sex In The City?
    Is it really that Sarah Jessica
    Parker is so brilliant?
    She simply took it all down to its most basic emotions
    that all humans feel
    and conveyed that.
    (she built her story from there).

    Take a deep breath. Step back … exhale.

    We’ve seen the other side of you Joe
    and we want our friend back.

    My hand is extended.
    Will you take it and meet my embrace?

  16. Oh god Joe that’s a horrible situation to be in. Especially given the age of your pugs. I think what you feel is best for Lulu and Bubba is the best for them. Whatever happens, I’m sure they love you no matter what you decide for them and no matter what happens. You are after all their daddy.

    Anyway hopefully Dark Matter goes up in the ratings tonight. I think a combination of the SDCC and Star Trek likely had an effect on the numbers last week. Saying that, the unrounded numbers are mostly irrelevant, the show has rounded to a 0.2 three times so far this season. Given that the first season was pulling between a 0.2-0.3 live It’s not bad.

  17. Sadly, no Space or SYFY channels down here in the Olympic City (Rio de Janeiro). Maybe some day Netflix Brasil will start carrying Dark Matter. I do enjoy reading your blog though. Also, I wish you could have found a way to continue Stargate Universe, even though it was dark, it was a fascinating premise and a series well done. (I’m a Robert Carlyle fan) Thank you for your tour de force writing talents and contributions to the Sci-Fi genre.

  18. Sorry to hear about your babies. Even my beagle is 7 now and showing the stress of her wild and crazy puppyhood. Always running around like a crazy dog jumping on furniture in all her years up until now. I notice her having a harder time jumping up on things now and picking up a back leg and walking 3 legged some. Arthritis. I agree with everyone on Lulu. Lots of people (and animals too I guess) live with neurological issues. No more gravel walking. And I know you and Bubba’s mommy Akemi will do whatever is best and take good care him.

    Didn’t read you blog last night. I was busy watching our presidential election process in action. It’s come down to the first woman nominee, lifetime experienced, totally qualified for the job verses a complete horses ass that acts like he never graduated 3rd grade. Trump loves calling people names… poo poo pants, pee brain, stinky breath, fat turd. Is it possible to impeach a nominee? Go Hillary!

  19. How is it possible Lulu is already 9. I was thinking she was about 4-5. I’m sorry about what has been going on with them. I’m sure their conditions are weighing heavily on your mind and in your heart and likely affecting your writing. When I’m confronted with an overload in stress and I feel like a gear stuck with so much to do and that I’m never going to get anything done, I shut completely down. I have to lock myself in my bedroom and just lay in bed and be a complete veggie for an entire day. And trust me I don’t think about anything other than what I may be watching on TV or DVR or Netflix or playing a video game. You may want to try something like that, but whatever your version might be — a short overnight getaway trip, a day out and about in Vancouver–whatever.

    I tend to echo what others have been saying. I would just avoid the gravel for Lulu for now and when you have the time I would go get a second opinion on that. And as far as Bubba, I think less anesthesia is better for a dog his age. Get the aspiration/biopsy when he gets his dental done.

    You might also want to seek a licensed hypnotist. Now wait. I know that sounds weird. When I ran into one at the health market the day before my surgery last year and she made me a tape specific to me and specific to my surgery, I was shocked at how helpful it was. Whenever I have to do something I start having anxiety over, I put that on (even though it was meant for surgery) because the beginning of it is just a relaxation part and imagery part. It really is amazing. I need to go back to see her because I’d like some more tapes for other situations. I was going to, but then when Jeff’s mom went on hospice and then died, that wound up costing a lot of money and I couldn’t spare the extra dollars to do this. But it is on my radar for maybe 2016.

    I am sorry July 2016 has sucked for you. Since Christmas of last year, it has been a nonstop crap festival around here. One death after another. Another person who was near death but is pulling through. Now two people I know whose kids may be dying — one has cancer. The other is someone who attends Patrick’s school. He has a mystery illness they can’t determine the cause of and he is on a ventilator. They are leaning towards some type of encephalitis. So I feel your pain about that.

    Hang in there. It always seems like the worst it could ever get and then something finally turns around to the better. We all have confidence in you about your writing and it will get done when it gets done.

    Sending our love and support.

  20. @bambamfans That sounds wonderful that you are getting all that done. It was amazing when we made some simple changes in the house how much it helped our spirits. I wasn’t expecting that part of it.

    @Ponytail Totally with you. I was a Sanders fan, but will support Hillary. Some really emotional stories coming out of the convention this week. The speech by John Allen was especially moving. Can you imagine being in the military and having a prez candidate say the military is “a mess?” It’s not a mess. The world is a mess–that is the problem. And can you imagine if Trump becomes president (shudder) and he orders military people to waterboard a prisoner? If you don’t follow the commands of the commander in chief, then you’ll be court-martialled. If you follow the CIC then you are breaking international law. He obviously didn’t read the 9/11 Commission Report that said it did not yield any credible intelligence.

    @Maggiemayday I hate when that happens. We have an almost 24-year-old microwave (one that is above the stove) that we are just waiting to die. And an almost-24-year-old refrigerator (hee, hee, hee –beat you out on that one @Das!)

    @jojo I do the same thing whenever I can in conversation with others. I found out the BCBA trainer who works with Patrick and us on Tues and Thurs — her husband loves sci-fi and I asked her to ask him if he was watching Dark Matter or not.

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