The Suji Show!

Quelle excitation!  A few days ago, Suji got the first-page feature in a Japanese dog magazine.  The Aiken No Tomo profile offered insight into her past (rescued a little over a year and a half ago), ailments (some rear leg weakness), likes (treats and walks), dislikes (vacuum cleaners and loud noises), and her Instagram page (newoldpugsuji).

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At the same time, she was being spotlighted as part of a dog rescue pop-up event in at one of the major Shinjuku department stores.









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June 18, 2018: Missing Japan and the Suji Factor!

Thanks to all of those who inquired about Akemi’s family back in Osaka.  All are fine following yesterday’s earthquake – although her father was in an elevator at the time it struck and initially assumed he was suffering a stroke.

Meanwhile, some 300 miles northeast of Osaka, our old friend Martin Gero is enjoying some time in Tokyo.  The other night, he texted me the following photo with the message “Wish you were here”:

Actually – as my father would say – “more guts than brains”, but I’ll take it…on a bowl of rice!

Akemi and I used to make an annual trip to Japan every fall, shelling out $300/day for a dog-sitter to live in the house, drink our booze, and take care of the pooches while we were away. Later, when our dog-sitter got a full-time gig, I took to flying my sister to Vancouver to take care of the pack.  And when we made the move to Toronto, I figured it would be that much easier given the mere 1 hour flight time between here and Montreal.

But after adopting our new (old) senior pug, Suji, it became apparent that it would not be as simple as we first assumed.  Taking care of a senior pug – THIS senior pug – can be challenging.  For a number of reasons…


When Suji first came to us, she was described as “sassy” and “spunky”.  To that, I would add “cantankerous”.  She positively freaks out in the presence of: short stocky bald men, big dogs, friendly small dogs, loud noises, sun reflections, people who pet her while she is out for her walk, people who try to kiss her face.  And, I suppose it’s understandable given the fact she was literally raised in a barn for a portion of her life.  Still, it makes going out in public a somewhat unpredictable experience as you never know how she is going to react.


Akemi is always up at 7:00 a.m.  And with her, the dogs.  After I wake up about an hour later, I will always find Suji sitting at the bottom of the stairs, anxiously awaiting me.  It’s the same thing when we come back home from shopping, seeing a movie, or just going down to the lobby to check the mail.  Suji is positively overjoyed and, should one of us return without the other, she’ll charge out and down the hallway, all the way to the elevators in search of her missing mom or dad.  Late last year, Akemi and I took a day trip to Montreal and left the dogs in the care of a local sitter.  While our frenchie Lulu trotted off to explore her new digs without so much as a backwards glance, Suji sensed something was up and wouldn’t leave Akemi’s side, attempting to quickly follow as we headed out the door.  During her stay with the sitter, she was very quiet – which, if you know Suji, is very unlike her.


One of the reasons the Pacific Pug Rescue figured Suji might prove difficult to place was because of her inability to urinate freely.  She needs to have her bladder expressed – which, really, sounds a lot more complex than it actually is.  The procedure usually involves someone (aka Akemi) hunkering down behind her and gently applying pressure to her bladder (just below her stomach) until she empties out.  On the occasions when I do it, my “system” involves holding her propped up against my hip with one hand while my other squeezes her lower abdomen until her hind legs shoot up like they’re spring loaded, and she pees.  To any neighbor watching us from a distance, I undoubtedly look like some guy urinating on his terrace morning and night.


Although she’s incapable of urinating on her own, Suji poops just fine – often, when you least expect it.  She tends to do so when she’s trotting around, blissfully unaware.  Other times, at night, she’ll simply sit up – a sign that she needs to go and one that will have me scrambling out of bed with her at 2:00, 3:00, sometimes 4:00 in the a.m.  If you can get her on some sort of schedule, you can control her bowel movements to a certain degree.  This may see me scooping her up out of bed first thing in the morning and holding her over the toilet until she slowly releases.  Thus, have I earned the nickname “The Poop Whisperer”.


Eye meds, home administered cartrophen injections, estrogen therapy, anti-flammatories – just a few of meds Suji takes on a semi-regular basis.  When she first came to us, she was prone to urinary tract infections and our vet informed us she was developing antibiotic-resistant strains.  As a result, we’ve been exceptionally careful, purchasing those economy-size disinfectant baby wipes at Costco and wiping her down after every bathroom break.  I’m happy to report that our commitment to cleanliness paid off and, after that initial first month, Suji has only suffered a single UTI.

Yep.  Adorable, but a handful.

So, what do you think?  Do you have what it takes to be a Suji-sitter?  Apply in the comments section!

May 10, 2018: This and That!

Curious?  Have a question burning a hole in your cerebellum?  Well, you’re in luck because I’m feeling answery.  I’m opening up the mailbag so if you have a query, need some clarification on a matter related to yours truly, or want my opinion on those new glasses you purchased the other day, then post away in the comments section of this blog.  I’ll have responses for you in tomorrow’s entry!

Meanwhile, on the dog front…

Lulu is on the mend but must wear the cone of shame for three weeks.  As you can tell from the photo, she is thrilled.

Is Piano Piano Restaurant’s Hornet Pizza (sausage, cheese, honey, chili, and black olives) the best pizza in Toronto?  I would say, yes.

For dessert: Ovaltine soft serve, snickerdoodle, nutella tiramisu, and truffles.

I’ve had a hankering to do a Fried Chicken Friday for ages.  Thinking of meeting up with Toronto’s resident fried chicken expert (and former Exec Producer’s assistant) Elliot Sokolsky, to hit 2-3 places next week, including this new establishment Ivon just told me about:

Chica’s Nashville Fried Chicken

Double-fried chicken = yay or nay?  Let’s hear from you, fried chicken aficionados!

P.S. Suji goes through booties on a weekly basis.  She’s a walking machine!

Finally, congratulations to Martin Gero –

NBC Picks Up Drama ‘Manifest’ To Series, Renews ‘Blindspot’ For Season 4

And Melissa O’Neil –

‘The Rookie’ Starring Nathan Fillion Officially Picked Up To Series By ABC


May 1, 2018: Montreal update!

This morning, I was up at 6:25 a.m. so that I could almost drop my mother off at the train station.  I say “almost” because, as we were backing down the driveway, my mother noticed her neighbor across the street getting into her car.  As it turned out, she was also headed to the train station so, in the end, I didn’t have to bother – although, in truth, dropping mom off at the station ranks nowhere near as bothersome as having to wake up at 6:25 a.m.

Still, I made the most of the early start, tackling that script, revising the tease and then hammering out the first and second acts, hitting the top of  page 32, well over the halfway mark.  In addition, I got in a 45 minute work-out, 4 dog walks, a Japanese lesson, and even managed to squeeze in one 30 minute nap.  I’m on fire!  And I owe it all to an absence of internet.

Well, technically, almost an absence of internet because, while mom doesn’t have internet, my sister does and I am over her house twice a day to feed the cat…and update this blog.

Although I’m missing the gang back in Toronto, I am hanging with a new pack while in Montreal…

Felix – the love of mom’s life.  The spoiled one.

Caramel – the male dog with the female dog’s name.  The cranky one.

Ralph – high-strung.  The jumpy one.

Fernando – blind in both eyes.  The gentle one.

Kona – my new best friend.  The crazy one.

I fee like I’m putting a gang together for a heist.  It’s like Ocean’s Eleven, but good and with dogs.

Oh yeah, finished another book yesterday which puts me at 129 for the year to date – but, in all fairness, about a third of those were graphic novels so, if you’re a purist, it’s a mere 85 or so titles.  I quite liked A.J. Finn’s The Woman in the Window, a contemporary riff on Rear Window.  Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible was an emotionally exhausting but incredibly rewarding read about a missionary family’s experience in late 1950’s Congo.  Both Sue Burke’s Semiosis and Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Children of Time approach a similar premise from different angles – human colonists’ otherworldly encounters with alien life forms – but they both deliver a brilliant hard SF exploration of extraterrestrial biological and sociological evolution.  All highly recommended.

March 29, 2018: The Speed Dating Directors Selection Process!

About a month ago, I agreed to take part in a showrunner/director speed meeting event that will essentially involve me sitting down with eight pre-selected directors for 10 minutes each over the course of an evening.  “Wait a minute,”you’re no doubt thinking. “You’re not a freakin’ showrunner!”  Well, while technically true, I was a showrunner and do feel pretty good about my chances of showrunning again in the not too distant future.  So I thought “Why not?”  It would be nice to get to know some people currently not on my radar.

Anyway, I agreed and, last week, was sent a list of over a hundred directors and instructed to choose eight.  Eight out of 120+!

So I sat down, researched credits and reviewed reels.  I crossed off the list the dozen directors I already know simply because I’m already familiar with their work and if they really want to sit down with me, all they have to do is send me an email.

After the first lengthy review, I’d narrowed the list down to 25.  Then, over the course of that afternoon, 16.  Then 10. And, finally 6.  Until I realized I actually needed to choose 8 candidates, so I went back, doubled that number to 12, and then wrestled with indecision for the next two days.

Until it eventually dawned on me that, rather than narrow down my choices to a mere six eight, I could simply reach out to some of the directors on my short list and actually meet up with them outside of the planned event – for LONGER THAN 10 MINUTES!

So I did.  I reached out and ended up meeting three amazingly talented young female directors.  Over the course of a leisurely lunch, we discussed the television industry, their respective backgrounds and longterm goals, and I imparted nuggets of wisdom like: “It’s the small moments that make an episode,” “Don’t be crazy!”, and, most importantly, “Try the grilled octopus.  It’s delicious!”.

I would have reached out to more but I’m amazed by the number of industry professionals who aren’t on twitter.  In some ways, I get it.  I’m not a huge fan of the platform either, but I do recognize its value in providing quick and convenient online connections.

Anyway, to make a long story short (or, more to the point, bring this rambling blog entry to a close), I’ve chosen my eight directors and look forward to learning as much about them as possible – in ten minutes.

In other news.  Hey!  I did an interview for The Digital Fix

Also, the results of my recent online poll are in.  And Akemi breathes a sigh of relief…

Finally – When we first adopted Suji, she could barely get around, dragging her back legs around wherever she went.  Over a year later, she’s such an avid walker that she gets downright angry if we’re ever late for her morning stroll…

January 16, 2018: Dark Matter recognition!

“Excuse me,”said our waiter in his thick Italian accent.  “May I ask you a question.”

“Sure,”said Anthony.

“You are an actor?”


“You are Boone?!”


“But after three seasons, it is finished already???”

Well, yes.  Long story but, in a nutshell, the decision makers at syfy were never fans of the show.

Still, I never tire of hearing from fans who have discovered the show for the first time.  Syfy may have dismissed us without a second thought, but Dark Matter fandom remains strong.  Thank you!

Today, I had lunch with actor Anthony Lemke who drove all the way into town to sit down with me and discuss the gene manipulation, transhumanism, and perils of future tech over schiacciatas, zabaglione lattes, and a double order of baccala.

Boy, he would be perfect for at least three of the projections I’m currently developing.

Finally, congratulations to Dark Matter’s Lynda McCormack for her Best Achievement in Makeup nomination (Episode 304, “All The Time In The World”) and  VFX Supervisor Lawren Bancroft-Wilson and his team for their Best Visual Effects nomination (Episode 313, “Nowhere To Go”) at this year’s Canadian Screen Awards.    Good luck!

December 2, 2017: Our one year anniversary with Suji!

Yep.  One year ago today we took in a special needs senior.  She came with her own wheelchair.  She mostly got around by pulling herself by her front legs, dragging her back legs behind her.  She was quiet, gentle, and kept to herself.

A lot has changed in twelve months…

Suji arrives in Toronto.

Arriving home to meet the rest of the gang.

Building up those leg muscles with hydrotherapy.

Looking cool at her laser therapy session.

Riding around in her chariot.

Working up those hind leg muscles.

She loves her walks so much that, if 10 a.m. rolls around and we haven’t taken her out, she’ll sit at your feet and bark until you put her tiny socks and booties on.


Surprisingly, she seems to enjoy the cold weather and loves snow.  While Lulu needs to be forced to go out, Suji needs to be forced to come back in.


Her wardrobe is more expansive than Akemi’s.



She’s settled in quite nicely.

Thanks to the Pacific Pug Rescue for sending her our way!

Follow Suji on instagram: @newoldpugsuji

November 23, 2017: This ‘n That!

Quick, get in!  Next stop = Slumber Land!

Hey, if you’re thinking of making our dogs new outfits, Akemi offers up the following doggy measurements.  I think she does a fairly good job of capturing Suji’s trademark wide-eyed wonder, and Lulu’s general furtiveness.

Who feels like kaka for dinner?  Pardon me?  Happened across this sign for a new Japanese restaurant a little while ago.  Debatable name aside, not sure how a restaurant that has yet to open can claim to be the “No. 1 rated all-you-can-eat sushi in Toronto”.  Who voted?  Time-traveling nigiri-enthusiasts from the future?

I’m sure we can all agree that, next to politics and religion, there is no subject more controversial than marzipan.  Its mere mention will incite a tirade so impassioned from my former writing partner you’d think almond paste had somehow played a role in the tragic passing of a loved one.  I, on the other hand, love the stuff, so you can imagine my delight the other day when I happened upon a Danish Pastry House pop-up and discovered the above pictured delicacy – some unpronounceable North Germanic confection comprised of marzipan, chocolate, sliced almonds, and assorted umlauts.  Delicious!

Happy Thanksgiving to our American friends.  May you be as generous as the Mark Sanchez-led Jets offense, and as thankful as the New England Patriots defense five years ago today.