October 18, 2018: Aches, Pains and Fifth Act Frustrations!

I was stumbling back from the bathroom in pitch darkness when my shin connected with the bed frame with such force that I thought I actually moved the damn thing.  But no.  Akemi was still fast asleep.  Not a surprise.  She is, after all, a notoriously sound sleeper, snoozing through everything from doggy accidents to car alarms.  But the next day, she asked me if I’d run into the bed.  “Oh, you WERE awake,”I said.  Turns out, no. She just noticed the dried blood on the frame.

The impact had left a nasty bruise and slight indent that I treated with polysporin and hope, then thought nothing of it.  In the ensuing weeks, I did A LOT of walking.  To the writers’ room and back.  To the grocery store and back.   To the dog park and back.  And I started to notice a certain pain that I initially attributed to shin splints.  Further (internet) research suggested that what I had initially assumed to be a shin splint is probably a stress fracture, and the only way to relieve a stress fracture is rest.  I need to keep off it – which is, as it turns out, easier said than done.  This was made abundantly clear yesterday after, a day of meetings had sent me zigzagging across the downtown area, I returned home late last night to pain, swelling, and a girlfriend insisting I get it checked.

So, tomorrow, at noon, I get it checked out.  I’ve got a little over five weeks before my Tokyo trip and have to be fully healed before then.  I average around 25 000 daily steps on my Tokyo travels and I can’t afford to be hampered by a leg injury.  Unless, of course, Akemi is willing to piggyback me around Ginza and Akihabara.

I’m just going to consider that as a last resort.

In the meantime, I’ll try to make the best of things – and rely on my downstairs neighbor, Ivon, to help me out whenever I need to run errands…

I was assailed by another kind of pain this evening, that singular agony that comes from trying to crack a pesky fifth act scene.  Only six more pages and I’ll be free to catch a Halloween matinee.  So near and yet so far!

October 17, 2018: Week’s Best Comic Book Covers!

These were my favorites…

Aphrodite V #4 (cover art by Jeff Spokes)

Batman #57 (cover art by Tony Salvador Daniel, Danny Miki, Tomeu Morey)

Cemetery Beach #2 (cover art by Jason Howard)

Gideon Falls #7 (cover art by Tula Lotay, Andrea Sorrentino, Dave Stewart)

Harley Quinn #52 (cover art by Julian Totino Tedesco)

Nightwing #51 (cover art by Dave McCaig, Mike Perkins)

So, which were your favorites?

October 16, 2018: Non-Stop Birthday Festivities!

I woke up this morning to discover a waiting email in my inbox informing me that the application I had sent in to the government of Canada and had been returned not once, not twice, but three times prior to my re-re-resending it out in late July as apparently lost, meaning I would have to re-re-re-refile the application on more time.  So, I spent the greater part of the day filling out paperwork, getting the proper photos taken, and sending the application out yet again.  What is it they say when it comes to dealing with our government’s finest?  Fifth time’s the charm?

Also, to commemorate my special day, I am finishing up the final treatments for my frozen shoulder.  I’m pleased to report it has thawed out considerably.  But lest you think I’m going to miss the rehab center I’ve been visiting for the last couple of months – rejoice!  I am apparently suffering from either shin splints or a stress fracture to my right leg.  

Gifts from my gal!  Chocolates, chamomile tea to help rest these weary bones, two re-usable straws (one glass – too large, and one metal – too small), and a couple of massage coupons (I already sold on craigslist!).

I wanted fried chicken for lunch so of course we had to settle for pizza.  Then, we swung by Soma Chocolates and stocked up on the His (pistachio) and Hers (Hazelnut) spreads.  And assorted other goodies.

Later, we visited Dogs & Coffee, a dog-friendly cafe in downtown Toronto where I got a mocha while Suji went crazy for (while Lulu roundly ignored) a cup of frothy steamed milk.

Between working on the second act of this pilot, I fielded birthday messages from friends, family, and former co-workers.

Tonight, we’re off for sushi!  And later tonight, it’s more writing!  And later later tonight, it youtube food videos and fantasy football waiver picks.  Good times, good times!

October 15, 2018: Back on the bike! The Suji feature!

Writing is like riding a bike.  A bike that will experience sudden inexplicable gear shifts and the occasional chain jam.  Also, sometimes, the seat comes off when you go too fast.  But the point is, you never forget how to ride.  Or the feel of the wind in your hair, and the bugs in your teeth.

Yes, I’m back at it, furiously pedaling away, around that first act obstruction, over that rocky second act terrain, speeding towards the downhill third act slope whose momentum will carry me past the fourth and fifth act mud patches to the tag’s finish line.  Barring any ass over fender crashes, I should be done a week from now.  Ambitious?  Most certainly.  But once I’m in the groove, I can set a pretty solid pace.

I’ve often said that humor goes a long way towards allowing viewers to connect with our characters, and I’m pleased to report that this script offers some wonderful moments in this regard.  Even the supporting players are coming fully alive on the page.  It’s as if I’ve already known these characters for years.  And I can’t wait for you to meet them.

Hey, check out Suji’s modeling gig for Rover Boutique.  It includes a feature profile and awesome pics of our gal strutting her stuff:


Photos by AnneMarie Minardi


October 13, 2018: My Favorite New Show!

We are in the era of peak t.v.  To some, this means a plethora of programming to help fill their days and evenings.  For me, it’s an avalanche of shows that leave me paralyzed by the overwhelming range of choices.  And so, rather than choose and make a commitment, I just start another book.

While in the writers’ room these past five weeks, I was amazed by how much my fellow writers watched.  They raved about shows I’ve heard great things about. They raved about shows I’d never even heard of.  And they raved about shows that sounded like utter trash.  In the end, I was left intrigued by some of their recommendations…and appalled by a few of their viewing choices.

So, even though I’m going to have my hands full writing these next few months, I thought  it might be interesting to consider watching something.  Note, I wrote “consider watching  something” and not “watch something” because, when all is said and done, my plate is full and an entire season of t.v. watching is daunting.

All the same, I value your opinions.  Of the following shows, which should I consider watching and – most importantly! – why?  Convince me!

October 12, 2018: And that’s a writers’ room wrap! PLUS the season finale verdicts!

Yep.  That’s a wrap.  Now, we all go our separate ways to pursue other assignments.  For Courtney and I, it’s writing the pilot and episode 2.  For Nicole, it’s Hollywood-bound to pitch her original new series.  For Alejandro, Andrew and Natalia, it’s off to parts unknown to help stage a military coup with their fellow soldiers of fortune.  Still, we made the most of our last day, one marked by much hilarity, desserts, and booze punctuated by occasional show discussion.

So, what was the verdict on the outline for our big season finale?

I’m going to miss this crew!



October 11, 2018: Highlight of Week Five!

We’re completing our fifth and final week of the writers’ room and have accomplished much in such a short time.  We’ve broken the show’s full ten episode first season, written the outlines and, this week, are well  on track to completing notes sessions on all ten.  We’ve unkilled characters, dismantled mass transportation systems, and even succeeded in figuring Episode 9’s double distraction and complications.  And yet, despite this accomplishments, and with one day still to go, I can already tell you what the highlight of this week has been.  Behold!


 The California Double from Burger’s Priest: cheeseburgers with a ring of sautéed onions, sandwiched between buttered buns, topped with secret sauce, lettuce, and tomato.

Honorable mentions to –


The pistachio cake from Nugateau – and the side jar of pistachio halva from Halvana.


This tablecloth-size laffa bread from Me Va Me.


The eclairs – also from Nugateau.


Alejandro’s awesome artwork.

Tomorrow, we wrap the room – and we move on to script work!  Goodbye laughs and camaraderie!  Hello solitary afternoons and yogurt bowls!


October 9, 2018: Top 10 Writers’ Room Preambles!

In no particular order…

“I hear what you’re saying but…”

“This is a crazy idea but I’m going to pitch it out anyway…”

“I’m going to throw something out there and if you don’t like it you can just tell me to shut up…”

“I’m going to make one more pitch for this and then I’ll let it go…”

“Okay, this is my last pitch and then I’ll shut up…”

“I was just about to say that!”

“I really love that idea but…”

“To offer the contrary opinion on this one…”

“Sure, that works, and we can totally go with that.  OR…”

“Where did we end up falling on [that idea we abandoned two days ago]?”

And one for good luck!

“But that was an old episode of…”




October 8, 2018: What I’ve Been Missing!

Back on the home front!  What’ve I missed?

Nervous Suji at the vet to get checked for a UTI.

Slumber party!

Suji breaks out her Autumn wardrobe.

Guard dogs!

Relaxing with mom.

Back at the vet for boosters and a check-up.  Lulu has lost some weight so (Lucky her!) we’ll be bumping up her meal portions. Something to keep an eye on for now.  She’s also developing cataracts but, at her age, surgery isn’t really an option.  As for Suji, aside from the UTI, the vet says her sight, hearing, and walking has improved.  The vet marveled: “She’s like a puppy!”

Tomorrow, we resume our routine!

October 7, 2018: Au Pied de Cochon Sugar Shack!

Every year, one of my favorite restaurants in Montreal, Au Pied de Cochon, hosts a popular Sugar Shack version of their down-home Quebecois comfort menu.  Tickets are a tough score but, this year, my sister was able to secure a half dozen.  And so, as an early birthday gift for your truly, she elected to treat me – and our assorted cast of eaters: Daisy, mom, my high school buddy Lawrence, and Lawrence’s wife Mel.


Foie gras and goat cheese apples.  And…something sweet.  The room was so loud and our servers spoke so quickly (and in French to boot!) that I missed most of what they said.  Suffice it to say, this was one of my two favorite plates of the evening.

The tomato tart.  Sure looked pretty.

Smoked mackerel.  This one was a hit.  Spoiler alert: the two fish dishes trumped any of the meat dishes served on the night.

My sister was a fan of their version of the thin crust pizza.

The blood pudding agnolotti and the…was it lobster fettuccine?  Meh.

The sturgeon.  Another surprisingly strong fish preparation.

I’m not a fan of Shepherd’s Pie, so this dish didn’t do it for me.  My sister IS a fan, and it didn’t do anything for her either.

Beneath this layer of caramelized apple slices is a pool of pork.

The stuffed zucchini squash.  ‘Nuff said.

And then, it was on to dessert…

The apple pie.

Some fruit cobbler.  You know how I feel about fruit-based desserts.

Maple syrup-topped maple ice cream.  Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner!

Overall, I thought the meal started and finished strong.  In between were some hits but a lot of misses.  Sis was disappointed with the meal, but I nevertheless enjoyed the experience and the company.

Andria and Daisy.

Lawrence and sis.

Thanksgiving lunch today (as is the Italian way) and tomorrow, I’m homeward bound!   I miss my gals!

P.S. A Happy Birthday Weekend to one of this blog’s most vocal regulars!  Happy Birthday, Drea!

October 6, 2018: Guess Where?

Peppers before.

Peppers after.

A progression of peppers…




Crab mousse.

Sweet canneloni.

Lamb and sausage.

Pistachio Friendship Cake.  Best version ever!

Sis bearing gifts!

Matching outfits and collars for the girls.

Maple candies for Akemi and ghost pepper chili powder for me.

P.S. Mom says hi.

October 5, 2018: 4 down; 1 to go!

Seriously?  Has it already been four weeks?  I mean, it feels like yesterday I walked into a roomful of strangers, my rain-soaked suit sticking to me like some clammy second layer, armed with naught but a general series overview, a showrunning agreement, and the very best of intentions.  Also, a half an avocado.  Over those first four weeks, we’ve broken our ten episode first season, stopping only to discuss lunch options, politics, and fantasy football.  And that includes a full week of world-building as well.

As I head into the long weekend (This being Canadian Thanksgiving.  For those Americans not in the know, we celebrate Thanksgiving roughly one month earlier, Christmas one month later, and Mardi Gras not at all unless you count Toronto’s Carribana which is similar but with significantly fewer King cakes and flambeaux), I have the final three outlines to complete.  I need to deliver by Sunday so that the writers have time to review them Monday before resuming discussions on Tuesday.  The plan is to spend the final four days focusing on tracking the various character and story arcs, ironing out all those narrative wrinkles, and addressing those pesky TBD’s.  And, once that’s done, dare I say it?  Smoooooo –


Then, I have to switch gears to the pilot script I am co-writing with series creator R.T.  Once THAT’S done, it’ll be smoooo –

Are you crazy?  We still have nine scripts to write, a series to prep, and sundry tiny little issues to address like notes, scheduling, and casting.

Amid the mayhem, Akemi and I are eyeing a little nine day Tokyo trip to visit family and eat sea urchin buns for breakfast.  While our frenchie will, no doubt, be thrilled to be rid of us and in a new environment, this will be longest we’ll be separated from our senior pug, Suji.  Nine days!  Will she even remember us when we come back?


Pictured above: Lulu (Looking forward to some away time); Suji (Don’t leave me!).

October 3, 2018: Week’s Best Comic Book Covers!

These are my favorite comic book covers of the week!


Death of the Inhumans #4 (cover art by Kaare Kyle Andrews)


Spawn #290 (cover art by Francesco Mattina, Todd McFarlane, Philip Tan)


The Superior Octopus #1 (cover art by Chris Achilleos)


Taarna #3 (cover art by Chris Achilleos)


The Dead Hand, vol. 1 (cover art by Jordie Bellaire, Stephen Mooney)


The Dreaming #2 (cover art by June Chung, Jae Lee)


The Wicked + The Divine, vol. 7 (cover art by Jamie McKelvie, Matthew Wilson)


Unknown 9: Archives Preview (cover art by June Chung, Jae Lee)


Weapon X #24 (cover art by Rahzzah)


What If?  X-Men #1 (cover art by Rahzzah)

So which were your favorites?

October 2, 2018: Trailers for stuff I’m looking forward to!

I remember when I used to have time to go see movies, watch t.v. shows, AND read books?  And although those days may seem long and gone, I expect they will return sooner than later.  And, when that day comes, these are a few of things I look forward to checking out…