June 17, 2019: Video Drop!

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Space station animation – Dark Matter

VFX animation – Stargate: SG-1 – Fallout

Identify the ship!

McKay at the ruins – Stargate: Atlantis “Harmony” behind the scenes

The hive ship is rocked – Stargate: Atlantis “Search and Rescue” behind the scenes

Behind the scenes – Stargate: Universe “The Hunt”

Behind the scenes – Stargate: Universe “The Hunt”

Behind the scenes – Stargate: Universe “The Hunt”

Going through my old laptop.  Lots of good stuff!

June 15, 2019: To Comic Con or Not to Comic Con!

One of the best times I’ve ever had at a con was back in 2007(ish) when I attended SDCC for a combined Stargate SG-1/Atlantis panel that saw 5000+ fans pack the hall in support of the franchise.  Approximately eight years later, I returned for an equally great visit – this time for Dark Matter, and with Akemi.  I haven’t been back since but I’ve always had very fond memories of those days in San Diego spent meeting fans and walking the streets filled with a dizzying array of cosplayers covering everything from anime and gaming to comic books and t.v.

So, I was recently invited to attend this year’s SDCC.  By the time it rolls around, production will have wrapped on this latest show and I’ll be free and clear – outside of my post-production commitments.  I told Akemi and suggested she come along.  She was thrilled.  So thrilled, in fact, that she suggested we get married while we’re there.

I was surprised only insofar as whenever I’ve floated the idea of getting married in the past, she’d shrugged it off with the indifference one might reserve for brunch.  It’s not that she didn’t want to get married; only that she didn’t want to suffer through a big spectacle.  She hates to be the center of attention and once suggested something low-key, like a trip to city hall.

An SDCC wedding would definitely be a step up however.  Maybe at the tail-end of the panel.  I could get someone dressed as the Joker to officiate.  Then we could go top off the evening with corn tamales at the Cheesecake Factory!

Upon closer scrutiny, it may be a little more complicated than that – but the biggest obstacle to a Deadpool themed wedding, heck just the trip to SDCC, is finding a dog sitter.  Our two old gals are high maintenance.  They’re cranky, incredibly cranky, have a hard time walking, and are prone to the occasional unwitting accidents.  Suji also needs to have her bladder expressed every night.

Our regular sitter (who they stayed with the last time we went to Tokyo) is fully booked for July, so we’re in talks with another candidate.  She’s had vet tech experience, is very nice, and would actually stay at our place while we’re away.   We’ll see how it goes.  Hopefully, things work out and we can go, knowing they’re in capable hands.

OR we just skip SDCC this year.

OR we fly Lulu and Suji down and make them part of the big event.

Please suggest appropriate wedding cosplay outfits for these two…

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Batgirl and Black Canary?  Colleen Wing and Misty Knight?  Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy?

June 14, 2019: TGIF!

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Production Assistant Nancy Asiamah-Yeboah celebrates the end of another week of production.  And, oh yeah, the Toronto Raptors – the first Canadian team to be crowned NBA champions.

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He does it all!

Hey, going through the Stargate vault and came across these gems, courtesy of Stargate VFX Supervisor Mark Savela.

And this glorious outtake from Stargate: Universe…

So, what are your weekend plans?

June 13, 2019: Dark Matter Storyboard – The Android Trench Walk!

Occasionally, when faced with a more complicated series of shots, a director may work with an artist to storyboard the sequence.

Going through my old files, I happened to come across this storyboard for the Android space-walk from Dark Matter’s third episode…

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It’s like a Dark Matter comic book!

June 12, 2019: Week’s Best Comic Book Covers!

These were my favorites…

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Amazing Spider-Man #23 (variant cover art by Daniel Acuna)

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Amazing Spider-Man #23 (variant cover art by Stuart Immonen)

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Amber Blake #4 (cover art by Butch Guice)

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Amber Blake #4 (variant cover art by Catherine Nodet)

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Banja X #1 (variant cover art by Fabio Alves)

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Catwoman #12 (variant cover art by Stanley Lau)

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Champions #6 (variant cover art by In-Hyuk Lee)

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Event Leviathan #1 (cover art by Alex Maleev)

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Flash #72 (variant cover art by Derrick Chew)

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Giant-Man #3 (cover art by Woo Cheoi)

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Hawkman #13 (variant cover art by In-Hyuk Lee)

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Immortal Hulk #19 (variant cover art by Emanuela Lupacchino)

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Justice League: Odyssey #10 (variant cover art by Lucio Parrillo)

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Red Hood: Outlaw #35 (variant cover art by Yasmine Putri)

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Red Sonja: Birth of the She Devil #1 (cover art by Lucio Parrillo)

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Silver Surfer: Black #1 (variant cover art by Gerald Parel)

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Sonata #1 (variant cover art by Brian Haberlin, Geirrod Van Dyke)

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Spider-Man: Life Story #4 (cover art by Chip Zdarsky)

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The Life and Death of Toyo Hara #4 (cover art by Mico Suayan)

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The Ride: Burning Desire #1 (cover art by Adam Hughes)

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Transformers #7 (variant cover art by Livio Ramondelli)

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Wonder Woman #72 (variant cover art by Jenny Frison)

So, which were your favorites?

Hey!  Happy Dark Matter Day!

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June 11, 2019: Dipping into the Dark Matter Vault – Welcome To Your New Home!

A little trip down memory lane…

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Welcome to Hyperion-8

Anthony Lemke as THREE

Director Amanda Tapping

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Meet your new neighbors

Alex Mallari Jr as FOUR

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Face-off

Fight!  Fight!

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Fight!

Take the high ground!

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Time-out!

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Stunt Coordinator John Stead and actor Alex Mallari Jr

Ah, good times.  Good times.

(All photos by Jan Thijs)

My Black Mirror Top 5!

Last year, I was in a pitch meeting when the conversation turned to Black Mirror.  At one point, the executive I was pitching revealed two of his favorite episodes and my (internalized) reaction was “Really?!”.  I mean, they weren’t bad, but of all the episodes to choose from, why those two?  And then, just last week, someone tweeted out their Top 5 Black Mirror episodes and I was again completely stunned.  Again, not bad episodes, but Top 5?

So I got to thinking.  Maybe an individual’s taste in Black Mirror episodes reveals deep-rooted psychological issues.  I recall that, during that pitch meeting, the executive asked me to reveal my favorites.  When I did, he nodded knowingly as if he’d figured me out and remarked: “You like a certain type of story.”  I do?  Yes, I suppose I do.  But what does that say about me?

You tell me.  Here, for your psychoanalyzing pleasure, is my Black Mirror Top 5!

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#5. White Christmas

Two men find themselves trapped in a cabin, forced to weather a furious snowstorm.  But as they wait and open up, secrets are revealed and we realize…all is not as it seems. The series has drawn comparisons to The Twilight Zone, and nowhere are the parallels more evident than in this twisty-turn installment.

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#4. San Junipero

A love story set in 1980’s southern California.  Or is it?  A great set-up with a terrific sci-fi pay-off that offers up one of the sweetest, most uplifting episodes of the entire series.  Or so I assumed until my writing partner pointed out that my assumed happy ending was anything but.

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#3. USS Callister

An episode at turns humorous, horrifying, suspenseful, and utterly delightful, this one focuses on a nerd fanboy who exacts revenge on his co-workers by trapping them in a simulation remarkably similar to Star Trek: The Original Series.

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#2. Be Right Back

A woman, mourning the loss of her husband, is seemingly offered the opportunity to recapture what she had in the form of a duplicate AI, its personality constructed from her late hubby’s aggregated internet activity.  A touching and powerful story where the clever technology is as important to the narrative engine as the emotions driving our protagonist.

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#1. The Entire History of You

We are presented with a near future where every individual’s memories are recorded for  convenient playback – and sharing! – at a later time.  When a husband begins to suspect his wife of infidelity, their review of recent history sets them off an a harrowing descent into their unexplored pasts.

List your favorites so I can judge you as well!

June 9, 2019: Suji Sunday!

We are constantly amazed by how many Suji fans there are out there.  At least once a week, we’ll be out for a walk with her when someone will approach to say hi, having recognized her from her instagram account.  Like yesterday when we were strolling through the park and a couple waved us down to say hello to our cantankerous celebrity.

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Brandon and Suji.

As always, and like most divas, she takes it all in stride.

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The look she gives you when you tell her you’re out of treats.

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The look she gives you while she’s chewing on a treat and expecting a follow-up.

No reservations…

Addendum: Mrs. Carmichael was a no-show.

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Lending dad some much-needed writing support.

What do you think?  Ears or no ears?

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Nothing beats a good head massage.

June 8, 2019: Out and About!

Today, Akemi and I checked out the Dunas West Street Festival which was, quite frankly, not quite as festive as I would have liked.  Nor as foodie.

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Akemi is a sucker for corn on the cob.

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While I’m more of a fried chicken sando kinda guy.

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Akemi making new friends wherever she goes.

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We swing by The Tempered Room where Akemi picks up a dozen chouquettes.

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Then back to the street fest where Akemi put away this entire container of vegetarian kimbap.

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On the way home, we stop by another new addition to Toronto’s Japanese dessert scene – Le Tao – for cheesecake…

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And their Hokkaido milk soft serve…

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Was hoping to get to Hattendo for a round of matcha cream buns, but – sadly – didn’t end up making it.  Still racked up a little over 20k steps today – which I’m sure more than burned off all those snacks.

So, finished Fleabag.  Finished Barry.  What’s next?  Something along those darkly humorous cable lines.

Hey, does it feel like Sunday to you?

June 7, 2019: Heading into the stretch run!

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Ooooh, look what came in the mail today.  It’s the latest collection from my very favorite short fiction writer, Ted Chiang.  His Stories of You Life and Others (published 1998) is one of my top-shelf go-to reads – and I believe one of the stories in that collection was adapted to the big screen as Arrival.   Anyway, looking forward to reading this…soon.

There’s about a month to go on this production – approximately two weeks shooting the final two-episode block, and then another two on location in The Hammer.  And then it’s about three months of post-production.

Tomorrow, I am off to physio for my right arm.  The doctor diagnosed it as tennis elbow. My physio guy informed me that “tennis elbow” is an all-encompassing term and suspects it may be a tendon issue.  Hopefully, treatment will address said issue eventually.  If not, I have a choice between cortisone injections or a stem cell treatment.  Just hearing the process of how the stem cells are harvested was enough to make me opt for the cortisone.  Or I can just ask Akemi for a nightly therapeutic massage.

Hey, isn’t history fun?

Imagine.  If his name had been William Dominovski he could have gone with the whole dominoes theme and called himself Dominator.

Finally, here’s a volcano exploding at night –

If you’re quick, you can capture some of the lava your coffee mug!

June 6, 2019: What have I been up to?

Well, there was the recent lunch hoedown organized by Naomi, Drew and their team in the production office…

Sheriff Naomi runs this town.  Robbie chows down.  Nancy makes her allegiances clear.  This aint Julia’s first rodeo.  Noreen and I with the poster for our new action flick.  I take on all comers to Kal If Fee, the ancient trial by lirpa.

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Out with Ayisha and Dave before Ayisha heads off to her next gig, leaving David to hold the fort – and the gym/school.

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Checked out Five Point Nashville Hot Chicken with Alex Levine.  Oddly, you have a choice between mild, slightly spicy, and Carolina Reaper blowtorch.  Would have been nice to have a medium habanero burn before graduating to the full-on burn.  My favorite place for fried chicken in Toronto remains the Korean take at Home of Hot Taste.

 

Lunch at standing up Sushi Bar Tachi.

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Visited the Distillery District with Akemi.

Also, revisited the Hattendo Cafe (13 Baldwin Street) and saw five movies – Shazam, Detective Pikachu, Avengers: Endgame, Brightburn, and John Wick 3: Parabellum – two of which I really enjoyed.

June 5, 2019: Week’s Best Comic Book Covers!

These were my favorites…

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Black Cat #1 (variant cover art by Stanley Lau)

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Captain Marvel #6 (variant cover art by Adi Granov)

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DCeased #2 (variant cover art by Francesco Mattina)

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DCeased #2 (variant horror cover art by Yasmine Putri)

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Deathstroke #44 (variant cover art by Riccardo Federici)

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Deadpool #13 (variant cover art by Adi Granov)

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Dragonsblood #2 (variant cover art by Geebo Vigonte)

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Female Furies #5 (cover art by Julian Totino Tedesco)

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Sword Daughter #7 (cover art by Ben Oliver)

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Tony Stark: Iron Man #12 (cover art by Alexander Lozano)

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Tony Stark: Iron Man #12 (variant cover art by Nexon)

So, which were your favorites?

June 4, 2019: My Top 10 Favorite French Desserts!

Not counting chocolate.

Tarte tatin and souffle get honorable mentions but didn’t make the list because they require the addition of ice cream to make them complete.

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#10. Choux a la Creme

Basically, a French cream puff.  I prefer mine with custard filling.

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#9. Baba au Rhum

A rum and syrup saturated cake occasionally topped with whipped cream.  Sometimes, it even comes with an injectable shot of extra rum!

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#8. Canelé

The dark caramelized exterior protects a firm vanilla custard interior.

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#7. Dacquoise

Alternating layers of almond and hazelnut meringue topped with buttercream.

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#6. Macaron

Meringue shells and (usually a) flavored buttercream or ganache cream filling.

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#5. Eclair

Cream-stuffed choux dough topped with icing – usually, chocolate.

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#4. Paris-Brest

A choux pastry wheel sandwiching praline cream.

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#3. Kouign-Amann

A slow-baked multi-layered cake containing butter and sugar that resembles a caramelized croissant.  The New York Times referred to it as “the fattiest pastry in all of Europe”!

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#2. Gateau Basque

I prefer the almond or pastry cream version of this flaky crust.

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#1. Savarin

Citrus-flavored yeast cake soaked in orange liqueur, topped with Chantilly cream.

Surprising, no?

So, which are your favorites?

The Art of Lying!

I’ve encountered some fantastic liars in my time, masters in the art of misrepresentation and exaggeration, true virtuosos of verbal misdirection.  But it’s been my experience that what separates the accomplished fabricators from the truly great ones is a single thing: a detachment from reality.  I’m reminded of that episode of Seinfeld where George counsels Jerry on gaming a lie detector test.  “Jerry, just remember…”he tells him.  “It’s not a lie…if you believe it.”  Yes, the greatest liars are so fucking delusional that they manage to convince themselves what they are saying is the God’s honest truth so that, in the end, no amount of arguing or logical pushback will dissuade them from the irrefutable fact that they didn’t say that, do that, or attempt to orchestrate a coup through the junior rep at your agency.  They’re tireless squabblers, tenacious in their cockeyed convictions, who excel at digressing, deflecting or altering their line of reasoning mid-stream so that, by the time you finish debating them, they’ll almost have you questioning YOUR reality.

So, yes, in my opinion, to be a truly great liar, you have to suffer from some sort of dissociative disorder.

The worst liars on the other hand – well, they’re either naturally bad it or just fucking lazy.  I understand the former, but the latter is inexcusable. I mean, come on.  If you’re going to go through all the trouble of lying, put in some effort. Don’t deliver an attempt so half-assed that it lies there as obtrusive and awkward as that dump your dog took at Frieda Carmichael’s engagement party.

I mean, I don’t want to criticize, but come on.  I get it.  You were tired.  Or caught off guard.  You had to wing it and improv is not your specialty.  Still, in the future, you’d be well-served to keep these rules in mind for a more effective, less blundering prevarication:

1 – Make sure everyone is on the same page.

Boy, there is nothing more frustrating than making up a story out of pure imagination replete with reasonable motivation and plausible detail only to have someone – say a friend, partner, or underling – undermine your bullshit by offering up a completely different fraudulent tale.  That’s not just sloppy.  It’s embarrassing.

2 – Make sure your lie makes sense.

In order for a lie to be believed, it has to get past the most basic of bullshit barometer. That is to say, it should, at the very least, possess the merest semblance of truth. Where you run into trouble is when the pseudo-facts you use to bolster your lie can be so easily repudiated that you must resort to shouting in the hope that everyone present focuses on your voice and conveniently forgets the words that just came out of your mouth.

3 – Add frosting!

Cake is always better with frosting, isn’t it?  Well, so are lies.  Butter up your marks with seemingly genuine praise.  Position your lie in a way that would suggest believing it might be beneficial to the people you are trying to hoodwink. On the other hand, you could cloak yourself in the mantle of altruism, claim your sole motivation is in seeing the truth set free…in spite of how seemingly implausible it does sound.

4 – Keep it consistent.

There is nothing more frustrating than a liar who is either unable or unwilling to stay the course, contradicting their lies with a whole new set of lies, forcing everyone else to feign temporary amnesia in order to humor them as one would a small child proudly displaying their macaroni sculpture.  How lazy can you be? Write that shit down and consult your notes before slinging a fresh round of fabrications.  You can’t just improvise and hope for the best.  What do you think this is, the writers’ room for of the Hangover sequels?

5 – Keep it brief – and if necessary, vague.

Common sense would dictate that the more elaborate lies would be perceived as the most authentic and while that is true, this only applies to competent liars – which, unfortunately, is not you.  So deliver the bare minimum and focus on making that sound convincing instead of getting hung up on details you can’t be trusted to deliver or defend.  In the event someone asks you to elucidate, feign indignation at the ambiguous nature of the information you were forced to relay. If pressed, fake a medical condition.

I’m sure there are many more helpful tips available to you online that will allow you to hone and improve your craft.  I encourage you to look into them while, hopefully, also making use of the suggestions outlined in this blog entry.

I look forward to higher quality lying from you in the not too distant future.

Wishing you all the best (This, I will admit, is a lie),

Joe