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

June 1, 2019: Project Updates!

This weekend, I’m doing a pass on the pilot script for my (formerly) Untitled Awesome Project – which will only remain untitled until it is mentioned in an upcoming interview with my production partner.  The plan is to deliver the script to the broadcaster on Monday, have them respond by week’s end with general effusive praise and a brief rundown of their favorite parts, maybe a weekend of thorough consideration followed by a production green light.  Of course, that’s MY plan.  THEIR plan may vary significantly.  While I’m waiting…

Re-reading (for perhaps the eighth time) the horror novel I’ll be adapting for the small screen – I’m thinking 8-10 episode first season – with the author who happens to be my very favorite in the genre.  The title of this one will probably be revealed in the same aforementioned interview in the coming days – which will give you all plenty of time to check out the book in advance of the series!

Also in that interview, you’ll probably hear about the comic book adaptation I’m presently working on.  We have a series overview and are anxiously awaiting the green light to go to script.

Slow progress on that BIG project for the streamer.  Trying to be patient…

Awaiting word on pitching that small town supernatural horror series.  Man, this is a weird one.

Meeting with my partners next week on that procedural (of all things!).  The plan is to go out and pitch as soon as I wrap production.

Finally, I have to circle back and have a conversation with my editor about that epic space opera comic book series.  I’d broken it down into a four issue opening arc, but he feels five issues would be a better way to go.

Finally finally – Know Your Comic Book Supervillain History!

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May 31, 2019: Hattendo is here! Hattendo is here!

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As many of you blog regulars who have followed my Tokyo exploits are already aware, I am a HUGE fan of Hattendo cream buns.  They are one of the high points of my annual Japan trips – fluffy cream-filled buns available in various flavors.  ]On my last days in Tokyo, I always make it a point to swing by the Akihabara subway station so I can pick up a few for the flight home.  But, as of today, I will no longer have to go to Japan to get my Hattendo fix because they are now available here in Toronto at the Hattendo Cafe (15 Baldwin Street).

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They had their soft opening today, so Akemi and I swung by to sample the goods.

Ah, natsukashii.  This brings me back.

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Also available: matcha, adzuki, and custard melon pan, various coffees and lattes, and a Hattendo ramune.

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I’m considering putting in an application for the Hattendo mascot position.  They can pay me in buns.  What do you think?

May 29, 2019: Week’s Best Comic Book Covers!

These were my favorites!

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Age of X-Man: X-Tremists #4 (cover art by Rahzzah)

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Batman: Last Knight on Earth #1 (cover art by Greg Capullo, FCO Plascencia)

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Batman: Last Knight on Earth #1 (variant cover art by Jock)

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Giant-Man #2 (cover art by Woo Cheol)

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Immortal Hulk #18 (cover art by Alex Ross)

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Daredevil: Fearless Origins (cover art by Julian Totino Tedesco)

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Doomsday Clock #10 (cover art by Brad Anderson, Gary Frank)

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God of War (E.M. Gist)

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Grimm Fairy Tales #28 (variant cover art by Alfredo Reyes)

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Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #39 (variant cover art by Xermanico)

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Spiderman: City at War #3 (variant cover art by Gang Hyuk-Lim)

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Spawn #297 (variant cover art by Francesco Mattina)

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Star Wars: Vader – Dark Visions #4 (variant cover art by Ricardo Federici)

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Thanos #2 (cover art by Jeff Dekal)

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Thor #13 (variant cover art by Alex Ross)

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X-23 #12 (cover art by Ashley Witter)

So, which were your favorites?