April 1, 2017: Dedicated to the Dogs!

We received the retouched selects from our family photo session at Off Leash Studio.  Some great shots of 11 year old Suji, 9 year old Lulu and, of course 14.5 year old Bubba taken the week before he passed away.

This is one of my favorites.  Note Lulu actually smiling for the pic.

Suji and her classic “What’s up?” look.

Suji and her wheels.

Our dignified older man.

Lulu says “Whatever!”.

She has a way of melting your heart.

Suji demonstrates her earthquake-preparedness stance.

Bubba shaking it up.

He looks like he’s still a puppy!

Ready to go on vacation.

Like an old married couple.

And a rare family pic.

September 10, 2016: Tokyo Travel Day! Enjoy the Dogs!

So, what did you all think of last night’s Dark Matter double-header?

Thrilling?

Touching?

Shocking?

All of the above?

Do tell!  Leave your feedback in the comments section.  I’ll peruse your thoughts once I land in Japan!

In the meantime, enjoy some dog pics.  Bubba, Lulu, and special guest star Petunia!

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July 22, 2015: Lulu! #DarkMatter notes!

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Thanks to those inquiring about my french bulldog, Lulu.  Alas, nothing in the way of any significant improvement yet although I would best describe the change in her condition as a slight upgrade from “yellow mustard” to “Japanese curry”.  I’m hopeful for an eventual advancement to “Irish stew” but, for now, we’re treating her with antibiotics, deworming medication (thanks for the tip, Elke!), and tomorrow’s endoscopy.

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Hey, did I mentioned I’d be doing one of those Periscope Q&A’s after the North American airings of Dark Matter’s seventh episode?  The episode will air at 10 p.m. EST and 7 p.m./10 p.m. PST and I’ll be answering YOUR questions for about 15-20 minutes after the show ends (11 p.m. EST and 8 p.m./11 p.m. PST).  So, what do you need to do to join?  Great question!  I think you just have to download the Periscope app and follow me (@BaronDestructo), then check out the Periscope app at the appointed time and voila!  Before you know it, you’ll be madly sending me virtual hearts and watching me fumble through this, my SECOND and THIRD, Periscope Q&A’s.

And what will I be talking about?  Oh, whatever you like – but I imagine we’ll mainly be chatting about this episode…

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http://www.screenspy.com/articles/tv/editorials/syfys-dark-matter-will-give-one-character-a-surprising-past-this-week/

“We’ve seen the episode a little earlier than most, courtesy of Syfy, and have a handful of teasers to share with you. As usual, there are no major spoilers here because we want you to enjoy the episode as much as we did.”

http://www.thetvjunkies.com/6-things-to-know-about-ruby-rose-on-dark-matter/

“This episode marks one of Mallozzi’s personal favourites of the season and that’s because it’s “one of the most fun episodes.” He also said “it’s an episode with a lot of warmth and a lot of humour.” Not only that, it’s also the favourite of one of his most important critics. “This is one of my girlfriend’s very favourite,” he shared.”

http://www.spoilertv.com/2015/07/dark-matter-episode-7-preview.html

“At the midway point Dark Matter is still as fierce as it was in the premiere. […]  Speaking of surprises, this episode is full of them.”

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Hey, look who was in town!  None other than Jeff Teravainen, Lieutenant Anders from Dark Matter Episode 108.  Oh, wait.  That doesn’t air until next week. Anyway, here’s a sneak peek of Jeff…eating gelato.  Will he be eating gelato in next week’s episode?  And, if so, what flavour?!!!  Sorry, that’s a spoiler.

July 21, 2015: Lulu update! Another Periscope? More #DarkMatter Episode 107 photos!

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Thanks to all those who asked but, sadly, Lulu isn’t doing any better.  Yesterday’s ultrasound offered up nothing in the way of answers, so she’s going in for an endoscopy on Thursday morning to test for something called stand lymphagectasia. If that too comes up empty, then next week it’s a colonoscopy to check for granulomitis colitis (aka “boxer colitis”).  Hopefully it won’t come to that as that would mean not feeding her for three days prior to the procedure.  THREE DAYS of nothing but broth!  At first, when we thought she would have to go in this week, Akemi suggested we adopt the same diet in solidarity – but I dismissed the notion on the grounds that we already had lunch and dinner plans.  But next week is wide open!  Akemi is already simmering the chicken necks!

If nothing else, this past week and a half of Lulu’s “intestinal issues” has sharpened my instincts to razor focus.  My reaction time is unparalleled.  At night, the merest cliquey-clack of Lulu’s nails on the hardwood floor will snap me out of the deepest slumber, out of bed and throwing on my pants, racing downstairs to open the backdoor so that she can go outside and relieve herself before it’s too late.  I’m like a soldier deep in enemy territory, sleeping yet always fully aware and fully prepared, his ears attuned to the slightest noise, ready for trouble.

I’m thinking of doing another Periscope Q&A, to run 15-20 minutes after each of the North American broadcasts of Dark Matter Episode 107.  The episodes air at 10 p.m. EST and 7 p.m./10 p.m. PST and I would jump on at approximately 1 minute after to field your question.  Who’s in?

Speaking of Dark Matter Episode 107, here are a few more intriguing sneak peeks for you to check out:

You're doing something new with your hair.  I love it!
You’re doing something new with your hair. I love it!
There's a new android in town!
There’s a new android in town!
Looks like THREE's had a bad day.
Looks like THREE’s had a bad day.
Something's up with SIX.
Something’s up with SIX.

Trying to book a trip to Tokyo for late September – and considering whether to go to L.A. for some agent-shopping next month.  Might be a good idea to have someone on board.  You never know…

November 1, 2014: Settling in!

Well, it’s been about two weeks since the move to Toronto and I’m pleased to report we have more or less settled in.  We’ve met quite a few very nice people in that short time – also, a number of weirdoes.  But I suppose that’s to be expected. Toronto is a bigger city.  Also, unlike Vancouver, Akemi and I can’t simply live as recluses.  Necessity forces us to go out, encounter others and, in some instances, interact with them.  The fact that I’ll strike up a conversation with just about anybody helps (or hurts depending on the relative sanity of my impromptu conversation partner).

Jelly and Lulu, best of buds.
Jelly and Lulu, best of buds.

The dogs have also settled into a nice little routine that includes four daily visits to the local dog park where Jelly leaves her stroller to get in her short walks, Bubba does his best to avoid contact with other dogs, and Lulu stubbornly refuses to return home until she has visited the dog run where she too ignores the other pooches in favor of begging their owners for attention.

Dressed for the weather - Jelly in her Anna Suit ensemble
Dressed for the weather – Jelly in her Anna Suit ensemble

I do miss Darlene and the gang at The Book Warehouse in Toronto.  I’ve checked out  a couple of the local book stores and have left underwhelmed.  The sole exception is Bakka-Phoenix Books (84 Harbord Street), a terrific shop specializing in genre fiction.  I spent a good half hour chatting with the staff while Akemi sat patiently by, endlessly perusing an illustrated Miyazaki book.

After you!
After you!

Even though I vowed to stick to digital versions while here in Toronto, I couldn’t help myself and picked up a selection made up of staff member Leah’s recommendations and some titles that caught my eye:

Familiar with any of the above books?
Familiar with any of the above books?

Presently reading Norman Lear’s Even This I Get to Experience.  Just finished – and loved – the first volume of Brian K. Vaughn’s Saga, recommended to me by Prodigy Pictures Development Wunderkind Nat Cooper.  I swung by The Silver Snail and picked up volumes 2 and 3 yesterday.  And also brought home a bunch of other comic books and graphic novels Natalie sent me home with on Friday, among them Buzzkill by Donny Cates that I thought was pretty darn terrific as well. Speaking of comic book, it looks like it’ll be trade paperbacks only moving forward as Marvel has apparently wrapped up (canceled?) the only two single issue series I was collecting: The Thunderbolts and the awesome Superior Foes of Spiderman.  sad

The eating, meanwhile, has been good.  WAY to good.  Some of the highlights –

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The crispy prawn rice rolls at Luckee in the Soho Met.  I don’t even like rice rolls but thought these were great.  I’m not a huge fan of some of the entrees, but their dim sum menu items are uniformly great.

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The sautéed sweetbreads at Le Neuf Cafe (9 Clarence Square) which, by the way, makes the best desserts in town – everything from salted caramel eclairs to their tiny chouquettes that Akemi has become addicted to and now picks up on almost a daily basis.

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Wahlburgers (A Mark Wahlberg burger joint, 46 Blue Jays Way) opened her recently and I checked out their promising-sounding Thanksgiving Burger.  The patty was flavorful but the stuffing and roasted butternut squash were decidedly not.  The side of sweet potato tots (Actually made from yams.  For some reason, people in Toronto don’t know the difference between a yam and a sweet potato) was disquietingly sweet.  Everyone else in line ordered the signature Our Burger. Maybe I’ll order that next time.  Or just go Burger’s Priest which I’ve been meaning to do.

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After stocking up at the St. Lawrence Market this morning, we returned home where I made myself a bacon sandwich using two types of bacon (back bacon and peameal), Bourgogne cheese, and micro greens.

Tonight, we head out to a special event dinner at a local Italian eatery that is hosting a special guest chef from Vancouver: none other than our buddy Chef Robert Belcham (Fuel, Refuel, Fat Dragon, Camapagnolo, Campagnolo Roma).  I will, of course, report back.

August 24, 2014: The best laid plans of mice and men and french bulldogs!

Well, I had a lot I wanted to get done to day and, although I didn’t accomplish everything, it was a nice, full day…

1) The Running of the Bulldogs

Akemi and I headed down to Yaletown early this morning to register our french bulldog, Lulu, for “the running of the bulldogs”, part of a HUGE dog-themed festival that included various vendor booths, complimentary dog treats, and doggy wading pools.  I registered her at 11: 00 a.m. as per the instructions in the flyer, specifying her name, my name, her weight (21 lbs), and her nickname (LeLouche).  Unfortunately, when it came time for the actual races, we could hardly hear the host and his ineffective bullhorn.  Perhaps more frustrating was the fact that they were calling in the participants out of sequence, NOT in the order in which they registered but some weird, randomized order known only to them.  I was eager to have Lulu run (she had carbed up that morning), but we were dog-sitting our old friend Petunia who was so exhausted that Akemi feared she might pass out.  So we left early.  Lulu missed out on her chance to run.  And I had to carry Petunia back to the car.

The pre-race turf
The pre-race turf
Out and about with the little lady
Out and about with the little lady
Lulu - yet to race and already tired
Lulu – yet to race and already tired
Petunia - ready for bedtime.
Petunia – ready for bedtime.
THIS guy!
THIS guy!
THAT guy!
THAT guy!
"Toons" gives me her it's-time-to-go look.
“Toons” gives me her it’s-time-to-go look.

2) Garlic Fest

We dropped off the dogs, then headed over the Richmond for the Garlic Festival – to try the much-hyped garlic ice cream.  A potential weird-food-purchase-of-the-day perhaps?  Alas, the garlic ice cream was sold out by the time we got there – so we had to settle for garlic scape pizza, roasted garlic, and six bulbs of Russian Red!

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Snacktime!
Snacktime!

3) Pie Championship!

We returned home, walked the dogs, then hopped back into the car and headed over to the city’s east end for the Incredible Pie Championship!  $5 got you a  taste of all 21 pies competing across five categories: Sweet, Savory, Structural, Vegan and Best in Show.  We met up with friends (Nicole and Lan), made new ones (Kirsten, Liz, Wendy, and guy standing in line who looked like Ronon Dex), and enjoyed A LOT of pie.

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The pirate-themed rum-pecan pie got my vote in the structural category.
The pirate-themed rum-pecan pie got my vote in the structural category.
The banana cream pie won my vote in the Sweet category as well as Best In Show
The banana cream pie won my vote in the Sweet category as well as Best In Show
The Lumberjack Royale, with its medley of roasted apples and bacon, got my vote in the Savory category.
The Lumberjack Royale, with its medley of roasted apples and bacon, got my vote in the Savory category.
The inspired onion-meringue came in a close second in the savory category.
The inspired onion-meringue came in a close second in the savory category.
Building the list of entries.
Building the list of entries.
Akemi preferred the cherry pie
Akemi preferred the cherry pie
Kirsten and Liz, who recognized me from this blog - and still elected to say hi and chat rather than throw a pie in my face.
Kirsten and Liz, who recognized me from this blog – and still elected to say hi and chat rather than throw a pie in my face.
Me and my 21 empty cups.  One thing they don't tell you: bring your own plate.  And utensils!  Otherwise, you'll end up doing pie shots for most of the afternoon.
Me and my 21 empty cups. One thing they don’t tell you: bring your own plate. And utensils! Otherwise, you’ll end up doing pie shots for most of the afternoon.
Liz shows off her stack.
Liz shows off her stack.
Nicole and Lan came prepared!
Nicole and Lan came prepared!

We came home, exhausted.  Akemi took her shower and was ready for bed.  At 8:00 p.m.!  Also, she sunburnt her ears. sad

 

August 18, 2014: A Walk in the (Dog) Park!

Like me, my dogs are homebodies.  Jelly is dog bed-ridden while Bubba and Lulu…don’t play well with others.  Oh, sure, Jelly enjoys her daily half-block walks.  Bubba loves his trips to the farmer’s market.  And Lulu may be ambivalent to other dogs, she likes nothing better than to meet people.  And so, when I heard that the local French Bulldog Meet-Up group was having a birthday part for one of their own, I thought it might be a great opportunity for Lulu to get out and socialize.

A rundown of the festivities…

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Her M.O. is so predictable.  The first thing she does when she gets through the park gate is to hop onto the nearest bench and crawl onto someone’s lap.

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Partygoer at the refreshment stand.

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The hostess brought refreshment for the adults – and loot bags for the kids!

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And, of course, cake.

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This handsome fellow wanted to make sure I got a shot of him for the society page.

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Vino, the birthday boy.

Lulu does the weird sloppy-slidey-shuffle whenever she’s on gravel.

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Laid back reveller.

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Sniffing out trouble.  And cake!

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Lulu making the rounds.  She’s always go that “Yo, lookit me, bitches!” expression.

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Party patrol.

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Oh, yeah.  Who’s gettin’ some?

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Always on her best behavior when treats are involved.

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Handsome boy.

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I would have put Lulu’s hat on, but she’s got such a small noggin’ I was afraid she’d paper cut her eyeballs.

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The birthday boy and mom pose for the pre-cake cutting ceremony.

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Akemi makes a new friend.

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After some hard partying, Lulu and friend seek the comfort of the shade.

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Lulu subtly hints she’s done.

March 23, 2014: Lulu and I will sleep well tonight!

What an incredibly productive day.  I had to wake up at 7:00 a.m. this morning to bring Jelly out but, rather than go back to bed, I elected to stay up and get some work done on one of my new pilots.  The plan was to complete a single flashback sequence but one scene led to another (as they’re supposed to do), I got on a bit of roll and, before I knew it, I’d finished a little over 15 pages and reached the top of the third act.  I would honestly feel better about it if I knew the crucial details of Acts IV and V, but I’m not going to be greedy.  I do like what I have so far.  It’s crazy.  In a great way.  Hopefully, a network out there will love it as well.  But, if not, I think I might actually upload this one to the blog.  It’s too much fun not to share.

In addition to writing, I also made time to bring Lulu to the local bulldog meetup. Some of the highlights…

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Lulu  seeks attention #1.
Lulu seeking attention #1.
Lulu seeking attention #2
Lulu seeking attention #2
Lulu seeking attention #3
Lulu seeking attention #3

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Lulu seeking attention #4
Lulu seeking attention #4

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Lulu needs braces
Lulu needs braces

11And the inevitable pawsticuffs…

And this interesting move…

May 19, 2013: If I were on Survivor…

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Jelly can’t bear to look

Several weeks ago, Akemi and I were watching Survivor.  In the episode, the contestants were treated to surprise visits from their loved ones.  They had been separated for quite some time (over a month!) and, not surprisingly, the reunions were incredibly emotional.  One girl hugged her father like a long lost love.  Another woman broke down at the mere sight of her husband.  I tried to imagine what it would be like for me, standing there, watching as, one by one, my fellow contestants had their moments with their significant others, anxiously awaiting my turn, eyeing the tree-line for my special someone… Akemi?  Mom?  My sister?

“Jelly,”said Akemi, as though it was the most obvious thing in the world.  And, the second she said it, I realized: “Of course!  Who else?”

Who else would it be but my 14 year old pug, Jelly, snarfling and panting as she’d break through the treeline and waddle up the pathway on her arthritic legs into my waiting arms?  We’d probably lose the challenge but nevertheless be chosen to join the winners on the reward getaway where we’d enjoy a wonderful feast of assorted meats, veggies, assorted fruits and desserts.  And before saying goodbye, I’d give Jelly a smooch on the noggin’ as I do every time I carry her up and down the stairs or in and out of the house (Full disclosure: I probably kiss that dog more than I do my girlfriend) and then we’d part ways – me, back to the island, inspired by her visit to persevere in the face of adversity; she, to her guest hut, provoked by the richness of the meal to void her bowels for one endless diarrhea-festooned evening.  Now THAT would be reality television!

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My other muse: Lulu.
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Jelly works up a sweat.
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Bubba – all smiles.
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Lulu is laughing AT you, not WITH you!

Hey, my pal, Tara Yelland, is trying to raise money for Response Time, a short film she’ll be working on in the next couple of months.  She didn’t specify what, exactly, she’d be doing (my guess is crowd control) but it’s obviously something she’s passionate about (like nail art, Mad Men, and my occasional dog-related blog entries).  So passionate, in fact, that she produced the following video in support of the project: http://vimeo.com/65869540.  The goal is to raise $10 000 in 30 days and, with 6 days to go, they’re at $5590.  Apparently, the way the fundraising works, they need to reach their target in order to get the money pledged.  If they don’t, they get nothing.  Also, at some point, someone breaks into their homes and soaks their pillows in linseed oil.

Don’t let this happen to Tara!  Help her and her reach her goal by visiting and pledging here: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/response-time

And check out her personal blatherings here: tarayelland

April 16, 2013: Dark Matter developments! Mailbag! My dog eating kale chips!

First things first!  My french bulldog, Lulu, eating kale chips.  Please raise volume to maximum before viewing:

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One of the worst kept secrets on this blog has been the identity of that scifi series Paul and I have been trying to set up.  As many of you know, back when we were working on Stargate, we started developing our own SF series in the hopes of rolling right into production with the same crew if and when Stargate ever ended.  The only problem at the time was that there was no end in sight.  Every time we thought Stargate would close up shop, the show would get picked up for another season.  It was a classy problem that allowed us to really flesh out the concept and characters of this prospective new show.

Unfortunately, when Stargate did end, the timing proved difficult. Instead of taking advantage of our terrific Stargate crew, we ended up having to put our project on hold while we took a job in Toronto.  But rather than relegate it to the back burner, we thought of an interesting way to go – and a great way to help sell the show.  We hooked up with Dark Horse Comics and launched the series idea as a comic book.

DARKMTR #1 CVRThe first four issues of Dark Matter garnered great reviews and, when the trade paperback came out in October, we used it as a calling card. Having worked in development, I was aware of, and wanted to draw on, the added appeal of an established property.  Also, half the battle of pitching is to help a potential buyer imagine the project you have created – and I could think of no better pitch document than that trade paperback.

DM4We went out with a story backed by some fantastic visuals compliments of artist Garry Brown and colorist Ryan Hill.  The response was incredibly positive.  Even more so after Paul and I delivered the pilot script.  Still, my concern was the budget, making sure we had enough money to do it properly (visual effects don’t come cheap after all!), so I was heartened by word from our producing partner today that the response in Europe has been equally great.

Now all that remains is for that final piece of the puzzle to fall into place.  Yes, we’ve been waiting a while but all indications are we’ll be receiving word soon.  If it’s positive, then things are going to get very busy very quickly.  If it’s not, then we’ll have to go elsewhere for that final piece – which will, of course, delay things.

But hopefully it all comes together as expected.  And, once it does, dare I say it…

No, better not.

Mailbag:

shinyhula writes: “And why no zombies on this list? Night of the Living Dead, 28 Weeks Later, Zombieland; what have the unliving done to deserve your scorn?”

Answer: I was listing Scariest Endings and, off the top of my head, none of the zombie entries came to mind.  Well, now that I think of it, maybe the original Night of the Living Dead would have been a good candidate.

ancuetas writes: “Is that you know what music is there at the beginning of the video.”

Answer: This piece of music, from SG-1’s Demons, was before my time (I joined the show in its fourth season), but it’s safe to assume that it was composed by the late, great Joel Goldsmith.

dasndanger writes: “Also, this whole thing with the shutting down of cell towers in cases like this? That’s why I still have a corded old timey landline tele-o-phone.”

Answer: Hmmm.  Good point.  I haven’t had a landline in four years.

RLAVILLA writes: “Recently there have been two new Stargate games for Android and iPhone, and I think that will be the new product line, which has been selected by MGM for Stargate franchise. How about converting “Stargate Extinction” in a game for these new platforms?”

Answer: Not my call.  That would be for the studio to decide.

Jen writes: “A tad random, but I went in on my birthday to have this done but the artist was booked up so I had it done yesterday.”

Answer: Great.  But I insist you draw the line at one of those Jaffa forehead tattoos.

baterista9 writes: “Just saw Cookie on Saturday at Sea World of Texas.”

Answer: Yes, he was there for his cousin Esmerelda’s wedding.

fsmn36 writes: “But the entire movie plays off the alcoholic!Tony arc from the comics and the Rhodey scene makes 20x more sense when you consider Tony is basically planning on suicide/knows he’s going to die. What seems a tacky action scene becomes a heart breaking fight between friends while Tony desperately gives everything he loves away to the few people that matter to him.”

Answer: Sounds terrific.  Unfortunately, none of that came across onscreen.

gforce writes: “Did you ever take Akemi up to Whistler yet? You should take her out to a nice dinner or even a weekend up there!”

Answer: I retired my krazy karpet years ago.

Seth writes: “How hard would it be to get the cast on board for a Kickstarter for the series or movies? Looks as if Veronica Mars just got 5.5 million in Kickstarter funds from fans!”

Answer: 5.5 million may seem like a lot, but consider that the previous SG-1 movies cost 7+ million each to produce – and those productions made use of existing sets and production personnel.

Tam Dixon writes: “Did you try one of the dog cookies for quality control? You did, didn’t you?”

Answer: I didn’t, but someone I know (hint: she’s Japanese) DOES taste test for quality control.

Tam Dixon also writes: “Anyways, what about another trip? New York, L.A. or maybe even go down South. I wouldn’t recommend Memphis, unless you bring a gun but what about New Orleans or Savannah, GA?”

Answer: Akemi definitely wants to go to New York and, after reading Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, I’ve wanted to check out Savannah.  That said, both L.A. and Vegas are closer and more likely short trip destinations.  This, of course, is entirely dependent on our finding a dog sitter.

astrumporta writes: “I think you should bring Akemi to San Francisco for her b-day!”

Answer: It’s also on the list.  Good eatin’!  How goes, Michelle?

pennlynn writes: “You’re brave man Joe! I like having a nice drink but other than the whiskey I’m not sure I would try that haul of liquor!”

Answer: I tried the Nikka whiskey with Lawren last night when he came over for the American Horror Story marathon.  It was damn good, and much better straight up than on the rocks.  How went the t.v. interview?

March 10, 2013: The Doggy Update and News of Note!

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I think my pug, Bubba, may be losing his hearing.  As I mentioned the other day, he seems out of sorts lately, drifting off for long stretches as if deep in thought, no longer bounding into the kitchen at the merest sound of the refrigerator door opening.  Today, he exhibited atypically calm behavior in the face of two things that always used to rile him up in the past: 1. A barking dog, and 2. Sara Jessica Parker.  We were out for a walk when we happened by the home of one of his neighborhood enemies, a yappy yorkie who went absolutely berserk as we strolled along.  For his part, Bubba was oblivious.  Granted, we were across the street, but in the past he would have reacted.  And then, later today while Akemi was watching her DVD’s and the theme to Sex and the City came on, Bubba didn’t even notice.  A month ago, the opening notes would have set him off, barking and howling at the t.v., his canine fury rising at the onscreen sight of Sara Jessica Parker in her pink tutu.  Today – nothing.

Okay, he IS an older dog (11 this September) but the change in him has been sudden and dramatic.

1My other, older pug, Jelly, meanwhile, has problems of her own.  She is almost certainly deaf (has been for quite some time) and her hip dysplasia makes it very difficult for her to get around, so I’ll often find myself chauffeuring her up and down the stairs, onto and off the bed, out to and in from the back yard.  Despite her obvious discomfort walking, she’s in very good spirits, vocal and waggy – but she was decidedly less so the other night.  She was sitting on her usual perch atop the pillow beside me when she decided to turn around and get comfy.  She shifted, obviously misjudged the room she had, and ended up tumbling off the side of the bed.  Fortunately – or not – instead of hitting the floor, she ended up getting wedged, upside down, between the mattress and the night table, crying out until I was able to rescue her.

Clearly, my dogs are getting old.

1Except, of course, for my french bulldog, Lulu.  She’s always on!

The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food!  Check out this excerpt from Michael Moss’s Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked UShttp://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/24/magazine…ichaelmoss&_r=0

Along those same lines, secrets of the sugar industry: Sugar industry’s secret documents revealed

Hey, reality t.v. junkies!  5 Depressing Realities Behind Popular Reality TV Shows  Next thing you know, they’ll be saying that Mystery Diners show is faked!

It’s Mistress Elvira’s School for Wayward Vampire Children.  What did you expect?  Norway teacher fired after children taste her blood

Bill’s dead.  What a relief.  Now we’ll no longer be bombarded by his annoying tweets.  No, wait!  A Way to Post and Tweet From Beyond the Grave – WSJ.com

9 Dead Authors With Insanely Active Social Media Accounts 

‘These things right here are worth $5 million!’ Jennifer Love Hewitt wants to …  What, exactly, has to happen that would require the insurance company pay off Jennifer Lopez’s 27 million dollar ass insurance?

Er, is that Zombie Jughead?  Archie Takes on the Undead

February 13, 2013: That Developing Dilemma! Frenchie Fiesta! Save Dutch!

So I went to see my accountant today.  What I was expecting would be a twenty minute chat turned into a grueling two hour session involving assets, liabilities, flow-charts, and lots and lots of math.  My decision to deal with certain outstanding issues has opened up a host of new outstanding issues which, as I mentioned in a previous post, involve the house.  Either I keep it and take on debt or sell it in favor of a far less attractive lifestyle.  I’ve already outlined the pros and cons of both decisions –

Keep the house: Pros (home ownership, a great place to raise my dogs, don’t have to deal with noisy neighbors or nosey stratas, a fairly solid investment, not sure where I’d put all my stuff if I downsize) and Cons (I only use about half the space, the market is softening and now “might” be a good time to get out, Akemi feels isolated here).

Sell the house: Pros (I’d be debt free, the dogs were in the best shape of their lives when we were living in a condo in T.O., opportunity to broaden our social horizons) and Cons (the potential for strata headaches, annoying neighbours, taking the dogs out would be so much more of a hassle – especially Jelly who can barely walk much less do stairs, to say nothing of the pain-in-the-ass move).

Originally, I thought maybe selling wouldn’t be such a bad idea.  My house is paid off and would command a handsome price.  I could get a gorgeous condo for half the price.  Now would be the time to sell as the local real estate market is showing signs of a downturn for the first time in over a decade.  BUT the more I thought about it, the more I realized that if the real estate market did take a dive, condos would be feeling the hurt A LOT more than detached homes.  Every 5% drop in home value would probably see a commensurate 15% drop in the value of condos since there are so damn many of them and they just keep on making more!  I thought that settled the issue until Akemi rightly pointed out that a 5% drop in the value of my home would see me lose significantly more than a 15% drop in whatever condo I bought.

And sadly, no, downsizing to a smaller home isn’t an option.  I couldn’t get one any closer to downtown (a big reason for selling the house in the first place).  Downtown Vancouver is all glass and steel boxes with little green space –

1While the fact that it’s surrounded by water makes the commute in a hassle of varying degrees –

1(Thanks to Kymm for the photos and tips!)

ALSO, the smaller detached dwellings would be even harder to sell if things go sideways.  Yes, I could keep the house and get Akemi a car but that only addresses one small issue of the many I’m juggling. Renting out the house while living in a condo would actually be the worst case scenario as I would then ALSO have to take out a loan for the downpayment on the condo and be faced with financial catastrophe in the event the real estate market goes bust and I’m stuck with two rapidly depreciating properties.

I can’t help but think that if I had seriously applied myself to winning the lottery instead of slacking off, all of these problems could have been avoided.

Sigh.

Well, maybe this will cheer me up.  Pictures and video of Lulu (in the stylish blue sweater) at the last French Bulldog meet-up:

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Whatchou talkin about, Willis?
Whatchou talkin about, Willis?

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And, finally, on the subject of dogs –

1Does a dog have the right to protect itself from an abuser?  Not in Montrose, Colorado apparently.  Read Dutch’s story here: http://www.examiner.com/article/valentine-s-day-may-prove-deadly-for-one-dog?cid=db_articles

Then lend your support here: Save Dutch Facebook and here: Save Dutch petition

February 9, 2013: More from the Akemi Fall 2013 Collection! Days of Stargate Atlantis Past! Remnants!

1Akemi is still at it, expanding her doggy wardrobe.

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Continuing our stroll down SGA memory lane with one of my favorites…

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REMNANTS (515)

This one was a personal favorite for several reasons.  It offered action, humor, surprises and, best of all, genuinely heart-felt character moments brilliantly conveyed by our amazing cast and guest stars.  It was also a bit of a bitch to write and, as such, incredibly satisfying to finish, a fairly complex script that required a proper balancing act of three seemingly separate storylines – and their ultimate convergence at episode’s end.  My fellow Exec Producer, Carl Binder, considered it my best script of the show’s fifth season.  My other fellow Exec Producers, however, weren’t quite as enamored.  Rob Cooper felt it was “too literary” (which I thought was a nice compliment until I realized it was actually a criticism).  He, and Exec Producer Martin Gero, also felt I was way too rough on our hero, Sheppard.  My writing partner, Paul, meanwhile, had only one real objection – and that was the chopping off of Sheppard’s hand, for both creative and production reasons.  Yes, I agree that Sheppard does suffer greatly but I argue it’s fine because, at the end of the day, it’s all in his head. Also, the Shep-whumpers reaaaallly needed this one!

Just so much to say about this episode – and I already have.  Some Remnants-related past blog entries you might want to check out:

November 15, 2008: The Remnants Write-up – In which I offer some insight into my inspiration for this script (Harvey and a desire to complete Richard Woolsey’s rehabilitation from pencil-pushing suit to lovable Commander) as well as behind the scene photos and a breakdown of some of the scenes, beats, and dialogues that didn’t make the final cut.

July 22, 2008: Remnants Day #1 Behind the scene pics in Woolsey’s quarters.

July 23, 2008: Burgers then Back on the Program then Remnants Day #2 Behind the scene pics of the McKay/Zelenka scenes.

February 2013: The Akemi Fall 2013 Collection! Days of Stargate Atlantis Past! The Prodigal!

1Akemi has caught the dog fashion bug!  Over the last couple of days, she’s been hard at work, snipping, sewing, and generally cannibalizing some of her older outfits, transforming them into haute canine couture. Check out her Fall Collection so far:

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Meanwhile, a naked pudgy Bubba awaits his first outfit…

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Sadly, Akemi is running out of material as we cleared out our closet and dropped off our old clothing at one of the local donation bins last month.  It was while we were searching through the drawers last night that the idea came to me: “Hey, you know where we can find some old clothes?  The local donation bin.”  Strangely, she wasn’t thrilled with my suggestion.

Continuing our Days of Stargate Past reminiscing with…

1THE PRODIGAL (514)

One of the high points of Atlantis’s fifth season was this episode (compliments of Executive Producer Carl Binder) that saw the return of Michael, one of the show’s most colorfully nuanced villains.  The episode includes Michael and Ronon going a mano a mano in the control room followed by tower-top battle between Michael and Sheppard.  While the latter was being shot, at one point, Joe Flanigan’s stuntman lost his balance and went off the tower (fear not, he was cabled and there were some nice comfy mats to cushion his fall), which prompted actor Connor Trinneer to throw up his arms and triumphantly proclaim: “I win!”.

Teyla’s decision to – let’s not mince words here  – murder Michael engendered a fair amount of controversy.  Was she justified in her actions?  Did the fact that she was a mother protecting her child color your opinion of her actions?

Setting up the big radio-controlled car showdown.
Setting up the big radio-controlled car showdown (photo courtesy MGM Television)
Boys and their toys (photo courtesy MGM Television)
Boys and their toys (photo courtesy MGM Television)
Michael comes out on top (photo courtesy MGM Television)
Michael comes out on top (photo courtesy MGM Television)
Michael marshals the troops (photo courtesy MGM Television)
Michael marshals the troops (photo courtesy MGM Television)