June 12, 2011: Bubba update! Ivon Bartok hits Banff! Woofstock! Pugs eating ice cream! Mailbag!

Bubba update!  We took him back to the vet’s for a second visit, this time getting him checked out by a second doctor.  We explained that he’d been quite lethargic of late and, every so often, was given to brief trembling bouts.  The vet informed us that this was a sign he was in pain and proceeded to test his range of motion: pushing, pulling, tapping, and tweaking.  Ultimately, he discovered that Bubba was displaying discomfort along his upper spine and shoulder area, suggesting he may have twisted or pulled something at daycare.  So now, he joins Jelly on the metacam train.  Hopefully he’ll be back to his old high-strung self in a couple of weeks.

My friend (and former Stargate Special Features Producer) Ivon Bartok is on his way to Banff.  And what will he be doing in Banff?  This! =  http://www.banffmediafestival.com/deal-makers-live-with-jonathan-torrens.php#contestants  Ivon is one of the eight lucky finalists in Deal Makers Live competition that will see him present a 30 second on-stage pitch of an original show idea.  Ivon and his seven co-contestants will “go head-to-head in a high-profile, high-tech battle for the hearts and minds of both our expert panel and the live BANFF audience”.  You can follow my buddy’s progress here:  http://twitter.com/ivonbartok  Wish him luck!

Damn!  Visited a couple of the local comic book shops yesterday to discover the exclusive Randy Bowen Modok statue has sold out.  One less villain to add to the office decor. 🙁

Today, we took in Toronto’s annual Woofstock festival with two of my four dogs.  Since Jelly has a hard time getting around due to her bad hips, and because Bubba is generally high-strung and anti-social in crowds, we elected to take Lulu and Maximus out for the day…

Akemi rarin' to go.

Lulu wonders "Where's the party at?"

Maximus. Totemo hansamu!

Dogs in silly outfits…


Dogs in strollers…

Pitbulls doing their best Hannibal Lecter…

And various sights…

Maximus - ten minutes in and he's already tired.

Cooling off on a hot day.

Lulu tests out the custom dog furniture on display.



Maximus helps.

Lulu sucks up for attention.

Check out that tongue! I think this pug is half frog.

Lulu cools off.

Akemi makes a new friend.

The St. Ignatius Pug Choir

Maximus wonders: "How much longer?".



Meet 'n Greet!

Maximus is DONE!

Today’s blog entry is dedicated to blog regular Lisa R.’s husband.  Well, she’s the regular.  Anyway.  Good luck!



squishy writes: ”

In Ripple Effect (one of my favorite episodes!) when the ‘bad’ SG1 team is leaving, the bad Mitchell turns around before the Stargate puddle and says to the ‘good’ Mitchell: ‘When the time comes, cut the green one’. Enlighten me please?”

Answer: Among the notes I received on the script’s first draft from my fellow writer-producers was a suggestion from Damian Kindler that alt. Mitchell should throw out a cryptic line like: “When the times comes, cut the green one.”.  I loved the idea and put it in the script.  It wasn’t a set-up to any specific pay-off but, having said that, it was something we certainly could have touched on had the show gone another season.

dasndanger writes: “I’ve been meaning to ask how your mom and sister are these days. Are they glad to have you closer to home?”

Answer: They’re all fine.  I’ll be seeing them this Christmas, provided they don’t come up to visit me earlier.

fsmn36 writes: “I wondered about your thoughts on Marvel as a great comic book connoisseur. What were your favorite issues of X-Men (I figure you must have read some at one point)? Did you read the ones written by Joss Whedon? And ultimately…DC or Marvel?”

Answer: My passion for comic books ebbs and flows.  I’ll pick up every title out there, then start dropping them as I lose interest.  Eventually, I’ll drop the last one and go months without buying anything – then go out one day, pick up every title out there, and start over again.  My favorite X-Men were the new incarnation introduced in Uncanny X-Men #94/Giant Size X-Men #1 (well, “new” back then).  My favorite issues = #132-137, the end of the Hellfire Club storyline and the Dark Phoenix saga.  Haven’t checked out Astonishing X-Men yet but have eyed the omnibus.  Recommended?  DC or Marvel?  Depends on who’s writing.  TPB I’m reading now: Chew (Image), The Walking Dead (Image), Scalped (Vertigo), DMZ (Vertigo), Sweet Tooth (Vertigo), Secret Six (DC).

@iom666 writes: “How about cats ? Did you ever have a cat ? What do you think of ‘them’ ? ;)

Answer: I’ve had cats and love ’em as well.

Patricia-Stewart Bertrand writes: “My sister’s dogs are terrified of rain, and thunder and spiders and cats. They are two very large and friendly Border Collies. Any suggestions to help them conquer their fears?”

Answer: Just sit with them, pet them, reassure them.  Having the t.v. on helps as well.

Sebastian Meyer writes: “So you write /block the chase and stunt sequences yourself as the episode’s writer? Not all shows do that. How detailed do you get and did you do the same on Stargate?”

Answer: When writing a script, we do try to craft creative action sequences that will serve as a launch point for our stunt coordinators.  Realistically, they’re only guidelines because, when the time comes, what can or can’t be done will be entirely location dependent.  On Transporter: The Series, for instance, fight coordinator Cyril Raffaelli and car stunt coordinator Michel Julienne will no doubt use the scripted sequences as inspiration, but won’t be beholden to what’s on the page.  So why do we write them into the script?  Well, they do offer some insight into what we are expecting in terms of action.  Also, some people who read scripts have a hard time imagining “the good version”.  If I was to simply write “a car chase ensues and Frank gets away” the response I would no doubt receive would be something alone the lines of: “BOOOORING!  Can’t we come up with something better?”.

Randomness writes: “Have you had a chance to watch Spice and Wolf yet?”

Answer: Not yet.  Season one is sitting in my DVD room back in Vancouver.

Randomness also writes: “Also how are your Japanese skills coming along?”

Answer: Last night, Akemi and I went out to eat.  Over the course of our meal, we conversed in Japanese.  Our waiter marveled at my command of the language. I told him I only sounded proficient because he didn’t understand Japanese.  I possess the verbal skills of a very polite four year old Japanese boy.

Randomness also writes: “Code Geass has 2 movies in Japan on DVD/Blu Ray, they basically cover Season 1 and 2, and have some new footage here and there, they’re Japanese only with no subtitles, but if you want to watch Code Geass abridged, its something you might want to pick up from Japan next to you go Joe.”

Answer: One of Akemi’s favorites.  Already watched!

Randomness also writes: “And lastly any plans to get Chris Vance to do a blog appearance?”

Answer: Would love to have him come by and do a Q&A but, realistically, I don’t think he’ll have the time.  He’s going to be VERY busy.

chupeto writes: “Are the people who made the Ascension (like Alterans, or like the people of Abydos) called : “The Others” or “The Ancients” ?”

Answer: Sorry, I don’t understand the question.  If you’re asking whether all Ascended beings are Ancients, the answer is no.

paloosa writes: “So starting Monday, I’m headed to the Death Valley of the Valley…Woodland Hills. No studios nor even production companies. Despite the name, the Warner Center is just a bunch of boring corporate industrial buildings. I’m happy to still have a job, but it’s three times the mileage, cost and time. And over 100 degrees most of the summer.”

Answer: We’re following parallel paths!  Good luck!