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An update to a story I brought you last week concerning that french bulldog stolen from a local Vancouver tattoo shop – and it was all caught on camera.  A happy ending as the dog was finally reunited with its rightful owner:

http://www.petsearcherscanada.com/found-and-safe-stolen-french-bulldog-in-vancouver-do-you-recognize-this-woman2-updated/

Apparently the theft was the result of an ownership dispute over the dog (although, according to the police, the victim of the theft was the legal owner).  The fact that Chloe the bulldog was found “roaming a residential neighbourhood” speaks volumes about who had the dog’s best interests at heart.

In other news, someone brought this to my attention: http://www.policymic.com/articles/88221/it-s-almost-impossible-to-choose-the-most-racist-moment-of-avril-lavigne-s-new-video

I was prepared to be outraged.  I sat down alongside Akemi (who is Japanese by the way) and hit play.  After watching the video, Akemi asked: “Why they say this is racist?”.  Hmmm.  Good question.  It’s a terrible song.  A terrible video even. But racist?  Judge for yourself:

http://jezebel.com/avril-lavignes-new-video-is-a-monstrosity-1566182297

It looks like a subdued takeoff on almost every KPop and Jpop music video I’ve seen.  Kyary Pamyu Pamyu anyone?  http://youtu.be/UoK8DaJRDaM

I had a half dozen of my Japanese friends take a look at the video.  Their responses ranged from amusement to delight to genuine bewilderment at the fact that it was deemed racist.

My favorite response comment to the policymic article comes from a Japanese poster who writes: “Hmm… A white man, who obviously never seen a single J-Pop video, deciding what is racist to a Japanese woman. Seems legit. It would seem a Harvard graduate would know to do a little bit of research before writing about something he knows nothing about.”

Uh oh.  Time to invest in a hard hat.  http://phys.org/news/2014-04-astronauts-reveal-sobering-asteroid-impacts.html

File this one under “Yeah, don’t even bother”.  “Dr. Jensen says that a trip to the gym for 30 minutes or an hour may not be enough to combat all the time spent sitting.”

http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2014/04/22/is-sitting-for-long-hours-at-work-the-new-smoking/

IO9 is asking: “What’s your favorite comedy episode of a dramatic t.v. show?” - http://io9.com/whats-your-favorite-comedy-episode-of-a-dramatic-tv-sho-1566582826/all.  Both 200 and Window of Opportunity get some love in the comments section.  Your thoughts?

Continuing our Stargate: Atlantis re-watch with…Vegas!

1Well, this just goes to show: you never know.  Akemi loved Robert Cooper’s previous script to screen epics, Malice and Time, so I figured this one would be a slam dunk.  Alas, no.  She was completely bewildered throughout and, despite my many attempts to explain the concept of alternate realities to her, she never got on board.

After the CSI-like tease: “Why am I watching detective show?”

After Ivon Bartok’s cameo at the dice table: “Why Ivon’s scene so small?”

She wasn’t a fan of the feature wraith (“Not so cute.”) but she was quite happy to see Todd again (“I like Todd the wraith.  Like seeing old friend again.”).

She did appreciate the AU versions of Rodney and Radek: “McKay looked so nice. So did Zelenka!”

Cons: “I didn’t like the music.  I didn’t like the fact I couldn’t follow.  I didn’t like to fast cut and choppy.”

Overall: “I guess I like more geeky stuff than action slash country-cowboy t.v. show.”

And finally: “Rob’s episodes always so confusing.  No consideration for second language people.”  Yeah!  What’s up with that, Rob?!

Today’s inane conversation with my Japanese girlfriend:

Zombies In Cars Getting Brains (c/o Eloise J. Knapp)

Zombies In Cars Getting Brains (c/o Eloise J. Knapp)

As we pulled into the underground parkade…

Akemi: That looks like zombie car (indicating an old, tarp-covered sedan).

Joe: What’s a zombie car?

Akemi: A car that zombie hide in so it can eat people. (Obviously).

Joe: What do you mean?  They drive around offering lifts to people and then when someone gets in the car with them, they eat them?

Akemi: Of course not.  Zombie’s don’t drive.  They walk ten kilometers every day. That’s why so thin.  Try to be healthy I guess.

Joe: Also, their eating habits.  They’re on the paleo diet.

Akemi: Like Ivon.  Just fresh meat.

Joe: No processed foods.

Akemi: What about sugar?

Joe: No sugar either.

Akemi: That’s tough.

That’s the price of looking so good.

Bubba is practically back to his old self.  Akemi lent him her hair band to ensure he doesn’t scratch at his stitches.  Very stylish.  And he seems to like it!

111

Continuing our Stargate: Atlantis re-watchwith…Identity!

1Ah, now this is one of those instances where past Stargate-watching experience paid off.  The second Neeva looks in the mirror and sees Keller’s reflection staring back at her, Akemi shouted: “The communications stones!”.  And then she was onboard for the rest of the fast-paced episode.

When Neeva comes across the framed picture of Jennifer and her father: “What the f*ck!  Carl Binder is Jewel’s dad!”

When Ronon Shoots Neeva, saving McKay in the puddle jumper: “Heh heh.”  Much excitement here.

On the gorgeous establisher of the city at night: “Wow.  Beautiful.”

As the magistrate delivers Keller’s death sentence: “Why accent?”  And, later, when he is overseeing her execution: “Why British people so evil?”

After Neeva outruns the Atlantis team in the forest and Ronon loses her: “But he is runner!  Not as good as Mike Dopud I guess.”

Although she didn’t like Keller’s outfit in Brainstorm, she had high praise for the one she wore in this outfit (actually Neeva’s): “I don’t know if it’s efficient, but very nice.  I like a lot.”

During the McKay and Keller moment at episode’s end: “Love.  I feel like I’m watching Disney movie!” ???

Today’s blog entry is dedicated to birthday girl Airelle.

1Bubba had his surgery today.  Before…

And after…

1The bandage conceals a nasty cut-and-stitch that looks like a wound he may have sustained in a  knife fight.

1

Thanks for all the well-wishes.  He’s on the mend and already eating like crazy.

Robert Cooper forwarded me the following link under the email heading: “Where were these guys when we were making the show?”

http://www.neatorama.com/2014/04/21/This-Model-Stargate-Spins-Lights-Up-Kills-Anyone-Standing-Too-Close-to-It/#!FgIaJ

It’s apparently one of a several Stargate-themed entires in hackaday.com’s Sci-Fi Contest Roundup.  Others include a staff weapon and a life signs detector.  Check ‘em out:  http://hackaday.com/2014/04/20/sci-fi-contest-roundup-stargate/

Continuing our Stargate: Atlantis re-watch with…Infection!

1This one was a lot of fun – and a lot of complicated as well for someone who missed all those episodes about the retrovirus.  Still, it moved along at a fair clip and Akemi always finds the wraith hive ship set particularly creepy, especially, in this case, with all the “zombie wraith” running about.  Her comments on the episode:

When they receive Todd’s first choppy transmission: “It’s like he is in prison and only gets one call.”

When the mutant wraith springs out of the wall toward the red shirt: “WAAAAAAAAH!”

When the mutant wraith springs out of the darkness toward Sheppard: “WAAAAAAAAH!”

She is really enjoying the Todd character: “Has a sense of humor.  But his face hard to read.  Hard to tell if he is trying to be funny or not.”

She didn’t think that leaving Keller alone with Todd was a good idea.  But, if she was going to be eaten, at least “Jewel looks better than in other episode.  I like her straight hair.”

When Sheppard refuses to help Todd: “Why so mean?”

As the hive ship breaks in two: “Beautiful!”

But as the hive ship lands in the water: “Not great computer graphics.  I fee like I’m watching Final Fantasy 9 instead of Final Fantasy 14.”

Overall: “I liked this episode so-so.  Chotto complicated.”

1Sigh.  Here we go again.  Last month, a routine check at our local vet clinic revealed that Jelly had a mast cell tumor that would have to be removed.  Given their advanced ages, and the fact that they are pugs, surgery always worries me as much as whatever it is they are being treated for.  But despite being 16, Jelly came through with flying colors and the surgery was a complete success.  Tomorrow, it’s 11 year old Bubba’s turn.  Akemi noticed a lump near his ear last week and I didn’t think anything of it at first.  It was significantly tinier and harder than the one I discovered on Jelly.  Still, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to have it checked out and so, yesterday, we brought him in and had a sample taken.  And, this morning, we got the results.  Another mast cell tumor.  He goes in for surgery first thing tomorrow morning.

Continuing our Stargate: Atlantis re-watch with…Brainstorm!

1This one was a lot of fun – despite all the gobbledegook.  Whenever the conversation turned to the gate bridge, Akemi’s eyes seemed to glaze over.  But they were bright and alert for all of the McKay-Keller moments.  “Some part is very boring, talk about global warming.  But I laughed a couple of times.  I found funny. And I liked the romantic scenes.”

Note for the costume department from Akemi: “Didn’t like Jewel’s dress and boots.”

She loved the Carl Binder Memorial Theatre but wondered why Carl got the honours and not, say, Brad or Robert who no doubt wondered: “Why my name is not on the theatre?”

On the burgeoning romance: “I liked the fact McKay and Jewel loveoo loveoo.”

But she wasn’t a fan of the practical ice effects: “Looks fake.”

On the moment where McKay sweeps up a wet and freezing Keller, gets her to safety, and then the two exchange a kiss: “Titanic!”

Overall: “Like it, but not very Stargatety.”

Wow.  This has been all over the news here:

1http://www.petsearcherscanada.com/stolen-french-bulldog-in-vancouver-do-you-recognize-this-woman2/

If you live in the Vancouver area, check out the video and maybe help identify this sorry excuse for a human being.

Capsule reviews of all the books I read last month…

1

Blood Kin by Steve Rasnic Tem

A southern gothic tale that alternates between the 1930′s and the present day.  It tells the parallel stories of a women and her grandson and their respective battles against supernatural forces in the southern Appalachians, all related to a mysterious crate buried deep in the kudzu-infested grounds of their family property.  Moody and effectively atmospheric but, at times, slow-moving and disjointed.  It starts strong, lags in the middle, and then culminates in an explosion of frenzied horror.

1In the Miso Soup by Ryu Murakami

A young man who specializes in guiding foreigners on red light tours of Tokyo begins to suspect that there may be more to his latest client than meets the eye. Is this strange American merely eccentric, or could he be the serial killer responsible for some recent gruesome murders?  As the mystery builds and our protagonist is drawn inexorably deeper, things begin to take a turn for the bizarre. Incredibly engaging and unnerving – until the sudden and inexplicable supernatural twist late in the hitherto grounded book.  That’s when the wheels come off.

1The Barrow by Mark Smythe

A rousing fantasy actioner in the spirit of Joe Abercrombie’s First Law series. Violence, humor, and colourful characters abound in this tale of a group of unlikely heroes on a quest for a fabled sword.  It’s a gritty, lively adventure and a hell of a fun read, but my enjoyment was seriously hampered by some explicit sex scenes that, quite frankly, read like submissions to Letters to Penthouse.

1Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell

As is often the case with collections, this one is a mixed bag – but there’s no denying the inventiveness of the strange stories contained herein.  Like the tale of the reformed vampires who have retired to the Italian countryside where the juice of fresh lemons slakes their thirst for blood.  Or the one about about the exploited mutant female workers of a Japanese silk factory.  Or the one about the young boys who discover a scarecrow that eerily resembles someone they used to bully…  Recommended for those who appreciate inspired, slice-of-life narratives (and, FYI, “slice-of-life” is writer code for “doesn’t have an ending”).

1The Walking Dead (volume 20) by Robert Kirkman

“All Out War”, Part 1.  Well, “Preamble to All Out War” would probably be more accurate.  Rick and co. and their newfound allies take the fight to Negan’s doorstep.  And things get ugly – with the promise of still uglier things to come. Darker, deeper, and, frankly, better than the television series.

1Harbour by John Ajvide Lindqvist

Two years after the mysterious disappearance of his six year old daughter, a man returns to his family home on a remote island – and discovers the community hides a dark secret.  Chilling, at times unnerving, the novel is somewhat reminiscent of Stephen King’s grounded small-town horror.  Unique in certain respects but, overall, not quite enough to set it apart in a very crowded field.  Still, an above-average horror read.

1The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls

The book opens with our narrator, Jeannette, on her way to a New York City function, when her cab stops beside a homeless women rooting through the trash. Upon closer scrutiny, Jeannette realizes that homeless woman is, in fact, her mother.  And so begins one of the most amazing books I’ve read in recent memory. The blurb on the back of the jacket does it an enormous disservice, painting it as a bleak autobiographical account of woman growing up in an abusive family.  It’s actually quite touching, uplifting – and incredibly funny, reminiscent of David Sedaris at his very darkest.  One of my Top 10 books of all time.  Go read it!

1Peter Panzerfaust (volume 1) by Kurtis J. Wiebe

It’s Peter Pan in WWII as Peter leads a group of young orphans from Calais to Paris.  Complicating matters for them = nazis!  No magic but certain aspects of the story stretch credulity.

1The Circle by David Eggers

Our young heroine lands a job working for The Circle, a cutting edge internet company that is Google, Facebook, and Yahoo rolled into one.  Before she knows it, she is at the forefront of a wave of technological advancements that will revolutionize social interaction.  But at what price?  A smart, scary book that explores the potentially insidious consequences of our increasingly “connected” lives.  It takes a while to get going and the big “surprise reveal” at book’s end isn’t all that surprising at all, but it nevertheless delivers a powerful message on our increasing willingness to relinquish privacy and freedom in exchange for convenience.

1We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

Inspired by an experiment in the 1930′s in which a husband and wife research team raised a baby chimp in their home as a member of their family, this novel offers a fictional account of a similar experiment run some sixty years later – and its heartbreaking effects on those involved.  Our narrator is Rosemary, a woman who reflects back on her childhood, growing up with a human brother and chimpanzee sister – until the dark day her sister, Fern, was taken away.  The loss of their beloved family members has far-reaching consequences for all of them. Some fifteen years later, Rosemary reflects back on her time with Fern and tries to learn the truth about her sister’s fate.  It’s rare I read a truly great book, even rarer for me to read two back to back, but that’s exactly what happened.  Right after reading Jeannette Walls’ The Glass Castle, I picked up this book – and was equally bowled over.  Humorous and poignant.  A wonderful book.

1Ack-Ack Macaque by Gareth Powell

A monkey of another kind is the titular hero of this alt history romp that features a royal conspiracy, nuclear-powered airships, VR ninja nazis, and poachable portable souls.  It’s silly fast-paced fun, but the sloppy villains and a maudlin love story really throw a wrench into the works.

Continuing our Stargate: Atlantis re-watch with…Remnants!

1I approached the re-watch of this episode with some trepidation, not because I was worried that Akemi wouldn’t like it but because I feared that I wouldn’t.  After all, I’d been reviewing my episodes in particular with very critical eyes and, to be honest, I’m a lot less happy with the results now than I was years ago.  Back in the day, this one had been a personal favorites, so I was curious as to how it would survive the test of time.  As it turned out – quite well.  Of all of the episodes I wrote for the last two Stargate incarnations (SGA and SGU), this one ranks as one of my faves.  It still holds up.  And it was especially satisfying watching this with Akemi who, despite English being her second language, greatly enjoyed it.  In fact, she declared it: “My favorite of your episodes. ”  High praise indeed.  She loved the humor, the quick pacing, and was delighted by the unexpected twists – especially the final one in which it is revealed that McKay had been fooled all along as well…

Ever-appreciative of the trademark Stargate humor – and a certain Robert Picardo: “I find many funny scenes.  Especially with Bob.”

On the admittedly talky reveal: “That scene was difficult but cool.  I like it.”

On when her suspicions were first raised that maybe something was up – and Kolya’s punching prowess: “I was wondering.  Bad guy punching him thirty times and he’s still alive.  Just scratches.  Not losing teeth.  Guy is not good at punching people.”

On another red flag: “I thought too expensive for Sheppard without hand for rest of series.  Not like old man on Walking Dead.  Major character.  DingDingding!  Price go so high.”

Overall: “I like it.  Funny.   Not too scary.”

 

Akemi’s birthday…

Picking up a selection of home made marshmallows at Achimallows pop-up stand.

Picking up a selection of home made marshmallows at Archimallows pop-up stand.

The selection

The selection

1

Birthday lunch at Bel Cafe.  Banh Mi for me.

Birthday lunch at Bel Cafe. Banh Mi for me.

And spicy chicken salad and a matcha latte for Akemi.

And spicy chicken salad and a matcha latte for Akemi.

And some hazelnut drags to go.  I'm a sucker for those complimentary samples.

And some hazelnut dragees to go. I’m a sucker for those complimentary samples.

New running shoes, a.k.a. new chew toys for Lulu.

New running shoes, a.k.a. new chew toys for Lulu.

Then, over to Main Street to check out the Candy Meister truck.

Then, over to Main Street to check out the Candy Meister truck.

1

And, of course, her favorites - and the reason we chase this truck around town - the handmade marshmallows.

And, of course, her favorites – and the reason we chase this truck around town – the handmade marshmallows.

An afternoon walk/roll with the dogs.

An afternoon walk/roll with the dogs.

Doggy bath time.

Doggy bath time.

Sushi dinner at Miku Restaurant

Sushi dinner at Miku Restaurant

Drinks.  For her, some sort of Yuzi liquor.

Drinks. For her, some sort of Yuzi liquor.

For me, the sake sampler.

For me, the sake sampler.

And the "lotus root salad" that was served, completely devoid of lotus roots.  When I asked about this, I was informed that they were out.  Really?

And the “lotus root salad” that was served, completely devoid of lotus roots. When I asked about this, I was informed that they were out. Really? On the bright side, our sushi was served with the expected fish.

And, instead of birthday cake, Akemi opted for birthday gelato at Bella Gelateria.  Yes, it's that good!

And, instead of birthday cake, Akemi opted for birthday gelato at Bella Gelateria. Yes, it’s that good!

Continuing our Stargate: Atlantis re-watch with…The Prodigal!

1Another Carl Binder-san spectacular.  I loved this episode even more on repeat viewing.  It’s got action, humor, and high-stakes developments with all of our characters in play (even Zelenka, Lorne, and Amelia Banks).  Fast-paced fun!

And Akemi agreed.  She laughed out loud a couple of times, jumped at others, and seemed just as anxious as Teyla when she was in hiding with her baby.  The night time establishers of the city all lit up never fail to amaze, and the “really cool fighting scenes” in this one wowed her as well, especially the final showdown at the top of the tower (Again, thanks to Mark Savela and our VFX crew and James Bamford and our stunts crew).  Her only quibble with this episode: “I’m so sad I didn’t see any scenes with Jewel.  Where’s Jewel?”  I dunno.  Night off?

She was at her most animated when Sheppard almost tumbles off the tower and is left dangling: “Now Mike Dopud can take over team!”

When Teyla approaches Michael hanging on by his fingertips: “Kick him off.”

And when she does just that: “What?!  He isn’t really dead, is he?”  And when I informed her that, yes, he was: “Wow.  Michael die.  Are you sure?  Who will they fight?”  No one!  The last six episodes of the final season will feature scenes of them sitting around, talking about their feelings.

And a closing observation as the end credits started to roll: “Sheppard never die, ne?  Don’t you think so?  Why not?”

Hey!  Great news, Mrs. Doubtfire fans.  21 years later, a sequel is finally in the works: http://www.cinemablend.com/new/Mrs-Doubtfire-2-Works-42606.html

It will follow in the rich tradition of Basic Instinct 2, Blues Brothers 2000, Escape from L.A, and Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights – as sequels that were released after over a decade had passed since the original graced the big screen.  Here are some notable others…

The Evening Star, sequel to Terms of Endearment, released 13 years later.

The Two Jakes, sequel to Chinatown, released 16 years later.

An American Werewolf in Paris, sequel to An American Werewolf in London, released 16 years later.

The Rage: Carrie II, sequel to Carrie, released 22 years later.

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, sequel to Wall Street, released 22 years later.

Psycho II, sequel to Psycho, released 22 years later.

The Odd Couple II, sequel to The Odd Couple, released 29 years later.

And here are some sequels  either rumoured to be in the works, in production, or coming soon to a theater near you…

Bad Santa 2 (11 years later)

Beetlejuice 2 (16 years later)

Blade Runner 2 (22 years later)

Dumb and Dumber To (20 years later)

Goonies 2 (29 years later)

Independence Day 2 (18 years later)

Rounders 2 (26 years later)

Shakespeare in Love 2 (16 years later)

Top Gun 2 (28 years later)

Trainspotting 2 (18 years later)

Triplets (sequel to Twin – 26 years later)

Who Framed Roger Rabbit 2 (26 years later)

Zoolander 2 (13 years later)

Which one are you looking forward to the least?

The afore-mentioned lists got me thinking about some of the great movies that REALLY need sequels.  Dear Hollywood, if they’re not already in the works, might I suggest:

The Sixth Sense 2: The Seventh Sense

Apocalypse Now 2: I Love the Smell of Napalm at Night Too!

Forrest Gump 2: Still Running

Casablanca 2: Play It Again, Sam

Better Off Dead 2: I Want my Two Dollars!  Plus Interest!  Which Would Now Make it About Two Fifty!

A Few Good Men: You Couldn’t Handle the Truth So We Apportioned it over Two Movies

Titanic 2: My Heart Still Going On

On the Waterfront 2: The Contender

Taxi Driver 2: Are You STILL Talkin’ to Me?

Field of Dreams 2: If You Produce It, They Will Come

Gone With the Wind: Tomorrow is Another Movie

Citizen Kane 2: Charlie and Rosebud, the Early Years

Continuing our Stargate: Atlantis re-watch with…Inquisition!

1Clip show alert!  Clip show alert!  Alas, the notion of the money-saver was completely lost on Akemi who, partway through Inquisition, turned to me, brow furrowed and remarked: “Just replaying parts of episodes we’ve already seen.”  Well, yes.  That’s the point of the clip show, the high point of any season.  It’s a very special episode that, in its short run time, manages to pack in all of the very best of what has come before.  It’s like a bowlful of only the red skittles.  That have passed, undigested through the alimentary canal of an Asian palm civet cat.

Apparently, they don’t do that sort of thing in Japan.

Surprisingly, however, this episode went over quite well, owing to the fact that many of these repeat clips were actually new to Akemi who missed seasons 2 through 4.  Plenty of “oohs” and “aaahs” throughout those amazing space battles.

“Toby!” she called when actor Thobias Slezak – and occasional guest to our home during the football season – showed up on screen.  Although it was, I thought, a sizeable enough appearance, she was somewhat disappointed: “Toby’s part is very small again [a reference to his turn as the doomed Peter in SGU's Visitation].  Too small!”

And a minor quibble for the prop department.  She hated the glasses Woolsey and Sheppard were drinking whisky out of at episode’s end because we own those very same glasses and it shattered the illusion: “Same glass as you are drinking almond milk out of.”

Overall, even though she had a hard time following (and I had an equally hard time explaining): “I liked it.  I was happy to see so much computer graphics.  I liked the fact it summarized everything because I missed so many episodes.”  And, she’s up to date!

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