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Why do Japanese people hate root beer?  http://en.rocketnews24.com/2014/11/21/why-almost-all-japanese-people-hate-root-beer/

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But, on the other hand, they do seem to LOVE their tomato/cherry and carrot/orange ice creams:  http://www.tsunagujapan.com/40-haagen-dazs-flavors-only-sold-in-japan/

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Polish lawmakers take stand against pantsless “hermaphrodite” I used to spend time all the time in my younger years: http://www.vanityfair.com/vf-hollywood/2014/11/winnie-the-pooh-hermaphrodite

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13 character posters for the upcoming live-action Attack on Titan movie: http://www.toplessrobot.com/2014/11/13_character_posters_for_live-action_attack_on_tit.php

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Mmmmm.  21 Truly Upsetting Vintage Food Advertisements: http://www.buzzfeed.com/rachelysanders/upsetting-vintage-food-advertisements

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6 Movies That Got Banned by Countries for Hilarious Reasons: http://www.cracked.com/article_21726_6-movies-that-got-banned-by-countries-hilarious-reasons.html

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“This tea tastes like the bitter sweat from a salaryman’s collar.”

- Akemi, the other day, on the green tea she was served at a hotel restaurant.

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So it’s come to this.  Bubba is now an unwitting model for Akemi’s inspired creations.  Here a simple towel transforms him into a cross-special Princess Leia.

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Keeping with the Star Wars theme, here is Bubba again, this time doing his best ewok imitation (hat courtesy of Akemi and her knitting skills).

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Check out Lulu’s “Why are you doing this to me?” look.

I feel kind of sorry for the dogs but Akemi insist they actually enjoy dressing up.  They LOVE it!

1Fortunately, Akemi’s creativity isn’t limited to the dogs.  Check out the bento box she prepared for this past Wednesday’s breakfast.  Kawaii, ne?

So, what inspired/creative thing have YOU done of late?

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The return of my bento box breakfast.  Peanut butter oatmeal with cherries and burnt white chocolate for dessert.

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My every-chilly girlfriend.

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Almost 16-year old Jelly, already in the Christmas spirit.

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Jelly sleeps off her walkies.

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Akemi’s latest passion = popcorn!

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And, apparently, knitting!

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Well, at least her ears are warm.

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Getting together with the gang for some Sunday football over some wings and nachos: Trevor Finn, Robert C. Cooper, and Alex Levine.

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Oh, my.  My Snow Monkeys are about to move on to a 7-4 record, and 2nd place in our Fantasy Football League.  I smell championship!

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I woke up this morning and it was snowing.

Snowing!!!

And the temperature has dropped about 20 degrees in a day.

It’s so cold that Akemi refuses to go out.  She has vowed to never leave our apartment until spring.

I feel terribly, for her and for the dogs, especially Lulu and her super-sensitive paws.  As much as it pains me to do so, I think we’re going to have to pick up doggy boots.  Yes, we’ve become THOSE people.

So, hey, we did that live stream Skype audition session the other day and, as expected, it went poorly.  As Trevor pointed out, for an application software that specializes in video chats, Skype video quality is surprisingly…um, what’s the word? Oh, yeah.  Shit.  And I feel “shit” is really too kind a description of the picture and audio quality we had to sit through – this despite upping to unlimited bandwidth. The video was so choppy I felt like  I was playing Mario Bros. on my Commodore 64.  If any of you have stock in Skype, I advise you to sell now.  We ended up switching to FaceTime and things went much more smoothly after that.  So, to break down the pros of each application:

Facetime: Better video and audio quality, easier to use.

Skype: Only one syllable and perhaps easier to pronounce.

Our trusty Story Editor/Script Coordinator/Annoying Noisy Lunch Chewer Trevor Finn alerted me to the following big news story:

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http://www.theonion.com/articles/astronomers-discover-planet-identical-to-earth-wit,37437/

Amazing, no?

In other science-related news, I’m sure you’re all aware by now that the Philae probe scored a bullseye landing.  At some point, I suspect, they will trigger the charge that will disport the asteroid’s earth-bound trajectory, saving our planet from certain doom.

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Two down, one to go.  The Toronto and Vancouver second round casting sessions are in the books and only the L.A. session remains.  Be Vanessa and I won’t be able to attend, we’re going to live stream it to the production offices.  Theoretically anyway.  I imagine it’ll be sort of like those interactive video conferences that look so cool in the movies but never quite work out the way you want them to in real life, with participants dropping out, losing audio, losing video, the whole punctuated by the background caterwaul of children or dogs in desperate need of feeding.  Still, we’re going to give it the ole college try (let’s say more Devry than Harvard).  Festivities get underway at noon PST, which means we’ll be watching well into the twilight hours.  Guess we’ll be ordering pizza!

The plan is to have our selects, Top 3 for each of the seven roles, by early next week.  And that’s when the decision-making will get REALLY tough…

Paul delivered his first draft of episode #10, the first part of our late season two-parter.  He promises to have #11 to us before his weekend arrival – which means I’ll be able to do my pass on #12 (already written) have that out by early next week.  Leaving us with…only the grand (season one) finale to write.  Or, rather, finish since I’m already 15 pages in.

Meanwhile, no rest for our awesome construction crew who have been working their little tool belts off -

Right this way, step right up...

Right this way, step right up…

On our way to the bridge.

On our way to the bridge.

The crew of The Raza = Alison Hepburn and Trevor Finn

The crew of The Raza = Alison Hepburn and Trevor Finn. 

The bridge in its infancy.

The bridge in its infancy.

Corridor going one way.

Corridor going one way.

And the other.

And the other.

Hey!  We’re on instagram!  http://instagram.com/dark_mattertv

And facebook: https://www.facebook.com/darkmatterseries

And twitter:  https://twitter.com/dark_matterTV

Tell your friends!

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THIS is an outrage!  Look at this picture.  That’s powdered sugar on my shirt.  And how, pray tell, did it get on my shirt?  It got there because the sfogliatelle (Italian pastry) I was having for breakfast exploded when I bit into it, raining its dusted coating onto my lap and shirt front.  And who’s fault was that?!  Correct!  Alison and Trevor’s!  Had they had the foresight to blow the excess powdered sugar off my Italian pastry for me, this never would have happened.

I mean, seriously!  Do you think Shonda Rhimes puts up with this crap?

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At part of my continuing efforts to offer you unique behind-the-scenes insights denied fans of other shows, I proudly present Wednesday’s Dark Matter lunch menu which included bean salad, stuffed supremes, and pies & cookies.

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Back on the home front, Bubba is settling in nicely.  Just like Vancouver.  Different laundry basket, but same idea.

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Lulu does her imitation of an anaconda swallowing a skunk.

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Me and Jelly, hanging out.

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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.  :(

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.

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