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Posts Tagged ‘french bulldogs’

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…

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Today, Lulu attended a networking meeting for french bulldogs.  She made a lot of great connections…

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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

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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?

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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

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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

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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.

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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)

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To be perfectly honest, there was only one thing I missed during my trip to Japan.  And it wasn’t the food or the television or the general comforts of home.  It was the dogs.  Even Akemi, who admittedly never “got” dogs before coming to Canada, could think of nothing but her dear Bubba those last few days in Tokyo.  It was nice to know that they were in great hands.  Our dog-sitter, Christine, stayed at the house with them, sending us daily updates and, occasionally, photos.

As I struggle to readjust back to Pacific Standard Time and scramble to tend to the 101 things that magically did not get done while I was away (This isn’t like Stargate where I could always rely on the infamous script elves), I thought it might be nice (and relaxing) to dedicate this entry to the gang – in pictures (most of them compliments of Christine):

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Here I’ve been wracking my brain, wondering how I could make a living if moved to Japan – when, suddenly, opportunity comes a-knocking: Japan suffers sumo wrestler shortage.  The way I’ve been eating of late, I figure I should be ready for action in about two months.

As much as I’m enjoying myself here in Tokyo, I do miss the dogs back home.  Fortunately, I’m receiving daily updates on the gang from our dog-sitter, Christine – daily updates in the form of email, texts, and, best of all, the occasional pictures…

Jelly. In there somewhere!  Apparently, she’ll head out, rain or shine – provided there are treats involved.

According to Christine, Lulu’s initial enthusiasm for walks has waned as the rain has gotten heavier.

Bubba is apparently just happy to tag along wherever they go.

Hanging out.

We’re slowly adjusting to Tokyo time here, sleeping through most of the night and waking up at a not ungodly hour.  One more week and we should be perfectly synced – just in time to head back home to Vancouver.  Anyway, we went for another morning walk through Ginza.  We had lunch reservations in Roppogni at L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon (Akemi likes it for it’s “cost performance” – in other words, it’s a great deal) for noon.  Rather than walk around for two hours on an empty stomach, decided to pick up a little breakfast.  And by little, I do mean little – specifically a little katsu burger:

Taaasty! I could have eaten a dozen of these. Hey, I’ve still go time.

I picked it up in the basement of the Mitsukoshi department store.  If you’ve never been, you have got to check it out.  The entire floor is packed with sweet and savory ready-to-eat food items, from the casual aforementioned mini katsu burger to high-end pastries.  Just grab your take-out and head up to the ninth floor snacking area.  It’s incredibly child-friendly as well.  Kids even get their own bathroom:

We headed over to Roppongi Hills for another fabulous meal.  Some of the highlights:

My sea urchin gelee/panna cotta.

The sanma (Spanish mackerel) mille-feuille.

My salmon tartare. Akemi changed her mind and proclaimed THIS the best dish of the trip so far.

Foie and fig.

Akemi’s outstanding white fish and mushroom main.

Sea urchin spaghetti with egg yolk and cream.

Foie, double sea urchin, cream – Akemi expressed concern about my high cholesterol meal.  I explained that I actually suffer from low cholesterol and actually need to eat like this to stay healthy.

The chocolate souffle with mint ice cream (that nobody ate. It was so minty, I felt like I was brushing my teeth.)

This super-chocoatey chocolate dessert even outdid the soufflé!

Our lunch guest on this day, Akemi’s friend, Nihei, who graduated from University in Oklahoma.  Oklahoma?

As I familiarize myself with more areas of the city, the pieces of the puzzle slowly fall into place, giving me a fuller picture of Tokyo.  Last night, for instance, I accompanied Akemi to Daikanyama (I call it Dogkanyama because it seems to be pooch central) and happened across Tableaux, one of the very first restaurants I visited on my very first trip to Tokyo some five years ago.  Back then, I had no idea where the place was located – and neither did our cab driver who had to stop and consult a map.  As it turns out, it’s just a few blocks around the corner from the subway station.

A large part of the familiarization process requires me to walk everywhere.  And such was the case later in the night when, after dropping Akemi off for her dinner with the gals, I headed to Omotesando for dinner with my friend Tomomi.  She suggested I take a cab but I decided to hoof it instead, relying on the seemingly crystal clear directions offered up in a Japan Times review of the restaurant.  Use the B1 Exit out of Omotesando station and walk down Aoyama dori, then hang your first left at the lights on Kotti Dori and walk for ten minutes until you hit Roppongi dori.  Take a left at the Fuji Building then wind right down the side street and L’Effervesence will be on your right.  Great.  Except that, in Tokyo, you’ll be lucky to find a street sign, much less an actual address.  Which way was “down” Aoyama dori?  Was that first street actually Kotto dori?  Which street was Roppongi dori?  Miraculously, I managed alright (although, to be precise, the turn is “before” Fujifilm rather than the more nebulous “at”).  I soon found myself walking down a dark alley.  Headed toward me was a middle-aged woman pushing a baby stroller.  If I was writing the horror movie, she would approach me and ask me to help her baby.  Then, the second I approached, a small man who leap up out of the stroller and pierce my eye with a knitting needle.  End scene.

Fortunately, my night was much less harrowing.  I dare say, it was downright amazing.  But the details will have to wait as I’m off to catch the bullet train to Osaka.  Wonder what they’ll serve?

Finally, my sis makes the hard decision for her sweet dog, Aspen, soon.  Sending positive thoughts their way:

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