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Well, perfect timing!  Guess what hits Netflix on my birthday? That’s right!  Dark Matter season 2, all 13 incredible episodes, from Hyperion-8 to EOS-7, will be available for your viewing pleasure on October 16th.  What better way to spend the special day than by binge-watching the show!

Review your favorite episodes!  Catch up on what you missed!  And prepare for an even crazier, team-focused, action-driven, suspense and surprise-filled third season in which you’ll learn…

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The fate of our crew following the destruction of EOS-7.

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A shocking revelation about FIVE’s past.

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The truth behind White Dwarf Technologies’ prototype project and the mysterious black entity.

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A shocking revelation about SIX’s past.

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Who traveled over to our reality aboard the alt. Marauder.

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A surprising secret FIVE has been keeping from the rest of the crew.

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Where Lieutenant Anders’ allegiances lie.

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A shocking revelation about TWO’s past.

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The whereabouts of Victor and his fellow rebel Androids.

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The shocking revelation about THREE’s past that RYO/FOUR was keeping from him in our season finale.

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The shocking truth about the Android’s origins.

To name but a select few of the stories we’ve got in the works for you.

Let the guesswork begin!

Whew.  What an exhausting day spent dealing with an avalanche of issues: dogs, Dark Matter, banking, and bills.

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Bubba went in for some follow-up tests: a physical examination, an ultrasound, and some fine needle aspirations of his lymph nodes – as well as another growth on his leg.  All this on the heels of a surgery that saw the removal of two masses on his head, one of which was apparently cause for alarm since it crossed over into the malignant category.  The concern was two-fold.  First is the possibility of a recurrence of the growths.  A way to forestall that would be to go ahead and remove a much larger section of the previously affected area – which would, ultimately, include his right ear.  We elected not to go for this more aggressive procedure and, instead, yes I’m going to say it – play it by year.  The second issue was the possibility that other areas of his body had been compromised. Fortunately, all of the results came back clean, much to my relief (and Akemi’s who ended up wiping away her nervous tears on the back of my shirt).  They went ahead and gave Bubba an anti-cancer vaccine which we’ll need to follow up with once we’re back in Toronto.

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Speaking of Toronto, it looks like Hog Town will have to wait a week as our scheduled Vancouver departure October 4th will now be the date of Lulu’s surgery. Our girl is suffering from rear leg ataxia and, according to today’s tests, her MRI is abnormal at the T11/12 vertebrae where the area has seen some deterioration that, if left untreated, will eventually result in full paralysis.  As a result, and because the procedure is tricky, we’re going to wait until Tuesday for the lab to send back a 3D imaging of the affected area before proceeding with surgery.

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Above, a 3D imagining of a section of a pug’s thoracic spine.

All this to say, I’ve had to completely re-juggle our travel schedule.  Instead of all of us traveling the morning of October 4th, Lulu will be undergoing surgery on that day.  Then, two days later, I will fly solo to Toronto the afternoon of Thursday, October 6th.  I’ll hopefully get in some preliminary meetings, spend Thanksgiving with mom and sis, then fly back the early afternoon of Monday, October 10th.  The following morning, October 11th, the entire family flies back to Toronto.

And so, the better part of my day was spent talking to specialists and driving to and from appointments with specialists.  I also got in some writing – and finished my rewrite of 301.  A few patchy spots which I’ll go over tomorrow, but all in all it’s going to be a great opener.  You’re gonna love it!

As for the banking and bills all I’ll say is: “Isn’t online banking supposed to make things easier?”.

Of note – today, I tried the ghost pepper chili my sister and Daisy brought over from their garden in Montreal…

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So, what was the verdict?

Pretty freakin’ hot!  This despite the fact I removed all the seeds and consumed it in quarters accompanied with bread, butter, and avocado.  Interestingly enough, I had a much rougher time last night when, while eating a batch of mild-to-medium shishito peppers I noticed a larger, multi-colored variety that found its way into the batch.  I popped it into my mouth, not even giving it a second thought, and the second I swallowed it, I started hiccuping uncontrollably.  For a good twenty minutes.

Meanwhile, on the fantasy football front, my Snow Monkeys fell to 0-3.  Trailing my opponent by 31 points going into the Monday night game, we rallied and came storming back, closing the gap…

Well, almost –

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Tomorrow, let’s talk Dark Matter!

You know what I hate?  More than being late?  More than driving around, looking for parking?  Even more than the New England Patriots?  Rewrites.  I was a notorious rewrite-hater back in the Stargate days, so much so that years after Paul and I had stopped co-writing, we still shared script credits because, while I was writing most of the originals, he was doing ALL of the rewrites and it was only fair.

Despite what executives will tell you, there is no such as a “small rewrite” because, if you’ve done your job properly, you will have crafted every scene, each dialogue run, in a smooth progression, inexorably building toward a conclusive payoff. Remove or change one piece, and the entire structure risks collapsing like a Jenga structure.  There are no small rewrites.  Only rewrites.  And even bigger rewrites.

[Interesting fact.  If you do a google image search for “hate rewrites”, roughly 30 of those first 110 results will link back to this blog.]

Having said all that, I’m about halfway through the rewrite on Episode 301 and it’s actually coming along quite nicely.  EP Jay Firestone’s notes were pretty good and I was able to address all of his issues and implement most of his suggestions.  Hopefully, I’ll finish up tomorrow after which it’ll be smoooth sailing…until the next rewrite.

Thanks to everyone who weighed in with their opinions on what they did NOT want to see in Dark Matter’s third season.  80+ comments so far and counting!

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Hey, remember when you were in elementary school and you had a falling out with a classmate?  And they’d do something petty like not invite you to their birthday party BUT invite your best friend in an attempt to curry favor with them?  Well, this kinda happened to me.  TODAY!  I shit you not.  My response was stunned bemusement.  Seriously?  Are we suddenly eight year olds again?

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Well, tomorrow’s the day!  For Bubba, it’ll be blood work, an ultrasound, and an anti-cancer vaccine.  For Lulu, it’s a chest x-ray, an MRI, a catscan, and an uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (say THAT three times fast!).  Wish ’em luck!

So, what do you NOT want to see in Dark Matter’s third season?

I always get requests for the things fans WANT to see in the show but rarely do I ever hear about what fans DON’T want to see…until after the fact.  So, weigh in. I’m asking.  I’m curious because at the beginning of every season, there will often be some…creative disagreement.  I like to think that, having spent 15+ years of my television career writing and producing SF television, I have a fair notion of what scifi fans do NOT want to see.  BUT – I could be wrong.  So here’s your chance to confirm my suspicions…or set me straight.  Please leave your rejections and repudiations in the comments section.

The long overdue doggy update…

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We first noticed that something was up with Lulu when we used to go to the dog park.  Whenever she would hit a gravely pitch, she’d drag her hind quarters as if paralyzed.  It would only happen on gravel so I didn’t give it much thought.  But gradually, we noticed she had started to slow down and didn’t seem as enthusiastic about her walks as she used to.  We brought her to the vet and then a neurologist in Toronto, and neither could pinpoint a problem.  Maybe it was old age.  But then, a couple of months ago, at a french bulldog meet-up, someone informed me that these movements could be an indication of some neural abnormality and I should really get a second opinion.  So, we did, visiting another neurologist whose initial tests suggested, yes, it could be a neural issue.  We’re set up for another round of tests.  Tomorrow, Lulu will go under a mild anesthetic so the clinic can do some x-rays, an ultrasound, and run some bloodwork.  If the initial findings warrant, she’ll undergo an MRI soon after.  And, if the MRI confirms the initial suspicions, she’ll have to undergo surgery – which can hopefully be scheduled before our return to Toronto, next Tuesday.  While under general anesthetic, she may also have corrective surgery on her soft palate because we’ve noticed she’s been having trouble breathing lately, occasionally having to sit up a few times a night to catch her breath.

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Last year, Bubba had a lump removed from his head.  The initial biopsy suggested it was malignant but a post-surgical analysis revealed it was benign.  Then, a couple of months ago, we noticed a couple of new lumps on his head.  The vet, again, suggested we have them removed so we scheduled surgery at a local clinic. Days later, we noticed a lump on his leg.  We had that tested as well and the results of that proved inconclusive – but it was strongly recommended that we have that lump removed as well while he was in for the surgery.  So, we requested the vet forward the information and request to the clinic.  They said they would. But it was only after Bubba’s surgery that we discovered the information was sent after the fact.  The lump was not removed.  We were referred to an oncologist who suggested Bubba be given an anti-cancer vaccine – but only after he goes in for an ultrasound (Tuesday) to make the situation isn’t any worse.

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To those wondering about my Snow Monkeys, they are headed to a blistering 0-3 record in fantasy football league play.   A combination of bad drafting, poor management decisions, and plain bad play have all contributed to our anemic start. It’s been truly a team effort.

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My last meal in Tokyo was an unagi don at Chikuyotei in Ginza.

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My first meal in Vancouver was duck confit, buttermilk biscuit, with onion gravy and a fried egg at Mission in Kitsilano.

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And their crazy-delicious french toast.

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Then, over to Beta5 for a Butter Beer Sundae: chocolate stout ice cream, butterscotch ripple ice cream, chocolate wand casting a cotton candy spell, feathers of owl, wizard’s hat, chocolate cake, vanilla chantilly.

img_0748A little something I picked up at Narita Airport – Wasabi KitKats.  Surprisingly subtle – and tasty!

 

Akemi excitedly awaiting her luggage.

The dogs model their new stuff!  Lulu in her new bomber jacket…

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Bubba sports his new backpack –

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Double trouble –

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Akemi and Bubba, reunited!

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Now, it’s Bubba’s turn to go on vacation –

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I’m exhausted.

Tomorrow, I start reviewing script notes.  Hurray.

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Well, it’s been a fun two weeks in Japan and, while I’d hoped the time away would prove restful, I’m actually more wound up and stressed out now than I was upon my arrival two weeks ago.  My bid to “get away from it all” proved fabulously unsuccessful.  And so I’ll return, vexed, seething, and extremely cantankerous.  Woe to those who choose to get on my bad side.  I’m gearing up for battle!

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Or, if you prefer the classics…

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Let’s do this!

Well, for our last day of fun, Akemi and I hit a bunch of places…

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And early(ish) morning walk through Tsukiji.  Check out the levels of marbling on that wagyu!

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Soba lunch in Omotesando at a restaurant that was nowhere near as popular as the others in the neighborhood with their snaking lines, but was delicious nevertheless.

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A little shopping in Ginza.

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A terrific final dinner at Sushi Taichi, located down a dark, sketchy-looking alley in Ginza.

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Then, hey, just like old times!  A stopover at Star Bar for a drink.

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Yoshida-san recognized me despite my three year absence.

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Then, a short walk to Star Bar’s second Ginza location, Star Bar Ties where our old friend Yamasaki-san was helming the bar.

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We cap our evening with a late night snack in the form of sake-kasu cheesecake in a cup.  We had six to choose from, eventually going with the one described as: “Sweet and refreshing flavor. And a lot of females like it.” (according to Akemi).  Winner!

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Another farewell – this one to Toshiba-san who has been taking great care of us at the hotel for many years.

 Okay, off for lunch at Chikuyotei, one of Akemi’s favorite eel restaurants, then check-out, the 90 minute ride to the airport, the two hour wait to board, the eight and a half hour flight, and, finally, back in Vancouver for 9:35 a.m. (1:35 a.m. Tokyo time) refreshed and ready to start my day!

Today’s entry is dedicated to blog regular maggiemayday.  Wishing you a speedy recovery!

Today marks our last full day in Japan.  Tomorrow, we head back to Canada and I have very mixed feelings about that.

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Yesterday, we met up with Akemi’s sister, Hiromi, at Tokyo Midtown.  While waiting for her to show, I ate one of the largest pistachio cream puffs I’ve ever encountered.

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It was…indescribably good.  I was even thinking about ordering a second but Akemi suggested I just share with her sister.  Share?  SHARE?!!!  Upon her sister’s arrival, she elected to go with the pistachio cream puff as well but, as I’d hoped, insisted she couldn’t possibly eat the whole thing.

Then went ahead and ate the whole. thing.😦

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The Aota sisters, a contrast in styles.

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From Midtown, we headed back to Ginza where we checked out more dessert stops, a toy store, various tableware (I’m thinking of getting myself a dedicated sake cup because I think I’m going to need it), and a kimono shop.

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Akemi and friend.

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At one point, Akemi was browsing the purse section at one of the high end shops when the sales lady tried to sell her on a clutch she was considering…

Her: It’s not unreasonable.  It’s less than two thousand dollars.

Akemi’s eyes widen.

Her: It’s also great for instagram!

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Ah, now THIS is more my speed.  And just in time for Halloween!

Last night, we had a magnificent meal at L’effervescence.  It was Akemi’s first time and she loved it!

On tap for today – a final round of sushi, shopping and, possibly, sweets.

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