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Alas, four months later, we’re no closer to finding our dream condo.  Or, more to the point, our dream condo that falls within our budget.  Not in Toronto or Montreal.  So far.  But construction on new condos continues apace and, with indications of a softening market, we’re hopeful…and in no hurry.  Also, I have no idea where my next show will take me so what’s the rush?

Great notes meeting today on Project A, the sci-fi series I’m developing with David Ray.  Solid, character-related input on the outline.  David and I will put our heads together in the coming days, come up with a game plan, and then follow up with a call next week.  If all goes well, I should start writing the pilot shortly.  A fairly challenging series this one, with double world building, complex character dynamics, and a constantly subverted status quo.

Conference call this Thursday for Project B, an adaptation of a forthcoming sci-fi novel.  We’ll be discussing my take on the prospective series after which, hopefully, I’ll be moving forward on development.  I have my fingers crossed for this one. It’s a hell of a lot of fun with a unique tech element at its core.  I’ve read one of the author’s other books and think he’s pretty damn brilliant.  Also, doesn’t hurt that he’s a fan of Dark Matter.

Projects C, E, F, and G are in a holding pattern.  I impatiently await word. Meanwhile…

I had a meeting late last week about Project D, that horror novel to small screen adaptation.  Now it’s less a matter of “if” but “when” the deal closes.  WHEN that happens, things will be move quickly.

Since my last update, another possibility, let’s call it Project H, has entered the mix.  Another horror-themed potential series, this one an original, I forwarded my vision for the show’s first season (and subsequent take on subsequent seasons) this morning.  Fingers crossed.

And tonight, I’m having dinner with Executive Producer Vanessa Piazza to discuss a few more potential collaborations: a couple of novels, a comic book, and three original ideas.

Now this is my kind of busy.  Busy, but not too busy.  Finally got around to watching that final episode of Stranger Things season 2, am four episodes in to the latest season of Black Mirror, and almost finished a terrific Icelandic mystery series called Trapped.  The series lead, Olafur Darri Olaffson, is magnificent.

 

I truly believe that it’s those beloved childhood authors, the one you couldn’t get enough of back when you were in elementary (primary) school that shape you, influencing your creative and character in those formative years.  Your sense of humor, personality and, in some cases, your artistic output can be traced directly back to these early influencers.

There’s no doubt that these five writers (my favorites growing up) made me the writer (and the person) I am today…

William Shakespeare

Comedy!  Tragedy!  Romance!  Children being baked into pies!  What more can a six year old ask for?  My mother gifted me The Complete Works of William Shakespeare in first grade and cherished that leather bound edition, reading each play and assiduously writing up summaries for every act in a dedicated notebook.

Arthur C. Clarke

Of course I read (and watched) a lot of science fiction and there was no author I loved more than Arthur C. Clarke,  Childhood’s End still remains one of my very favorite SF reads.

Agatha Christie

Given my proclivity for twists, turns, shocks, and surprises, is it any wonder I was such an avid reader of the Queen of Mystery?

James Marshall

I didn’t read very many children’s books growing up and, I’d argue, that Marshall’s George and Martha series, about two hippos and best of friends, was really written for adults with a quirky sense of humor.

Chris Claremont

I’ve been reading comic books all of my life and no series has had a greater impact on me than Chris Claremont’s seminal Uncanny X-Men run.

And you?

WATCH…

DARK (Netflix)

A missing child sets four families on a frantic hunt for answers as they unearth a mind-bending mystery that spans three generations.

While it’s easy to draw parallels to Stranger Things, with its youthful protagonists, otherworldly portals, and unexplained child disappearances at the heart of its story, Dark quickly establishes itself as a unique, intricately plotted time travel mystery.

READ…

THE UNSEEN WORLD by Liz Moore

Ada Sibelius is raised by David, her brilliant, eccentric, socially inept single father, who directs a computer science lab in 1980s-era Boston. Home-schooled, Ada accompanies David to work every day; by twelve, she is a painfully shy prodigy. The lab begins to gain acclaim at the same time that David’s mysterious history comes into question. When his mind begins to falter, leaving Ada virtually an orphan, she is taken in by one of David’s colleagues. Soon she embarks on a mission to uncover her father’s secrets: a process that carries her from childhood to adulthood. What Ada discovers on her journey into a virtual universe will keep the reader riveted until The Unseen World’s heart-stopping, fascinating conclusion.

What begins as the heartbreaking tale of a girl slowly losing her father to Alzheimers turns into an intriguing mystery as young Ada discovers some long hidden secrets from her father’s past.  Just when you think you know where it’s going, it surprises you.

CHUBBY’S JAMAICAN KITCHEN – 104, Portland Street, Toronto

Located in a restored circa-1890 row house, Chubby’s melds old and new, inside and out to create a transporting dining experience complete with delicious Caribbean cooking, eclectic design and soulful hospitality.

Since Ackee Tree’s closure five years ago, Akemi and I have missed having a go-to Caribbean restaurant in the area, but with the opening of  Chubby’s Jamaican Kitchen in a refurbished home on Portland Street, things are looking up.  Great service, a wonderful atmosphere, and, most importantly, terrific food.  Highlights of our visit included slow-baked rum punch, Jerk wings, fried plantain, oxtail stew, and the Better Than Sundae to finish (coconut ice cream, rum caramel, banana cotton cake, candied cashews, and a sugar tuile).

When Akemi designed the above-pictured Suji pin, she figured she would place an order for about a hundred, sell sixty, and keep the rest as gifts for friends and family.  24 hours after putting the pins on etsy, she has less than thirty left!Clearly, Suji’s fanbase is hardcore.

If you’re thinking of picking one up, act now.  Supplies are limited!  Order here

And remember… Suji loves you!

Addressing the negative effects of competition, soccer in Olympia is now being played without the ball.

I personally can’t wait for a time when there will no longer be winners and losers – just ambivalent participants.

 

I remember going shopping with my former writer partner way back in the day, and having a salesperson attempt to foist a garish suit upon him.  “No thanks,”he told her.  “I’m not a fan of pink.”  “It’s not pink,”she assured him.  “It’s salmon.”  Brilliant.  Paired with a coconut shirt, parmesan tie, marmalade socks, and merlot shoes, I’m sure he would have looked downright delicious.

If you work retail in a clothing store and are looking for that lexical leg up (or, to a lesser extent, a writer with a loss for chromatic words), check out this Color Thesaurus.  Yo, Parakeet Eyes!  What’s up?!

Let’s take a trip through the Orion Nebula courtesy of the gang at NASA.

 

Since someone asked, here are a few of the great books I read in 2017 that just narrowly missed making my Best Of 2017 list…

Marlena by Julie Buntin

Everything about fifteen-year-old Cat’s new town in rural Michigan is lonely and off-kilter, until she meets her neighbor, the manic, beautiful, pill-popping Marlena. Cat, inexperienced and desperate for connection, is quickly lured into Marlena’s orbit by little more than an arched eyebrow and a shake of white-blond hair. As the two girls turn the untamed landscape of their desolate small town into a kind of playground, Cat catalogues a litany of firsts—first drink, first cigarette, first kiss—while Marlena’s habits harden and calcify. Within the year, Marlena is dead, drowned in six inches of icy water in the woods nearby. Now, decades later, when a ghost from that pivotal year surfaces unexpectedly, Cat must try to forgive herself and move on, even as the memory of Marlena keeps her tangled in the past.

Less by Andrew Sean Greer

You are a failed novelist about to turn fifty. A wedding invitation arrives in the mail: your boyfriend of the past nine years is engaged to someone else. You can’t say yes–it would be too awkward–and you can’t say no–it would look like defeat. On your desk are a series of invitations to half-baked literary events around the world.

QUESTION: How do you arrange to skip town?

ANSWER: You accept them all.

What would possibly go wrong? Arthur Less will almost fall in love in Paris, almost fall to his death in Berlin, barely escape to a Moroccan ski chalet from a Saharan sandstorm, accidentally book himself as the (only) writer-in-residence at a Christian Retreat Center in Southern India, and encounter, on a desert island in the Arabian Sea, the last person on Earth he wants to face. Somewhere in there: he will turn fifty. Through it all, there is his first love. And there is his last.

Because, despite all these mishaps, missteps, misunderstandings and mistakes, LESS is, above all, a love story.

Swarm and Steel by Michael R. Fletcher

Zerfall awakens in an alley, wounded and unable to remember her past. Chased by an assassin out into the endless wastes of the desert, she is caught, disfigured, and left for dead. Her scabbard is empty, but the need for answers—and the pull of her sword—will draw her back to the city-states.

When Jateko, a naïve youth, accidentally kills a member of his own tribe, he finds himself outcast and pursued across the desert for his crimes. Crazed from dehydration, dying of thirst and hunger, he stumbles across Zerfall.

Hunted by assassins and bound by mutual need, both Zerfall and Jateko will confront the Täuschung, an ancient and deranged religion ruled by a broken fragment of Zerfall’s mind. Swarm, the Täuschung hell, seethes with imprisoned souls, but where gods—real or imagined—meddle in the affairs of man, the cost is high.

Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong

Goodbye, Vitamin is the wry, beautifully observed story of a woman at a crossroads, as Ruth and her friends attempt to shore up her father’s career; she and her mother obsess over the ambiguous health benefits – in the absence of a cure – of dried jellyfish supplements and vitamin pills; and they all try to forge a new relationship with the brilliant, childlike, irascible man her father has become.

The Rules Do No Apply by Ariel Levy

When thirty-eight-year-old New Yorker writer Ariel Levy left for a reporting trip to Mongolia in 2012, she was pregnant, married, financially secure, and successful on her own terms. A month later, none of that was true.

Levy picks you up and hurls you through the story of how she built an unconventional life and then watched it fall apart with astonishing speed. Like much of her generation, she was raised to resist traditional rules–about work, about love, and about womanhood.

Age of Assassins by RJ Barker

Girton Club-foot, apprentice to the land’s best assassin, still has much to learn about the art of taking lives. But his latest mission tasks him and his master with a far more difficult challenge: to save a life. Someone, or many someones, is trying to kill the heir to the throne, and it is up to Girton and his master to uncover the traitor and prevent the prince’s murder.

In a kingdom on the brink of civil war and a castle thick with lies Girton finds friends he never expected, responsibilities he never wanted, and a conspiracy that could destroy an entire kingdom.

My favorites…

Allies #8 (cover art by Denis Popov)

I’m a sucker for sci-fi and this cover is all kinds of intriguing in its premise of discovery.  We are on the inside looking out of…what?  A stasis pod, a ship, some sort of future medical iso unit?  Who are we?  WHAT are we?

Coyotes #3 (cover art by Caitlin Yarsky)

Origami cranes light the way, illuminating the three cross-wielding women.  Upon closer scrutiny, note the one in the foreground sharpening hers, no doubt intending to drive home a point.

She-Hulk vol. 2 (cover art by John Tyler Christopher)

Since watching The Shape of Water, I’m all about the color green and its highlighted here in the hair, the eyes, and what appear to be charges of energy. Closer scrutiny of the eye reveals two interested things: 1) The woman in the reflection appears to be trapped in the pupil. 2) It’s all green, white, and various shades of grey except…for the red vein streaking in the white of her eyes.  Nice touch.

New Super-Man #19 (cover art by Rainier Beredo and Philip Tan)

This one gets top marks for me for a few reasons.  Overall, it’s just great artwork. I really like inclusion of the cell phone, suggesting this woman in mortal peril still can’t resist capturing the moment for posterity.  It seems crazy but really a fair reflection of our growing technological interconnectivity.  Finally – invariably, in these save-the-day type covers, the superheroes are cool as cucumbers.  Not here. Our hero looks downright freaked out.

Normandy Gold #5 (cover art by Claudia Ianniciello)

This one really captures the spirit of a bygone era.  Very cool.

Flash #38 (cover art by Hi-Fi and Barry Kitson)

It’s not very often a comic book cover makes me laugh, but this one did.

Master Inquisitors, vol. 7 (cover art by Andrea Cuneo)

Well now, this is…unnerving.  From the intricacies of the background architecture to the spiderweb fractures of the molten face, that’s some fine attention to detail. Those freaked out kids in the BG are also a nice touch.

Vision: The Complete Series (cover art by Mike Del Mundo)

On the heels of the holidays, this cover offers us a digital Christmas tree with varied vibrant superhero/villain-themed ornaments.  A terrific cover for an equally terrific book.

The first rule of Dark Matter Fight Club is Post About Dark Matter Fight Club! Pictured above: Director Bruce McDonald and Co-Executive Producer Robbie David at the official weigh-in for their big match.

While we’re on the subject, Dark Matter’s Solara Shockley (and Brazilian Top Team Purple Belt and 2 time IBJJF World Champion Ayisha Issa) and her partner’s gym is offering a stunt workshop, “Fighting For Film & TV”.  If you’re interested, check it out here:

https://4pointsbjj.com/4pointsfilmtv

In case you missed it, this was a nice little article by SciFiMoviePage’s Chris Suide that does a nice job of summing up the feelings of many Dark Matter fans (though I don’t agree with the take on Killjoys.  Nothing but love and respect for Michelle Lovretta and her crew.)

In Memoriam: 2017 Dark Matter: The Loss Of A Show We Cannot Forgive Or Forget

Also, this article…

Oh No!  Syfy Cancels Dark Matter

Tomorrow, it’s a farewell lunch with director Ron Murphy before he heads west to shoot (An episode of a show?  His six guns?  Who knows?), follow-up conversations on a couple of projects, and meeting on Friday regarding that book to screen horror adaptation.

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