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These were my favorites…

Amazing Spider-Man: Worldwide vol. 8 (cover art by Alex Ross)

The Amazing Spider-Man #801 (cover art by Marcos Martin)

Captain America #704 (cover art by Michael Cho)

Gideon Falls #4 (cover art by Dustin Nguyen and Andrea Sorrentino)

God Complex #6 (cover art by Hendry Prasetya)

Infidel #4 (cover art by Aaron Campbell, Yuko Shimizu)

Infinity Countdown: Black Widow #1 (cover art by Yasmine Putri)

Sisters of Sorrow (cover art by Jae Lee)

Skyward #3 (cover art by Lee Garbett)

Star Wars: Poe Dameron #28 (cover art by Phil Not)

Taarna (cover art by Luis Royo)

The Wild Storm #14 (cover art by Jon Davis-Hunt)

Tony Stark: Iron Man #1 (cover art by Alexander Lozano)

Weapon X: Vol. 3 Modern Warfare (cover art by Rahzzah)

X-Men Gold #30 (cover art by Phil Noto)

So which were your favorites?

If I were to ask you to name Toronto, Canada’s greatest living celebrity, who would you say?

Drake?  Keanu Reeves?  Ryan Gosling?  Jim Carrey?

WRONG!

Toronto, Canada’s greatest living celebrity is none other than talk show host, podcaster, pundit, perennial political candidate, and noted philanthropist Ed the Sock!

Ed the Sock is Making a Comeback!

Ed is a Canadian treasure.  He has been an inspiration to millions – especially the creator of Triumph the Insult Dog who ripped off Ed’s bit (or, coincidentally, came up with his own cigar-munching acerbic hand-rider well after Ed’s debut). Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and Triumph creator, Robert Smigel, has been laying it on thick for over 20 years now.

Ed the Sock, meanwhile, has continued to do his own thing (for slighter longer) and just kicked off an Indeigogo campaign in support of his new online channel, FUN – The FU_Network.

Ed is also a big fan of Dark Matter and was kind enough to have Melissa O’Neil, Anthony Lemke, and I on his podcast last year – (click to listen) –

Ed the Sock Podcast – Dark Matter

Which is why I thought it would be nice to give him a boost just like he gave us a boost in our time of need.  So, if you’d like to support Ed on his road to media dominance, head on over to his Indiegogo page = Ed the Sock’s Indiegogo Page

Back his bid and be rewarded with not only the satisfaction of a deed well done, but everything from gratitude to party invitations to your very own hand-crafted Ed the Sock clone.  And more!  I, personally, have my eye on those limited edition Ed the Sock socks!

Don’t delay!

Thanks to all of those who inquired about Akemi’s family back in Osaka.  All are fine following yesterday’s earthquake – although her father was in an elevator at the time it struck and initially assumed he was suffering a stroke.

Meanwhile, some 300 miles northeast of Osaka, our old friend Martin Gero is enjoying some time in Tokyo.  The other night, he texted me the following photo with the message “Wish you were here”:

Actually – as my father would say – “more guts than brains”, but I’ll take it…on a bowl of rice!

Akemi and I used to make an annual trip to Japan every fall, shelling out $300/day for a dog-sitter to live in the house, drink our booze, and take care of the pooches while we were away. Later, when our dog-sitter got a full-time gig, I took to flying my sister to Vancouver to take care of the pack.  And when we made the move to Toronto, I figured it would be that much easier given the mere 1 hour flight time between here and Montreal.

But after adopting our new (old) senior pug, Suji, it became apparent that it would not be as simple as we first assumed.  Taking care of a senior pug – THIS senior pug – can be challenging.  For a number of reasons…

THAT ATTITUDE!

When Suji first came to us, she was described as “sassy” and “spunky”.  To that, I would add “cantankerous”.  She positively freaks out in the presence of: short stocky bald men, big dogs, friendly small dogs, loud noises, sun reflections, people who pet her while she is out for her walk, people who try to kiss her face.  And, I suppose it’s understandable given the fact she was literally raised in a barn for a portion of her life.  Still, it makes going out in public a somewhat unpredictable experience as you never know how she is going to react.

THE NEEDINESS!

Akemi is always up at 7:00 a.m.  And with her, the dogs.  After I wake up about an hour later, I will always find Suji sitting at the bottom of the stairs, anxiously awaiting me.  It’s the same thing when we come back home from shopping, seeing a movie, or just going down to the lobby to check the mail.  Suji is positively overjoyed and, should one of us return without the other, she’ll charge out and down the hallway, all the way to the elevators in search of her missing mom or dad.  Late last year, Akemi and I took a day trip to Montreal and left the dogs in the care of a local sitter.  While our frenchie Lulu trotted off to explore her new digs without so much as a backwards glance, Suji sensed something was up and wouldn’t leave Akemi’s side, attempting to quickly follow as we headed out the door.  During her stay with the sitter, she was very quiet – which, if you know Suji, is very unlike her.

EXPRESSING THAT BLADDER!

One of the reasons the Pacific Pug Rescue figured Suji might prove difficult to place was because of her inability to urinate freely.  She needs to have her bladder expressed – which, really, sounds a lot more complex than it actually is.  The procedure usually involves someone (aka Akemi) hunkering down behind her and gently applying pressure to her bladder (just below her stomach) until she empties out.  On the occasions when I do it, my “system” involves holding her propped up against my hip with one hand while my other squeezes her lower abdomen until her hind legs shoot up like they’re spring loaded, and she pees.  To any neighbor watching us from a distance, I undoubtedly look like some guy urinating on his terrace morning and night.

POOP MACHINE!

Although she’s incapable of urinating on her own, Suji poops just fine – often, when you least expect it.  She tends to do so when she’s trotting around, blissfully unaware.  Other times, at night, she’ll simply sit up – a sign that she needs to go and one that will have me scrambling out of bed with her at 2:00, 3:00, sometimes 4:00 in the a.m.  If you can get her on some sort of schedule, you can control her bowel movements to a certain degree.  This may see me scooping her up out of bed first thing in the morning and holding her over the toilet until she slowly releases.  Thus, have I earned the nickname “The Poop Whisperer”.

MEDICAL ISSUES!

Eye meds, home administered cartrophen injections, estrogen therapy, anti-flammatories – just a few of meds Suji takes on a semi-regular basis.  When she first came to us, she was prone to urinary tract infections and our vet informed us she was developing antibiotic-resistant strains.  As a result, we’ve been exceptionally careful, purchasing those economy-size disinfectant baby wipes at Costco and wiping her down after every bathroom break.  I’m happy to report that our commitment to cleanliness paid off and, after that initial first month, Suji has only suffered a single UTI.

Yep.  Adorable, but a handful.

So, what do you think?  Do you have what it takes to be a Suji-sitter?  Apply in the comments section!

Pictured above: Suji’s expression accurately reflecting my mood over these past two days.

Lulu and Suji working on their tans.  This in direct contrast to Akemi who always ventures out in a sweatshirt, oversized sunglasses, and a baseball cap – and only after she’s slathered herself with sunscreen SPF 100.  According to Akemi, Japanese researchers suggest daily sun exposure should be limited to a very small window.  Said window?  21 seconds.

Well, things are coming along slowly but surely at the new place.  Not glacial-pace-development-work-slowly, but pretty damn slowly nevertheless.  Our bed finally arrives Wednesday.  As for the rest of the furniture…who knows?  We’re been going back and forth on the bookshelf, the dining room table, even the bar cart.  But the one thing we can agree on is this awesome cat lamp we special ordered from Japan…

According to Akemi, we have to name it.  We await your suggestions.

This looks to be the week where almost all of my questions will be answered.  Is the script and series overview for that sci-fi project ready to be delivered to the network?  Is that series overview fro that horror series in solid enough shape that I can move forward with the pilot script?  Am I making a deal to develop that other sci-fi series?  And/or making a deal to develop the other one?  What news on that hot horror novel adaptation that seems to have gone deathly quiet all of a sudden? Am I moving forward with the small screen adaptation of that upcoming sci-fi novel?  What about the adaptation of that foreign format?  How will the three projects Vanessa and I are going out with be received?  Is there a play there? Should I just start writing that original horror script?  And, once the dust settles on all of this, should I start reaching out to artists?

Yep.  This week, all will be decided.

Or, maybe the week after.

Or the week after that.

In the meantime, I’m just going to find a patio and watch the world cup.  So looking forward to that Japan vs. Iceland final!

Well, look who was in town the other day.  None other than Peter Kelamis, aka Yellow Jacket, aka Adam Brody.  Also, aka the voice of Goku from Dragon Ball Z which totally wowed Akemi.  Forget Ryan Reynolds.  Peter Kelamis is her new celebrity crush!

Ivon, Peter and I got together for chicken schnitzel, tasteless chicken wings, a giant pretzel that was really a giant piece of bread resembling a pretzel, and undrinkably sour beer.  Still, it was nice catching up.  Hopefully, it won’t be another five years before we do it again!

Bar Buca’s soft-shell crab sandwich looks downright ornery but is quite delicious.

Former Dark Matter VFX Producer and dessert tour veteran Kerrington Harper was in town for a few days so, of course, we had to go for dessert.   On this occasion, Le Gourmand, our one stop shop for everything chocolate…and frozen custard!

I’m halfway through my move AND Dark Matter virtual season 4 Episode 4.02. Meanwhile, awaiting word on two deliveries, responses on two pitch sessions, and prepared to write off another two projects.  Hoping for a little clarity this week so I can start shifting creative gears and put a couple of projects in play…in another arena.

Whenever I’m asked for advice on breaking into the business, I invariably steer young writers towards animation.  In general, it’s far more open to first-timers and allows these fledgeling screenwriters to hone their craft AND get paid while doing so.  It’s how I got my start, as I was reminded today over breakfast with my old friend, and fellow writer, Anne-Marie Perrotta.

I started freelancing in animation, then eventually moved on to development, story-editing, then transitioned to young adult programming (Student Bodies), from there to action-adventure and, eventually, Stargate, etc.

But those animation years, that now seem so long ago, were a real blast…

The Busy World of Richard Scarry

The first script I was ever paid for was an episode of this series titled “Patrick Pig Learns To Talk”.

The Little Lulu Show

This one was a little more fun, a little less…earnest than a lot of the kids’ programming being produced at the time.

Animal Crackers

This one I developed for television, story-edited, and wrote for.  An underappreciated gem!

Mona the Vampire

I developed this one for television and wrote a number of episodes.

Ripley’s Believe It or Not

Developed for television and wrote a few episodes for this somewhat unmemorable co-production.

Caillou

Developed this one for television and wrote some episodes.  This one was based on a popular French-language children’s book series named after the main character, Caillou – which translates to Pebble in English.  The executives at the company I worked for went back and forth on what to call the kid in English.  Since “Pebble” was too close to “Pebbles” from The Flintstones, they floated “Lollipop” for a while before eventually giving in and just sticking with the original French name.

The Adventures of Paddington Bear

Developed this one for television and wrote a bunch of episodes.  Great memories from this one mainly due to involvement of author Michael Bond’s involvement early in the process.  He was a quirky, very funny man.

Flying Rhino Junior High

I story-edited this one for the CBS Saturday Morning line-up (Remember when cartoons would air on Saturday mornings?), and also wrote a handful of episodes. One of my last animated projects, but this one was a lot of fun.

George and Martha

I remember jumping at the chance to write for this, one of my favorite children’s book series.  One of my few animated efforts I would happily rewatch.

Crazy, hunh?

One of my favorite handles to follow on twitter (next to, of course, @AwardsDarwin and @TVNetworkNotes) is @41Strange which highlights an amazing array of unique artwork ranging from the awe-inspiring to the delightfully bizarre, introducing followers to an eclectic mix of artists and art styles.

Here are just a few of the recent postings that caught my eye.  Click on the links for more information on the individual artists…

The Dark Artworks of Russian Artist Stray Child.

Polish contemporary painter Daniel Pielucha.

Artwork by Chinese illustrator Yang Xueguo.

Artwork of Russian artist Alex Andreev.

Artwork of Dutch artist Levi van Veluw.

Tiny worlds inside toilet paper rolls by French artist Antassia Elias.

The works of British sculptor Laura Ford.

Jolly Green Giant sculpture by Korean artist Dongwook Lee.

The works of contemporary American painter Aron Wiesenfeld.

Artwork of Japanese painter Masaaki Sasamoto.

Oil paintings by Beijing-based artist DU Kun.

Artwork by illustrator Daniel Danger.

The Robot Paintings of illustrator Brian Despain.

The “Moss People” sculptures by Finnish sculptor Kim Simonsson.

The paintings of Polish artist Tomasz Alen Kopera.

The foam-made cloud-like works of Japanese artist Kohei Nawa.

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