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Archive for the ‘Dogs’ Category

Why does Suji look so worried?  Well, the results of her latest urinalysis reveal an antibiotic-resistant bug.  Antibiotic-resistant but for a single one we can use to treat her.  The news has Akemi and I very concerned because this is the same road Jelly went down in her final years.  Over time, her frequent UTI’s became increasingly harder to treat to the point that, in the end, we were out of options. In her final days, I was looking into phage therapy as a potential last resort but, unfortunately, ran out of time.  Hopefully, it’s a treatment that will be readily available to us with Suji if the need arises.  In the meantime, Akemi and I are being extra careful with her – and supplementing her diet with cranberry concentrate.

Independent, occasionally aloof Lulu has turned out to be surprisingly sensitive. First after Maximus’s passing, then after Jelly’s, and now following Bubba’s, she has been quiet and increasingly despondent, taken to sitting quietly by herself over interaction.  Akemi and I are giving her a lot of extra attention.  Also, coconut oil for the painfully dry-looking top of her nose.

Akemi, of course, is still missing her special boy.  There are moments when she thinks of him and feels down.  In the past, whenever she experienced moments like these, she could always count on Bubba to cheer her up but, of course, that isn’t possible anymore and the very thought makes her even sadder.  Fortunately, Suji is such a little goofball that she always manages to find a way to brighten her day.  She may be a a little more work than your average dog, but she’s well worth the effort.

With less than a month to go before production wraps on Dark Matter’s third season, I really should start making plans for our return to Vancouver.  I’m thinking of finishing up my final cut at the end of April and getting a few mixes under my belt before leaving Toronto in mid-May.  That will give me about a month to relax and plan the show’s fourth season (Yeah, I’m feeling confident) before convening the writers’ room in mid June for three weeks.

Hey, check it out.  Now available on Blu-ray and DVD: Dark Matter Season 2.  Pre-order it now.  In the meantime, head on over to Netflix to re-binge because the season 3 premiere will be here sooner than you think!

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(illustration by Juanita Nakamura)

Thanks to everyone who took the time to reach out via posts, texts, emails, phone, and personally to offer condolences on Bubba’s passing.  Akemi and I are truly touched by the kind words and gestures of friends, co-workers, and strangers alike. It’s been an exhausting week and it has meant a lot – to hear from you all and then, to get home late last night to find a lovely bouquet awaiting us compliments of Dark Matter Executive Producer Jay Firestone.

Akemi has been surprisingly strong – sad but strengthened by the fact his condition has deteriorated so much that we’d had little choice in the end.  She was telling me that her favorite memories of Bubba included the time he first learned to “shake” (She taught him when he was 10.  The next day, his arm was so sore he could barely lift it).  And his passion for art –

Also the way he would patiently sit down on the sidewalk after crossing a street in full expectation of the treat he would receive for the herculean effort.

For me, it was the time he ate a bag of chocolate-covered almonds sitting on the kitchen table and then had explosive diarrhea.  Having Lulu and Suji around has certainly brightened our spirits.  Lulu clearly misses Bubba and has been quite reserved.  Suji, on the other hand, continues to be her lovable clownish self.

And finally tonight, a get-together with one of my favorite people ever.  Dinner with The Doctor –

Robert Picardo was in town for a con appearance, but nevertheless found time for a little get-together.  Love this guy.

First Star Trek, then Stargate.  And chances are you’ll be seeing him on Dark Matter.  Eventually.

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March 17, 2017: Bubba

He was supposed to be a present for my ex’s brother but, after having him for two weeks, I decided to keep him and got  her brother a toaster oven instead. 

He was unlike my other two pugs at the time.  Whereas Jelly was a bossy bitch and Maximus a laid back lover, Bubba was a furry ball of anxiety, easily spooked by cyclists and skateboards, wary of strangers, parking entrances, and animatronic Christmas decorations.  He was, quite simply, a goof.

And yet, despite his adorable stiff-legged gait and furrowed brow that seemed to hint at some perpetual deep-seeded worries, he was never the one people were drawn to when they met the pack.  It was either Jelly or Maximus or, later, Lulu who would get all the attention while Bubba would warily hang back, hesitant to commit, his tail doing a slow noncommittal wag as he surveyed the situation.

It wouldn’t be uncommon for him to seek out the relative remote security of the laundry hamper, his toy box, the tiniest dog bed in the house.

He was in many ways a wallflower, the highschool equivalent of an outcast nerd – always self-conscious, always awkward.  But always happy.

And then, Akemi joined the family.  She’d never had much experience with dogs back in Japan but in short time, she and Bubba hit it off.  And over the next seven years, they developed a bond that would rival any relationship, human or otherwise.

She doted on him and he grew infatuated with her.  In time, they became inseparable.  I’d come home from work to find him sitting on her lap while she surfed the net, or parked comfortably beside her while she watched t.v.  He would sit by her feet whenever she cooked and nothing would make him happier than to join her on their extended walks, just the two of them, strolling for blocks on end.

When my television series, Dark Matter, was picked up, I granted Bubba a certain immortality by naming THREE’s big-ass gun after him.  Larger than life, unwieldy, sometimes comical – it was the perfect tribute.

In his later years, he lost his hearing and his ability to hop up to claim his favorite spot perched atop the living room couch, but he never slowed down – unless he sensed a walk was coming to an end in which case he’d draw out that final block for all he was worth.

Nothing made Akemi prouder than to have passersby mistake him for a puppy.  At the time, it seemed he would live forever.  Or, at least, close to.

When he developed a growth near his ear, we had it checked out and then, erring on the side of caution, had it surgically removed.  The tumor, it turned out, was cancerous. Months later, when Bubba developed a cough, we had x-rays taken. They came back all clear.  We ran further tests.  He was diagnosed with bronchitis and given antibiotics.

But even though the cough seemed to get better, it never really left.  And then, suddenly, a couple of months ago, it worsened.  To the point that we brought him in again.  This time, x-rays showed abnormalities in his lungs.  What at first was suspected to be an enlarged heart turned out to be lung cancer.

In his last months, perhaps sensing his time was limited, Bubba grew even more attached to Akemi, following her around the apartment, crying when he would lose sight of her.  He was at his happiest, as always, seated on her lap or right beside her, the feel of her reassuring hand on him.

We tried various treatments to save him, from acupuncture and astragalus to Palladia and Prednisone.  None of them had any effect.  X-rays taken two weeks later showed his situation had worsened.  But we never gave up hope.  And, I like to think that neither did Bubba.  Until yesterday.

His coughing worsened and his breathing grew more labored.  He stopped eating and could barely support himself.  I was at work when I received the text from Akemi.  It was time.

I drove back home, picked them up, and traveled to the 24 hour emergency clinic (twice actually because I realized I’d forgotten my wallet the first time).  There, late last night, we said goodbye to our goofy, needy, happy, wonderful boy.

I hope that somehow, somewhere out there, that old pug gang of mine has been reunited

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The people have spoken and we have a brand new episode title.  Aint democracy wonderful?  Your winner…

“Episode 33: Wish I Could Believe You”

Thanks to everyone who made Operation Name-Another-Episode a great success. But special thanks goes to YOU.  Yes, YOU!

Today was Bring Your Daughter To Work (And Leave Her With Key Hair Expert Renee Chan While You Go Watch Blocking) Day!  Suji was a hit on set.  Thanks to Renee for dog-sitting her while I was taking in the action in the core room.

Speaking of which – here is director Melanie Orr’s – uh – blueprint for today’s first blocking.  Note the details including camera placement and pod.

Director Melanie Orr all smiles with Director of Photography Craig Wright and 1st Assistant Director Josh Gray.  The calm before the storm.

One big-ass charger.

Just sitting in the underbelly gathering dust.

Or are they…?

Bubba appreciates the well-wishes and wants you to know he’s hanging in there.

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Today, the whole family headed over to Off Leash Studio where photographer Kevin Sarasom spent the better part of an hour snapping singles and group shots of our muttly crew.  Lulu and Suji were naturals, sitting pretty, preening, and occasionally mugging for the camera while Bubba required a little more work to bring out his natural derpishness.  But we got there.  Eventually.

Kevin was terrific with the the gang, directing them with care, confidence – and treats.  The dogs loved him.  And it seemed the feeling was mutual.  By session’s end, as I was packing up, I glanced over and noticed he’d abandoned his camera to better shower  Lulu with belly rubs.

I’ve been on a reading tear of late, blazing through 28 books to date in 2017.  At this pace, I should easily surpass by annual 100 title goal and maybe even challenge my 2014 reading record of 180+ books.  Or not.  Some of my favorite reads so far this year include Revenger, an epic space adventure from Alastair Reynolds, Tade Thompson’s fiercely original SF thriller Rosewater, Matthew De Abaitua’s AI conspiracy The Destructives, the first book of Brian McClennan’s Powder Mage series Promise of Blood, Emily Fridlund’s mesmerizing coming-of-age novel History of WolvesHomo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, Yuval Noah Harari’s non-fiction treatise on the intersection and potential merging evolutions of humanity and technology, and The Core of the Sun, Finnish author Johanna Sinisalo’s utterly delightful scifi tale of a capsaicin addict’s descent into the dark world of black market hot peppers.

Many of these books were released in 2016 and yet I’ve heard no mention of them as award season approaches which is altogether baffling (or, to be somewhat indelicate, kinda bullshit).

This weekend, I made it a point to try out a new restaurant – and was richly rewarded with Bar Raval serving Spanish Tapas on College Street.  A few of the culinary highlights of our back-to-back visits: The kitchen bread: red peppers and anchovies.

Crispy cheese, serrano ham, and caramelized onion pastry.

The house-canned scallops conserva served in a garlic tomato oil with a side of chips.

Bacon, chorizon, red pepper and quail egg atop grilled bread.

The Basque cheesecake – Akemi’s favorite.

Their version of a chocolate-hazelnut donut.

Hey Jeff and Barb, maybe the next time you’re in town?

Back at it tomorrow!  Main unit Episodes 309 and 310.  Second unit episodes 308, 309, 310, and 313.  Prep meetings for Episode 311.  And possible Pink pages for Episode 311?!

Don’t push it.

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Sadly, it isn’t good news for our boy.  A follow-up with our oncologist revealed that the tumors in his lungs have grown since our last visit one month ago.  As a result, she suggested we discontinue the Palladia treatment and focus on making the most of the time he has left.

We’ll continue administering the Prednisone which will, hopefully, make him more comfortable.  Otherwise, we’ll be going homeopathic – mushrooms, Chinese herbs, turmeric, and goat’s milk – in the longshot hope that something may help.

We’ll also continue with his acupuncture sessions – although I’m dubious about their efficacy.  I didn’t really notice a change in him after the first two appointments but am willing to demonstrate a little patience, only because we DID see some surprising results with Jelly years ago.

Some days he’s down – sleeping mostly, eating reluctantly, disinterested in engaging.  Other days, it’s almost as if he’s back to his old self again – eating voraciously,  barking loudly to convey his displeasure with the pace of the meal preparation or our impertinence in actually going out without him.

He’s still up for his walks and is always excited to go out, but he has slowed own considerably.  It’s hard to believe that, less than six months ago, neighbors and passersby were commenting on how spry and puppy-like he seemed for a senior. Now, it’s a slow stroll to park and back.  It’s particularly heartbreaking for Akemi who has been his constant companion and champion these many years.  She has taken to wearing sunglasses on their daily outings in the event she starts feeling emotional.

They’ve really been inseparable these past seven years and have formed a special bond.   Now, as he grows needier, it isn’t uncommon for him to climb upstairs (a Herculean feat for his old bones) to look for her or wander about anxiously when she’s not home.

Tomorrow, at Akemi’s request, we’ll be attending our own gallery shoot at a local photo studio.

I guarantee I won’t be the only one dressed up for the occasion.

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On the heels of his What does a producer do? blog entry, I’d like to start off today’s instalment by saying Thank You to Dark Matter Co-Executive Producer Ivon Bartok who, for better or worse, in sickness and in health, despite shitty weather and atmospheric stages, oversees on-set action when I can’t be there.  Like tomorrow, in the forests of Hamilton for 7:00 a.m. crew call (meaning he’ll have to wake up at 4:30 a.m. to get there in time) facing the prospect of rain, while I’m back in the office, putting out a new draft of Episode 31 and hammering out the story for our season finale.  As always, creatively, I know where I want to go.  It’s just a matter of figuring out a way to get there.  And we have to do it in a way that tops the shocking, surprise-filled Episode 312.  A tall order indeed.

Tomorrow, we’re in the forest and Tuesday we’re Hespler for a little walk around town.  Then, on Wednesday, the focus shifts back to our standing sets (the infirmary to be precise) as we wrap production on Episode 309 (Back to the Future meets Stranger Things) and start prep on Episode 310 (The episode in which the Android gets a name.  But will she keep it?).  Second unit will be finishing up Episode 307 (The episode in which a certain character makes a surprising discovery about their past). On Thursday, second unit will be in the underbelly where director John Stead will be overseeing an all-day throw down between two of The Raza’s fiercest warriors (The episode in which “old friends” are reunited).

A new week also brings a new Dark Matter episode title poll.  6 down, 13 to go!

Also, a return visit to the oncologist for Bubba to see if any of his myriad treatments (Palladia, Prednisone, super mushrooms, Chinese herbs, turmeric and black pepper, goat’s milk) have had any effect on his tumors.

img_7134 Suji and Bubba catch a ride with doggy uber.

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Lulu, at the dog park, showing that stick who’s boss.

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And looking crazed alongside her friends at the recent frenchie meet-up.  At 9, she is by far the oldest french bulldog in the neighborhood.

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