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Archive for the ‘Dogs’ Category

“Weird.  That woman’s treating her kid like a dog.”

My reaction to witnessing a mother rocking, hugging and showering her child with kisses.

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Bubba models his new Christmas sweater.

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Lulu, all smiles.

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Bubba doing his best frog imitation.

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Lulu, reminding us it’s dinner time.

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An introspective Bubba.

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Bubs and mom hit the Christmas market.

So, what’s on tap this weekend?  Well.

Monday: Camera Prep, Tech Scout, Storyboard Review, Camera Equipment Meeting, Wig Meeting (!), and dinner with Post Supervisor Rachel Sutherland.

Tuesday: Tone Meeting, Special Equipment Meeting, Safety Committee Meeting, Cast Dinner.

Wednesday: Stunt Rehearsal, Production Meeting.

Thursday: Stunt Rehearsal, Music Recording (!).

Friday: FIRST DAY OF PRINCIPAL PHOTOGRAPHY!

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Kicked back and relaxed a little.

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Headed out and hung out.

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Now feeling dazed and confused as I head back into prep.

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One of the nice things about the weekends is that it’s a time when I can set aside my eating routine in favor of more, uh, adventurous culinary pursuits.  Like, pictured above, the dozen fried dumplings at The Dumpling House on Spadina.

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With a double hit of chili paste and sweet and spicy chili oil.

We checked out the oddly-named but delicious Rasta Pasta serving everything from ox-tail and fried plaintain to jerk chicken panini sandwiches in Kensington Market.

And happened by this taste of Osaka –

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Takoyaki – octopus balls.  The best part of the octopus!

 Tomorrow, it’s back to the office where festivities include:

10:00 – 13:00 = Mold making

11:00 = Hair and Make-Up meeting

13:00 = Editor interview

14:00 = SPFX/VFX meeting

16:00 = Playback/Graphics meeting

And between those meetings = script work!

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Yep, this about sums it up.

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Now that I can finally take a breather from prep, let me thank Drea, Gary, Hilda, Tam, Kathy, Jan, Randy, Maggie, Jeff, Zoe, and everyone else who contributed to my anniversary video.

On November 21st it will be 10 years of daily blogging.  Wow.

Thanks to all everyone who has supported this decade-long endeavour by helping to build a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere for veterans and newbies alike.  It’s nice to know that no matter where I go – whether it be Japan for vacation or Toronto for work – the lot of you will always come along for the ride.

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Today, I took a break from rewrites and schedule reviews to run some errands, get a crappy haircut, and, of course, spend some quality time with Akemi and the dogs.

It’s been kind of sad to witness Lulu’s gradual physical deterioration.  Whereas 14 year old Bubba is always up for a nice long walk, my once tireless frenchie has slowed down considerably.  There was a time not too long ago when she was constantly on the move, chasing after her toys, but now she spends much of her day curled up in her dog bed or sprawled out on the floor.  When other symptoms began to manifest, we brought her in to see a specialist who diagnosed her with neurological issues, issues we’d hoped to address with surgery.  Approximately five weeks ago, Lulu went under the knife for what was a six hour surgery to remove some problem scar tissue and bolster her spine.  The hope was that we would see some improvement in her condition and, initially, we did. But, as the days have passed and we draw closer to her six week follow-up, it’s become increasingly clear that the surgery wasn’t quite as successful as we’d hoped.

Today, while out on a walk, we documented some of the troubles our 9-year old gal is facing…

Lulu walks relatively fine on carpets, grass, and pavement although Akemi has noticed she tends to lose her balance whenever she shakes her head.

A couple of months ago, her mobility issues manifested whenever she tried to walk on deep gravel.  Now, they’re even more pronounced.

Well, let’s see how the next couple of weeks play out.  Here’s hoping we see some progress.

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I was leaving the farmer’s market when I ran into an old friend.  It had been years since I’d seen her and, clearly, much had changed.  She was married, had a son, and had just moved into a new house.

“We should go out for dinner and catch up,”she said.

“Great,”I said.  I loved the idea of reconnecting after all these years.

“You’ll love Travis,”she said, referring to her hubby.  “He’s a real foodie.”

“Let’s pick a date,”I said.  Then, glancing over, noticed how her three year old son was completely smitten with my french bulldog Lulu.  “Hey, your son seems to like Lulu.”

“Oh, he’s obsessed with dogs.”

“Do you have a dog?”

“Oh, no,”she replied.  “Travis hates dogs.”

Travis hates dogs?  She may as well have said “Travis steals from charities” or “Travis just got out of prison for killing someone he was trying to rob” or “Travis is an executive for Air Canada.”  Travis hates dogs?  Well why the hell would I even want to meet Travis? And why the hell would I want to go out with someone who married a guy like Travis?

Needless to say, I did not get her number.

It reminds me of a couple I knew.  My ex had gone to school with the wife.  The husband became our financial advisor.  They had a dog who they kept in the garage from 9 to 5 while they were at work.  One day, I learned they had put the dog down because he had been destructive – as, I imagine, anyone would be if they were kept locked up alone without any interaction for 8 HOURS A DAY!  “It wasn’t fair to him,”they explained as though killing him had been an act of great largesse on their part.  Needless to say, I pulled my accounts.  The husband was upset, lamenting the fact that he had already dispatched their annual corporate Christmas “Thank You” gifts.  In retrospect, my feelings toward him and his wife were about a bad as that bottle of white wine he sent.

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again.  People who like dogs are generally goodhearted folks, while those who don’t are jerks at best and serial killers at worst.  In both of the aforementioned cases, I cut my losses before I could find out which.

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All good on the dog front.  Lulu gets her “zipper” of stitches/staples out next weekend.  She looks like a chihuahua in a french bulldog costume.  Bubba, meanwhile, is the toast of the neighborhood whenever he goes out for a stroll in his goofy hat or Hawaiian shirt.  He’s the McGarrett of downtown Toronto!

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So, I’m halfway through this fairly comprehensive rewrite when I get a call from the lovable Robbie David back at the production office who starts off the conversation with: “I just got an email.  You’re not gonna like it.”  And boy, was he right.  Although I understood the sentiment behind the message Robbie received, I really objected to the phrasing.  So much so that I wondered whether the person who drafted the email was drunk when he wrote it because, holy crap dude, you didn’t just burn the bridge, you blew it the hell up.  No call? No personal email?  No polite and respectful inquiry?  THAT’S what you decided to lead with???  It’s particularly galling because I was in your corner.  I had your back!  It probably could’ve worked out!  Instead, I’m looking at an even bigger rewrite on this script – and now, several more.

But the rewrite will have to wait until after this Thanksgiving weekend as mom an sis are in town!

This morning, I swung by my storage locker (aka my office) and loaded the car with everything from winter gear to doggy beds.  The plan is to haul everything back to the apartment and have everything set up nice and neat for Akemi’s arrival.  Well, nice anyway.  Nice-ish.

While I was at the production offices, I met with freshly promoted to Production Manager Brandon Tataryn (former 1st Assistant Director who shares names with the horrible disease that claimed THREE’s beloved Sarah) and Production Designer Ian Brock to discuss our first three episodes.  Apparently, episode 3 may be a little too HUGE.  And Ian’s got a terrific game plan for our second stage which presently houses the Marauder and Ishida cruiser bridge – and soon, much much more!

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Dark Matter Production Designer Ian Brock (left) and Production Manager Brandon Tataryn (right).  I missed these guys!

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Before picking up mom and sis at the train station, I got in a quick lunch with my favorite on set Supervising Producer Ivon Bartok at my favorite taco joint, Campechano.

Meanwhile, back in Van, Akemi is holding down the fort – and taking care of the dogs.  We can’t risk Lulu trying to jump up on the furniture, or worse, fall off the bed, so I picked up two cages for her – one for downstairs, and one for the bedroom.  Apparently, last night, she was NOT happy to not be on the bed.  And then, at some point this morning, Bubba wandered into the cage and started to cry because he couldn’t find his way out – this despite the fact that the door was wide open.  Brilliant, he aint.  But lovable all the same.

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Prisoner 3X36557.

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The downstairs set-up.

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Out in the rec yard.

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Speaking of dogs in bad situations, I’m trying to find a rescue to pull this old guy. He has until noon tomorrow!

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October 4, 2016: The Lulu Update!

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Well, this was a nerve-wracking day.  I slept fitfully thinking about the surgery and Lulu seemed to sense something was up.  She was atypically needy, snuggling up to me throughout the night and then not wanting to get out of bed this morning.  We dropped her off at 8:30 a.m. and the waited for word.

And waited.

And waited.

She went into surgery a little after noon and, between the soft palette reduction and the spinal micro-procedure, she was in there for most of the day.  I didn’t hear from the surgeon until a little before 7 p.m.  Apparently, it went well.  He had to remove a little soft tissue, but he’s confident it won’t affect her long term recovery. He expects her to be mobile and see some improvement tomorrow and, if all goes well, she should be able to come home in a couple of days (I’m aiming for Thursday morning as I have to get on a flight to Toronto that afternoon).  The main thing is she get a nice, comfortable night’s sleep and continue her steady breathing.  No news is good news tonight and, hopefully, the first all I receive will be around 10 a.m. tomorrow morning with an update.

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Bubba seemed lost today all by his lonesome, so we treated him to a little trip to Granville Island.

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For my part, I spent much of the day rewriting – another 15 pages today with some surprising backstory elements for one of our beloved crew members.  Oh, I think you’re gonna like it!

Tomorrow is my last full day in Vancouver.  I’ll no doubt spend it packing, rewriting, scrambling and, oh yeah, worrying.

Aw, man.  I just know I’m going to forget something.

P.S. Snow Monkeys fan rejoice!  We eked out our first win of the season and now our record stands at 1-3, in a 4 way tie for last place, but only 1 game out of a playoff spot!

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October 3, 2016: Dogs!

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Well, tomorrow’s the big day for my frenchie, Lulu.  In the morning, she goes in for the surgery that will, hopefully, arrest and maybe even reverse the effects of the spinal issue that has been affecting her hind quarters.  I’ve noticed that she’s having an increasingly trickier time walking.  She’l  drag her back legs,  stumble, and, occasionally, even fall over.  My poor gal.  Hopefully, she makes a speedy recovery – speedy enough that I can pick her up before I head out of town Thursday afternoon.

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Akemi is really attached to Bubba.  I mean REALLY attached.  She wasn’t a dog person before coming to Canada but all that changed when she met my dogs, and Bubba in particular.  The two are inseparable.  She dotes over him – fixing him home made meals, dressing him up, cuddling with him for hours.   And he can’t stand to be without her, wandering desperately about when she’s not around, crying like a baby when she leaves.  On the one hand, it’s really sweet.  On the other hand, I kind of worry.  I mean, Bubba is in great health and hopefully his best years are still ahead of him, but he is 14 and, well, he aint gettin’ any younger.  I keep suggesting we could, maybe, adopt another pug to add to the pack, but Akemi insists that, for now, she’s perfectly content with our twosome.  Hmmmmm.

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