Archive for the ‘Dogs’ Category

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.


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!


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


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.


Prisoner 3X36557.


The downstairs set-up.


Out in the rec yard.


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!


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.


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


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!


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.


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


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.


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.


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…


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 –


Tomorrow, let’s talk Dark Matter!

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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…


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.


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.


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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So, what did you all think of last night’s Dark Matter double-header?




All of the above?

Do tell!  Leave your feedback in the comments section.  I’ll peruse your thoughts once I land in Japan!

In the meantime, enjoy some dog pics.  Bubba, Lulu, and special guest star Petunia!

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