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I was up into the wee hours of this morning, watching and preparing notes for the director’s cut of episode #104 – and writing a scene for this week’s schedule.  And it looks like I’ll be up into the wee hours of tomorrow morning, watching and preparing notes for the prod cut of episode #103 – and writing another scene for this week’s schedule.  Hopefully not overly wee as I have to get up at 5:30 tomorrow to get in for 7:00 a.m. call.  We’ve got TWO units rolling tomorrow!  In addition to the afternoon concept meeting for episode #107 with director Bruce McDonald.  The rewrite on #107 and #108.  Finishing up my cut of #104.  And, oh yeah, continuing work on the script for the season finale.

To those of you asking – No, you didn’t miss the big casting news I hinted at last week.  Rather than post the news on this blog, I decided to go through proper channels first.  Now some of you may wonder: What’s the difference between just making an unofficial announcement and going through those official channels?  Well, last time I checked, about three weeks and counting.

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They served up cupcakes for our production meeting yesterday.  Check out the cake to icing ratio!

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And a treat of another sort compliments of director Ron Murphy who kicks things off with Day #1 of episode #107 tomorrow!  One tasty whisky, served up in line producer Norman Denver’s special Hungarian sipping glasses.

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And the ranks of our whisky club continue to grow.  We’re like Fight Club, but with a lot less fighting and more glasses to clean.

Finally, I came across this curio gathering dust in Executive Producer Jay Firestone’s office.  For the man who has everything:

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Well look at who I came across this morning at the Farmer’s Market.  None other than my favorite fellow foodie Natalie Cooper, aka Batman, aka The Sock Girl!  She informed me that she had been trying to convince her mom to join her for the special tasting menu at a local high-end Mexican restaurant.  I, of course, strongly urged her to drop her mom like a hot potato – in favor of a nice cold potato (yours truly!).  So, mom’s out.  ¡A comer!

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Speaking of Natalie, I’ve fallen behind in this blog’s semi-regular Sock of the Day feature.  Pictured above: Friday’s instalment.  As someone who hasn’t taken a math class since grade 10, I really appreciate this one.

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And, while we’re on the subject, these Halloween-themed socks arrived in the mail the other day compliments of – I think because there was no accompanying message – Sylvia.  Thanks, Sylvia!  I think.

The other day, somebody asked me why I didn’t respond to comments on twitter.  Well, the truth is my online presence is pretty much confined to this blog which, going on eight years now without missing a day, is enough.  I use only use twitter to keep updated on @DRUNKHULK, while Facebook is reserved solely for sharing lost dog posts.

Yes, to those asking, today was my zoo date with Cloverblob -

https://josephmallozzi.wordpress.com/2015/02/24/february-24-2015-cloverblob/

So, how was it?  Well, let me post this screen grab of the text I just sent Zoie:

Screen Shot 2015-02-28 at 7.14.33 PM

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February 24, 2015: Cloverblob!

So there I was the other day, minding my own business, when I received the following message on twitter:

Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 9.05.42 PM

Hunh?  Who, I wondered, is zoiepalmer’s cat?  Well, I did a little research and, as it turns out, zoiepalmer’s cat IS Zoie Palmer’s cat, Cloverblob, who apparently has her own twitter account.  Hoping to avoid any potential conflict, I wrote back:

Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 9.02.58 PM

And I left it at that.  But upon further reflection, I thought it best to mention the incident to Zoie.  I approached her yesterday while she was waiting to shoot her first scene of the day and, unsure as to how best to break it to her, I just blurted out: “I don’t know how to tell you this but I think your cat is harassing me on twitter.”  I’m not sure what kind of a response I was expecting.  Shock.  Sadness.  Maybe an apology.  Instead, Zoie nodded knowingly, “Oh, yeah”, and made it clear Cloverblob was out of her control.  Immediately realizing my mistake, I requested she not mention our conversation to her cat when she got home that night but Zoie gave a shake of her head and informed me: “Oh, she’ll find out somehow.”

I assumed she was kidding but, only an hour later, I received the following tweet:

Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 9.04.22 PM

Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 9.05.01 PM

I, of course, scrambled to do damage control.  After all, the only thing worse than an angry cat is a vengeful angry cat:

Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 9.01.12 PM

 

I didn’t receive any further messages from Cloverblob so I figured the entire incident had been put to rest.  And then I received a panicked text message from Zoie.  Our correspondence follows:

Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 9.17.18 PMScreen Shot 2015-02-24 at 9.18.37 PM
Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 9.22.24 PM

So Zoie put in a good word for me and, in the end, we got things sorted out.  Kind of.  This Saturday afternoon, I’ve got a date with Cloverblob to go visit the hippo exhibit at the zoo.  I wasn’t prepared for a long term commitment though and Zoie’s last text has me kind of concerned:

Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 9.25.46 PM

Wait.  Wait!  WHAT?!

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https://twitter.com/Cloverblob

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Last night, Akemi and I went out with our friends Jeff and Barb who are in town for a few days to enjoy all the snow, subzero temperatures, and blistering wind that Toronto has to offer.  Last time Jeff was in town, we took him out to one of my favorite restaurants: Buca.  For his return visit, we decided to take him and Barb somewhere completely different: Bar Buca, sister restaurant to Buca.

Jeff and Barb - all smiles.  As usual.

Jeff and Barb – all smiles. As usual.

What did we eat?  Well, a lot.  All told, over a dozen plates.  I don’t know. Whenever I order, I always think I’m not ordering enough while everyone else – especially the waiters – feel just the opposite.  I suspect I need to start listening to everyone else.

A few of the culinary highlights:

Salt baked beets, stracciatella spuma, pistachio, sea buckthorn berry

Salt baked beets, stracciatella spuma, pistachio, sea buckthorn berry

Beef tongue, buffalo yogurt, pickled mushroom, turnip, radish

Beef tongue, buffalo yogurt, pickled mushroom, turnip, radish

Baby octopus, soppressata, crema di patate

Baby octopus, soppressata, crema di patate

Porchetta: roast tuscan pork, mascarpone, apple mostarda, agliata

Porches on focaccia: roast tuscan pork, mascarpone, apple mostarda, agliata

Smoked bone marrow, lampredotto, agliata

Smoked bone marrow, lampredotto, agliata

Rolled eggplant with ricotta and prosciutto, tomato, stracciatella

Rolled eggplant with ricotta and prosciutto, tomato, stracciatella

It was great catching up with Jeff and Barb.  Their presence was presents enough. But so were the actual presents they – and blog regular Sylvia – surprised us with…

Second Christmas!

Second Christmas!

Akemi's new hot chocolate mug.

Akemi’s new hot chocolate mug.

Socks!  I can never have enough!

Socks! I can never have enough!

Lulu was eyeing this little guy when we got back to our place.

Lulu was eyeing this little guy when we got back to our place.

Sushi socks!  Just in time for our Sock of the Day feature!

Sushi socks! Just in time for our Sock of the Day feature!

At 16, I guess Jelly's old enough.

At 16, I guess Jelly’s old enough.

A bottle of Ardberg which Jeff describes as "On the smoky side".  Perfect.  I like peaty.  And, best of all, my writer partner doesn't so I won't have to share.

A bottle of Ardberg which Jeff describes as “On the smoky side”. Perfect. I like peaty. And, best of all, my writer partner doesn’t so I won’t have to share.

A big thank you to Jeff, Barb, and Sylvia.  Merry Second Christmas!

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I love Dark Matter Costume Designer Noreen Landry and the rest of her crew in wardrobe.  They’re talented, resourceful, and incredibly creative.  Sometimes, I think, maybe a little too creative when it comes to some of the wilder ideas they’ve thrown my way.  Still, I thought I’d done a pretty good job of managing the more inspired pitches, deferring them to the nebulous foreseeable future.  That is until I walked into the costume department the other day and spotted this tacked onto the bulletin board:

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Well there you have it.  Season 2 spoiler alert!  Aliens, color, and wacky/beautiful hats!

Speaking of spoiler alerts and promises – yes, that press release concerning that familiar special guest star was supposed to come out this week…but now looks like it’ll come out Monday instead.  But while you’re waiting, here’s another casting hint.  His character has the distinction of being one of only a handful to appear in all three Stargate shows (SG-1Atlantis, and Universe).

That should narrow things down.

Finally, I came across the following white board message posted at our location set. Wonder if Zoie Palmer is behind this?

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The first time I met Jay Firestone was about two years ago, while I was in town working on some nameless production.  My agent called to inform me that he had scheduled me a meeting with a very busy, very successful local producer.  I thought: “Sure, why not?”.  Ninety-nine percent of the time, these meet and greets amount to nothing, but my afternoon was wide open.  This, as it turned out, was in contrast to Jay’s afternoon which was peppered with meetings, phone calls, and pre, post, and production duties.  An average day for him.  I had been squeezed into his frenzied schedule, somewhere between a network conference call and a meeting with another producer and yet, despite the tight window, our sit-down was laid back, unrushed, and surprisingly entertaining.  I say surprisingly because, as anyone who has ever done these kind of meetings will tell you, they’re about as entertaining as your friend’s son’s student film project.  I remember he struck me as smart, enthusiastic, and funny.

I didn’t know whether I’d left an impression one way or the other but, months later, my agent let me know me that Jay wanted to hire my writing partner, Paul, and I to develop a show for him.  We happily signed on and soon started work with him on a delightfully creepy fantasy series.  Going in, I was admittedly leery when Jay made it clear he was going to be creatively involved in the project’s evolution, but my misgivings were put to rest after our first story discussion and subsequent notes call.  There were none of the standard executive requests (We need a ticking clock!  Can our heroine be more proactive?  Can we make the aardvark an anteater?).  Instead, the focus was on making the most of character opportunities. And, best of all, his notes didn’t assume the average viewer had the intellect of Narragansett turkey.  They were good.  Most we agreed with and, those we didn’t agree with he would open to debate.  We had a great time.

Until we went to the network and the project was shelved.  But we came away from the experience with the certainty that we would find a way to work together again in the not too distant future.  That certainty – and our development fees.

Months later, my agent called to say that Jay had read Dark Matter and liked it enough to go out and try to set it up (aka – put together the financial package to get it made).  I remember thinking “If anyone can get it done, it’s Jay.”.  And, as it turned out, I was right.  In fact, in retrospect, I’m fairly certain that the ONLY one who could have gotten it done was Jay.  Fellow producers are still unable to comprehend how he pulled it off.  They can’t believe it.  For my part, I CAN believe it – but that’s only because I know Jay now.  Connected, driven, utterly relentless Jay.

Having wrapped one production (Lost Girl) and rolled straight into another (Dark Matter), you’d think he’d slow down a little.  Think again. In addition to his Exec Producing duties on the show, he’s also tirelessly at work, trying to set up a dozen more.  Two weeks ago he was in London.  Last week it was Berlin.  This week, it’s L.A.  Next week?  Who knows.  New York?  Tokyo?  Bobo Dioulasso?

So, about a month into production on Dark Matter, and having worked with him, on an off, for a couple of years now, I can tell you this about Jay Firestone: He’s creatively ambitious.  He’s incredibly business savvy.  And he owns A LOT of superhero t-shirts.

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Airlock entrance to space station Shaofu 2

Airlock entrance to space station Shaofu 2

It was nice to get back on the ship today after two days in Hamilton on two distant space stations.  Our travels to Cygni-4 and Shaofu 2 may be over, but we’ll always cherish the memories…

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And these commemorative Shaofu 2 decals we picked up for our ships and shuttles.

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Shooting in the mess, quarters, and corridors today.  Here, director Amanda Tapping considers her next shot – and lunch options.  Look at her zeroing in on that tuna melt!

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Alex Mallari Jr. (FOUR) and Melissa O’Neil (TWO) enjoy some downtime between set-ups.

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Downtime and green juice.  Alex’s face says it all.

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Jodelle Ferland (FIVE) tries to get some reading in (appropriately enough, Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhker’s Guide to the Galaxy) while Anthony Lemke (THREE) distracts.

Meanwhile, prep continued for episode #105.  Damn, a month ago, I was feeling relaxed with nine scripts under our belts.  Now I’m feeling nervous.  After five exhausting days on set, I look forward to enjoying some time off this weekend – working on my rewrite of episode #112.

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