February 18, 2017: What’s best for Bubba




There are still some rewrites to do, a couple of polishes to finish, and a series finale to break but, for now, I’m taking it easy.  For now, it’s all about the dogs.


We broke out the stroller for the dogs while Lulu managed to limp her way to the dog park long enough to say hit to all the dog owners before calling it a day.  Suji got to put on her wheels and motor around the park as well while Bubba, as usual, preferred to spend quality time with mom –


So, we’re wrestling with indecision regarding Bubba.  The oncologist recommended a drug called Palladia which is a chemotheraphy medication.  It seemed simple enough: give him a single pill every other day with his meal, alternating with Prednisone, a corticosteroid and anti-inflammatory.  But, when we got home and read the special handling instructions, Akemi instantly had second thoughts.  Always use gloves when handling the pill.  Always wear gloves when cleaning up after your dog and be sure to quickly bag and dispose of your dog’s feces.  Keep pregnant women, children, and other dogs away from your dog’s waste…which, on the surface, seems simple enough unless you consider urine which isn’t really covered in the handout.  Also, we have to other dogs.  What are we to do if Bubba has an accident in the house?  Do we have to start crating him?

Sure, there are answers, but they all lead to one big question: Is it worth it?  We tried to do everything we could for our boy Maximus and he was pretty damn miserable in the end.  Maybe the Palladia will buy Bubba more time, but will it be good time?

So far, he seems in good spirits and his appetite remains typically voracious, but Akemi has noticed changes in him.  He still gets excited at the prospect of going for walks but, the boy who used to love his lengthy strolls now only manages half a block before we have to pick him up and carry him home.  He’s had accidents in the apartment, once even finding Akemi before doing so as if trying to send her a message.  He doesn’t so much nap as he does drift in and out, which makes us wonder what kind of discomfort he is experiencing.  Akemi says she feels like, every days she’s losing him a different way.

I’m looking into some homeopathic and alternate treatments as well.  Chinese herbs.  Mushrooms.  Someone even recommended cannabis oil.  As for the Palladia, we’ll make a decision on that after the weekend.


I made another batch of hot sauce today using cayenne peppers, vidalia onions, garlic, salt, apple cider vinegar, apple cider, apple puree, brown sugar, hot smoked Chilean merken pepper, organic tomatoes.  Pretty damn tasty.  Akemi thought it mighty explosive (She describes it as “painful on the throat”) but I found it just so-so.  Tomorrow, I make another batch, but this time with the fresh habaneros I picked up from the farmer’s market.

I kicked off 9 day horror-fest with a viewing of The Invitation.  Although I guessed where it was going, I liked how it eventually got there.  A promising start.

February 17, 2017: Dark Matter Season 3 Day 56 of 91!



photo courtesy of Roger Cross

photo courtesy of Roger Cross

And that’s a wrap on Dark Matter Season 3 Production Phase II.  The third and final phase commences a little over a week from now.  Until then, it’ll be R&R&R (Rest and Relaxation and Reading) for me.


Unfortunately, not everyone made it to the hiatus.  But those that did have earned a well-deserved break from 7:30 a.m. crew calls and 7:30 p.m. wraps.


A rare shot of the bridge from fake space.  This is usually where the actors kick back between scenes.

(Security feed playback courtesy of 1st Assistant Art Director Sumeet Vats and 2nd Assistant Art Director Victor Mare)

Hey, do me a favor and keep an eye on The Raza nest cam while we’re away!

Tagged: #DarkMatter, Dark Matter

February 16, 2017: Dark Matter Season 3 – Day 55 of 91!




“It’s like when you make ganache and you put it in the fridge and when you take it out it’s an hour too early and it’s not yet set.  That’s what it was like.”

Akemi describing Bubba’s stool sample this morning.


Today, we took Bubba a very relaxed Bubba (he’s already on vacation!) to see his oncologist.  This was the result of our meeting –


In a nutshell, no to chemo but yes to targeted therapy which is comprised of a single pill (Palladia, which sounds like a great scifi world) given every second day. In a perfect world, it will target the tumors in Bubba’s lung and not the person charged with  administering said pill since the instructions explicitly caution anyone handling it to wear gloves while doing so!  We’ll alternate the Palladia with Prednisone, an anti-inflammatory.  I’m also going to look into a few promising-looking home therapy treatments.


Suji and Bubba.  They’re like an old married couple.


Despite her recent injury, even Lulu gets in on the action.


Meanwhile, on Dark Matter, it was business as usual in the Raza underbelly.

Finally, presenting Dark Matter’s diabolical and deadly Misaki Han like you’ve never seen her before…

Ellen Wong Flips Out:

Tagged: #DarkMatter, Dark Matter, Ellen Wong


February 15, 2017: Dark Matter Season 3 – Day 54 of 91!




“Is your dog relaxing or in distress?”asked the receptionist, prompting Akemi and I to swing a look over to the shiba inu sprawled out on the floor by a row of seats at the back.

“Relaxing,”replied her owner.  “She hasn’t eaten in five days.”

Five days?!!!  If any of my dogs skipped a single meal, it would be enough to set off the alarm bells that would send me off to the vet.

“Oncology triage to the front, please,”we heard the receptionist call over the P.A.

It was 9:45 a.m. and we were at the clinic, taking advantage of a late cancellation to get Bubba seen.  His cough, and the outlook, were looking progressively worse.  He’d had blood work done the previous night and this ultrasound would presumably confirm the worst.

And, this afternoon, when the results came in, they did.  The biopsy all but confirmed the cancer diagnosis and its advancement, between the results of the ultrasound and the x-rays taken the other day, suggested it was aggressive.  The doctor prescribed some cough suppressants to make Bubba more comfortable. Tomorrow, we go in to see an oncologist to discuss our options.


I realize that fourteen and a half years is great for a pug and it’s almost two and a half years more than Maximus had, but about two years less than Jelly had.  Still, it’s hard and I had a great talk about this with Anthony Lemke this afternoon, all about family, relationships, and tough decisions.  Not sure how much time we’re going to have with the little guy, but we’re going to make the most of the time we have left.

Because of this morning’s appointment, my two awesome lieutenants were on set to cover for me as usual – Co-Executive Producer Ivon Bartok was on second unit, while Co-Executive Producer Lawren Bancroft-Wilson was on main.  I thank them for stepping up

Some Dark Matter-related goodies…


Emperor Ryo Ishida (Alex Mallari Jr.) and his man Ash (Michael Reventar) – photo c/o Michael Reventar.


Finish him! 

Security drone c/o VFX Supervisor Lawren Bancroft-Wilson (concept design by Henry Fong, modelling by Ethereal Assets, shots by CVD VFX)


February 14, 2017: Dark Matter Season 3 – Day 53 of 91!



Let’s celebrate Valentine’s Day (except in Pakistan where it’s apparently been outlawed) with a brand new episode title!  Here are the results of yesterday’s fan poll:


Wow.  This one wasn’t even close.  I honestly thought “This Galaxy’s Most Notorious” would have put in a better showing, but what do I know?  That’s why I just write and produce the episodes and leave the naming to those more qualified.


The “helmet” for Episode 307 is a glorious thing.  Gorgeous workmanship by On Set Key Props Lisa Amaral Wright.


A few more pods for your consideration c/o Set Designer Karl Crosby.


If and when I get that new military SF series off the ground, I’ve already reserved Karl’s seat on the hero destroyer.


A costume design sketch from, appropriately enough, Costume Designer Noreen Landry.


Director (and Dark Matter Stunt Coordinator) John Stead calling the shots.


And ordering our the new crew (?!).


Incoming transmission.  But who’s calling?  Commander Nieman, I presume?  (Playback still c/o 1st Assistant Art Director Sumeet Vats).


Our apartment is now a veterinary clinic.  Poor Lulu, laid up by a paw injury enjoys some R&R.

This is poor Bubba and his hacking old man’s cough.  Based on the x-rays, the early prognosis isn’t good, but we’ll learn more after tomorrow’s ultrasound.


Despite this, he seems happy during the day and his appetite is good.  This afternoon, he hit the park with doggy uber (aka Akemi).

Tonight, Akemi and I celebrate Valentine’s Day by taking Bubba for some blood tests, eating leftover pork, and watching Gail Harvey’s director’s cut of Episode 306!  Pretty romantic.

Tagged: #DarkMatter, Dark Matter

February 12, 2017: Prepare for another episode title vote!



Hey!  Who’s in the mood to select a new episode title?  If you’re interested, I’ve got three terrific contenders for Episode 303.  The poll will be posted tomorrow after which you’ll have 24 hours to cast your vote and help make Dark Matter history!

This afternoon, I amassed and relayed all of the questions posted for Jodelle Ferland’s fan Q&A – and there were A LOT of them.  So many, in fact, that if Jodelle were to answer all of them, we probably wouldn’t receive a response until summer of 2018.

Also today, I made two separate batches of hot sauce: one habanero-based, the other cascabel-based.  Took me about three hours, but the results were well worth the effort.  By the time I was done, I was eating them by the spoonful – much to Akemi’s horror.

Hey, speaking of horror, here is the preliminary list of the horror movies I intend to power through during next week’s hiatus…

The Autopsy of Jane Doe


The Boy

Don’t Breathe


The Evolution

The Eyes of My Other


I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House

The Invisible Guest

The Invitation

The Neon Demon

Ouija: Origin of Evil



They Look Like People

Under the Shadow

The Wailing

We Are the Flesh

The Witch

What am I missing?

February 11, 2017: My dogs are getting old :(



It feels like not all that long ago I had four dogs.  Now to most, four dogs would seems like at least a couple dogs too many but for me at the time, it was the ideal number.  First there was Jelly – alpha, bossy, troublemaking Jelly – who used to run the corridors of the Stargate production offices back in the day and once ate actor Michael Shanks’ tuna fish sandwich when he left it unattended in her presence.  Then came Maximus – heavyset, laid-back, affable Max – who we got as a companion for Jelly.  You’d be hard pressed to find a more big-hearted dog, as great with cats as he was with kids.  After him, came Bubba – jumpy, anxiety-ridden Bubba – who we originally got as a present for my ex’s brother but I ended up keeping (and getting her brother a toaster oven instead).  And then came Lulu – headstrong, relentless, clever Lulu – who rounded out the pack and, as the only frenchie among the pugs, demonstrated superior intellect in her ability to access hitherto inaccessible hiding spots for treats.

I remember lying in bed one night, with the four of them nestled in their preferred spots – Jelly on the pillow by my head, Maximus at my feet, Bubba near my legs, and Lulu close to my side – and thinking “Someday, I’m going to think back to this moment and remember how perfect it was.”  And I was right.  I do.  Often.


Jelly, the love of my life, passed away two years ago at 16 years (and four months).  My longest relationship!


Maximus passed years earlier at the far-too young age of 12.

Jelly and Max used to be oldsters while I’d refer to Bubba and Lulu as the youngsters but, all too suddenly, those roles have been reversed.  


Lulu, who used to play for hours on end, has trouble walking now as the spinal surgery she underwent late last year has proven unsuccessful in stemming the advance of the neurological issues that are robbing her of her mobility.  It’s sad to watch her, clearly frustrated, as she struggles to walk a single block.


And Bubba, once seemingly indestructible and impervious to the onslaught of time, appears to have aged dramatically over the course of a single year.  He spends most of his days napping and has recently developed a hacking “old man’s” cough that precipitated the recent veterinary visit, concerns, and need for an ultrasound.


Suji, the latest addition to the family, is spry and spirited, surprisingly youthful at a relatively young 11.  She has her own mobility issues, the result of hip dysplasia, but has shown some impressive improvement over the few months she’s been with us, going from dragging her back legs around to walking with the help of a rear support sling to managing one, occasionally two whole blocks unassisted.

The hardest thing about getting a dog isn’t the housebreaking or the training; not the feeding or the walking or the daily care.

The hardest part about getting a dog is having to say goodbye.

Today’s entry is dedicated to long-time blog reader Narelle from Aus.  In remembrance of Ralph and Jack.

Tagged: Dogs

February 10, 2017: Dark Matter Season 3 – Day 51 of 91!



Here’s a sneak peek at the temp VFX for that “creeping advance”.  VFX Supervisor Lawren Bancroft-Wilson feels it needs a color adjustment to give it less of an ocean blue feel.


Set Designer Karl Crosby’s latest creation is this awesome set piece for the discerning off-world miner.  Pictured above is the color version of the close-to-final form.


Check out the level of detail.  Preliminary option 3.


Ready to roll design.


A peek behind the curtain.  A Work In Progress pic from the arm manufacturer.

While back on the home front…


Suji eyes her snack.


Bubba and Lulu ready to dig in.

Well, Bubba has an appointment next Friday for an ultrasound and possible CT scan.  What was supposed to be a simple check-up last night turned into a five hour ordeal that saw us close out the night at the local Veterinary Emergency center.  Both sets of x-rays taken yesterday show shadows in his lungs and the doctors are concerned, especially considering the recent surgery to remove two suspicious lumps near the base of his ear.  Sigh.  Our poor old man.

Tagged: #DarkMatter, Dark Matter

February 9, 2017: Dark Matter Season 3 – Day 50 of 91!




7:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.: On set for Episode 307.

9:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.: Location Scout for Episode 309

11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.: Notes session

12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.: Lunch

1:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.: Dealing with VISA who put a block on my credit card after Akemi tried to purchase something from an online shop in Japan.

1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.: Cast read-thru for Episode 308.

2:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.: Departmental approvals for Episodes 308-310.

3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.: Production meeting for Episode 308

4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.: Tone meeting for Episode 308.

5:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.: Drive home.

5:30 p.m. – 11:30 p.m.: Have a routine appointment for Bubba turn into an extended visit with our local vet and a trip to the Animal Emergency Hospital that included: 2 physicals, 2 sets of x-rays, various prognoses ranging from congestive heart failure to not sure, antibiotics, a referral to see a specialist.

11:30 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.: Write blog entry

Pushed to tomorrow’s schedule because there was no time today: Dinner.