October 23, 2016: Bar Buca pulls the old “Those people who came in AFTER you were actually here BEFO



One of my favorite episodes of Seinfeld involves the gang trying to get a table at a Chinese restaurant.  They put their name on A list and, after being informed a table would open up in “Five, ten minutes”, they proceed to wait – and wait…and wait. At one point, a guy breezes in, walks right past them and, after exchanging pleasantries with the manager, is immediately seated.  This prompts the following exchange –

Jerry: Excuse me… we’ve been waiting here. Now, I KNOW we were ahead of that guy, he just came in.

Bruce: Oh no, Mr. Cohen always here.

Well, pretty much the same thing happened to Akemi and I today at Bar Buca in Toronto.   We arrived a little before noon and the place was hopping.  There was no manager in sight, so we took up position at the front and waited.  About ten to twelve minutes go by when a family walked in – mother, father, and young son. Suddenly, the hitherto M.I.A. manager magically appeared to warmly greet the woman who stepped in front of us to announce her presence.  The manager informed her the wait wouldn’t be long and that a table would open up shortly.  As the family shuffled off to the side, the manager stepped up and informed me it would be a 30 to 40 minute wait.  I couldn’t help but point out that we were there first to which he replied the woman had put her name down first – this despite the fact that he greeted her like a long lost friend he hadn’t seen in ages.  And, no, she couldn’t have called ahead because that would be contrary to the restaurant’s “walk-ins only” policy clearly mentioned on their website.

Rather than argue, we left and I’ve scratched Bar Buca off my go-to list.  I’ll never go back.  At the end of the day, there are dozens of other brunch places in Toronto (and I’ll happily recommend some better ones if you’re ever in town).  Their “favorites to the front of the line” behavior also ensures I’ll never again set foot in their big sister Buca, formerly my go-to place whenever I’d host out of town guests and, up until this morning, my choice for our season 3 cast dinner.

Time to expand my culinary horizons!

Tagged: #BarBuca, Bar Buca

October 22, 2016: Toronto’s Best Katsu Curry and Ice Cream Sandwich Coffee!




While in Osaka this summer, I had one of the greatest katsu curries ever at Rika Shokudo.  Katsu curry, for those not in the know, is thinly sliced pork fried to golden perfection served a bed of rice and alongside Japanese curry which is a thicker, somewhat sweeter version of Indian curries.

Today, I discovered that Canada’s best katsu curry is served in a small food court mall on Yonge Street.  Kaiju, located in the basement level of 386 Yonge St. (#51) offers up a surprisingly authentic version.  The chew/owner hails from Singapore and apparently spent six years in Japan, mastering, among other dishes, a damn fine katsu curry.  According to the website, their homemade curry…

“… is made from over 14 different ingredients including various spices, fresh fruits, and vegetables. It is slow cooked for up to two days and the result is a deliciously rich, comforting sauce that balances fragrant spices with sweet and savoury flavours.”


They also serve up a delicious but potentially lethal homemade hot sauce.

Because it’s tucked away out of sight, the place doesn’t get much traffic but has persevered in its hidden location for some four years.  If you’re in town, check them out.  The food is great and the woman behind the counter is super nice.


After today’s lunch, we stopped by Infuse Cafe, home of Toronto’s tastiest teas and infused beverages.


The drink-making process is pretty elaborate.  Check out the website for the breakdown but, suffice it to say, their drinks are far superior to any rival shop in town.  Akemi had a hot jasmine tea that delivered a delicate floral flavor minus the typical bitter finish.  I, on the other hand, went with something a little…heartier.


The Ice Cream Sandwich Coffee contains three simple ingredients – espresso, ice, and three ice cream sandwiches – which are blended to a deliciously creamy finish.



I’m not really a coffee guy, but I’ll make an exception for this drink.


Hey!  Look at who got her stitches out today!

Tagged: Infuse Cafe, Kaiju, Kaiju restaurant, Kaiju Toronto

October 21, 2016: Annoying updates, catering, and sketches!



You know what I hate?  Apple updates.  As soon as I get comfortable with something, they change it.  One day, it’s the swipe/lock features of my phone; the next, it’s the iPhotos layout.  I wouldn’t mind so much if said changes were actual improvements but the frustrating thing is they’re always so damn counter-intuitive.  I’m about one or two more annoying updates a way from seeking out a more stable alternate for my cellular and computing needs.

And, while I’m in complaint mode, I have to say that the worst thing about shooting in Toronto – besides the winters – is the catering.  Back in Vancouver, we’d get our lunch from the food truck that would prepare the meals on location, offering varied high-quality options.  Here in Toronto, the caterers ship their pre-pared slop to the various productions, their quality varying from edible to abysmal. Today’s jerk chicken tasted like it was seasoned with rosemary and Vick’s Vaporub. The chowder we were served yesterday was a fish, quivering, gelatinous mass. Last season, someone found a raw chicken wing in the vegetarian lasagne.  I’m thinking of starting a new daily feature here on this blog titled “You Wouldn’t Believe What They Served Up Today”.  Watch for it!

Do you like puzzles?  If the answer is yes, then you maybe, this weekend, you can help me break down 93 production hours down into seven 11 hour days.

A few preliminary “sketches of interest” via Dark Matter Production Designer Ian Brock:





What have we here?

October 20, 2016: Dark Matter Season 3 Production – Fast Approaching!



With a little less than a month to go before the commencement of principal photography on Dark Matter’s third season (Season 3!  Already!), it’s all about the prep.  In the way of advance locations, set discussions, director/editor meetings, and, of course, casting!  Last night, I went over the auditions for Episodes 301 and 304 which we’ll be block-shooting under the direction of one of my favorite people, Ron Murphy (who you may remember from Episodes 106, 109, 205, and 213).  Some smaller – but no less important – roles with some great candidates for each (thanks to our fabulous casting director, Lisa Parasyn).  Ash is an especially fun role and I’m torn between two terrific auditions.


Hey, look who’s back in the office, working on that Ishida family tree.  None other than 1st Assistant Art Director Roxanne Borris.  Can’t wait to see what other goodies she’s got in store for us this season.


A photo of elusive Production Coordinator Alice Foster pictured here in her natural habitat, by the photocopier.

Tomorrow, it’s more meetings!  And I finish the tease of my next script.

Speaking of scripts –


Hey, I received the following in the mail the other day with no accompanying note:


Birthday gifts?  Bribes?  Sent to wrong address?


Meanwhile, back on the homefront, Bubba and Lulu get in some hardcore snoozing.


And snacking.

Tagged: #DarkMatter, Dark Matter

October 19, 2016: Dark Matter Season 3 Location Scout!



This morning, we hopped in the transport van and headed to The Hammer (aka lovely Hamilton where we shoot most of our exteriors) to scout locations for some of the early season 3 episodes: a munitions facility, an abandoned warehouse with lots of room for hide ‘n seek ‘n run ‘n jump, an internment camp, and, possibly, a clearing for a forest rendez-vous.


Akemi’s new thing is making granola and, since it WAS a morning scout, she sent me off with baggies for some of the gang upstairs (the gang downstairs shouldn’t feel left out as they’ll be getting theirs in the weeks to come).


 Co-Executive Producer Robbie David is truly touched by the surprise granola.


The Dark Matter Scout Troop.


Every time I go to a location scout in Hamilton, I feel like I’m a character in a horror movie.  First stop – right through this door.


Atmospheric.  A great place to shoot an episode of t.v.  Or murder an unsuspecting film crew.


It’s Birthday Boy Norman Denver!  Let’s pick up the pace.  He’s got cake to get to!


Next stop – another sketchy-looking potential murder scene.


Hmmm.  Instead of spending all that money on a place in downtown Toronto, actor Roger Cross may want to consider more modest accommodations.  Pros: 1. It may cut down on travel time for Episode 303.  2. That is all.


Always sound advice.  Wait.  Is that scrawled in blood?


Not even the picto-man on the bathroom is happy to be here.


This one is a bit of a fixer-upper.


The entrance for the end of 301.  You’ll know what I’m talking about when the episode airs.


Offers some nice visuals but, at the end of the day, not what we’re looking for.

They don’t look like much now, but when Production Designer Ian Brock and the Art Department get through with them, they’ll be otherworldly.

Or, we’ll just shoot somewhere else.

More than likely, we’re going somewhere else.

Which means, next week – Another location scout!

Tagged: #DarkMatter, Dark Matter

October 18, 2016: Wonder Woman’s Weirdest Comic Book Covers!



Let’s celebrate the Amazing Amazon’s 75th anniversary with a look back at Wonder Woman’s Weirdest Comic Book Covers!


Them’s some angry-looking cats.


First rule of Fight Club: Never entrust your secret identity to a bird!


How topical.


I’d go with Amoeba-Man.  He’s more sincere.


They could just compromise and have a communal barbecue.


It’s not so much the fact that she’s marrying an 8 foot tall alien as it is that atrocious toupee.


How can you hope to defeat someone made out of paper?!!  Besides resorting to burning, tearing, or crumpling?


He may not be much to look at, but Klamos is evidently a great catch.


How many forced weddings did Batman have to endure?


Note: “The Women’s Lib Issue”.

Tagged: Wonder Woman

October 17, 2016: Getting the band back together! Minus sax, oboe, and percussion!



Hard to believe we’re already back in the production offices, prepping Dark Matter’s third season.

Even harder to believe we’re about a month away from the start of principal photography on Year 3.  But here’s proof.  Swinging by the office today…


Lead Set Dresser Frank Consiglio.


Costume Designer Noreen Landry.

We’re getting the band back together!

Well, most of the band.  We lost sax and oboe to Star Trek and percussion to Designated Survivor.

Over the last couple of days, I’ve been working with our casting director, the lovely Lisa Parasyn, on preparing the breakdowns for Episodes 1-4.  We’ve got a call-back for the Solara Shockley character next week, then first round auditions for Teku Fonsei, Adrian Maro, and a couple of guest stars including one we haven’t seen since season 1.

On a show biz-related note – don’t you hate it when people don’t get back to you? It’s especially galling when THEY work for YOU.  Makes you somewhat…less inclined to dial them in to any decision-making – and more inclined to wash your hands of them when the times comes.


It’s amazing how quickly my interest in football has waned alongside the fortunes of my fantasy team, the Snow Monkeys.  Thanks for next-to-nothing to my 2016 draft picks: Carson Palmer, Dez Bryant, DeAndre Hopkins, Demaryius Thomas, Golden Tate, Devante Parker, Thomas Rawls, and TJ Yeldon.

On the bright side, Akemi is absolutely thrilled at the prospect of spending Sundays with me again.

Hey, NFL, see you in December.


Tagged: #DarkMatter, Dark Matter

October 16, 2016: My birthday celebration – the breakdown!




Woke up and liked/hearted/thanked all the well-wishers on Facebook, twitter, and instagram.


Cleaned the dog poop off the patio (Note: I originally wrote “Cleaned poop off the patio” but ultimately felt it was advisable to be specific).


Had lunch at Schmaltz Appetizing.


Took a stroll.

img_1423 img_1425

Picked up substitute birthday cake.


Heard from two of my favorite Germans.

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Dinner at Piano Piano.

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Quality time with my girl!

Thanks for all the birthday wishes.  The celebrations will continue throughout the week!

October 15, 2016: Phasing the dog dislikers out of my life!



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!

October 14, 2016: Apparently, I function best on 3 hours of sleep!




Last night, Akemi and I had dinner with Melissa O’Neil and Vanessa Piazza.  We went for sushi and I over-ordered.  Even more than usual because I mistakenly assumed I was only ordering single pieces of sushi.  Halfway through our meal, when Akemi asked the waitress what else was coming, the waitress replied: “Tuna, eel, and more.”  Uh, yeah.  Thanks for clarifying.  The same waitress seemed utterly perplexed later on when Melissa ordered the cantaloupe sorbet, bouncing a look of utter incomprehension between Melissa and the dessert menu.  Cantaloupe sorbet?  No one’s ever ordered the cantaloupe sorbet!!!


Too much sushi, a bowl of matcha ice cream, and a couple of carafes of sake later, I headed home for a good night’s sleep.  Because our frenchie, Lulu, is still recuperating from spinal surgery, we’ve taken to sequestering her in a little pen downstairs to ensure she doesn’t exert herself by climbing stairs, jumping off the bed or practicing her tae kwon do unsupervised.  I’ll turn off all the lights and work at my laptop until late, then hop into her playpen and pet her until she drifts off (roughly 1100 pets) before slipping quietly upstairs.

Nest cam view of my demonic frenchie

Nest cam view of one demonic frenchie

I fell asleep at about 1 a.m.  I was awakened an hour later by the sound of Lulu coming up the stairs.  Somehow, the little Houdini had managed to slip out.  I picked her up to bring her downstairs and, upon our arrival, realized she wasn’t feeling well.  She had messed her blanket, two dog beds, and the floor.  So I cleaned her, then the floor, then rinsed down the dog beds and blanket in the bathtub before popping them in for a double wash, then took a nice hot shower.  I rejoined her downstairs and repeated the bedtime process, patting her until she eventually drifted off.  By the time I got back to sleep, it was a little after 5 a.m.

Surprisingly, I got shit done today despite the lack of sleep.  Finished a pass on one script.  Tossed around some ideas with Jay.  Sat in on an Art Department budget meeting (so far, so good!).


And reconnected with some of the old gang.  Pictured above: Props Master Victoria Klein presents Akemi with a frenchie-themed tote bag.  What a sweetheart.

Hmmmm.  Apparently the new Star Trek series is in town shooting for, oh, ever, which has cost us some crew and construction personnel.  Anyone out there have any experience building corporate guard garrisons or diabolical research laboratories?  Lemme know!


Status: Worried?