Entry for November 20, 2005

Friends, I hope you had a good weekend. It's with a heavy heart that I must report that yesterday, Janice and I drove to Connecticut to drop off Josie and Ginger with a young woman who handles chinchilla adoptions. After getting "the girls" nearly three years ago from Mark A.S. & Ann W., who moved with their growing family to New Zealand, Janice had become sensitive to their fur, hay feed, and the volcanic dust they bathe in to the point where she was coughing from the moment she arrived home from work in the evening to the time she left for work in the morning.

We did spoil Ginger and Josie, though, providing a large cage with lots of toys, snacks and banana pieces (although they often preferred baseboards and electrical cords), and a ritual hour of exercise per night. We already miss them, but the chinchillas now have 12(!) playmates and, we hope, a good new home. Combined with last month's destructive basement flood, it's the end of an era for Janice and me in Needham Heights, Massachusetts.

Work continues to be very busy, as our preholiday workload and the ongoing systems migration were compounded by the news that Mike P., an extremely productive co-worker, will be leaving for a job at EMC Corp. While we wish him luck, the next few months look to be challenging…

Last weekend's visit by Dexter V.H. and Stuart C.G. from metropolitan New York and my D&D3.5 "Vanished Lands: the Flying Citadel" heroic fantasy one-shot at Byron V.O.'s home went very well, as did Janice's visit to her folks in Pennsylvania. Too many late nights, however, led to my stomach being off for most of the past week.

After the successful cameo by college chums and the preceding weekend's D20 "Mutants & Masterminds" 2nd Ed. "Drake's Port: Robot Hoversled" superhero game, it was only natural that the latest regular D&D3.5 "Vanished Lands: Seekers of Lore" meeting wasn't as exciting, since the current Player Character party has been traveling across the Plains of Sathendo to more interesting ports of call. I didn't expect some of the role-players to resume bickering about fictional treasure distribution, but I hope that means that our next face-to-face gathering will go smoothly.

The latest episodes of "Smallville" continue to advance the characters to the points familiar to fans of the comic books and movies, IMHO. The preview for "Superman Returns" (if not as long as the fan-cobbled ones) looked like a promising return to basics (like the recent "Spider-Man" or "Batman Begins" films) and a sequel of sorts to "Superman II," even using outtakes of the late Marlon Brando…

Janice and I are continuing to catch up on the BBC's revived "Doctor Who," which I'll be loaning out soon. Earlier today, Beruk A. and I attended the Super MegaFest  in Framingham, Mass. The convention featured actors from "Star Wars," "Three's Company," and other genre entertainment. I got autographs from Richard Kiel ("Jaws" in the James Bond movies) and Kevin Sorbo (from "Hercules," "Kull," and "Andromeda," and Beruk met Temuera Morrison ("Jango Fett") and other actors. Pictures from the past few weekend's social events are in the Genre 2005 section of my Yahoo photos page.

Janice and I are looking forward to seeing family and friends in Virginia around Thanksgiving, and we hope the long drive goes quickly. I hope that all of you have a happy and safe holiday!