Entry for January 18, 2006

Friends, it has been a busy fortnight since my last posting. After a favorable annual review, I got a small promotion to "senior copy editor" at CW, just in time for Donna S. to join our unit. Of course, we're still swamped, but these developments should help a bit as we get more online editorial content to edit. Janice has had various meetings, and we plan to attend the Society for Technical Communications conference in Las Vegas in early May.

While many people (including Janice's mother) have been fighting winter illnesses, our thoughts are with Steve M.R., whose mother has terminal cancer. In other health news, I was interviewed by a local television station for a story about hernia surgery:

The fifteen-minute interview about my 1993 bilaterial inguinal hernia repair and difficult recovery yielded 15 seconds of screen time, but that's television journalism. At least I was quoted in context and my name was correct. I also had my first digital X-ray during a recent dental exam–the image appeared on a monitor immediately after it was taken.

For the sake of brevity, I'll avoid talking about my ongoing frustration with politics right now; suffice to say I think we're headed in the wrong direction on too many fronts. On a lighter note, as posted at Steve M.R.'s blog and elsewhere, astronomers have found a tenth planetoid in our solar system, proving that humanity's exploration of space has only just begun.

My D&D3.5 "Vanished Lands: Seekers of Lore" heroic fantasy campaign has been going well, as the latest Boston-area Player Characters reached the city of Hesolin, met various people, went shopping, and fended off Drow assassins. They're approaching "name level" (10 in old AD&D). The role-play by e-mail teams, led by Carolyn M.P./"Grace," Byron V.O./"Ibrahim," and Greg D.C./"Janus," continued to make progress in their own quests…

Out of character, Paul J./"Sai" & Alysia/"Aoelia" returned to college, and a few of the guys weren't able to attend our Martin Luther King Day session. I hope that Brian P.W.'s GURPS 4e "Fantasy: Fallowshare" miniseries and Atilla C.'s campaign are successful, and I had good chats with Carolyn & Hans C.H. and Dexter V.H./"Faelonia." Dex and I hope to return to the "City of Heroes" online superhero game in the next week or so, and David I.S. and Steve M.R. have expressed interest in joining us. Good luck to Peter's paintball party in the Poconos this coming weekend! (Say that 10 times fast…)

Speaking of superheroes, I've been following D.C. Comics' "Infinite Crisis" crossover–its semiannual cleaning house of continuity. My favorite titles right now are "Green Arrow," "Birds of Prey," "Titans/Outsiders," and Alex Ross' "Justice." Marvel Comics has done something similar, although it still has more alternate universes. After years away, I find myself again reading "Avengers," "Shanna," "Spider Man/Black Cat," and "Astonishing X-Men."

I also recommend a number of quasi-independent monthly comic books, not all of which involve costumed superheroes: "Astro City," "Conan/Red Sonja," "Planetary," and "Powers." Some of the local gamers and I plan to return to my D20 "Mutants & Masterminds" 2nd Ed.: "S.J.I.: Drake's Port" scenarios when we get the time.

Speaking of superheroes, Janice and I enjoyed the final episodes of the Cartoon Network's "Teen Titans." I thought that the penultimate storyline, about the enlarged team's international battles against the Brotherhood of Evil, to be a satisfying end (similar to both the comics and "Justice League" plots), but the last episode, focusing on the ever-popular Beast Boy (see "the Zeppo" on "Buffy: the Vampire Slayer"), was a bittersweet coda. The last episodes of "Justice League Unlimited" and the end of Bruce Timm and Paul Dini's excellent interpretation of the D.C. Universe air in February.

This past weekend, while catching glimpses of the end of the New England Patriots' SuperBowl "dynasty," Janice and I also caught "Hustle," a new series on A&E. The caper show, like the original "Mission Impossible," "The Sting," or "Maverick," is about con artists doing good while grifting. Apparently, the show was popular in England, where it was made, and between that and the BBC's revived "Doctor Who" (to air on the SciFi Channel later this spring), we find ourselves watching more British than broadcast television.

Speaking of speculative fiction, I agree that the half-season returns of the long-running "Stargate SG1" and the revisionist "Battlestar Galactica" have been excellent. Both military space operas feature strong writing, sympathetic characters (especially on SG1), and solid visual effects. "Stargate Atlantis" and "Smallville" are valiantly trying to keep up, IMHO. "The Boondocks'" MLK episode was also suprisingly well-done.

I haven't been to the movies in a while, but some of the Boston-area folks may try to see vampire/werewolf sequel "Underworld 2" in the next week or so. We passed on the overly teen-oriented "Tristan & Isolde" and tweeny CGI "Hoodwinked," but there'll be enough to catch in the coming months…