Entry for March 24, 2006

Congratulations to Steve M.R. & Aleece Z.R. on the birth of their son, Connor Blake Rothandler! Also, Happy Birthday to Dexter V.H. and Steve M.R., and a belated Happy Anniversary to Damon F.P. & Nicole P. and to Corbin A.Y. & Andria K.Y.! Janice and I quietly celebrated our 11th year of marriage and 16 years together last weekend.

Janice and I have made our travel reservations for May 2006 to the Southwest U.S. for a conference and sightseeing and to Belgium for the baptism of niece Ava S.D. Combined with a possible move or houseguests (see below), the next two months should be fun, if somewhat draining. Unfortunately, I'll have to postpone any plans to visit metropolitan New York or Northern Virginia until the summer.

About two weeks ago, while Janice visited her family in Upstate New York, I took adavantage of the nice weather to walk around the shops on Moody Street in Waltham, Massachusetts. The surrounding neighborhoods were seedier than I remember them, but the comic book shop, a used book store, and Danger Planet Games made the trip worthwhile. Upon Janice's return, we enjoyed dinner at "Acapulco's," a Mexican restaurant near where we live.

Although we're often more likely to dine and shop near where we work in Framingham (20 miles west of Boston) or Norwood (15 miles southwest of Boston), Janice and I have recently tried spending time in Newton, which is closer to where we live in Needham Heights, Mass. (10 miles west of Boston).

In addition to "Acapulco's," we've recently been to "Pizzapalooza"; the New England Mobile Book Fair, a huge bookstore strangely organized by publisher more than genre or author; and Newbury Comics, which sells music CDs and DVDs more than comic books or graphic novels.

Speaking of comic-book superheroes and videos, I recently picked up the long-awaited first season of the recent "Justice League" animated series on DVD, as well as Marvel's "Ultimate Avengers." As a fan of the pulp origins of the genre, I'm pleased that the SciFi Channel rebroadcasts "The Phantom," "The Shadow," "The Rocketeer," and "The Mummy" as often as it does. I'm also glad that D.C. Comics is completing its recent angst-ridden storylines and continuity purge with the "Infinite Crisis" and "One Year Later" crossovers. Let's hope that Marvel's "Civil War" has a similar effect…

CW's annual editorial off-site meeting in downtown Boston this past weekend went well. While I'm not a big fan of PowerPoint presentations, extra-long workweeks, and strategizing discussions, the copy desk did express some of its concerns regarding systems migrations and workload/workflow issues, and as expected, we were fed well at the Marriott Long Wharf. We also bonded with some co-workers and got out into the cold to the soon-to-close Borders bookstore near Downtown Crossing and the "Black Rose," and old Irish pub.

Since then, I've been struggling to catch up with work, newspapers, and e-mail. Janice and I have had to ask prospective visitors Dexter V.H., Stuart C.G., Ron J.K., Erik B.L., and Carolyn M.P. to hold off on making travel arrangements for April until we hear back from our landlord. Apparently, his father died recently, and we've been unable to confirm whether our lease will be renewed. Otherwise, we might have to spend the next month packing, apartment-hunting, and moving rather than hosting out-of-town friends and hosting one-shot gaming sessions.

Speaking of role-playing, the D&D3.5 "Vanished Lands: Seekers of Lore" heroic fantasy Player Characters, who were exploring the ruins of a magic school/library beneath a barbarian-held city, have now found themselves 400 years into their future! Fans of Steve M.R.'s GURPS "Voyagers II: Adventures in the Dimension Corps," Tim M.B.'s GURPS "Arth," and my GURPS "Gaslight Grimoire" ("G3") steampunk/fantasy campaign would probably enjoy this scenario. The play by e-mail activity has also picked up in advance of the potential visits (see above), as those P.C.s begin planning for quests that may lead to battles against dragons…

This coming weekend, I'll be meeting Thomas K.Y. and friends in Natick, Mass., for dinner and "V for Vendetta." The movie adaptation of the British dystopian graphic novel has received mostly favorable reviews so far, although I'm also aware of the changes to the characters and plot that probably annoyed creator Alan Moore. Janice will be spending an extra shift volunteering at the Animal Rescue League in Dedham on Sunday, so I may try to catch up on the "City of Heroes" multiplayer online game.

Next week is the SciFi Channel's "Dark Kingdom: the Dragon King," which got good ratings in Germany, and my D&D3.5 game resumes. Have a good week, -Gene