Entry for August 24, 2006

Friends, I hope that the end of summer is treating each of you well. On Saturday, 12 August 2006, Janice and I went for a short hike in the Blue Hills Reservation south of Boston. We then drove up to Central Square, Cambridge, for some shopping, including at the relocated Pandemonium Books & Games.

Our concerns about the health of family members continues amid mixed news. My father is still undergoing radiotherapy in Charlottesville, Virginia (a 5-hour daily commute), but he continues to suffer the fatigue and loss of appetite from his tumor. Our niece Laura was diagnosed with a viral infection after a seizure, but she appears to be on the mend. Another niece, Ava, has an appointment with an ear, nose, and throat specialist next month, but our families prefer privacy regarding these issues.

On a lighter note, Janice and I have also spent many of our weeknights lately catching up on DVDs. We've enjoyed the BBC's "Keen Eddie" (borrowed from co-worker April O'C.), A&E's adaptations of Rex Stout's "Nero Wolfe" mysteries, and James B.'s copy of "Ultimate Avengers 2: Rise of the Panther." Pent-up demand also led me to order various books and miniatures online…

Corbin A.Y. and his wife Andria K.Y. flew up from Virginia on Friday, Aug. 19. Unfortunately, I didn't get out of work until close to 7:00 p.m. due to the usual technical snafus, and I raced home to meet them. Janice, Corb, Andria, and I then went out to Fuji, a nice Japanese steakhouse in Needham Heights, Massachusetts, followed by dessert at a new gelaterie (fancy ice cream shop) on the town square.

We had a pleasant summer evening hanging out, talking about life in metropolitan Washington compared with that in New York or Boston, health concerns, and Corb's and my suite mates and misadventures 20 years ago in college in Upstate New York.

On Saturday, Janice and I rode in Corbin's rental sport-utility vehicle as he drove into Boston to drop Andria off at her meeting planners' conference. He then made a cameo appearance as "Prof. Andrus Schubertson/Polarion" in my D20 "Mutants & Masterminds" 2nd Ed.: "Drake's 7" superhero game (see my Yahoo/eGroups Web club for details). Corb was a bit rusty — he plays card games and fantasy baseball and football more than RPGs nowadays — but it went well.

Unfortunately, only some of my regular role-players could attend (Paul and Alex J. were celebrating their birthday), but I hope that Beruk A./"the Stranger," Thomas K.Y./"the Righteous Fist," and James B./"Sid the Kid" had a good time, as their costumed vigilantes met the magnetism-controlling Polarion, skirmished with Men In Black, and smashed zombies and a demon in the city morgue!

Since I ran twice within a week, I canceled this past Tuesday night's "Drake's Port" session. In the meantime, several of the guys are already looking ahead to the eventual return to my D&D3.5 "Vanished Lands" heroic fantasy campaign setting, but I want everyone to be on the same page conceptually first (we're considering desert adventures).

On Sunday morning, Janice did her usual volunteering shift at the animal shelter, and Corbin slept in after another late night. I didn't play the "City of Heroes" online game with Dexter V.H. in Brooklyn, since we went out for a tasty lunch at a local Indian restaurant. Corb then left to meet David F.R-B. for a visit to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. I ran some errands, started on the work I had brought home, and chatted with David I.S., who was similarly busy and unable to meet with Corb and Dave, who were relatively nearby.

We also enjoyed this past Friday's 200th episode of "Stargate SG1." The long-running military space opera was fun, if not as brilliant as "Farscape" or some "Star Trek," IMHO. However, the SciFi Channel announced this week that it's canceling the show, and I doubt that spin-off "Stargate: Atlantis" or the revisionist "Battlestar Galactica" can balance heroism, story arcs, and sympathetic characters as well.

This week, in addition to my regular copy editing workload at CW, I'm working on a special supplement that my company occasionally publishes, depending on sales of advertising pages. Fortunately, my immediate co-workers have been supportive. It's just as well that I canceled Tuesday's game.

This coming weekend, Janice's parents and our niece Amanda will be in the area to go on a whale-watching cruise and to visit the New England Aquarium. After that, it's only a week to Labor Day… -Gene