Entry for January 25, 2007 — niece, pool, SFTV, and games

Friends, I was going to post about my musical preferences, but there has been enough other news in the meantime that the topic will have to wait. On Monday, 22 January 2007, my younger brother Peter's wife Kelly gave birth to their second daughter, Liliana Rose D.!

She joins sister Ava Sophia D., who is almost two years old, as well as six more nieces and nephews on Janice's side of the family! Mother and child are doing well, and my parents and Kelly's mother have already visited their new grandchild. Janice and I hope to get down to Virginia in the next few months. It's hard to believe that Peter & Kelly celebrated their fourth wedding anniversary last week!

Backing up a bit, I got some bad news at a dental checkup last week–decay in a right top molar will require breaking up my 20-year-old bridge to repair, and I'll need a cap on a worn lower rear tooth. The procedure is scheduled for next month, but I have yet to hear back from my health insurance provider or my doctor on the details. I've also finally signed up for a 401(k) retirement plan at work.

On a lighter note, I'm the only person in CW's editorial division to advance to the second round in our first pool tournament. I should practice some billiards in the coming week or so, but I would do better at Ping-Pong or foosball. A few of us met former co-worker Jacqui M.D. at the Newton Marriott before going to dinner at "Margarita's" in Waltham, Massachusetts, last night.

Last Saturday, after breakfast at the International House of Pancakes, Janice and I picked up some clothing, DVDs, books, and magazines in Norwood, Mass. We then had dinner at Mandarin Cuisine on the Needham/Newton line. Janice and I also caught up by telephone with "Liberators" alumni Mark A.S. & Ann W., who live with their two children, John and Brianna, in New Zealand.

On Sunday, we avoided the cold weather and stayed indoors (see the latest photo from my computer room). Unfortunately, the New England Patriots lost in the playoffs to the Indianapolis Colts, but I can't begrudge the latter football team its victory as it prepares to face the Chicago Bears in the Super Bowl.

On the genre entertainment front, I've been pleased with the latest episodes of "Smallville" (featuring a proto-Justice League), quirky sleuth "Psych," and superpowered ensemble drama "Heroes." Among several of my friends lately, "Heroes" is the most anticipated television show each week.

The paranormal private investigator and more episodic plot (vs. longer arcs) of "The Dresden Files" look promising. "The Dresden Files" is also reminiscent of Joss Whedon's "Angel," but I'm still unsure of whether the revisionist "Battlestar Galactica" can transcend its recent soap opera in space storylines and declining ratings. I recently bought some nice die-cast Colonial Viper fighter craft for my miniature fleet.

I've been recording the misadventures of young-adult sleuth "Veronica Mars," but the remastered classic "Star Trek" and animated "Afro Samurai" have slipped from my viewing schedule. There's only so much I can watch in a given week, so TiVo or Netflix will have to wait for now. Speaking of which, Thomas K.Y. hopes to get together for "A Scanner Darkly" this coming weekend.

In addition to the regular Tuesday night D&D3.5 "Vanished Lands: the Broken Chains" Arabian fantasy sessions, I played "City of Heroes" on Thursday night and Sunday morning. As discussed on the "Dimension Corps Online" Web club and elsewhere, David I.S./"the Excoriator," Kim A.G./"Lady Bewilder" and I (as "Nightfall IIb") need to take our time and improve our teamwork. We also still hope that our tactics will improve when and if Steve M.R./"the Blazing Corona" and Thomas/"the Righteous Fist" join us online.

Byron V.O. wasn't available as "Ibrahim" or "Kemosh" for teleconferencing this past week, but he, Dexter V.H./"Faelonia," and I plan to have regular audio D&D3.5 sessions on Sunday evenings. I've been turning away prospective role-players for the face-to-face game, but with Brian W./"Mumtaz" and Doug H./"Dimgo" out this week and Paul J./"Rache" and Bre/"Rhiannen" returning to college next week, we'll see how that settles out.

While I think I've been successful as a Game Master in restraining the amount of magic and overall power levels in the latest D&D3.5 "Vanished Lands: Halmed Desert" party, I now hope to shift the focus from combat with various monsters toward Player Character development, plot, and diplomacy. I'm also still absorbing the latest background information and rules from sourcebooks I've recently gotten. I've become fond of Green Ronin's "True 20" system.

Steve M.R. has posted some analysis of the latest State of the Union Address and environmental politics on his Web log, so see my responses there. For those of you who have visited my profiles on Yahoo, MySpace.com, Netscape, Google, Classmates.com, or Meetup.com, please note that this is my primary blog. Feel free to post or contact me directly if you have questions or suggestions! Take it easy, -Gene