Entry for March 27, 2007 — Health, TV, comics, and visitors

Last week, there was a health fair at work. I'm pleased to report that my blood pressure was 126/80, my cholesterol low (below 150), and my face was clear of any precancerous lesions. The cheesburger diet works for me! Janice and my co-workers were jealous of my genetic luck. On the other hand, a family history of heart, colon, and prostate trouble means I should still take health seriously.

This week brought less pleasant news: As reader habits continue to shift from print to online, there were some layoffs, and CW and its sister publications are planning for another redesign. I'm glad that the company has been forward-looking, but I wish that the human toll was lighter. We've been pretty busy, so I hope the need for good journalism won't go away anytime soon.

Back to health concerns for a moment: My follow-up with the root canal doctor went well, with the X-rays showing that I've healed enough for the next round of work on my upper right molars. I have yet another dental appointment in two weeks for crowns.

This past Saturday, 24 March 2007, Janice and I drove to Hartford Connecticut, for a Sugarloaf Craft Festival. We used to go to such fairs more often when we lived in Virginia in the 1990s. The 250+ artists, food vendors, and other merchants were interesting, and we stopped for dinner at "Firefly's" in Framingham, Massachusetts, on the way home. Inspired by "The Phantom Gourmet" on local television, I had the "Dave Andelman" appetizer — tasty Angus miniburgers.

On Sunday, after watching "Chefography" on the Food Network and catching up on recorded episodes of "Smallville," we also saw some installments of "Joes vs. Pros" on ESPN. While I'm an armchair athlete at best, I came away with a new appreciation for those people who spend their careers in sports.

The latest season finale of the SciFi Channel's revisionist "Battlestar Galactica" almost redeemed most of the military space opera's recent storylines. "Lee 'Apollo' Adama's" moralistic monalogue, the revelation of the so-called final five android Cylon models, and the cliffhanger ending both raised new questions and harkened back to the best of the 1970s series. I'm still annoyed that the producers have taken credit for reinventing the wheel and by some of the more mystical or soap-operatic aspects of the show, but I'll be returning to it in 2008.

"The Dresden Files" on the SciFi Channel has also been good, with "Farscape" and "Stargate" alumna Claudia Black making a cameo on the supernatural private detective show this past Sunday night. Janice has been reading the novels, which are somewhat different from the television show.

Speaking of genre entertainment, co-worker Ken G., who shares similar (though not identical) tastes, has a well-done blog at http://www.showbits.net/ I've also had good conversations with Steph F. and April O'C., causing me to wonder whether I have more in common with my employer's design and online groups than with my fellow copy editors.

Back to comic books, I've mentioned before Dynamite Entertainment's excellent adaptations of Robert E. Howard's "Conan" gritty fantasy stories. The art has been as good or better than the long-running Marvel Comics version, and even cheesecake spin-off "Red Sonja" has been entertaining.

Most of the comics I read are superhero titles, but Dynamite and others have revived some licensed properties that I'm fond of, including "The Lone Ranger," "Battlestar Galactica" (classic 1970s version), and "Highlander." Darwyn Cooke's "Spirit" is a fitting tribute to the late, great Will Eisner, and I occasionally pick up other retro books such as "The Phantom" and "Zorro."

Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming's "Powers" is postmodern in cynicism and style, but still well-written, while Alex Ross and Kurt Busiek keep trying (and mostly succeed) in recapturing the optimism of the Silver Age (1960s and 1970s) in "Astro City."

After this week's D&D3.5 "Vanished Lands" fantasy session and the "City of Heroes" online game, I've got to get ready to host teleconferencer Byron V.O. this coming weekend. He'll be visiting the Boston area for a conference and to see an ill niece, and he'll be staying with Janice and me from Friday through Sunday, when college chum Ron J.K. also hopes to meet.

We'll probably have another one-shot role-playing gathering and screen "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles." The following weekend, Dexter V.H. may visit while Janice joins her folks in Pennsylvania for Easter. Who needs sleep?

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