Entry for October 04, 2007: More bills and SFTV

Friends, I hope you’ve had a good week. Now that my boss Michele is on vacation in Italy, I've been busy with work, but here's a quick update. Unfortunately, late last week, I got hit with another unexpected expense when I had to bring in my car for repairs. Some rattling led to the replacement of my 1998 Honda Civic coupe's rear brakes, a heat shield, and other equipment! After dealing with that and the past months' dental bills, it's probably just as well that most of my travel plans for this autumn have fallen through.

On Saturday, 29 September 2007, Janice and I walked to the Needham Harvest Fair, as well as to a library book sale. Among the booths was the "Soup Bowl," a contest among local restaurants and other local businesses. Our favorite was a spicy squash soup from a nearby nursing home!

On Sunday afternoon, I accompanied Janice to her new office in Dedham, Massachusetts, for a few hours to help with unpacking after OCS's recent move. The initial scene was pretty chaotic, with computer cables, file boxes, and unfurnished cubicles as far as the eye could see. My fellow copy editors and I are now also dealing with some construction at CW as various other units move around, not to mention the ongoing renovations at the Natick Collection shopping mall.

After that, we drove to New England Comics in Norwood, Mass., to pick up my subscription and take advantage of a sale. Once I catch up more on reading, I intend to post a roundup of my favorite DC and Marvel titles right now. Here's a good list with profiles of the most popular superheroes: http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2007/10/01/top-100-dc-and-marvel-cha…

We also stopped by a Barnes & Noble, where Janice picked up some historical mysteries and I got the latest British genre entertainment magazines. I wonder if the increased availability of such imports is related to the demise of U.S. publications such as Cinefastique, which were more boosterish, less opinionated, and generally smaller in page count.

As I continue to catch up on the new television season, thanks in part to Verizon's DVR, I can report on a few more premieres. I was looking forward to seeing more of actresses Amanda Tapping and Jewel Staite on Stargate: Atlantis, but I found the writing to still be lackluster compared with now-departed parent show Stargate SG1, which carried on the space operatic legacy exemplified in the aforementioned Star Trek: the Next Generation (whose cast is shown above).

Like the revamped Bionic Woman and other quasi-feminist programs (including the yet-to-air Terminator spin-off The Sarah Connor Chronicles), Moonlight is awfully familiar to fans of various other vampire series, including Dark Shadows, Forever Knight, Kindred, and Angel. It was mildly diverting, but not a must-watch. Bionic Woman and Moonlight are the two new shows I'll most likely drop.

Smallville's return was also predictable, but as always, good acting almost redeems the plot holes and ill-advised tinkering with the Superman mythos. (Note: Some of the enclosed links have "spoilers.") I have yet to watch the Superman: Doomsday direct-to-DVD animated movie, and I've been busy trading discs with friends and co-workers. I've also caught a bit of Ken Burns' latest documentary, The War, about World War II, on PBS.

While the SciFi Channel's Friday night lineup has faltered, sister network NBC's Monday offerings have been more successful in terms of quality and ratings. While still setting up multiple characters, Heroes has still been intriguing, and I like Chuck and Journeyman. Fortunately, Doctor Who's third-series finale, the return of Avatar: the Last Airbender, and Torchwood make the end of the week entertaining.

Like director/fanboy Kevin Smith's Reaper, the quirky style of Barry Sonnenfeld's Pushing Daisies will be familiar to fans of The Addams Family, Fantasy Island, or Dead Like Me, but I did like the gentle, if morbid, comedy of its pilot episode, as well as the appealing character actors.

In gaming news, the Tuesday night face-to-face group welcomed Sara. Her Wemic Kahin (leonine centauroid Druid) "Neela" may have been a bit overwhelmed by our D&D3.5 "Vanished Lands: the Broken Chains" Arabian fantasy campaign, but I hope that she and the other newer role-players Ben R./"Slink" and John C.M./"Nebi" have fun alongside veterans Beruk A./"Kunal," Greg D.C./"Killian," and Brian W./"Mumtaz."

Tonight is the "Holy Steel" teleconferencing team with Dexter V.H./"Faelonia" and Byron V.O./"Ibrahim." In addition, the City of Heroes online group is considering other meeting times to accommodate the schedules of David I.S., Shari S., Kim A.G., Steve M.R., Thomas K.Y., and me. I've also been back in contact with old friends Ray C. from high school and Nick F.J.T. from my year in Queens, New York!