Entry for October 25, 2007: Zoo, superheroes, and genre

On Saturday, 20 October 2007, Janice and I attended a charity pancake breakfast offered by the Rotary Club of Needham at a local elementary school. After that, we drove to meet her folks, who were visiting for the weekend.

We then went with Janice's parents, her sister Melinda, and Melinda's family to the Southwick Zoo (see photo above). Fortunately, the clouds cleared up and the unseasonably warm weather continued. It was nice to spend time with my brother-in-law Gary T.L. and with my precocious niece Amanda and happy nephew Joshua.

I have mixed feelings about zoos. On the one hand, they provide opportunities for children to see animals from all over the world firsthand and for adults to appreciate conservation efforts. On the other, zoos tend to focus on large, cute mammals at the expense of habitat preservation and valuing creatures in the wild, where most belong. Circuses have the additional problem of properly caring for animals while traveling and performing. Still, the petting zoo (of domestic animals), walk-through deer park, and food vendors make Southwick a good place to spend an afternoon with the family.

On the way home, we stopped for dinner at Firefly's, one of our favorite barbeque restaurants. In the spirit of hanging out with fellow superhero fans Gary and Joshua this weekend, Janice and I have caught several episodes of the classic Superman: the Animated Series, Batman: the Animated Series, and Justice League on Toon Disney. As much as I enjoy Legion of Superheroes, The Batman, and Smallville, the current adaptations from DC Comics aren't quite as stylish or well-written. Janice and I also enjoyed the two Scary Godmother Halloween cartoons.

Speaking of metahuman vigilantes, as fellow bloggers Steve M.R. and Cecil R.W. have noted, there are a number of "What superhero are you?" quizzes online. My results were Spider-Man, Batman, and Superman — no surprises there. I still plan to blog about recent comic books and graphic novels in the near future, but I've fallen behind again in reading.

On Sunday, after playing City of Heroes online, I drove up to Lexington, Massachusetts, where I met Thomas K.Y. Unfortunately, Beruk A. and Ken G. had other plans. Thomas and I had a late lunch at Mifune, a Chinese/Japanese restaurant in Arlington, Mass., before settling in to watch some videos on his new 40-inch widescreen LCD television.

The direct-to-DVD Superman: Doomsday was decent, with more graphic fight scenes than in most mainstream U.S. animation. The voice casting/acting was a bit shaky, but I thought the condensation of the comic book storylines mostly worked well. We also viewed the latest episodes of Smallville and the fantasy Avatar: the Last Airbender (which I would compare favorably to the Timm/Dini cartoons mentioned above) on Thomas' DVR.

Of course, for most local sports fans, this past week has been as good as they could hope for, with the New England Patriots continuing their winning streak against the Miami Dolphins and the Boston Red Sox entering the World Series for the second time in four years, not to mention the Head of the Charles. I'm not a huge sports fan, but the excitement among co-workers and neighbors is hard to ignore.

Speaking of enthusiasm, I have been closely following the new television season. Here are more good sources for genre news:
Mania.com (formerly Cinescape)
Dark Horizons
SciFi Wire
SyFy Portal
SFTV Lists

We had a gathering of copy editors across my employer's units yesterday afternoon. I thought the meeting went well, partly because my team won a Jeopardy-style trivia contest. However, we did have to deal with a heavy workload of online stories to edit once we got back to our desks.

Meanwhile, on Tuesdays, "the Broken Chains," the current Player Character party (Yb-4a) in my D&D3.5 "Vanished Lands: Halmed Desert" Arabian fantasy campaign, has been dealing with some growing pains after the role-player turnover of the past month. I hope that the gamers will be able to find common goals and have fun without worrying too much about rules or combat. Time will tell.

The Thursday night D&D3.5 "Vanished Lands: Holy Steel" team is taking a break while Byron V.O./"Ibrahim" is in China for work (as Thomas will soon also be), but Dexter V.H./"Faelonia" and I have more customization to do of the Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil module for the higher-level P.C.s. Bwah, ha, ha!

This coming weekend, I have the first of a few adult Halloween parties to attend. Enjoy the autumn!