Entry for January 15, 2008; Continuing adventures

In addition to the sick friends I mentioned previously, I should also add my best wishes for Dave F.R-B. and various family members. If this is what we should expect as we reach middle age, count me out!

On Friday, 11 January 2008, I enjoyed the return of USA's sleuth comedy Psych. Although the writers' strike has affected most network television, I look forward to the next few episodes of Chuck and Pushing Daisies, which has earned critical praise and been nominated for some awards. In addition, the BBC's Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood returns in a few weeks. I'd rather watch these than the plethora of reality shows.

On Saturday, Janice and I ran errands after the holidays and travel to New York. After going to the local dump (Needham doesn't pick up trash and recyclables), we had a good lunch at Acapulco's. From there, we spent the rest of the afternoon browsing at Newbury Comics, the massive New England Mobile Book Fair, and Borders.

Since we've been offered a trial package of Stars/Encore, Showtime, and IFC through Verizon FiOS, we've also been catching up on movies in the past few weeks. I liked period drama Elizabeth and computer-animated cyberpunk Renaissance.

The comedies Mighty Aphrodite, Nacho Libre, and Stranger Than Fiction were all amusing, but cyberpunk Aeon Flux and horror/action Underworld 2 and Ultraviolet were not as compelling. Entertainment Weekly recently ran an interesting article asserting that risk-averse Hollywood (and Burbank) are relying on certain properties that are aging as fast as the core genre fanbase.

Still, I have to admit that I look forward to movies for The Hobbit and further adventures of Indiana Jones as much as the next guy. Janice and I really liked cross-cultural comedy Bend It Like Beckham.

Cars was decent children's fare, if not as good as Ratatouille, and there are certain cult favorites that we've watched repeatedly, such as Buckaroo Banzai, Dune, and The Mummy and The Mummy Returns (and a third is on the way). Although the previews and early buzz for the animated Dragonlance fantasy adaptation haven't been promising, I have higher hopes for the computer-animated sentai Gatchaman.

On Sunday, after I played City of Heroes online and Janice returned from the animal shelter, we had lunch at Conrad's and did some grocery shopping at Shaw's in Norwood, Massachusetts. I also picked up my subscription at New England Comics.

Comic Book Resources, Newsarama, Mania/Cinescape, and IGN have all recently posted features about recent trends in comic books (see enclosed links). Some, such as DC Comics and Marvel Comics' crossovers, convoluted continuities, and character resurrections, are negative. Fortunately, there are titles that stand alone, such as noirish Powers, the upcoming Zorro, and the surreal Umbrella Academy.

We also watched some football (go Patriots!) and the latest version of Jane Austen's Persuasion on PBS, as well as the first part of the premiere of Terminator: the Sarah Connor Chronicles. The science fiction/action movie franchise translated fairly well onto the small screen, thanks in part to 300's Lena Heady and Firefly/Serenity's Summer Glau. Fellow blogger Thomas K.Y. and others have noted how the television show alters the history established by the postapocalyptic/time-travel flicks.

Speaking of blogs, I highly recommend co-worker Angela G.'s Tech Space on USA Today's Web site, in which she writes about science, pop culture, and politics. On Monday, Jan. 14, heavy snow led most of CW's staffers to telecommute. Janice and I got to try out our new electric shovel (a small snowblower) that we got from her parents for Christmas. I've got meetings and a multimedia class at work later this week, so let's hope the weather holds up!

Since Steve M.R. and I try to keep track of such events, I should wish Happy Birthday to Bill A.R., Michele M.L., and Steve M., as well as a Happy Anniversary to my brother Peter and his wife Kelly! It's hard to believe that it has been five years since we all stood on the beach of the U.S. Virgin Island of St. Thomas!

In the meantime, I have tonight's D&D3.5 "Vanished Lands: the Broken Chains" Arabian fantasy session to prepare for. I recommend checking EnWorld.org for the latest updates regarding Dungeons & Dragons Fourth Edition. The Arisia genre entertainment convention is this coming weekend, and I'll have Dr. Martin Luther King Day off from work.