Entry for February 26, 2008: Events and games

Friends, I hope the past fortnight has treated you well. I've been busy with the usual things: work, various games, genre entertainment, and winter events.

Happy birthday to brother-in-law Gary (pictured), sisters-in-law Kelly and Shelly, and co-workers Michele and Donna! Gary's wife (and Janice's youngest sister) Melinda threw a surprise 40th birthday party for him at the "Parting Glass," an Irish pub in Saratoga, New York.

Congratulations also to fellow blogger Steve M.R. & Aleece Z.R. on the birth of their daughter, Lauren! I hope to see them and toddler Connor later this spring. I wish high-school chum Damon F.P. luck with his annulment proceedings, and I plan to attend my niece Lili's baptism as well.

Janice and I had our annual reviews at CW and OCS, respectively. On Saturday, 16 February 2008, we got our taxes done at H&R Block in Norwood, Massachusetts. Unfortunately, Janice has had to bring her car in for repairs after a thrown truck tire in the middle of the highway damaged the rear bumper.

In addition, I participated in a Jeopardy-style tournament at work. I ended the first round with -400, but bounced back during Double Jeopardy to about 12,000. Although I didn't bet enough in Final Jeopardy to win, I should have enough points to move ahead, since I would have won any of the other games played so far. The trivia contest has helped me to get to know some co-workers, but my billiards game with Bob R. has gotten rusty.

I've also been playing Scrabulous through Facebook with Janice, Erik B.L., and Ken G. As for social networking sites, I've been reconnecting with friends and co-workers through MySpace.com, LinkedIn, Classmates.com, and Google and Yahoo.

Speaking of games, Sara F.'s boyfriend Josh C. has joined the D&D3.5 "Vanished Lands: the Broken Chains" Arabian fantasy group on Tuesday nights. The current face-to-face party of six Player Characters has gotten involved in intrigues in the city of Falit, hunting down members of the cult of Set and instigating a riot in the slave market.

The Thursday night "Holy Steel" teleconferencing team of Byron V.O./"Ibrahim" and Dexter V.H./"Faelonia" is also in Falit on its way to the distant empire of Khemet (New Kingdom Egypt). Over the past 25 years, more than 300 P.C.s have explored and helped develop my "Vanished Lands" campaign setting!

In addition, the role-play by e-mail team of Byron/"Melchior," Paul J./"Sai," and Gabe C./"Eva" have belatedly moved forward in their reconnaissance around the Temple of Elemental Evil, an adventure module that I may run later this spring. Greg D.C./"Janus" is helping them, while fellow Game Master Dexter is helping me prepare for this tabletop (pen-and-paper, dice-and-pizza) scenario.

Aside from "double-XP" (experience-point) weekend in City of Heroes, David I.S., Shari S., and I haven't had much time lately outside of the Sunday morning virtual sessions. The rest of our group — Kim A.G., Steve M.R., and Thomas K.Y. — has continued regularly in the multiplayer online superhero game.

I've enjoyed the Wii, which I'll probably get to use at CW's annual offsite editorial retreat in late April, and I'd love to play the Lego Star Wars (Classic Saga), Batman, and Indiana Jones video games.

Next time: More genre entertainment and food!