Entry for January 05, 2009: New Year’s visits

Friends, I hope that all your holidays were happy. On Wednesday, 31 December 2008, after Janice and I worked from home, David I.S. arrived after a long drive from Upstate New York behind a snowstorm. We played video games on our new Nintendo Wii, caught parts of Superbad and Planet Terror on cable television, and watched the lighted ball drop in Times Square. Let's hope that 2009 is better than this past year for everyone.

On New Year's Day, we went for a quick walk, but found many stores in Needham, Massachusetts, closed for the holiday. College chum Dave and I decided not to screen The Spirit because of mixed reviews, instead watching part of Across the Universe. While I'm not a big fan of rock operas, I was favorably impressed at the actors' performances in this drama of a group of friends through the 1960s set to Beatles songs.

In addition, we played Lego Star Wars: the Complete Saga, Boom Blox, and other Wii games. We stayed up late into the night watching documentaries on heavy metal music and chatting about work, travel, friends and family, science and politics, and genre entertainment.

On Friday, Jan. 2, Janice drove us down to Norwood, where we stopped in at New England Comics and Newbury Comics. I picked up my comic book subscription, and audiophile and drummer Dave bought numerous music CDs. We then enjoyed lunch at Stone Hearth Pizza and picked up munchies at Trader Joe's before belatedly watching Dave's DVD of Wall-E.

Pixar's latest computer-animated movie was very good, especially in its first half, which has little dialogue as the eponymous robot deals with a trash-strewn Earth abandoned by humanity. I still prefer The Incredibles and Ratatouille, but Wall-E was one of the best films of this past year. Janice fed us well with barbeque (sloppy joes).

Since it was "SciFriday," we also watched the latest episodes of Star Wars: the Clone Wars and Sanctuary and speculated on how the announcement of the latest cast change for Doctor Who will affect that franchise.

The next day, Janice's parents Marvin & Linda, youngest sister Melinda, and our niece Amanda visited. Among other Christmas presents, they gave us the Wii Fit, a balance-board peripheral for the game console, and Lego Indiana Jones: the Original Adventures! After setting up the Fit in front of an audience, I have no excuse not to get into better shape.

We had lunch at Friendly's before the Upstate New Yorkers all left to return home. Janice and I watched Persepolis, an animated movie that tells the heartbreaking story of a young woman's difficulties as she moves between revolutionary Iran and the free but problematic West. Persepolis is based on Marjane Satrapi's graphic novel and is arguably the best animated film I've seen in a long while.

The remainder of our holiday break was spent catching up on television such as new caper series Leverage, sleep, and e-mail with other gamers. Speaking of games, sessions of the City of Heroes supergroup, the D&D4e "Vanished Lands: the Faith-Based Initiative" face-to-face role-players, and the Pathfinder/"D&D3.75: Holy Steel" teleconferencing team resume this week.

What do you want me to blog about in the coming year? I've tried to post more regularly, but do readers want more detailed reviews, political discussions, or anything different?