11 February 2010: Snow, food, sports, and movies

Served coldFriends, I hope you’ve had a good week, despite the recent snowstorms that buried the Mid-Atlantic. New England was spared this time around, but winter is far from over for us. Work has kept me busy, as I deal with managing assignments, training on TT’s new intranet, and telecommuting. Janice and I hope to plan some vacation travel, but we may wait to see the results of our tax returns and must juggle conferences and family.

On Sunday, 31 January 2010, we went to the annual “Death by Chocolate” event at the Crowne Plaza (formerly a Sheraton) hotel in Newton, Massachusetts. As always, it was fun to sample the sweets offered by the competitors. We’ve also recently had good meals at Four Burgers in Harvard Square, Cambridge, and Minerva Indian restaurant and the British Beer Company in Norwood.

With my office soon to move from Needham to Newton, I hope to take advantage of its current proximity to home with staff lunches from/at Farm Grill, a Greek eatery; Mexican restaurants Acapulcos or Tu y Yo; and a pub such as Mick Morgans or Johnny’s Biltmore Café. My commute will get a bit longer in March, but I hope to avoid the traffic on Route 95/128, the inner beltway around Boston, by taking local roads.

In the past few weeks, former co-workers Ken G. and Brian F. and fellow blogger Thomas K.Y. had hoped to get together for genre movies, meals, or other outings, but gamer and family birthdays, rescheduled role-playing sessions, and the usual scheduling challenges prevented that. Still, I may belatedly screen James Cameron’s Avatar and the remake of The Wolf Man sometime soon. But first, there’s Valentine’s Day weekend!

I’m not a big fan of professional sports, but two events have drawn my attention: the Super Bowl and the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, B.C. I enjoyed the close football championship game but found this year’s commercials to be lackluster. I was most interested in the movie previews.

The remake of Clash of the Titans continues the recent trend of sword-and-sandals flicks (the bloody Spartacus is Starz’s TV entry), and Prince of Persia looks like the video games that inspired it rather than real-world folklore. Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe’s Robin Hood seems more focused on medieval battles than on the traditional legend of a swashbuckling highwayman.

Tim Burton’s surreal style should be a good fit for his adaptation of Alice in Wonderland, and I’m cautiously optimistic about M. Night Shaymalan’s take on Nickelodeon’s excellent fantasy anime Last Airbender.

I’m more interested in two films that won’t get as wide release: the animated Secret of Kells and the French steampunk Adventures of Adele Blanc Sec, from the director of The Fifth Element. Speaking of fantasy and steampunk, as part of the face-to-face gaming group’s period of one-shots and miniseries, I’ve been running my “Gaslight Grimoire” campaign using a stripped-down version of the D20 rules set. I’ll try to post more on that and recent genre television soon!