Rochester, N.Y. visit, Part 2 — fun and games

David I.S. at the Strong Museum of Play
He does everything a spider can!

Please see my previous post for the first part of my belated visit to longtime friend David I.S. in Rochester, New York. We started Sunday, 10 July 2011, strongly with cheddar melts and turkey bacon. I met some cool hipsters at Park Avenue Comics and found a few more back issues in the disorganized but full stacks at Comics Etc. I’m impressed that a small metropolitan area with only 1 million residents can support so many comic shops.

Comics Etc. also had more tabletop gaming books than Millennium Games, but not as many comics as Comic Book Heaven, which reminds me fondly of Hole in the Wall Books in Falls Church, Va. In general, I collect DC’s superhero comics, and Dave tends to like independent and horror titles, but we’ve come to appreciate numerous genres and art styles. I’m glad to have stoked his and his friend Amit T.‘s interest in the medium.

We then went to the Strong National Museum of Play, which I’d compare favorably with Boston’s Children’s Museum and the Museum of Science. It was a walk down memory lane, with old board and video games, antique doll collections, and a superhero exhibit. Fortunately, the museum wasn’t too crowded on a late Sunday afternoon.

The famous Dinosaur Barbeque didn’t disappoint us for a late lunch/early dinner (“linner”). Dave and I ate chicken wings, pulled pork, mojito chicken, plus side dishes. While that may not have been the healthiest of meals, I had tried vegan jerky earlier in the day. It wasn’t bad, and partly relieved my guilt at eating intelligent, delicious animals.

After that, we walked to the Thomson Reuters and art deco Times Square buildings, as well as varied bridges. The Rochester Spillway and abandoned subway in the heart of the city are unique landmarks. We skirted the Genesee Valley Park and the University of Rochester campus before visiting the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT).

Dave recently got tenure at the School of Interactive Games and Media in the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences. He took me to his office and the cool Game Design Development Lab. While I’ve only dabbled in computer and console games over the past 30 years, I respect the creativity and hard work that goes into them. As with wargames, collectible card games, and board games, I still prefer my weekly pen-and-paper role-playing games.

That night, we created comic book dividers and talked about music and health. The next morning, I drove back to Massachusetts. This time, the lack of air conditioning was more apparent when I sat in traffic as the temperature reached the 90s Fahrenheit. I stopped at my sister-in-law Shelly’s house in Utica, N.Y., on the way for lunch and to spend a little time with her husband Melvin and children Laura and David.

Since then, I’ve been busy with work and trying to catch up on recorded genre TV and phone calls from friends before my next trip!