Catching up from Christmas

A Star Trek holiday
Happy holidays!

I hope that all your holidays were happy and that you have a healthy and Happy New Year! Janice and I drove in my new car to her family in Upstate New York for Christmas. The capacious Honda Fit served us well, even if it got its first ding (in the windshield). Fortunately, the weather was mild and traffic was relatively light, even if children and skiers were disappointed by the lack of a white Christmas.

Among other things, I received more reference books on Arthurian lore, some cool Star Wars and gamer garb, food baskets, and a toaster oven. As usual, we also ate very well, caught up on Disney/Pixar movies, and played with my nephews’ superhero action figures and Lego sets. My thoughts are with ill relatives and friends.

Unlike several of my friends, I was busy with work in the week between Christmas and New Year’s, so I was unable to post to this blog. However, I don’t foresee any shortage of genre entertainment, food and travel, or politics to talk about in 2012!

In between work and the holidays, Janice and I ate at our usual haunts: Wild Willy’s Burgers, Acropolis, Subway, Chipotle, and the Ninety Nine (I’ll have to work it all off). I met fellow role-players Beruk A., Brian W., and James B. for lunch in Central Square, Cambridge, as well as fellow blogger Thomas K.Y. with his brother Tony and girlfriend Kai-Yin at Elephant Walk in Waltham, Massachusetts. I’ll look more at recent movies, comic books, and games in upcoming posts.

For New Year’s Eve, Janice and I walked to the First Night events in Needham, Mass. We enjoyed listening to the West Newton Ceili Band, Melodius Funk, and comedian John Colliton. In addition, we saw the newly renovated town hall, melting ice sculpture, and the colorful Quinobequin Quilters show.

This morning, Janice and I watched the annual Rose Parade, and we’ll be taking down our decorations as the holidays wind down. I hope that the global economy improves, people strive to peacefully overcome their differences, and to find time for all my friends and interests!

Weekend update: One step forward…

It's starting to look a lot like Christmas
It's starting to look a lot like Christmas...

On Friday, 2 December 2011, I brought my 1998 Honda Civic coupe to Boch Honda in Norwood, Massachusetts, for maintenance and repairs. The 120,000-mile oil change, annual inspection, bumper reattachment, and new water pump and hoses totaled close to $2,000, which is nearly what the automobile is supposedly worth! If I can get through the winter unscathed, it’ll still be cheaper than car payments — for now.

I also “snailmailed” the first batch of holiday packages to friends, including Byron V.O.’s raffle winnings from the Super MegaFest. (I often don’t get all my cards done until after Christmas.) At work, I’ve been busy with assignments and planning for the year ahead, including TT‘s annual company meeting in mid-January. Janice and I had dinner at Wild Willy’s Burgers in Needham, Mass., and the next morning, we brought the last load of autumn leaves to the local dump.

We then met my former boss Michele L.D. and her husband Paul D. and onetime co-worker Ken G. and his date Sarah for a pleasant lunch at British Beer Co. in Framingham, Mass. From there, we joined gamer Sara F. at the AMC Framingham 16 to screen The Muppets, which we all liked. I’ll review the movie in more detail soon.

Sara, Janice, and I did some shopping at Shopper’s World and had dinner at T.G.I. Friday’s. We then went to the Natick Mall — formerly the pretentiously named “Natick Collection” — and got dessert at Red Mango. Since it was getting late, I didn’t get to the Lego Store or the recently moved Newbury Comics.

On Sunday, Janice volunteered at the animal shelter, we put up our Christmas decorations, and I ran the latest virtual session for my Pathfinder/Skype: “the Vanished Landsfantasy campaign. I’ll try to post an update for that game, which will probably take another hiatus as the role-players travel in the next several weeks.

Neither team for my FATE 3e “Vortexspace opera is meeting tonight because I’ll be celebrating Janice’s birthday by taking her to the Fuji II Steakhouse. Happy Birthday this week also to my cousins Socorro and Joke, college chum Ron J.K., and niece Becky Z.! I’m mostly caught up on genre television (including some good science fiction documentaries), but I have several books, comics, and DVDs waiting…. What have you been reading or watching?

3 January 2010: Holiday report

Happy Holidays! Friends, I hope that all your holidays were happy! Janice and I enjoyed relatively quiet workweeks at the end of December 2009, and we drove to Upstate New York on Christmas Eve. We feasted on lasagna at her parents’ home and stayed at the Country Inn & Suites across from the Great Escape amusement park.

The next morning, we exchanged gifts with Janice’s parents and her middle sister Shelly’s family. Among other things, I got some DVDs, a Jedi costume, and books. Thanks to Amazon.com, I exchanged most presents online and through the mail with my own family in Virginia. Janice and I then headed down to the house of her youngest sister, Melinda, for a Christmas dinner of ham.

I gave comic books and Lego sets to my nephews David and Joshua, and we played pool and Wii video games with grandpa Marvin and brothers in law Melvin and Gary. My nieces Laura and Amanda played Dance, Dance Revolution, while Becky texted her boyfriend Tristan. I also caught up on videos, including the mildly amusing G-Force
and Night at the Smithsonian.

The day after Christmas, the children went sledding, and we enjoyed a sloppy Joe (what Janice’s family calls “barbecue”) lunch before returning to Massachusetts. On New Year’s Eve, Janice and I got vaccinated for the H1N1 flu virus and screened Sherlock Holmes at the new Showcase Cinemas at Legacy Place in Dedham, Mass. I liked the steampunky film, which I’ll try to review in more detail in the coming week or so.

We also had lunch at Qdoba and picked up my subscription at New England Comics in Norwood, despite the snow. That night, we went to local New Year’s Eve celebrations, including a Celtic music concert, some square dancing, an ice sculpture, the Needham Concert Society, and the Homegrown Coffee House. It was also interesting to visit various churches, which served as venues for the civic events. We had dinner at The Rice Barn, a good Asian restaurant.

On Saturday, 2 January 2010, former co-worker and fellow genre fan Ken G. and his girlfriend Kahmmie came over to play more Wii games. Thanks to Ken, I finally got my Wii hooked up to the Internet, and we ate nachos and macaroni and cheese. We had considered going to Avatar, but snow and mixed reviews led us to postpone seeing James Cameron’s latest blockbuster. We did watch an episode of the geek comedy The
Big Bang Theory
.

I liked the finale of Doctor Who: the End of Time, which I’ll also try to review in the coming weeks, along with other genre entertainment. The D&D4eVanished Lands:
the Faith-Based Initiative” fantasy campaign has finally wound down, amid some
contention among the role-players and clearing the way for one-shots and
miniseries.

Since my circles of acquaintances suffered through layoffs, divorces, and other stresses over the past year, let us hope that 2010 is better for everyone!