Wednesday, 16 September 2009: Meaty weekends

I'll gladly give you Tuesday...

Friends, I hope you’ve had a good fortnight. I’ve been busy with work during the past two weeks. I helped coordinate TT’s coverage of the annual VMworld conference in San Francisco, and I’ve been transitioning to my new role as an associate site editor, which
involves tracking editorial content from assignment to submission to posting on our Web sites.

For Labor Day weekend, Janice and I drove to Upstate New York to see her family. We spent most of our time at the home of Janice’s sister Melinda, her husband Gary, and their children Amanda and Joshua. Janice’s parents Marvin and Linda also joined us for good home-grilled meals.

Among other things, we rewatched Coraline, and I played Wii Motion Plus and Wii Sports Resort with Josh, Amanda, and Gary. We plan to meet Janice’s folks again at the “Big E,” or the Eastern States Exposition, in western Massachusetts in a few weeks. My own family went to the Delaware shore and will be in Europe in the coming month or so.

This past weekend, Janice and I went to the new Legacy Place shopping plaza in Dedham, Mass. Although the Showcase Deluxe cinemas and Borders Books aren’t open yet, several other shops are, including an impressive Whole Foods. I especially enjoyed checking out its fromagerie.

We also ate at Uno Chicago Bar & Grill as part of a charity event. Like another midrange casual restaurant, T.G.I.Friday’s, the food has improved in the years that we weren’t going there. Closer to home, Stone Hearth Pizza and Wild Willy’s (especially
its spicy Buffalo-style chicken) are still among our favorites.

Thomas K.Y., Beruk A., and I ended up not meeting for 9 because the postapocalyptic “stitchpunk” movie got mixed reviews, but we may meet for Cloudy With a Chance of
Meatballs
or Surrogates in the coming weekends. I’ll blog more about the new genre television season once I’ve had a chance to watch more premieres.

The arrival of autumn also brings new comic books and role-playing games. In addition, the Pathfinder: “Holy Steel” and D&D4eVanished Lands: the Faith-Based
Initiative” groups have kept me busy, with the former being a classic pseudo-historical dungeon crawl and the latter featuring a recent battle against vampires. Can Halloween be far behind?

Tuesday, 25 August 2009: Virginia vacation

UVA

On Saturday, 8 August 2009, Janice and I ran errands in Norwood, Massachusetts,
and had lunch at Minerva Indian Restaurant. The next day, we began the long drive south to see my family. We stayed the night in Pottstown, Pennsylvania.

On Monday, Aug. 10, Janice and I visited her grandmother before continuing on our way to Virginia. We arrived in the town of “Little” Washington that afternoon and were treated to my mother’s cooking. After a restful Tuesday, we all went to Charlottesville. My father took us to the pleasant campus of the University of Virginia, where he teaches, and we enjoyed a classy buffet lunch at the Boar’s Head Inn and a cheese tray for dinner from Feast.

On Thursday, Aug. 13, we went to Monticello, the estate of President Thomas Jefferson. I had been there before, most recently a decade ago for the swearing in of my
mother
as a U.S. citizen, but Janice had not. I thought the new visitor center was a model of modern museum exhibits, and the tour of the mansion and grounds provided an interesting glimpse into the talents and contradictions of the drafter of the Declaration of Independence, architect, and slave owner.

That afternoon, Janice and I drove from the Blue Ridge Mountains to the suburban sprawl of Northern Virginia. We met my brother Peter, his wife Kelly, and their daughters before heading to the home of Corbin A.Y. & Andria K.Y. and their new arrival, Maia. Steve M.R. & Aleece Z.R. and their children, Connor and Lauren, joined us for a fun fajita dinner.

On Friday, Peter, Kelly, Ava, Lili, and Janice and I took the Metro into Washington, D.C., where we checked out the Smithsonian Institute‘s Museum of Natural History
and the newly renovated National Museum of American History. As always, there were many interesting exhibits. The girls behaved well, despite missing a nap and dealing with the summer heat and crowds on the Mall.

Later that night, the adults watched Confessions of a Shopaholic on TV. It was a frothy, forgettable comedy that wasn’t as good as, say, The Devil Wears Prada. Not my usual genre fare (science fiction, fantasy, comic book superheroes, mystery, etc.), but I look forward to the English-dubbed version of Ponyo, among other autumn movies.

On Saturday, Aug. 15, my parents joined us for a barbeque lunch to belatedly celebrate their birthdays. Janice and I left by midafternoon, grabbing dinner in the Palisades Center shopping mall and stopping for the night at the Spring Hill Suites by Marriott in Tarrytown, New York. By breaking up our travel, we managed to avoid most of the usual end-of-weekend traffic jams in New Jersey and Connecticut.

Since returning to the regular routine, I’ve also been catching up on recorded genre television, e-mails, and gaming. I hope to blog about work, movies such as District 9,
and more in the coming weeks.