27 April 2010: Crusaders visit

<!–[CDATA[Salem, Mass., April 2010

After hosting Byron V.O. from St. Louis and running Pathfinder: “Holy Steel” fantasy role-playing sessions the previous weekend, Janice and I hosted Damon F.P. and Steve M. on 24 and 25 April 2010. I’ve been friends with the guys since studying at Archbishop Stepinac High School in New York’s Westchester County back in the early 1980s. While onetime college roommate Frank P.D. was also in New England with his family, we weren’t able to meet him this time.

That Saturday, Janice cooked a tasty barbecue (Sloppy Joe) lunch, then drove Damon, Steve, and me up to Salem, Massachusetts. We had considered going into downtown Boston, but I’m glad we went somewhere different for sightseeing. Janice and I have gone to Salem for the festivities around Halloween, but this was Damon and Steve’s first time. We visited the Salem Witch Museum and the Witch Trial Memorial, strolled through the historic seaport, and explored various shops.

We stopped in at an Army/Navy surplus store, Harrison’s Comics, and a newsstand with more comics and gaming supplies. We reminisced about school, talked about work and family, compared classic rock notes, and had a good dinner at O’Neill’s, an Irish pub. (A few days earlier, I had gone with co-workers to New Mother India on Waltham’s Moody Street.) That evening, Janice and I introduced Steve to Wii Sports Resort while Damon dozed. Janice and Steve did better at the golf and bowling than I did.

On Sunday, we had a pancake and sausage brunch after Janice served her weekly volunteering stint in Dedham, Mass. Steve and Damon then returned to Connecticut and New York, and Janice and I ran some errands at Legacy Place and continued booking our upcoming travel. Our busy weekends will soon continue with Free Comic Book Day and Janice heading to Dallas for a conference!

21 April 2010: Byron’s visit — food, games, and fun

Stargate SG1

Friends, I hope that you had a good weekend. Byron V.O., a former member of the Boston-area social/role-playing groups, visited from St. Louis this past weekend. He arrived on Friday, 16 April 2010, and Thomas K.Y. met us for a late dinner at Bertucci’s in Needham, Massachusetts.

Our conversations throughout the weekend focused on work and travel, family and
relationships, history and politics, and of course, genre entertainment and gaming. The next day, Byron and I went to the Museum of Fine Arts for the “Secrets of Tomb 10A” exhibit of ancient Egyptian artifacts, which Janice and I had first seen a month ago. We grabbed lunch at Qdoba before catching a commuter rail train back in time for a PathfinderHoly Steel” teleconferencing session.

Beruk A. and Thomas joined us for burgers at Wild Willy’s, and Dexter V.H. in Brooklyn and Robert A.S. in North Carolina called in at various points in the evening. Their Player Characters reunited in the city of Hesolin in my “Vanished Lands” fantasy campaign setting. The heroes compared notes after their mission to the distant empire of Khemet (New Kingdom Egypt) and began considering strategy for the ongoing war against the dreaded ghost fleet.

We also talked about starting a new adventuring party that would have ties to previous teams, such as the “Dragonslayers” and “Holy Steel.” Fellow Game Master Brian W. stopped by to chat with Byron, a former cohort in the “Seekers of Lore” and “Broken Chains.” The face-to-face group has been playing one-shots and miniseries in a variety of genres and rules systems since we wrapped up a Dungeons & Dragons Fourth Edition game, and I’m preparing to run my “Vortexspace opera, but our schedule will be disrupted in the coming months because of travel.

After a few hours’ sleep, Byron and I drove out to the Minado sushi buffet in Natick, Mass., for brunch with Thomas and Paul J. While we were disappointed that half of our gang didn’t show up, we had a good meal. Thomas went to screen superhero satire KickAss, while Byron and I saw the remake of Clash of the Titans at the AMC Framingham multiplex.

The sword-and-sandals fantasy movie was fairly entertaining, if not particularly
faithful to Greek mythology
or even its predecessor. The computer-generated
paid homage to Ray Harryhausen‘s stop-motion masterpieces, and the
humor and action were well-balanced. I’d give Clash of the Titans, which was rated PG-13 for violence, three stars, a solid B, or a 7 out of 10.

Paul and Thomas came for Janice’s soup and homemade rolls at dinner, and we resumed our “Holy Steel” logistics discussion on Sunday night. Dexter wasn’t able
to log in, but Beruk did. I was disappointed that more of the local group didn’t attend, but it worked out fine. The next day, I drove Byron to Logan Airport after lunch at Acapulco’s Mexican restaurant. Speaking of food (again), I enjoyed lunch today with some co-workers at Bison County on Waltham’s Moody Street.

Coming soon: Catching up on SFTV and the crowded calendar!

Entry for February 17, 2009: Catching up — food

For Valentine’s Day, Janice and I went to an early dinner at Fuji, our favorite Japanese steakhouse in Needham, Massachusetts. In the past month, we’ve also enjoyed meals at Border Café in Harvard Square, Cambridge; the new Five Guys Burgers & Fries in Dedham; and the “Death by Chocolate” charity event at the Sheraton in Newton. Five Guys compares favorably with other hamburger joints, such as Wild Willy’s.

Filet mignon with gorgonzola

In addition, I met Cliff Y. for an excellent Indian food buffet at Minerva, formerly the Curry Leaf, in Framingham. More recently, Janice and I had dinner with Thomas K.Y. and visitors Stuart C.G. and his eight-year-old son Sammy G. at Firefly’s Barbecue in Framingham. I went to college with Stu.

On Sunday, 15 February 2009, Beruk A. joined us for lunch at Addis Red Sea, a good Ethiopian restaurant in Porter Square, Cambridge. We then went to the Boston Museum of Science for the “Mythical Creatures” exhibit, which Janice and I had seen in New York last year. Stu, Sammy, Thomas, Beruk, and I later had a fancy steak dinner at Smith & Wollensky, although Thomas’ lamb was the standout dish.

Last night, during the D20 Mutants & Masterminds 2nd Ed.: “Drake’s 7” superhero game, we ordered from Stone Hearth Pizza. The locally sourced, organic food wasn’t quite as tasty as in the restaurant, but that was probably because the driver was misdirected and our food arrived late.

Coming soon: Games and animation!