Where have I been?

Gene, January 2011
Christmas armor

Readers of my blogs may have noticed that there’s a six-month gap in posts, from September 2010 to February 2011. What happened?

Fortunately, it was nothing catastrophic. I had become frustrated with how text and images appeared on my Yahoo 360 and MySpace blogs, and I had gotten busier with work and various games.

At TT, I moved from an associate site editor position to associate managing editor within the Data Center and Virtualization Media Group. I’ve had the opportunity to work with more people and learn new skills. I’ve been juggling some of my old responsibilities of editing and calendaring business information technology articles for online with new ones at the e-publications and special projects unit.

Janice recently changed technical writing jobs and now works in Cambridge, in the same building where her employer was when we moved to Massachusetts more than 10 years ago! She’s getting used to the longer commute by train, and I’m getting back to cooking dinners.

After going to San Francisco, Dallas, Chicago, and London last summer, Janice and I took fewer trips, visiting her family in Upstate New York for Thanksgiving and mine in Virginia for Christmas. We did, however, host several college friends, including Steve M.R. and his young family, Stuart C.G., David I.S. at New Year’s, and Erik B.L. and family a few weeks ago.

Janice and I also went to concerts, local attractions like the Isabella Stuart Gardener Museum, and regular seasonal festivals, such as the King Richard’s Faire, Phantom Gourmet Food Festival, New England Comic-Con, and Super MegaFest. While I enjoy celebrating Halloween, we didn’t have a big party this past autumn.

Unfortunately, I spent most of January recovering from bronchitis and dealing with several snowstorms. Most of the movies I’ve seen in the theaters lately were not big winners at the box office or the Oscars, but I enjoyed espionage drama The American; fantasies Legend of the Guardians, Harry Potter [7] and the Deathly Hallows: Part One, and The Chronicles of Narnia [3]: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader; as well as belated cyberpunk sequel Tron Legacy.

French animated film The Illusionist was good, coming close to last year’s favorites of The Secret of Kells and How to Train Your Dragon (I may eventually repost reviews of these). Thanks to movie channels on cable television, I’ll gradually catch up with other flicks, but I haven’t yet had time for a Netflix subscription.

Speaking of genre TV, the current season marks a changing of the guard. I’ve enjoyed the latest wave of shows loosely based on comic book superheroes, including The Cape, No Ordinary Family, and the surprisingly long-lived Smallville, but they’ll probably all be gone soon. Animation has fared somewhat better, with Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and Young Justice as more serious successors to the campy fun of Batman and the Brave and the Bold and Marvel’s Super Hero Squad. I’ll review direct-to-video releases separately.

As SyFy’s Warehouse 13 and Sanctuary cycled out of their midseason schedules, I’ve been watching the V remake, Fringe, Star Wars: Clone Wars, and Sym-Bionic Titan to get my speculative fiction fix. Doctor Who has been going strong after the lead character’s latest regeneration, and I look forward to more Torchwood and the excellent BBC/PBS modernized Sherlock.

Speaking of fictional sleuths, Psych, Castle, and White Collar have been successful in their niche, even as the more action-oriented Chuck, Human Target, and Undercovers have struggled for ratings. I’m glad that caper show Leverage has hung on (and provided inspiration for a good tabletop role-playing game).

In a somewhat more adult direction, Spartacus: Blood and Sand/Gods of the Arena, Pillars of the Earth, and Camelot have satisfied any yearnings for swords, sandals, and sex better than Legend of the Seeker and Robin Hood did. Being Human has replaced the late Reaper and Eastwick as my supernatural melodrama of choice. I plan to blog in more detail on these and upcoming shows, current comic books, and my “Vanished Lands” and “Vortex” campaigns more regularly. What are you reading, watching, or playing?

2 November 2009: Hungry for Halloween

Halloween 2009

Friends, I hope you had a Happy Halloween! Janice and I spent much of this past weekend raking leaves around our duplex. On Saturday, 31 October 2009, we drove down to the New England Comics in Norwood, Massachusetts, to participate in its costume contest. I dressed as Captain America, and Janice was Supergirl!

We were relatively early, so no other contestants were around. We were also
disappointed in how few trick-or-treaters came to our door that night. Perhaps
the area children were at events at local shopping malls and churches, or maybe
they were scared away by our boisterous neighbors. Our leftover candy will go to co-workers and gamers.

Speaking of food, now that it’s getting colder outside, everyone around me (and much of the TV I watch) seems to be focused on food. On Friday, Janice and I tried to go to dinner at Acapulco’s, but its parking lot was full, and we ended up at the Union Street pub in Newton, Mass. On Sunday, in between raking leaves, we went to Legacy Place in Dedham and had lunch at Four Burgers. Today, my boss Margie brought in a sushi lunch from Fuji. I’ll be at a work-related conference in Boston tomorrow.

Last week, we got into the spirit of the season by rewatching It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and The Nightmare Before Christmas. I’ve already mentioned the Scary Godmother television specials, and I’m caught up on recorded genre shows — just in time for the November ratings sweeps and midseason turnover!

Coming soon: Comics and conventions