Two weeks ago, I attended Chris' prayer service and the gathering afterwards graciously hosted by his family. I am very glad that I was able to gather with Joe Torcivia, David Gerstein, and Chuck Munson to honor Chris, along with all of the other friends and family that were present. And I am also glad to have met, although all too briefly, those members of Chris' family that I did. I can't imagine what losing him is like for them, but in them is reflected his same strong, kind, thoughtful character. And it looks like he's left a decided, and very positive, influence on the family's next generation.
The next Aladdin review (see? There's just no good way to make that segue...) due is of "Strike Up the Sand", the first episode in the Sadira arc, which I remember as one of the series' more interesting developments. As I remember it, it was in part almost soap opera-ish, with its emphasis on jealousy, (admittedly subdued) lust, and possessive manipulation. Sadira certainly isn't the only witch/sorcerer to have graced the series, and her episodes certainly aren't the only to prominently feature the occult (I think it's fair to call it that -- the series just calls it "magic", but frankly, the Mozenrath, Fasir, and Ayam Aghul episodes are all pretty morbid and heavy on fetishized death imagery), but when that subject matter is so heavily associated with the theme of the types of human vice listed above, it gives the aesthetic "darkness" an especially poignant sting, and adds more of a "human interest" angle to your regular dose of sword-and-sorcery.
...well, that's how I remember it, anyway. This will be the first time that I've watched the episode in pretty much 20 years (as is the case with most of them). Here's Jasmine and Sadira meeting for the first time, the latter obviously none too thrilled to have found out that strapping young lad that she just met and was instantly pining for in fact has a girlfriend. Maybe this will be your first time meeting Sadira -- look for the review later this week!