Edit: Forgot to talk about the exhibit. Duh...
Let's start with the most recent. This afternoon, msmemory and I went to see the Lord of the Rings exhibit at the Museum of Science. This is a good time, although a rather pricey. They pulled out all the stops for this show. It includes practically every major costume and prop from the movies, from the shards of Narsil to Galadriel's dress. It has a large number of little movielets describing various aspects of the making of the film. (I *need* to learn more about the Massive system that they built to animate the big fight scenes -- it sounds like severely cool tech.) It has several amusing interactive exhibits reflecting different aspects of the movie's creation, including a split green screen that proportions you and your friend like Gandalf and Frodo, and a mocap system that lets you control things like elven archers and orc warriors (all of which come out looking like they have epilepsy, I'm afraid). It's pretty crowded -- they pack in as many people as they can -- but enough fun that I didn't mind.
Tonight we went out to dinner with my aunt, uncle and grandfather, mostly because grandpa is in town. At 90+, he's still in blessedly good shape and spirits, so it was a good time all around.
We went out to Bamboo, a Chinese/Japanese restaurant in Chelmsford that I hadn't been to before. Overall, I was pleased -- we might want to talk to them about the Intercon dead dog party, since they're in that neck of the woods and good. Details:
The food was consistently good. We had my favorite "bug" sushis (caterpillar and spider rolls) for appetizers, and both were tasty. For the main course, we had a spicy beef stir-fry, some really excellent pan-fried sea bass (buttery fish in a light batter, with a sweet ginger sauce), and a solid Peking Duck. Especially by suburb standards, the food was quite good, and the atmosphere pleasant.
My only complaint was with the service, which was more weird than bad. I think they're just too used to Dumb Roundeyes, but it was strange. msmemory had to specifically ask for tea, and then they only brought one teacup to go with the pot. They insisted upon breaking and whittling the wooden chopsticks for us, which was nice but unnecessary. I did get rather annoyed at having to practically wrestle the waitress to the ground to prevent her from building our Peking Duck wraps for us, though. Peking Duck is a rather Protestant dish, where each person must express their own relationship with the duck. I don't want any self-appointed priests structuring my communion with the duck.
... I don't think that last bit came out quite right. But as we say on Marva, "Oh, well".
After dinner, we went out to Kimball Farms, which I've been hearing about for years but never been to. I'm impressed, and slightly intimidated. Despite the torrential rain barely being over, the place was jumping, with dozens of people there for ice cream. The ice cream itself was excellent: they had Butterscotch hard ice cream, which I've never seen before, and had to try. The result was a soft and creamy ice cream, with a definite but not assertive butterscotch flavor. The servings, however, are mammoth. msmemory had the "kiddie" portion, which turned out to be just a shade smaller than what Tosci's calls a "large". I had the "small", which was about the size I think of as a good-sized sundae. Unfortunately, it was good enough that I ate it anyway. See previous quote.
Not much else concrete has been happening lately -- it's been quiet, due to Pennsic. The main events have been going over to alexx_kay's a couple of times, most recently for a Movie Night featuring Knightriders. I tend to forget how much I love that film. While I can't precisely call it a good movie, it speaks to me as few others do, with a story about honor and dreams that expresses many of my own feelings well. The SCA sometimes talks about "The Dream", but tends to mean a rather fluffy-unicorns image by that. This is a movie about real dreams: the ones that have both power and danger, and which can only be shown, not described. I steer clear of King Billy's obsession, but I find it compelling nonetheless.
On the more general front, the past two weeks have been notable mainly for my finally failing in my resolution to not take on any new projects. I've wound up with two of them: a short-term technical one, and a long-term social one.
The technical one is the development of ProWiki. More on this when I'm done (hopefully within a week), but suffice it to say that I started playing with UseModWiki as a LARP-writing tool, and quickly decided that it was insufficient to my needs. So I've spent much of the past couple of weeks putting in some serious enhancements, with an eye towards making it a more useful tool for the development of semi-structured data. The end result is a rather neat hack, which I think may prove to be useful to others.
The big one is that I've more or less taken on the job of Magister. The details are complex: selkiechick and I are planning on redefining the offices, so that she can focus on the bits that she really likes doing, and I can try out a bunch of new stuff. Once everyone has settled back from Pennsic I'll post more information to the Baronial mailing list, but I've spent much of the past couple of weeks starting in on this. Part of my new portfolio is demos, so I did a lot of quick talking with Worldcon to do a bit of demo'ing there -- I'll be looking for *lots* of help on that in the near term.
I expect that the Magisterium is going to take up much of the next few months: there's a lot to do, much of which wants to happen soon. But I'm excited: I'll need a lot of help, but I'm optimistic that this is going to be a good year for Carolingia. So don't be surprised if I talk about it a lot for the near future, and bounce up to you looking for assistance...