Boston, Part the Second

You’ll all be glad (I hope) to know that our presentation at the MIT Media Lab went quite well. We spoke with some of the folks there, including Ted Selker (inventor of the beloved (?) red-nosed pointing device popular on the IBM Thinkpad and Toshiba laptops), Henry Lieberman and Barry Vercoe (inventor of Csound), and gave a presentation to around 10 people which went quite smoothly. I definitely felt humbled at MIT: they have a lot of smart people there, who do a lot of rather smart things. Whether the media lab is part of the smart group, I’ll reserve judgement on that and leave that decision for the Internet rumour-mongers ;).

Since that was the major task for the week all over, I’ve have had two pretty cruisy days on Friday and Saturday: both days involved beer, learning a bit about baseball, exploring Boston, and chatting to Monty. On Friday lunch (neé breakfast), Monty took us to an awesome little Chinese restaurant named Mary’s, famous for their Dun Dun Noodles, which were apparently so beloved by the Boston community that they somewhat regularly pack them into dry ice containers for their customers to take on plane flights to other cities. (True story. No coincidence that Mary’s carries the Annals of Improbable Research magazine, I’m sure.) On the rest of Friday, Conrad and I visited the MIT Coop campus store, which, in America, is pronounced “Kupe”. As in, the things which chickens go cluck clik in. Riiight. We also visited the Harvard Coop book store (since we were too manly and/or stupid to find the actual Harvard Coop campus store), which disappointingly did not have any Luis Royo nor BattleTech books in stock. After that, we met up with Monty at home for some Tex-Mex flava dinner, where I had a Corona, a Tequila shot and another beer later on. It was all good until I was wiped out at eleven o’clock, and decided to hit the hay early. (I’m sure the Tequila had absolutely nothing to do with that, too.)

Today, Conrad went to the GNOME Summit at MIT, so I’ll let him tell you about that. I instead went to the Lord of the Rings exhibition at the Museum of Science, only to find out that the first ticket available was for 5:15pm. That turned out to be pretty good timing, since I also wanted to visit the Cambridgeside Galleria shopping mall and, err, do a bit of window shopping. Of course, window shopping turned into non-window shopping since I found a Brookstone store there, as well a Best Buy. All I can say is: I am now the owner of Ghost in the Shell: Standalone Complex, Volumes 1 and 2, special editions. Awesome.

After non-window shopping, I visited the Museum of Science again to attend the Lord of the Rings Exhibition. In a nutshell, it was fantastic. You get to see all the costumes, armour, weapons, models, and behind-the-scenes techniques behind the film, for every character from goblins to Frodo. It would be worth going to just to see the incredible amount of love and care put into the costumes: the painstaking amount of work done by Three Foot Six Studios and WETA in New Zealand really are worthy of being exhibited. (For all the guys, yes, you get to see Arwen’s gowns, and for all the girls, you can all see Galadriel’s gowns :-). Some of the armours, weapons and models take your breath away.

I think it’s a fitting end to a wonderful week in Boston: closing the week with the exhibition of the revival of a classic tale suits the city so quaintly.

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