Breakfast was flat eggs, a Level Head specialty. :9 Shortly after breakfast, Scott, Level Head, and I set out for the dragon's workplace; he had something-or-other that needed to be retrieved or otherwise dealt with. I got to see the famous reef tank again -- this time with much more of the reef visible, as the macroalgae that had taken it over the last time I was there had been cleared away. I also got to see what it looked like with furniture. (Smaller, but much more comfortable and functional).
While we were there, one of Level Head's coworkers, Pauline, called and asked if we wanted to meet her for lunch. We did, so off we went to get lunch. I confined myself to consuming some nummy corn chowder; I was trying to cut back on the huge quantities of food I'd been eating so far this trip. It was nice seeing Pauline again -- I'd met her at the birthday party last trip, and she's a very warm and friendly person.
After lunch, there was some talk of trying out the hot tub, but I decided I'd better get a nap in, or I'd be snoozing through dinner at the Magic Castle. (And I didn't want to miss any of that!)
I woke around 3PM, and spent 15 minutes taking a shower, then 45 more trying to blowdry my hair. My hair is waistlength; usually I shower at night and let it dry while I sleep. I hardly ever use a blowdrier because it takes so long ... and doubtless it takes so long in part because I have so little practice with them. Fah. Eventually, I declared victory and got dressed. The Magic Castle has a dress code -- suits for men and formal or semi-formal wear for women. This was very cool, as not only was everyone in our party spruced up, but so was everyone around us. Outside of a prom, it's awfully tough these days to find a place where non-casual attire is the rule. (Well, I suppose there're SCA events, but that's a different matter).
At the Magic Castle, we met up with another couple, Gary and Pilar. Pilar is an utter sweetheart; when I was last in the area, she'd asked me to make sure the Lady and her Dragon let her know, so that we could get together for dinner again.
The Magic Castle was an experience in of itself. The facade is very castle like, turrets and all. The interior is like a maze. We arrived in a small foyer lined with bookcases and no apparent doors to the rest of the building. The books looked odd to me -- too three dimensional to be painted on, but not right for real books. It turned out that you enter by saying "Open sesame" to a owl mounted on one bookcase. The bookcase then slid to one side; it was about half the width of a normal bookcase, which explained the oddness of the books. The exit was through a different bookcase.
The interior foyer had a gas fireplace burning around fake logs, and a bar built in a u shape, separating the open foyer from the parlor on the far side. We were a little early, so Level Head led us into the parlor and introduced us to Irma, the invisible piano player. She did requests. She also went on break occasionally, when -- Level Head informed us -- a drink would be brought out to her piano, which would slowly drain itself through a straw. Sadly, we didn't get to see that part.
Scott had asked me in the car if I liked to dance, and (of course!) I said yes. In the parlor, there was perhaps eight square feet of space available in a sort of accessway around the piano and between the tables. "I know it's not much of a dance floor," Scott said to me, apologetically, "but would you care to dance?"
After a moment of hesitation, I agreed. Hey, I've never worried before about how ridiculous I look, why start now? We did a vague imitation of a waltz, during which we took turns leading. Telnar will recall how good I am at waltzing. I couldn't even remember which part was leading and which part was following, but that was okay. I asked Irma for "Memories" after that, and we danced through it, getting more relaxed as we went. Then I mentioned tangoing in a jazz club with Telnar, so Scott asked for a tango and we faked one of those, too. It was very amusing for us.
Then we went up to dinner. The Magic Castle has wonderful bread. Reminds me of brioche. Very tasty. The fettucini alfredo I had was also quite yummy. Way too much good food this trip. Much good conversation ensued. Among other things, Lady Anne and I had the opportunity to demonstrate to Mr. Kellogg that many women (at least of those present at this table) do have a sense of humor about their breasts. But the best witticisms of the evening were between Lady Anne and Gary, after we were given our tickets to the main show.
We had some free time between finishing dinner and the beginning of the main show. Pilar and Scott went into the "Close Up Theatre", where magicians sit down at a table with their audience, giving the viewers plenty of time to scrutinize each trick and still not have the slightest idea how they were done. Lady Anne, Level Head, Gary and I wandered around a basement level, looking at the memoribilia. We stumbled onto a magician sitting alone at his table. He did some pretty impressive card tricks, including one with a card torn in half that even *knowing* how it was done, I still found it convincing. most of his tricks were audience-participation tricks -- he had me write my name on one card, for example, then wrapped up the deck and had me stick a large, yarn-threaded needle through the side of the deck. When he unwrapped the deck, the yarn (still on the needle) was going through my card, and only my card. (I still have the card in my purse).
The most amusing part of his performance was unintentional, I'm afraid. He had a deck of ESP cards, where he pulled one out and placed it in a box, then gave the rest to Lady Anne, telling her to "keep turning over cards until she wanted to stop." Lady Anne stopped on a circle, turning it sideways on top of her pile.
"Are you sure you want to stop there?" he asked.
"Okay ... well, you stopped on this card," he said, flipping over the top card of the deck. Everyone at the table started to laugh. "What? What's so funny?"
I think Gary came up with something to cover for us.
It still wasn't the right card -- the one he wanted was the one under the top card in the deck. Still, I have to admit that just the fact that he can get this trick right often enough to justify including it in his act is pretty impressive, since it apparently relies on being able either to predict what card the person will stop on, or to control when he or she stops.
By then, the Close Up Theatre show had let out. We all managed to get back together to go up to the main theatre. Pilar was very impressed by the acts -- she must have been a lot of fun to have in the audience. Gary spent more time working out how the tricks were done. The main act was a magician named Chuck Jones (Scott and I kept expecting Bugs Bunny or the Road Runner to figure into the show somewhere), assisted by his wife, two other young ladies, and some number of actual and planted audience members.
Most of his act I didn't care for that much. In some cases, it was a little too obvious how the trick was done. For example, the box for the "sawing the lady in half" trick had an inch-wide gap between the two halves, and you could see the young lady tuck her body into the upper half of the box as he brought the first blade down.
But some of the pieces from his act were very impressive. The climax involved a hooded figure chasing Mr. Jones around the stage and into a box that looked vaguely like a space capsule. The last thing the audience saw, just before the hooded figure pierced the box several times, was Mr. Jones' animated and rather distressed-looking face. Then the hooded figure opened the box to reveal (predictably) that Mr. Jones was gone.
The hooded figure stomped about the stage in frustration for a few moments, then took off his hood and mask:
It was Mr. Jones.
I suppose you could've gotten the effect with a body double, or some fairly sophisticated animatronics. But it was still pretty impressive.
When that show let out, we filed off to the next show, in the much smaller Parlor Theatre. That show featured a comic/magician whose name escapes me now. He had some entertaining tricks, but he played it more for humor than magic. Best sequence from show:
[Magician gets volunteer from audience, and offers him three envelopes: red, green, and blue]
Magician: Pick an envelope, any envelope!
Volunteer: Uh ... okay. [picks the blue one]
Magician: [gives a sad, forlorn look to the red and green envelopes] What was wrong with these two? [waves them before volunteer] Are you sure you don't want to reconsider?
Volunteer: Um -- sure, I can take a different --
Magician: [almost laughing]: No, s'okay, you want the blue one, that's okay. Let's see what's inside. [tears open envelope, shakes contents into volunteer's hand.] Read that!
Volunteer: [unfolds the paper and reads] "You will choose the blue envelope."
Magician: It's MAGIC!
I could've done with Mr. Jones's show being shorter and this one being longer, myself. :) I wish I could remember his name. Maybe one of the others who were there will.
Once his show was over, the party broke up and we headed for home. Scott was leaving very early the next morning, and Lady Anne was kindly getting up to drive him to the airport. So I gave Scott a good-bye hug before I went to bed, figuring I wouldn't be up in time to see him off the next day.