Sunday, December 5, 2010

Georgetown Cupcake

I have wanted to go to Georgetown Cupcake for this whole semester, but I haven’t found the time.  I never wanted to deal with the long line that the shop always had (it usually is around a block long).  But today was a Sunday and it was really cold out, so we assumed that the line wouldn’t be that bad.  Our assumptions were fortunately correct.

These famous cupcakes are considered pretty high shelf as far as cupcakes go. Georgetown Cupcake even has appeared on its own television show.

I ordered a peanut butter fudge cupcake and a chocolate eggnog cupcake.

They were delicious.  I don’t know if I would advise taking the time out of a one day visit to DC to go there, as it would limit your ability to do other activities.  If you are there for an extended period of time or you are visiting Georgetown, definitely make the stop.  They are well worth it.

NCIS and Spies

For our last field trip through the program, we had a representative from NCIS speak to us and then we went to the International Spy Museum.

 He wasn't from the show.  He was from the actual NCIS.

The NCIS speaker talked about the role of NCIS, within the Navy and internationally.  He talked about terrorists, Somali pirates, and cyber terrorism.  He had us do an exercise where we had to think like an analyst in a hypothetical situation that NCIS would be involved in.

He asked which one of us was interning at the Navy Museum and he acknowledged how he and I are “neighbors.”  We are both located on the Washington Navy Yard in southern DC, literally next door to each other.  The brown building in the middle of this photograph is NCIS Headquarters, and the long building on the east side of it is the National Museum of the United States Navy, where I am interning.

The International Spy Museum was great. We originally not going to go, but I think enough people in the program persuaded them to take us.  The museum is bigger than anticipated, so if you plan on going, be sure to plan accordingly.

In the beginning of the museum, you chose an identity from a selection of spies.  You are given five minutes to memorize details about the spy that you are later tested on in the museum.  After that we watched a short introductory video and then we were free to explore the museum as we pleased.  As I have said, the museum was huge, so I will just mention some of my favorite parts.

Also, this was another place I wasn’t allowed to take pictures, so you will have to deal with stock images.

One of my favorite parts of the museum was a model of James Bond’s 1964 Aston DB5 from Goldfinger.  Every few minutes it cycles through the various features, such as a rear bulletproof shield and rotating license plates.

They had a lot of artifacts from the history of spies, including different cloaking devices for messages, weapons, cameras, and microphones.

It was a lot of fun, and there were a lot of interactive areas of the museum.  I would definitely suggest checking it out if you have the time and don’t mind paying to get in.

 A warning from the Spy Museum.  Basically, don't trust Anna Chapman.

Also: Julia Child worked in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS).  What a wonderful woman.

Thanksgiving, etc.

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while, but everything has been really busy.  A good portion of this time has also been spent back in Pennsylvania for Senior Thesis presentations and Thanksgiving.  It was great to see my family and just relax with my parents and my girlfriend.  As far as my time here goes, I have been working a lot on papers and projects, and unfortunately haven’t been able to go out and experience DC lately.

I guess I can update you on something unrelated.

I cut my hair and shaved over Thanksgiving.  I haven’t had short hair since junior year of high school and I haven’t been clean shaven in over two years.

Here is a photo comparison:

 Other than that, I only have one week left in DC.  It has gone by so fast!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Ford's Theater

Today, I went to Ford’s Theater, the location of Lincoln’s assassination by John Wilkes Booth.  I thought the museum was well organized; it balanced history and appeal to the public effectively.  The museum had a lot of artifacts from Lincoln’s life, specifically from the night he died.  After a tour of the museum, you are able to go into the theater, which is still an active theater today.  I think that the theater is sometimes overlooked by tourists who come to DC to visit the popular Smithsonian museums, but I would definitely suggest taking the time to visit this museum dedicated to one of our greatest presidents.

Abraham Lincoln's brass knuckles.  Because Lincoln was a badass.

 I have been researching this guy for the past two weeks at the Navy Museum.

The tiny gun.

Once again, I repeat: Lincoln was a badass.

Lincoln's box.

 That's a long way to jump.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Jeff Bridges at the National Press Club

On Wednesday, a few of us from the program went to the National Press Club for one of their luncheons featuring Share Our Strength, an organization that fights to end child hunger.  Although we didn’t get to partake in the food at the luncheon, we did have a good view of the guest speaker, Jeff Bridges (aka “The Dude”).  He spoke about the importance of fighting child hunger, and the goal of ending child hunger by 2015.  Mr. Bridges was extremely passionate and he even got emotional at times.  One of his suggestions included giving more money to school programs to help feed hungry children.

After he spoke, he answered questions about his cause and also his movie career.  When asked what the most important thing he has done as a “famous person”, tears came to his eyes and he struggled to say that this cause was.

Governor Martin O’Malley (MD) was in attendance, and Ayah and I were able to get a picture with him.

Let the Sunshine In

On Sunday, we went to the Kennedy Center to see a performance of Hair.  I had only ever seen the movie version, so this was my first time seeing it live.  The part that caught me off guard was how different the plots of the movie and the stage production were.  It was a very engaging performance, filled with great music and constant action on stage.  At times, the plot was hard to follow and sometimes the music was so loud that we couldn’t hear what the performers were singing.  Despite this, it was a great performance.

Outside of the hall, there was a person playing the harp while another person rode it like a bicycle.
Sometimes I don't understand art.

Pre-show, right before I was yelled at for taking pictures.

In the main entrance, there were tables lined up with around 50 piles of rice that varied in size.  The piles of rice portrayed statistics and populations from around the world.  Some of the piles depicted the population of New York City, how many troops have died in the war in Afghanistan, poverty levels, incarceration levels, and various other statistics.  These numbers are generally very abstract in our minds and it was startling to see some of them visually represented.

I am one of those grains of rice.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Supreme Court

This past Wednesday, we went to the Supreme Court.  Unfortunately, we didn't get to meet any Justices, but it was still awesome to see it.  The architecture, like most government buildings in DC, was very impressive.  There was so much marble!  We did get to sit in on a short lecture by someone from the curator's office, while seated in the courtroom.

While I was there, I just kept thinking that I was sitting in one of the most influential rooms in the country, the location of Brown v. Ed., Roe v. Wade, as well as other landmark cases.  Unfortunately we were not allowed to take pictures while in the courtroom, but I did get this blurry one from the doorway: