travels

Getting my money's worth out of the Federal Government

I can only take so much playing tourist. I lack tourist stamina, or something. For this reason, yesterday I played "being at home" instead and slept until eleven and sat around and read LJ (except that it wasn't actually working half the time) and watched the streaming QuickTime of Steve's keynote (Look at the features of Tiger! Look at them and drool, or weep, or both!) and stuff like that.

This morning, however, I got up at ungodly o' clock to do the tourism thing, this time all by my lonesome. (My dad being, you know, at work. What they pay him to be here for.) Since we're way the hell out here by Dulles, I had to take this commuter bus from the Reardon/Herndon Park & Ride to the orange Metro line to get downtown, which only took, like, an hour.

Which meant I arrived at 9:00.

Of course, everything is on summer hours, so all the museums and things opened at 10:00. Whoops. In the meantime, I did find the Navy Memorial that my dad and I failed to find a couple of days ago, and I took some pictures of it for him.

Me: So yeah, it's this big plaza. Well, it's supposed to be a fountain, but it's being restored. Anyway, off in one corner--well, you know, it's round, but you know what I mean--anyway, there's a sculpture of a sailor standing with his bag, waiting. It's called "The Lone Sailor". Apparently, that embodies what it means to be in the Navy.

Dad: Yeah, pretty much. You know, they say the slogan of the Navy is "Hurry up and wait!"

Me: Well, at least they are honest about it.

Then I went back to the National Gallery, and looked at all the paintings I missed in our first brief visits, and all the paintings I would have liked to see that weren't actually on display that I discovered on the computer system on my way out. How did I miss that? Oh, because it's "not on display". Got it.

Then I went to the Postal Museum, mostly because I had postcards to mail. It was actually pretty nice, with a decent multimedia history of the development of the postal system in the U.S. However, by far the most memorable part of the museum, or in fact of my trip thus far, was the display at the end, which exists solely to sing the praises of direct mail

That's right. Direct mail. Otherwise known as "junk mail" or "paper spam". The exhibit was, of course, funded by a direct mail company.

You couldn't tell at first what it was about. You came upon a kiosk with an obnoxious guy with a scary mustache and an embarrassingly loud voice, and you started pressing buttons on it, and next thing you know, it's gathering sample demographic information about you so you can understand the joys of targeting audiences. And answer trivia questions about the history of the postal service (and, not in the slightest incidentally, how they affected the direct mail industry, like how rural free mail was a boon to catalogues that market products to people who live in the country). And print up your very own souvenir piece of personalized direct mail from a Demon Xerox Machine from Hell.

It was so very surreal and amusing.

Finally, I stopped by the Folger Shakespeare Library, but it was hardly even worth it because the gift shop was "closed for inventory". Who does that? And pretty much all the goodness of the Folger is only available to you if you're a scholar. The exhibit on religious tolerance was nice, but not thrilling--I, personally, can only look at so many title pages with long Ss without thinking, yeah, this is a little superficial, too bad I can't actually look inside these books or anything ...

Now I'm settled back in my recliner with my high speed internet. thank you very much. I think tomorrow I'll do something different. Like go to the zoo.
  • Current Mood: tired tired
  • Current Music: some program about the American Revoltion
I played a gig at the Navy Memorial back in 2000, they had this store beneath where you could purchase merchandise and we got to watch a video about how the guys whose wives have babies while they're on deployment get to get off the boat first. If I only knew then what I know now, I probably would have bought something. Or not. Maybe there's some sort of discount in effect now.
So when are you going to come back to Liberty? We should hang out, except that like, my little sister totaled my car.
Yeah, I looked up my dad on their little kiosk down there. It said that he served from 0/0/0 to 0/0/0, and had no other information to add. I was a little underwhelmed. The history of shipbuilding engraved on the glass as you went downstairs was cool, though.

I'll be back in town on Saturday night. Maybe I'll, like, have my parents come pick you up or something junior high like that. Hey, at least it gets you out of your house.
(Anonymous)
You must see the Holocaust Museum, the American History Museum (more to see than trains!), The Archives, Monuments, White House, Mount Vernon, Capitol Building. I am panicking that you won't see them or know about them being right there. There's a little blue tourist bus that keeps going around the mall and will pick you up and drop you off all day with your ticket. If you ask, you can find out about their bus that takes you to Mt. Vernon. I am glad you know how to get there from the hotel, anyway. More fun if your dad could go, of course. I'm glad you have good walking shoes! S