This summer I will be in Washington, D.C. doing an internship at the National Air and Space Museum. Come with me on my big adventure!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Sometimes it's ok to accept candy from strangers.

As my internship comes to a close (in a week and a half) I have a combination of conflicting feelings. I am going to be very sad to leave this wonderful city! I have seen so much, realized a lot about myself, my abilities, my wants, and my needs, and I've made some fulfilling friendships along the way. I'm going to miss the old people volunteers who make funny jokes about being drunk, getting soviet union coins as payment for making copies of "First drink's on us!" coupons, coloring pictures and seeing how long they stay on the staff fridge before someone takes them down, getting free chocolate for loitering outside a late-night candy store, learning about planes, riding the metro, always having something to do, meeting astronauts, chatting with the elevator operators, and being surrounded by amazing pieces of history. I love Washington D.C. I have learned that it is important to strike out on your own when you're young. I learned that you can get along with people that aren't exactly your type, and that sometimes it's ok to let go of people that weigh you down.

Whoa that ^ was some heavy shit!

Now for something completely different!

But seriously folks, I've had the time of my life. I know now that Utah is too small a place for even this tiny person. I want to see places! Do things! Now I know I can, and will. See Madelyn go. See Madelyn make you jealous because of all the amazing things she's done this summer. See Madelyn in less than 2 weeks! See Madelyn kick the ass of this cold she has had for the last two days. See ya, germs!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Ok so what's new? Well here is a list of badass things I've done that I'm really only listing to make you jealous. I don't know if I've already mentioned some of these things before, but frankly I don't care if I have or not.

1. I got to go to Become A Pilot day and see a bunch of vintage planes. There was a flying circus/wing walker dude with a huge unibrow that I got a picture with, and I also had this pilot force me to take a picture by his plane while repeating the words, "This is mine."

2. I went to the zoo where I saw an orangutan literally eat feces, throw up, eat his throw up, throw THAT up and then eat it again. The 10 year old boys and I with our noses against the glass had a good laugh. What's weird to think about though is that we're so closely related to that animal behind the glass. That's like practically my cousin in there. I can't wait till aliens in the future put us, humans in zoos. We totally deserve it.

3. I saw a dude, all by himself, dressed up as Benjamin Franklin just sitting on a bench for no reason. He had no sign. He had no entourage. He was just a lonely old man in a costume. The 4th of July brought out all kinds of crazies. By mid afternoon I was so annoyed with all the people and patriotic hooplah, and as soon as I heard the airforce band start to play "I'm proud to be an American" I booked it to the metro, went home and watched the reflection of the fireworks in the building across the street from my balcony. America makes me kind of sick.

4. I went to see Nobunny play at Black Cat where a 17 year old kid tried to hit on me. While waiting for the metro on my way home I had to explain to a Minnesota 50 year old and his 30 year old gopher wife that punk still exists after he told me not to yawn "cause it's contagious! Ya, ever heard that before?" Of course I've heard that, jackass.

I just got off work. I'll finish this later.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Too much crazy for one metro to handle.

This town is full of nut cases. Here are three separate incidents that I personally witnessed. I can't wait till you read number three. I'm almost tempted to make it number one.

1. Last weekend Tree came out to visit me. As we hopped on the metro we noticed an obviously homeless dude with a polka-dotted piece of luggage (with a crumpled up tissue shoved underneath the handle) and a bath towel over his face and another one over his lap. I've seen this dude another time on the metro, and some random passenger lady asked me if his luggage belonged to me! "Do I look homeless to you, lady?!" I should have shouted. Well anyway, we believe the purpose of the towels were to clean up the blood that was coming out of the disgusting sores covering both of his legs. Don't they put lepers in colonies anymore?! Weird. He randomly started talking/complaining about how the metro drivers turn off the air conditioning. Just be grateful there is a roof over your head for the next 4 stops, and that your legs are still attached to your torso, dude. I'm only sounding so mean right now cause I don't know how to deal with feeling so sad for him.

2. Last night while waiting for the metro, on my way home from Dupont Circle where I spent the evening with my intern buddy Margaret and her friend, I saw a crazy ass half homeless dude in an old fashioned suit trying to be a smooth talking pimp. This man was obviously out of his mind. He went up to this girl leaning against a pole and started talking to her in a really soft voice while moving his arms all weird. I tried to walk further down the platform cause I had a feeling he was getting on my train, and sure enough he did. He proceeded to walk up and down the aisle doing a little jig until the next stop, at which point he got off the train, and walked back into it, the next car down. I watched him through the connecting doors. He picked up a newspaper and posed against one of the poles, until at the next stop he got off that car and entered back into mine. At this point he sat down in the empty chair next to the girl sitting behind me and I glanced over my shoulder just in time to see him grab her hand and kiss it, like a true creepy gentleman and say "Sorry I come off so strong, baby."

3. The best thing I've heard at the museum so far, came via a voicemail on our Welcome Center answering machine. I wish I just had a transcript of it, but I'll do my best to relay this. "Hello this is *George Bloom speaking. I just wanted to see if the children at the Space museum had any ideas about what to do to clean up this oil spill in the gulf of Mexico! Maybe nobody will listen to ya, but perhaps you're young and naive enough to believe that something can be done and make a difference. You know, I was one of those kids who 50 years ago believed we could put a man on the moon! ........ Well this has been *George Bloom. Over and out! Have a nice day!" *Name perhaps different, cause I can't really remember. Some of the best parts are definitely being omitted here due to my lack of memory, but this was the basic idea behind it. I guess he called during Hurricane Katrina a few years back, and that message is also still in our saved messages.

While I've been pondering a solution for the oil spill, I've also been hard at work entering in tour reservations, filing cancellations, answering visitor inquiries like "Where is the black hole on display?" and other ridiculous things, typing up comment cards from such visitors as this huge dude who was pissed at how big our museum is because it is exhausting to walk through, and I've been getting to know Margaret, whose dad turns out to be a magician. I found this out after she borrowed my phone one night and couldn't get a hold of her parents. So the next day I got a call from some lady (who I later found out is her mother) who asked me, "Did you call this number? Were you looking for a magician? Perhaps for a children's birthday party? Did your husband maybe call looking for a magician? Your number is most definitely on our caller ID." Needless to say we were both very confused until later Margaret cleared things up and referred me to her dad's magician website. If you're interested, it sounds like he really knows how to have a good time.

I'm reading more about Amelia Earhart, and I think I want to get my private pilot's license someday. Maybe I'll be the first woman to eat a tofurkey sandwich while flying upside down!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Don't put your hands in art exhibits, bastards.

I made it through my first week as an intern! I've quickly learned that my favorite thing to do there is work at the welcome desk, not because I love telling people where the nearest bathroom or metro stop is, but because I love working alongside really smart old dudes. Most of the volunteers that work at the desk are retired men who know incredible amounts of information about airplanes, either from being in the airforce, working as a pilot, or just loving planes. The other day a southern bell of a man came up to the desk and proceeded to tell us about his business plan for space tourism. The guy was a giant idiot with a stain on his shirt and a mouth full of garbage, but my favorite volunteer just sat there and politely nodded until the guy finally left and the volunteer proceeded to tell me exactly why that man was a moron. I am going to learn a lot of life lessons this summer, and hopefully snag me one of those old volunteers to be my husband. I love my fellow medieval-loving intern, I love learning more about aviation history (just bought myself a book about Amelia!) and I love being involved with an institution that is all about helping broaden people's knowledge.

I don't like hanging out with all the Utah interns. I've learned how to navigate my way through the city, make myself action plans, and be more independent. It's a lot easier to see and do all the things I want to do when I am by myself. For instance, this morning I went to the Eastern Market/flea market. I think I'll go back one weekend when I have more money and when I'm hungry. I then walked over to the Shakespear Museum but it didn't look like it was open yet so I took some pictures of the outside and hopefully I can go back for a tour in the near future. I also found another museum that i want to check out, that is the home of the National Women's Party and Susan B. Anthony's desk! (Thanks Kelly, for making me buy that DC book! It has all kinds of cool information!) I took a tour of the Library of Congress, walked through the moist botanical gardens, bought my fellow intern a birthday bag of gummy spaceships from the museum shop (which she had mentioned wanting a couple of times during the week), and then went to the Hirshhorn Museum which turned out to be absolutely incredible! There was a fantastic Yves Klein exhibit there, and even though some dumb museum visitor had somehow fallen in the installation piece full of paint pigment and tracked blue all over the floor, making me hate humanity, it was one of the best art exhibits I've ever been to. You should read all about how he used fire to make art, used human bodies as his paint brushes, and had people send him gold to buy "immaterial pictorial sensitivity zones," or pretty much...nothing that you can see or touch. Genius! I found him quite fascinating, and his wife/studio assistant/muse/model is coming to the museum for an artist talk on Wednesday night, which I hope to attend.

I then suffered through a Real Salt Lake vs. DC soccer game with the molly mormon Utah intern crew, for the sake of claiming that I'm being social, only to realize that sometimes I would rather do things alone, and that I hate soccer. Wish me luck in Chinatown tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

One day down. Many more old dudes drinking wine to see.

I did it! I survived my first day! I got a badge, a tour, paperwork, and an overload of information thrown at me. It was surreal walking from the metro this morning into the door of the museum marked "Staff only." After a brief introduction we took a tour of random parts of the building, which was confusing to me because I was at the back of the group. I remember seeing a bathroom? And a parking garage? Oh and a lady that sits in the staff elevator and operates it ALL DAY.
When I introduced myself to the group, the internship coordinator said, "Oh you're Mad Tucker!" which is my email address that she loved in our previous correspondences.
After our random tour, which I'm sure had greater purposes that I just couldn't hear, about half of us went across the street to an office building to get our ID badges. My picture, of course, ended up looking like Peter Pan, but what's new?
We then split up into our separate departments. Turns out I have a fellow intern working alongside me, which will be great. She loves all things medieval, and I like to call myself a modern lover, so we'll even each other out and make a great team I think. All my supervisors seem really nice. One of them took us all over the museum, to some of the same spots we had been before, which helped me understand the purposes of my previous introduction. He also overwhelmed us with information about many of the artifacts that people ask questions about a lot. My favorite part of the tour was on the 3rd floor where all of the big dude's offices are, where I got to meet one of the directors of the museum. He was this swanky old, slightly feminine sounding but probably just because he's sophisticated, man DRINKING A GLASS OF WINE. Whoa, did I step back in time to the 50's or something? Can you DO that? It was awesome and pretty much exactly what I thought a director of one of the most famous museums in the world would be like.

After that, we learned about working at the information desk, and scheduling all the volunteers. I guess we'll be responsible for making the schedule each day. They also got rid of us for a while and let us watch an IMAX movie. We decided to see the Hubble 3D movie which was pretty badass! We also learned how to close up the information desk which involves clearing off the counter and chaining together all the chairs with a dinky plastic chain. Haha.

If I could pick one word to wrap up the day, it would have to be -- OVERWHELMED. There is so much to learn! I couldn't believe it when we were told that what is on display at the museum is only about 10% of what the museum actually owns. Have you ever been there? That place is PACKED with history! And most everything is REAL! I also was a little overwhelmed with meeting new people, and seeing how many visitors there are, and thinking about trying to answer their crazy questions. I hardly know anything about air or space! I hope that by the end of this I've learned a bunch of cool facts to impress you with. Wait I've got one...Did you know that sometimes old ladies wear leopard print tube top dresses and high heels to museums to flirt with old men? It's true. I saw that today.

I also saw the Spirit of St. Louis, the 1903 Wright Flyer, the Apollo 11 command module, Spaceship One, and Amelia Earhart's Lockheed Vega (although that exhibit is under construction right now). Can you believe it??!!! I bet you can, if you try.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Saw more beards than you could ever believe.

Shall I tell you about yesterday? I was a brave little toaster and found myself a farmer's market in downtown Arlington where I then proceeded to buy delicious fresh strawberries and cherries. Afterward I went to the national aquarium that has no large fish, thank heavens. Large aquatic animals should not be kept in cages! I did see an octopus though. They give him toys and puzzles to play with. If you don't know all about octopi, you should spend a little time getting to know them because they are fascinating creatures. That was pretty much my day. I later went to check my email down in the business room and on my elevator ride back to my apartment two really nice girls told me I look like I should be on America's Next Top Model. I can now chalk it up to three people that have told me that. However, the first person was quite intoxicated and I think actually asked me if I had ever been on it.

Today I went downtown to see Rolling Thunder, which is a rally of Harley Davidsons that ride into town to promote veterans' rights. There are literally thousands of motorcycles that participate, which also brings thousands of patriotic people hungry for soft pretzels and awful music. I do admit though that I felt pretty badass walking around with old veteran motorcycle gangs, and I never felt safer in all my life. I wandered over to the somber Vietnam memorial which was swarming with people today. Amongst the flowers and pictures lining the base of the wall were several beer can tributes and fresh cigarettes in remembrance of the dead. Let me tell you, if I were dead all I would be thinking about is popping open a crisp Bud. KIDDING, POP. I do think that it feels more personal than leaving flowers though. Overall I felt a lot of respect amongst the people there, and it was humbling to see some tough dudes cry.

I then wandered through the Freer gallery, which had some amazing Asian art. My favorite part was this room called the Peacock Room that the founder of the museum bought from an old house and had installed in the museum. The focal point is this huge painting of two peacocks adorned with gold. It was rather breathtaking. I learned a lot more about Buddhism from that museum as well.

This evening was the annual PBS National Memorial Concert. I might just be a cynical bastard, but stuff like that is cool to a certain extent, and I appreciate the celebration of our country, but I have a hard time feeling patriotic in the state of our country right now, I hate country music, and I hate the idea of singling out one war hero in front of a crowd of thousands of men and women who probably had similar experiences. I also hate that actors from CSI New York are chosen to emcee the festivities. I feel that America is all about focusing on the dreamy individualistic hero-like appearance of war, so sometimes the bigger picture is blurred, and of course we are obsessed with celebrities which is why that CSI dude was center stage. If you want this post to be super long, I can keep going, but I don't feel like this is the place for me to jabber on about my poststructuralist-influenced beliefs.

On a lighter note, I saw a dude playing the Sesame Street song on a saxophone on the mall today, and I watched an old Navy veteran sneakily stick a bunch of grass in his buddy's pocket. God bless America, kids.

Friday, May 28, 2010

I don't know no James Brown, but at least I know who James Dean is.

Last night I thought our hotel was being shot at, but it was really just thunder.
This morning I thought I was dying because of a creepy dream I had.
This afternoon I took the metro to the city again to check out two of the busiest museums before Memorial Day weekend really hits hard.

When I got off the metro I noticed this awkward looking girl with a grinning overbite and jittery disposition. She looked so out of her element and fascinated me. When I got to the Natural History museum I turned around only to see her standing right behind me in line. She kept catching my eye, and I noticed her amazing metal robot necklace. She told me it was from "A young Russian designer" and that she liked my "cap" and then "All of you actually. You just look so beautiful." I always knew that Russians were badass because of Andre Kirilenko. She must have been related to him.

To be honest, I got really bored of that museum. I got kind of sad seeing all the dead animals stuffed and hanging there, but I guess it was worth it. I tried to block out all of the "Oooh, just like Night at the Museum!" comments and learn more about evolution in the special Charles Darwin exhibit. Perhaps I can brew up a pot of chamomile and have a war with my tea party roommates about it.

My favorite part of the museum was a comment I overheard spoken by a true hillbilly. "Look man," he said to his chubby sidekick while pointing to an exhibit of extinct animals similar to ones that are alive today. "Look at the old-fashioned rhino!!" Old fashioned? I don't think animals go in or out of fashion unless you are speaking of fur coats or leopard prints. I think what actually happens is that SPECIES DIE. It's a cruel world, kiddo. Go to the Charles Darwin exhibit. I know it involves a lot of reading and there aren't as many stuffed kritters, but I think you can/should handle it.

I then ventured to the American History museum where I heard a little girl point to Mary Lincoln's dress and Ham Lincoln's suit while saying to her little sister, "I'll be the princess, and you be the prince." The baby sister got mad because she didn't want to be a boy. Doesn't she know that "prince" was Abe Lincoln? I'd definitely rather be the boy in that case. The mother got mad because I don't know, she had a broom handle up her ass and hates hearing her children interact with each other? So far I've learned a valuable lesson that I hope I always remember. Either I am never having children, or I am raising them in such a way that I allow them to say funny things without barking at them, teach them what it means to be old-fashioned, and be honest with them. Instead of saying, "Stop doing that. It's disrespectful," when your kid is climbing all over a display case, why not say, "Hey. Don't climb on that because that's a rule of the museum. It's a rule because behind that glass is valuable stuff, and we don't want to make the glass dirty so that other people can see what is inside." I think that would teach them more effectively what respect really means. It's like I probably wouldn't just say, "Hey don't kill people. It's not nice." I'd probably say something like, "Hey don't kill people because if you do you'll go to jail or maybe even hell, and you probably wouldn't like it if someone killed you. Plus that person has a family and life, and life is kind of a big deal."

I also saw Kermit, Dorothy's slippers, the Fonz's jacket, James Brown's suit that says "sex" across the waist like a cumberbund, Abe Lincoln's hat that says "sex" across the hat band, Hilary Clinton's super ugly shiny blue dress, a bunch of war stuff, the flag that inspired the Star Spangled Banner, and much more. I just wonder why asians always think it is a good idea to film everything. You're really going to watch your trip through the museum in the future? Pictures save you some time when you're feeling nostalgic, and you can crop out all the other tourists. Whatever. Also, little girls should HAVE to know who James Dean is, but sadly I found out today that they don't. Aren't their grandma's or older moms teaching them anything?

I ended the day with a little blonde 4ish year old boy flipping me the bird with his tongue sticking out, and a bowl of spaghetti. Tomorrow I am set on finding a good farmer's market or something.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Who loves the sun? Not my pale arms.

I've had an interesting couple of days to say the least. Leaving was really difficult because I've never been away from home for this long, or this far away. Plus, we just home-diagnosed Sir Walter Scout with doggie depression that was cured when I moved back home, just in time for me to leave again. Poor little chunky! I left Tuesday morning at 5 a.m. with my 49 pound suitcase, a scared tummy and sad brain. After landing, choking on wet air, and feeling like an infant forced to babysit itself, I HAILED MY OWN TAXI. This was a big step for this little baby. My taxi ride that I dreaded was not so terrible and I made it safely to my apartment, which I wasn't so sure was going to happen at the time due to the fact that my Islamic taxi driver was watching video footage of Osama Bin Laden on his Ipod while driving.

That first day was pretty much a shit storm. (Wait, my family is probably reading this!) I arrived at the empty apartment, not knowing where to even put my stuff because of all the random bras and laundry scattered on the empty beds. I was also severely disappointed in the apartment itself. My bed is squeaky, the furniture is depressing, the pool is scummy, and it looks nothing like the deceivingly beautiful pictures of the apartment online. Also, my roommates support the Tea Party, hang up inspirational quotes like "If you can dream it, you can do it," watch Finding Faith in Christ together, and eat nothing but jam and deli slices. WASN'T I SUPPOSED TO BE SURROUNDED BY AWESOMENESS? Needless to say, I was a very grumpy person that first day. I think I called my dad and David a million times, and also talked to my older sisters. Everyone back home has been very supportive!

Yesterday was slightly better, except I found out the water here is disgusting and my skin hates being outside (I usually figure this out every summer around this time of year.) I rode the metro by myself and landed in the middle of the National Mall. I got to see where I'll be working, which is by far one of the most impressive museums of all time, and then I ventured to the National Gallery of Art, the Native American Museum (who didn't give me an internship even though I'm 1/64th Cherokee! Bitches!), the Capital Building, the National Monument (so phallic!), and the Lincoln Memorial. It felt so weird and unreal. It was hard to be around families, tour groups, and couples because it reminded me of how alone I feel. After taking the metro back to my apartment, which I will now refer to as either I'm Paying $650 a Month for This? or Dumpy Plaza, I was shown the grocery store which didn't accept my debit card, and a place to buy bedding. Those scratchy sheets I slept on previously that were left by former inhabitants gave me nightmares!

Today was a major improvement. I slept in a little, almost passed out in the kitchen, felt like giving up, found the Tea Party book on the table, almost felt like hulk-punching that book and/or burning it, and decided to get out of the apartment before I did something questionable to the inspirational phrases on the wall. I went to see the Smithsonian's American art gallery and portrait museum and ended up spending hours there! I wish I could go through and describe to you all of the things I saw and learned. I then ventured to the archives and waited in a huge line, got sprayed by some sprinklers, looked at some old faded papers, and generally got my mind blown. Again, I would describe to you everything I saw, but that would take forever.

I'm still a little shell shocked and scared of what I'm doing here, but hopefully next week will be better once I start working and getting used to the humidity, the boring nature of my roommates, my squeaky bed, and not knowing anyone. Most people would love this type of freedom. I could literally do anything I wanted right now, and nobody would know! However, I'm realizing how disciplined I can be. Maybe I am going to learn a lot about myself this summer. We'll see how things progress.