Thursday, October 23, 2008

WARNING: Tons of pictures!

Today I started off the day by hopping the Metro over to the national mall area. First I checked out the Smithsonian sculpture garden. One sculpture I saw last time I was in DC but had to check out again is this one:

It's designed so that it appears to be a 3 dimensional house no matter what angle you look at it from. It moves as you do. Artwork such as this is really great.

And then there is artwork consisting of random cubes of metal stacked oddly...

I feel like I could have come up with that. If I make a sculpture of wooden spheres stacked on each other can I get it put in the Smithsonian sculpture gallery too?

My favorite part of the sculptures was actually watching the elementary schoolers on a field trip where their assignment appeared to be to draw what they saw, but throwing gravel and asking if they could climb on the pyramid occupied much of their time.

Next up I headed into the National Museum of Natural History.

I chilled with the dinosaurs for a while. T-Rex is looking toothy as always.

Most people are creeped out by the thought of big dinosaurs eating them, but to me, it's all the little guys that I don't like. Seriously, if you have a T-rex chasing you it's obvious you're in trouble, but if you have a bunch of these little guys sneaking up on you -

You can expect to be nibbled to death. It's like in movies with robots where the big evil robots always have little tiny helper robots that don't just kill you outright - they torture you while killing you by methods such as mini-saw blades, electrical shocks, mini-rockets, etc. (think back to the Transformers movie last summer, crappy as it was).

While living with dinosaurs may not have worked out so well in the survival category, the ice age may not have been much better. This dude doesn't look like he would have been very friendly.

And wouldn't it be awesome to live in a coral reef? It's a party under the sea!

A lot better than chilling with this guy in the depths of the ocean.

One of the more important (if not obvious) principles I live by...

Though I suppose there are many ways that could be interpreted. I just try not to be the prey that manages to fall on a tree right in front of the predator (don't tell me it actually hauled that thing up into a tree).

Look at this guy! He's managed to evolve to the point where he has a trunk built into the side of his shell for storing... stuff. And to get access to his spare tire!

Completely unrelated to the animals, I also saw the Hope Diamond. You know it's some serious bling when the camera can't even capture the diamond because it shines too brightly.

Also of note - I'm pretty sure I was the only guy in the room. Oh, girls and their diamonds. And they all wanted to know how much it was worth.

Girl: "I wonder how much it's worth!"
Guard: "It's priceless. Too valuable to put a price on."
Girl: "Yeah, but, it's gotta be worth you know, a ton of money!"
Guard: "Priceless."
Girl: "I'll marry you if you turn the other way while I steal it!"
Guard: "Not like I don't get that a hundred times a day."

Next up I headed to the Smithsonian Museum of American Art. Disclaimer: If you're not an art person, you may as well skip the next section.

One of their main galleries at the moment is works of Georgia O'Keeffe contrasted with photography of Ansel Adams. Here's O'Keeffe's "Manhattan"

And here is George Washington as partly painted by Gilbert Stuart. He didn't finish it (nor the matching portrait of Martha) which actually makes the two paintings more famous. Also of note, this is the painting that the Washington head on the dollar bill is modeled after.

Another interesting gallery was of Herblock's various political cartoons featuring presidents. I thought this one of the economy going to Hell in a handbasket was very fitting for the times.

Another gallery, titled "Ballyhoo!: Posters as Portraiture" was pretty much what it sounds like. It featured various posters (some older, some newer) as portraits.

This is the first time I've ever seen Lance Armstrong's signature in person.

I still don't get modernism.

A custom Steinway & Sons piano commissioned by Theodore Roosevelt.

Finally, an interesting work of contemporary art. This one features outlines of all 50 states in neon light tubing, and in each state TVs of various sizes replay footage of historical events and cultural aspects each state is known for. This one gave me a bit of deja vu, as I'm 99% sure I've never been here before, yet it seemed oddly familiar.

After exploring the two museums, I met up with Nate and Molly for lunch at... wait for it...

After lunch (The Steakhouse - romaine, cherry tomatoes, grilled onions, steak, and blue cheese dressing), we headed to the national archives. Nate's main motivation was to relive more parts of National Treasure after our Philadephia experience, but I mainly wanted to see the important documents and revive memories of visiting the archives back in 1997.

The Declaration of Independence hasn't fared particularly well, but "In Congress" is still fairly legible, as is the remnants of John Hancock's signature.

The constitution is doing much better, and is still readable for the most part.

Then we had to go to the expo. When we got there, we found WMDs!

Guys were running around in full camo gear with gas masks. I just can't believe they actually made the signs.

The expo is at the DC Armory, which is basically an old gym.

Nike's presence is nothing compared to Chicago. Brooks is the title sponsor for this one. I didn't really notice the creepy mannikin staring at the camera until just now.

And finally, the booth across from us had a massive number employees. They had probably 10 people working at a 10'x10' booth, which meant at least 6-7 were in front of the booth at any given moment. As a result, there was no way to really get to the booth or figure out what the booth was for unless you looked at their t-shirts.

Thirty pictures later, you've made it! Congrats.


  1. of course i made it! i love a good adam edgerton guided tour. keep it up man!

  2. Good stuff! I especially liked "party under the sea."