Well, That Was Unexpected

Real life is stranger than fiction...depending on which authors you read, of course.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

red alert day! and much more

Hello! I'm finally back in San Diego after my monthlong whirlwind tour around the country to see everything and everyone I could fit into a reasonable amount oftime before looking for gainful employment.

I'm sure the question on everyone's mind is: what did i have to do with breaking up the terror plot that would have brought down numerous transatlantic flights? Well, I told Beth that I had just been in Indianapolis, but the truth is that the night before in Effingham, I got out of my Effing bed at the Rodeway Inn and put the Effing kibosh on that Effing terror plot by using my deft Effing knowledge of chemistry and the far reaching power of my Effing laptop which was rocking some serious Effing power that it was leeching from the Effing Embassy Suites next door. I Effing love Effingham! It's also humorous that the reason we ended up in Effingham was that we were searching for a Bath and Body Works for Andrea but got there after the mall closed.

Anyway, in all seriousness, after I went to sleep assured of world security, I then forgot to remove one of my lipglosses and my mascara from my handbag and they were summarily taken, probably to be used by female members, or male--let's be 21st century about it--of airport security. And I must admit, I was pretty impressed that instead of the yawning stupor most security officers are in when I go through X-Ray screening, everyone on Red Alert day was very alert and intense. They were probably hoping for a chance to take someone down. I mean, I would be.

All of my flights were delayed, but not by security (the Indy airport is pretty small and efficient in my one time experience) and instead by weather. In fact, even when I left DC and was on my way to San Diego, we had a stopover in Kansas City and were delayed by a massive freak lightning storm that kept striking all around us. They informed us that they "did not want to fuel up while the lightning was striking around us" and I made my seatmate laugh when I said "I'm feeling that." Although he probably did not know that I was quoting the mathlete from Mean Girls when I said it. We had an adorable Saudi tourist on one of our flights who had bought an American football for his daughter and was all wide eyed about America. Beth and I agreed that in reality he was probably scared shitless that he was flying on the day that, yet again, Muslim extremists had tried to blow up Westerners. Luckily no one seemed to take notice and he was sitting next to a very patriotic woman who thought it was cute as Christmas that he loved America so much.

Whenever Beth decides to chuck her job fighting the idiocy of the Man from inside the system, she has a bright career ahead of her as the best tour guide in history. This base don experiences in DC and Morocco. She not only introduced me to as many DC neighborhoods as possible, she gave me little tours of the places that make them have the reputations they do, but also gave me rundowns on their social demographics and issues, how one neighborhood could be incredibly expensive--full of rich diplomats and one street over was unsafe because of gang violence. DC definitely seems like one of the most segregated cities in the US. We walked through Adams Morgan which had a little Latino section where for half a mile everything was in Spanish and then one block later was a sort of funky neighborhood with cool bars and quirky modern shops. Had awesome honeydew sorbet in said neighborhood. Found a delicious orange muscat wine at Best Cellars in DuPont Circle, splurged at Lush in Georgetown, laughed at the outrageous prices being charged at Ching Ching Cha, a Chinese tea shop populated with teas and pottery that sell for 1/15 the price in Taiwan. Watched Clerks for the first time--the darth vader discussion and the line I don't appreciate your ruse" were worth the whole movie. Played the internationally certfied most fun game in the world: Dutch Blitz. Ate many cheeses, one of which was smoked Armenian string cheese, which I highly recommend! Another highlight was the coffee shop/restaurant/bookstore/social gathering place called Busboys and Poets--after Langston Hughes, natch. I hope to find such a place in San Diego.

We milled around the Smithsonian, ostensibly to soak up some culture, but in reality just to buy time before we could buy rapaciously high-priced hot dogs and beer and roam the Mall. Went to the National Gallery for the first time--a fabulous experience. Had quiet moments of love in the impressionist section--pointed out to Beth which art works were featured in the art auction boardgame Masterpiece, which was certainly developed by someone mockable from high society in connecticut, but which i recommend nevertheless-- did the obligatory viewing of the DaVinci they have on display, which they said was the only one in the western hemisphere, but I just got back from the Hermitage which also has DaVinci...is that Eastern Hemisphere? anyway, it's like Da Vinci Da Vinci Da Vinci. Yawn. Two of my seatmates on various flights were reading the Da Vinci code. soon i'll be eating Da Vinci sponsored cornflakes in a da vinci engineered bowl with a coded spoon.

Anyway, my absolute favorite, to my surprise, was the Alexander Calder mobile room in the modern section of the museum. It was amazing! If you have the opportunity to see Calder mobiles, you must go! fun for all ages, really. 70 foot long mobiles projecting shapes of trees and leaves and human figures and animals.

of course also in the modern section were some super ass works of art like the ones where some painter puts a dot on a canvas and sells it as an homage to the question "what is art?" And this is what they have displayed instead of their Klimt and Hopper paintings? travesty. They should just hand out an essay "there was once a time when artists contemplated what art was and they made paintings like children and people were besotted enough to pay for them, but we decided to burn them when we came to our collective senses. now please enjoy gustav klimt's The Baby."
Anyway, modern art is fun, if not for beauty and enjoyment, then at least for mocking.

The Lincoln memorial is as powerful as ever. The speech carved on the wall about the moral/spiritual abomination of slavery made me want to climb up his bronze ass and make out with his memory. Unfortunately he was probably far too devout to have any of that. A proud moment in Christianity is Abraham Loncoln.*sigh* ah yes, and it was at this very memorial that we saw a gaggle of people all wearing military fatigue skirts and black shirts, it seriously looked like the Michigan militia had come to roost. With the long green skirts and long braided hair of the women folk, we surmised that they were either a Mormon or Christian group, and indeed I was brazen enough to ask them what was up with the matching uniforms. The poor girl I asked clearly didn't trust me because she just said "we're all friends, and we like to dress like each other." but I wheedled out of her that they were actually an apostolic pentecostal youth group. i allayed her fears by telling her that I too was a Christian and had gone on such outings with my youth group. I neglected to tell her that they really needed to do away with the scary military fatigue getup. They're from missouri, no one in missouri will care--in fact i find it scary that they were able to procure 15+ military skirts. Then I found my grandpa's brother, and Lauren's namesake, in the WWII memorial annals. That was cool.

The definite subplot of my whole trip has to be Civil Rights. In Memphis we went to the Civil Rights museum which was eerie and heavy, but also hopeful in the end. It looks like a motel at first because it indeed IS in the same Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot. And you can go across the street and stand in the same place that James Earl Ray did when he assassinated Dr. King. When you go through the museum, the setup takes you through a summary history at first, but then a month-by-month detailed demonstration of the Civil Rights movement, which is a necessary experience to show you just how hard it was to keep fighting, and how hard and embittering it would be to have others consider you inferior when you know you aren't, when they treat you like you are subhuman. I cannot imagine the strength it would have taken to keep up nonviolent protest after the shameful things white people did to them. It made me cry. Especially when we got to the part where they killed Martin Luther King. I guess I'm so naive because I was raised in totally diverse neighborhoods in San Diego and the only thing that mattered was whether people were nice or not. Color didn't even register in my conscience until junior high history told me that it should. Okay, so then it made me cry a little bit because we listened to Martin Luther King's "I have a dream speech" and even though we have so far to go, in some ways his dream has become reality, and when you see what it was like before, it's sobering.

Anyway, in totally unrelated news, Orbitz booked me on Midwest Airlines which I thought was like "we aren't responsible for your death in the Midwest Airlines" but no! Actually Midwest Airlines is this posh carrier that has only business class seats and serves freshly baked chocolate chip cookies on each leg of the flight. Hot dog! If they had personal entertainment systems they would surpass even my beloved Singapore Airlines.

Well, my bran cereal breakfast is kicking in, and it's about time to do our ritual Subway lunch with my father, who refuses to eat anything else for lunch. It's Corinne's birthday--happy birthday baby! and it's Elvis' deathday. i bet graceland is a zoo!


Blogger Hope said...

So fun that you were in DC, just a hop skip and a jump away from here. I never in my life thought about Effingham that way. How hilarious!

1:36 PM  
Anonymous linda said...

Oh my! Corinne has the same birthday as Madonna! =) I didn't just know that. I read it on answers.com yesterday.

6:21 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

I'm falling off my chair on the 4th floor, laughing at your latest entry!

Man, I miss you around here!

6:29 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Any advice on what I should definately see on my second trip to D.C. next week? Done the memorials and the mall, and already had a cool behind the scenes tour of the Pentagon(it pays to have friends in high place). Also,Air Italia only has business class seats on their shorter flights and AWESOME italian cookies and goodies.

10:14 PM  
Anonymous yay, you are back!! said...

Ahhh, Dutch Blitz. The game that is sweeping the globe- country by country, state by state, all thanks to one woman. I know you don't believe me but I actually did like this game. I would have liked it a lot more had I not been sick with the energy level of a drunk caterpillar. Also thought you'd like to know that I've become a Sudoku junkie, whipping it out anytime I'm alone at work (usually rendering so I am being productive too). I thank/blame you. Glad you're back safe and sound!!

11:46 PM  
Blogger Emily said...

Dutch Blitz is my favorite too.

6:06 PM  
Blogger Julie Hartle said...

nice to see Hope in the fray! and i'm connivingly thrilled to have addicted Yay to Sudoku. Believe me, after Little Rain Cloud and I discussed it we couldnt believe anyone functioned on that trip, so I will assume you did like the Blitz as much as you could being dehydrated and sleep deprived and, later, sick.

12:27 AM  

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