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Woe are my trips to the Smithsonian

It's really great that treasures of the world are available to be seen and admired completely for free for the masses at the Smithsonian. The problem is what HAPPENS when something is made completely free for the masses.
Don't get me wrong, there's few ways I'd rather spend the day then at a museum and I still dearly love going to the Smithsonian...but man, at the bigger museums like the Natural History, Air and Space, and American History museum everything one might consider to be museum etiquette goes totally out the window. It's always kind of insane in them. Kids just absolutely running wild like it's some sort of playground. There's always huge school/camp/church groups who mostly have no particular interest in being there other then it gets them out of school. There's always people who think the most effective means of communication is to yell at the top of their lungs. People flock to them because they're free and if the people you bring couldn't care less about being there or aren't paying attention it's no big loss because you aren't paying to be there. It's kind of frustrating. God help you if you actually want to look at something, it's less a museum then a total free for all. It makes me kind of sad that people can be surrounded by wonderful things, many of which were once only able to be looked upon by the elite, and have no appreciation of them whatsoever.
Luckily the Smithsonian art museums are still mostly calm places.
I was just reading over my past several entries here...it seems I only post on livejournal now when I'm feeling bitter about something lol.
I've never been one to mind crowds...in fact I find being in a huge mass of people pretty exciting. However, I'm amazed at how many people can't figure out how not to be a dumbass and or asshole in a crowd situation.
Here's a few things, in no particular order from my 4th of July.

1. People who just stop dead in their tracks. If you are in a mass of moving people, it is a bad idea to just suddenly stop in the middle of them. If it's on a sidewalk you can at least walk around them. But the people who will go through the metro faregates and just stop in their tracks just past the barrier so nobody can get past...or worse the people who get to the top of an escalator and just stand there where people behind you have no option but to keep moving forward? What is wrong with you?

2. Metal detectors. They detect metal. Their sole purpose for being is to detect metal. So before going through one...remove whatever metal things you have on you. Every single person in front of me in line today getting onto the Capitol grounds set it off and none were something valid like a medical reason. And on a similar note...

3. Being ready. If you're about to go through a security checkpoint were there is a sign saying you will be searched and you proceed to watch all the people in front of you get searched, so you know this search is about to happen....have your shit together and ready to go BEFORE getting to the guy doing the searching.

4. Strollers. This isn't an anti kid rant. I won't begrudge you for bringing your kids somewhere. However, if you have one of those kind of ridiculously oversized ones at a place where space is kind of at a premium, people are probably not going to think too highly of you. People also don't like when, by hell or highwater, you ARE going to make it fit in a place where it won't fit. Having one also doesn't give you the right to just sort of run people down. And biggest of all,blocking an entire door on the train so nobody can get past isn't ok.

5. People who start barreling into the train the moment the doors open and if other people are trying to get OFF the train, well too damn bad.

6. Not realizing how annoying and obnoxious you're being. Judge the actions of others around you. If it is not similar to your own, please adjust accordingly.

Deep thoughts

I probably shouldn't be thinking too deeply about a movie largely intended for children, but there have been some existential questions that have been bugging me ever since I saw Cars 2 this weekend. I'll lay in bed at night, just on the verge of sleep, and suddenly wonder...why are there sidewalks in the Cars cities? They show fields of wheat with the tractors in it but what use would a car have for wheat?

In the movie one of the cars has a mother...where do baby cars come from? Is there some sort of weird car sex or do they just build their offspring? One of the cars dies between the two movies. Does that mean he just couldn't be fixed anymore? Would you bury a car or harvest him for parts in a junkyard somewhere?
Are the cars biological beings or just cars that became sentient? If they're biological, what sort of evolutionary purpose do seats serve? But they specifically talk about them being built and between what years certain engines were built in the sequel, so I guess they didn't just evolve. Plus they don't SEEM to be organic in any way.
So then did the cars gain sentience and pull a Skynet and massacre the human race?
Religion is established in the sequel though...they specifically show a car pope. I suppose that also means there's a car Jesus but how would one crucify a car?
The sequel also establishes a kind of "big oil is BAD!" but I imagine the impending fuel crisis must be even worse for the cars because without that they're just sorta dead.
It's said that if we don't learn history, we're doomed to repeat it. I'd say that's true. I'd also say that even if we learn it we tend to ignore it. I like for people to remember an era of American history known as prohibition. Prohibition made alcohol illegal. Did it stop people from drinking? No. Did it make the liquor available completely unregulated and often unsafe or downright poisonous? Yes. Did it more or less create organized crime in America? Yes. It's regarded by pretty much everybody as a huge failure. So why did we not really learn anything from it?

If we make abortions illegal, it isn't going to make abortions suddenly and magically go away. All it will do is push it back into being completely unregulated and potentially very dangerous. Desperate people will do desperate things. Desperate people may well opt to take matters into their hands.

Drugs have been illegal for a very long time, but as anybody can see, it's hardly made them go away. I think I can count on one hand the number of people I knew in high school who never did them. Entire movies are dedicated to and about marajuna. Actors rather famously do drugs regularly. Drugs are everywhere, legal or not. Drugs are also the root of most organized crime in our country today, exactly as alcohol was during prohibition. They're never going to go away, and trying to police it is forever doomed to fail.

Mar. 25th, 2011

Oh hi livejournal...I haven't updated you in months. Sorry about that.
I miss you livejournal. Problem is though, I think I can count on one hand the number of people that still bother to read this. Once upon a time I remember checking livejournal multiple times a day, even though very few of my "real life" friends ever seemed to get on board. Now though, pretty much everybody I care about solely uses facebook. I'd post things here with a link to what I posed on FB and got close to zero response. So then I'd double post it both here and facebook, and the only place I'd get comments of any sort was facebook. So...I just sorta started using it more and more. And truthfully I sort of hate facebook. No let me rephrase, I love what facebook DOES, in the sense of allowing me to communicate with and connect me to people all in one place, I just hate how it's done. Plus the whole site's design is just ugly and unappealing.
And...I've started to feel that unless I can write something in 140 characters or less, a la Twitter, nobody bothers to read it. Writing notes on facebook doesn't feel the same as writing journal entries here...and I think most people just gloss over "notes" posted on facebook for the "too long didn't read" reasons.
I am glad I have this though. This thing has close to a decade worth of details about my life and what I was thinking during that time. Reading my early entries feels sort of like reading the blog posts of a totally different person. I don't think facebook has that lasting appeal, since what you write just sort of vanishes away after awhile.
So maybe I'll start writing here again,even if it does feel like just typing into the void. I don't know.

The Rally To Restore Sanity And/Or Fear

If you announce it, they will come. They will come in droves.
I've been to several big events in on the mall...I was at the inauguration. I go to the 4th of July there most every year. I was once there unintentionality on an anniversary celebration of the Million Man March. This trumped all of them. It was more people then I saw at any of those...it was possibly more people then I have ever seen in one place ever.
I was at the Dunn Loring station and the line for farecards went out the door, over the bridge, down the entire length of the parking lot, then around the corner and part way down Old Gallows's Road. Luckily for me I could just use my Smartrip card and didn't have to wait in that never ending line. Getting on a train was another story though. About 3 trains went by going the opposite direction and they didn't even have the one listed for the direction leading in, so I said screw it and got on the train heading to the end of the line...knowing it would have to go back...which ended up being a wise, wise choice. I got on a pretty much empty train and had a place to actually sit as the train filled to complete capacity just at that one station. I lucked out again getting there, as I actually got OFF the train. The entire train was emptying at the mall and the doors actually slammed shut on people still trying to get off. Sucked to be them.

If you watched this on tv...it didn't do justice to the sheer pandemonium of being there. I was a touch late getting there and the entire area was packed shoulder to shoulder from where the stage was just in front of the Capitol Building to the Washington Monument and beyond. On the outer edges was where the real fun was. It was pretty much a festival of absurdism, and I LOVE absurdism. A few of the signs people had were in fact political agendas, but the vast majority were things like "I support carrying signs", or "I'm passionate about...oh look a kitten!"...and of course the sanity signs like "I disagree with you but understand where you're coming from". One older gentleman had a sign that said "I fought Nazis and they don't look anything like Obama" and he was getting high fives and hugs. There were also people dressed as anything you could possibly think of, relevant or not. I saw Sesame Street, the Monarch Henchmen from Venture Brothers, Cylons, and of course Captain America just to name a few. I almost had more fun people watching then the actual show. People were having the time of their lives being crazy. Talking to the people around me I also found out that almost everybody I was talking to had traveled a crazy far distance to be there. I talked to people from Texas, Wisconsin, even Canada.
I ended up finding a place I could actually see too. That place just happened to be inside some bushes in front of the Museum of the American Indian.
So what was accomplished today? I have no idea. I learned that several thousands of people could gather and be totally chill and that the world was more full of awesome people then I previously thought.
I can't imagine being a normal tourist today though. I was still hanging around 3 hours after it ended and people were STILL running around being crazy. A lot of people looked rather confused. When I finally left even though it was HOURS after it had ended I was still on a train packed to absolute capacity and sandwiched between people and then later being smooshed against the wall.

Pictures! http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=251586&id=534694381&l=7b701cad35

Awareness for awareness' sake.

Hey guys, raise your hand if you aren't aware of breast cancer. Nobody? Is there ANYBODY out there who is so unaware that posting some vague pseudo sexual innuendo status update and 10 guys replying with "Ohh hot!" is really going to help the cause in any possible way? It's like watching a starving homeless person in the street and being like, "Yo, I am totally aware of poverty and starvation in the world" to them. You're not saying a word about cancer. It isn't awareness or education, it's just titillation.
Breast cancer has the odd predicament of being a terrible disease that strikes a "sexy" body part and frankly I'm tired of the sexualization of it. Even real world campaigns do this. It's cancer. It's not about saving sexy boobies, or raising awareness of diseases of the sexy boobies...it's CANCER. There is nothing cute or sexy or funny about cancer. Someone using it as a reason to act flirtatious under the banner of awareness is both tasteless and objectifying to women (oh, and men get breast cancer too you know). Don't use a disease that has a devastating impact on the lives millions of people as a justification for posting something salacious. Don't make light of a serious disease. And hey, for the record, the biggest killers of women year after year are heart disease and lung disease...but I guess there's just nothing sexy about THOSE body parts.
...or more aptly titled, how I answered, "Sure, why not?" when asked if I wanted to go.    And it was a damn fun time.
Jeremy is VERY into wrestling, and I'm down for doing pretty much anything and respond very well to the words "let's go".  I figured it'd be an experience, if nothing else.  So I made myself a big sign that said "I have a sign!" and away we went to Monday Night Raw.  I used to be into it when I was kid and had gone once with my parents, but we were up in the rafters so it was nothing like this.  For THIS the two of us were sitting 4 rows from the ring, and only a few seats away from the aisle they walk down.  And seeing as how we were in the expensive seats, everybody around us was quite hardcore and my initial reaction was "oh god, what have I gotten myself into".  But with everybody around you screaming and adrenaline pumping music blasting and crazy lights and pyrotechnics it's very easy to get swept up into the spirit of the moment...only since I had seriously zero idea what was going on, for me it was more like "YAAAA! Beat that other guy!!!!".  
I had a blast,  I would totally go again any time they're in DC. 

I wish I'd taken pictures.  I wasn't entirely sure if cameras were allowed or not so I decided to err on the side of caution.  I dvred it though, so here's my sign on tv.  lol.  

I had a completely amazing Otakon. It's pretty much nerd Mardi Gras...or at least East Coast nerd Mardi Gras since the west coast gets Comic-Con and AX.
I took like, no pictures because I spent too much time having fun. I took a couple videos of the hotel room insanity and that's it.
Best part of the weekend for me was definitely the premiere of AMV Salad 4, which was a smash hit. I dare say that some of my bits in it got the most thunderous laughter. I was really proud of that.
OH! I also met my hero, Peter Beagle, who's one of my most favorite authors EVER. Disappointingly they were totally out of copies of The Last Unicorn by the time I got to his table (I didn't bring one from home thinking I'd be a good fan and patronize the booth), I'd even walked over to the local Barnes and Noble to find they were out too. I bought my second favorite book though, A Fine and Private Place, and got that signed. He's such a nice and friendly guy.
And pokemon...oh god the pokemon. Almost everybody had a pokewalker hooked to their badges, so connecting pokewalkers became a HUGE thing. Which is awesome since doing it gets you awesome in game items. I also sat down with a bunch of other people for some awesome pokemon playing.
So sad it's over, I look forward to it all year and it's always over in a flash. It's really such a shame that my Otakon room mates live in all corners of the country and I pretty much only see them AT Otakon.