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About Me:

Hi! I'm Andre. I'm a senior double major in Political Science and Spanish at Butler and I'll be graduating in 2014.

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Andre

Polar Life

I hate this winter with a passion. It has been too cold and too snowy to even enjoy it. Although I wouldn’t trade all the snow days I’ve had for the world, I’d still prefer for it to be warmer now considering we’re 2 weeks away from April.

In Chicago a bit ago they held the city’s annual Polar Plunge and I thought it would be appropriate to talk about since it’s still colder in D.C. My professor here told us that it was not only unusual for DC to get this much snow, but it’s even more unusual that it’s still this cold at this point in time. Strange!

In Chicago’s Polar Plunge, Jimmy Fallon took part this year and his reaction to the cold was priceless! He’s definitely my favorite late night host and it says a lot that he could even be funny in this instance, even though he wasn’t trying to be.

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US Botanical Garden

A couple weeks ago I was able to visit the US Botanical Garden and forgot to blog about it! It it literally right next to the Capitol and all of the Smithsonian museums so it’s pretty convenient to visit.

botanical1There are so many cool and exotic plants to see at the garden. It houses tons of plants from around the world at all times of the year. It’s a huge greenhouse and was pretty cool. It was also very warm inside for the plants so I even had to take off my jacket.

botanical2I would’ve stayed for a guided tour but since I saw so much in one day I was too tired to participate but maybe I’ll come back at another time to get the full experience. I’d recommend seeing it for anyone visiting D.C.

 

 

Late Oscars Recap

Usually I’m always up on watching all the awards shows and doing a recap of them but this year I’ve been slacking off. And that also means I didn’t watch the Oscars either (sorry!). But I did see/hear about all of the highlights!

I’m not much of a movie person which is probably why I wasn’t at all interested in watching. I do sometimes enjoy Ellen Degeneres but even she wasn’t enough to get me to be interested. Movies are always too long and I have a short attention span. I was, however amused by Ellen’s celebrity selfie! It even broke the record for most retweets on Twitter!

I had no idea Jared Leto was in a movie, let alone was a good enough actor to win an Oscar! That was definitely the most surprising moment for me. I enjoy his music in his band 30 Seconds to Mars. Other than that I awkwardly didn’t know the rest of the winners….. Maybe for next year I’ll be more caught up on cinema!

So, in closing, this wasn’t much of a recap. My apologies.

Here’s a funny red carpet video though

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Library of Congress

For my internship, I was able to pick up a book from the Library of Congress and it was an adventure to say the least! I got there easily since it’s across the street from the Capitol and it is a nice, beautiful building. I walked over and got to pass the Supreme Court building and eventually got there. It’s still pretty amazing to me how I pass by all of these awkwardly important buildings every day.

It took me twenty minutes to finally find the room I was going to. After that I was inspired to get a Library of Congress reader card so I could come back other times to do some reading and research and feel important.

Of course I got lost on my way there but I finally found it, got my card, and was on my merry way out! Thankfully it was a little warmer outside yesterday so I wasn’t cold on the way. Overall, it was a pretty funny adventure, even though I had no idea where I was 99 percent of the time.

The Library of Congress building

The Library of Congress building

Natural History/American Indian Museum

As past of my recent Smithsonian museum adventure, I was able to go inside the Natural History museum. I didn’t stay terribly long since science isn’t my forté but I was still interested in seeing all of the evolution exhibits and stuff about the deep sea while being able to learn about the world’s natural history.

There were a lot of different floors and exhibits but I just stayed on the first floor just so I could say I went and have enough time to visit all of the other museums that I planned to see.

Elephant statue inside the Natural History museum

Elephant statue inside the Natural History museum

After the Natural History museum, I walked over to the American Indian Museum which was extremely cool. I saw a ton of cool artifacts and got to learn about all of the diverse American Indian populations and their culture. I’d definitely recommend seeing it to anyone planning to visit the Smithsonian museums. I was tempted to buy a Dream Catcher at the museum but decided against it since I can never remember my dreams anyway!

Statue outside the American Indian Museum

Statue outside the American Indian Museum

Pretending to be a Runner

I’ve been taking advantage of all the warm weather, and lack of snow, here in D.C. and one of the ways I’ve been trying to do that is by trying to go running. I can probably count on my hands how many times I’ve actually gone running in my entire life so it’s always a struggle when I actually pretend to be an active runner.

The great thing about D.C. is that when you go running, since it’s small enough, you usually pass by a lot of important buildings/monuments. I decided to go running by the National Mall and was able to get a really good/unobstructed view of the Washington Monument. It was so cool being at a site where so many historic events took place and casually running by it like it’s no big deal.

washmonument

 

I was also able to pass by the Capitol building, which wasn’t all too exciting since I intern there every day. But, I was, however, able to pass by the Supreme Court building. It’s a beautiful building and once it gets warmer, I definitely want to go inside.

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Air and Space Museum

The absolute best part about D.C. is that the vast majority of museums are free! The Smithsonian museums are all right next to each other and lie along the National Mall so last weekend, since the weather was beautiful, I decided to hit them all up!

Statue in front of the Air and Space Museum

Statue in front of the Air and Space Museum

The first museum I went to was the Air and Space museum. It was so large and spacious and was full of, as you guessed it, planes! It was so overwhelming with all of the cool things to see and do. The trip definitely very briefly inspired me to want to work for NASA.

I got to learn a little about navigation, what goes into space suits, and a ton of other cool stuff. I remember visiting the museum as a kid but didn’t appreciate it like I did when I just went recently. It’s funny how museums are usually geared toward kids but you don’t start to appreciate them once you’re an adult.

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Animal Wednesday

As you may know from reading my blog, visiting the National Zoo has become like a weekly thing for me. The weather has been beautiful lately and was even in the sixties last week! I didn’t even have to wear a jacket and it’s February!

Since the weather permitted, I walked around the zoo for a bit just to get some fresh air and to wind down from a busy week. I finished up a big paper for my politics class so I was proud of myself and rewarded myself with some quality animal time.

Unfortunately, my little animal friends still haven’t inspired me enough to become a vegetarian but I’m going to Whole Foods later so who knows what kind of diet I’ll assume then! My favorite animal of choice for this visit was a slow turtle. I personally identified with him since I am a slow runner. But slow and steady always wins the race! I named him Cory after the main character in the show Boy Meets World because I just recently started rewatching it and I’ve been sucked in. It’s so good!

Cory on the move!

Cory on the move!

Bureau of Engraving

Last week I was able to visit the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. In short, it’s where they print all the money in DC. I’ve visited as a kid but I couldn’t remember so it was nice to get a refresher. During my visit I got to learn more about the treasury and how much money is printed. According to our guide, about $1 billion is printed a day.

There are two facilities that prints money in the U.S. One is in D.C., which I visited, and the other is in Fort Worth, Texas. Both print money to keep up with the demand for it.

I was so tempted to take some money but considering that it’s illegal to steal, I decided against it. I could only imagine working there and having that temptation every day! Pictures weren’t allowed inside so I had to take a picture in the gift shop. Whomp whomp.

I never knew how much ink and paper went into printing our daily currency. So much work goes into it and it was nice to see it in person. A fun fact I learned: If the serial number on a bill has a star or asterisk for the last number, then that means that bill is a replacement for a bill that had a defect of some kind and are very rare. So now, I’ve been on the lookout for these asterisks! If you find one, let me know!

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National Archives Visit

Fun fact: The Emancipation Proclamation, the document that Lincoln signed to free the slaves, is only shown about 3 days a year. That’s because it’s so fragile that they can only display it certain times a year to try to preserve it. So I saw on Twitter that last weekend was the weekend it would be on display so I had to go! I so forced some of my Butler friends to go with me for a trip to the National Archives to see it.

When we got there there was a huge line to get in so we had to wait in the cold D.C. weather. The wait was worth it as we eventually got in and were able to see all the documents. Pictures aren’t allowed inside the Archives, I believe for security reasons, so I couldn’t take pictures of any of the documents.

I was able to see the Emancipation, the Declaration, the Constitution, and the Magna Carta! It was so weird being in the same room as so many historic documents. The visit inspired me to start reading more about history so I’m currently reading a book about Lincoln and how he picked his cabinet. It may sound boring but I’m trying to make the most of my stay in D.C.! Although, I’m sure I’ll be back some day ;)

Statue in front of the archives

Statue in front of the archives