Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Basketball, Baltimore and paperclips

I've been slacking off on telling you guys about my trip. Sorry. I've been struggling to write the assignments for it before semester starts, and am failing miserably... ANYWAY. Previously, we visited ALL THE FREAKING MONUMENTS EVER.

The following day started with a three hour lecture about the state of the US economy from a very enthusiastic lecturer of the "I'm old, I can say what I want" variety. As such, we came out of the lecture with such delightful quotes as "All countries are social experiments. Everyone is making it up as they go along. All you can do is hope that the folks with control over the big levers don't do something stupid." and "You have two options in regards to globalisation: play and be good at it. Or go live in a cave." 

So that was fun. From there, we had a break, complete with the most American of morning teas - Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks coffee. There were rather large quantities of both left at the end of the break. Once we'd finished our really quite awful delicious morning tea, we had an hour's lecture about staying safe on campus, which included telling us to phone the campus police to get a lift from the Metro station back to our hotel at night. Australian reactions to this? 

2. It's a seven minute walk on a well lit road.
3. Yeah, no.

I don't think anyone, even the Varsity Jocks who were out drinking until 3am pretty much every night, took them up on it... 

Then it was lunch, followed by a tour of the campus. Which is a buttload prettier than any university I've attended until now. I guess that's what happens when they're founded in 1856 with land already set aside by the government!! Weirdly, I KNOW I took photos on campus, but I now can't find any of them, so you'll have to settle for these photos of the mascot instead. Meet Testudo, y'all:

The university slogan is "Fear the Turtle", which is kind of hilarious because terrapins aren't exactly the scariest of beasts. When we finished the tour, Agatha Goodkin and I headed to the university bookshop, where I bought this hilariously tacky hoodie which for some INEXPLICABLE reason was massively marked down. (This is the back, FYI. And I plan on never wearing it outside the house)

I honestly think my favourite part was that when I bought it, there was a sticker on the front of it that said "If you like my front, you'll REALLY like my back!". Either that or the brand - Forever Fabulous. LULZ.

And then we spent the rest of the afternoon making the last minute decision to get tickets to see the Washington Wizards play the Oklahoma City Thunder and endeavouring to find a printer. Oh, also we did laundry. Because we're suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuper rock n roll. 

And then we went to the basketball. My zoom lens came with us.

View from our $14 seats:

View thanks to my zoom lens:

BOOYAH. Although there was kind of an awkward moment where it turned out that we'd sat in the wrong seats and had to clamber over to the row behind. Not only did I climb over the seat in a manner reminiscent of Jennifer Lawrence climbing the stairs to collect her Oscar, but when I finally sat down, I went "The alphabet is hard, yo." to explain the fact that we were sitting in row B instead of row C, and all the people around us were like:
So yeah. That happened. Well done, Kirsti. 

The basketball was pretty amazing (especially seeing as we only paid $14!). The cheerleaders whipped their hair back and forth and I genuinely still don't see the point in them. I also didn't really see the point in the organ music. Or the constant timeouts. Or the fact that there was only like two minutes of sport at a time. BUT I DIGRESS. The Wizards won pretty much right on the buzzer, and we trekked back to our hotel. 

The following day, The Coolest People You Will Ever Meet (otherwise known as the library contingent) had a special trip to the National Archives to do some seriously awesomesauce training. It was completely amazing, and I'm still kind of astonished that ten people took a massive chunk out of their day to train the four of us. The rest of the group, incidentally, had to spend the entire day learning about the Dodd-Frank Act. Sucks to be them. 

On the Wednesday, we had a couple of site visits out in The Middle of Nowhere, Maryland. These were less than thrilling. And after the second site visit, we weirdly got dropped in downtown Baltimore for three hours. I still don't entirely understand why, and I spent most of it hanging out at Barnes & Noble. Because apparently Baltimore is the city that reads:

It also has quite a nice view across the harbour

I also may have had fried macaroni and cheese from the Cheesecake Factory for dinner. It was phenomenal. On the downside, the girl at the table next to me was a doctor, and was telling her friend horrifying stories about prolapsed uteruses. (Uteri? Uteruses? Screw it: baby growing organs.) So that was a gross accompaniment to dinner. 

The following day, we started classes bright and early. Our first class was on supply chain management, which basically required us to use a simulation game thing to pretend we were buying and selling computers. The Coolest People You Will Ever Meet...weren't great at it. The next class was on entrepreneurship. Which I have trouble spelling, let alone understanding. But the class started with everyone having to take 15 paperclips. And then we had to get into pairs and bet somewhere between one and three paperclips on the result of a coin toss. If we lost the toss, the other person got our paperclips. And at the end of a minute, we changed pairs. It was designed to show that entrepreneuring is hard work and most people will fail. 

Number of paperclips I had left at the end of the first round? ZERO. Yeah. I lost all my paperclips to a 21 year old undergrad in one minute. Clearly, I'm not cut out to be an entrepreneur........... 

Next up, the most awesome lunch venue in DC, and hanging out with Sarah and Lauren!! 

K xx


  1. I'm happy to learn that one of the cities in the U.S. reads. I guess that all the other cities just didn't pay enough attention in school. And I also feel like that sweatshirt was worth purchasing (especially at an inexplicably low price) just because of how hilarious it is. Fear this turtle with a heart around it! It's the scariest turtle with a heart around it ever! It might even have sharp teeth or something; you don't know that it doesn't! Oh and, fried mac and cheese: America! But seriously, I had no clue that existed but I'm also not surprised that it does.

    1. It's quite possibly the most amazing thing ever. That said, I'm incredibly glad such a thing isn't available here.

      And there's a possibility that I'm wearing the ridiculous turtle sweatshirt right now. DEFINITELY worth the $35.

  2. Hahahaha. I had no idea that Baltimore is the city that reads. :P

    And I probably would fail at the entrepreneurship thing, too. I'm not very good at winning coin flips.

    1. Considering I lost four rounds of Hangman to Little Miss A this afternoon, I've come to the conclusion that I'm just bad at pretty much everything that involves an element of guessing. Except Trivial Pursuit. I'm pretty great at that.

  3. Yeah... we drink coffee here. Sorry. You should have gone to the Aquarium (pictured). It's almost as nice on the inside as on the outside, but does cost about $30.

    1. Oh, honey. You don't drink coffee. You drink something that faintly resembles the cheapest, shittiest most horrific instant coffee in Australia. ;)

      And I totally would have gone to the aquarium, but thanks to winter hours, they closed half an hour after we arrived and had already closed the ticket windows :(

  4. Wow. I had no ideas turtles were so scary.

  5. I can't believe how huge that basketball place is!

    Monash had campus police (well, security) when I was there. They would also drive you around the campus at night. It is a big place (100ha), and not a bad plan when some of the paths go off through dark parkland?

    1. According to Wikipedia, it has a capacity of just over 20,000 so it's really not that big. Although I guess in comparison to the crowds that we get for basketball games here, it's not that big!

      And I would totally understand it if we'd actually been on the depths of campus. But no. The train station was on a well lit suburban street, complete with police security cameras and emergency push buttons every hundred metres just in cases. So I'm pretty sure getting a lift was totally unnecessary!


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