Radioactive Art

Today my friend and I wandered into the Budapest Museum of Applied Arts, unsure what to expect. From the outside, the museum actually looked closed. Banners draped across construction boardwalks made us question if we could even go inside. But after some investigation we finally found the front doors. From the few exhibits that we saw, my favorite was the “Explore Color” portion. There were four different rooms that divided art by blues, reds, greens,  and browns. Each room displayed different types of dishes, cloths, paintings, furniture, and other random items. One particular feature that caught my eye was an ultraviolet light that caused these jars and glasses to glow a bright, an almost bioluminescent green. Curious about it, we looked on the nearby plaque and found a description. Turns out that the secret ingredient that made the pieces glow was legitimate Uranium. As in, these pieces of art were actually radioactive. The artist supposedly designed them to make a statement about nuclear warfare and other radioactive social problems. Although the art curator seemed to feel safe being around these, I didn’t.

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48 hours in DC

Washington, DC is a city of hustle and bustle. Personally, that’s why I am so attracted to it. The people in a city that never sleeps is usually driven by ambition and a vision.  DC is a perfect example. There is always someone new to meet, places to see, and things to try. I have a deep love for DC because whenever I am there its like I’m on top of the world.

This time around in DC, I was actually there for originally an international fraternity conference called Phi Alpha Delta. This group is composed of undergraduate students, graduate students, and also those going through law school. We are collectively committed to the end goal of finding a career in the legal profession. I was still lucky enough to find time to explore the city in the short 48 hours my group and I were there.

We spent Saturday afternoon exploring a few key Smithsonian museums. The Air and Space museum was impressive because of the space and air history artifacts put on display. This had been my second time at the museum so perhaps it was less interesting to me. But, I had never been to the Botanical Gardens or the American History Museum before.

For anyone traveling to DC in the near future, I would highly suggest the American History Museum. When you walk in its not overly impressive, but by the time you finally get to the meat of the exhibits, the content and research that has gone into the exhibits have a profound effect. There is nothing like experiencing an overview of American History where many of the decisions about the outcomes have been made. The section on American war was perhaps my favorite. It starts out with the American Revolution and slowly transitions from war to war based on a linear timeline. But as you approach later wars and more controversial wars, like the Vietnam War, they are presented in a way that becomes very real for those visiting the exhibit. I don’t think ever been so moved by an exhibit, not emotionally but mentally. The American History of war Museum at the Smithsonian left me with a deep curiosity and new perspective on quite a few things. I suggest that if you can make the time, it would be worth spending an entire day or two at this museum alone.

The botanical museum was mostly just beautiful. The diversity of plants are astounding. The most interesting rooms were probably either the endangered species room or the room that featured various medicinal plants. I have always had an interest in botany so I found this museum more interesting them my counterparts but they still enjoyed themselves. This  botanical museum could comfortably be seen in an hour or two. But make sure not to miss it. I had no idea that it was even there until this trip. It is hidden in comparison to the rest of the mall. Instead of being directly off the National Mall, it sits directly to the right of the Capitol Building.

After the Smithsonian closed we made our way up to Capitol hill and toured the outsides of the buildings in this area. From the outside, the Supreme Court was by far the most impressive. It reminded me of  ancient buildings that I’ve seen  in citifies like Vienna or Rome. Its Roman pillars were larger then most redwoods. You had to stand a couple hundred feet back from the building just to get a complete picture bottom to top, but you were free to walk up on the steps outside of the building. Perhaps less impressive from the outside but still beautiful was the Library of Congress.  Although, if you do make your way up to Capitol Hill, make sure that you do it between the hours of 10:00 AM and 4:30 PM. Unfortunately, we arrived about an hour late and the doors were closed to the pubic. I would have bet though that the interior would have made up for the unimpressive exterior.

The most majestic moment that I encountered in DC was walking through the memorials during sunset. I cannot stress the beauty of the Lincoln Memorial with a gorgeous sunset behind it. The colored light was bouncing over the reflection pool and the area glowed of purple and blue.12118679_492143454288692_78464703576351655_n

college, culture, and an overall crazy weekend

To say the very least, this weekend has been odd one. Overall, I have gotten a total of six hours of sleep this entire weekend.

Starting out Thursday night, I set off to go explore a potential college.  I wasn’t sure what to exactly expect at an overnight campus visit. When I finally arrived, I parked and walked into place where prospective students were meeting  to find a group of five of the most awkward looking individuals I’ve ever seen. Luckily the night progressed to take some very entertaining and unexpected turns.

To be entirely honest, I expected more of a structured program carefully monitored by “adults.” Yet, by the end of the night I was hanging with wasted college students doing shots while we all played cards Against Humanity.

Immediately after being given a short presentation about “behavior” by an admissions councilor, we were stuck on a tour bus with a few current students as a guide and whisked off for an evening out in downtown Denver. We ate dinner at a place called bd’s where you pile raw food onto a plate, right before handing it over to a man at a giant round grill who tosses it up and cooks it with two metal poles slightly resembling swards. We then walked to get ice cream at a popular local hangout. One thing that stuck me about an evening at a college campus was the 24/7 access to food. That stuff was literally everywhere. After dinner and ice cream, we went back to find they had set out more for free food for students on the campus from food trucks as part of a “healthy habits” type campaign. Around two am, one of the students I was hanging with ended up doing a Voodoo Doughnut run for everyone. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Voodoo Doughnuts, they are pretty much the most delicious things  on the planet and therefor a famous Denver favorite for locals. I completely understand why “the freshman 15” exists now.

As the night went on, I met more people then I could possibly remember. It was odd to end up being so comfortable with people I have never even met. The atmosphere was so awesome, it seemed that (unlike high school) people did not care about cliques or pre-set social groups. If you were open to having a good time, they would include anyone. I chose to stay sober for a couple reasons, including that I did not actually know anyone around me and therefore did not trust everyone. Still, no one seemed to care and the easy going atmosphere was contagious.

My room mate and I ended up heading to bed around three am. Outside the window and in the hallway I could hear the drunk students returning from parties. But right as I was about to fall asleep, one of my roommate’s friends started knocking on her  door singing “Do you wanna build a snow man?” as loud as his lungs would allow. Beside the fact it nearly gave me a heart attack, when the door came crashing open from his weight, it was still hilarious. It turns out that her door did not always close properly.

After breakfast and a quick sample lecture from a college professor, the visit wrapped its self up. Driving back home, I realized that I only had two hours to shower and get ready before another awesome night out in Downtown Denver. There is something amazing about that city, so bright, electric, and modern.

I was meeting up with two of my closest friends and we had tickets to the Colorado Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Danny Elfman’s famous music scores in Tim Burton’s films. It was actually one of my friend’s homework assignment to go see the performance because her college professor was a member of the orchestra, and she invited us to join her.

As we walked into the theater, my friend said something which I will never ever let him live down. On display were lots of violins carefully hand painted with different scenes. All of a sudden he just randomly blurted out “look at all the mini guitars!”  It was so loud that people in a ten feet radius turned to look and give him angry glares. My friend and I were laughing so hard that we were barely able to give him a little friendly reminders that they were violins, not guitars. Once he noticed his little “blonde moment” he turned an nice shade of bright bubblegum pink. If he ever happens to read this post, he may never speak to me again. But I am willing to take that risk.

To be entirely honest, we looked damn fine that evening. Dressed like movie stars, we walked down the street laughing and having an amazing time as usual. We had no idea what an awesome treat we were in for.

That night I discovered an amazing violinist by the name of Sandy Cameron. To be entirely honest her skills rival those of the other well known artist Lindsey Stirling. As a violinist myself, I am extremely jealous of her skills as a musician.  Very few people are born with the natural ability that she has.

After the concert we drove back to my friend’s house and decided to jump in his hot tub and just hang out. The stars seemed unusually vivid and the cool breeze was relaxing. Perhaps that was my exhaustion mixed with a feeling adrenaline from the last two days, but that moment was perfect.

Today I stayed home to accomplish homework and cuddle with my puppy. Overall, I could not have asked for a better weekend.

The Little Lithuanian

While I was quietly sitting in advanced art today, minding my own business, my peaceful day was awkwardly interrupted by the new Lithuanian foreign exchange student at my school.  It takes a decent amount of effort to pull me out of my under-caffeinated trance in my first class of the day, but she somehow managed it.

The class was dead silent until out the blue she started laughing hysterically. Some brave sole tapped her on the shoulder to ask what was so funny. She then proceed to embark on a solid twenty minuet rant about about Kim Kardashian’s Ass…. The entire class sat in horror at the words which were not- so-elegantly flowing from her mouth. Many awkward glances were exchanged before, out of the grace of God, something happened to quickly end her rant.

She was sitting by a sink when the pipes randomly started to make creaking noises, before breaking. Water began to spray from under the sink, soaking her backpack and feet. She quickly shut up and jumped out of the wet crossfire. Although it may have been mean of me, I had difficulty controlling my laughter and eventually lost the battle to curb it.

Still, this incident alone was not enough get on my nerves. Another incident happened at lunch one day. For the first time in about four days, I dedicated to say on campus for lunch. I was chatting with my friends as we sat on our little bar stools. My fiend’s bag was sitting on the floor when the exchange student decided to mosey over and pick it up before my eyes. I was watching it because she was in the restroom. Without a word or explanation, the girl began to rummage through it. I sat there in surprise before mouthing the words “WTF” aloud. She proceeded to pull everything out as I went to grab the bag. I asked her what she thought she was doing…  “I am looking for food, my lunch is a little boring today,” she said in her odd little foreign accent. I would have had sympathy for the girl if she had been hungry, maybe a refugee from a hard life back home. I do not know her background. But, she had a lunch box stuffed full of perfectly good food! There was clearly no need to steal  lunches.

Dumbfounded, I wasn’t quite sure to say in reply. I don’t care what country you are from. Rummaging through strangers bags’ isn’t exactly a social norm.

I usually make it a point to befriend foreign exchange students. It is difficult to adapt to  a new country, a new culture, a new language. I even have plenty of friends who could be considered pretty eccentric. This girls isn’t exactly easy to get along with. Still, the future may hold a reasonable explication for her behavior.