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One of the giant screens in Barton
Prepping the scanners at the doors
_The following entry is about our preparing for our second Jon Stewart show on Saturday night. When I have time, I may gather some of my recollections and write up some things from my notes about day 1 for the first show and what happened after our second show.

Saturday, October 29

A little after 2 I started getting ready to head up to Barton for the Saturday night show. Refreshed after the first good night of sleep in a long time, I grabbed my heavy jacket (it was 30 something degrees – and I’m from California!), and headed up the salted slope. I opened the door on the Statler side and walked into the Barton sauna. It was quite hot in there. Luckily, the actual building floor was much more comfortable. I made my way backstage where most of the E-Board and some of the other crewheads were sitting.  After a while, most of the crewheads had arrived and we made our way onto the small, slippery if it gets wet, barren with nothing to make fun of stage (Jon Stewart’s words, not mine!). We circled up on top of the stage (which I might add, was quite a cool place to be – I sat where Jon Stewart stood! Well, it sounded cool and awesome in my head) and had our crewhead meeting, going over what we could do to improve from the Friday night show.

After we finished our crewhead meeting, we circled up together as a large group and did our obligatory names and years – and favorite candy! Following that we broke into our crews. Caryn and I meet with ticket takers back behind the stage. We walked about the responsibilities of the job and our duties for the night, then Theo came and did a quick tutorial with the scanners – with the cool “secret” reset procedure! We headed down to the front of house to set up the tables and go over the set up.

We had a bit a free time between the initial crew breakout session and when we had to be in position for the show. I spent most of that time getting things prepared for that night – Eric, Caryn and I made signs for the doors, and I helped make sure some of the signs downstairs were where they needed to be – and setting up stanchions! My new word of the week! (Stanchions are the poles that hold up the ropes in a rope line, like at the airport – and they can refer to other sign posts as well – much better than just saying “that rope pole thing.”) I will say, that Eric can make an amazing number 2 sign out of gaffer tape. After taking the tape and tickets downstairs (for any potential confiscations), we were set to go.

Around now, the whole crew made their way downstairs, fully decked out in grey Jon Stewart crew shirts, crew passes, and flashlights. (Flashlights! We didn’t get these the first night, but were something I had asked for to make bag checking easier, since some of the entries were not well lit and it was hard to look into bags. Plus, holding a flashlight feels pretty cool too!) Once we were downstairs, we did a quick overview of the job duties, and settled into our positions, waiting for the word from upstairs (quite literally!). Scanners, tickets, tape, flashlights, and a ticket taking crew ready to go.

Doors open! The ebb and flow of the crowd varied – also drastically changing the temperature in the lobby of Barton. As much of a sauna it had been down there for the first half of the day, it quickly became a fridge, complete with snow outside – quite an Ithacan way to welcome parents to Cornell! For the most part, Caryn and I ran bags back and forth to the confiscation room, assisted when issues came up, and escorted guests to the box office when their tickets wouldn’t scan. Handed off quite a few bags – snag, tag and all. I think I got a decent intro to being an airport worker! Though I’m glad the bag confiscation went well – everyone’s bags stayed safe and were returned safely after the show.

By now, the majority of the crowd was already upstairs, and most of the crew was dismissed to either go up and watch the show or go grab a bite to eat. I stayed downstairs for a bit to have a slice of pizza and scan and bag check some of the stragglers coming in late. After that number trickled down, I headed upstairs to watch a bit of the show, letting the box office finish helping the latecomers.

Overall I had a great time, and I think the ticket taking crew did a wonderful job - and I’m especially glad everyone made it through the wild temperature fluctuations! This was a great weekend with CUPB, and I’m very much looking forward to our next production!

(There's a West Wing episode called 20 Hours in America. Is it better if I don't explain the titles? I feel it's kind

On Sunday, Carolyn met up with us, and she, Adam, and I proceeded to walk out to the mall, walking by the rather interesting street van vendors. We did go back to the National Air and Space museum, so I could get my picture of the Enterprise model (and go by very pricey space food!).
Enterprise is in DC!
While we were waiting for Katie and Stephanie to come down to DC, we went into the museum of the American Indian. While perhaps the exhibits don’t display the best story, the atrium is sure beautiful, especially with prisms that shoot rainbows all over the four storey (British spelling!) atrium. We spent some time discussing possible uses for extra ledge space – totem poles or performance space perhaps?
After that, we met up with Katie and Stephanie over at the Natural History Museum – saw the large diamond, and some elephant evolution side exhibits. Then we went through an extensive special exhibit on race. Some very deep stuff in there, I really enjoyed the parts about education.  We headed north, passed through the street where Taste of DC was happening, but we passed by the street where it was happening! Though we walked by and ate at Au Bon Pan – interesting change in the order of sandwich preparation vs the order the orders were put on the counter. But we got everything.

Next, we walked back and headed down to cross the tidal basin, over to the other side with the Jefferson Memorial. Very large, lots of steps, columns, and marble! We all sat on the steps for a little while, looking north up over the basin to the White House. There were quotes around the central statue, and some museum displays below.

Adam and Carolyn had to head back to GW, but Stephanie, Katie, and I continued making our way around the basin. We went to the FDR memorial, which traced FDR’s presidency chronologically through a series of waterfalls – love water features! Though we ended up going backwards through the timeline – but it was a very different kind of memorial, and I really enjoyed it.
Water Feature!!
Then we went to see the new MLK Jr Memorial, it was quite crowded, probably because it’s the newest memorial, but it was very great to see too – very tall, but the mountain symbolism made a lot of sense with the quotes.
We walked back up toward the Washington Monument afterwards, and saw Marine One land on the White House lawn! Well we didn’t really see it actually land, we saw the three of them fly over and land behind the trees. Though we waited around and saw it take off!
We went back up to the Museum of Natural History – walked through the mammals, ice age, oceans, and dinosaurs. Afterwards, the three of us decided to go eat at Potbelly Sandwiches. We got there about 10 minutes before their closing time, but the woman working was super nice and super fast too! We ate outside – next door was a sports bar…the whole thing had a rather London feeling about it. When we finished, Adam came back and met us, and we all sat and talked for a while. We walked around a bit afterwards, and had fun kicking a stick! But then we went to the Metro station and all had to say our goodbyes.

I had a great time seeing some of my Fulbright peers again – it was great too that we all sort of gelled back together, even though it felt like it’s been a long time since we’ve all been together. Was very glad to also get a real break (and my eyes off the computer!), and have a nice relaxing weekend with friends!

Monday I came back up to Ithaca. Had an hour or so to myself in DC, so I went down to the Capitol in the morning before getting on the train. The DC Union Station is quite nice as well! The train was packed (Columbus Day = travel day, should have figured that out sooner). Had a good train ride up, and I ran up to the Port Authority to catch an earlier bus (though in retrospect, maybe it would have been nice to spend a few hours in the city – perhaps next time when I don’t have as much stuff to carry!) On the way up, was treated to a nice sunset though! And now back to 7 more weeks in the college marathon…
Washington Monument!
National Air and Space Museum
Protesters outside the Air and Space museum - that large puppet is a bit freaky.
National Gallery - forgot to talk about this in the blog; but we spent some time here - saw some Monet paintings of London (Waterloo Bridge), interesting contemporary art themed around letters, and some fascinating tapestry.
Capitol at night is pretty!
The White House!
Fall Break time at Cornell! Finished off the first half of my semester with a marathon week of an essay due Tuesday, 2 exams Wednesday, an exam Thursday, and physics problem set Friday. Plus grading exams as a TA and music rehearsals and club meetings. Not much sleep in this week. (Though even though it was pretty rough, I’m sure there were people with weeks worse off than mine!)

But Friday came – getting ready to leave on the 2:30 bus was like student anarchy practically. A lot of rushing to the bus as each one pulled up, and everyone disappointedly walking away as 95% of the crowd realized it wasn’t a New York bus. I think 1 person stepped onto the Boston bound bus. But eventually, I got onto the fully packed New York bounded bus.

We got into New York City at night, around 7:30 pm – a very nice view of Manhattan’s night skyline as we were coming in from New Jersey (no pictures unfortunately, sitting on the wrong side of the bus). The bus ended up dropping us outside around the corner from the Port Authority, rather than inside. It was alright though. Made the walk down to Penn station where I had a bit of a wait. There was a ticketed passenger waiting area (which I had not seen last time, but then I was arriving at the station, not departing), and wifi! Ate my sandwich I had bought at Cascadeli, then got onto the train. Pretty much slept the whole way down to Washington, it took about 3 hours – didn’t get a chance to go to the snack car and talk with the train crew. Oh well though.

Arrived at Washington DC Union Station around 12:30am, where Adam and Carolyn were kind enough to come meet me. Took the metro back, got my first look at GWU (and some of the student night life atmosphere) and got into Adam’s room – it was great seeing him again – just like old times (it’s only been a few months, but it really has felt like quite a long time). Fell asleep pretty quickly too.

Had a rather late start to the next morning but it wasn’t too bad. Adam cooked some scrambled eggs and toast for breakfast, and we went off! It still amazes me to see all the various institutions and agencies right here – the IMF, Organization of American States, the Eisenhower (Old) Executive Office Building. (And that was within the first 5-10 minutes of our walk!) We made it past the ellipse (which I didn’t even realize we were going by the White House until I saw it later when we were going in a different direction…too busy listening to a loudly woman complaining about sweat in her hair as she passed by.

We went onto the National Mall, and passed by the Washington Monument – though we couldn’t go up, closed because of possible cracks due to the Earthquake (I’ve got some screenshots of workers climbing the outside of the tower checking for cracks, from CNN). And I left my national parks booklet in my dorm! I could have gotten so many stamps from the DC area! Oh well, next time perhaps.

Adam and I started off in the National Air and Space Museum – which I’m sure is also a favorite of many a young child. We went in and got to go through the exhibits, we saw early flight. One thing I was really impressed by was the craftsmanship of wooden propellers – the curvature, symmetry, and weight balance is perfect to an extraordinary level, it’s amazing to think that they were doing this a century ago! We continued through some exhibits on commercial aviation – there was a display touting new digital instruments, and brand new modern CRT displays! Er…maybe it was outdated? To be fair, there was another display that did have a 21st century cockpit. It was astounding to see some of the old planes and lounges and level of services passengers received. True, air safety (another display) wasn’t as great then as it is now, but I wish we could all get that level of comfort and service! We proceeded to go through a WWI air warfare exhibit (complete with simulated trenches), then a much smaller WWII one. Though there was an air and sea display, which focused mostly on WWII and post war (up to the 90s or so) combination of air and sea power. It was really fun to look at because it was modeled on a real aircraft carrier, with a ready room, bridge, and other rooms, staircases, and ladders and gangways (though we couldn’t go on those). But that was quite an immersive experience (to some point at least), which I thoroughly enjoyed. We then walked past a small exhibit on UAVs (Unmanned aerial vehicles), and their rather recent history. After that, we went through an exhibit about the planets, and some of the information about our exploration, including a life sized mock up of the Mars Rovers! That was pretty interesting.

Finishing that, we walked across the bridge over the lobby, when we noticed that the doors were shut – people were not being let in or out. Police and security were telling people to not walk near the doors. Soon we saw a large group of people outside – protesters. Anti war protesters, as we could deduce from their signs and from the other people who had been on the balcony longer. Heard things about a huge poster being dropped over the railing in the lobby, and pepper spray. Intense sounding, but not sure how much of it was true (turned out to be true later on, according to the news reports – they took a guard hostage too, resulting in the use of pepper spray). We watched as they arrested a woman, and more police from various departments and divisions (or jurisdictions? Not sure what the correct terminology is here), as they came into the building, and then shut the museum down. So we, and a bunch of frustrated families, tourists, air enthusiasts, and some crying kids were quickly ushered out the back (secondary main) entrance. Oh well. We went around to the other side for a bit to see the protesters’ actual signs – and yes, they were anti war (mostly – there was an occupy Wall Street person thrown in the mix), and many police outside, Capitol, Park Service, Met, DHS, and more I think. A chopper was circling too.

After a bit, we had to move on to go up to College Park to pick up Stephanie, so we took the metro, and several transfers. Crazy weekend – red line single tracking (1 track, 2 directions, many delays), and the green line was out for a good chunk of stations – necessitating the getting on the green line, getting off, taking a red line until it met the green line again, transferring, and continuing on. We got up to College Park (Maryland), and waited for Stephanie – though a metro worker came and thought we were lost (probably since we were admiring the U of Maryland area map) – though after a while, Stephanie got there, and we all went back down into the city (after several transfers and one stop too far), to go pick up Katie. We walked up Capitol Hill, past the train station and postal museum out to where Katie’s bus came in. We waited a while, and then after she got in, we all went to get burgers, on Adam’s recommendation, which were great! (I haven’t had a burger in quite a while either!). After that, we walked back past the Capitol and down the mall to the Washington Monument. Felt like a little bit of London…just American. Walked around the circle, then up to the White House! Interesting mix of people outside the White House at that time of night, but it was a rather peaceful evening. We split up, the girls going back up to Maryland, Adam and I back to GW, where I got a glimpse of Adam’s duties in the building. Had a great first day in DC – and a bit more than I was expecting!