2006-03-29 : DC Trip Report

Yes, I'm going to show you my vacation slides.

On Friday morning we met Sydney and his lovely family at the National Zoo. Sydney is excellent and has a lovely family; the National Zoo is pretty good and has some lovely animals. I practiced my animal cartooning:

(An armadillo, a prehensile-tailed porcupine, an emperor tamarin, a giant elephant shrew.)

The key to drawing primates, I have decided, is to give them people noses. Check out the baby on that monkey.

We also saw their new baby panda, although to be honest my rendition is more animated than the real thing, which pretty much just looked like somebody left a toy panda up in a tree:

Then we had Lebanese for lunch with Sydney, and I ate more than my share of stuffed grape leaves.

I have an observation: serious game conversations don't happen when the would-be conversees have family responsibilities at the time. Hey Sydney, next time let's arrange to ditch out of our family responsibilities for a couple hours at some point and talk. Anyway after lunch Sydney had to go meet his plumber so we parted ways.

We lay face-down on our beds at the hotel for an hour or so and then walked down to see the monuments. We walked around the Washington Monument, flew kites, walked down past the whatever-it-is monument to the Vietnam War Memorial, then up to the Lincoln Monument. Lincoln was a very large man, apparently, although Washington was (ahem) larger.

(Caption: breezy night washington mmt)

Then we walked back up to our hotel. Walking 0.7 miles downhill was fine. Walking 0.7 miles back uphill, after walking all to hell over the monument area, was not fine. Several of us died.

Those few of us who survived slept the sleep of the weary that night, though, I promise.

Saturday morning we (cleverly, we thought, although it did somewhat betray the memory of our fallen) took the metro down to the Smithsonian. We hooked up again with Sydney and his lovely family. First we went to the American History museum. Meg looked at all the first ladies' dresses - Meg's a costumer and a textile historian, did you know? She knows more about dresses than I know about games.

Fun fact: throughout history, most first ladies have been approximately 4 feet tall. Sebastian could have worn their dresses.

After the first ladies we went upstairs to the history of war area. I got to see maybe 15% of what I wanted to up there. Everybody else abandoned me to go look at other history things, and when they'd had their fill and come back up to find me I'd almost finished with the Revolutionary War. I made them wait even longer while I ran through the rest of the history of war, stopping only very rarely to sketch things quickly. Lord, give me a whole day, a whole weekend there, I'll have my fill.

Sydney and his lovely family had their own lives, so they were gone to live them before I quite finished.

We walked through one other thing but all I remember about it was war related: ration coupons, ration stamps, a book on how to feed your family on just your ration. I was glad to see them.

We ate snacks for lunch and pressed on to the National History museum. Again, we got to see maybe 15% of what interested us. We were letting the kids set the pace, so they'd have a fun trip instead of a tedious trip, but consequently we flew from exhibit to exhibit.

We got to see the ice man exhibit though. I hadn't realized how badly I wanted to see that. 5,000 years ago, a total competent guy with his tools and his life, totally within my comprehension. Good stuff.

We ate Polish sausage and snow cone from a street vendor and ran to the Air and Space Museum before it closed. As we'd gone, throughout the day, whenever we came upon a street musician I'd give the kids a buck and say "if you like his music, put this in his flute case / bucket / duffel bag." They did. Here's a cartoon showing sebastian and a trumpet player as it was starting to rain:

The air and space museum was cool, of course. I mean, duh. But my favorite was how small the space stuff is. It's like you're orbiting the earth in a little 2-door hatchback.

Here's a sketch of the metro station we waited in to go back to the hotel:

(Caption: smithsonian metro stn. 5:35 pm.)

We slept the sleep of the even wearier.

Then Sunday morning, what the hell, we figured, why not swing up through Gettysburg on the way home? Meg's always wanted to go there. So we did.

I sketched some guns:

That last one's a Civil War-era Savage Arms Navy Model, and it's huge. It's the size of a dustbuster, I'm not kidding you. Can somebody confirm for me that its second trigger, the lower one with the ring, is for advancing the cylinder?

We drove home and those few of us who'd survived the rigors of the trip died on our own back porch, trying to lug our luggage up the steps.

The end.

1. On 2006-03-29, Larry Lade said:

Am I the only one who notices that Vincent is significantly better at drawing guns than anything else?

Naked mole rats? Weren't those the things in Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control?


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This makes...
VB go "hmph."
AJF go "I'm good for the panda (deft) and metro (seems very imposing)"
DY go "The Metro one is just right."
JCL go "I agree about the metro"*
lpl go "Mind you..."*

*click in for more

2. On 2006-03-29, Valamir said:

Vincent asked: "Can somebody confirm for me that its second trigger, the lower one with the ring, is for advancing the cylinder?"

Even better.  The ring also cocked the hammer.  It also fixed a common problem many early revolvers had with the seal between the cylinder chamber and the barrel, which could lead to very dangerous misfires where all of the charges in the cylinder would go off simultaneously.  It was not uncommon to plug the back of the cylinder with a little grease as a safty precaution.

This was because you couldn't have too tight of a fit between the cylinder and the barrel in order for the cylinder to rotate.

What the savage did was have the barrel project into the cylinder bay so that the cylinder chamber actually overlapped the barrel for a tight fit.  Of course the cylinder couldn't rotate like this, so the ring trigger actually pulled the cylinder back away from the projecting barrel before rotating it and then pushing it back forward again.

I imagine it didn't catch on because running all of those mechanisms with a simple trigger and spring action must have required some pretty powerful fingers.

Fun fact:  the gun cost about $20 in period money.

Yeah...I played ALOT of Deadlands...and Boothill, old and new editions...

Ruth bought me a fully functional 1835 Colt Navy for my birthday one year (nickle plated and fully engraved...its so sweet...and so much prettier than the ugly modern looking Peacemaker).


3. On 2006-03-30, Jason M said:

Hey, I statted up Oetzi the ice man for GURPS Low Tech!  He rules!

Vincent, are you hot for wartime ephemera - ration books, ID cards, stuff like that?  Because a mess of it lurks in digital form out there.  Just let me know.


4. On 2006-03-30, Dave said:

Glad you enjoyed our fair city. Sorry it killed everyone...


5. On 2006-03-30, James Nostack said:

As someone who's visited DC many, many, many times, that's a really good account.  And yes, panda bears are perhaps the most boring creatures I've ever seen.  I think the Zoo should give 'em cocaine, and then see what happens - at the very least, it might increase their libido.  Also, "Come see the coke-snorting pandas!" has a nice ring to it.

And yeah, the walk from the Washington to the Lincoln would be a nuisance with a bunch of kids.

(activate rant mode) The Air and Space museum makes me angry!  They're still running exhibits about life on other planets.  After falling for this hook, line & sinker as a child, I now feel very disillusioned and hostile to NASA for lying to kids about the chances of "first contact", interstellar travel, and moon-bases in my lifetime.  When the only goodwill NASA can get is from children they've lied to, it's a bad sign.  (I'm not anti-science, anti-space, or anti-alien.  I'm just anti-this.)  (deactivate rant mode)

You know what else is funny in DC?  The National Grungy Basement Aquarium!  It's like 12 fish tanks in the sub-basement of some office building, and it's our national aquarium.  They do have some weird fish I call Suction Cup Head (a/k/a Mooch-a-saurus) who attaches to sharks, and then eats their leftovers.

Just thought I'd share.


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This makes...
lpl go "We call this one 'Marion Barry.'"
JZ go "You think pandas are boring, you should see koalas."

6. On 2006-03-30, Sydney Freedberg said:

It was very excellent to meet you all in person.

Please note that DC is highly non-lethal if you use our excellent public transportation! Discounted family passes available! Innovative combination of time-tested "wheel and axle" system with electrically powered "third rail" permits multiple-mile travel with a fraction of the muscule effort of walking, yet without need for braces of oxen! Get yours today!

Also, no worries about failing to do Deep Game Think. I'm already a fan of Vincent the Plainspoken, Yet Eloquent Theorist. What was great was the chance to encounter Vincent the Really Nice Human Being.


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This reminds...
SF of Excellent Public Transportation!

This makes...
AD go "Yeah, but..."*

*click in for more

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