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“…because nobody likes roasted nuts!”

July 6, 2011, 11:02 PM

Oh, did I have a great Fourth of July! As a federal holiday, my office was closed, and so I had the day off. Now for Fourth of July in DC, when you consider that (A) I’m local, and (B) I think the security theater around the Mall is a joke, I don’t normally do the Fourth of July in DC proper unless I have a really good reason.

This year, I had a very good reason to head into DC for Fourth of July. I’ve discussed the YouTube show Is It A Good Idea To Microwave This? before, and they had scheduled a stop in Washington DC on their road trip down the east coast from Boston to Miami. The DC stop was on July 4 at the Washington Monument. And considering I’ve been watching Jory Caron, Jonathan Paula, and Riley McIlwain microwave stuff since March 2008 (the “Sandra” era!), I was not going to pass up the opportunity to meet the folks I’ve gotten to know via YouTube for years. The designated meetup place was on the west side of the Washington Monument at 1 PM, and I was going to be there in plenty of time. Metro from Glenmont to Farragut North, hoof it up the street escalator which was, naturally, stopped (good thing I’m in better shape now!), and then to the Washington Monument on foot from there.

It was smooth sailing for the most part, going past the White House (without stopping), and down 15th Street to Constitution Avenue. There, I was met with a wall of people watching a parade. I was a bit annoyed, as I figured that Jory, Jon, and Riley were already there and that now I was going to be late, despite my best work in getting an early start and such. But I shouldn’t have worried. As I was trying to find someone who looked official to ask about where I could cross the street, I spotted Jon, and with him Jory and Riley. I said hello and identified myself as a fan, and I ended up helping them get to the Monument. We ended up finding a place to cross Constitution Avenue at 16th Street and then backtrack over to almost 15th again where the checkpoint was.

At the security checkpoint, I saw exactly what a joke the security screening really was, and why I called it “security theater” earlier. So the man asked me to open my bag. I opened the main compartment. The man looked at my cameras (Duckie and the Canon), and then waved me through. My camera bag has five different compartments on it: two on the sides, one on the front, one in the top, and the main compartment. He looked in one. He didn’t even ask about the top compartment, which was very obviously weighted (because that’s where I keep the batteries). If you’re going to only look in one compartment, you’ve defeated your own “security” system. It’s a common thread with when I have criticized Metro screenings in the past. In the case of Metro, if you’re not screening everyone, you might as well just go home. In this case, if you’re screening everyone but doing a laughably poor job at it, you might as well just go home again. I saw them screen Jory as well, and his screening was equally thorough (and by that, I mean not thorough at all). Your tax dollars at work.

Once we got through security, we encountered a few people handing out free t-shirts about the Trust for the National Mall. I got a picture of the guys holding up their newfound shirts:

Jon, Jory, and Riley hold up their new shirts

That also led to a brief discussion about how the National Mall is currently in some pretty rough shape.

Then we got to the National Mall. For a little while, it was just me and the guys. We talked for a bit, and everyone also did some video blogging. Jory even got me on camera, which I was excited about. I’ll let you know if any video of me goes up. I also got photos of them doing some of their video blogging:

Riley films himself and Jory.
Riley films himself and Jory.

Jon films himself.
Jon films himself.

Later, two women showed up, as well as another man. One of the women was BlinkyRose from YouTube. Turns out that BlinkyRose is as “into” the series as I am, as we were pulling quotes from the show, and knew a lot of microwaves. Turns out that we were possibly even more on top of the list of microwaves than Jory was. They were also kind of amused that I jokingly refer to one of the microwaves at work as “Helga”, because it’s a Sharp Carousel microwave that looks much like Helga did. On the same note of Helga, I also got to tell them about how the episode where Helga was destroyed, the first fireworks episode, has special meaning to me, because I was going through a difficult time when that episode was released due to a significant amount of car trouble that I was having at the time. BlinkyRose also had a special memory associated with the same episode, interestingly enough.

And we also got plenty of photos:

Jon and Jory sit on the grass.
Jon and Jory sit on the grass.

From left to right, you have me, Jory, Jon, and Riley in front of the Washington Monument.
From left to right, you have me, Jory, Jon, and Riley in front of the Washington Monument.

Jon signs an autograph, using Riley's shoulder as a surface to put the paper on.
Jon signs an autograph, using Riley’s shoulder as a surface to put the paper on.

Riley, Jory, and Jon pose for the camera.
Riley, Jory, and Jon pose for the camera.

Jory talks to two kids carrying empty boxes that previously contained National Mall shirts. They recognized Jory from YouTube as well.
Jory talks to two kids carrying empty boxes that previously contained National Mall shirts. They recognized Jory from YouTube as well.

Jory sits on the grass in front of the Washington Monument.
Jory sits on the grass in front of the Washington Monument.

Jon, Jory, and Riley pose in front of the Washington Monument. I don't know why Jory is making that face...
Jon, Jory, and Riley pose in front of the Washington Monument. I don’t know why Jory is making that face…

Group photo! Left to right, you have Riley, Yasmin, me, Jory, BlinkyRose, Jon, and the other gentleman whose name I didn't get. I got another person nearby to take the photo of all of us, and after the photo, I looked at it to see how it looked, and, pleased with the results, said, imitating Jory from the opening sequence, "IT SMELLS LIKE VICTORY!" For that matter, Jon was also impressed when I did the, "What are you doing, PUT THAT OUT!" line.
Group photo! Left to right, you have Riley, Yasmin, me, Jory, BlinkyRose, Jon, and the other gentleman whose name I didn’t get. I got another person nearby to take the photo of all of us, and after the photo, I looked at it to see how it looked, and, pleased with the results, said, imitating Jory from the opening sequence, “IT SMELLS LIKE VICTORY!” For that matter, Jon was also impressed when I did the, “What are you doing, PUT THAT OUT!” line.

And then when it was over, we all had our goodbyes, and parted ways – or at least I thought. Turns out that Jory, Jon, and Riley were going the same direction that I was, and so I ended up walking with them almost all the way to the Metro. They had parked in the Reagan Building, and I was going to Federal Triangle station, as I was headed over to Pentagon City Mall for a while.

All in all, it was a great time, and definitely made for a great Fourth of July. Unlike previous times when I have met celebrities (and these guys are definitely celebrities of the YouTube variety), Jory, Jon, and Riley were really great to talk with, and a lot of fun to be around. They really are just like you see on the show in real life, and they are genuinely just really awesome people to be with. Perhaps our paths will cross again one day.

Web site: Is It A Good Idea To Microwave This?

Song: Definitely the microwave show theme...

Quote: And here's one of my favorite episodes, where they microwave a Hannah Montana pen. Considering that this pen's battery exploded, this prompted Riley, when they were about to microwave a lithium polymer battery, to remark when comparing the size of the pen's battery to the lithium battery, "This battery is the size of a turd!"

Categories: YouTube