Since today is Throwback Thursday and tomorrow is Halloween, I’d thought I’d highlight a couple of short Halloween-themed videos I’ve shot in the past.

First up was this video that I shot with this cheap portable digital video camera I had at the time. (I remembered buying it for something like $100 or $125. I had it for a couple of years until it broke.) I remembered driving my then-husband to Baltimore-Washington International Airport because he was about to fly to some conference that was related to his NASA job. By the time I dropped him off it was lunchtime so I decided to stop off at nearby Arundel Mills where they happened to have this pumpkin decorating contest that was done by the employees of some of the stores located inside that mall. The general public was invited to vote for their favorite jack o’lantern. I shot and uploaded this video back in 2009.

The next video was shot at the 2010 Greenbelt Pumpkin Festival in Greenbelt, Maryland. It showed a group of newly-carved pumpkins all gathered together in a group. Like the 2009 Arundel Mills footage, this video was also shot with that same cheap digital video camera I had at the time.

Then there was my footage of that massive “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or The March to Keep Fear Alive” that was held on the Mall in downtown Washington, DC during Halloween weekend in 2010. It was originally organized by comedians Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert on their respective Comedy Central TV shows.

Last, but not least, is the famous Hampden Halloween House, a mixed Halloween-Christmas house whose owner starts to decorate on Halloween and keeps it up until after the Christmas season ends. I shot this footage back in 2012.

Here is the twelfth video in a series of computer animations called The Unicorn With An Attitude that I did back in the 1990’s in an ill-fated attempt to show off my abilities as an artist and a computer whiz in the hopes of either 1) get famous or 2) get a higher paying job than the office administrative work that I was frequently offered.

I created this animation way back in 1996 and I actually uploaded it on various BBS as well as CompuServe. I originally created it as a QuickTime movie using various software for an Apple Macintosh. I have totally remastered it in high definition video using Apple iMovie. As for the music, I used one of YouTube’s royalty-free songs.

This animation lampooned the frequent need to upgrade computer equipment in order to accommodate recent software upgrade. At the time I created this animation, I exaggerated the hardware requirements since most computer experts were concerned with measuring things in megabytes. Now there are hard drives that measure in terabytes.  But this emphasis on planned obsolescence still permeates the high tech industry, with all the financial and environmental headaches it creates, which makes this animation just as relevant in 2014 as it was when I created it back in 1996.

Here’s my original write-up for this animation:

The Unicorn upgrades a computer to the Doors 96 operating system only to encounter all sorts of hardward and software incompatabilities. In case you haven’t guessed, it’s a Microsoft parody!

So, without further ado, here is “The Fine Art of Upgrading.”

As you may have heard, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. While there are times when I cringe at some of the marketing excesses of that month (such as this pink colored fracking drill bit that has raised the ire of both environmentalists and breast cancer activists), I have to admit that having a month like that have helped to reduce any stigmatism surrounding that illness.

I’ve recently read a wonderful well-written article on Pulsefeedz by the son of one of my cousins where he explains what it’s like to take part in the annual Race For the Cure that’s held in Hunt Valley, Maryland and why he did this with his mother, aunts, and younger sister.

He mentioned how he did it on behalf of the grandmother whom he never knew because she died of breast cancer before he was born. I was fortunate to have known his grandmother. She was my aunt and my mother’s older sister.

She was born in Baltimore and she attended Catholic school. When she was in high school she wanted to attend college because she had always dreamed of becoming a teacher. That ambition was permanently derailed when her father (and my grandfather) died while she was still a teenager and he was the main breadwinner of the family. Suddenly unable to afford college, she worked in a department store for a few years until she got married. She ultimately had four daughters. She and her husband moved to New Jersey for a few years but they eventually returned to Maryland and they ultimately settled in Gambrills. After her youngest daughter started school she began to earn extra money babysitting the infants and toddlers of her neighbors in her home during the weekday.

She was very active in her Catholic parish and she loved baking. At one point she even made extra money baking her chocolate swirl cheesecake for Kaufmann’s Tavern stemming from her friendship with the owner’s wife. She made a chocolate swirl cheesecake for the Kaufmann family and they loved that cheesecake so much that they wanted to sell it to their patrons. Until she was diagnosed with breast cancer in the early 1980’s, she would bake two or three chocolate swirl cheesecakes for Kaufmann’s each week for about $5 each and that restaurant charged its patrons around $2-3 per slice. (Kaufmann’s Tavern has since been closed and J. King’s Steak and Seafood Restaurant is now in that location.)

She was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was in her early 40’s. She went through a mastectomy and her cancer was in remission for a few years. But then it came back with a vengeance around the same time that she had become a grandmother for the first time. She met only her first-born grandchild in her lifetime while that grandchild was still an infant.

My aunt was 48 when she died. At the time she had one daughter who had just given birth to her first child the year before and another daughter who was six months pregnant. (Her first born child would arrive three months after my aunt’s death.) A third daughter was making wedding plans while the youngest was still in college.

My aunt ultimately had 10 grandchildren, none of whom she would ever see grow up. It was pretty heartfelt reading my cousin’s son describing how breast cancer had robbed him of the chance to get to know his grandmother first-hand.

Since I’ve written about The Enchanted Forest both yesterday and back in January, I’d thought I’d share something that I’ve owned since I was a child. It’s one of the few things I’ve managed to hold on to from my childhood, which surprised me because my mother used to do these periodic rummaging through personal belongings while looking for items to either trash or give away to charity. I think the fact that it is very small had helped it to survive my mother’s insistence on getting rid of old things on a regular basis.

It is a souvenir postcard set that I got from The Enchanted Forest. Judging from the clothing styles of the people in the photos, I would guess that it was printed sometime between 1960-1970. It was originally folded like an accordion, as you can see in the next photo.

Vintage Enchanted Forest Souvenir Postcard Set

I decided to scan it into a digital format and upload it online. Here is what some of The Enchanted Forest attractions looked like back then and what they look like now.

Here is the front of the souvenir postcard set. As you can guess, you would write the address of the person you would mail this set to and place the stamp on the right side. As for the photo, it shows Old King Cole, who pointed the way to The Enchanted Forest right next to the highway. It also shows the Enchanted Castle, which served as both the entrance to the amusement park and a gift shop. Rapunzel graced the balcony at one of the turrets on the left side of the castle while a lute playing dragon looked at visitors from the rooftop.

Vintage Enchanted Forest Souvenir Postcard Set

Old King Cole is still around at the original site even though the amusement park has been closed down for decades. Today he points to the location of The Enchanted Forest Shopping Center, which is a typical shopping center that has a Safeway, a Petco, and a few other stores.

Enchanted Forest Shopping Center, October 18, 2014

The Enchanted Castle is still there and it’s located right next to the shopping center. The front gate is now permanently locked and shuttered.

Enchanted Forest Shopping Center, October 18, 2014

Rapunzel is long gone but the dragon is still on the castle rooftop playing his lute.

Enchanted Forest Shopping Center, October 18, 2014

Clark’s Elioak Farm is located three miles away from The Enchanted Forest Shopping Center. Many of the former Enchanted Forest attractions have ended up on that farm and the family who owns it opens its farm to the public from April to November. When a person arrives at the farm, he or she will encounter a building that looks similar to the original Enchanted Castle.

Front Entrance to Clark's Elioak Farm

Rapunzel is at this new location and she’s still trapped in one of the castle turrets.

Front Entrance to Clark's Elioak Farm

Clark’s Elioak Farm has its own lute playing dragon who looks over at the visitors entering the farm.

Front Entrance to Clark's Elioak Farm

The next scan shows the back of the vintage souvenir postcard set. The flap allows the sender to write his or her name so the receiver would know who sent that postcard set. The flap tucks neatly into the slot on the back. The back shows a photo of the Merry Miller’s House.

Vintage Enchanted Forest Souvenir Postcard Set

Today the Merry Miller’s House is located at Clark’s Elioak Farm.

The Merry Miller's HouseLooking through the front door, one would see the Merry Miller himself looking as cheerful as ever along with his mouse friends.

The Merry Miller's House

The other side of the back of the postcard set shows another place on the flap where the sender can write his/her name so the receiver would know who sent that postcard set. There is also information about how The Enchanted Forest is a fairy tale-themed amusement park, directions on how to get to The Enchanted Forest, a map showing the park’s location, a schedule of when The Enchanted Forest is opened to the public, and how groups can use The Enchanted Forest for their own outings and birthday parties.

Vintage Enchanted Forest Souvenir Postcard Set

The next scan shows the Crooked Man outside the Crooked House in the foreground and Jack and the Beanstalk in the background.

Vintage Enchanted Forest Souvenir Postcard Set

Here is the Crooked Man and the Crooked House at Clark’s Elioak Farm.

The Crooked Man and The Crooked House

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

The Crooked Man and The Crooked House

Jack and the Beanstalk is also at Clark’s Elioak Farm although it is located further away from the Crooked Man and the Crooked House.

Jack and the Beanstalk

Jack and the Beanstalk

Jack and the Beanstalk

The next scan shows Little Toot sailing through the tunnel opening of Mt. Vesuvius in a large lake.

Vintage Enchanted Forest Souvenir Postcard Set

Little Toot is at Clark’s Elioak Farm but he’s currently docked in a pond that’s way smaller than the lake at The Enchanted Forest. Little Toot is no longer a ride but people can still board him and just sit on the benches.

Little Toot

Little Toot

The original Mt. Vesuvius had a giant slide on the side that kids could go on. Clark’s Elioak Farm has recreated a smaller version of Mt. Vesuvius. This new version is still a slide but it’s now on solid ground.

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

The next scan shows the Mother Goose Ride going past Robin Hood’s Snack Bar in the background.

Vintage Enchanted Forest Souvenir Postcard Set

Mother Goose and her children are at Clark’s Elioak Farm but they are no longer a ride. Mother Goose now serves as a slide.

Easter Bunny's Home and Mother Goose

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Her two children now serve as stationery statues.

Ducklings

Ducklings

As for Robin Hood’s Snack Bar, that structure was originally burned down to the ground by teenaged arsonists in 1990 after they broke in to the shuttered property determined to make some mischief. (The teens were later arrested by the police.) But Robin Hood, who once graced the ceiling of the snack bar, is now on Clark’s Elioak Farm battling an enemy while one of the guards of the Queen of Hearts from Alice and Wonderland seem detached from the action going on behind him.

Robin Hood and a Card Guard

The next scan shows the home from the fairy tale Goldilocks and the Three Bears in its Enchanted Forest days.

Vintage Enchanted Forest Souvenir Postcard Set

The entire large home has been transferred to Clark’s Elioak Farm and completely restored. Here is what it looks like on both the outside and the inside.

Goldilocks and the Three Bears

Goldilocks and the Three Bears

Goldilocks and the Three Bears

Goldilocks and the Three Bears

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Goldilocks and the Three Bears

Goldilocks and the Three Bears

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

The next scan shows the Gingerbread House from the fairy tale Hansel and Gretel. In its day this building was one that parents could rent for their children’s birthday parties.

Vintage Enchanted Forest Souvenir Postcard Set

The Gingerbread House is still in its original location at the former Enchanted Forest amusement park as of this writing. The amusement park has been fenced off with those “NO TRESPASSING” signs. However, if one goes off to the side of The Enchanted Forest Shopping Center and looks close enough through the woods, one can still see the remnants of the original Gingerbread House.

Enchanted Forest Shopping Center, October 18, 2014

The famous ice cream cone-shaped chimney with a portion of the Gingerbread House still peeks through the woods.

Enchanted Forest Shopping Center, October 18, 2014

Clark’s Elioak Farm has constructed a smaller version of the Gingerbread House. Parents can no longer hold birthday parties at this Gingerbread House (although they can hold birthday parties elsewhere on the farm—there are gazebos and picnic tables that one can reserve for such occasions) but Hansel and Gretel are still there and the witch is still imprisoned behind candy cane bars.

Hansel and Gretel

Hansel and Gretel

Hansel and Gretel

Hansel and Gretel

Hansel and Gretel

The centerpiece of the original Gingerbread House was this giant birthday cake that was on a round table where kids celebrating a birthday party can sit around and eat their refreshments. This large birthday cake can now be found in a gazebo at Clark’s Elioak Farm near the present location of the Three Bears’ home.

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

The next scan shows the Antique Car Ride. I had fond memories of actually driving in those cars even though they didn’t go very fast and the high rails prevented any child from driving to the other side of the park.

Vintage Enchanted Forest Souvenir Postcard Set

The Antique Car Ride is one attraction that didn’t make the transfer to Clark’s Elioak Farm. While there are hay rides on the property, there’s nothing that the children can drive themselves.

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

The next scan shows the Safari Ride through Jungleland.

Vintage Enchanted Forest Souvenir Postcard Set

Jungleland is another attraction that didn’t transfer to Clark’s Elioak Farm. The closest the farm has to the old Jungleland is this dinosaur family (which were not part of the original Enchanted Forest).

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

The next scan shows the home from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Vintage Enchanted Forest Souvenir Postcard Set

The home didn’t make the transfer to Clark’s Elioak Farm but Snow White and the dwarfs’ beds are located in a building that she shares with scenes from Sleeping Beauty and Robin Hood.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

As for the dwarfs, they are elsewhere on the farm. They can be seen at this mining attraction, which is pretty fitting considering that in the Disney version, the dwarfs are gem miners.

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

The Seven Dwarfs

The Seven Dwarfs

The Seven Dwarfs

The Seven Dwarfs

The Seven Dwarfs

The next scan shows Little Red Riding Hood’s Grandma’s house.

Vintage Enchanted Forest Souvenir Postcard Set

This structure didn’t make it to Clark’s Elioak Farm but a smaller version of Grandma’s house is there for children to see Little Red Riding Hood seeming suspicious that someone is impersonating Grandma.

Little Red Riding Hood

Little Red Riding Hood

Little Red Riding Hood

The next scan shows the giant shoe from the nursery rhyme The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe. This shoe was originally a slide where children can enter from the back heel then slide down through the sole of the shoe.

Vintage Enchanted Forest Souvenir Postcard Set

The entire structure was transferred to Clark’s Elioak Farm.

The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe

Children can now continue to enter the shoe through the back heel and slide through the front sole while some of the Old Woman’s many children look on.

Last but not least is this scan of the Teacup Ride that was based on Alice in Wonderland.

Vintage Enchanted Forest Souvenir Postcard Set

The Teacup Ride is now at Clark’s Elioak Farm but it is now permanently grounded and parts of the old ride is located throughout the farm. These days people can just sit on the benches in the former ride.

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Alice in Wonderland Teacups

Alice in Wonderland Teacups

Alice in Wonderland Teacups

I hope you enjoyed the then and now comparisons between The Enchanted Forest vintage postcard set and the same Enchanted Forest attractions currently on display at Clark’s Elioak Farm. To see more photos of other Enchanted Forest attractions that weren’t featured in the original vintage postcard set, see the entries I wrote yesterday and back in January.

I made a return trip to Clark’s Elioak Farm this year, which is notable for being a farm that has many of the old attractions from the former Enchanted Forest amusement park, which closed years ago. For this trip I added an excursion to the site of the original Enchanted Forest park.

I’ve already written extensively about the history of The Enchanted Forest before so I won’t go into too many details here other than to say that it originally opened at a location that now houses The Enchanted Forest Shopping Center.

Old King Cole originally pointed the way to the amusement park and he continues to point the way to the shopping center.

Enchanted Forest Shopping Center, October 18, 2014

The castle, which not only housed a gift shop but also provided the main entrance to the park, is still there.

Enchanted Forest Shopping Center, October 18, 2014

The lute playing dragon still remains at the top of the castle waiting to see visitors.

Enchanted Forest Shopping Center, October 18, 2014

Here’s the front entrance to both the castle gift shop and the park itself, which is now permanently shuttered and locked.

Enchanted Forest Shopping Center, October 18, 2014

If you walk off to the side of the shopping center, you’ll see a wooded area surrounded by a fence with “NO TRESPASSING” signs. In some places there is additional heavy rope to discourage people from even coming up to the fence. If you look in the background of the photo really close, you’ll see the old Gingerbread House.

Enchanted Forest Shopping Center, October 18, 2014

Here’s a very close-up shot of the Gingerbread House. Even though the official name was Hansel and Gretel’s House, many kids dubbed it the Gingerbread House because of the fact that it looked like, well, a gingerbread house. That building was one where parents could rent for an hour so they could hold birthday parties for their children. I’ve always wanted to have my birthday party in the Gingerbread House but I never had one mainly because my birthday is in December, when The Enchanted Forest was closed for the season. (The amusement park was only opened six months a year.) Nowadays no child can have a birthday party in the Gingerbread House and that structure looks like a shadow of its former self.

Enchanted Forest Shopping Center, October 18, 2014

As for the rest of the shopping center, it’s a typical suburban shopping center. Without Old King Cole and the castle, it would be pretty indistinguishable. I shot this video a five years ago showing the jarring juxtaposition between the site’s origins as a fairy tale theme park and its current incarnation as a shopping center.

And here’s an old Super-8 movie of The Enchanted Forest when it was still operating that someone uploaded on YouTube. The colors in the film are faded and it’s mostly a silent film but it gives you an idea as to what The Enchanted Forest was like.

I ate lunch at the bagel place in that shopping center (BTW the food is pretty good) then I drove three miles to the place where many of the old attractions from The Enchanted Forest are currently displayed, Clark’s Elioak Farm.

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

I had taken extensive photos of the place last year so I’m just going to focus on some things that I haven’t photographed before, like this display of pumpkins that the farm is currently selling.

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

One of the teacups from the old Alice in Wonderland Teacup Ride is now permanently stationery as a funky chair among the other plainer wooden chairs.

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Here’s are a few landscape shots of the old Enchanted Forest attractions that sit side-by-side with the farming fields. (Yes, Clark’s Elioak Farm is a working farm.)

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

The one new thing I noticed is the addition of a dinosaur family. I don’t recall seeing any dinosaurs at the old Enchanted Forest. Maybe it’s something new that was put up because dinosaurs remain a perennial favorite among children. This attraction was among the more crowded ones as children clamored for their parents to take their pictures in that area.

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Here is one of the trucks used for the hayride. I didn’t go on it because the lines to buy tickets were so long and that ride was frequently packed with people.

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Here is the birthday cake which used to be the centerpiece inside the old Gingerbread House (as I wrote earlier, that building was the ones that parents could rent for birthday parties).

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Baby Bear peeks out the window of the Three Bears’ Home while Goldilocks looks terrified.

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

A framed portrait of the Three Bears inside their home.

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

The ceiling of the Three Bears’ Home provides an interesting picture.

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

A line of gingerbread men.

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Another new thing I noticed this year is the re-creation of the old Mt. Vesuvius attraction at The Enchanted Forest. Mt. Vesuvius was a giant manmade mountain over a giant lake where the Little Toot boat ride used to ride through an opening in the mountain. There was a giant sliding board on the side of that mountain. While Clark’s Elioak Farm’s version of Mt. Vesuvius is way smaller than the original, it is still a sliding board and the kids seemed to enjoy going on it.

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

There was a hay maze added that the kids seemed to enjoy.

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Another addition was that some of the trees on the farm now have faces on them.

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Here’s a really cool artsy shot of the Crooked House.

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Here’s another artsy shot of the Easter Bunny’s Home and Mother Goose. I especially loved the clouds in this picture.

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Here’s a painted map of the old Enchanted Forest.

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

The biggest addition is this mining attraction where people can either mine for gems or do some geode cracking. (There are separate fees for each option.) This attraction is only in operation on the weekends. The seven dwarfs from the Snow White story are at this attraction, which is fitting since they were depicted in the Disney movie as being miners.

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

I also had some more fun with that new Mikuture smartphone app where I managed to insert a few photos of international pop superstar Hatsume Miku having fun on the farm. Here’s Miku rolling down the hill alongside Jack and Jill.

Jack and Jill and Hatsume Miku at Clark's Elioak Farm in Ellicott City, Maryland.

Here she is sitting on a mushroom.

International pop superstar Hatsume Miku sits on a mushroom at Clark's Elioak Farm in Ellicott City, Maryland.

Hatsune Miku is risking being swallowed alive by Willie the Whale.

International pop superstar Hatsume Miku gets eaten by Willie the Whale at Clark's Elioak Farm in Ellicott City, Maryland.

Last, but not least, she’s sitting in front of the Crooked Man.

International pop superstar Hatsume Miku and the Crooked Man at Clark's Elioak Farm in Ellicott City, Maryland.

Here are the animals on the farm.

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

The last photo shows the two bars of handcrafted soaps that I bought at Clark’s Elioak Farm. I’m keeping one bar for myself and give the other to my mother since her birthday is this month.

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Like I wrote earlier in this post, I had taken extensive photos of Clark’s Elioak Farm last year so if you want to see those, click here.

For years there has been this huge fascination with zombies, especially with the current hit TV show The Walking Dead. Just do a search using the term “zombie” on either iTunes Store or Google Play will turn up all kinds of zombie games like Zombie Highway, Plants vs. Zombies, Zombie Life, Office Zombie, Zombie Road Trip, Zombie Duck Hunt, Contract Killer: Zombies, Zombie Pizza, My Pet Zombie, Zombie High Dive, Zombie Football League, Zombie Fish Tank, Unicorn Zombie Apocalypse, Zombie Roadkill 3D, Zombie Road Racing, Zombie City, Zombie World War, and Baseball vs. Zombies. And those games are just the tip of the iceberg. One could easily have an iPhone or Droid filled with nothing but zombie games and he or she still wouldn’t have enough disk space to get every single zombie game that is currently out there.

I was at CVS the other night when I saw this product on the store shelves, which arrived just in time for Halloween.

Chia Zombie

Seriously you can now grow living chia plants on something that resembles something dead. This is way too much. LOL!

I found this awesome free tutorial on how to draw a perfect circle without using circle stencils or templates. What’s more this video shows how you can draw perfect freehand circles in various sizes.

If you’re someone who is looking for an ideal Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa present for the doll lover in your life but you’re low on cash, I found something that you could make very cheaply.  Not too long ago I came across a free tutorial on how to make a boat for your favorite dolls. It’s designed to actually float on water. The boat was originally made for 18-inch American Girl dolls but this design could easily be modified to accommodate dolls that are either bigger (such as Super Dollfie) or smaller (such as Barbie or even dollhouse-sized dolls).

The first link shows the instructions on how to make this boat while the second link shows photos of the boat actually floating on a lake while it didn’t take on any water.

On October 13 I decided to attend Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School at The Wind Up Space in Baltimore for the first time since August. (I skipped last month mainly because I had traveled to Baltimore so many times between July and August that I just wanted to take a break from going north for a while.) On the way to Dr. Sketchy’s I made a brief stop outside the one-time home of famous sideshow performer and artist Johnny Eck (which I wrote about in a separate entry) then I continued to the Station North Arts District.

Every time I arrive in the area, it seems like I always see new wall murals that I haven’t noticed before. Here are a few wall murals that I noticed on this trip.

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I also noticed this billboard that has this new hand painted message: “WHO IS LAND BANKING?” I had to do a Wikipedia search in order to get a general idea as to what is land banking. It sounds like something that Baltimore City is trying in order to reduce the amount of boarded up buildings in the area by seizing them and either rehabilitate them or, if they are so decrepit that they are beyond rehabilitating, tear them down. Given the number of boarded up buildings I’ve seen during this trip and on previous trips, the city government definitely has their work cut out for them.

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Dangling from the traffic light poles is this wire sculpture that’s obviously based on Smyth Jewelers’ billboard ad where Mr. Natty Boh offers a diamond ring to the Little Utz Girl.

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There’s even a cute YouTube clip that’s also part of that same Smyth Jewelers’ ad campaign.

Plus there’s also an actual wedding between the two corporate icons that’s pretty hilarious with all the puns.

I ate dinner at Joe’s Squared Pizza then I headed over to The Wind Up Space. Despite the gloomy and rainy weather, I kept my spirits up the whole evening.

When I first arrived, I decided to play around some more with that new Hatsune Miku photography app that I recently installed on my smartphone until the event started. I also took a few other photos during model breaks. I have to admit that the results were pretty silly.

International Pop Superstar Hatsune Miku arrives at The Wind Up Space just in time for Dr. Sketchy's Anti-Art School.

International pop superstar Hatsume Miku rests on a pinball machine at The Wind Up Space in Baltimore during a break from Dr. Sketchy's Anti-Art School.

International pop superstar Hatsume Miku sits at The Wind Up Space bar during a break from Dr. Sketchy's Anti-Art School in Baltimore.

International Pop Superstar Hatsune Miku has clearly had too much too drink at The Wind Up Space in Baltimore.

When Dr. Sketchy’s began, I took out my sketchbook and colored pencils and spent the bulk of the evening drawing. The model for this event was a burlesque performer named Deanna Danger and many of the drawings in this post are definitely NSFW.

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I took part in two of the contests that were held that evening. The first one was to somehow incorporate a cup of coffee in the drawing. The prize was a pound of Turtle Creek Coffee that sounded pretty special. I had originally planned on giving it to my mother since her birthday is this month and she loves coffee. Sadly, I didn’t even make it to the finals.

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The second and final contest that I took part in was a different story. Since Halloween was coming soon, the contest was to somehow incorporate Ghostbusters in the drawing. So I drew Slimer the green ghost and the infamous Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. My drawing was selected to be among the finalists, which I was excited because they were going to choose two winners and one would get art supplies (including watercolors, wax soluble pastels, and colored pencils among the goodies) while the other would get a gift certificate from the Dick Blick art supply store in Baltimore. I would’ve loved to have won either prize. Sadly I didn’t win this time. Oh well.

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I did one more drawing of Deanna Danger before the event ended for the evening.

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The biggest downer was that fog had descended over the area so I had to deal with driving home late at night through patches of heavy fog. Ugh!

I was pretty happy when I came across this article with this headline: Urban Outfitters Shares Are Crashing—Here Are The Biggest Problems With The Brand.

It couldn’t have happened to a nicer chain store. </sarcasm> I’ll admit that I don’t shop at Urban Outfitters because that chain is on my personal list of stores I’d love to see go out of business. Why all the hate? Here are my reasons:

1. They have a history of ripping off the designs of independent artists without credit or compensation. Here’s are a few examples:

http://cutpasterepeat.blogspot.com/2014/09/urban-outfitters-steals-again.html

http://glam-trash.tumblr.com/post/65124842231/by-popular-request-i-removed-this-first-line-but

http://www.dailydot.com/business/urban-outfitters-steal-artists-work/

2. They have a history of selling outrageous and controversial items not because they want to promote a message or take a courageous stand on a controversial issue but because they are simply a bunch of attention whores that have no compunction with selling crap like a t-shirt that has a star placed over the shirt’s left breast that looks similar to the Star of David patches that Jews throughout the Nazi-occupied areas of Europe had to wear during World War II.

3. But their douche behavior doesn’t end there. This next link has a laundry list of the crap that Urban Outfitters have pulled in an effort to get free publicity and encourage people to buy their overpriced crap (the majority of which are made in Third World countries for very cheap prices).

http://theweek.com/article/index/220370/racist-navajo-attire-and-7-other-urban-outfitters-controversies

As for Urban Outfitters, I’ll buy something from them only if and when they have a “Going Out of Business” sale.

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