Last week I spent more time in Silver Spring than I originally planned. Last Monday (August 25) was my regular therapy appointment so I decided to use the opportunity to check out another place that was mentioned on the Roadside America website. Outside of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration building is this interesting statue.

photo1

Rising out of a bed of flowers…

photo2

…a giant hand releases four birds.

photo3

photo4

It was a pretty nice statue to visit once. I basically spent five minutes just taking pictures before I went back to my car and drove to my therapist’s office for my appointment.

A day later (August 26) I was going grocery shopping when I pulled into the parking lot outside the Safeway and I made a rude discovery. I tried to turn the ignition to turn the engine off and the ignition refused to turn. Seriously my 2007 Saturn Ion was stuck in the “on” position no matter how hard I tried to turn the ignition. In desperation I hit the OnStar button and I was advised to take it to the dealer immediately. So I ended up driving it to Sport Chevrolet in Silver Spring. Since I had brought the car very late in the day I missed the last van that I could’ve taken to drive back home so I ended up having to use public transportation (both Metrobus and Metrorail) back to my home, which was a two-hour drive.

Sport Chevrolet quickly diagnosed what happened and I got a new ignition. The good news was that there was a recall on the ignition so I didn’t have to pay for anything. Cool! :-) I ended up taking public transportation in order to pick up my car. In the process I took some more photos of some of Silver Spring’s hidden gems.

The next two photos are of the controversial Paul S. Sarbanes Silver Spring Transit Center, which is two years behind schedule, tens of millions of dollars over budget, and is already in need of extensive repairs even though it has yet to open to the public.

photo5

photo6

Located near the Metrobus stops in Silver Spring is the Discovery Communications building, which is quite a fixture in downtown Silver Spring.

photo7

photo8

Located in the shadows of the Discovery Communications building is this garden that Discovery has opened to the general public called the Discovery Sensory Garden.

photo9

It’s a nicely landscaped garden and I can imagine people eating bag lunches outdoors on a pleasant sunny day.

photo10

photo11

The one interesting thing about this garden is located along the fence, where you can see some steel sculptures along the fence that resembles a dinosaur and a flying vehicle. (I couldn’t tell if it was an airplane or the space shuttle.)

photo12

photo13

I eventually arrived at Sport Chevrolet to pick up my car, where I saw this interesting looking stool.

photo14

I made my last trip to Silver Spring last Thursday (August 28) where I picked up my car. I was pretty stressed by this sudden car drama.

American Flag

One of my online friends, whom I’ve met in person only once a few years ago then my then-husband and I visited his hometown of Montreal, has just released a music video on YouTube where he not only composed and performed the song but he also shot the video as well. (Yes, he shot that video on location in Montreal. I especially remembered its transit system and the streets there.) Enjoy!

American Flag

It’s another Labor Day, folks! While you’re busy celebrating the end of summer, why not take a few moments to remember those working folks who made sacrifices so people can have the privilege of working 40 hours a week with weekends off and parents aren’t forced to make their children start working in factories once they reach five or six.

I’m sorry for the very late notice but I’ve been busy with a lot of other things. I’m entering a handcrafted crocheted item to the Retro Town Fair that’s being held as part of the annual Greenbelt Labor Day Festival tomorrow from 3-6 p.m. in Greenbelt, Maryland. What’s more, you’ll have the chance to vote for it if my handcrafted item has really touched you enough.

I don’t have any photos yet of my piece because I’m still putting the finishing touches on it as I’m typing this.

For more information about the Retro Town Fair itself, click here. For information about the entire festival, click here.

One of my Facebook friends have posted a link to this article about a recent change in Etsy’s policy regarding the selling of items on its site. It used to be that everything had to be handmade. But now here is the new policy.

For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, CEO Chad Dickerson announced that Etsy sellers could use outside manufacturers to produce their designs. In other words, items sold on Etsy no longer had to be handmade.

The change in this policy has consequences for Etsy customers who are devoted to buying handmade and supporting small artisans.

I had a specific brown, repurposed leather, wrap-watch in mind. I knew the one I wanted was handmade by a seller in Ohio, but I didn’t know his name. Typing in a simple search for “wrap watch” into Etsy, I proceeded to spend nearly an hour sifting through 50+ pages of three-dollar “wrap watches” from China.

And then there are the independent small-scale Etsy sellers.

Aside from the issue that independent designers are now competing with full-scale production operations, there is the issue of sheer volume — Etsy now has over 1 million shops. When a seller is competing in a sea of 999,999 other shops, the odds aren’t good.

Now that Etsy shoppers have the option of buying from middlemen selling three dollar watches, finding that handmade wrap watch you’re looking for will undoubtedly be more difficult. From the seller’s perspective, no matter how many times they change their “tags,” SEO or refresh their storefront, the traffic just isn’t going to come like it used to.

So what actually happened?

In the fall of 2013, Etsy shifted their loyalty from the maker to the shareholder as it made plans to further scale its business model. How did this change things?

Because Etsy’s policy changes happened at the maker’s expense, many of the people who were once making a living off of their shops are now seeing a fraction of the sales. The difference between Etsy, and let’s say, Wal-Mart just got a whole lot smaller. At the core, Etsy changed its mission. No longer is it a website for makers of one-of-a-kind, original goods. Instead, it has become yet another website for the mass-produced and cheaply made goods that satisfy our insatiable culture of mindless consumption.

In other words, the days when an independent artisan could make a comfortable living from Etsy are winding down drastically. It’s a shame that it had to come to this. If I wanted to shop for cheap stuff mass-produced in a Third World sweatshop, I’ll shop online at Oriental Trading or get in my car and drive to the nearest Walmart.

It’s so ironic that Etsy had to weather such things as the now-defunct Regretsy site and its successor, Missing Regretsy, only to literally commit the online equivalent of shooting itself in the foot with allowing the sale of mass produced items on its site.

Fortunately for artists, artisans, and crafters, Etsy isn’t the only game in town. Here’s another article that you may want to take a look at. (I know I intend to do so.)

10 Etsy Alternatives for Crafty Entrepreneurs

Yesterday I put on the last of the Star Wars temporary tattoos that I got for free the day I attended a Bowie Baysox game on Star Wars day a couple of months ago. Without further ado, here it is.

IMG_20140828_140353950

Since this weekend is Labor Day Weekend, I’d thought that it was the perfect time to wear the last temporary tattoo I had. After all, it’s only a matter of time before the weather gets so cool that I have to start wearing long-sleeved shirts so I would have even less skin showing where I could display a temporary tattoo.

For those who missed my previous entries documenting my Star Wars temporary tattoos, here are the photos.

IMG_20140623_124109408

IMG_20140703_123904421

IMG_20140731_152753555

Benjamin Franklin

Clearly spoken, Mr. Fogg! You explain English by Greek.

For the past few Throwback Thursdays I’ve been reviewing a series of books put out by American Girl (yes, that’s the doll company) about a girl growing up in the 1970’s named Julie Albright. Since I was a young girl back in the 1970’s, I thought it would be fun to compare the books to my own memories of growing up in the 1970’s. I also figured that it could provide an idea for some light summer reading.

Earlier this summer I started with all the books in the original Central Series then moved on to the Best Friend Book. I’m currently on the Julie Mystery books.

Lost in the City, originally published in 2013, is the last of the Julie Mysteries that have been published so far. Only American Girl knows whether there will be any new Julie Mysteries scheduled to be published in the future or if Lost in the City is the Julie Mysteries’ swan song—and that company is not talking. (And, no, I’m not about to engage in any speculations or rumors either. This is NOT Living a Doll’s Life.)

The book was written by Kathleen O’Dell, who has written a variety of short stories for American Girl Magazine as well as other children’s books like the Agnes Parker series. The illustrations for this book were done by Sergio Giovine, who has illustrated a number of other book covers for a variety of publishers (in addition to American Girl).

All of the Julie Mysteries follow the events in both the Central Series and the Best Friend book. Lost in the City is the fourth Julie Mystery and it follows the events in The Tangled Web, The Puzzle of the Paper Daughter, and The Silver Guitar

The one thing to keep in mind about the Julie books is that they were written for a target audience of girls between the ages 8-12. As a result there won’t be an in-depth look at certain controversial issues of the day.

The moment when Julie discovers that her pet sitting gig has suddenly gone horribly wrong.

The moment when Julie discovers that her pet sitting gig has suddenly gone horribly wrong.

Synopsis: Julie Albright is a 10-year-old white girl with long blonde hair and brown eyes growing up in 1977 San Francisco. Her parents are divorced so she spends most of her time living with her mother, who operates her store full of handcrafted items (some of which are made from repurposed and recycled clothes) called Gladrags, and her 17-year-old sister, Tracy, in a small apartment that’s located above her mother’s store. On most weekends she stays with her father, a commercial airline pilot, in the same home that the entire family lived in before the divorce.

During her visits with her father, she gets a chance to spend some quality time with her pet brown rabbit, Nutmeg (who can’t live with her because her mother’s apartment complex doesn’t allow pets), and play with her best friend who lives across the street, Ivy Ling. Nutmeg was generally written in previous books as living in Julie’s father’s home while Ivy comes over to care for the rabbit whenever Julie’s father is on one of his long plane flights. Except page 63 of the second Julie Mystery book, The Puzzle of the Paper Daughter, had described Nutmeg as now living with Ivy in her home. But in Lost in the City, Nutmeg is described as currently living with Julie’s father once again. This book doesn’t mention that Nutmeg had ever lived with the Lings or why the bunny is back with Julie’s father after living with Ivy but what comes next may explain why Nutmeg’s time as a member of the Ling household was relatively short.

The book begins with Julie happily riding in her father’s car while Dad is driving. The San Francisco public schools have closed for spring break week and her father managed to arrange his work schedule so he wouldn’t have to go on any long distance flights, which means that Julie can spend the entire week with him. On top of it, her sister Tracy has decided to spend her spring break with her friends from her high school so Julie has her father all to herself (and the reader is spared from Tracy’s frequent moping and complaining). Even though the month isn’t mentioned, The American Girl Wiki managed to pinpoint when the story takes place by doing some sleuthing. The beginning of the book mentions that Julie’s current favorite song, “Dancing Queen,” has just made number one of the pop charts while that song went to the Number 1 position on Billboard’s Hot 100 on April 9, 1977 in the United States. It sounds about right for the story to take place in April, 1977 because the last book took place in the previous month. On top of it, many schools, colleges, and universities tend to close down for spring break somewhere between mid-March to mid-April (usually to coincide with Easter and Passover).

Normally Julie would be spending time with Ivy Ling as well since she lives across the street from Julie’s father’s home. However, Ivy is going to be in Long Beach to attend her Uncle Lee’s wedding during most of Julie’s time at her father’s place. But she invites Julie to come to her home the day before she has to leave to check out a new addition to the Ling household—an African Grey parrot named Lucy. The bird had belonged to Uncle Lee but he had to give her away to the Lings because his fiancée, Hannah, refuses to live with the parrot because she feels that Lucy is too noisy. So Lucy’s cage is located in the bedroom that belongs to Ivy’s brother, Andrew, while the door is closed to keep out the Lings’ two cats, Jasmine and Wonton.

Minutes after Julie and her father arrive at his home, Julie gets a phone call from Ivy inviting her over to the Ling place so she can see Lucy in person. As Julie walks across the street, she runs into a boy named Gordon Marino, who’s a former classmate at the school Julie used to attend with Ivy before her parents’ divorce. She invites Gordon to come with her as she goes to Ivy’s house to meet Lucy. When they arrive at Ivy’s place, the three of them go to Andrew’s bedroom where Lucy and Uncle Lee are located. Lucy talks and does a variety of tricks that wows Julie and Gordon. Lucy seems especially friendly towards Julie, which impresses Uncle Lee because the bird is usually shy around strangers.

When Julie’s dinnertime curfew arrives, Gordon also leaves with her. Gordon tells Julie that he has just moved into a house that’s located just down the street from her father’s place and has invited her to come over whenever she gets bored. He starts to walk towards his home and Julie notices that Gordon seems more glum these days than when she used to be in his class and he was known as the class clown.

As Julie prepares to cross the street, Ivy catches up with Julie to give her this news: Uncle Lee was so impressed with the way that Lucy had taken to Julie that he wants to cancel the pet sitter he lined up for the week and give the job to Julie instead. When Julie accepts the offer, Ivy immediately hands a key to the Lings’ house and a set of instructions on caring for Lucy. She also tells Julie that she’ll need to show up tomorrow morning to feed both Lucy and the two cats because her family is leaving for Long Beach very early. Ivy also tells Julie that they have a couple staying at the Lings’ place. They are known as Mr. and Mrs. Shackley and they are the parents of one of Ivy’s mother’s law school classmates. Mrs. Shackley has just received a kidney transplant and she and her husband needed a place closer to the hospital so they can rest. It’s the main reason why they weren’t asked to take care of Lucy, Jasmine, and Wonton even though they are staying in the same house. The Shackleys are currently staying in the Lings’ living room and they tend to keep to themselves.

If Julie’s first day after arriving at her father’s home isn’t exciting enough, her Aunt Maia arrives at the house. Aunt Maia is in the process of moving to San Francisco and Julie’s dad had told Aunt Maia that she could stay with him until she finds a place of her own. Aunt Maia has recently been hired as an assistant chef at a new vegetarian restaurant and she’s been gung-ho about fixing vegetarian meals for Julie and her father with mixed results.

Julie’s first day on her new job as pet sitter doesn’t turn out real well. Lucy is less friendly towards Julie than she had been the day before. Julie’s attempt at feeding the cats resulted in her accidentally spilling cat food everywhere on the floor in Ivy’s bedroom and she had to clean that mess up. If that weren’t enough, Mr. Shackley scolds Julie for being too noisy when she spilled the cat food and he tells her that she walks too much like a lumberjack. He also complains about how much he hates the city because it’s too noisy and if he had had his own way he would’ve driven the long distance back to their quiet town immediately after his wife’s surgery.

That afternoon Julie sits on the front steps of her dad’s house while pondering what happened this morning. Gordon walks by and Julie invites him to come with her so he can see Lucy. When they arrive in Andrew’s bedroom, they see that a white sheet had been placed over Lucy’s cage even though Julie had removed it this morning. When Lucy sees Gordon, the bird begins to perk up while talking and performing tricks. Julie realizes that the bird had really liked Gordon and not her the first time they met Lucy before the Ling family left for the wedding.

The following morning Julie makes a horrifying discovery when she walks over to the Lings’ house so she can feed the animals. Lucy’s cage has been opened and the bird is gone! Julie manages to locate Wonton and Jasmine but Lucy is nowhere to be found anywhere in the house. Julie’s spring break vacation is suddenly getting way busier than she originally expected as she searches for the bird while pondering what could have happened.

Julie comes up with a list of suspects in Lucy’s disappearance. First, there is her former classmate Gordon. Both Lucy and Gordon seemed to like each other and Gordon had expressed a wish that he could own a pet so could he have taken her? Her Aunt Maia seems to be gone much of the time while claiming that it’s due to the demands of her new job. She also disapproves of pets being kept in cages for long stretches of time so could she be a suspect in Lucy’s disappearance as well? Let’s not forget the Shackleys, especially Mr. Shackley the noise-hater, because they are currently staying in the Lings’ household. Did Lucy somehow managed her own escape in a way that is just as creative as a prison convict’s escape from a maximum security prison? Or did the two cats, Jasmine and Wonton, decide to take advantage of the family being away by hatching some nefarious plan to get into Andrew’s room, break into Lucy’s cage, and treat themselves to a lovely parrot dinner for two?

Julie only has until the end of the week to resolve this whole thing before the Lings return from Long Beach and she has to return to her mother’s apartment. Can Lucy be found alive on the streets of San Francisco before it’s too late?

The last chapter, Looking Back, focuses on the intelligence of African Grey parrots, why many groups like the Humane Society currently don’t recommend keeping parrots as pets, how it’s now illegal to import parrots that were captured in the wild, and the wild parrots living in San Francisco’s Telegraph Hill who were descended from pets that were released into the wild. There’s a brief focus on the founding of the Animal Switchboard by a mother and daughter named Grace and Virginia Handley. The chapter closes with a discussion on the increasing popularity of vegetarianism in the United States since the trend began in the 1970’s.

Music Mentioned in This Book

“Boogie Fever” by The Sylvers

“Dancing Queen” by Abba

Roto-Rooter advertising jingle

Movies, Books, and Television Shows Mentioned in This Book:

Diet for a Small Planet by Frances Moore Lappé
The Incredible Journey by Shiela Burnford
The Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen
The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill

Real-Life People Mentioned in This Book:

Grace and Virginia Handley
Dr. Irene Pepperberg

News and Other Stuff From the Era Mentioned in This Book:

The Animal Switchboard
The Humane Society
Macramé

My Own Impressions Based on My Own Experience With the 1970’s:

I chuckled when the bird kept on singing the Roto-Rooter advertising jingle because I remember that one really well when I was growing up. Roto-Rooter advertised heavily on both the radio and daytime television so I learned that jingle really well. These days it seems like the Roto-Rooter ads have been replaced by the ones for Len the Plumber (at least that’s the case in the Baltimore-Washington, DC area). I not only hear that ad jingle (“The only way to get a plumber today. Just call Len the Plumber.”), I also see billboard signs and ads on the sides of the Metrobuses in the Washington, DC area.

The scene at the beginning of the book where Julie is thrilled that “Dancing Queen” is playing on the radio while she’s riding in her father’s car definitely brought back memories for me. That song was so heavily played on the radio back in the 1970’s that it began to drive me crazy after a while. I was so relieved when that song finally sank below the charts because I was so tired of that song.

I also have memories when I read about the possibility of Lucy being an escape artist who managed to find a way to get out of her own cage. I had a pet hedgehog named Spike, who passed away last year. I read in a book that hedgehogs are notorious escape artists and I got a taste of that once when it came time for the weekly cage cleaning. Whenever the weather was warm, I would put Spike outdoors in a small pets playpen (which was a fenced-in enclosure for animals ranging from guinea pigs to rabbits). A day or so before I put Spike in the playpen, I had to temporarily dismantle it so I could mow the backyard then I put it back up. I had apparently didn’t secure the pegs tight enough because when I went back outside to retrieve Spike after I finished with cleaning his cage, I found that he was gone. Luckily for me, I found him just a couple of feet away sniffing among the grass and fallen leaves so I was able to quickly recapture him.

Two months after that escape attempt, I found Spike dead in his cage. He lived with me for a year and a half.

I laughed at the scenes where Aunt Maia tried to cook vegetarian meals for Julie and her father with mixed results. I’ve tried recipes (both vegetarian and non-vegetarian) that have gone wrong on me in the past. I especially remembered the time when I attempted this Weight Watchers recipe where I had to cook then chop an eggplant then puree it in a blender while I mixed in nutmeg. It was supposed to be a non-tomato sauce for pasta. Except my then-husband and I found it to be so bland that we ended up going to the nearby pizza parlor for dinner. (Needless to say, I never tried that recipe again. LOL!)

As for Lucy, I remember seeing a talking parrot in a shop when I was growing up and my family was on vacation. (It was probably in Ocean City, Maryland since we took a lot of trips there when I was growing up.) The sign on the cage said something like “Hello, I Can Talk!” So I said “Hello” to the parrot a couple of times and the parrot responded with “Hello, Popeye.” Except the parrot said it in a slow drawn-out fashion so it sounded like “Hel—-Lo——Pop——eye” and he kept on repeating that phrase very slowly as he crawled around in his cage. I remember the parrot was a really pretty red color. The bird wasn’t for sale. In fact, I don’t think we were in a pet store. I think we were in one of the many souvenir shops in Ocean City and the owner only had the parrot in his store as a way of attracting potential customers to the store.

I had a parakeet as a teenager named Baby but she never learned to talk. I remember she had this tendency to bite, especially whenever I had to clean her cage and she wanted to attack my hand while I was replacing her food and water. (Talk about biting the hand that feeds you!) I had to get a spoon, use one hand to put the spoon in the cage so Baby would attack it and divert her attention while I used the other hand to put her food and water in her cage so I wouldn’t get bitten.

Like I wrote earlier, Lost in the City is the last of the Julie Mysteries that have been published. I have to admit that the Julie Mysteries are pretty solid in terms of story. Even though I was very nitpicking regarding the last book, The Silver Guitar, it was because the Julie books are supposed to be historical novels and the writer of that book decided to make up a fake oil spill in 1977 San Francisco that never happened while giving short shrift to Julie’s school’s sports program had gone through budget cuts (which actually happened in real life and that is what prompted music promoter Bill Graham to create his fundraising SNACK concert that included appearances by Bob Dylan and Joan Baez). But the mystery of who stole that silver guitar (which was once owned by a deceased rock star) and replaced it with a lookalike fake made up for dealing with frequent graphic descriptions of oil-soaked seabirds. Even at its worst, The Silver Guitar is still way better than the worst books in the original Central Series. (I’m looking at you, Happy New Year, Julie and Julie’s Journey.)

I think the best of the Julie Mysteries is The Puzzle of the Paper Daughter because it provided such a fascinating history lesson on the legacy of the notorious Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. As I was reading it I kept on thinking that American Girl could easily create a historical character doll who would be a Chinese girl immigrating to the U.S. during the years affected by that law and it could write in more detail about what it was like for her to be detained on Angel Island for several weeks while waiting to see whether she could enter the U.S. or not. What’s more, The Puzzle of the Paper Daughter provided lots of twists and turns as Julie and Ivy wonder if any adults were following them while they were investigating this mystery.

Where to Buy Lost in the City:

Amazon
American Girl

Barnes & Noble

Powell’s Books

The American Girl Julie Albright Books List

The Original Central Series:

Meet Julie
Julie Tells Her Story
Happy New Year, Julie
Julie and the Eagles
Julie’s Journey
Changes for Julie

The Best Friend Book

Good Luck, Ivy

The Julie Mysteries

The Tangled Web
The Puzzle of the Paper Daughter
The Silver Guitar
Lost in the City

The BeForever Books:

The Big Break: A Julie Classic Volume 1—A compilation of the first three Julie Albright Central Series books (Meet Julie, Julie Tells Her Story, and Happy New Year, Julie).

Soaring High: A Julie Classic Volume 2—A compilation of the last three Julie Albright Central Series books (Julie and the Eagles, Julie’s Journey, and Changes for Julie).

A Brighter Tomorrow: My Journey with Julie

This post is about the third and final day of Intervention Con 2014 that took place in Rockville. For my posts on the previous two days, see:

Intervention Con, Day 1

Intervention Con, Day 2

I’ve been to enough of these types of conventions in the past (such as Otakon, Katsucon, and Anime USA) to know that the third day tends to be pretty truncated because everyone is focused on packing up and checking out of their hotel rooms so they can catch the next flight out of town. The entire convention tends to shut down between 2-4 p.m. I usually don’t go to the last day of a con unless there’s a topic that I’m really interested in.

I decided to go on the last day because there were two topics that I was interested in. One was an 11 a.m. discussion on “Should I Care About Social Media?” and the other was a 1 p.m. panel with the intriguing title of “Blogging For Fun and Profit.” I also decided to leave behind the crochet project that I was currently working on because the con was going to be over by 4 and I wasn’t going to stay very long.

However I was out late last night at the con so I had a hard time getting going the following morning. I ended up missing the social media panel but I made every effort to arrive early enough that I could make it to the blogging panel. I arrived at the Hilton Hotel and I leisurely walked along the hallway. Near the area of the hotel where Intervention Con was held, I saw that one of the conference rooms was rented by a church known as the House of Divine Glory. I saw that the doors were opened and I noticed that this church service was held in a room that had a funky psychedelic Volkswagen Bus. Seriously!

Intervention Con, Day 3, August 24, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 3, August 24, 2014

I arrived at the front tables where I found this flyer announcing some last-minute changes regarding the blogging panel. The organizers flipped the times of the charity auction and the blogging panel without any prior notices whatsoever. I didn’t know about the time changes until after I arrived. What was worse was that the blogging panel now started earlier so I had suddenly gone from arriving early so I can make it to the panel with enough time to spare to being a half-an-hour late to the panel. To say that I found it annoying was a total understatement!

Intervention Con, Day 3, August 24, 2014

So I sprinted to the panel only to find that I had missed half of it. I still found it informative even though I would’ve loved to have been there for the whole thing. The one thing I found fascinating is the issue of whether a blog should allow comments or not. Apparently, according to those panelists, there have been a trend of getting away of allowing comments because of the problems with the trolls and spammers. The panelists made the point that the newspapers tend to limit which letters to the editor ultimately makes it to publication. So the rationale was why allow anyone to comment in your personal blog if it’s going to allow trolls to hurl insults at you.

That panel brought back memories of when I had a previous blog that attracted the attention of a few trolls (which I could easily devote a separate post about) who left nasty comments and I also had the occasional comment spammer hawking things like diet pills that had absolutely nothing to do with the topic of the post I wrote. I ended up pulling the plug on that blog by deleting it in late 2008 because I grew tired of the trolls and I was scheduled to undergo a hip replacement and I knew that I was going to have a long recuperation and I really didn’t want to deal with abusive trolls. When I started this blog, I decided to moderate all comments so I could approve which ones could be posted. (I’m also grateful that WordPress.com uses Akismet which also weeds out comment spam. I’ve read a few of these comment spams a few times but I generally agree with those being completely blocked.) I also tend to close comments after a post has been online for about a month or so in order to make my moderating duties easier.

Anyway, getting back to Intervention Con, after the panel ended, there was an announcement that a special charity auction was going to be held in the same room where the proceeds would benefit the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). I originally had no intention of sticking around because I really couldn’t afford to bid on anything but then I learned that the same guy who had been cosplaying as Jesus throughout the entire weekend was going to be the emcee for the auction. I thought it would be worth it to stick around just for that. Here were some of the items that were available for the auction.

Intervention Con, Day 3, August 24, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 3, August 24, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 3, August 24, 2014

I had a feeling that having Jesus Christ emcee the auction would be ludicrously hilarious and I definitely was not disappointed.

Intervention Con, Day 3, August 24, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 3, August 24, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 3, August 24, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 3, August 24, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 3, August 24, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 3, August 24, 2014

The only sad part was that the auction was sparsely attended and there were quite a few items that went unsold. Even Jesus said that he’s going to tell the management that they should schedule the auction for a Saturday next year since there tends to be more people there. There’s a part of me who wondered whether the tanked economy had an affect as well. I know I’ve had a harder time selling my arts and crafts because of the economy and I came to that conclusion after encountering so many people at street craft shows who have told me “I’d love to buy something from you but money is tight because I’ve been laid off (or my spouse/parent/partner has been laid off) or my job is in jeopardy.”

During the auction my eyes glanced over to a wall in the room and I saw something I recognized from the previous night. I remembered that the same room was the one where the Drink and Draw Artist Jam took place. I made a quick drawing of an anthro female dog, took a photo of it, then left the con because I was very tired. I was surprised that the drawing still remained on the wall ledge where I had left it.

Intervention Con, Day 3, August 24, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 3, August 24, 2014

I took the fact that my drawing was still there as a sign of some kind (as to what kind of sign, I haven’t figured it out yet) and I decided to take the drawing. I ultimately brought it back home with me.

I took one last look at the Dealer’s Room but I found that half of the tables were empty and there were very few shoppers.

Intervention Con, Day 3, August 24, 2014

The Tau Radio Independent Broadcasting continued with their live broadcast from Intervention Con.

Intervention Con, Day 3, August 24, 2014

I took one last shot of Intervention Con before I decided to head home.

Intervention Con, Day 3, August 24, 2014

Lately I’ve been saving on gas by making a point of combining trips as much as possible. I decided to check out Micro Center because the store is located just a block or so from the Hilton Hotel. I ended up not buying anything but I took a few shots of some of the cool statues that came from the 3D printers that the store sells.

Intervention Con, Day 3, August 24, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 3, August 24, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 3, August 24, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 3, August 24, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 3, August 24, 2014

The last photo in this post is of this really cool Mr. Potato Head that was based on Doctor Who.

Intervention Con, Day 3, August 24, 2014

By the way, check out this Washington Post story about Intervention Con.

Late last night I posted online my experiences with the first day of Intervention Con. This post is about my second day, which not only had more people attend (compared to the previous day) but there were more things for me to do.

The weather outside that day was nothing but non-stop rain, which made me glad that I was at an indoor convention.

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Yesterday I started this crochet project during some downtime because I had thought about going to the Early Bird Stitch-n-Bitch that was scheduled for 9 a.m. on the second day. Except I didn’t make it because I overslept a little bit. I still brought my crochet project with me and I worked on it some more during downtimes. Of course I took some more photos, such as the next one of one of the official Intervention Con camera operators with his high-end equipment.

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

The major bummer about oversleeping is that I not only missed the Early-Bird Stitch-n-Bitch but I also missed half of the documentary Plastic Galaxy, which is a fascinating look at the Star Wars toys, the original Kenner employees responsible for creating them, and the collectors. I’m sorry that I missed the first half and I was too broke to buy the DVD that was on sale in the Dealers Room. I’ll try to catch it online at some point.

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

There were a few more cosplayers walking around but it seemed like the vast majority just wore casual clothes.

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

And here’s a rare online picture of me with a Doctor Who cosplayer that someone else volunteered to take with my smartphone camera.

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

At one point I ate the lunch that I brought with me then I attended a session on “Manga Studio 5: An Intro”. The leader of that panel was one of the leaders of the previous night’s panel on “Comics Rehab: Overcoming Creative Depression” that I attended and she promoted this one towards the end of the previous one. I decided to check it out because my potential future is in a constant state of flux and I wanted to know what software is out there. (I have a friend who’s practically an open source evangelist who frequently promotes the idea that open source applications are the solution to almost everything. I just wanted other opinions so I can think about things, which was why I attended the workshop.) Manga Studio 5 looks like a very interesting program even if it’s not open source. (The retail price is $50 but one can find that application online for far less.)

I stayed in the same room after that panel ended because I was interested in the panel following it which was titled “The ToonSeum and Creating a Museum Celebrating Your Passion!” It was given by an artist named Joe Was who was the original founder of the ToonSeum, which is a museum dedicated to cartoons and comic books in Pittsburgh. I found his talk totally fascinating as he gave details about the challenges of trying to find space for such a museum and getting the funding in order to keep it in operation. I found his talk so interesting that I would definitely put the ToonSeum on my personal itinerary if I ever find myself in the Pittsburgh area again. (Come to think of it, I’ve been through Pittsburgh—usually when I was traveling to Ohio—but I’ve never actually stopped in that city. I need to rectify that one day.)

Joe Was mentioned that his young daughter had her own table in the Artist’s Alley. I came across her table later, which had this amusing sign.

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

The sign convinced me enough to shell out $2 for one of her small drawings. I have to say that she has a lot of potential. :-)

I spent time in the Dealers Room perusing the various items on sale.

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Here’s another shot of one of the two rooms that had video games available to play. I focused more on the vintage arcade games from the 1970’s and 1980’s (such as Super Mario Bros., Tron, and Wizard of Wor) than on the later console games.

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Walt’s Cards & Board Gaming Room, named after one of the sponsors who provided the games for this room, was full of games and players.

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

I had wanted to attend a panel on “Living the Dream: Planning a Sustainable Career.” I walked into an empty room that I thought that the panel was being held in. To pass time, I took out my crocheting and started to work on my latest project. Some guys came in and they started to talk about the joys and struggles of making a web series called Shotgun Mythos. It sounded really interesting even though it didn’t sound like the panel I had planned on attending. It wasn’t until about a half an hour into the presentation that I looked at my schedule and realized that I had walked in the wrong room! It was a workshop on “The ABCs of Creating a Web Series/Shotgun Mythos.” It was still an interesting workshop even though I had never heard of this web series before. (I should at least check out an episode online sometime in the future.)

I decided to head into another panel that I was interested in and, this time, I made sure that I found the right location before entering the room. Kelsey Wailes gave a demonstration on how she creates her Doctor Whooo owls. I took a few photos during the presentation.

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Here’s an interesting story about the below photo. During my weekend at Intervention Con I had uploaded a few select photos on both my Twitter and Instagram accounts. A few minutes later I got a notification from Instagram that the Official Instagram of Doctor Who on BBC America had hit the “Like” button. Seriously, my modest photo was noticed by someone at BBC America. That was so awesome that I approached Kelsey after the panel was over and I told her about this. She was so thrilled when she heard this that she had me forward that photo to her Instagram account with the indication that BBC America had liked that photo. I don’t know if anything will come of that attention from BBC America but it’s pretty cool.

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

By the way, if you like her art, you can not only check her out on Instagram but also on Deviantart, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Etsy.

After the workshop was over I ate the dinner that I brought with me. I also saw the sign leading to this special party that was only for designated Enablers, who are the special attendees who paid a higher admission fee than the basic admission fee that I paid. (The Enabler passes started at $15 above the basic admission and there were different levels of Enabler where the more money you paid, the more goodies you get.) One day, when my fortunes improve, Ill seriously consider being at least a low-level Enabler and I’ll be able to attend parties like the one indicated by the sign in the photo below.

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

The Internet radio station Tau Radio Independent Broadcasting did live broadcasts from Intervention Con the entire weekend.

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

I hung around the con while killing time alternating between playing video games and working on my latest crochet project. I patiently waited until the 8 p.m. magic hour arrived. There were subtle hints of what was happening on the second day of the con such as what I found at the water fountain below.

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Intervention Con was hosting the premiere of the first episode of the new season of Doctor Who.

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

I could’ve watched this same episode on my own TV at home but there’s something special about seeing the show in a large room with a bunch of other like-minded individuals.

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

There were also people who even arrived totally dressed up for the occasion, which I would not have experienced had I sat home watching television alone. (Besides, given my current situation, I have plenty of other opportunities to watch TV at home alone so I didn’t mind seeing Doctor Who at Intervention Con.)

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

After the episode ended, there was supposed to be a general party but most of the people left immediately. I hung around because there was one last event I was curious about. It was called “Club 242 Presents Drink and Draw Artist Jam” and I was curious about it even though I left my drawing pad and pencils at home. (I didn’t realize it until after I arrived at the hotel.) But it was okay because the organizers provided paper and pens for those who didn’t bring their own. There was a lot of serious drawing going on while dance music played.

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

There were a few people who opted to dance instead of drawing.

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

I even shot a short video of the dancing mainly because someone was playing this techno dance music cover of Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” that I only recognized because of the lyrics. The music part sounded pretty different from Madonna’s original version.

There was a bar that, for a fee, served booze so people could drink and draw. I didn’t drink any alcohol mainly because I had a half-an-hour commute in front of me but I drew some anthro female dog. (I was kind of influenced by these really cute Pinkie Cooper anthro dog fashion dolls that I saw on sale at Target. I ended up buying a couple for myself because they were so cute. I should write a separate blog post about these dolls at some point since I’ve had them for a while.) The biggest challenge was that it was getting late at night and I was pretty tired after a full day of being at Intervention Con. I drew a really quick sketch until I felt too tired to attempt another drawing.

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

I decided to prop the drawing on one of the decorative ledges on the walls of the room where the party took place. I took a quick photo from that horizontal perspective but I was in a really tired mood and I didn’t think that it was among my better efforts so I decided to leave it on the ledge and left for home.

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Previous Entries

Categories

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 165 other followers