Benjamin Franklin

He is not well bred, that cannot bear Ill-Breeding in others.

Last Sunday I decided to go to downtown College Park after attending Sunday service because I was in the mood to go to this bagel place that I hadn’t been to in many months. (Plus it’s free parking on Sundays in College Park, which is very nice.) I parked in the parking garage that’s next to a Target Express. As I was walking outside I saw that the nearby Greek sorority houses were all decorated because apparently that day was known as Bid Day. (Ironically it was also Super Bowl Sunday on that very same day.)

Here’s a full disclosure. Even though I am an alumni of the University of Maryland at College Park, I had never joined a sorority during my time there. That was mainly because the young women I met at the tables during Rush Week reminded me too much of the cheerleaders in my old high school who were among those who called me “mentally retarded” and looked down upon me like they wished that my mother had sought an illegal back alley abortion when she was pregnant with me. I was afraid that those sorority girls would’ve eventually decided, for some reason, that I was somehow inferior so I decided to spare myself the trauma and not even bother with the Greek system. I don’t regret it because I met plenty of friends any way and, with a student campus population of 30,000 during my time there, the Greeks represented just a minority of the student population.

I took a detour on my way to the bagel place and took a few of the photographs of the nearby sorority houses that were decorated for the occasion. First is this photo explaining the area near where the bagel shop is located is known as the Graham Cracker area of College Park (which got its name from the fact that before the sorority houses were built the area was a field and it was said that the ground resembled the surface of a graham cracker).

Sign Explaining the Graham Cracker Section of College Park

Here are what the decorated sorority houses looked like on Bid Day.

Greek Bid Day

Greek Bid Day

It's Greek Bid Day at the fraternities/sororities in the Graham Cracker section of College Park near the University of Maryland campus.

Greek Bid Day

Greek Bid Day

Greek Bid Day

Greek Bid Day

Last Saturday I decided to go to Crafty Bastards again for the first time since 2014. This event was subtitled “Cabin Fever” because this event was held indoors (which makes a lot of sense when it comes to Washington, DC in February).

I took the Metro to the NoMa/Gallaudet University station then walked along New York Avenue. I assumed that the venue was within walking distance. Actually it turned out to be at least a half-an-hour’s walk from the Metro station. Along the way I took some photos, such as this structure which graces the overpass on New York Avenue.

Structure at Edge of New York Avenue, NE Overpass

Not too long ago it was considered foolhardy to walk alone anytime in the Northeastern section of DC, especially during the crack epidemic of the 1980’s and 1990’s. It seemed like there was at least one shooting a week in that area. I still remember when I was taking night classes in an ill-fated effort to study desktop publishing (I finished the certificate but I wasn’t able to find a job in the desktop publishing field) back in the 1990’s. One class I took included a field trip to this printing plant that was in Northeast at the time. The week before that trip we were instructed to go directly to that printing plant and, what’s more, she strongly urged us to drive there instead of taking public transportation because that area as so crime-ridden at the time. We parked in a gated parking lot. The printing plant has since closed and there seems to be a resurgence of Northeast as these pictures show.

Mural on the Side of a Storage Facility

Wall Mural

I happened to stumble upon a really neat vintage shop known as nomad yard collectiv. I didn’t stay too long in that store because of Crafty Bastards but it sells all kinds of really cool vintage stuff.

nomad yard collectiv

nomad yard collectiv

nomad yard collectiv

I did some more walking along New York Avenue as I took these pictures.

National Park Service Brentwood Facility

National Park Service Brentwood Facility

DC Animal Shelter

Ivy City Area

After walking for a half-an-hour from the Metro station I finally made it to the venue in the Ivy City section. Hecht Warehouse once served as the warehouse for the Hecht department store chain. All that changed when Macy’s purchased Hecht and all of the Hecht stores were either converted to a Macy’s store or they were shut down (especially if the stores were located in a mall where a Macy’s already existed). Hecht Warehouse had remained empty for nearly 10 years when a developer decided to try converting it into upscale loft apartments along with building a few retail stores.

Hecht Warehouse

Hecht Warehouse

Hecht Warehouse

Hecht Warehouse

Right across the street from Hecht Warehouse is a bunch of giant storage boxes with smaller signs announcing the coming of another development known as Hecht Town.

Across From Hecht Warehouse are Signs Announcing Hecht Town

I eventually found a sign leading to the entrance to Crafty Bastards.

Sign to the Crafty Bastards Entrance

Next to the Hecht Warehouse is a MOM (My Organic Market) and a sign announcing the arrival of a Petco that will come soon.

Retail in Ivy City

I eventually found the entrance to the Hecht Warehouse.

Hecht Warehouse Entrance

There were a couple of outdoor food trucks such as this one in the next photo.

Lemongrass Vietnamese Cuisine Food Truck

The inside of the Hecht Warehouse lobby was amazing to behold. The developer took a gritty warehouse and totally remodeled it so it would look pretty upscale complete with a fireplace in the lobby.

Hecht Warehouse

Hecht Warehouse

Hecht Warehouse

Hecht Warehouse

The lobby even had a bar, which is amazing considering that the Hecht Warehouse is supposed to be an apartment complex and not a hotel.

Hecht Warehouse

There are a few vestiges of its warehouse past but they have been totally integrated into the new design.

Hecht Warehouse

Hecht Warehouse

Hecht Warehouse

Hecht Warehouse

Hecht Warehouse

I eventually made it to the area where Crafty Bastards was held. Since I arrived after 3 p.m. I only paid $5 admission fee to get in. (The regular price was $10.) Like previous Crafty Bastards this one was also a feast for the eyes and it provided a major challenge to the wallet as well. Here are just a small sampling of what went on at the Crafty Bastards Cabin Fever event.

Crafty Bastards at the Hecht Warehouse

Crafty Bastards at the Hecht Warehouse

Crafty Bastards at the Hecht Warehouse

Crafty Bastards at the Hecht Warehouse

Crafty Bastards at the Hecht Warehouse

Crafty Bastards at the Hecht Warehouse

Crafty Bastards at the Hecht Warehouse

Crafty Bastards at the Hecht Warehouse

Crafty Bastards at the Hecht Warehouse

Crafty Bastards at the Hecht Warehouse

Crafty Bastards at the Hecht Warehouse

Crafty Bastards at the Hecht Warehouse

Crafty Bastards at the Hecht Warehouse

Crafty Bastards at the Hecht Warehouse

Crafty Bastards at the Hecht Warehouse

Crafty Bastards at the Hecht Warehouse

I felt really tired by the time I managed to see each vendor booth at least once. Rather than walk for another half an hour in order to get to the NoMa/Gallaudet University stop, I decided to take the Metrobus back. Except the but I got on insisted on going all the way to Fort Totten, which was a half an hour trip. At least I got to sit down that time instead of spending all those 30 minutes just walking.

While I purchased a few things at that event, I was still very careful with how I spent my money since it’s pretty tight these days. I forgot to bring one of my cloth shopping bags from home (which is a big deal since DC has those laws where you have to pay in order to get a paper or plastic bag from any store or vendor) so I purchased this reusable souvenir bag for only $2.

My Crafty Bastards Purchases

I purchased this framed print from fashion designer Jay McCarroll (also known as the winner of the first season of Project Runway). I now have this print hanging in my living room.

My Crafty Bastards Purchases

I got this bar of fairy cakes soap from Dirty Ass Soaps, which smells wonderful.

My Crafty Bastards Purchases

My Crafty Bastards Purchases

I purchased this autographed copy of a book called Goodbye, Penguins by Greg Stones (whom I briefly met at his booth). This book is short but it’s full of twisted humor coupled with delicate illustrations.

My Crafty Bastards Purchases

My Crafty Bastards Purchases

My Crafty Bastards Purchases

And, last but not least, I purchased this dark chocolate candy bar from Harper Macaw, which is a chocolate candy maker based in Washington, DC. What’s really cool is that every Saturday Harper Macaw offers a guided tour of its factory for only $10 a person and it includes chocolate tastings. How cool is that? By the way, I loved that one chocolate bar I purchased.

My Crafty Bastards Purchases

Mardi Gras

Here are some recent ink sketches I’ve done in my sketchbook (which I’m now working on a few times a week instead of on a daily basis). This first one is one that I had previously posted in an entry I did a few weeks ago about jury duty which I’m only reposting here in case you’ve missed it.

picture9

This next drawing I did was in homage to the recent Blizzard of 2016. By the time I made this next drawing much of the snow had already melted.

picture10

For the last two pictures I decided to play around with Rory’s Story Cubes for inspiration. For this next drawing I decided to use the Prehistoria set and I came up with this as a result.

picture11

For this last picture I decided to mix both the Enchanted and Prehistoria sets and roll the dice. Here is the result.

picture12

Mardi Gras

Last week I happened to be at Wegmans when I found this.

Disney Frozen Olaf the Snowman Waffle Maker

Asian Lunar New Year

Last weekend there was an uproar over what happened in the Fells Point area of Baltimore. Here’s a video that compiles two other videos of the same incident as shot from different angles.

It’s a shame that something like this happened in Fells Point. That area probably ranks up there as among my favorite area in Baltimore, despite the fact that I last set foot in that area back in 2013 on the same day that I appeared in divorce court with my husband. (I can be lame at times. LOL!)

The good news is that they caught the driver of that van. The bad news is that this guy had mowed over a woman twice during his driving rampage from hell. The woman’s family has set up a GoFundMe page in order to help pay for her medical expenses.

Asian Lunar New Year

A few weeks ago I was at a local Wegman’s when I saw this red dragon-shaped balloon.

Dragon Balloon

Since this year is supposed to be the Year of the Monkey, I’m going to once again post an animation I did as part of a class that I took at a local community college years ago. The Dancing Monkeys is loosely based on one of Aesop’s Fables of the same name. If you want to learn more about the background of this animation, check out this post that I originally wrote last August. Otherwise, you can just watch the animation below.

Free Tutorials

For artists and crafts people here’s an excellent video that provides tips on how to price your work in a simple and straightforward manner.

For crochet ideas here are a bunch of free tutorials called Motif of the Month where each month you learn how to crochet a different motif ranging from peacock feathers to snowflakes to hearts.

Have any old toys lying around the house? You can use them in 16 DIYs You Can Make With Old Toys Because Growing Up is Overrated.

Browse other free tutorials previously mentioned in this blog (along with pictures) right here.

Miscellaneous Links

For those of you who are still shopping for Valentine’s Day presents for your sweetheart, here’s a list of nine popular chocolate brands that exploit child slaves. The good news is that not all chocolate companies use child slaves so there are plenty of alternatives for your Valentine.

Betty Rowland was a burlesque performer back during its Golden Age (which lasted from the 1920’s to around the early 1960’s). Rowland, who recently celebrated her 100th birthday, is the last living burlesque star from that era. Thanks to YouTube, you can see Rowland performing in her prime right here.

And while were on the subject of old people, here’s an excellent short essay titled Advice from some old people that’s definitely worth reading, especially if you’re still relatively young (meaning under 60).

As you may know, this month is Black History Month. As part of that observance The New York Times is revealing previously unpublished photographs of notable African American people and moments in African American history each day until February 29, 2016. Start here to see these photographs.

For parents of budding young prodigies, here’s an interesting New York Times column that had this headline: How to Raise a Creative Child. Step One: Back Off.

Remember Safyre, the young burn victim who survived a horrendous fire that took the lives of her father and siblings? Last December her only Christmas wish was to receive as many Christmas cards as possible. Her wish came true in such a very big way that she’s still opening her cards in February. According to this article, Safyre has received around 1.7 million cards from all over the world.

We’ve all heard about the recent Iowa Caucus where Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton were literally tied. Here’s a really well written article that explains how he feels that that recent event is the beginning of the end of establishment politics (which is represented by Clinton and nearly all of her Republican challengers) and could be the start of a major turning point in American history.

Here’s a very thoughtful essay on why Black Feminists Don’t Owe Hillary Clinton Their Support that’s worth reading no matter what race or gender you happened to be.

Here’s another thoughtful essay written by Harry Dreyfuss which defended the decision of his famous father, actor Richard Dreyfuss, to attend a Ted Cruz rally. His main thesis is this: Curiosity is not a sin.

Back when I was still married and still had cable I used to follow the X Games. In fact, the only time I ever willingly turned on ESPN was to watch the X Games. Among the superstar athletes from those games who would go on to parlay that fame into merchandising (like video games) was Dave Mirra, who was the master of the BMX. Sadly I’ve just learned that Mirra committed suicide at 41.

Here’s a video of Dave Mirra at the height of his BMX career doing what he did best.

Last week, while writing about the deaths of two former members of the Jefferson Airplane who happened to die on the same day, I wrote that it looks like we are going to see an avalanche of longtime music stars dying. Sadly I was proven right once again this week with the death of Maurice White, the founder of Earth, Wind & Fire.

The music of Earth, Wind & Fire was frequently played on the Top 40 radio stations when I was growing up. In fact I heard so much of their music on the radio that I never bothered buying any of their albums. In recent years, when I started buying dancing video games in the Dance Dance Revolution and Just Dance series, many of those games included some of Earth, Wind & Fire’s music and I began to appreciate their music in earnest.

Earth, Wind & Fire was one of the better bands to have emerged during the popularity of soul, funk, and disco music in the 1970’s. They were the kind of band you listened to if you were in the mood to dance or just clear your head. Here are just a few of their songs I remember from my youth.

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