Mother’s Day Weekend 2018 was a big deal for me. First, there was the annual Greenbelt Green Man Festival but it wasn’t the reason why it was a big deal for me. Just a few days before the festival I decided to ditch both my Droid Ultra smartphone and Verizon. My five-year-old smartphone was literally on its last legs. The camera feature had died first (which was why I ended up using the Canon PowerShot camera for photography and videography) but the last few months I had to deal with a phone that constantly kept on crashing and rebooting. This even happened when I was on the phone with someone.

And then there was Verizon, who was increasingly price-gouging me. It got to the point where it started to charge me $125 per month for just the cell phone. I asked someone at Verizon what can I do to lower my cell phone bill and I was told to just get one of those pay-as-you-go phones. The downside is that I wouldn’t be able to transfer my current phone number to that pay-as-you-go phone so I would’ve had to deal with the hassle of telling all of my friends, family, and various business associates that I have a new phone number.

I settled on Consumer Cellular, with monthly plans starting at $25 per month. So far I’ve been very pleased with that company. As for my new phone, it’s actually a used phone that I got from a friend of mine but it’s new to me. (LOL!) It’s a Samsung Galaxy J3. It’s not exactly the top-of-the-line phone but it’s good enough for my purposes.

The Greenbelt Green Man Festival was the first place where I tried the camera part of my new smartphone. This selfie I took is officially the first photo I’ve ever taken with my new smartphone camera.

My Selfie at the Greenbelt Green Man Festival

This video, featuring the band Kiva and a bunch of people dancing is officially the first video I shot with my new smartphone.

On the first day of the Greenbelt Green Man Festival I took a bunch of shots of the festival itself. There were a couple of people playing with hand puppets shaped like a cricket and a praying mantis.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival.

The theme for this year’s Greenbelt Green Man Festival was soil, which was reflected in the official t-shirts that were for sale.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

There was a local beekeeper who showed off his beehive.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

There was a hands-on activity where people of all ages were encouraged to build their own fairy garden.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

There was a community art event where people were encouraged to paint on a canvas that was shaped like a peace sign.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

There was a small pool with rubber ducks that kids could play with.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

There were plenty of handcrafted items made by local artisans on sale at that festival throughout the weekend.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

The Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

The Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

Some people offered their services, such as Gwen Vaccaro, who runs her own spa known as Pleasant Touch.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival.

Some people staffed information booths that promoted local environmental organizations and local environmental issues.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

The Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

The Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

There were musical acts who performed throughout the entire two-day festival.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

A local Girl Scout Troop did a food and toiletry drive for a local homeless shelter on the first day of the festival.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

People basically hung out with each other and had a good time.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

The Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

May 12 was also Scratch Day. The Greenbelt Makerspace had put out a bunch of laptops in anticipation of people coming in and try their hand at coding in Scratch. However, the festival was simultaneously being held right outside its doors so very few people took advantage of this opportunity.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

The second day of the festival was not only Mother’s Day but it was also the first day of the new season of the Greenbelt Farmers Market (which had been on its usual winter hiatus). A new Lebanese restaurant was in the process of opening its doors but there was still more work to be done in the restaurant before it could be properly opened to the general pubic. The restaurant decided to offer Lebanese Zaatar bread on a carryout basis, which I found to be very tasty.)

The Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

The Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

The Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

The biggest downer about the second day of the festival was the rain, which resulted in fewer people at the festival.

The Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

Many people opted to go indoors instead. Some of them went to the Greenbelt Makerspace.

The Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

The Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

Many of the performing acts moved indoors to the New Deal Cafe where they were still able to perform despite the rain.

The Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

The band Global Warming performed its indoor set.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

Here’s a short video I shot of this band in action.

I shot some more footage of the band Tower Green, whose set officially closed the Greenbelt Green Man Festival.

The one thing about getting a new phone with a working camera is that I was able to play with an app for the first time in 2018. I took a photo of Hatsune Miku at the very end of the festival when a truck had arrived to take down the stage.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

Here is what I purchased at this year’s Greenbelt Green Man Festival. I purchased this nice vegan cupcake that I ate soon after I took these photos.

The Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

The Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

I purchased this bar of jasmine soap from Acorn & Clover.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

I was also given a free soap sample by Acorn & Clover.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

Last, but not least, I purchased another bar of soap from Mystic Water Soap.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Advertisements

Fathers' Day

Forgive me for writing something difficult on Father’s Day but there are times when one must speak up even at times when people are supposed to be celebrating.

I’m sure you heard all about the horror of children of immigrants being forcibly separated from their parents and herded into detention facilities, including officials seizing a baby from her own mother while she was being breastfed. These headlines say it all about what’s currently happening:

US child migrants: 2,000 separated from families in six weeks.

Trump suggests separation of families at border is a negotiating tool.

Abuse of immigrant children alleged in documents examined by Chicago law students.

A former Walmart is now housing migrant children. Here’s what it’s like inside.

Taking children from their parents is a form of state terror.

I have a Facebook friend who admitted that she took on Donald Trump whenever he made his latest outrageous tweet on Twitter and she ended up being blocked by him as a result. (A judge has since ruled that as being unconstitutional but that’s another story altogether.) As for me, I haven’t bothered with attacking Donald Trump mainly because I view his tweets as typical of his penchant for screaming “LOOK AT ME! I AM AN ATTENTION WHORE!” and I just didn’t want to feed his ego by paying attention to them. Until recently.

Yesterday I made a series of tweets aimed directly at President Donald Trump for the very first time. I did this in response to that awful tweet he made where he blamed the Democrats for separating children from their families (never mind the fact that Republicans currently control both houses of Congress as well as the White House and none of the current elected Republicans in Congress have raised any kind of objections to this type of systematic child abuse by the Trump Administration).

Here is my multi-part rebuttal tweet aimed squarely at Donald Trump’s Twitter account.

So far I haven’t received much blowback from those Trump/Make American Great Again supporters and I think it’s because so many people have tweeted their outrage directly at his tweet. It is horrible because he is engaged in what I would call state-sanctioned child abuse. In addition, he is blaming others for this policy that HE AND HIS ADMINISTRATION HAVE CREATED AND IMPLEMENTED. Only a true Trump believer or a total idiot (and there are times when I think that they are one and the same) would actually believe Trump’s tweet.

While I was silent on Trump’s previous ugly tweets (which are too many to reproduce here since it would literally take me several weeks to get all the ones he made since he took office last year), I just couldn’t sit back and let him get away with this. I don’t care if I’m giving him what he wants (more attention), someone needs to take a moral stand and not only say that this is wrong but separating children from their parents is a crime against humanity. We need to stand up and denounce this or else Trump and his gang will gradually start targeting others whom they arbitrarily deem as not being American enough.

It doesn’t help that the Republicans who currently control Congress are sitting by and doing nothing. This is so different from what happened during the Watergate scandal when an earlier generation of Republican lawmakers decided to put country ahead of party and pressured Richard Nixon to resign his presidency.

This non-action by these Republicans is the main reason why Americans of good conscience should go to the polls this November and vote them out of office. If they can’t do the minimum amount of work necessary to uphold the Constitution and stand up to Donald Trump’s excesses, then they deserve to lose their jobs.

The reason why Adolf Hitler and his gang of thugs were able to implement the Final Solution was because many Germans just remained silent and went about their lives.

While you are celebrating Father’s Day today, think about the fathers who can’t see their own children because government officials decided to take them away. (Of course you should think about the mothers as well but I’m only emphasizing fathers since it is Father’s Day.)

All I know is that this incident is yet another reason why I’m glad I sold that talking Donald Trump action figure on eBay soon after he was elected. I don’t think I would even be able to look at that doll—let alone touch it—if I still owned it now.

When I grew up and used to hear about the slavery or the Holocaust in school, other kids would say that they would never had sit idly by while injustice is happening if they had been around at the time. Well guess what? This is one of those times where you have the opportunity to put your money where your mouth is and NOT sit idly by while injustice is happening. You have a choice—either ignore what’s going on now or speak out against this both online and in real life. If you choose the former, you’ll end up having a future generation of kids in a school history class say, “Gee I would have never kept silent while the government took children away from their parents for no real reason unlike all of those other Americans who just looked the other way.”

If you’re a Donald Trump supporter who doesn’t like to read my posts criticizing him, please do me a favor and stop reading this blog. I refuse to stand silently by while watching he and his family destroy this country for their own power-hungry greedy selfish financial gain and nothing you say will ever change my mind. At this point the only way I’ll ever change my mind and become a Trump supporter would be if some doctor performed a total lobotomy on me to the point where I’m unable to remember ever opposing Trump followed by being brainwashed with the Trump propaganda that’s frequently shown on Fox News.

I’ll end this rant with this famous quote by Pastor Martin Niemöller, which inspired me to take on Donald Trump’s Twitter account yesterday. Pastor Niemöller was initially a supporter of Adolf Hitler until after Hitler took power and he became so disillusioned by him that he became one of Hitler’s most prominent critics. He ended up in a concentration camp as a result and he became a Holocaust survivor. For many years he would say this at various public events:

“First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for the Communists and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionists.

Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.”

In a society Donald Trump/Make America Great Again supporters, do the opposite of Martin Niemöller and speak up for those who are being abused by the Trump Administration before it’s too late and they start coming for you.

Fathers' Day

I want to wish all you dads out there a Happy Father’s Day! 🙂

20+ before and after pictures showing how the world has changed over time.

There’s no scientific basis for race—It’s a made-up label.

How American racism influenced Hitler.

This artist was offered a full-time job after someone on the Internet properly credited their work.

A few reporters for USA Today read every one of the 3,517 Facebook ads from 2016 that were connected to Russia. They found that vast majority of the ads focused on inflaming racial tensions.

A profile of Diamond and Silk, two African American sisters and political entrepreneurs who are also avid Trump supporters.

Elsie de Wolfe was the American Marie Antoinette of pre-war Paris.

Unpaid internships favor the wealthy.

Mad magazine’s clout may have faded but its ethos matters more than ever before.

Hear the actual voices of enslaved black people recorded from the 1800s.

Black activist jailed for his Facebook posts speaks out about secret FBI surveillance.

Do we really need to understand Trump supporters?

Stephen Shore on why young photographers need to start with film.

In Europe they actually fine and jail misbehaving CEOs. Why can’t we?

Taking children from their parents is a form of state terror.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Ramadan
Benjamin Franklin

When Reason preaches, if you don’t hear her she’ll box your Ears.

Ramadan

One day in early May I happened to be off from my day job. (The biggest downside of my current day job is that not only am I still stuck with part-time hours after working for over two months but there are times when I have off because the boss has to be off somewhere else.) A friend of mine invited me to head to his workplace in Takoma Park, Maryland where I helped him with a side project.

On my way to visit my friend’s workplace, I happened to walk by a set of steps that are located near the Takoma Park Community Center. Not only have they been freshly painted in a multitude of colors but they are also written in a variety of different languages, reflecting on the fact that there are a large number of immigrants from all over the world who live and/or work in Takoma Park.

These steps were being painted when I was there that day. I took a quick shot of the artist who literally had to lie down in order to paint these steps.

I also took this nearby photo of a tree with new spring leaves and azalea bushes in full bloom.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Ramadan

I had a pretty busy day. In the morning I went to one of the trainings and town hall meeting for the Poor People’s Campaign in the morning. In the afternoon I decided to go to Third Eye Comics in Annapolis, since that day was also Free Comic Book Day nationwide. (If all that weren’t enough, it was also Cinco de Mayo. I ended up eating tacos at home that I made myself using ingredients that I purchased from Aldi. I learned a long time ago that it’s total folly to attempt to eat in any kind of Mexican/Hispanic/Latino restaurant on Cinco de Mayo.)

So after checking out the Poor People’s Campaign, I drove to Annapolis. I arrived at Third Eye Comics only to find that parking was harder to find than usual. I ended up parking a few blocks away in an office park, which had some nice wall murals.

The next photo shows how crowded that store was. The next photo shows the line to the checkout counter.

I saw these vintage Atari video game cartridges on sale. I remember when Atari originally came out but I never owned one mainly because I was in college at the time and money was a bit tight at the time. It never bothered me that I never owed an Atari because my college (the University of Maryland) had plenty of arcade games on campus and some of the local off-campus fast food places also had arcade games.

I saw a few other interesting things on sale at Third Eye Comics.

I came across a whole aisle full of the ever-popular Funko Pop! statues. I found one new trend: Funko Pops based on real dead rock stars like Lemmy Kilmister of Motörhead and Joey Ramone of The Ramones.

There were plenty of Funko Pops based on comic book and video game characters such as Rocket Raccoon, Mega Man, Superman’s alter ego Clark Kent, Wonder Woman, Batman, Batwoman, and Batgirl.

I also found an actual WTF t-shirt and a special edition of the Monopoly game board based on the latest Jurassic Park movie called Jurassic World.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Ramadan

Last month I was browsing through Target where I took these pictures. Later this month the latest installment in the ever-popular Jurassic Park movies, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, will be released. I saw so many LEGO and Duplo sets that one could easily create his/her own Jurassic Park in the privacy of his/her home. I have a friend on Facebook who is mad about dinosaurs so I took a whole slew for her benefit. Knowing her, she has probably purchased at least one or two of these sets by now. (LOL!)

The Jurassic Park/Jurassic World hype isn’t limited to just LEGO and Duplo. I saw this poster book on sale that includes tearaway poster pages that one can hang on a wall.

Soon after our wedding my new husband and I took a trip to the Orlando area where we spent the bulk of our time at Walt Disney World. Throughout our marriage we kept up with Disney and Mickey Mouse and we made a few return trips to Disney World while making a few trips to the original Disneyland theme park in California. I used to be well-versed on when a Disney anniversary was coming. Ever since my husband left and my marriage ended in divorce, I had let my Mickey Mouse fixation slide big time. (The majority of Mickey clothes I still own were ones that I either bought or were given to me while I was still married.) If it weren’t for seeing these special Mickey Mouse edition of Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers on sale at Target, I would have totally missed the fact (which is printed on the back of these packages) that this year is the 90th anniversary of the release of Steamboat Willie, which unleashed both Mickey and his girlfriend, Minnie Mouse, on the world.

Nintendo’s latest video game system is the Switch. (I still have the original Nintendo Wii and Sony Playstation 2, which should give you an idea as to how far behind I am on the latest video games. LOL!) One interesting thing is that Nintedo has come out with the Nintendo Labo, which definitely taps into the current STEM/STEAM/Maker movement.

I also saw another STEM/STEAM/Maker focused product on sale at Target. Google has a line of AIY, which are described as “Do-it-yourself artificial intelligence.” The products I saw on sale that day were an intelligent speaker and an intelligent camera.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Ramadan

Before I got my current day job doing administrative work for the executor of his late aunt’s estate, I had done some volunteer work as an assistant facilitator for the Takoma Park, Maryland chapter of Girls Who Code, a nationwide organization that is dedicated to encourage girls to become comfortable with technology so they will feel emboldened to enter computer science and other STEM related fields as women. This chapter met two afternoons a week after school in the computer lab at the Takoma Park Public Library (that’s the one that’s located on the Maryland side of town—there’s another Takoma Park Public Library that’s located on the Washington, DC side and is part of the DC Public Library system).

I ended up having to drop out when I had a serious car problem earlier this year (the brakes died and I couldn’t afford to get them repaired immediately) followed by getting my current day job. I helped with editing this video about what the girls did during their time with Girls Who Code. (Other people had shot video footage and photos.)

The video that I edited was shown during the graduation ceremony that was held last week. Unfortunately I had to miss it because of my day job but the ceremony was initially live-streamed over the Internet and it’s now archived on YouTube.

I recently wrote a new article on LinkedIn Pulse about my experience with Girls Who Code called “How I’ve Personally Seen Girls Who Code Change Lives,” which you can read right here.

Ramadan

A look at the digital ruins of a forgotten future called Second Life.

U.S. mints coins for Donald Trump-Kim Jong Un summit that might not happen.

Fewer tourists are coming to the U.S. and experts say that it’s largely Trump’s fault.

Barbie “Shero” doll with a hijab honors Olympian Ibtihaj Muhammad.

Martin Luther King may have been killed by a Memphis police officer, not James Earl Ray.

How white Americans used lynchings to terrorize and control black people.

Laminated jewelry crafted from vintage books by Jeremy May.

A look at the guerrilla grafting movement—secretly grafting fruit-bearing trees onto ornamental city trees in order to feed the poor.

A Princeton sociologist spent 8 years asking rural Americans why they are so pissed off. Hint: It’s not about the economy.

The surprising secret to aging well.

New York City has genetically distinct “uptown” and “downtown” rats.

Why the DNC is fighting WikiLeaks and not Wall Street.

How Australia all but ended gun violence.

83,500 vintage sewing patterns put into online database from Vogue, McCall’s, Butterick, and Simplicity.

Stunning images of pagan costumes worn at winter celebrations around the world.

Watch the illustrated version of “Alice’s Restaurant,” Arlo Guthrie’s Thanksgiving Counterculture Classic.

The bots that are changing politics.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Previous Entries

Categories

Advertisements