Santa Claus

Since late September I’ve been spending each Tuesday waking up at the crack of dawn so I could drive around the notoriously slow and clogged Capital Beltway so I could arrive at Bethesda by 8:15 a.m. I was working a part-time temp job that lasted only one hour per week. December 8 was the last day that I had to show up for the job. Without going into too many details, I’m just going to say that it was the kind of job where I basically liked it because it actually utilized my knowledge of digital photography and I also liked my co-worker. The downside is that there was so much behind-the-scenes drama involving the organization we both contracted for that we really weren’t able to do as an effective job as we could’ve done. On top of it, I didn’t get my first paycheck from the organization until after we were working for 8 weeks and the breakdown was that I got paid for little more than $5.93 per hour. That crappy paycheck was the last straw for me (the gas money alone ate up the majority of my paycheck) and I’ve decided not to accept any further work from that organization. (If I hadn’t foolishly signed a contract on my first day at that job requiring me to stay in the job until it officially ended on December 8 or I got fired—whichever came first—I would’ve quit long before my job officially ended.)

Since it was a warm and pleasant December day I decided to have a little fun after my job officially ended forever. I looked up the Roadside America website and I decided to check out a couple of off-beat places that were located in nearby Rockville since I was in the area anyway.

First I checked out something called the Museum of Outdated Technology, which is located inside the MCHS Thrift Store, which is a fundraiser for the Montgomery County Humane Society.

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It took me a while to find the Museum of Outdated Technology. It’s basically located in the very back of the store along a few walls. It was definitely worth the effort because the museum consisted of several shelves full of pop culture kitsch that was released between circa 1950-1990.

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The only thing about the museum is that much of it is obstructed by boxes and counters (such as in the next picture) so it’s difficult to get a close look at much of the items on display. I’m sure it’s done in order to deter people from touching (or even stealing) the items. I wish there was a better way of organizing where the items could be protected while giving people a chance to have a close-up view of them. Putting them behind locked glass cabinets might be a solution.

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Aside from the Museum of Outdated Technology, the MCHS Thrift Store is your typical thrift store where one can purchase a variety of used items—ranging from books to clothes to toys—for a very low price. Plus the proceeds from the thrift shop goes to the Montgomery County Humane Society. Since I went to that store in December, the store had a variety of Christmas decorations for sale like the ones in the picture below.

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There were a variety of items, such as this Chinese language version of the soundtrack from Pinocchio.

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Then there’s this book, which had me thinking what was the publisher thinking when it decided that Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly would make a swell children’s book author.

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Once I left that store, I decided to check out Saint Mary’s Catholic Church, which is the oldest Catholic church in Rockville that’s still in use.

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Outside the entrance to the church’s graveyard was a nativity scene (which was appropriate given the fact that I was at that church in December).

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Here’s a closeup of that nativity scene. The interesting thing is the absence of the baby Jesus lying in a manger. I have a feeling that the church doesn’t include that infant until the days closest to Christmas. It’s similar to what my mother used to do when she used to put up the nativity scene in our home when I was a child. She wouldn’t put out the three wise men until January 6 since, according to tradition, that was when the three kings would finally arrive to the stable to give the baby gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Although she did put out the baby Jesus in the manger while she put up the nativity scene. While the church’s nativity scene didn’t have the baby Jesus but it had the three wise men. Go figure.

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The graveyard lies in the back of the church and one can tell that the church was once a little country church because the office buildings seem to clash with the historic tombstones.

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The graveyard is most famous for being the final resting place of the writer F. Scott Fitzgerald, his wife Zelda, and their only child, nicknamed Scottie (but she’s buried under her full name of Frances Scott Fitzgerald Smith). I previously visited those graves back in 2012. Here is what those graves look like when I took this shot with my Canon DSLR Digital Rebel camera.

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And here are those same graves taken three years later with the camera that’s in my Droid Ultra smartphone.

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You can read the back tombstone much easier in the recent photo than in the earlier photo. This goes to show the great strides that digital photography (especially in smartphones) have taken in recent years. I took some more photos of the Fitzgerald family gravesite, especially since some people left some interesting gifts behind recently.

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The three Fitzgeralds are buried alongside other relatives of F. Scott’s.

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