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Ramadan

The Gig Economy won’t last because it’s being sued to death.

Fourteen artists proving that Black Americana is real.

How a British artist visualizes the microbiome through handmade embroidery.

Adorable robot friend Kuri can now find its way home to charge.

Hell on wheels: New York City’s subway system as seen in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

Patches available at a jean jacket decorating party hosted by Harper’s Bazaar included ones that were made without permission from the original artists.

What an apple-picking robot means for the future of farm workers.

Meet Valkyrie, NASA’s space robot.

Independent retailers are struggling to survive in Washington, DC.

A look at a 2,000 year old computer called the Antikythera Mechanism.

Five obscure anime you should definitely check out.

San Francisco tries to ban delivery robots before they become a public safety hazard.

49 photography blogs worth following.

Man who struggled with Photoshop decided to spend 10 years mastering Microsoft Paint to illustrate his book.

FilmNation ventures into animation with sci-fi reimagining of Charlie Chaplin’s The Kid.

This open source AI voice assistant is challenging Siri and Alexa for market superiority.

Why open source AI voice assistants pose little threat to Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri.

10 photography tricks you can do at home without having to use expensive camera equipment.

Plush sports-doll maker Bleacher Creatures files for bankruptcy.

The Internet isn’t killing shopping malls—other malls are.

NBCUniversal is buying the DIY craft tutorial site Craftsy.

Phony WordPress domain steals cookies to fool web admins.

Infertile mice with 3D-printed ovaries successfully give birth.

I recently attended the Gateway Arts Open Studio Tour that went up Route 1 from Mount Rainier all the way up to Hyattsville. The last few times I went on this tour I didn’t go beyond Mount Rainier because I didn’t arrive until late in the day. This time I made every effort to arrive at the official noon starting time but I still didn’t go beyond Mount Rainier. It’s because there were so many things to see in Mount Rainier. (LOL!)

I began my tour at Marsha Stein’s art studio. Here are a few outside shots outside her studio.

Gateway Arts Open Studio Tour

Gateway Arts Open Studio Tour

Marsha’s art studio also doubles as her apartment. I checked out her paintings for a few minutes before I moved on. While I was on my way to my next destination I took a picture of some of the decorative relief trim that one can find in downtown Mount Rainier.

Nice Stonework

Next I went to the Gateway Media Arts Lab, a recently opened place that has five creative communications entrepreneurs who do things like graphic design, videos, and storytelling.

Gateway Media Arts Lab

Gateway Media Arts Lab

I moved on to ReCreative Spaces where I took the next few photographs.

ReCreative Spaces

ReCreative Spaces

ReCreative Spaces

ReCreative Spaces

While I was looking at the official map I saw that there was a home located a few blocks away where Joe Brewer has his own personal arcade in the basement. Here’s a couple of exterior shots of his home, which is typical of the type of home one can find in Mount Rainier.

Brewer's Arcade

Only this sign gave away that there is more to this home than meets the eye.

Brewer's Arcade

Joe Brewer frequently purchases and fixes up vintage pinball and arcade video games. Going into the basement is such a throwback to my high school and college years when I used to spend my spare time and a lot of quarters playing these machines.

Brewer's Arcade

Brewer's Arcade

Brewer's Arcade

Brewer's Arcade

Brewer's Arcade

Brewer's Arcade

He offered free beverages, which included Crystal Pepsi. I wrote about seeing that beverage in a store late last year and I wrote about my less-than-fond memories of the one time I tried drinking it in the 1990’s. I tried Crystal Pepsi again at Joe’s home and I have to admit that it tastes way better than the last time I tried it. But I still prefer the darker version of Pepsi over Crystal Pepsi.

Brewer's Arcade

Here’s some charming string art that I found in the bathroom that includes a map of the U.S. and a famous quote by J.R.R. Tolkien.

Brewer's Arcade

I’ll admit that I spent the largest chunk of my time playing those video games and pinball machines. (The fact that they were all on free play made it tempting for me to stay a long while. LOL!) I got back in my car and drove to Joe Hicks Ceramics, which is a studio that’s operated in the basement of this home.

Joe Hicks

Joe Hicks had a lot of really nice ceramics on sale.

Joe Hicks

Joe Hicks

Joe Hicks

I went to the nearby Washington Glass School where I found a lot of interesting artwork that were all made from glass.

Washington Glass School

Washington Glass School

Washington Glass School

Washington Glass School

Washington Glass School

Washington Glass School

By that point the official end of the Open Studio Tour was soon approaching so I went to the Otis Street Arts Project, which is located next door to the Washington Glass School.

Otis Street Arts Project

Otis Street Arts Project

Otis Street Arts Project

Otis Street Arts Project

Otis Street Arts Project

Otis Street Arts Project

Otis Street Arts Project

Otis Street Arts Project

Otis Street Arts Project

Otis Street Arts Project

I was going through my hard drive when I found some photos I took in Takoma Park last summer. They focused on some of the newer art installations that were set up around town recently. I found them to be quite creative and imaginative.

There’s this S & A Beads store window, which had its own commentary on last year’s presidential campaign.

I headed to Dupont Circle to check out Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School at the Bier Baron in Washington, DC. Usually I would get to Dupont Circle by taking the Green Line Metro from the Greenbelt station, transfer to the Red Line at the Fort Totten station then taking that train the rest of the way to the Dupont Circle station. This particular Sunday the Greenbelt station was closed because Metro was doing this month-long Safe Track work and it was offering shuttle buses as a substitute.

Rather than dealing with shuttle buses, I decided to go from Sunday service at my church and drive to the Silver Spring Metro station because it’s on the Red Line (plus I wouldn’t have to do any transfers). It also gave me an opportunity to take a few photographs of this charming penguin mural that was recently erected outside the station.

A homeless person’s belongings sit across from the penguins wall mural.

Once I arrived in downtown Washington, DC I saw this dog sticking its head outside the window of a car that was driving through Dupont Circle.

Here’s a welcoming sign that was posted in the window of Second Story Books.

The next few photos show the window display at 1 West Dupont Circle Wines & Liquors, including Absolute Vodka in a rainbow bottle and a few skull-shaped decanters.

I found this interesting relief outside one of the buildings in Dupont Circle.

I eventually made my way to the Bier Baron where Dr. Sketchy’s was held. The model for this event was a burlesque performer named Candy del Rio. Some of the drawings in this post are definitely NSFW.

There was only one contest during this event, which I took part in. The theme was science (in a nod to the March For Science, which was held in Washington, DC the day before.) I decided to go for science fiction and incorporate the movie Jurassic Park and dinosaurs.

I won that contest and my prize was a drink of my choice from the bar. I chose a hard cider that made me a bit loopy. (Fortunately I had taken the Metro so I was pretty much sober by the time I reached my car at the Silver Spring Metro station.)

I did a couple more drawings of Candy del Rio before the event ended.

I took a few more photographs after I left Dr. Sketchy’s and the Bier Baron starting with this window display.

I really love this building with the red brick. This one houses the Portuguese Embassy.

I’ll end this post with yet another dog sticking its head outside the window of a car.

Turn your smartphone into a hologram projector using everyday items.

Tips on how to use emojis correctly and in a professional way as part of your marketing campaign.

Is American retail at a historic tipping point?

Artist crafts classic Stephen King-style book covers for classic songs.

3D printing replicates body parts.

Japan’s largest anime store opens up to international shoppers, but there’s a catch.

Eight things no one tells you before you become a YouTube sensation.

Apple’s most powerful computer in years will be in stores by Christmas.

Facebook releases several new open source tools for video and virtual reality.

How one writer became disappointed by Patreon.

Twitter has a serious problem with bots.

The truth about succeeding in business with your husband.

3D printed cars are the future. But are they safe?

Is multimedia journalism the way forward?

Streamers flock to YouTube Live, but the money (and crowd) is still at Twitch.

Find out if a robot will take your job.

Too many dolls: Is American Girl overextending itself?

PBS travel guru Rick Stevens sacrifices $4 million nest egg to house dozens of homeless women and kids.

Why photography is such a difficult business to get into.

You can now 3D print a tiny pretzel made of glass.

You can now live stream to YouTube from your phone if you have at least 1,000 subscribers.

Microsoft lets users access accounts without passwords.

Robots will soon become our children’s tutors. Here’s why that’s a good thing.

How Android smartphone users can stop Google from tracking your every move with its Google Timeline feature.

Nazi-looted art claim sets new test for Germany.

L.O.L. Surprise is the top selling doll for the past five months with over 2.5 million sold.

Adult animation brings more approachable culture to traditional TV.

How YouTube’s shifting algorithms hurt independent media.

Woman makes spectacular PowerPoint presentation persuading man to date her.

Software audit highlights major security weakness across all open source software.

How to make your kid’s art last forever without cluttering up your home.

The controversial My Friend Cayla doll have been banned in Germany. Parents must either destroy their child’s doll or face a fine of roughly $26,500 and two years in prison.

For animators looking to get into video games, there is a growing community just for them.

Where YouTube went wrong.

Six things you should never store on your work computer.

Why open source pharma is the path to both new and cheaper medicines.

This is the fourth year that a maker event took place in Greenbelt, Maryland. (It used to be known as the Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire until this year, when the organizers decided against renewing the license with Make magazine, which holds the rights to the name “Maker Faire”. One of the reasons I heard is that the organizers of this event has always insisted on it being a non-commercial, non-profit community event which is the opposite of most Maker Faire events, which tend to have all kinds of corporate sponsorships.) After sitting out last year, I decided to return as a participating vendor with my own table.

Makerspace 125 is the main spearheader of this event. This is what it looked like on that day all decked out in balloons and hoops wrapped with yarn.

Greenbelt #Maker Festival in Greenbelt, Maryland, April 15, 2017.

Greenbelt #Maker Festival in Greenbelt, Maryland, April 15, 2017.

Greenbelt #Maker Festival in Greenbelt, Maryland, April 15, 2017.

Greenbelt #Maker Festival in Greenbelt, Maryland, April 15, 2017.

Greenbelt #Maker Festival in Greenbelt, Maryland, April 15, 2017.

Greenbelt #Maker Festival in Greenbelt, Maryland, April 15, 2017.

Someone draped the nearby Mother and Child statue with long strings of beads.

Greenbelt Maker Festival 2017

Here is my vending area at this year’s event.

Greenbelt Maker Festival 2017

A few days earlier I created a video slideshow of my sketchbook drawings I made over the years (I only admitted the ones that depicted partial or full nudity because this festival is an all-ages family-friendly event). I made a little brochure explaining about myself. I also offered free Oreo cookies.

Greenbelt Maker Festival 2017

This section shows the comic book coasters I made by cutting up the comic book collection that my ex-husband left behind. (I attempted to sell them but comic books are worth squat these days, especially if they were published after 1985.) I first debuted them at the 2015 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire and I still had a few left mainly because I haven’t worked as many art shows and craft fairs in recent years as before the economic meltdown of 2008.

Greenbelt Maker Festival 2017

Greenbelt Maker Festival 2017

Last, but not least, here is my Barbie doll section.

Greenbelt Maker Festival 2017

The one in the front is the Barbie that I customized into the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl (which I also documented in my four-part DIY video series).

Greenbelt Maker Festival 2017

The three other dolls in the back are ones I originally found in thrift stores and I converted them into fairy dolls.

Greenbelt Maker Festival 2017

Since this event took place the day before Easter Sunday, there were plenty of eggs on display this year.

Greenbelt #Maker Festival in Greenbelt, Maryland, April 15, 2017.

Greenbelt #Maker Festival in Greenbelt, Maryland, April 15, 2017.

Greenbelt #Maker Festival in Greenbelt, Maryland, April 15, 2017.

Here are my photos of the rest of the festival. The day started off cloudy and cool but then the sun came out and it got progressively hotter until I took off my hooded sweatshirt and just walked around in a t-shirt instead. The cream in the middle of the Oreo cookies I was giving away started to ooze from the middle of each cookie. (I ultimately had to put the entire pack in the refrigerator when I returned home.)

Greenbelt Maker Festival 2017

Greenbelt Maker Festival 2017

Greenbelt #Maker Festival in Greenbelt, Maryland, April 15, 2017.

Greenbelt #Maker Festival in Greenbelt, Maryland, April 15, 2017.

Greenbelt Maker Festival 2017

Greenbelt Maker Festival 2017

Greenbelt Maker Festival 2017

Greenbelt Maker Festival 2017

Greenbelt Maker Festival 2017

Greenbelt Maker Festival 2017

Greenbelt Maker Festival 2017

Greenbelt #Maker Festival in Greenbelt, Maryland, April 15, 2017.

Greenbelt #Maker Festival in Greenbelt, Maryland, April 15, 2017.

Greenbelt #Maker Festival in Greenbelt, Maryland, April 15, 2017.

Greenbelt Maker Festival 2017

Greenbelt Maker Festival 2017

Greenbelt Maker Festival 2017

Greenbelt Maker Festival 2017

Greenbelt Maker Festival 2017

Greenbelt Maker Festival 2017

2017 Greenbelt Maker Festival

2017 Greenbelt Maker Festival

2017 Greenbelt Maker Festival

2017 Greenbelt Maker Festival

2017 Greenbelt Maker Festival

2017 Greenbelt Maker Festival

2017 Greenbelt Maker Festival

2017 Greenbelt Maker Festival

2017 Greenbelt Maker Festival

2017 Greenbelt Maker Festival

2017 Greenbelt Maker Festival

2017 Greenbelt Maker Festival

2017 Greenbelt Maker Festival

2017 Greenbelt Maker Festival

2017 Greenbelt Maker Festival

2017 Greenbelt Maker Festival

2017 Greenbelt Maker Festival

2017 Greenbelt Maker Festival

2017 Greenbelt Maker Festival

2017 Greenbelt Maker Festival

2017 Greenbelt Maker Festival

2017 Greenbelt Maker Festival

2017 Greenbelt Maker Festival

2017 Greenbelt Maker Festival

2017 Greenbelt Maker Festival

Even though the weather was ideal, the event drew a smaller crowd this year than in previous years. I have a feeling that the fact that this event was scheduled on the day before Easter had something to do with it. I only made a total of $25 in sales throughout the entire six-hour event. I was sort of disappointed because I really wanted to get rid of some excess crafts that have been stored in my home for the past few years while earning extra money. Oh well. At least I got to see a lot of my friends at this event so that’s something.

I also shot a short video of some parts of the festival, which you can view below.

I was in Laurel because I was attending a morning workshop on the gig economy and how one can tap into and even thrive financially. It was a very well-attended workshop and I got a lot out of it. After the workshop ended at noon I decided to just stay in Laurel and make a full day of it. It was a sunny and warm spring day and I just wanted to decompress from that workshop. So I went to the nearby Giant where I purchased a sandwich, diet soda, and a few other lunch items, and drove to Riverfront Park. I ate my lunch outside on a park bench as I savored the natural beauty that was all around me. I also took a few photos while I was there.

The next shot was of the bathroom in Riverfront Park. While I thought the wall mural was intriguing, I was a little bit too grossed out by the toilet to actually use it.

I walked around the historic Main Street district, where I took a few more photos.

The front windows of Rainbow Florist was decorated for the upcoming Easter holiday.

Here’s the bull statue that’s located outside the entrance to the Laurel Meat Market.

One of the storefronts has a mural depicting the history of Laurel.

I really like the look of the building that houses the Laurel Post Office.

Here’s a sign announcing a new business that will soon open on Main Street.

I love this vintage ornate mailbox.

A family of sparrows have built a nest in a ledge overlooking The Crystal Fox store. I haven’t seen any baby birds in that nest but I’m sure they will come soon.

The next two photos show The Crystal Fox store windows.

Outback Leather specializes in selling horse saddles and other horse-related items (which makes sense since the Laurel Racetrack is located just a mile or two away).

I took one last picture before I left for home.

Happy Earth Day! Here are some links for you to enjoy! 🙂

Donald Trump’s modeling agency is on the verge of collapse, say industry insiders. It will be the latest in a line of failed ventures like the Trump Taj Mahal, Trump Steaks, and Trump Vodka.

The original sculptor of the Charging Bull statue on Wall Street says that the Fearless Girl statue facing his statue distorts his work so much that he is considering filing a lawsuit.

Cannabis industry attracts more mainstream investors as business grows.

A mass-market shoe with 3D-printed midsoles is coming soon.

Eight-year-old boy learns to drive on YouTube then takes his little sister on a joyride to McDonald’s.

Microsoft Office vulnerabilities mean that no .doc is safe.

You’ll be working with robots sooner than you think.

Are you a photographer who needs a light box but you are currently short on cash? Here’s a video showing how you can make your own light box for less than $10.

Google’s new AutoDraw web-based drawing tool is a better artist than you.

It may be time to say farewell to the Pentax camera as Ricoh shrinks its camera business.

Chinese doctors use 3D printing to prepare for facial reconstruction surgery.

Microsoft to offer self-service refund for digital games.

How to stop Microsoft Office hackers from stealing your bank account.

12 ways to study a new programming language.

How Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, and Warren Buffet adhere to the Five-Hour Rule where they set aside at least one hour a day (or five hours a week) devoted to such practices as reading, reflection, and experimentation.

Exiles from the war-torn areas of Syria, Palestine, and Afghanistan form a theater troupe in Germany.

Why Kickstarter decided to radically transform its business model.

How Steve Bannon’s multimedia machine drove a movement and paid him millions.

Microsoft will unveil the most powerful gaming console it has ever made on June 11.

Beware of “drive-by” computer scam.

Fake SEO plugin used in WordPress malware attacks.

Yes, some businesses still run Microsoft’s much-maligned Windows Vista.

Ohio inmates built and hid computers in prison using recycled electronic parts.

Dear Microsoft, stop blaming girls for not pursuing STEM careers.

Artist Hasan Elahi discusses racism in the digital art world.

Take a weirdly hypnotizing tour of America’s dying malls.

According to a recent survey, British women said that they prefer knitting to sex to help them relax from stress.

For photographers on a very tight budget, here’s a video showing how you can make your own DIY photography studio in your own home.

Disney files patents to bring humanoid robots to its theme parks.

Gizmodo reports on why people still use Microsoft Word.

Disney launching new animated Star Wars series on YouTube.

Black girls have been playing with white dolls for a long time.

Paper horror houses (including the Bates Motel) that you can download, print, and build for free.

Easter

Passover

Last month I wrote a post after I learned that The Washington Post was no longer running its annual Peeps diorama contest. The editor of the alternative weekly Washington City Paper hinted on Twitter that her paper may pick up the mantle while providing an email address for inquiries. From there it snowballed into a new Peeps diorama contest. Today is Easter Sunday so The Washington City Paper announced the winners of its first Peeps diorama contest on its website. I have to admit that everyone involved did very well on such a short notice.

One fringe benefit of the City Paper reviving that contest is that my 2013 rant on A Warning for Those Who Intend to Enter This Year’s Peeps Diorama Contest has once again risen to the top five most-read posts in my blog. It’s too soon to tell whether The Washington City Paper will run this contest again next year although I have a hunch that it’s highly likely that there will be one in 2018. Even though a different publication is now running the Peeps diorama contest, it still wouldn’t hurt to read my original rant because some points I raised in it still applies to that contest.

In any case, here are the winners of The Washington City Paper‘s Peeps Diorama Contest. If you want to view the winners in person, you can travel to the Peeps store located at National Harbor (which had been running a separate unrelated Peeps diorama contest as a tie-in with its #ThisIsHowYouHarbor social media campaign but also decided to team up with The Washington City Paper as a partner for the resurrected Peeps diorama contest).

Passover

There’s no glory in overworking. It’s just imminent burnout.

Tesla is now worth more than Ford and Elon Musk is already rubbing it in to everyone who ever doubted him.

14 stunning embroidery Instagrams.

Magic moments marking 170 years of British photography.

A Singapore man who lives with more than 9,000 Barbie dolls.

YouTube will now block ads on channels with under 10,000 views.

This robot will literally make you a salad.

A beginner’s guide to microblogging on Mastodon, the open source alternative to Twitter.

An interesting story on how writing on Medium each week has changed one woman’s life.

A 27-year-old entrepreneur talks about how he launched a seven-figure snack business in 18 months.

3D knitting brings tech to your sweaters—for a price.

There’s more to tech stock photography than hokey gold bitcoins.

3D printing in-store is very close and retailers need to address it.

A comparison of six free web-based SVG editors.

Nine anime things that Astro Boy did first.

Chinese man “marries” sex robot he built for himself after he failed to find a girlfriend.

Seven integral WordPress plug-ins.

White toddler girl defends her choice of a black doll to a cashier at Target.

Animated vloggers like Kizuna Ai could be the future of YouTube.

Chobani founder, who immigrated to the U.S. from Turkey, stands by hiring refugees.

Brands see the future of fashion in customized 3D-knitted garments produced while you wait.

3D printing: Don’t believe all of the hype.

Five free graphic design tools.

Top 10 WordPress plugins for business sites in 2017.

Hollywood’s whitewashed version of anime never sells.

New robots just want to be your child’s best friend.

How to make a coin sorting machine from cardboard.

How Harvard Business School has advocated the propagation of immoral profit strategies.

Photos showing 100 years of people knitting.

Talking bendable Justin Trudeau doll for sale.

WordPress for Google Docs lets multiple users collaborate on content in real-time.

Six of the most innovative 3D printing companies.

GIMP is crowdfunding critical updates like high bit depth and layer effects.

This man makes amazing surreal animations from famous artwork.

Open Collective is a GoFundMe-like service for open source projects.

Philadelphia museum showing glass bongs as high art. The museum’s directors say that this exhibit is less about potheads and more about allowing an underground community of artists to showcase their work without fear of being stigmatized or prosecuted.

A look at one crafter who renders pop culture figures in embroidery.

Knitted knockers for breast cancer survivors.

A girl who lost her eye to cancer got the best lookalike doll.

Adobe is currently developing AI that turns selfies into self-portraits.

60 free and easy Easter crafts to make for this holiday weekend.

Improvisation is the heart of Cuban animation.

Researchers are working on robots that can monitor and care for the elderly, such as the animal-like MiRo.

As the ballerina moves, this robot paints the dance.

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