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I was going to an evening networking event that was scheduled to be held at Dupont Circle. I decided to save money on Metro fares by arriving in the area before the evening rush hour began (when the fares would’ve cost more). Dupont Circle is among my more favorite areas of Washington, DC so I knew I would have plenty of ways of killing time before the networking event began.

I started my visit with touring The Phillips Collection (which I wrote about in my last post). Afterwards I simply walked around the area where I shot these pictures.

I noticed these scooters from Uber and Lyft that were available for rent. I found that Uber and Lyft do more than just provide peer-to-peer ridesharing in cars.

I walked by Kramerbooks & Afterwords where I saw this sign encouraging shoppers to bring their dogs with them inside of the store.

I briefly looked inside of the store where I saw that it had book copies of the recently-released Mueller Report, where Robert Mueller investigated whether Russia interfered into the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election.

Afterwords I walked around by the fountain. Between the warm weather and the increasingly longer days, I saw plenty of people doing things like relaxing and chatting with each other. I even saw one person play his guitar.

After the fountain I walked towards Panera Bread, where I ate dinner. On the way to Panera Bread I decided to check out the Made in DC store.

All of the goods were handmade by DC-area artists. The inventory ranged from clothing to posters to soaps to cards to jewelry. There was even a cafe in the back where you could consume locally-made food and beverages.

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I went to the 15th annual Greenbelt Green Man Festival on Mother’s Day weekend. This year the weather was pretty bad but the festival went on despite that. The first day I arrived early to the festival where I took a few photos.

The 2019 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

The 2019 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

The 2019 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

The 2019 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

The 2019 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

The 2019 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

The 2019 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

The 2019 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

The 2019 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

The 2019 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

The 2019 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

The 2019 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

It was cloudy when I first arrived but after about an hour or so I felt a few raindrops so I ended up going over to the Mental Health Awareness art event that was held indoors in nearby Beltway Plaza (and which I wrote about in my last post).

The next day it really rained and it poured hard at times. I ended up not arriving to the festival until late in the day and that was because I was curious to see if there were many people who came on the second day (which was also Mother’s Day). Many vendors had put up extra plastic around their canopies in order to keep their wares dry. I also saw that many vendors had decided to pack up and leave early. I couldn’t blame them because there were so few people at the festival due to the heavy rain downpour.

The 2019 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

The 2019 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

The 2019 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

The 2019 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

The 2019 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

Many of the schedule performers ended up moving indoors to the nearby New Deal Cafe. Some of the festival-goers also moved indoors.

The 2019 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

The vendor who was selling the official Greenbelt Green Man Festival t-shirts also moved indoors where one table was taken up with t-shirts.

The 2019 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

There was a drumming circle that was scheduled to be held outdoors towards the official end of the festival. That drumming circle was moved to the awning outside of the New Deal Cafe. They had plenty of drums available for people to borrow so I ended up borrowing one and participated in the drumming circle.

The 2019 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

I shot this video covering both days of the festival. It begins with the official opening of the festival, then it moves on to short footage of a hula hooper and a man dancing with his two children. It ends with scenes from the closing drumming circle on the second day. (At times you can see my hand attempting to drum with one hand while holding the smartphone with my other hand.)

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Ramadan

Photographer shoots forest animals like they are professional models.

Condoms that change color in contact with STD win tech award.

Best friends for 60 years learn that they are biological brothers through DNA site.

Black children don’t have Nick Sandmann’s rights.

Richard Branson sank a ship and turned it into a sea-saving monster.

Martin Luther King warned us about the well-intentioned liberal.

Why women must be at the forefront of the technical revolution.

U.S. cities sidestep Trump to embrace the U.N.’s social goals.

The Polish ballerina who shot Nazis on her way to the gas chamber.

Revisiting the horrifically sexist Battleship game cover from 1967.

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Ramadan

Yesterday I wrote about my past projects about Grumpy Cat, who had recently passed away at the age of seven. About a day after I learned about Grumpy Cat’s death, I was hanging around at The Space, the makerspace that’s located inside of Beltway Plaza Mall in Greenbelt, Maryland. I decided to use some of the art supplies that are available for free and did this drawing tribute to the deceased feline.

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Ramadan

Last week I learned that Grumpy Cat passed away. She was only seven years old. Her death was announced on Twitter with this message:

We are unimaginably heartbroken to announce the death of our beloved Grumpy Cat.

Despite care from top professionals, as well as from her loving family, Grumpy encountered complications from a recent urinary tract infection that unfortunately became too tough for her to overcome. She passed away peacefully on the morning of Tuesday, May 14, at home in the arms of her mommy, Tabatha.

Besides being our baby and a cherished member of the family, Grumpy Cat has helped millions of people smile all around the world—even when times were tough.

Her spirit will continue to live on through her fans everywhere.

Grumpy’s Family—Tabatha, Bryan, and Chyrstal

Grumpy Cat’s death was covered by the mainstream media both here in the U.S. and abroad.

Back in 2014 I was teaching myself how to use Inkscape, which is the free open source alternative to Adobe Illustrator. In the process I did some tracing over photos of animals who became Internet celebrities. One was of Boo the World’s Cutest Dog (along with his older brother and best friend Buddy). The other was of Grumpy Cat, which you can see below.

grumpycat

I later uploaded that digital drawing to OpenClipArt.org, where you can download it and use it for free.

Earlier this year Boo passed away and I devoted a Throwback Thursday post to that pooch where I mentioned that Inkscape graphic I did of Boo and Buddy. I never thought that in the same year I would be devoting another Throwback Thursday post to Grumpy Cat while discussing some of the Grumpy Cat-related creative projects I did but that’s the way it goes.

Like Boo, Grumpy Cat also got her start on social media. (Yes, that cat was definitely female.) She was born with feline dwarfism and she had an underbite, both of which contributed to her looking like she had a permanent scowl on her face. When her owners posted her photos online, people soon began using them to create memes, several of which have been posted on Metro News as the 30 most iconic Grumpy Cat memes.

I even did a meme of Grumpy Cat myself back in 2017 when I made fun of the sudden celebrity of Danielle Bregoli (also known as “Bhad Bhabie”) whose defiant retort to Dr. Phil when she appeared as a guest on his TV show went viral: “Cash me outside, how bow dah?” Here is the meme, which I did in Adobe Photoshop.

grumpycatcashmeoutsideparodymeme

I tried uploading the meme to various Facebook and Twitter discussions about Bhad Bhabie but I couldn’t get the meme to take off in a viral way so I gave up after about a week or so of trying.

I also incorporated Grumpy Cat in a drawing I did once. Here is some background. Back in 2013 I went to Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School in Baltimore (link is NSFW) where the model for that evening was a burlesque performer named Lady Satine. I took part in a contest where we had to do a drawing where we incorporated Lady Satine and a cat. So I drew Grumpy Cat protesting “Lady Satine laid on a box I was in once. It was awful!”

Lady Satine and Grumpy Cat, Dr. Sketchy's Anti-Art School, Baltimore, August 12, 2013

My drawing failed to make it to the finals but I still had a blast drawing the two of them together.

Then there was the time when I made a meme that poked fun at Ann Coulter in the wake of her poking fun at then-First Lady Michelle Obama’s efforts to publicize the plight of the 300 Nigerian girls who were kidnapped by a terrorist group Boko Haram. I promptly posted that meme on Twitter.

In the meantime I followed Grumpy Cat on all of the social media sites and I still have a DVD copy of the movie Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever, which I play around the holidays about once a year or so. A couple of years ago I purchased this small stuffed Christmas Grumpy Cat plush that I now display underneath my small Christmas tree during the holidays.

One Halloween I purchased a Grumpy Cat hat from a temporary Halloween store, printed a few sheets of paper that had slogans that one would find in a Grumpy Cat meme and I went to a couple of Halloween parties dressed as Grumpy Cat.

photo69

photo70

photo71

I ended up wearing that hat again just a couple of years later when I participated in the Women’s March on Washington the day after the inauguration of President Donald Trump. The march organizers were putting out the word that people should come to the march wearing knitted pink pussycat hats. I got the word of this march on such short notice that there was no way I could knit something up in less than a week. I ended up taking my Grumpy Cat hat out of storage and wearing that instead.

Women's March on Washington

Women's March on Washington, January 21, 2017

I also wore that hat at the Women’s March the following year.

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

I even read a few issues of the comic book series The Misadventures of Grumpy Cat (And Pokey!). I found the series pretty amusing.

Grumpy Cat was probably one of the few famous felines that I actually liked. I have an allergy to cats so I can never keep one as a pet. As a result, I ended up liking dogs better and I’ve even stayed with a few dogs over the years with no problems. I think Grumpy Cat’s perpetual scowl and the sarcastic memes that her face generated really resonated with me.

Grumpy Cat’s online fame even inspired me to think about an online project that almost became a reality. Back in 2013 I thought about creating a Facebook page for my pet hedgehog Spike because he was incredibly photogenic and I thought that he had a chance at being an Internet celebrity. I felt that the fact that he was a hedgehog instead of the usual dog or cat would only increase his chances of becoming famous. I was going to launch his Facebook page in late November, when most people tend to be home for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. As to whether Spike would’ve ever become as famous as Grumpy Cat is pure speculation now because I was never able to put that plan into action due to the fact that Spike died in September of that year.

Grumpy Cat’s online photos turned into memes led to a bunch of spinoff products that were profitable to her owners but there was also some controversy over her fame. There were accusations that Grumpy Cat’s initial fame stemmed from a meme whose joke was stolen from a comic strip. There were also accusations that Grumpy Cat was being exploited by being forced to make numerous public appearances all over the U.S. and in a few other countries as well. A writer for Jezebel summed up his one and only meeting with Grumpy Cat in person with this headline: I Met Grumpy Cat and It Was Fucking Abysmal.

Since Grumpy Cat is now deceased all of those exploitation allegations are moot. Regardless of how you personally feel about Grumpy Cat’s huge amount of public exposure, she had generated a log of spinoff products in her short life, most of which sold very well. In fact, I saw an article a few days ago that had this headline: Grumpy Cat’s owner is facing a major financial loss—there’s no insurance for pet influencers. There’s no denying that Grumpy Cat’s family will be taking a major financial hit because, for the past few years, they had basically lived off of the revenue that Grumpy Cat generated. In contrast, the owner of the late Boo the World’s Cutest Dog works for Facebook so she had a career to fall back on when her dog died earlier this year. I guess the moral of that story is that if you have a pet who has become a celebrity, always make sure that you have a job or some alternate source of income that’s completely unrelated to your pet because one day your pet will die and your finances could end up in dire straits if you don’t have any contingency plans for that event.

In addition to the hat, DVD, and Christmas plush that I purchased, there were plenty of other Grumpy Cat products I saw on the store shelves and wrote about in this blog over the years. I photographed just some of the ones I saw on store shelves.

Grumpy Cat Stuffed Animal in Store Window

Originally posted on March 29, 2014.

Grumpy Cat Coloring Book

Originally posted on July 1, 2015.

photo8

Originally posted on April 20, 2015.

photo28a

Originally posted on August 12, 2014.

Finally, here’s a photo of two plushies—one is based on Boo and the other is based on Grumpy Cat. And both of them have now crossed that Rainbow Bridge in 2019.

Internet Celebrities as Stuffed Animals

Originally posted on July 28, 2014.

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Ramadan

The day before Easter Sunday I stopped by The Space, a makerspace that’s located in Beltway Plaza Mall in Greenbelt, Maryland. They had plastic eggs available for people to decorate using available markers and I did just that.

Easter Egg

Easter Egg

I drew an Easter Bunny on both sides of the egg. I was invited to take my egg home and I did just that.

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Ramadan

Just a few days before New Year’s Day I managed to get a job where I was working for a government contractor that specializes in making government documents Section 508 compliant (meaning that people with various disabilities have to be able to read and understand the documents just as well as an average person with no disabilities). While some of the work involved remediating already existing documents to make them compliant, a major part of that company’s focus was on teaching people how to use Microsoft Word and Adobe InDesign to make their documents fully accessible by the disabled.

Unfortunately I was laid-off last month because the work had dried up and the business owner had a difficult time getting new work. It’s the residual effect of Donald Trump’s month-long shutdown of the government where the government contractors are now holding on to their funds as much as possible because many of them fear that Trump will do it again.

Back when I was working I took some photos mainly because I wanted to upload them on to my LinkedIn profile. Even though I had signed a non-disclosure form, the photos I took don’t reveal any sensitive information that would get me into legal trouble. I posted some of the photos back in March. Since then I’ve taken some more that should give you an idea of the kind of work that I did.

One of my duties was to copy names and addresses from the business owner’s personal iCloud to MailChimp. She used the MailChimp to send out notices that she was offering new classes and how to sign up for them.

Once we got enough students signed to a certain class, it was time for me to do a few things, such as asking the students if they would be attending class via online or if they would be arriving at the business for lessons. (There were a couple of classes where we had a mix of students who were there in person and students who were attending via the Internet.) I also had to ask the online students for their mailing address in order to send the materials before the class started.

About a few days before a new class would begin it would be time to print out the textbooks. There was a large Okidata printer that was capable of churning out enough pages for a book at a very fast rate. (It would take my own printer a huge part of the day to print a book like that.) One fun fact I learned that each toner cartridge for that printer cost a whopping $800 each. That printer was definitely NOT for printing superficial stuff like emails.

Once the book cover and all of the pages were printed, it was time for me to bind them together into a book. Yes, I learned some bookbinding skill from this job. I used this machine that not only punched holes in the pages but it also helped me to thread them on to a spiral binder clip.

Once the entire book was assembled, all I had to do was to pull the lever on the side and the pages were bound together into a book.

Another fun part of my job was to send the certificates to the students after the classes ended. I went into Adobe InDesign, pulled up the certificate template, selected the correct layers that corresponded to what class a student had taken, typed the student’s name, and added the date I created the certificate. Once I did all that, I exported it out as a .pdf file, emailed the certificate to the student, then make notes on this Microsoft Excel file that had the class rosters that I had sent out the certificate. Below are just two sample certificates where I used bogus names.

The company is a home-based business and there are bird feeders in the backyard. Despite the fact that there are squirrel guards on the feeders, this one squirrel had managed to work around that squirrel guard in order to reach the bird seed. This particular squirrel was able to twist his body in awkward positions in order to reach the bird feeder.

The business owner also owns two dogs. I’ve written about them before but I’ve taken some new photos of the pooches since then. The next two photos are of the male dog named Tequila but he is frequently called Q for short.

The next photo shows Q’s sister, Sadie, who wouldn’t sit still long enough for me to take a decent shot of her.

Here are the two dogs together. I was able to tell them apart because Q has darker fur while Sadie has mostly light brown fur.

Here’s another photo of Q.

And here’s another shot of Sadie.

Here’s an interesting story behind the above photo of Sadie. I posted that picture on to my Instagram account. Not too long after I posted it I got a comment from this company called Paw Sky that basically said:

Hello, we really liked your Instagram and we were wondering if you are interested in modeling our products. Please DM us for more details.

The comment looked like it was addressed to Sadie (especially the part about “if you are interested in modeling our products”) as if Sadie even knows how to read. (LOL!) I checked the website and it looked like it’s an online pet supply store. I still have recent memories of Instagram interactions from scammers like Boho Queen Jewelry and 1340 Art Magazine so, as a precaution, I did a Google search for Paw Sky. I didn’t read too many reviews so it could be that Paw Sky is either a relatively new scamming operation that hasn’t scammed too many people yet or it is a real honest-to-god business and not some scam operation disguised as a pet store. I showed the offer to Sadie’s owner along with Paw Sky’s Instagram account and she decided to decline it because, based on what I saw on Instagram, it looks like the company specializes in dog clothes and she’s not into dressing up her dogs in cute costumes.

Now that I’ve been laid off I have to admit that there are things about the job that I miss (besides the paycheck), such as seeing Sadie and Q. But I still have the memories and the photos from my time there so that’s something.

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Ramadan

Last month I decided to make my first trip to Tyson’s Corner Mall of 2019. As I was walking the skybridge from the Metro station to the mall I took this shot of the painted roadways outside of that mall.

As I was walking towards Metro Plaza on the way to the mall I saw this family where the women were all wearing traditional Muslim dress (like hijabs). These days there have been an increase in anti-Islamic bias (which has definitely accelerated since Donald Trump became president). It’s a testament to the resilience of this country when there are still people who are willing to publicly wear traditional outfits despite the Islamophobia that’s swirling around in this country.

I went inside of the mall. I briefly stopped by The Microsoft Store where I saw this kid testing out the Xbox.

I walked past this store called Aēsop that I hadn’t seen before on previous visits. At first I thought it might be a bookstore since the name reminded me of how I used to love reading Aesop’s Fables as a child. But, no, it’s a skin care place that sells expensive lotions. The store provided free samples of its hand cream outside of the door.

Of course I stopped by the American Girl Place. I saw that they had some new outfits for Nanea Mitchell, who’s the historical 1941 doll who lives in Hawaii around the time of the Pearl Harbor bombing.

The historical 1970s doll, Julie Albright, has some basketball-related accessories, which is appropriate since she managed to integrate the formerly all-male basketball team at her school. This also brought back memories of when I did that multiple-part review series of her books a few years ago.

I noticed one thing that has changed in recent years. There was a time when the Girl of the Year doll would be released on January 1 then officially retired on December 31 so she would be available for only one year. Last year I noticed that they extended the 2017 Girl of the Year, Gabriela McBride, a few months past the end of 2017 and she wasn’t retired until well into 2018. I noticed that they’ve done the same with the 2018 Girl of the Year, Luciana Vega. So, as of this writing, it’s not too late for anyone to buy her or her accessories.

I have already written extensively about Luciana last year so I’m not going to devote more space to her this time around.

As for this year’s Girl of the Year, well that’s a different story. The latest Girl of the Year is Blaire Wilson, who’s described as a girl whose family runs a farm that also serves as a bed and breakfast. She loves to cook yet has been diagnosed as lactose-intolerant. You can learn more about her story right here.

I find Blaire to be very cute and I totally adore her long reddish hair.

If it weren’t for the $115 price tag and the fact that I don’t have infinite space in my home, I might have been tempted to buy her on impulse. But I’m cash-strapped and have to make a great effort to keep clutter to a minimum so I’m going to have to pass on her. I like the illustration on the cover of her book below. Heck, I might check the book out of the local library at some later date but reading it is not really a major priority in my life.

Blaire has a variety of outfits that are sold separately with prices starting at $30. There are some matching human children’s clothing as well so young girls and their Blair dolls can dress alike.

Since Blaire lives on a farm, there are plenty of farm-related accessories sold separately, including animals. Blaire’s Garden, which is shown below, can be yours for only $50.

There is Blaire’s Party Décor, which costs $85. I have to admit that the cake looks very realistic.

The store currently has a Blaire-themed display where people can have their pictures taken.

The largest item in Blaire’s line is Blaire’s Family Farm Restaurant, which costs a whopping $300.

This set includes plastic pretend food, which looks very realistic.

This set does have very tiny details that are reminiscent of another item that American Girl Place sold back in 2015. It was sold in conjunction with Grace Thomas (who was the Girl of the Year at the time) and it was called Grace’s French Bakery. It was a $500 bakery set that had all kinds of bells and whistles. Blaire’s Family Farm Restaurant has only slightly fewer bells and whistles than Grace’s French Bakery (which explains why it is $200 cheaper) but the details are nonetheless still impressive, such as this sink, which has a tiny bottle of dishwashing liquid.

Here is how one of the plates from that set fits into my hand.

American Girl is also selling more and more boy dolls as part of its Truly Me line. To be honest, the boy dolls don’t really impress me too much, especially with that $115 price tag.

Here’s a last shot of two Truly Me dolls in a pretend pool. I briefly went gaga over the inflatable unicorn ring but, to be honest, anything from American Girl is definitely out of my budget right now.


Another place that is also out of my budget is this place called Sawadika Ice Cream, which specializes in creating Asian-style ice cream that looks incredibly artistic to look at. I took a free sample and the ice cream tasted fantastic. But I had to reluctantly pass on it because of finances.

I went to that mall before Easter. It’s normal to see Peeps in the stores. It’s also normal to see the Easter Bunny at the mall waiting to talk to kids and have his picture taken with them. This was the first time I saw the two combine to a special Peeps Easter Bunny area where kids can gaze at this Peeps-themed spring garden and have their photos taken with the Easter Bunny. That area was so colorful that it looked like a cross between the old board game Candyland. and the 1970s children’s television series H.R. Putnstuf.

I came upon this kiosk that sold something called Bliss in a Bottle. The idea is that a bottle of wine is dipped into chocolate so the bottle is coated in chocolate. The person would drink wine while eating the chocolate coating at the same time. It looks so totally decadent but it’s completely out of my price range.

I checked out The LEGO Store where I saw that they now have a LEGO set based on The Flintstones. Wow! I remember when I used to watch reruns of that show every day on TV when I was growing up.

They also had a black-and-white set based on the Mickey Mouse cartoon short Steamboat Willie, which looked pretty awesome!

They also had this statue made completely out of LEGO bricks that depicted a man dressed in a shark costume.

For dinner I treated myself to a sushi meal at Wasabi. I love seeing the food delivered on a conveyor belt and all you have to do is pick the food plate that you want to eat. The food was excellent as usual. The price is a bit on the expensive side (I spent $30 that night) so I limit myself to going there only once or twice a year. I had a job until I was laid-off recently so I felt that I was entitled to have one nice meal before I tighten my belt and start being obsessive about spending as little money as possible. If things improve for me financially I might go to Wasabi one more time in the fall or winter. Otherwise, I’ll have to savor memories of that meal until 2020 at the earliest.

After dinner I went to GameStop where I saw this mashup of Funko Pop and Pez that resulted in this unique head based on Sonic the Hedgehog.

I saw this giant sign announcing that 7Eleven is going to move into the mall soon.

I briefly stopped in The Disney Store where I saw these cute Easter plushies featuring Stitch and Angel dressed as Easter Bunnies while holding smaller plushies like a lamb and a chick. How cute!

The most unusual thing I saw at Tyson’s Corner was this sheep statue that had LED lights in various colors.

This sign was encouraging people to hop on the sheep’s back. After I took these photos, I saw a guy who did just that while taking a selfie.

The name of this statue was called iSheep and it was partially funded by the Burning Man, which is that annual festival that is held in the Nevada desert.

There were signs encouraging people to follow sheep tracks that began near the iSheep statue.

The tracks ended at this locked storefront that was called BrandBox. The doors were locked so I had to make do with taking these photos.

I later looked online and saw that BrandBox is a store where certain items that are usually available online only are available for sale on the store shelves. I guess this place is only opened on the weekends since I went to Tyson’s Corner on a Tuesday. I generally prefer to go to Tyson’s Corner either on a weekday or on a Sunday because that place turns into a totally crowded zoo on Fridays and Saturdays. Okay so there is one disadvantage of going to Tyson’s Corner on a weekday. LOL!

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Ramadan

The resurrection of an obscure, niche vinyl format: The 3-inch record.

Autographed Trump hats and books sold on his website were signed by a machine.

Willie Nelson rescued 70 horses from a slaughterhouse and let them roam free on his ranch.

These CEOs make 1,000 times more than their employees.

At just 21, Iddris Sandu is the tech genius behind Uber, Instagram, and Snapchat.

Uber and Lyft drivers say riders are paying more for price surges but drivers aren’t receiving extra pay.

Giving generative art its due.

A billion dollars can be raised in two days for Notre Dame while poverty and starvation is ignored.

The healing power of gardens.

The antitrust case against Facebook: a turning point in the debate over Big Tech and monopoly.

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Ramadan

The annual Sakura Matsuri street festival in Washington, DC is one of the last major events that is held as part of the National Cherry Blossom Festival. The festival is usually held in the Federal Triangle area (such as the one in 2015). Except when I last attended two years ago, the festival was moved to the Navy Yard.

This year the festival has been moved back to its original location in Federal Triangle. On my way to the festival I saw tourists taking selfies outside of the Trump International Hotel, which had me rolling my eyes. (LOL!)

Selfies at the Trump International Hotel

I arrived at the festival and it was as I remembered from the last time I went in 2017. There were cosplayers dressed in various costumes, a variety of Japanese imported goods available for sale, a variety of performances and demonstrations. The admission fee is now $10 per person. (I remember when this festival used to be free years ago. Then they decided to turn it into a paid event and charge $5 per person. Now the prices are higher.) Here are some photos and videos I shot at this event.

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

I shot this video of Ai’s Sakura Band, which is led by a Japanese pianist, composer, and arranger named Ai Yamashita. This group played traditional Japanese music that celebrated sakura (the Japanese word for “cherry blossom”).

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Here are a couple of photos of me standing next to the sign featuring that cute cartoon blob.

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

There was this table selling wooden chopsticks with geek sayings on them. Having seen Guardians of the Galaxy, I laughed at the chopsticks that said “I was Groot.”

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

At one point I went over to the science area of the festival where I briefly petted this baby seal robot with one hand and shot this video with the other.

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

The next couple of photos show the women who represented each of the 50 states and territories who were chosen to be Cherry Blossom Queens and Princesses for 2019.

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

I even shot this short video of the group singing “My Country Tis of Thee.” The lead singer had a very nice voice.

I made my way over to the Wishing Tree where one can write his/her own wish on a piece of paper then hang it on the tree.

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

I ended up writing my own wish. I had to do with my latest job being unsteady. (I work for a government contractor that is currently having a hard time with getting new work because many of the government contracting officers have been spooked by President Donald Trump’s recent month-long shutdown. Apparently many of them are afraid of another shutdown happening again so they are holding on to their funds more than they used to.) I wrote this on my piece of paper: “I wish for financial stability with a well-paying job. I wish my new book sells lots of copies. I’m not asking to be rich.”

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

I would’ve written more about how I only wish to be financially stable and I’m not asking to be rich but I ran out of space on the paper.

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

The next photo shows the only thing that I purchased at the Sakura Matsuri this year: a small dish of vanilla Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

I briefly checked out a calligraphy show where someone did some Japanese calligraphy in ink while music played. Here’s a video I shot of that event.

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

I saw the Yosakoi Dance Project demonstrate their high-energy style of dance. I took a couple of decent shots of the group in action.

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

I also shot this video of the group in action.

At one point the leader of the dance troupe took his young daughter on stage where they briefly chatted. She looked so adorable in her little kimono.

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

I continued shooting more pictures of the festival.

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

I shot this video of Japanese singer-songwriter Rie Tamuro, who played her acoustic guitar and sang. She played a mellow folk style of music. I thought she was quite talented.

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

The last video I shot was of the Japanese alternative rock band LUST. The group’s music reminded me of what I used to hear from the Seattle grunge rock scene of the 1990s.

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

The last photo I shot at the festival featured a group of people doing the traditional Japanese bow, which was appropriate since in Japan people bow to each other when they are arriving and leaving.

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

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