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I saw an ad on Facebook announcing a new multi-day conference in downtown DC called We DC Fest. Since the admission was free, I decided to check out the first day, even though I’m still financially struggling and the fares to ride the Metro subway keep on rising higher. The event was supposed to offer networking opportunities and I felt that it wouldn’t hurt for me to expand my circle of friends and acquaintances.

The bulk of the first day’s activities took place in the National Building Museum. Since it’s located near Chinatown, I decided to stop off at the It’s Sugar store located in Chinatown on the way and pick up this pack of Canadian chocolate candy known as Sixlets. I ate it while I was at We DC Fest and I found the candy to be quite tasty.

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

The first day of We DC Fest took place inside of the National Building Museum. Even though it was late September, the weather was very hot and humid and I remember the highs reaching the 90s. I was so glad when I arrived at that museum because at least it had air conditioning.

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

The next photo showed the stage where all of the day’s panels took place.

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

I was pretty tired from walking in the very hot weather outside so I just sat in the stage area and ate my lunch that I brought with me from home. While I was eating I saw a panel titled “Diversity: less talking, more doing,” which was about how the tech industry in DC needs to include more women and minorities. One of the speakers was a man named Marcus Bullock who founded his own company, Flikshop, which prints people’s social media posts and photos on postcards which can then be sent to friends and family members who are currently in prison. He got the inspiration for starting his company after his own experience with serving eight years in prison for stealing a car. While he was fortunate enough to have his family visit him in prison on a regular basis so he was able to keep up with what’s happening on the outside, not all prisoners were so lucky. What’s more, inmates can’t access social media in jail so they can’t keep up on what their friends and loved ones are doing. His story and company was so fascinating that I got his business card after the panel so I could show it to a couple of people.

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

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The big highlight of We DC Fest was this show featuring arts, crafts, and technology by individuals and companies in the DC area.

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

20180926_132444

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

It wasn’t a bad festival but there weren’t a lot of people who attended so I wasn’t able to do much networking. I wasn’t able to buy any arts and crafts from any of the booths because I’m too broke to do any such impulse purchases at the moment. I ended up skipping the second and third days of the festival because I wasn’t into spending a lot of money on Metro fares only to have nothing panning out for me in terms of networking or meeting new people. It was just as well that I skipped the last two days. This article mentioned that attendance was even lower on the last two days of We DC Fest.

I had learned about We DC Fest through Facebook about a week or two before it began. That same link mentioned that the We DC Fest organizers hope that it’ll turn into another South by Southwest Festival. As someone who attended SXSW back in 1998, I can easily say that We DC Fest has a long ways to go before it could even begin to be compared to SXSW. While We DC Fest focused on technology and local arts and crafts, it was definitely lacking in other areas. SXSW has a film component where aspiring filmmakers show their films in the hopes of landing a movie distribution from one of the studios (who usually send a few executives to Austin each year). We DC Fest does not. SXSW has a music component where aspiring bands perform in the hopes of landing a recording contract. We DC Fest does not.

While I think We DC Fest has potential, it has a long ways to go before it can even begin to touch SXSW in terms of influence.

Day one of We DC Fest had ended at 3 p.m. (which is another reason why it has a long way to go before it can even touch SXSW because SXSW has events that start in the morning and they are scheduled throughout the day and into the wee hours of the following morning). As I stepped outside in the heat and humidity, I decided to make a brief stop at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial where I shot these photos.

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

This next shot shows the lion statues of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in the foreground. The brown pole with the white letter “M” in the background marks the entrance to the Judiciary Square Metro station. (The letter “M” stands for “Metro.”) The large red building located further back is the National Building Museum where We DC Fest was held.

We DC Fest, September 26, 2018

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Like I wrote in a previous blog post, I attended two festivals in one day. The first one was the smaller Greenbelt Blues Festival, which I already wrote about. After attending that festival, I went to the Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, which was a larger event. Here are the photos I took of the event while I was there.

This sign erroneously said that this festival was held on September 10. In reality, it showed up on September 22.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

The festival was well-attended and there were all kinds of arts and crafts on display along with local bands performing. The local craft breweries were selling their craft beers and ales. The weather was warm and pleasant (the humidity was low that day). All in all I had a good time and many of the festival goers also enjoyed themselves as well.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

I only purchased one item at this festival. It’s a small bar of soap made from honey and it has a bee motif on it.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, September 22, 2018

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One Saturday I went to two different festivals on the same day. First, I went to the Greenbelt Blues Festival in Greenbelt, Maryland where I took these photos. Here is the schedule of events that happened during the festival.

Greenbelt Blues Festival in Greenbelt, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

There were plenty of souvenir t-shirts on sale.

Greenbelt Blues Festival in Greenbelt, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

There was a raffle where a lucky person could win this electric guitar. I already have this exact same black and white Fender Stratocaster Squier so I didn’t bother with this raffle.

Greenbelt Blues Festival in Greenbelt, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

There were a few vendor tables where local people offered their services and/or their handmade arts and crafts for sale.

Greenbelt Blues Festival in Greenbelt, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Greenbelt Blues Festival in Greenbelt, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Greenbelt Blues Festival in Greenbelt, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

The festival offered compost bins where people can dump food scraps instead of throwing them in the regular trash.

Greenbelt Blues Festival in Greenbelt, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

This man was playing his recorder at the festival.

Greenbelt Blues Festival in Greenbelt, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

This band was one of the many blues bands who performed that day.

Greenbelt Blues Festival in Greenbelt, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Inside the nearby New Deal Cafe there were a few workshops. I shot this photo while I was waiting for the harmonica workshop to end.

Greenbelt Blues Festival in Greenbelt, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

I sat in on the workshop I was interested in, which was how to play the blues guitar. I brought my acoustic guitar with me to the workshop since it was geared towards acoustic guitars.

Greenbelt Blues Festival in Greenbelt, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

The Greenbelt Makerspace had a bunch of musical instruments that people could borrow and play.

Greenbelt Blues Festival in Greenbelt, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

After spending time at that festival, I went on to another festival in another town, which I’ll write about in a future post.

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I arrived at church with a friend (we were carpooling together) when we saw that it was once again Tye-Dye Sunday. This is an event that’s usually held once a year during the summer. It runs in place of regular Sunday school for the kids while adults have a chance to dye their own shirts once Sunday service ends. Here are a few photos I took at that event.

I had somehow missed the memo about Tye-Dye Sunday so I didn’t bring any blank t-shirts from home. There were a few blank t-shirts lying around but the bulk were too small for me. But then I discovered this one t-shirt that was very stretchy so it could fit me. What’s more, it’s a Michael Kors designer t-shirt. I don’t know who donated that t-shirt. It was a basic blank white shirt that would have been indistinguishable from other white shirts if I hadn’t seen that label.

I took that shirt for myself, tied rubber bands around it, then put it in this vat of purple dye.

I put the shirt in a zip-lock bag then took it home with me. The following day I washed it and it looked okay. While my t-shirt was drying I decided to take a trip to the local mall and I was walking around Jo-Ann’s Fabrics & Crafts. I saw this unicorn iron-on appliqué with a color scheme that would definitely match my newly-dyed Michael Kors t-shirt. I also have the Jo-Ann’s app on my smartphone so I was able to use a coupon and pay just $2.50 for that appliqué. Sweet!

So I ironed that appliqué patch on the t-shirt once it fully dried. Here is the front of the shirt.

The next photo show the back of the t-shirt.

And, last but not least, here’s a selfie of me modeling that t-shirt.

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The release of the movie Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom has unleashed a plethora of dinosaur-related stuff in the stores. Some of them are movie tie-ins while others are just generic dinosaurs that are released to take advantage of the film. For the past few years I’ve posted the occasional dinosaur photo on social media while tagging a friend of mine who’s a total dinosaur freak. Generally I’ve sent those photos once in a while. However, thanks to that movie, I found myself constantly taking new photos, uploading them, and tagging my friend more frequently. Here are photos of just a few of the dinosaur stuff I’ve seen in the stores this summer.

Dinosaurs at Five Below

Dinosaurs at Five Below

Dinosaurs at Five Below

Dinosaurs at Five Below

Dinosaurs at Five Below

Dinosaurs on Sale at Target

Dinosaurs on Sale at Target

Dinosaur Patch

Dinosaur Stuff on Sale at Giant

Dinosaur Stuff on Sale at Giant

Dinosaur Stuff on Sale at Giant

Dinosaur Stuff on Sale at Giant

Dinosaur Stuff on Sale at Giant

Dinosaur Stuff on Sale at Giant

Dinosaur Stuff on Sale at Giant

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I’m old enough to remember a time when if you wanted to purchase anything that was LGBTQ-related in the Washington, DC area, you had to go to the stores located in the heavily LGBTQ areas like Dupont Circle. You could easily forget about going to any store in the suburbs because such things just simply were not put on sale. This definitely includes Pride Month.

My how times have changed! Not only have corporations embraced Pride Month by putting out rainbow stuff but one can easily find rainbow-themed stuff on sale in the stores in the suburbs. What’s even more amazing is that this open observance of Pride Month has continued despite the fact that the Trump Administration is less-than-warm towards LGBTQ people. I kept on seeing rainbow stuff on sale in the suburbs, which is very convenient for those who want to buy rainbow items without having to take the Metro into downtown Washington, DC. I took a few photos but it wasn’t until the last day of Pride Month that I finally got around to uploading them. (I know I can be lame at times. LOL!) So, without further ado, here are some colorful stuff I saw in the suburban stores.

I saw slices of rainbow cake on sale at a local Giant supermarket earlier this month.

Rainbow Cake

But I saw the majority of rainbow-themed stuff on sale at Target.

Rainbow Clothes at Target

Rainbow Clothes on Sale at Target

Rainbow Stuff on Sale at Target

Stuff I Saw on Sale at Target During Pride Month

What I Saw on Sale at Target During Pride Month

What I Saw on Sale at Target During Pride Month

What I Saw on Sale at Target During Pride Month

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Earlier this month I went to this event at the Artist & Craftsman Supply store in Hyattsville where there was a special free workshop on creating your own rainbow clothes especially for Pride Month. All you needed to do was to supply your t-shirts, bags, or hats. If you forgot to bring one, you could buy one from the store itself. I ended up paying around $3 for a blank white t-shirt so I could participate.

Basically we used a variety of different fabric paint spray along with stencils and fabric markers to create our unique rainbow clothes and accessories. I took a few photos during the workshop itself.

The last photos in this post are about my own t-shirt that I designed myself. The next photo shows the t-shirt as a work in progress.

The next photo shows me using the blow dryer in order to make the t-shirt dry faster. (The fact that it was raining outside that day made it imperative that I try to dry the t-shirt as much as possible before I could even walk back to my car.)

Here is my completed t-shirt just a few weeks after that workshop.

Here’s the back of the t-shirt, which isn’t that interesting mainly because I used fabric paint spray instead of the tye-dye that I usually do with these kinds of projects. Plus it would’ve made the t-shirt drying that much longer and difficult since I had to carry it back to my car in the rain.

Last, but not least, is a selfie of me modeling that t-shirt, which reads “Pride Not Prejudice.”

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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

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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.

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Passover

The day after St. Patrick’s Day I helped a friend of mine with his booth at the annual Maker Faire NoVa that was held at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. I had attended previous STEM Maker events in Greenbelt, Silver Spring, and Washington, DC but it’s the first time I ever checked the Northern Virginia one. I have to admit that this event was the largest event of its kind that I had ever attended. To give you an idea as to how big it was, here’s a video I shot of this event.

And now it’s time for the still photos. I knew I had come to the right place when I saw this statue of George Mason (whom the university is named after) all dressed up for the occasion.

Maker Faire NoVa

Maker Faire NoVa

Maker Faire NoVa

These signs were further giveaways that I was at the right place.

Maker Faire NoVa

Maker Faire NoVa

The reason why I was there was that I was helping a friend of mine with his table. His name is Phil Shapiro and he frequently hangs out on YouTube and Twitter. He wanted to demonstrate Inkscape, which is the free open source alternative to Adobe Illustrator. He brought a couple of Linux laptops that he made available for people to use. At the last minute he decided to have one of those laptops run Tux Paint, which is a free open source graphics program that is made for kids under 7, which turned out to be a good move because a lot of visitors were kids. The kids seemed to really like Tux Paint so it was all good. In any case, here is what the sign looked like.

Maker Faire NoVa

Here are a few shots of the table that I took before Maker Faire NoVa opened to the general public.

Maker Faire NoVa

Maker Faire NoVa

Maker Faire NoVa

Maker Faire NoVa

Here’s Phil Shapiro at one of the laptops setting everything up before the show began.

Maker Faire NoVa

And here’s Phil showing off the two laptops with Inkscape and Tux Paint to the general public.

Maker Faire NoVa

Maker Faire NoVa

Maker Faire NoVa

One of the many kids tried his hand at drawing with Tux Paint.

Maker Faire NoVa

Near our table was one that was manned by Bob Coggeshall, who’s famous in the Unix world for inventing the Unix command sudo.

Maker Faire NoVa

Maker Faire NoVa

There were all kinds of projects that were run off of Raspberry Pi, such as this vintage teletype.

Maker Faire NoVa

There were also all kinds of 3D printed projects that looked amazing.

Maker Faire NoVa

Maker Faire NoVa

Maker Faire NoVa

Maker Faire NoVa

There was a refurbished gumball machine that dispensed 3D printed charms for only 50 cents.

Maker Faire NoVa

It was at that gumball machine where I made my one and only purchase from Maker Faire NoVa: A tiny 1-inch printed 3D printed Darth Vader who’s seated like a Buddha. I only paid 50 cents for this cool item.

Maker Faire NoVa, March 18, 2018

There were also some vintage bikes that the public can ride.

Maker Faire NoVa

Maker Faire NoVa

It was at Maker Faire NoVa where I got my first-ever real life glimpse of a Bitcoin mining machine.

Maker Faire NoVa

It was also at Maker Faire NoVa where I got my first glimpse of American Girl’s 2018 Girl of the Year doll. Her name is Luciana Vega, she’s into STEM and her big ambition is to be the first person to explore Mars.

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This boy was showing his work in progress on his latest project. He was in the process of building his own BB-8 robot from the Star Wars movies.

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There was just a variety of things I saw at Maker Faire NoVa that were simply astounding.

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George Mason University’s Fairfax campus is pretty big. In fact, I think it may be as big as my own alma mater (University of Maryland at College Park). I briefly went through the campus Barnes & Noble store, which had copies of Michael Wolff’s controversial bestseller about Donald Trump’s first year in the White House called Fire & Fury.

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I really had a blast at Maker Faire NoVa. It helped that the weather was in the 50’s that day so I was able to wear a light jacket instead of my heavy winter coat for a change. I even saw my first robin of the year while I was walking around outside going from building to building while checking out the event. (The entire event was spread over four buildings.) Sadly that warm weather was a short-lived thing because the weather turned really cold and rainy the next day followed by a snowstorm.

The only downside about that event is that for about a couple of days before that event I started to have stuffed sinuses. By the time of that event my throat felt more scratchy as I talked more and more with the general public while I worked at Phil’s booth. My legs had grown stiff and sore by the end of the day due to the huge amount of walking and standing I did throughout the day. The following day I felt extremely tired and sick. I ended up spending most of the next week sleeping (with the exception of the couple of times I went out in the snow where I did some shoveling two days after Maker Faire NoVa). I even ended up skipping the big March for Our Lives on the following Saturday due to being sick. But the video, photos, and fond memories from Maker Faire NoVa made it all worthwhile.

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