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Today I got word that Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee has died at the ripe old age of 95. To say that he was a major influence on the comic book industry is definitely an understatement. Even his Wikipedia page can’t really impart how big of a name he was among comic books and how beloved he was by generations of comic book fans.

I never had the opportunity to meet the person who was frequently nicknamed Stan the Man but I saw his cologne on sale when I attended the 2013 Baltimore Comic-Con.

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013

That’s right, I learned that there was such a thing as Stan Lee Cologne—the perfect cologne for anyone who ever had a desire to smell like him. (LOL!) I didn’t take a whiff of the cologne nor did I buy a bottle. I basically shot that photo and moved on. (There were tons of other things to see and do that day and I only had so much time and energy to check as much out as I could.) It was the only time I saw Stan Lee Cologne on sale anywhere in real life. I never really researched this product until now, where a quick Google search shows that one can buy Stan Lee Cologne online at Amazon. (Isn’t there anything that Amazon does not sell? LOL!) A review about this cologne on CNET has this hilarious headline: Stan Lee Cologne smells spicy, musky, superheroic.

Stan Lee may be gone but he definitely won’t be forgotten any time soon. Not if the legions of comic book fans around the world can help it.

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I attended my first-ever meetup of a group known as District Creatives. I’m trying to expand my network of people that I know so I can take advantage of whatever opportunity comes my way. I ended up leaving for DC a few hours early mainly because I wanted to avoid paying the higher rush-hour Metro fares commuting to and from the event. (I managed to do that, which made me happy.)

I decided to take the Metrobus to the Metro station instead of driving because a roundtrip Metrobus fare is only $4 while parking in the Metro station parking lot costs $5.20. Since I was attending a meet-up for a group that is interested in using technology in a creative manner, I decided to bring my Makies doll, Victoria, since she was printed on a 3D printer to my specifications and I customized her. It’s only too bad that Makies as a company no longer exists. In any case, here she is at the bus stop.

Here she is riding the Metro subway. I only brought her along as a potential conversation starter. I ended up not using her at all during the meet-up.

I arrived at the Eastern Market Metro station. I had a few hours to kill so I decided to walk around the area while taking pictures.

The next photo shows the historic Eastern Market. It’s a pretty popular food market area, especially on the weekend when there are local artisans who sell their wares outside of the building.

Here are a few shots inside of Eastern Market. They sell all kinds of fresh foods but the prices are a big high compared to the grocery stores in the suburbs.

I walked around Capitol Hill while I saw that some of the houses were decorated for Halloween.

The homes in Capitol Hill are known for their gardens. Even though these photos were taken in mid-October, there were still plenty of flowers in bloom.

When I came upon this street sign noting Tip’s Way, I thought it was in honor of the late former Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill. A quick Internet search revealed that Tip’s Way was really named after a Capitol Hill lobbyist named E. Linwood “Tip” Tipton.

The next photo shows that Tip’s Way is basically an alley.

The house located next to Tip’s Way was all decked out for Halloween.

The one thing I noticed about Capitol Hill is that there are some subtle forms of resistance against Donald Trump and his administration in the form of the residents posting signs in their yards. The majority of them contained quotes on social justice from Martin Luther King, Jr.

I also saw some anti-Trump graffiti in the area as well.

One front yard had a Little Free Library box that was flanked by two signs featuring Martin Luther King quotes.

I took a rest inside of the Southeast Neighborhood Library, which was a nice and cozy place.

I took one final photo of Victoria reading a book. Like I wrote earlier, I brought her along as a potential conversation starter (since she was printed on a 3D printer) but I ended up not using the doll at all.

This library posted a notice on how to spot fake news and the characteristics of fake news vs. the real thing.

The meet-up was held inside of a digital design firm known as Taoti Creative. That firm had a giant spider outside that was put up just in time for Halloween.

They had a Minion serve as the receptionist. (LOL!)

Taoti Creative is located inside of a historic building. It’s a really cool mix of technology with history.

They had a bulletin board with the question “What makes me creative?” where people could write their answers on Post-It Notes then post it on the board.

Here’s my answer, where I wrote “The ability to create something from out of nothing.”

The next two photos show other people’s answers to that question.

The bathrooms also had showers, which may indicate that this building was once a private home.

The conference rooms are all named after Metro station stops.

The basement of the building included a Nintendo Wii with a Guitar Hero game and controllers and an air hockey table.

The bulk of the festivities took place on the rooftop of the building where, in good weather, one can see spectacular sunsets.

The tall thin structure on the left in the next photograph is the Washington Monument.

I was also able to check out the restaurant located next to Taoti Creative, including a giant mural and some of the TV screens on the upper level.

The white dome on the right is the U.S. Capitol Building.

Here’s another shot of the Washington Monument (located on the left) at sunset.

There were also a bunch of cranes among the skyline. I know that the entire city of Washington, DC has been going through many building projects in recent years.

There was a computerized beer keg complete with a computer screen.

There was a serious game of Jenga that was also going on where people played with a giant version of the game.

I shot a short video of one of the Jenga rounds that took place that night.

I managed to socialize with a few people even though meeting new people at a party doesn’t come naturally to me. But I made an effort to be sociable. Eventually I grew tired plus I was using public transportation to go from my home to the event and back again so I couldn’t stay too late. (I know that the party ended at 10 p.m. but some people were planning on checking out some of the trendy bars in Capitol Hill. Even if I wasn’t relying on public transportation, money is still too tight for me to do much bar crawling.) Here’s a shot of the Taoti Creative building that I took when I was on my way back to the Eastern Market Metro station.

Here’s a shot of the rooftop where most of the action took place.

The last two photos show the giant spider that lurked outside of Taoti Creative.

So that’s it for my attending the District Creatives meetup at Taoti Creative.

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Today’s prompt word for Inktober is “weak.” I struggled with this prompt. I considered different ideas but I ended up jettisoning them because they would’ve been too depressing to draw (such as drawing a picture of migrant children in cages or a Syrian in a refugee camp). I decided to draw some fan art where I had Poison Ivy taking on Donald Trump and defeating him with one of her plants. For added measure, I related it to the prompt word while referencing that infamous Access Hollywood bus recording by having Poison Ivy say “Grabbing me by my pussy is so incredibly weak!”

Yeah, I went there with one of the vines of Poison Ivy’s plant going into Trump’s pants in an effort to grab him by his cock and give him a taste of his own medicine. Some of you may question the tastefulness of what I drew but after his recent appearance at a political rally where he openly mocked a woman who accused a Supreme Court justice nominee of raping her, I have zero fucks left to give about whether other people will like this drawing or not.

A few months ago I checked out a couple of graphic novel reprints of the Harley Quinn comic book series from the library and Poison Ivy frequently makes guest appearances in that series. (Poison Ivy is a close friend of Harley Quinn and there are hints that they may be close friends with benefits.) By the way, I saw two of the people behind that comic book, Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti, at a Batman forum held at the 2017 Baltimore Comic-Con.

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Here are some photos of the couple after a fan had given them Batman and Harley Quinn masks that he had obtained for free from a comic book store that he stopped at on his way to Baltimore Comic-Con. (It was Batman Day in many comic book stores and this forum was also held on that same day.)

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

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Today’s prompt word for Inktober is “cruel.” I decided to use it to actually do some fan art that I had thought about drawing for quite some time but I was too lazy to do it sooner. I did a mash-up of Harley Quinn taking on Donald Trump and defeating him with her giant mallet while he’s clutching at his crotch in pain with his tiny hands. Yes, I referred to that infamous Access Hollywood recording and the fact that he’s sensitive about people referring to his hand size. My latest Inktober drawing is more timely than ever before given the fact that Donald Trump spoke at a rally where he literally mocked a woman who accused a newly-seated Supreme Court justice nominee of raping her. Here is my drawing.

I have a DC Super Hero Girls doll (which I purchased during Toys R Us’ going out of business sale a few months ago) that I used as a model while I was drawing. A few months ago I checked out a couple of graphic novel reprints of the Harley Quinn comic book series from the library and they are definitely hilarious and full of dark humor, especially since she can have a cruel streak at times (which nicely dovetails with today’s prompt word). By the way, I saw two of the people behind that comic book, Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti, at a Batman forum held at the 2017 Baltimore Comic-Con.

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Here are some photos of the couple after a fan had given them Batman and Harley Quinn masks that he had obtained for free from a comic book store that he stopped at on his way to Baltimore Comic-Con. (It was Batman Day in many comic book stores and this forum was also held on that same day.)

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

As of today, I’m now one-third of the way through Inktober. I have many more drawings to do until the end of the month.

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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

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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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My Unitarian Universalist church congregation had hired a new minister about six months ago. As part of the hiring process, we had a Ministerial Start Up Workshop that was led by our region’s contact in the Unitarian Universalist Association.  I was asked to take pictures of this workshop. The only reason why I’m writing a blog post about this is so I can prove to people that, yes, I can take pictures of events.

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

The workshop began after the usual Sunday service ended and it started with lunch.

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

The Reverend Megan Foley of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) led the workshop.

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

Everyone sat in a circle in order to make it easier to communicate with each other face-to-face.

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

Basically much of the time was spent on describing the history of our congregation, what were its successes and what were its mistakes and things of that sort.

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

Our congregation’s new minister, Rev. Rachel Christensen, spoke outlining her hopes for the congregation’s future.

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

The workshop ended with a communal art project but one didn’t have to be an accomplished artist to take part.

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

A bag was passed around that was full of foam Valentine heart stickers in a variety of colors (ranging from light pink to deep red) and styles (some had glitter on them). The idea was to choose the hearts we liked the best.

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

Here’s the set of hearts I chose.

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

We stuck our hearts on a board. Here is what the board looked like when it was finished.

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

I went to my first Baltimore Comic-Con in quite a few years. I attended that event the first time in 2012 and the second time the following year. Then I didn’t go for another few years until recently. The main reason was financial. I ended up going to other events, such as Intervention Con, and with tight finances being the norm these days, I couldn’t afford to attend those events and Baltimore Comic-Con as well. Something had to give and Baltimore Comic-Con was the one that I ended up not attending.

But then a few things happened. First, my utilities company informed me that they had made a billing error in my favor for the last several months so, for the next few months I’m paying a lower bill than usual. Then I found out that Intervention Con wasn’t going to happen this year mainly because the organizers decided to focus on holding two specialized conventions instead—PotterVerse for Harry Potter fans and (Re)Generation Who for Doctor Who fans. While I like both Harry Potter and Doctor Who, I don’t like them enough to consider spending time and money at specialized conventions. I’m more into conventions that cover things like art in general or comic books in general instead of a very narrow field.

I’ll admit that I miss Intervention Con because that was my favorite convention due to the fact that it’s smaller and more intimate than—let’s say—Awesome Con or Otakon. Getting a good seat at a panel was no problem, I found it easier to meet people, and I didn’t have to do as much walking because of the small size so I didn’t become physically spent as much as when I used to go to Otakon. If you want to know why I loved going to Intervention Con so much, check out my blog posts and pictures from the cons I went to in 2013, 2014 (Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3), and 2016 (Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3).

As I was typing this, I remember that another annual event I usually loved going to at this time of the year, the Silver Spring Maker Faire, has also decided not to put on another event in 2017. I hope it’s not some kind of a sad trend where the organizers of these fun annual events have decided to cut back on holding their events because it would be really sad if that was the case. (If you want to know why I’m sad about what happened with the Silver Spring Maker Faire, check out the photos I took in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016.)

Like I wrote a few paragraphs ago, I found out that I had a little bit of extra spending money so I decided to go to Baltimore Comic-Con for the first time in four years. What made it really sweet is that the famed 1980s rapper DMC (from the group Run-DMC) was going to be there and he was not only signing autographs for fans (who paid at least $20 for one of his comic books) but he was giving two panels—one on Saturday and one on Sunday.

Saturday was the only day I could go to Baltimore Comic-Con because of finances and the fact that I was serving as a substitute teacher in my church’s program that teaches local immigrants how to speak English the following day. But I managed to treasure every moment of my time there and I took a bunch of photos the moment I stepped outside of the Baltimore Convention Center and paid the $35 Saturday admission fee.

Baltimore Comic-Con

Baltimore Comic-Con

While I was waiting in line I witnessed this cute scene of a baby dressed in a Batman outfit (which isn’t apparent in the photo below because of the angle of the baby but I saw him wearing it in real life) looking at this man wearing his Spider-Man cosplay outfit.

Baltimore Comic-Con

Here’s the cover of the official Baltimore Comic-Con program book.

Baltimore Comic-Con

I even shot a short video when I first arrived soon after the convention opened at 10 a.m. that morning. Fortunately the ticket purchasing lines were shorter that morning, which wasn’t the case later in the day, so I was able to quickly purchase my ticket then go straight to the Dealers Room where I saw the convention employees actually clapping their hands at each guest who walked through the doors.

The employees only did that in the morning. When I returned to the Dealers Room at various times later in the day, the employees stopped clapping for everyone and simply looked at people’s paper bracelets (which served as our passes) before letting them in the room.

If Intervention Con is my favorite convention because it’s smaller and more intimate, then I have to say that Baltimore Comic-Con is my second favorite because the organizers are trying to strike a balance between focusing on comic books and having a few celebrities in attendance, but not as many of them as the gigantic San Diego Comic-Con. I’ve heard all sorts of stories as to how humongous and utterly exhausting it is to walk through that event and I’m pretty reluctant to even consider trying it. I had a hard enough time going to a three-day event like Otakon (which is why I’ve stopped attending in recent years) and I think San Diego Comic-Con would be even worse. I’m happy to say that finding a decent seat at a workshop or panel is still really easy at Baltimore Comic-Con. I never had to stand in any long lines in order to get to the panel of my choice (and I went on Saturday, which is usually the busiest and most crowded of the three days).

After I got my ticket I initially checked out the vendors room but I only stayed there briefly because the panel featuring DMC was scheduled to begin at noon. I found a few reminders that DMC was here at Baltimore Comic-Con this year.

DMC of Run-DMC Fame and Now Darryl Makes Comics

DMC of Run-DMC Fame and Now Darryl Makes Comics

I arrived at the panel early enough that I was able to get a front row seat. This panel was devoted to DMC’s comic book venture known as Darryl Makes Comics and it also had others who currently work on the comic book series including Greg Pak, Khoi Pham, Domo Stanton, and Amy Chu. DMC can be seen in the photos wearing the black Motörhead t-shirt.

DMC of Run-DMC Fame and Now Darryl Makes Comics

DMC of Run-DMC Fame and Now Darryl Makes Comics

DMC of Run-DMC Fame and Now Darryl Makes Comics

DMC of Run-DMC Fame and Now Darryl Makes Comics

DMC of Run-DMC Fame and Now Darryl Makes Comics

DMC of Run-DMC Fame and Now Darryl Makes Comics

DMC of Run-DMC Fame and Now Darryl Makes Comics

I learned that DMC has been into comics since childhood and this fascination even influenced his rapping days with Run-DMC. He said he started Darryl Makes Comics as a way of getting different voices into the comic book industry who tend to be overlooked by the larger companies—including not only people of different races but also people from different classes, older people, women, etc.

I was really enthusiastic by this panel and I found out that DMC was selling copies of his comic books with his signed autograph in the Dealers Room for $20. I wanted to buy it but, unfortunately I was tempted by a whole bunch of other stuff that was also on sale in that same room and I didn’t have unlimited funds. I took a bunch of photos of some of the stuff that was on sale.

There was a booth by a company called FigureThis who had this really neat idea where they will shoot full body photos of you with multiple cameras placed all around you then send those photos to a 3D printer where it will print a 3D figurine of your image.

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

I still have photos posted in older blog posts of various 3D printers that I’ve shot at various events over the seven years that this blog has been in existence. I have older photos of really large 3D printers that cost at least $2,000. At Baltimore-Comic Con I saw these smaller portable printers by a company known as M3D that were available on sale for only $295.

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

What’s more, these printers were small enough that a visitor can easily carry the printer home with him/her after purchasing it. If I had more money to spare, I definitely would’ve purchased one myself.

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

I was very impressed with the 3D figurines this small 3D printer was capable of producing.

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

There was this really cool looking computer from a company known as Chimera Computers, whose slogan is “They might have the flash, but we have the power!”

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

There were a whole bunch of other products besides comic books (yes, they had a lot of comic books available for sale) that were on sale ranging from t-shirts to drinking glasses to vintage Nintendo video games to realistic looking figurines to superhero stories written in chapter book form for children who are beginning readers. In short, there was a little something for everybody.

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

The cosplayers were out in full force and I took a lot of pictures of them as well. I saw a lot of people dressed as Batman this year because the day I went to Baltimore Comic-Con also happened to be Batman Day, a day which many comic book shops in the U.S. hold Batman-themed events to observe the anniversary that Batman made his first ever appearance in Detective Comics #27 in 1939.

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

After wandering around the Dealer Room snapping pictures for a few hours, my legs were growing tired. I decided to check out the 2:45-3:45 p.m. (yes, that was the actual scheduled time) panel on “Baltimore Celebrates Batman Day!” (That panel was how I learned that there was actually such a thing as Batman Day.) I’ve been a Batman fan from way back starting with the time my parents gave me a Batman bank as a present and I still have those early childhood memories of putting loose coins in the slot located on Batman’s back. I grew up watching the reruns of the 1960’s TV series starring the recently deceased Adam West and reading whatever Batman comic books my mother happened to purchase during her weekly grocery shopping trip. (Sometimes she would buy Batman while other times she would buy comic books featuring Captain America, Superman, The Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, and The Incredible Hulk.) So I was eager to check out that panel.

The panel was moderated by Jimmy Palmiotti and it had people who had worked on either the Batman or Harley Quinn comic books including Amanda Conner, David Finch, Peter J. Tomasi, James Tynion IV, John Timms.

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

The panel primarily focused on the Batman and Harley Quinn comic books that have come out in the last five years while also mentioning the feature films Batman had appeared in within the last ten years. I’ll admit that I was a bit lost. That was because I haven’t read a Batman comic book since Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns graphic novel series back in the late 1980’s. (I remember finding Miller’s interpretation of Batman as a very dark vigilante to be an interesting take but the story left me feeling so cold that I never re-read it. It didn’t help that, years later, Frank Miller was openly accusing the Occupy Wall Street movement as being a bunch of louts, thieves and rapists. Never mind the fact that my visits to the Occupy sites in Baltimore and DC indicated otherwise. I ultimately donated The Dark Knight Returns to an upcoming used book sale after my husband left me. Ironically Frank Miller was Baltimore Comic-Con’s 2017 Guest of Honor and he made his only convention appearance the day before. I wasn’t that inclined to even check him out in person and I don’t regret opting to go on Saturday instead of Friday.)

I watched the Batman feature films of the 1980’s and 1990’s but I stopped watching them after that because they seemed to emulate Miller’s vision of a dark violent vigilante anti-hero and I grew tired of that. The only Batman movie I’ve watched in recent years was this year’s The LEGO Batman Movie, which was excellent because it expertly combined the campiness of the 1960’s TV series with the darker interpretations of recent years and it worked extremely well. In fact, I purchased it on DVD when it was released. Maybe DC Comics should just let LEGO have exclusive rights to making future Batman movies because LEGO knows how to tell an entertainingly memorable Batman story.

My legs were a bit sore so it was a relief to sit down even if what the panelists discussed about Batman went over my head, with the exception of when they were discussing The LEGO Batman Movie. Although I was so intrigued by hearing the description of the Harley Quinn comic book series that I’m going to see if my local public library have the graphic novel reprints on the shelves. The high point of that panel was when the panelists asked if anyone had attended any of the Batman Day celebrations at a local comic book store in addition to going to Baltimore Comic-Con and someone got up said he actually went to such an event before he arrived at the Baltimore Convention Center. He had snagged some free Batman and Harley Quinn masks, which he gave to the husband and wife team behind the Harley Quinn comic book.

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

The panel ended but my legs were still sore and tired. I decided to stay in the same room for the next panel that was about the legendary comic book writer and artist Jack Kirby.

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Panelist Mark Evanier talked about his personal friendship with Jack Kirby, which he wrote a book about called Kirby: King of Comics. Abram Books’ Charlie Kochman was also on hand as the two of them discussed the book and Evanier’s recollections about Kirby. I found it to be a very interesting talk and it seemed like Kirby was definitely an interesting and unforgettable person.

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

After the panel ended at 5 p.m. I thought about making one more return trip to the Dealers Room but my legs were really hurting by then so I decided to just take the next light rail back to the North Linthicum station (where my car was parked) and head home.

I had thought about buying one of DMC’s comic books with his autograph for $20 but I found something else in the Dealers Room that I ended up buying instead and I couldn’t afford to buy both.

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

It’s a plastic ocarina, which I purchased for $20, and it came with a free songbook that provided instructions on how to play the ocarina along with songs from the classic Nintendo video game The Legend of Zelda. I paid an extra $5 for a Star Wars ocarina songbook. I bought it from the STL Ocarina booth after hearing the person staffing it playing lovely music with that ocarina. I’ve been slowly trying to teach myself how to play it but I think it will be awhile before I can play songs on it that sound just as lovely as what I heard at that booth.

As for the Darrel Makes Comics comic book, I’ll go to the local public library to see if it has a copy of any of the issues on the shelves. I would like to read it at some point since I own a couple of old Run-DMC CDs and I’ve always been a fan of the group. This is one of those times when I regret having to deal with tight finances just so I can survive.

Just hours after I viewed the solar eclipse in Greenbelt, Maryland, I took the Metro to downtown Washington, DC in order to attend my first meetup of the District Creatives. This event took place at this place called The Hatchery, which is a startup incubator that’s run by AARP. (Yes, that’s the same AARP that was once known as the American Association of Retired Persons until the organization decided that it would be known only by its acronym, which would be pronounced as “aarp” instead of spelling out the letters “A-A-R-P.”) As this link puts it:

It turns out, AARP doesn’t just want to be a membership organization lobbying on behalf of seniors, giving discounts or suggesting tips on health. Driven by a philosophy on corporate innovation, they want to be creating their own tech products. Products focused in the areas of health, wealth and self, [SVP of innovation and product development Andy] Miller said.

I was totally impressed by The Hatchery but, unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures to show you. Here’s a confession. I’ve been having camera problems lately. First the camera on my smartphone has been acting erratically to the point where it doesn’t always load. It’s literally the luck of the draw as to whether my smartphone works or not.

I tried coping by using my older Canon Digital Rebel DSLR camera even though it has fewer megapixels than my smartphone camera so the resolution is lower. But I’ve been having problems with recharging the camera battery (probably because it’s so old). The weekend before the solar eclipse/DC Creatives meetup I made sure to charge the DSLR battery. Even though the recharger says that it was fully charges, the camera just didn’t work when I needed it that day. Yet my smartphone was working, which was convenient when the solar eclipse arrived so I was able to get quite a few photos.

By the evening my smartphone camera wouldn’t load and it was getting those dreaded error messages. So I ended up not being able to take any pictures so you’ll have to visit this link if you want to see any photographs.

The focal point of this meetup is a demonstration of this new Google 3D application known as Tilt Brush. This video shows what Tilt Brush is like.

While the video makes Tilt Brush look easy, I found the reality to be far different when I tried it. I found Tilt Brush to have a steep learning curve and it took me a while to figure out how to select certain brushes. On top of it, the tools didn’t always work when I wanted it to. I think Tilt Brush has a lot of potential in terms of unleashing all kinds of 3D creativity but one would definitely need to take at least a four-week course in order to know the basics of Tilt Brush. Then there are the clunky equipment required to use Tilt Brush (such as these bulky goggles), which means that most households would not have the money or space required for this equipment. But I still would give Google an “A” for effort and it would be interesting to see if Tilt Brush becomes The Next Big Computer Application.

One Saturday morning I decided to check out this get-together on Meetup.com for art professionals and I found parking just a few blocks away from where the meetup was going to take place. I also arrived a bit early so I was able to walk around and take a few pictures before this particular meetup began.

The first few pictures show the Glut Food Co-op, which was originally founded in the late 1960’s by a couple of conscientious objectors to the Vietnam War. Glut, with its carrot-shaped sign has become a Mount Rainier institution that frequently attracts those who are looking for organic food but want a locally-owned alternative to chain stores like Whole Foods.

The next photos show the various sights around Mount Rainier.

A line of solar-powered toys line the windowsill of a beauty parlor.

This next sign outside a barber shop had this to say about being a barber.

So what exactly is a barber?

A barber is a person who practices primarily in the art of men’s grooming needs. Some barbers nowadays will also cut a lady’s haircut but a barber’s forte is generally men’s haircuts, beard trims, shaves, and mustaches. Barbers usually only do haircuts and don’t usually do perms, coloring, blow-drying or curling and straightening irons. Barbers used to be only men and cosmetologists were women. There have been a lot of changes in recent years because of the unisex salons and these days many people don’t know the difference between what is a barber and what is a cosmetologist.

Barbering is becoming a lost art. In the old days, everyone knew what a barber was. Many people are unaware that barbers were once surgeons and dentists and clergymen. The traditional barber pole is a symbol that comes from the bloody bandages blowing in the wind. The technical term for barbers is a “tonsorial artist.”

Wow! One can really learn something new while taking a walk around a certain area.

The next photo shows a row of colorfully-painted buildings including the public library, the local office of Progressive insurance, and a Masonic lodge.

The Masonic lodge has a trio of really colorful murals featuring birds flying against an orange background with blue flowers, and red-orange diamonds.

You can see the colorful bricks outside the Progressive insurance office.

The colorful bricks continue to the local public library that’s located next door.

The Mount Rainier library is one of the smallest libraries I have ever visited in recent years. It’s basically one small room. Despite its small size, I saw a few patrons browsing the books and using the computers and other resources.

The meetup took place at the Bird Kitchen + Cocktails restaurant.

The meetup took place outside in the restaurant’s courtyard, which had this vintage pachinko machine on display. (I didn’t attempt to try playing it so I don’t know if it’s there purely for decoration or if it is really a working machine.)

After the meetup ended I decided to do something that I had always wanted to do but I kept on putting it off. I figured that since I was in Mount Rainier anyway, I should check out that local legend about how there was a family whose exorcism of their teenage son provided the basis for both the bestselling novel and subsequent movie The Exorcist. I’m going to write a separate blog post devoted to this so stay tuned.

Passover

As I look back on this, I have to admit that I really pushed my body to the max. That was because the night before I went to Light City in Baltimore, where I waited outside in the cold for over two hours waiting for my animation, The March of Liberty, to finally show on the big screen. I was so stiff and sore the following day that I ended up skipping church.

I still pushed myself to check out the first annual Kamecon because I like seeing cosplayers all dressed up, I was attracted by the $3 admission fee, it was held on the campus of my alma mater (the University of Maryland at College Park), and it was held just three miles from my current home.

Compared to other anime conventions like Otakon and Katsucon, Kamecon is relatively small. The entire event was held in one of the ballrooms at the Adele H. Stamp Student Union building. But the participants were pretty enthusiastic as they donned costumes and hung out. Here are some photos I took.

There was a line at the ticket office located next to the Hoff Theater but it wasn’t too bad. I think I may have spent about 15 minutes in line at the most.

Kamecon 2017

Kamecon 2017

Kamecon 2017

Kamecon 2017

Kamecon 2017

I decided to bring my Canon Digital Rebel EOS camera with me to this event. Here’s a selfie I was able to take thanks to the restroom mirror. (Yes, I was wearing the My Little Pony Rainbow Dash hoodie in order to blend in a little bit with the cosplayers.)

Kamecon 2017

Some people were waiting to have their photo professionally taken.

Kamecon 2017

The entire convention took place in a ballroom, which included an indoor tent/lounge where people could chill.

Kamecon 2017

There was a Jubeat video game that had a cool cube design. I didn’t see anyone play it mainly because it was directly imported from Japan and that machine required a 1 yen coin, which doesn’t do any good for the vast majority of Americans present.

Kamecon 2017

Kamecon 2017

Kamecon 2017

There were other video games that people played.

Kamecon 2017

Kamecon 2017

Kamecon 2017

Kamecon 2017

Kamecon 2017

I took a few shots of two cosplayers who were dancing alongside one of the dancing video games while it was playing Lady Gaga’s hit song “Poker Face.”

Kamecon 2017

Kamecon 2017

Kamecon 2017

I even shot a short video of those two dancing cosplayers.

The ballroom was divided, with half of the room being reserved for Artists Alley. There was a photography ban of that area (unless the photographer gets permission from an Artists Alley participant) so I took only one wide shot of the entire area from the other side.

Kamecon 2017

There were board games and card game packs available for attendees to play with.

Kamecon 2017

Kamecon 2017

Kamecon 2017

Here are some more pictures of Kamecon, including cosplayers.

Kamecon 2017

Kamecon 2017

Kamecon 2017

Kamecon 2017

Kamecon 2017

Kamecon 2017

Kamecon 2017

Kamecon 2017

Kamecon 2017

Kamecon 2017

Kamecon 2017

Kamecon 2017

I also took a few pictures of the University of Maryland campus because it was such a lovely warm sunny spring day. But I didn’t take too many pictures because I was growing tired from both checking out Kamecon and Light City the night before. Here’s a long shot of the Jim Henson Memorial.

University of Maryland

The cherry blossom trees on campus were in full bloom.

University of Maryland

University of Maryland

Here’s a shot of the Mall.

University of Maryland

One of the terrapin statues that are located on campus.

University of Maryland

March is Women’s History Month, which ended just two days earlier, but there was still this poster featuring the University of Maryland’s famous female alumni including Connie Chung, Dominique Dawes, Gayle King, Sarah Winnemucca, Judith Resnik, Adele H. Stamp, and Carolina Rojas Bahr.

University of Maryland

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