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As you may know, this past weekend was the one-year anniversary of the Unite the Right protest in Charlottesville which resulted in the horrible death of Heather Heyer. As for Donald Trump, he has steadfastly refused to denounce the white supremacists and their actions last year. There were quite a few vigils for the victims of Charlottesville (such as two events I went to in the same week on August 14 and August 16) but I find it telling that Donald Trump has refused to distance himself from these latter-day Nazis and KKK members and has said little about Heather Heyer or the other people who were victimized by the alt-right.

For the first anniversary of Charlottesville, one of the original organizers of the Unite the Right rally, Jason Kessler, wanted to do a repeat performance in Charlottesville. When he was denied a permit for his little shindig, he decided to move the event north to my hometown of Washington, DC. He probably figured that since Donald Trump is basically a racist fascist sympathizer, President Trump would be flattered if a group of his most loyal alt-right supporters would have a march to Lafayette Square (located just across from the White House) then have an Unite the Right 2 rally.

Except things didn’t turn out that way. Donald Trump decided to head out of town this weekend. (After all, even though they are his most ardent supporters, they aren’t rich like he and his cronies are so they really don’t matter at all, except for getting their votes at the ballot box in 2020.)

I decided to head down even though I knew that I would be risking my life in doing so. I’m just fed up with all of the hatred of the poor, minorities, and women that has sprung up gradually since Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980 and it has continued through the years until the hatred grew and grew and it’s now this big monster that is a threat to this country. I’ve experienced some of this hatred myself ever since I was in elementary school when the kids called me “retarded.” This taunting went through high school. Even though the teasing stopped during my freshman year at Anne Arundel Community College, I was still frequently looked down upon like I was some kind of an inferior lowlife freak (mainly from those who went to my high school—the students who went to different high schools and didn’t know about my so-called “retarded” reputation treated me like I was a human being). I ended up permanently moving from Glen Burnie as an adult because I knew that, no matter what I did, these people would never see me as anything other than someone who is inferior.

But I will admit that my experiences with facing this kind of hatred is nothing compared to an African American, as the families of people like Travon Martin, Freddie Gray, Sandra Bland, and numerous others will attest.

Going downtown to face those Nazis wasn’t an easy decision for me. I still remember vividly the car that was intentionally plowed into a group of people by that alt-right scumbag in Charlottesville. There was a possibility that something like that could’ve happened to me. I was still waffling on the fence about going to DC last Sunday until I saw this trailer for Michael Moore’s upcoming documentary, Fahrenheit 11/9.

Watching that preview only strengthened my resolve to go ahead with my plans for last Sunday. I was all ready to go downtown with my camera, take photos of these alt-right assholes, then plaster them all over social media in the hopes that someone will recognize these assholes and they either lose their jobs or get evicted from where they are living or their neighbors shun them or something equally bad happens to them.

I knew that there was a chance that I would end up like Heather Heyer but I swallowed that fear and headed downtown anyway. I began to realize that this is what a soldier in wartime has to deal with, especially if he or she is sent to the front lines.

Before I left home I took out a blank sheet of paper and wrote down my name, address, the phone numbers of my next of kin, the cell phone number of my housemate (who had just left for a week-long trip visiting relatives in New Jersey the day before), and the phone numbers of my church and the minister. Then I folded the paper and put it in the pocket of my shorts. I felt that should the worst happen to me like what happened to Heather Heyer last year, at least some people will be notified so they could plan some kind of a memorial service for all of my friends, relatives, and acquaintances.

So I took the Green Line Metro from the Greenbelt station. As I was about to board the train I noticed a bunch of people leaving the train who looked like they were cosplaying as their favorite anime and video game character. I remembered that the annual giant East Coast anime convention known as Otakon was that weekend and it was the third and final day when the entire con pretty much closes down after 3 p.m. (I used to go to Otakon but I haven’t been since 2013 because I grew tired of paying at least $75 for a weekend pass only to encounter huge crowds everywhere I went. Besides my finances have gotten increasingly dicey so I really can’t afford major splurges like Otakon at the moment.) So I boarded the Green Line train and switched at L’Enfant Plaza. While I was switching trains I saw this artist who was engrossed in doing this sketch right in the Metro station.

Artist

I switched to the Silver Line then got off at Federal Triangle. I made my way to Freedom Plaza, where many of the counter protesters had gathered.

Counter Protest Rally in Freedom Plaza

I arrived late in the afternoon just in time for the beginning of the march to Lafayette Square. I managed to get a few pictures of people with their signs.

Counter Protest Rally in Freedom Plaza

Counter Protest Rally in Freedom Plaza

Counter Protest Rally in Freedom Plaza

Counter Protest Rally in Freedom Plaza

Counter Protest Rally in Freedom Plaza

Counter Protest Rally in Freedom Plaza

Counter Protest Rally in Freedom Plaza

Counter Protest Rally in Freedom Plaza

As you can see from the photos there was a mix of people of all ages, races, gender identities, and sexual orientations. One of the people in the next photo even gave me free bottled water after I shot this picture.

Counter Protest Rally in Freedom Plaza

Counter Protest Rally in Freedom Plaza

Counter Protest Rally in Freedom Plaza

Eventually the march began from Freedom Plaza. I heard people with microphones or bullhorns warning us that this march was risky since we would be directly confronting the Unite the Right 2 people. People’s spirits were up despite the risks involved and the fact that it was very humid outside. (Fortunately the day was cloudy so we didn’t have to deal with being in direct sunlight.)

Counter Protest Rally in Freedom Plaza

So the march started to move towards Lafayette Square.

The March From Freedom Plaza to Lafayette Square

The March From Freedom Plaza to Lafayette Square

The March From Freedom Plaza to Lafayette Square

The March From Freedom Plaza to Lafayette Square

There were Secret Service people around, especially as we started to get closer to Lafayette Square.

The March From Freedom Plaza to Lafayette Square

There was a street musician on the march route who serenaded the marchers with his rendition of “Stand By Me” while singing this altered lyric, “No, I won’t be afraid. No I won’t be afraid of the KKK. For as long as you stand by me.” He also earned a lot of tip money that day (as you can see in the photo below).

The March From Freedom Plaza to Lafayette Square

The March From Freedom Plaza to Lafayette Square

The March From Freedom Plaza to Lafayette Square

The March From Freedom Plaza to Lafayette Square

The March From Freedom Plaza to Lafayette Square

The March From Freedom Plaza to Lafayette Square

We finally arrived at Lafayette Square where there was a huge police presence (some of them on horseback) along with extensive barricades that completely blocked the other end of Lafayette Square.

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

There was another street musician in Lafayette Square who was playing his violin while earning a huge amount of tips in the process.

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

So we all crowded into one end of Lafayette Square while trying to see if anyone had seen any alt-right Nazis or KKK people there. I overheard someone who was sitting in a tree saying that she could barely see them because they were located so far on the other side of the park. So we all waited patiently as we heard thunder and saw a few lightning bolts appear before the rain really started. (Which is why you can see plenty of umbrellas in some of these photographs.)

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

At one point a guy approached me asking if I want a free sign that he had just made up. Apparently he had created a bunch of signs and he decided to give them away. I took him up on his offer. Here is what that sign looked like.

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Here’s a glimpse of the White House in the distance.

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

PETA was there as well along with two costumed folks.

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Lafayette Park has long been home to this 24-hour-a-day/7-days-per-week anti-nuclear protest camp that has been there since Ronald Reagan occupied the White House. It has continued even though both of its original founders are now deceased. I saw that this camp had been moved from its usual spot at the edge of Lafayette Park that’s closest to the White House all the way over to where the counter protesters were gathered. (Unfortunately I didn’t take a picture of that site.)

After waiting for a while I pulled out my smartphone looking for news on the alt-right protesters only to find out that a whopping 20-25 protesters from the other side had shown up. The counter protesters outnumbered the alt-right protesters. When I read later news reports, I saw how pathetic the turnout really was on the other side.

Unite the Right was a pathetic failure

There were plenty of reasons for the pathetic display. But the basic issue is that Charlottesville was a complete disaster — a moment that was supposed to somehow win white nationalists favor, but actively turned much of the nation against them when they engaged in violence and, in one case, literal murder.

White nationalists dwarfed by crowds of counter protesters in Washington

The showing from “Unite the Right 2” participants fell far short of the hundreds that organizer Jason Kessler was expecting, based on his event permit application.

Kessler, who organized last year’s “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, blamed the low turnout on logistical issues and confusion regarding the group’s transportation — a claim echoed by at least two men who spoke to reporters. “People are scared to come out after what happened last year,” one of the men added.

Rally by White Nationalists Was Over Almost Before It Began

After weeks of hype, white supremacists managed to muster just a couple of dozen supporters on Sunday in the nation’s capital for the first anniversary of their deadly rally in Charlottesville, Va., finding themselves greatly outnumbered by counterprotesters, police officers and representatives of the news media.

Unite the Right: White nationalists outnumbered at Washington rally

As a small group of white supremacists gathered for their second “Unite the Right” rally, the rain began to fall.

Much like the sodden pavements outside the White House, the follow up to last year’s rally in Charlottesville was nothing more than a damp squib.

This last article explains why I never saw any alt-right protesters nor was I able to come up to them close enough so I could get a shot with my camera.

‘Hell no’: counterprotesters outnumber white supremacists at White House rally

To protect their safety and that of others, officials had organised a special route for the parade. Kessler and his companions were escorted onto the metro. A special car was prepared for them, the Southern Poverty Law Center reported. In downtown Washington, police officers said they planned to clear part of the metro station platform to escort Kessler up to the street. As he came up the elevators, he was met with hundreds of news photographers and a roar of outrage from protesters amassed waiting.

In Lafayette Park, in front of the White House, Kessler and his tiny group of supporters were taken away to their own distant corner of the park talked to each other in front of journalists. Cordoned off and dozens of meters away, too far to even see him, a crowd of thousands of counter-protesters waved signs and shouted their disapproval.

In a nutshell, the tiny alt-right group showed up at Lafayette Square earlier than originally scheduled then decided to cut their rally short when the rain came down and leave the area. So the counter protesters won this round simply by outnumbering the alt-right.

To be honest, I don’t even know what Jason Kessler was thinking when he decided that DC would be the perfect place to have his little hate rally. With the exception of having a white supremacist currently occupying the White House, he was holding a rally in hostile territory. There is an African American majority living in that city. Plus there are plenty of Latinos and LGBTQ folks who also call DC home. There was no way in hell that they were going to sit back and let the alt-right have their rally with no blowback at all. Especially since it was the one-year anniversary of that brutal murder of Heather Heyer at the hands (or maybe I should say car) of a white supremacist.

Hell, many of the local bars and restaurants in DC had decided that they would not serve any white nationalists.

I arrived in downtown DC while bracing myself for the likely possibility of a violent confrontation. In the end it turned out that I stood a greater chance of being struck by lightning than getting killed by a Nazi. I’m glad that no one was killed on Sunday and that the alt-right were too minuscule to provide much of a threat.

I grew tired of sitting in the rain with my umbrella so I decided to head back to the nearest Metro station that was opened. Metro, in its infinite wisdom (sarcasm), decided to close the two Metro stations that were closest to Lafayette Square. I ended up walking several blocks until I found the Gallery Place/Chinatown Metro station. While I was walking I saw a group of black-clad antifa demonstrators blocking the corner of 13th and G Streets, Northwest. I didn’t know why they were doing this. They managed to get this white car that was headed in the antifa’s direction to turn around and drive a different route. Here are a few photos of what I saw on my way back to the Gallery Place/Chinatown Metro station.

Counter Protesters Agains the Unite the Right 2 Protesters

Counter Protesters Agains the Unite the Right 2 Protesters

Counter Protesters Agains the Unite the Right 2 Protesters

I just kept on walking towards the Metro station. It’s just as well that I kept my distance because I read some news stories about antifa and they weren’t flattering at all:

Unite the Right 2018: antifa attacks police and journalists in Charlottesville and DC

At Unite the Right, black-clad antifa again give peaceful protesters a bad name.

I would rather focus on the fact that the counter protesters won through largely peaceful means. However, I read this opinion piece that sounds pretty alarming: I was at the sad white supremacists gathering. It didn’t fool me. Their movement is rising.

It sounds like the counter protesters have won a battle but it hasn’t decisively won the war—yet. We’ll see how things turn out in the mid-term elections this November. In the meantime, here’s a video I also shot at the counter protest that included all kinds of footage ranging from shouting some unique slogans (such as “Oy Vey! Oy Vey! Nazi Scum Go Away!”) to street musicians serenading the counter protesters as they made their way to Lafayette Square.

Here’s hoping that there won’t be a Unite the Right 3 anywhere in the United States next year.

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For the past couple of years I’ve been taking the Gateway Arts Open Studio Tour and I’ve been blogging about these tours in May, 2016; December, 2016; and May, 2017. For this year’s tour there was some Facebook drama. From what I was told, the people who organized the previous Open Studio Tours had been dragging its feet about organizing a new tour for 2018 so some of the artists who had participated in the previous tours decided to take it upon themselves to organize their own art tour that was scheduled for the day before Mother’s Day. The organizers of the Open Studio Tours realized that they were lax about organizing a tour for this year so they decided to organize an official tour that would coincide with Mount Rainier Day (which is an annual neighborhood celebration) on the following Saturday while putting out promo materials claiming that this year’s walk would be a two consecutive Saturday walk beginning with the one that the artists themselves had organized on the day before Mother’s Day.

So naturally there were accusations of cooption. On top of it some artists questioned the wisdom of scheduling the second Open Studio Tour on the same weekend as Mount Rainier Day because it might draw crowds away from the artist studios who happened to be located in towns north of Mount Rainier (such as Hyattsville and Brentwood). Some artists decided not to participate in the second Saturday’s Open Studio Tour while others decided to participate on both Saturdays.

As for me, I wasn’t able to make it to the first Saturday’s Open Studio Tour because I had opted to attend the Greenbelt Green Man Festival, which was scheduled the same weekend. I was amazed at reading all of the Facebook drama but I ended up going to the Open Studio Tour on the second Saturday mainly because I’ve enjoyed the previous ones. The silver lining to all of this controversy is that, thanks to the artist boycott of the second Saturday tour, it made my decision as to which studios to actually visit much easier.

The only downside is that it had been raining that day. Fortunately it wasn’t raining too heavily so I was able to carry my umbrella, which I used at times. There were also times when there was no rain at all. At least you know why all of the outdoor photos I took that day featured clouds and wet ground.

I also must warn you that there are some images in this post that are definitely NSFW.

What I saw at the Gateway Open Studio Tour in Hyattsville and Mount Rainier, Maryland on May 19, 2018. #OST2018

I first stopped at the Renaissance Gallery in Hyattsville.

What I saw at the Gateway Open Studio Tour in Hyattsville and Mount Rainier, Maryland on May 19, 2018. #OST2018

The Renaissance Gallery is located on the lower level of the Renaissance Square Artists Housing, which provides affordable housing for working artists.

What I saw at the Gateway Open Studio Tour in Hyattsville and Mount Rainier, Maryland on May 19, 2018. #OST2018

What I saw at the Gateway Open Studio Tour in Hyattsville and Mount Rainier, Maryland on May 19, 2018. #OST2018

Renaissance Gallery features the art of Pepe Piedra, who is a painter.

What I saw at the Gateway Open Studio Tour in Hyattsville and Mount Rainier, Maryland on May 19, 2018. #OST2018

What I saw at the Gateway Open Studio Tour in Hyattsville and Mount Rainier, Maryland on May 19, 2018. #OST2018

What I saw at the Gateway Open Studio Tour in Hyattsville and Mount Rainier, Maryland on May 19, 2018. #OST2018

 

What I saw at the Gateway Open Studio Tour in Hyattsville and Mount Rainier, Maryland on May 19, 2018. #OST2018

Pepe Piedra can be seen painting at his easel in the next photograph.

What I saw at the Gateway Open Studio Tour in Hyattsville and Mount Rainier, Maryland on May 19, 2018. #OST2018

Afterwards I drove south to Brentwood, where I visited the art that was on display at the Brentwood Arts Exchange.

What I saw at the Gateway Open Studio Tour in Brentwood, Maryland on May 19, 2018. #OST2018

What I saw at the Gateway Open Studio Tour in Brentwood, Maryland on May 19, 2018. #OST2018

What I saw at the Gateway Open Studio Tour in Brentwood, Maryland on May 19, 2018. #OST2018

What I saw at the Gateway Open Studio Tour in Brentwood, Maryland on May 19, 2018. #OST2018

What I saw at the Gateway Open Studio Tour in Brentwood, Maryland on May 19, 2018. #OST2018

What I saw at the Gateway Open Studio Tour in Brentwood, Maryland on May 19, 2018. #OST2018

What I saw at the Gateway Open Studio Tour in Brentwood, Maryland on May 19, 2018. #OST2018

What I saw at the Gateway Open Studio Tour in Brentwood, Maryland on May 19, 2018. #OST2018

What I saw at the Gateway Open Studio Tour in Brentwood, Maryland on May 19, 2018. #OST2018

What I saw at the Gateway Open Studio Tour in Brentwood, Maryland on May 19, 2018. #OST2018

What I saw at the Gateway Open Studio Tour in Brentwood, Maryland on May 19, 2018. #OST2018

Located on the upper level of the Brentwood Arts Exchange Building is the 39th Street Gallery and Studios, which is a separate gallery/studio that featured even more art, including paintings of the famous artist Frida Kahlo.

What I saw at the Gateway Open Studio Tour in Brentwood, Maryland on May 19, 2018. #OST2018

What I saw at the Gateway Open Studio Tour in Brentwood, Maryland on May 19, 2018. #OST2018

What I saw at the Gateway Open Studio Tour in Brentwood, Maryland on May 19, 2018. #OST2018

What I saw at the Gateway Open Studio Tour in Hyattsville and Mount Rainier, Maryland on May 19, 2018. #OST2018

What I saw at the Gateway Open Studio Tour in Brentwood, Maryland on May 19, 2018. #OST2018

Gateway Open Studios Tour, May 19, 2018

Gateway Open Studios Tour, May 19, 2018

Gateway Open Studios Tour, May 19, 2018

Gateway Open Studios Tour, May 19, 2018

Gateway Open Studios Tour, May 19, 2018

Gateway Open Studios Tour, May 19, 2018

Gateway Open Studios Tour, May 19, 2018

Next I drove less than a mile north of the Brentwood Arts Exchange where I went to ezStorage.

Gateway Open Studios Tour, May 19, 2018

ezStorage is a nationwide chain of storage facilities. What makes the Brentwood, Maryland location of ezStorage unique is that it has allowed artists to operate studios on the lower level of the building. Some of the studios were closed that day because some of the artists had opted to boycott the second Saturday of the Open Studio Tour.

Gateway Open Studios Tour, May 19, 2018

There was one studio that closed early due to a family emergency.

Gateway Open Studios Tour, May 19, 2018

There were a couple of available spaces where one can set up his/her own art studio.

Gateway Open Studios Tour, May 19, 2018

There were a couple of ezStorage studios that were opened that day and I was fortunate to be able to see some of the art that was created in that location.

Gateway Open Studios Tour, May 19, 2018

Gateway Open Studios Tour, May 19, 2018

Gateway Open Studios Tour, May 19, 2018

I drove on south until I reached Mount Rainier, where the traffic was clogged because it was also Mount Rainier Day. I managed to find parking a few blocks away from the main action on Route 1 so it was okay.

I was initially surprised to find that ReCreative Spaces was on the list of participants in the Open Studio Tour because I was told that the place had to close down earlier this year because operating it wasn’t sustainable.

Gateway Open Studios Tour, May 19, 2018

I went inside to find two people associated with ReCreative Spaces who told me that the person who was in charge of the place has since moved on but there are new people who are thinking of ways to somehow revive the place. ReCreative Spaces had some art on display but it was all on the lower level. The place was empty of most furniture and there was nothing on the upper level. Only time will tell whether ReCreative Spaces will be revived to its former glory or not. At least the art that was on display that day looked nice.

Gateway Open Studios Tour, May 19, 2018

Gateway Open Studios Tour, May 19, 2018

Gateway Open Studios Tour, May 19, 2018

I went on to the Gateway Media Arts Lab, which had a variety of art on display by local artists.

Gateway Open Studios Tour, May 19, 2018

Gateway Open Studios Tour, May 19, 2018

Gateway Open Studios Tour, May 19, 2018

Gateway Open Studios Tour, May 19, 2018

Gateway Open Studios Tour, May 19, 2018

Gateway Open Studios Tour, May 19, 2018

Gateway Open Studios Tour, May 19, 2018

Gateway Open Studios Tour, May 19, 2018

Gateway Open Studios Tour, May 19, 2018

I saw portraits of famous people like Prince, Tupac Shakur, and Redd Foxx.

Gateway Open Studios Tour, May 19, 2018

I also saw more art based on Frida Kahlo.

Gateway Open Studios Tour, May 19, 2018

I also saw this mixed-media art piece featuring a Barbie doll and the Minions from the Despicable Me movies.

Gateway Open Studios Tour, May 19, 2018

The last place I visited on the Open Studio Tour was at Joe’s Movement Emporium, which has this gorgeous butterfly mural outside its doors.

Gateway Open Studio Tour, May 19, 2018

I didn’t stay long in Joe’s Movement Emporium because it was towards the end of the day and I really needed to use the bathroom. I managed to view the art that was on display in the hallway.

Gateway Open Studio Tour, May 19, 2018

While I was in Mount Rainier I checked out Mount Rainier Day, which is an annual neighborhood celebration. There were activities for children, live performances, and people walking around dressed up as Mickey Mouse and Spider-Man.

Mount Rainier Day

Mount Rainier Day

Mount Rainier Day

Mount Rainier Day

Mount Rainier Day

Mount Rainier Day

Mount Rainier Day

Mount Rainier Day

Mount Rainier Day

Mount Rainier Day

One of the lanes that comprise Route 1 was temporarily shut down in order to make room for vendor booths which sold a variety of handcrafted goods and services. That turned into a traffic snarl as the cars had to share one of the lanes for the duration of the festival. But there were a variety of nice stuff available for sale.

Mount Rainier Day

Mount Rainier Day

Mount Rainier Day

Mount Rainier Day

The Mount Rainier Public Library was actually giving away free books to anyone who was passing by.

Mount Rainier Day

I browsed the tables until I found a copy of Marguerite Henry’s classic book Misty of Chincoteague. I read that book as a child (along with its sequels Sea Star: Orphan of Chincoteague and Stormy, Misty’s Foal) and I loved it. I had also made numerous visits to what the books says is the birthplace of Misty, Assateague Island. (Although the official Misty of Chincoteague site said that the real-life Misty was born in captivity in Chincoteague.) In any case, you can see the Misty of Chincoteague book among the pile of books waiting to be taken away to new homes.

Mount Rainier Day

I had a good day walking the Open Studio Tour despite the Facebook drama. Hopefully there will be another Open Studio Tour next year with less online drama than this year.

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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

A look at the digital ruins of a forgotten future called Second Life.

U.S. mints coins for Donald Trump-Kim Jong Un summit that might not happen.

Fewer tourists are coming to the U.S. and experts say that it’s largely Trump’s fault.

Barbie “Shero” doll with a hijab honors Olympian Ibtihaj Muhammad.

Martin Luther King may have been killed by a Memphis police officer, not James Earl Ray.

How white Americans used lynchings to terrorize and control black people.

Laminated jewelry crafted from vintage books by Jeremy May.

A look at the guerrilla grafting movement—secretly grafting fruit-bearing trees onto ornamental city trees in order to feed the poor.

A Princeton sociologist spent 8 years asking rural Americans why they are so pissed off. Hint: It’s not about the economy.

The surprising secret to aging well.

New York City has genetically distinct “uptown” and “downtown” rats.

Why the DNC is fighting WikiLeaks and not Wall Street.

How Australia all but ended gun violence.

83,500 vintage sewing patterns put into online database from Vogue, McCall’s, Butterick, and Simplicity.

Stunning images of pagan costumes worn at winter celebrations around the world.

Watch the illustrated version of “Alice’s Restaurant,” Arlo Guthrie’s Thanksgiving Counterculture Classic.

The bots that are changing politics.

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Ramadan

Once again I took part in the Changing Focus Yard Sale, which was held on the grounds of the Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church in Crofton, Maryland. Like the previous times I attended, I collected money from people who wanted to buy the used items that were donated from the members of Changing Focus (which is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people deal with being separated, divorced, and widowed). In-between handling the money and interacting with the customers, I took these photos of a few choice items that were on sale this time around.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 28, 2018

This porcelain doll looked like the late Princess Diana having an incredibly bad hair day while wearing a dress that looked a couple of sizes too big for her.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 28, 2018

These two Victorian-style dolls were snapped up about a minute or two after I took this shot.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 28, 2018

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 28, 2018

The weather was warm and gorgeous outside. It was the perfect day to hold a yard sale. The flowers were at their peak bloom as well.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 28, 2018

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 28, 2018

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 28, 2018

These kids were playing under one of the flowering trees while their parents shopped at the yard sale.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 28, 2018

This is definitely the epitome of kitsch: a porcelain Avon Lady figurine dressed in Victorian-style clothes.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 28, 2018

There were plenty of other things on sale that were definitely kitschy.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 28, 2018

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 28, 2018

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 28, 2018

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 28, 2018

Most of the time I participate in these yard sales, I come across at least one item that belongs in a museum. This time it was a film cartridge for the Kodak Pocket Instamatic camera (which was my first camera I ever owned—this post I wrote over two years ago has photos I shot with that camera when I was trying to earn a photography badge in Girl Scouts). What’s even more amazing is that this film was still in its original foil cover, which has never been opened.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 28, 2018

Here’s another view of the wrapped Kodak film cartridge that has the words “Open at Cut.” (There’s a little cut along the center seam where one is supposed to rip in order to open the package.)

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 28, 2018

I don’t know if anyone bought it. I have no way of knowing if that film would be usable since it was probably manufactured during the Pocket Instamatic’s 1970s heyday. When I was doing a quick Google search about the Pocket Instamatic, I came across this website that was not only selling vintage Pocket Instamatic cameras but it was also selling newly manufactured 110 film cartridges just for that camera. (Which proves that there’s a market for just about anything these days.)

But that wasn’t the only Kodak film product I saw on sale that day. There was also a Kodak 35mm camera gift box set that was definitely for those who miss the days of shooting with 35mm film.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 28, 2018

I saw a vintage Soviet Union sports pendant (note the hammer and sickle in the center).

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 28, 2018

The Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church has a labyrinth on its property. A young boy was walking along the labyrinth while his father was watching the child while sitting on a bench on the far left side of the photograph.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 28, 2018

At one point I went indoors where I checked out the Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church’s used book sale.

Book Sale, Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church, April 28, 2018

Book Sale, Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church, April 28, 2018

I saw boxes full of vintage Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mystery series.

Book Sale, Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church, April 28, 2018

Book Sale, Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church, April 28, 2018

The church sold more than just used books. They had boxes full of VHS tapes. (I saw people actually browsing and buying them.)

Book Sale, Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church, April 28, 2018

I purchased two books at the used book sale. One was Dan Brown’s Inferno, which is another novel in the historical series featuring Robert Langdon. (I had previously read Angels & Demons, The Da Vinci Code, and The Lost Symbol.)

Book Sale at the Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church, April 28, 2018

I also found this book on puppet making, which I bought on impulse. (It only cost $1.)

Book Sale at the Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church, April 28, 2018

Both the yard sale and the used book sale were scheduled to coincide with the Festival on the Green, which is usually held on the grounds of the Crofton Country Club that’s located next door to the Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church. The festival had all kinds of handcrafted goods made by local artisans while providing entertainment (some of which included people dressed in costumes). I browsed through the various tables but I ended up not buying anything because money was very tight for me.

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Many of the items on sale were displayed with the upcoming Mother’s Day holiday in mind.

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

 

This year is also an election year with the midterm elections coming up in Maryland. There were plenty of political candidate signs on display.

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

This event was the first time I ever shot a video at the Festival on the Green. There was a woman who wore fox ears and a fox tail who was playing the ukulele and singing “Hickory Dickory Dock.”

All in all it was a pretty glorious day. I learned that Changing Focus managed to raise $1,600 from that yard sale. Sweet!

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Last month I attended my first Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School session of 2018. There have been other Dr. Sketchy’s events in Baltimore and Washington since the New Year but, for a variety of reasons, I wasn’t able to make one until last month.

Even though it was April and the cherry blossom trees in the entire metropolitan area were starting to bloom, winter was still holding on. I remember it was around 40 degrees Fahrenheit so I wore my winter coat while going to downtown DC. When I arrived at the Greenbelt Metro station I saw a group of cosplayers in winter coats who were obviously going to the Tidal Basin (where many of the cherry blossom trees are located and it gets a huge share of the tourists this time of the year).

One of them had this clear backpack that had all kinds of Donald Duck charms, buttons, and pins.

I arrived at Dupont Circle where I noticed that the fountain had been turned on with the water coming in at at a trickle.

A pair of ducks were swimming in the fountain despite the winter-like cold weather.

I saw a group of people near the fountain who took off their coats and started swing dancing in public. I have no idea if they were a flash mob or if they were heavy swing dance enthusiasts. I shot a short video of these people in action.

I shot a few more photos of Dupont Circle.

Like I wrote earlier, many of the cherry blossom trees are further downtown at the Tidal Basin. However, I saw a couple of blooming cherry blossoms planted outside of a building at the intersection of Dupont Circle and New Hampshire Ave., NW so I was able to take a few cherry blossom pictures.

I went to Kramerbooks & Afterwords where I browsed through a few books while noticing all of the Donald Trump-related books that are now available for sale, many of which are less-than-flattering towards The Donald.

As I was walking down P Street, NW, I noticed something I hadn’t noticed before on previous trips. There is a restaurant called Tiki Taco, which serves a fusion of Mexican and Polynesian food. (Seriously!) If I wasn’t financially struggling I might have tried eating there. (I had just started a new day job and, at that point, I was only working around 15 hours per week.)

I made a brief stop at Fantom Comics where I took pictures of the various posters and wall murals.

I noticed this Batgirl costume on display, which reminded me of the costume that Batgirl wore in this graphic novel that I checked out of the library last year called Batgirl of Burnside (which I enjoyed, by the way). One of the employees told me that the Batgirl costume was on display because one of the writers of Batgirl of Burnside had stopped by the store the day before signing autographs. There were plenty of signed graphic novels that the person had written that were still available for sale that not only included Batgirl of Burnside but also other books he wrote, such as Black Canary and Gotham Academy. (I also checked out one of the Gotham Academy books out of the public library recently. I hadn’t read Black Canary mainly because it has yet to arrive at the library.) They were all laid out on the table. I felt tempted but if I had purchased one of those signed books, I would not have been able to afford to go to Dr. Sketchy’s, which was the main reason why I even commuted to Dupont Circle on a cold April Sunday afternoon. So I had to just content myself with taking a picture of the Batgirl costume.

I finally arrived at The Bier Baron, where I took a couple of colorful beer signs on display.

Here’s a shot of the stage where the model posed.

The model for this event was Sally Cinch, who is a sideshow performer and dancer. Since she’s not a burlesque performer, all of the drawings in this post are definitely safe to view unless you are someone who gets offended at seeing a bare midriff.

Sally Cinch’s big talent is the ability to squeeze herself into tight spaces. She did a brief performance where she squeezed herself into a couple of hangers, which inspired this contest: Incorporate Joan Crawford into that drawing. I remember when I read that notorious book Mommie Dearest as a teenager and I even saw the movie featuring Fay Dunaway as Joan Crawford.

As it turned out, I was one of only two people who actually took part in the contest. I think it was because the majority of the people who were there were either not born or were too young to remember Mommy Dearest. The two of us were declared the winners and our prize was a drink of our choice from the bar. (I chose a hard cider that I really liked. I’m sorry I didn’t write down the name of what I drank.)

I did another sketch of Sally showing why her last name is Cinch using a belt that was pulled very tight around her waist.

I drew one last sketch of Sally before the event ended.

The event was cut relatively short compared to previous Dr. Sketchy’s events because of some kind of a scheduling snafu with a comedy show that was following Dr. Sketchy’s. I managed to talk briefly with Sally Cinch and the emcee, Reverend Valentine. I found out that Sally Cinch has performed in my neck of the woods. Not only did she once performed at The New Deal Cafe in Greenbelt, Maryland but she’s also friends with two friends of mine, which was ironic and it goes to show that it’s a small world after all.

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St. Patrick's Day

Twenty facts about the Amish you never knew before.

A look at the unwelcome revival of “race science.”

The Simple Life Manifesto and how it could save us.

These shirts are every thought people of color have refrained from saying to white people.

Eight cosplayers share their tips, tools, and ingenuity.

Geek Squad’s relationship with the FBI is cozier than we thought.

Five hacks for identifying legit (or not) news sources.

Margaret Thatcher sold off public housing to create “the dignity of ownership” and today 40% of that housing is owned by gouging landlords.

Nine at-home exercises that reduce knee pain.

Are you ready to consider that capitalism is the real problem?

A UN official reacts with shock when he toured Alabama’s destitute black communities.

Puerto Rico’s humanitarian crisis takes on new urgency with alarming death counts.

A list of the 11 best concert films of all time.

Redneck Revolt is recruiting working-class white people to destroy the very idea of white culture.

The socially deviant and provocative digital art of Waldemar Von Kozak.

Four warning signs you’re being gas-lighted.

Crowdtap provides the only job a robot couldn’t do.

Amazon workers ask “$100 billion man” Jeff Bezos: where’s my cut?

Sadly but frankly, Donald Trump is not going anywhere.

Fascism runs in one person’s American family.

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Women are calling to an end to sexual harassment in the animation industry. 

To save Net Neutrality, we must build our own Internet.

When blue chips fall like dominoes.

The deranged Twitter thread that proves that establishment liberals have lost their minds.

Why we need to appreciate the talents and abilities of the quiet introverted ones.

The mainstream media quietly erases the role NATO played in bringing slave markets to Libya.

Here’s the line-up of liars you can thank when the economy crashes.

Four WTF lessons the world teaches us about sexualizing teens.

An Internet entrepreneur makes a video expressing how shocked he is that he was sued for stealing a copyright owner’s work.

The myth that college graduates make the best employees.

Medicare for all is not socialized medicine.

Most of America’s terrorists are white and not Muslim.

Facebook’s security chief says that his company’s security is like a college campus but they face threats like a defense contractor.

All of these women of color are badder than Taylor Swift.

Punks and metalheads are infiltrating the system by winning political office.

Walt Disney World is anything but magical for its employees.

Here’s an online trove of historic sewing patterns and costumes.

An essay on being biracial without identity issues.

The 11 most unintentionally hilarious religious paintings.

“Protest Matters” museum shows what resistance looks like.

I’m finally towards the end of the backlog of Halloween pictures I’ve been meaning to share online. Last month I got diverted by Inktober, where I was one of many artists who created one new ink drawing every day from October 1-31 then uploaded that drawing on social media and other online places. At first I thought it was fun but, by the end of the month, I began to totally burn out on this. It’s amazing how much time a daily project like this takes out of your day. (Which is why I’ve declined to take part in either NaNoWriMo or Makevember, which are both taking place this month.)

While I was finishing the last drawings for Inktober, I took part in a few weekend events. Friday I went on the First Friday Art Walk in Hyattsville then went to the tail end of the Greenbelt Pumpkin Festival. I ended up filming The Mojo Priests’ performance at the nearby New Deal Cafe after the director of this documentary that I’ve been helping out with contacted me at the last minute because he decided that he wanted footage of not only The Mojo Priests but also another band that would perform at the same venue the following night. Saturday afternoon I decided to check out some Halloween-related things that were going on in Annapolis. Saturday evening I went on the Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk then I headed back to the New Deal Cafe where I filmed some footage of The Wild Anacostias. Sunday morning was the Halloween/Samhain service at my church followed by the Trunk or Treat event followed by helping with teaching an English class that my church is offering to recent immigrants.

So I got to Monday, October 30, the day before Halloween. I thought I would have a day to rest only to realize that last week I signed up for this twilight networking event that would be held from 5:30 p.m.-7 p.m. at the Maryland Workforce Exchange in Laurel. By that point I was reluctant to go, especially since I had attended previous twilight networking events since January and the best I was able to get as a result was to snag a gig as an extra for a PBS television special hosted by finance guru Ric Edelman. (I found it to be an interesting experience but I really needed something a bit more permanent with a steady paycheck.) I decided to go because I felt that if I didn’t go, it would be the one networking event where there was a genuine opportunity and I would miss out on it.

I arrived in Laurel a few hours early in order to beat the rush hour traffic. Usually I would eat an early dinner at Harris Teeter at 4 p.m. so I wouldn’t go networking with strangers on an empty stomach. When I arrived, I began to feel mildly queasy, which I wrote off as nerves. (In hindsight I think it was the beginning of that stomach flu that had totally derailed me the next day on Halloween itself.) I found that there was a temporary Halloween store next to Harris Teeter known as Halloween City.

Sure I felt a little bit queasy but I felt that doing a detour in this store would calm my nerves (this was when I thought that it was stress-related instead of the beginnings of that stomach flu). I felt okay as I focused more on what I saw on sale and less on my very mild queasiness. Halloween City is like the Spirit of Halloween in that it’s a temporary store that sets up shop in an empty storefront until Halloween and it sells a variety of decorations, costumes, makeup, and masks.

I found a few Native American costumes that I’m not sure if Native American groups would approve of. In recent years various ethnic groups, including Native Americans, have complained about certain costumes based on their culture while deriving them as cultural appropriation.

The rest of the store featured more benign costumes such as witches, ghosts, superheroes, grim reapers, and more.

There was a special Day of the Dead rack where people can purchase costumes for that traditional Mexican holiday (which falls on November 1-2).

There was this incredibly creepy looking Vladimir Putin mask.

It was a brief visit and I didn’t buy anything in that store. After that visit I went to Harris Teeter where I ate my early dinner. My queasiness had totally subsided after I finished eating so that was why I thought it was nerves rather than the stomach flu. I managed to go through the twilight networking event with no major problems. There were a couple of promising leads so I was glad I went. However, I ended up not following up on them until the next week due to what came the next day.

After the event ended I went to Giant where I found this pumpkin that was on sale so I bought it. I drove to another grocery store also in Laurel where I found even cheaper pumpkins so I bought that one as well. So I had two additional pumpkins that would join the pumpkin I purchased earlier at Clark’s Elioak Farm. I spent the rest of the evening carving faces into my three pumpkins in preparation for Halloween the next day until it was bedtime.

When I woke up the next morning I really felt horrible. The mild queasy feeling I felt the day before had intensified and I spent Halloween day alternating between diarrhea and vomiting (except I was doing more dry heaves than actually throwing anything up). I felt so horrible that I was barely able to give out the Halloween pretzel treats to the trick or treaters who came to my door. I was invited to a party at a friend’s house that would begin once the official trick or treating time ended at 8 p.m. but I ended up going to Giant instead because I was running low on toilet paper and medication. I went to bed early when I returned home.

The worst part of the stomach flu was gone by the next day but I was extremely tired and weak. I spent the rest of that week just resting.

I think what happened is that I had done so much in the days leading up to Halloween that it made my body more susceptible to catching whatever germs were going around and I happened to end up with the stomach flu on Halloween. I’ve had other friends getting sick with something similar so I think there’s something that’s going around and I was unlucky enough to catch it just in time for Halloween.

I’ve learned that I’m going to have to be more picky as to what holiday events I’ll go to and stop trying to attend as many as possible, even if they are all located within a few miles of each other. That’s a valuable lesson since Thanksgiving and the winter holidays are coming up in the near future.

The Sunday before Halloween was jam-packed for me. I spent the bulk of that day at my church. First I attended a special all-ages intergenerational Sunday service that dealt with Halloween/Samhain. Many people in the choir were dressed up in costumes and there were appropriately spooky decorations at the church as well.

Halloween/Samhain Service, October 29, 2017

Halloween/Samhain Service, October 29, 2017

Halloween/Samhain Service, October 29, 2017

Halloween/Samhain Service, October 29, 2017

Halloween/Samhain Service, October 29, 2017

Halloween/Samhain Service, October 29, 2017

Halloween/Samhain Service, October 29, 2017

Halloween/Samhain Service, October 29, 2017

Halloween/Samhain Service, October 29, 2017

Trunk or Treat at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church, October 29, 2017

Someone brought this really cool looking Halloween cake that tasted delicious as well.

Halloween/Samhain Service, October 29, 2017

Here is how I decorated my car trunk for Trunk or Treat.

Trunk or Treat at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church, October 29, 2017

Trunk or Treat at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church, October 29, 2017

Trunk or Treat at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church, October 29, 2017

Trunk or Treat at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church, October 29, 2017

Trunk or Treat at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church, October 29, 2017

The only thing I regret not photographing is what I gave away. I purchased one package containing 24 small boxes that had temporary Halloween tattoos. The other were a bunch of tiny notepads that were shaped like mummies, witches, frankensteins, ghosts, and other Halloween creatures. I purchased them at Target for only $10. They were such a hit at church that I ran out and I ended up having to buy Halloween pretzels so I would have something to give out to the trick or treaters on Halloween itself. Oh well. In any case, here is how other people decorated their trunks.

Trunk or Treat at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church, October 29, 2017

Trunk or Treat at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church, October 29, 2017

Trunk or Treat at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church, October 29, 2017

Trunk or Treat at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church, October 29, 2017

Trunk or Treat at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church, October 29, 2017

Trunk or Treat at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church, October 29, 2017

Someone brought a portable sandbox for children to play with.

Trunk or Treat at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church, October 29, 2017

There were games and face painting that the kids could participate in. Plus there was plenty of food to munch on.

Trunk or Treat at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church, October 29, 2017

Trunk or Treat at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church, October 29, 2017

Trunk or Treat at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church, October 29, 2017

Trunk or Treat at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church, October 29, 2017

Trunk or Treat at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church, October 29, 2017

Trunk or Treat at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church, October 29, 2017

Trunk or Treat at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church, October 29, 2017

Trunk or Treat at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church, October 29, 2017

Trunk or Treat at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church, October 29, 2017

Trunk or Treat at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church, October 29, 2017

Trunk or Treat at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church, October 29, 2017

Trunk or Treat at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church, October 29, 2017

Trunk or Treat at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church, October 29, 2017

Trunk or Treat at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church, October 29, 2017

Trunk or Treat at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church, October 29, 2017

Trunk or Treat at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church, October 29, 2017

Trunk or Treat at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church, October 29, 2017

Trunk or Treat at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church, October 29, 2017

Trunk or Treat at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church, October 29, 2017

Trunk or Treat at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church, October 29, 2017

Trunk or Treat at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church, October 29, 2017

Trunk or Treat at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church, October 29, 2017

Trunk or Treat at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church, October 29, 2017

I also shot a short video that included people dancing the Time Warp (yes, they played the song from The Rocky Horror Picture Show) and children engaging in a wheel-type race.

If all that weren’t enough, I stayed behind after the party because, this fall, I’ve been serving as a volunteer teacher of English to recent immigrants as part of my church’s social action program. The class runs from 1:15-3:15 p.m. so I was definitely tired by the time I finally returned home.

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