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

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

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

Cannabis industry attracts more mainstream investors as business grows.

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

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

Microsoft Office vulnerabilities mean that no .doc is safe.

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

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

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

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

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

Microsoft to offer self-service refund for digital games.

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

12 ways to study a new programming language.

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

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

Why Kickstarter decided to radically transform its business model.

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

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

Beware of “drive-by” computer scam.

Fake SEO plugin used in WordPress malware attacks.

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

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

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

Artist Hasan Elahi discusses racism in the digital art world.

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

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

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

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

Gizmodo reports on why people still use Microsoft Word.

Disney launching new animated Star Wars series on YouTube.

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

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

Passover

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

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

14 stunning embroidery Instagrams.

Magic moments marking 170 years of British photography.

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

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

This robot will literally make you a salad.

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

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

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

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

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

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

A comparison of six free web-based SVG editors.

Nine anime things that Astro Boy did first.

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

Seven integral WordPress plug-ins.

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

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

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

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

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

Five free graphic design tools.

Top 10 WordPress plugins for business sites in 2017.

Hollywood’s whitewashed version of anime never sells.

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

How to make a coin sorting machine from cardboard.

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

Photos showing 100 years of people knitting.

Talking bendable Justin Trudeau doll for sale.

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

Six of the most innovative 3D printing companies.

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

This man makes amazing surreal animations from famous artwork.

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

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

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

Knitted knockers for breast cancer survivors.

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

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

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

Improvisation is the heart of Cuban animation.

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

As the ballerina moves, this robot paints the dance.

How to get Microsoft Word for free.

What we can learn from the brief period when the government employed artists through its Works Progress Administration (WPA).

Software engineer starts unlikely business: A weekly newspaper.

Russian startup company Renca recycles industrial waste into 3D printable cement.

Can collecting digital art make museums more competitive?

New business fad: Tripping on Ayahuasca.

“Pink Tax” forces women to pay more for gender-specific items than men.

Adobe and IBM are rolling out more artificial intelligence tools for brands.

ISIS recruiting videos hit YouTube after London attack.

Elon Musk wants to merge your brain with a computer.

In the 1970’s this 25-mile-long art project by conceptual artist Christo Javacheff wowed the Bay Area.

A double-amputee toddler gets a doll with prosthetic legs.

Not all animators yearn to direct big studio films.

The disturbing YouTube videos that are tricking children into watching them.

Microsoft Word macro malware automatically adapts attach techniques for Mac OS and Windows.

Little girl mistakes a water heater for a robot and gives it a hug.

Easy Easter crafts that will bring an element of nature to your home.

3D printer helps revive 103-year-old Delage Type-S car.

Virtual anime girl Kizuna Ai rises to fame. She was created using the same software that was used to create virtual pop star Hatsune Miku.

Is YouTube turning against the marginalized community it built its network on?

Italian artists craft the world’s first 24-carat gold-plated shoes that costs ₤21,000 per pair.

The new world of 3D printing and counterfeiting.

Why Piet Mondrian could be considered to be the first digital artist.

Microsoft provided information to the British authorities after the London attack.

Google launches new site to showcase its open source projects and processes.

Open source software is for everyone—so where are the women?

A free tutorial on making a pocket jack-in-the-box in order to keep children occupied while traveling.

The Confederacy was a con job for whites. And still is.

This house was made on a 3D printer in just 24 hours for a little over $10,000.

New York art scene anxiously waits for decision on the fate of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Eight fun crafts to keep your kids buys this spring.

Illustrator and Inkscape has new competition. Vectr is a new vector graphics program that’s free to download.

U.S. psychologists claim that going on social media for more than two hours a day doubles the chances of experiencing social isolation.

The crafty story of embroidery in medieval manuscripts.

The new wave of European animated features: small budgets, big freedom.

A history of women in animation, including women who worked for such famous animation studios like Walt Disney and Fleischer Studios.

How girls are knitting their way to a math career.

Dad recreates Villanova’s 2016 March Madness win with Legos as a gift to his daughter.

After eighty years one of the first consumer publications for photography, Popular Photography, is ceasing both print and online operations.

The family of legendary filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock backs fight to save a 1926 Art-Deco movie theater in London from being demolished. The Odeon Kensington cinema had hosted Hitchcock’s early films.

Here are some helpful tips for those who are thinking about getting into 3D printing.

The reason why we all should referring Sally Hemmings as Thomas Jefferson’s “mistress.”

How a small craft shop can build a community.

Your kid’s favorite toy may be spying on you without your permission.

A provocative rant that says that people who are obsessed with getting top-notch camera gear tend to be relatively bad photographers.

Here’s Why Who Framed Roger Rabbit? is the most impressive animated movie of all time.

For those of you who use the open source alternative to Photoshop known as GIMP, here’s a tutorial on how to use Photoshop plugins in GIMP.

A look at slavery-era embroidery.

Are we knitting too many tiny sweaters for animals?

9 sex-positive embroidery patterns for people who want to go beyond the pussy hat

Crochet octopi comforts preemies in hospital NICU.

An interview with Derek Conrad Murray about a style of African American art that he defines as “post-black.”

A story about a type of art derived from computer/smartphone screen-tap culture known as “Like Art.”

How glassblowing has gotten easier for amateurs to learn.

What is Embroline and will it change the embroidery industry?

A retired Unitarian Universalist minister has made knitting pink pussycat hats her personal crusade.

How to break free from your photography slump in five steps.

A photographer writes about why he loves doing wedding photography.

Mom dyes a doll’s face so it’ll look like her daughter with a facial birthmark.

Adobe Illustrator has recently celebrated its 30th birthday.

A list of Disney’s most subversive animated movies.

The dangers of remaking anime as a live action film.

I’m writing this blog post instead of watching the Super Bowl this year. None of my friends and acquaintances were throwing any Super Bowl parties and I’ve ditched cable a few years ago because I grew tired of Comcast increasing my bill from $79 per month to a whopping $200 per month. (I wasn’t watching any pay-per-view shows at all. Comcast likes to lure you with a low “introductory price” bill for the first year or two then start to jack up the rates really high.) I haven’t gotten around to buying rabbit ears so I can watch network television. These days I use my TV set to watch videos and play console games. So I’m spending Super Bowl Sunday doing something else.

Yesterday I had a whole bunch of stories crop up in my Facebook newsfeed about this 13-year-old girl named Danielle Peskowitz Bregoli who became an Internet sensation after she appeared on The Dr. Phil Show and uttered this phrase: “Cash me outside, how bow dah!”

Danielle had appeared on an episode titled “I Want To Give Up My Car-Stealing, Knife-Wielding, Twerking 13-Year-Old Daughter Who Tried To Frame Me For A Crime.” Having seen video excerpts from that episode posted on that last link, it’s obvious that this girl needs help. I’ve long cringed at Dr. Phil putting minors on his show when these troubled teens would be better off seeing a therapist where they could work out their issues in a private office. That’s because I’m not sure putting these kids on television really help them in the long run and there’s always the chance that their classmates will see that troubled teen on TV and they’ll use that show to taunt and bully the kid at school.

Danielle can be hard to understand because she has chosen to speak what she calls “street talk” where this white middle class girl from the suburbs tries to talk like she’s from the inner city hood but she fails miserably because I doubt she has actually had any kind of exposure to real inner city residents. Shoot, I’ve heard real inner city residents in both Baltimore and DC talk more clearly and eloquently than her! Danielle acts tough but I would be willing to bet that she wouldn’t last even fifteen minutes in a really tough hood like this one before she either gets shot, beaten up, or she has a total meltdown because the real hood didn’t conform to her fantasy idea of what a hood is like.

Danielle isn’t the first troubled teen who has ever appeared on The Dr. Phil Show but, for some reason, her phrase “Cash me outside, how bow dah” resonated with someone enough that this person made a meme with her face and her quote. That led to other people making other memes featuring the girl and her quote and, before you know it, she has become the latest Internet sensation. She is known as The Bhad Bhabie on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and she has opened her own store on Shopify where she’s trying to cash in on her unexpected Internet notoriety. What’s more, she’s scheduled to make a return appearance on The Dr. Phil Show this week.

Frankly I just don’t get the Internet exalting Danielle like this. She’s not some prodigy where she’s a whiz at music or dancing or art or chess or some other field. She’s just a 13-year-old girl with an average intellect who has serious issues and someone needs to put her in some kind of a therapy situation before she ends up either becoming a teen mom, a jailbird, or dead. Based on what I’ve read, it seems like she’s thrilled with being an Internet celebrity but I hope some responsible adult is telling her not to expect this kind of fame to last forever because she will ultimately be replaced by the Next Big Thing on the Internet. So far she has been seen threatening paparazzi in Hollywood as if she is some kind of a major celebrity.

There is even a video game called Cash Me Outside that’s available for iOS and Droid.

The whole thing is just crazy. In fact, I did my own parody meme that I’ve just unleashed on various social media sites where I used an image of Grumpy Cat.

grumpycatcashmeoutsideparodymeme

Five years ago I wrote this Twitter rant about the scandal surrounding then-Congressman Anthony Weiner when it was revealed that he was tweeting pictures of his, uh, wiener to women other than his wife. He ended up resigning from Congress in disgrace and he faded from the public spotlight for a bit as he vowed to work on his marriage to Huma Abedin, who also happens to be among Hillary Clinton’s closest staffers. In time the couple had a son together and they tried to portray themselves as a close-knit family.

Two years later Anthony Weiner decided to revive his ruined political career by running for mayor of New York City. But then it was revealed that he had not only resumed his sexting habit but he was sending pictures of his dick under the name “Carlos Danger” to women other than his wife—one of whom was named Sydney Leathers. Not only did I write a sequel to that earlier post, I even created this mixed media piece that played off of comic books and his Carlos Danger alter-ego.

Amazing Fantasy Featuring Carlos Danger

Amazing Fantasy: Introducing Carlos Danger
Mixed-media (computer graphics, ink, colored pencils, watercolors)
8 inches x 10 inches
20 cm x 25 cm

To learn more about how I created this piece, see the post I originally wrote on July 27, 2013. This piece was on display at the 2013 Station North Arts District Salon show in Baltimore but no one purchased it. After the show ended Anthony Weiner lost the New York mayoral election and he slinked out of the public eye while his wife continued to work for Hillary Clinton as she left the State Department and began her current campaign for President of the United States.

A few days ago Anthony Weiner was back in the news as The New York Post revealed that Anthony Weiner had not only resume his sexting habits but he was sending his dick pictures to a woman who’s a Donald Trump supporter. What’s more, one of those dick pictures he sent included his young son lying nearby as he slept—blissfully unaware of what his father was doing next to him in the same bed.

This time Huma Abedin has had enough as she announced that she was separating from her husband and taking their son with her.

It’s obvious that Anthony Weiner has a major problem since he keeps on doing stuff like this and he definitely needs professional help. The only silver lining to this latest episode in Anthony Weiner’s life is that my 2013 blog post about the making of my original Amazing Fantasy: Introducing Carlos Danger piece is now among the most read blog posts for this week. If anyone wants to purchase this piece or even look into licensing it for use in a publication or something similar, please send an email at kimstark61 at gmail dot com.

Ramadan

I know I wrote a few days ago that I wasn’t going to do any kind of online memorials to that awful shooting in Orlando that happened at a gay nightclub known as Pulse because I’ve seen it all before in previous mass shootings. I’ve softened my stance somewhat after I’ve seen flags everywhere being lowered to half-staff after President Obama ordered this in order to honor the victims of that shooting. I even made this drawing in my sketchbook about the tragedy that I’d like to share with you.

picture23

I could write more about what happened in Orlando and how horrible it was in this post. But instead of writing maudlin sentences over how horrible this tragedy was, I’m going to show the Orlando I personally know.

I made my first trip to Florida on my honeymoon. Prior to the wedding my fiance and I were originally planning on a weekend honeymoon at a local place like Williamsburg or Ocean City until my cousin, who was dying to have more family members come visit her and her then-husband at their home in Cocoa, offered my husband and I free room in their home. So after the wedding we spent the week with her and her now-ex-husband and their two dogs (one was a standard poodle while the other was a tiny toy poodle). The four of us spent the first day at Wet and Wild but, after that, my husband and I were on our own regarding exploring the greater Orlando area mainly because they had to work and they didn’t have much vacation time. I remember my husband and I spent the majority of time visiting Walt Disney World, which only had two theme parks at the time: the Magic Kingdom and Epcot. (Walt Disney World has since expanded to include more theme parks and attractions along with a lot of hotels.)

We loved that area so much that we ended up making several return trips to Orlando over the years. I have a lot of photos from those trips but most of them need to be digitally scanned because I shot a lot of them back in the day when film photography coupled with printing paper photographs was the dominant method of photography. I have a few digital photos from my last two trips to Orlando that I’ve previously posted in this blog. I’ll repost just a few of them along with links to those entries if you want to see more.

Here is a photo of a bald eagle that I took at Disney’s Animal Kingdom on August 14, 2010.

15-aug14

Here’s a photo of Cinderella’s Castle that I took at the Magic Kingdom on August 15, 2010.

27-aug15

These two jumping dolphins were taken at Sea World on August 17, 2010.

64-aug17

I shot these two alligators making a snuggle sandwich with a turtle in the middle at Gatorland on August 19, 2010.

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Here’s a recreation of the R.M.S. Titanic’s grand staircase that I shot at Titanic: The Experience on August 19, 2010.

183-aug19

Here is a view of Epcot that I shot on February 15, 2011.

Epcot

This African man was working on a wood carving at Epcot on February 15, 2011.

Epcot

Here are a couple of photos of Downtown Disney that I shot on February 18, 2011.

Downtown Disney

Downtown Disney

Here’s a photo of a row of cupcakes that I shot at a bakery in Downtown Disney but posted shortly after my 2011 trip to Florida ended on February 20, 2011. If you look close enough you can see sprinkles shaped like Mickey Mouse.

Downtown Disney

I have to admit that most of the photos were of the tourist attractions. The only photos I took of the Orlando area that even show how the locals live their everyday lives are the ones I took in Longwood, which is located just outside of the Orlando city limits. I was enchanted by the Victorian architecture such as the building in this photo that I shot on February 18, 2011.

Longwood, Florida

During one of my many trips to Orlando I purchased this cell kit from Walt Disney World where I painted animation cells of Mickey and Minnie Mouse then placed them over the provided backgrounds then put them in these cheap cardboard frames that also came with the kit. I later donated the completed cell paintings to a yard sale that was put on by my support group for people who are separated or divorced. (I originally wrote a post about these two on September 25, 2014.)

IMG_20140925_150902235

IMG_20140925_150913563

And last, but not least, here is a drawing I did of Minnie Mouse when I took a 30-minute workshop on how to draw her on one of the provided computers at DisneyQuest, which is located in Downtown Disney, during my last trip to Florida in 2011. I still have the drawing buried somewhere in my home.

Minnie Mouse

The only reason why I haven’t been back to Florida since 2011 is tight finances, which became a problem for me after my divorce. I would like to go back one day and I would definitely go right now if I had the chance despite that Pulse nightclub shooting.

Getting back to that Pulse shooting, I know that it’s horrible that 50 people died. (Most people are saying that 49 have died in order to not count the 50th person—the shooter himself.) But for people to say that the Pulse shooting is the worst terrorist attack or worst mass murder ever perpetrated on American soil is a bit much because there have been other violent events in U.S. history where the body count is either equal to or way higher than the Pulse nightclub shooting. In order to get some perspective, here are some links to these other events that all happened on U.S. soil.

Wounded Knee massacre in 1890

East St. Louis in 1917

Elaine, Arkansas in 1919

Tulsa race riot in 1921

Rosewood massacre in 1923

Oklahoma City bombing in 1995

September 11, 2001

Passover

Yesterday was the 90th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II, which got quickly overshadowed by the unexpected death of Prince. In any case, living to see 90 is pretty rare these days so I have to give my congratulations to anyone who manages to live that long. As I reflect on that latest birthday, I also have to reflect on the fact that Queen Elizabeth is the only British monarch I have ever known because of her longevity. I can only imagine what it will be like once she passes away.

On this occasion, I’m going to re-post this mixed media piece on Queen Elizabeth that I originally did back in 2002 when the queen celebrated her Golden Jubilee.

Queen Elizabeth

It’s the third time I’ve posted this art in this blog. I originally made a post about it back in 2010, along with the details about how I created it for this art show, then I re-posted it again last year when she became the longest-reigning British monarch in history. I know I’ll re-post this again in the future once she dies.

For the past few weeks I’ve been taking classes in Adobe AfterEffects through the Takoma Park Recreation Department that were held in the Takoma Park Public Library’s computer lab. I’ve done it before, which you can see in the posts I wrote on March 25, 2015; March 27, 2015; and December 7, 2015. So I decided to go through with the class again this time around mainly because I’ve gotten to know and like both the instructor and my fellow classmates. Plus one of my friends works at the library and his office is next to the room where I take the class so I can say “Hi” to him both before and after class.

So by this time I have gotten to know the software pretty much okay. (Although due to the months between each class I tend to forget what I’ve learned. The fact that I can’t afford to buy my own copy of Adobe AfterEffects nor pay that monthly software fee that Adobe now institutes on users of its products don’t help at all.) I had hit a snag on what final project I wanted to work on because I literally couldn’t decide what I wanted to do. I thought about the Bernie Sanders campaign but I had already done that the last time I took the class. I wasn’t into going to that well again.

But then one night before class started I stopped by my friend’s office. He had been spending his spare time with helping a new organization that had just formed known as Takoma Radio. The group is currently trying to get a low powered radio station off of the ground that would be community based. What’s interesting is that this project was founded by a former producer at NPR.

Well, anyway, my friend suggested that I made a promo for this new radio station and he made a few suggestions as to how I could approach this. I took notes. One of his suggestions that resonated most with me was this suggested ad line: Ever dreamed of being a DJ at a radio station?

So I did some Google Image searches of DJ’s. As I was sifting through the images, I found this image of a kitten that was dressed as a DJ that came from this web page. I thought it was incredibly cute and I began to thought of doing a cute animation of a kitten dreaming of becoming a DJ.

But then I did a Google Image search of “Deejay Kitten” and I found literally a lot of images featuring kittens as DJs. But then I began to worry that my little promo would become a cliche so I began to think about other animals while doing Google Image searches on these animals acting as DJs. I finally settled on a fox because there were far fewer DJ fox images. Besides, I think foxes are very beautiful animals and the fact that they are close relatives of dogs didn’t hurt either.

So I spent the next few weeks coming up with the designs, doing the vector graphics at home using Inkscape (which is an open source alternative to Adobe Illustrator), then bringing the files into class. There were a few snags along the way, such as the one day last month when the entire Metro system decided to close down on a Wednesday and the instructor couldn’t make it because he relies exclusively on Metro to get around. (It was the first time in its history that the entire Metro system had shut down when there wasn’t a hurricane or major snowstorm.) I had attended the classes on Wednesday while I also tried to go to the Sunday afternoon lab sessions when I didn’t have anything conflicting at church. Last Sunday I was mostly done. I tried to render the file. While the file turned out okay on the library’s computers, for some weird reason it wasn’t playing on my own MacBook (which I’ve recently upgraded to El Capitan). Unfortunately the lab session ended so I took the file home with me. I tried uploading it on to YouTube and it refused to take it. (I was able to upload it fine but then it would balk during the processing phase by saying that it was in an unfamiliar format. This happened despite the fact that the file was in the .mov format.)

Basically I had no other choice but to return yesterday for one final Sunday lab session. With the instructor’s help I changed some of the render criteria. It rendered the animation pretty quickly. I decided to upload it directly on to YouTube and it took over an hour for the whole thing to upload. I had planned on going to a Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School session that was held in the late-afternoon, early-evening at the Bier Barron in Washington, DC but I ended up missing it because of the very long upload time. The instructor patiently waited with me as he did some reading and I did some web surfing using my own MacBook that I brought with me. Well, to make a long story short, the entire animation was uploaded and processed on to YouTube without a hitch and you can now view it below.

When I got home I sent e-mails to my friend as well as to some of the people at the radio station. So far the only feedback I got from the station was to make a minor edit to the promo but it was something I was able to do in iMovie without having it affect any of the animation at all. I re-uploaded it today and I found that the whole video uploaded online in a couple of minutes. As to why the same video took longer to upload the day before is something I can’t explain.

I don’t know if anything will come of this web promo but I can use it as part of my portfolio.

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