You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Monster High’ category.

On the Saturday during the Fourth of July holiday weekend, I decided to check out this toy show that was being held at the Maryland State Fairgrounds.

It was such a feast for the eyes as the toys and various other vintage items were displayed at various vendor tables. The whole show took on the air of a flea market with an emphasis on vintage stuff dating anywhere from the 1900s to the 1990s.

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Someone had a jukebox for sale, which reminded me of my childhood when many of the local restaurants had them and people could choose songs to play for about a quarter each.

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

The jukebox played music during the entire event. (Which proved that it definitely still worked.) I couldn’t help taking pictures of the songs that were available on the jukebox. The majority of them were hits when I was a kid.

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

And speaking of music players, here’s a vintage 8-track player with an Elvis Presley 8-track tape. I once had a stereo system that included an 8-track player but I never owned one like that. But I could’ve sworn that one of my friends or maybe one of my cousins had a player just like that but I don’t know for sure. (Memory is one of those funny things where you remember something but you don’t remember when, where, or how you remember it.)

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Late last year I did a series of blog posts with accompanying photos known as A Tabletop Christmas (so-named because I limit my Christmas decorating to just a single tabletop in my living room). Among the items I showed off was a small plastic Santa Claus puppet that I’ve had since I was a child. I didn’t know anything about the origins of this puppet. It wasn’t until I went to the toy show when I saw a tiny plastic Santa puppet on sale that’s identical to mine.

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

The only difference between the two is that this Santa still had its label at the base while mine doesn’t have any labels at all. (I suspect that whatever label it had must’ve fallen off a long time ago.) My Santa puppet is currently stored in a box with the other Christmas decorations in the attic but here’s a picture of my Santa puppet that I took last December.

photo15

At first I thought the animal in the next picture was a stuffed animal until I saw the dog move his eyes around. He laid there the entire time I was at that show.

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

This show also had examples of how the mighty had fallen. I found this book by disgraced former Fox News talk show host Bill O’Reilly on sale for only $1 at one of the tables. (LOL!)

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

There was one token of something new that I found. Someone was selling glow-in-the-dark versions of the hottest toy of 2017: Fidget Spinners.

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

By the way, you can check out a video I shot recently where I unboxed and played with one of those Fidget Spinners for the first time (and, no, the one I bought didn’t glow in the dark).

Everywhere there were visual treats, many of which harkened back to my own youth.

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

As I was walking back to the light rail stop I shot this photo of The Cow Palace building because it had a nice small garden.

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

I didn’t buy a lot of stuff at that toy show due mainly to tight finances. But I managed to snag a couple of things at bargain rates. I found the second season of The Simpsons DVD set for only $6.

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

I bought a Monster High doll for only $5. I was attracted to her pretty winter-themed clothes. At first I thought I may have purchased a relative of The Snow Queen until I did an online search and I was able to make a definite identification. Based on this web page, her name is Abbey Bominable and she’s described as the 16-year-old daughter of the Yeti.

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Here’s a closeup of her hair, which looks like it has glittery plastic pellets weaved throughout the strands. It gives a really cool ice/snow effect, especially when the light reflects off of her hair.

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Advertisements

Ramadan

Previous Entry in This Series

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9

Last summer I attempted to work of a special book that was based on a series of free tutorials that artist Ady Almanza was posting on her YouTube channel. The gist was that each week she would put up a new tutorial and viewers would follow along. All we needed to do was to get one of those baby board books and various materials. I was eager to do it in an effort to learn something new. There were challenges early on because I realized that the board book I used had more pages than the one that Ady Almanza used in her videos. So I compensated by having two-page spreads.

There were supposed to be ten lessons in this series. Well, anyway, I watched the intro video to learn what materials I needed for the project. The following week I followed along with the first lesson as I painted the entire book cover. Then I spent the next two weeks following along with lessons two and three.

On week four I looked online and I found that she hadn’t added any new lessons. I assumed that she was taking a week off for some reason. Since I had more pages than the book she was using, I decided to improvise by just making two-page spreads. The next week there was still no new lessons but I saw on her Facebook page that she was on vacation so I wasn’t too worried. I made another two-page spread. The following week there were still no new videos so I did another two-page spread. Another week came and went with no new videos. Finally I posted a notice on her Facebook page asking if she was going to post any new tutorials soon since she said that she was doing a ten-part series. She responded the next day saying that she had been on vacation for a few weeks but now that she’s back she’ll post new videos online soon. So I waited another week with no new videos and I decided to do another two-page spread.

So it got to be a cycle where, each week, I would look on Ady Almanza’s Facebook page and YouTube channel only to find no new tutorials so I would end up doing another two-page spread where I winged it with my latest art page. Eventually it got to the point where I had only one extra page left to fill in then I would have exactly the same number of blank pages that Ady Almanza had left in the book that she was using in her video tutorial series. So I did one last mixed-media work in August, 2015 and I decided to put that project on hiatus until Ady Almanza resumed her tutorial series.

Except she never resumed her tutorial series. I see her post new work on her Facebook page all of the time. (She’s a very prolific artist. She seems to churn out one new work either every day or every other day.) But she has yet to post any new tutorials in her ten-part series and I have a feeling that she abandoned it for whatever reason.

So my own project was left uncompleted for the next eight months. A few days before the Memorial Day holiday weekend I scheduled an appointment to speak with someone regarding a potential art-related opportunity that I originally found on Craigslist. I responded to the ad and the person immediately emailed me back because he really liked the samples of my work that I submitted to the email address that was listed in the ad. We agreed to meet on Memorial Day itself at a Panera Bread in Silver Spring to go over the details about this potential opportunity, which ultimately fell through when I never heard back from the guy I met with despite the fact that he seemed to like my work when we met together in person. Anyway before that meeting I decided to bring smaller samples of my art that I could carry in a bag because I was traveling via Metro. (I wasn’t able to drive to Silver Spring because, at the time, I had a flat tire that needed either to be fixed or replaced and my car had one of those temporary tires that I was not supposed to drive on too much.) I found a couple of smaller paintings to bring then I found my incomplete Doll Dreams book from last summer.

I decided to bring it despite the unfinished pages in the back until I came across the last completed work I did that was based on my Pinkie Cooper anthro doll. I saw that it was a one-page work and it was facing a page that was covered in white gesso and it was completely blank. Here is what the page looked like before I covered it in gesso last year.

page16

For some reason I thought that showing someone a book with a completed page facing a blank white gesso page was even more embarrassing than having a few blank pages in the back so I decided to rectify the situation by quickly covering that blank facing page with more art.

Since Pinkie Cooper is an anthro who’s supposed to be a mix of a human and dog, I thought doing an anthro feline would be the perfect compliment to the previous facing page. And I happened to have the proper doll that I could use as a model for that page. I have a Monster High doll known as Toralei Stripe, who’s a werecat. So I did this page using only acrylic paint.

10-page16

I showed this book to my contact at Panera Bread on Memorial Day and he liked it but then I never heard from him again after that meeting. As for the rest of the book, I’m definitely going to fill in the rest of the blank pages because it would be a shame to leave this book unfinished. I haven’t yet decided whether I’m going to re-do the three tutorials that Ady Almanza posted online before abandoning this project altogether or if I’m going to use free art tutorials made by other people or if I’m going to simply improvise. I’ll probably do one or two pages a month until I fill in the book.

Subsequent Entries in This Series

Part 11
Part 12

Four years ago I wrote “Trump: The Poem” when Donald Trump was flirting with the idea of running for president. I performed it at a few local poetry slam events to great laughter and acclaim. I later made this video where I recited the poem while I showed off this talking Donald Trump doll that I purchased as a gag gift for my then-husband for Christmas.

Who could’ve predicted that this poem is now more relevant than ever? Donald Trump has not only decided to enter the political race for real but, in the process, he had alienated the Latino vote with his comment that Mexican immigrants are rapists, criminals, and drug dealers.

So far he had not only had a giant Mexican piñata made in his image but he had lost deals with both NBC and Macy’s in the same week because neither company were thrilled to be associated with that buffoon.

As a result of all this, I didn’t have to alter my poem in any way at all.

So, once again, here is “Trump: The Poem.”

At long last here’s a post that I’ve been working on for two months, which documents the closing of a local Kmart.

I’m not surprised that the Kmart that was located in Greenbelt, Maryland at the Cipriano Square shopping center (across the street from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center) has just closed its doors for good recently—one of hundreds of stores that were doomed to go out of business throughout the United States. Both Kmart and its parent company Sears have been suffering financially for a number of years. The main problem is that both companies are presided over by a CEO named Eddie Lampert who has been applying principles he derived from reading Ayn Rand novels to running his business enterprise with disastrous results. Here’s a quote from this article.

Plagued by the realities threatening many retail stores, Sears also faces a unique problem: Lampert. Many of its troubles can be traced to an organizational model the chairman implemented five years ago, an idea he has said will save the company. Lampert runs Sears like a hedge fund portfolio, with dozens of autonomous businesses competing for his attention and money. An outspoken advocate of free-market economics and fan of the novelist Ayn Rand, he created the model because he expected the invisible hand of the market to drive better results. If the company’s leaders were told to act selfishly, he argued, they would run their divisions in a rational manner, boosting overall performance.

Instead, the divisions turned against each other—and Sears and Kmart, the overarching brands, suffered. Interviews with more than 40 former executives, many of whom sat at the highest levels of the company, paint a picture of a business that’s ravaged by infighting as its divisions battle over fewer resources. (Many declined to go on the record for a variety of reasons, including fear of angering Lampert.) Shaunak Dave, a former executive who left in 2012 and is now at sports marketing agency Revolution, says the model created a “warring tribes” culture. “If you were in a different business unit, we were in two competing companies,” he says. “Cooperation and collaboration aren’t there.”

All of which proves that Ayn Rand is a poor role model when it comes to applying her principles that she espoused in her novels to real life. This worship of Ayn Rand is a reason why Eddie Lampert has shown up on a number of “Worst CEOs” lists like this one.

It sucks that things are going bad for both Sears and Kmart since both stores have been around since my childhood. I still have memories of the times my mother took me to Sears to buy clothes for me. I remember my father had a few Craftsman tools that he would use for things like yard work.

And then there’s the other store that began with the letter K. When I was growing up, there was a Kresge’s at the local Harundale Mall in Glen Burnie, Maryland (which is notable in the Wikipedia for being the enclosed shopping mall to open on the East Coast). Kresge’s was an independently-owned five and dime store and it was located just a few feet away from another five and dime—Murphy’s. I can remember the times I purchased cheap toys with my allowance money from both stores and the years when my mother would buy me one of those cheap plastic Ben Cooper Halloween costumes that were sold in both stores instead of sewing me one with her sewing machine.

Murphy’s eventually went out of business while Kresge’s started to open larger stores and, in the process, changed its name to Kmart. When I first moved to the area where I live now, there was a Bradlees that was the main anchor of Cipriano Square. Bradlees was a big box discount store that had nice things for pretty decent prices and I used to shop for clothes there a lot. A few years later Bradlees closed down and it was replaced by Jamesway, another large discount store that also had nice things at pretty decent prices. Jamesway closed down after a couple of years and Kmart moved in its place, where it had stayed until recently.

I bought a lot of things from Kmart over the years. I’ll admit that the checkout lines were always crowded mainly because the store always put too few employees at the cash registers (mainly to save money) so I always had to wait in line for at least 15 minutes. No matter what time of the day, there were always more buyers than cashiers. Yet Kmart had some nice things (especially in women’s clothes—I bought a lot of professional looking clothes for the office jobs I worked at) so I still shopped there despite the crappy service. I learned early on that Kmart was not the store to shop in if you had limited time and you needed to be somewhere else by a certain exact time. Basically if I needed to buy something, I went to Kmart on days when I had nothing else that I had to do so I could endure the very slow checkout lines.

Even Kmart’s purchase by Sears didn’t improve the checkout lines very much although it was convenient that I could get Kenmore and Craftsman products at a store that was located closer to my home than the nearest Sears.

Basically shopping at Kmart was something that was endured but the hassle turned out to be worthwhile in the long run because I obtained useful stuff, some of which I still use (such as a Martha Stewart laundry basket that I bought years ago and it’s still in very good shape).

When I learned via one of the Facebook groups that I belonged to about Kmart’s imminent demise in my area, I knew that I needed to take advantage of the going out of business sale because there were a few items that I needed to buy and it was an opportunity to get them at even lower prices than before. I also decided to take pictures to document the store’s decline. I made a few trips to that store before it finally closed for good this month. Here is what I saw during those trips.

February 13, 2015

It was very fitting that I made my first trip to Kmart after I heard the news on a Friday the 13th. The outside of the store didn’t give any indication that it was closing down soon.

photo1

photo2

But once I entered I saw the signs announcing a massive sale where everything in the store was between 10-30% off the regular price. The signs said “Huge Inventory Blowout!,” which would lead one to believe that Kmart was just having the usual end-of-season clearance sale in order to make way for new inventory for the spring and summer months. If I hadn’t seen that Facebook message that someone in one of my groups posted online, I would’ve made a similar conclusion as well.

photo3

photo4

photo24

Since Valentine’s Day was the next day, it was natural to see a rack full of Valentine cards near the store entrance.

photo5

There were all kinds of merchandise that had the discount prices on them.

photo6

photo21

photo9

photo20

photo22

Even though the going out of business sale was in its early days, some of the shelves were already starting to become empty.

photo7

photo10

And the Refreshments area near the cash registers had already closed down for good.

photo25

photo26

photo27

There were some merchandise that were haphazardly thrown into bins. Some of the stuff looked like leftover Halloween costumes while others looked like leftover Christmas decorations. I wasn’t about to go through those bins to get a closer look because they looked so messy that they seemed intimidating to me.

photo11

I found a My Little Pony Equestria Girls Rainbow Rocks doll set that’s a Kmart exclusive.

photo16

photo17

Among the normal items on sale, there were a bunch of things that I thought were pretty odd. There is this toy shaped like a Kenmore vacuum cleaner that’s supposed to teach little girls the joys of doing vacuuming while subtly instilling brand loyalty to Kenmore products at an early age. (If my parents had given me a toy like that when I was a kid, I would’ve thrown a fit. I was into dolls, stuffed animals, and craft kits. Anything that resembled household appliances were considered boring to me.) It’s pretty ironic since Kenmore was originally created as a Sears store brand and I’ve read that Sears is among the list of companies most likely to go out of business permanently in 2015. Unless Sears sells its Kenmore line to someone else, any little girl getting a My First Kenmore Vacuum Cleaner would consider this one as My Last Kenmore Vacuum Cleaner.

photo18

photo19

This kid’s t-shirt had me going WTF?!? at seeing Ariel from The Little Mermaid wearing glasses. I hate to say it but glasses are totally not practical for mermaids or any other creature who spends the majority of time underwater.

photo23

Then there is this really bizarre game that’s being marketed for girls called Freaky Becky. Judging from the box, it looks like each girl player has to do something with the enclosed zombie doll known as Freaky Becky and that zombie parts will frequently fly all over the place as part of the fun. I can imagine parents getting exasperated over having zombie doll parts fly everywhere and maybe even get lost in between the sofa cushions or on a rug where someone steps on it later.

photo12

photo13

photo14

There are similar games made by the same company for boys as well: Johnny the Skull and Zed the Zombie.

photo15

There were a few strange items for adults as well. Remember the Snuggie? Well Kmart was selling sleeved blankets where one can choose from Minnie Mouse or Elvis Presley.

photo8

I needed to buy a few new items but it wasn’t until after I arrived in the store that I realized that I didn’t have as much money on me as I thought so I bought fewer items than I wanted. Since the sales only ranged between 10-30%, I decided to focus on buying only those items that I really needed to buy (as opposed to items I’d like to buy but I really don’t need). I bought one Playtex bra to replace at least one of the old bras that I’ve owned for years that have been getting increasingly ratty and stretched out. I also saw this exercise DVD that was originally marked at $10 but the price was lowered to $8 called Lesley Samsone Walk Away the Pounds. Lately I’ve been making an effort to walk a minimum of one mile a day, six days a week and I’ve been wearing a pedometer to make sure that I make at least the minimum goal. Some nights I’m short of my minimum goal so I’ve been taking short night walks around my neighborhood in order to push my pedometer beyond the 1 mile mark. The DVD comes in handy for those nights when I can’t go outside because it’s raining or snowing.

photo28

February 14, 2015

I’ll admit that I was annoyed with myself for coming to Kmart’s going out of business sale with not enough cash the day before. There were some items that I absolutely needed to replace (because they were literally falling apart) and I figured that it was a  rare opportunity to replace these items at a discount.

I’ve been to enough of these going out of business sales over the years to know that they tend to be multiple phase plans. During the early phase, the discounts tend to go no lower than 30% with many items only being offered for 10% off the retail price. But it’s also during that phase when you’re more likely to get the items that you want. By the time steeper discounts are offered, chances are that many items you want will have already been sold and much of the merchandise left are literally the dregs.

So I decided to take an organized approach to Kmart’s going out of business sale. During the initial 10-30% off phase, I decided to focus only on the items I really needed to buy while putting off other items that I would like to have but I really don’t need immediately for later in the going out of business sale process.

Since I stupidly didn’t bring enough money the day before, I decided to go back on the following day, even though it was Valentine’s Day. I didn’t mind shopping on Valentine’s Day because it’s not like I have a significant other to spend the day with or anything like that. I got a chance to take photos of a few more items that are a bit on the kitsch side, such as these pillows based on Star Wars and Frozen.

photo1

I browsed a bit around the beauty aisles where I found this cologne that’s marked with the 007 logo from the James Bond movies.

photo2

It’s been a long time since I last bought myself a bottle of perfume or cologne. There seems to be an excess in perfume/cologne with a celebrity’s name attached to it, such as Rihanna, Lady Gaga, and Katy Perry. I just don’t remember ever seeing such products named after celebrities like that. I just remember names like Chanel No. 5 and Jean Naté, which weren’t named after celebrities who are currently fixtures in the tabloid media.

photo3

Paris Hilton has a whole section dedicated to different brands of her perfume/cologne. Talk about a total inventory glut!

photo4

Here are some bath-related products for 20% off.

photo5

There was a large cardboard bin that had just books that were 80% off the retail price. I looked in the bin but I didn’t find a book that interested me enough to buy one. It’s too bad because it was about the only place that had the steepest discount.

photo6

There was a large pile of Easy Bake Ovens that were placed right in the middle of an aisle.

photo7

There was a section of brightly decorated bras from Joe Boxer. While I loved the designs on the bras, I felt that they were impractical because the designs would ultimately be covered with a shirt. If the shirt was on the sheer side, there’s a chance that the bra’s designs would show through, which would be okay if a woman was at a party or something like that but would be embarrassing if she was working in an office.

photo8

photo9

photo10

Between the fact that it was Valentine’s Day (with people doing their last minute holiday shopping) and it was a going out of business sale, there were plenty of people in the checkout lane. I saw people literally fill their shopping carts with merchandise. It took me a while to actually check out with my items.

photo11

photo12

Here’s what I bought that day. I purchased another bra to replace one of my older bras that have gotten ratty and is literally falling apart. My new bra is a pretty light pink color, which I like.

photo13

I purchased a can opener mainly because the last can opener I owned had a blade that was getting increasingly dull and I had a harder time opening metal cans. This new can opener works really well and I can open cans much faster than before.

photo14

Here’s the back of the package, which has the name of Kmart’s store brand (Essential Home). The can opener was really easy to remove from the package.

photo15

Here’s a close up of the back package, which features the Kmart logo.

photo16

I purchased two bath mats mainly because one of my current bath mats was really falling to pieces (I ended up throwing that one away after buying my new mats) and the other one is just starting to fall apart. These new bath mats have worked out really well for me.

photo17

This last item was an impulse buy. It’s a liquid soap dispenser that’s shaped like the Eiffel Tower. I thought it looked really nice and it was on sale for only $12. I got rid of a soap dispenser last year after it broke apart and I bought a new one at Target soon afterwards. With this new soap dispenser, I now have a total of three dispensers. This Eiffel Tower looks really nice in my bathroom.

photo18

February 17, 2015

Three days after my Valentine’s Day shopping trip, I made yet another shopping trip to Kmart. By that time the store had finally decided to put up an outside banner along with several signs in the windows and in the entrance foyer admitting that, yes, it really is going out of business.

photo1

photo2

photo3

photo4


photo9

There were all kinds of items with discount signs.

photo5

photo6

They were even selling this necklace and earring set with one of the stones missing from the necklace.

photo7

Then there was a whole row of Grumpy Cats.

photo8

There was the same large stack of Easy Bake Ovens that I saw just a few days ago, except the pile had gotten smaller.

photo10

There were sales everywhere.

photo11

photo12

photo13

photo14

The checkout lines were very busy with shoppers taking advantage of the sale.

photo15

The photo below shows my haul from that trip.

photo16

I bought another Playtex bra, this one in a tan color. I also bought a pack of Hanes underwear because I recently had to throw away a couple of panties because they had developed large holes (I had them for a few years). It’s always useful to buy underwear in bulk even if you can’t currently use all of the new panties at once because you never know when you’ll need to throw away a pair of old panties that developed holes big enough to shove three fingers through them.

photo17

The next photo shows my biggest ticket item I’ve purchased from Kmart to date. It’s a Blue Line stereo that has built-in speakers, AM/FM radio, a CD player, an alarm clock, and an outlet to plug in a laptop, tablet, smartphone, or MP3 player so one can listen to digital music in stereo. The price was originally listed at $69.99 but I got it for $50. I had wanted to purchase a smaller stereo that I could fit on a tabletop ever since I got rid of that huge stereo that was taking up a massive amount of space in my living room but I wasn’t able to do so until recently because money was very tight. So far it works really well and it has a great sound.

photo18

My cash receipt included this notice expressing regret that they had to close the Kmart in my area but I could call or go online to Kmart.com to find other Kmart stores. It also included this incredibly dumb-sounding slogan: “We’re Open. You’re Saving!” Whatever.

photo19

March 18, 2015

I grew tired of going back to Kmart for the last three shopping trips so I decided to take some time off from going there, figuring that the prices would eventually go even lower the closer the actual going out of business date arrives. I ended up waiting a whole month before I went back. By the time I made my return trip, I noticed that there were more empty areas inside of the store.

photo1

photo2

photo3

photo4

photo5

photo6

photo7

photo8

photo9

photo10

By that point the discounts had increased to as much as 40% off. I was intrigued by these MiP robots when I first started seeing them in other stores last year but I didn’t go for one because of the $99 price tag for a small robot. These MiP robots were now 40% off but I decided to wait a bit longer to see if they go any lower.

photo11

There was a shelf full of piñatas, which is great for parents of more than two kids because they could stock up on them for future birthday parties.

photo12

With more items being sold out, it seems like there are a greater number of merchandise that I would consider odd, strange, or off-beat like these weird fish-like stuffed animals.

photo13

Then there is the sleeved blanket for kids featuring Olaf the Snowman from the Disney movie Frozen.

photo14

For the adult collector who is really into clocks, there were various anniversary clocks on sale featuring I Love Lucy, Elvis Presley, The Wizard of Oz, and Marilyn Monroe.

photo15

photo16

For your next party or family get-together, how about playing a game where you do nothing but guess which logo belongs to which corporation. Sounds fun, no?

photo17

Then there are these creepy looking Lalaloopey Babies, which look like they could’ve been the offsprings of the Other Mother and the Other Father from the movie Coraline.

photo18

Then there is this Ketchup Kritter where you replace the cap of your ketchup bottle with this demon head and you get to see him vomit ketchup over your hamburger or french fries.

photo19

As to the weirdest item I found at Kmart during that time, I have to say that it’s a tossup between the Ketchup Kritter and this resin deer statue that functions as a toilet paper holder. That deer is a great example of how sometimes the jokes just write themselves.

photo20

I didn’t buy anything on this trip because I had already purchased everything that I needed to buy and I want to see the prices to go down just a little bit lower before I buy anything else.

March 26, 2015

A few days earlier I woke up with a scratchy throat that quickly segued into all of my sinuses being stuffed up and feeling tired all of the time. Yes, I came down with a cold. After staying completely indoors the previous day, I still felt so tired that I took an afternoon nap. After dinner I decided to skip my weekly support group meeting for people who are separated or divorced and just do a short outing. I ended up going back to Kmart to see the progress on its going out of business sale.

The first thing I noticed was the section near the front door. In better days Kmart used to display outdoor items for sale depending on the season (such as artificial Christmas trees or gardening supplies). That area always used to be well stocked with items that people could pick up before even entering the store. On this day the only things I saw on sale were bags of potting soil.

photo1

photo2

I managed to show up to the store after dinner. I discovered that these days this Kmart tends to close by 8 p.m., which is way earlier than normal. (In contrast, the Kmart in Hyattsville, which is not currently slated for going out of business, closes at 11 p.m. every night.) By this point more items were priced at least 30% off with many of them starting to be marked with the 50% off sale.

photo3

photo4

photo5

photo10

photo11

photo15

I also saw quite a few odd items. First there are these oversized neon-colored alarm clocks that were a bit on the gaudy side.

photo6

Until I made this trip to Kmart, I never knew that one could have the option of buying a hybrid lava lamp/table lamp.

photo7

I also never associated Kmart with beer making kits.

photo8

There were shelves full of Valentine’s Day cards for anyone who wanted to get a head start on preparing for Valentine’s Day, 2016.

photo9

There was this women’s shirt that was a midriff-baring tank top that had a scientific drawing of a T-Rex. Okay, whatever.

photo12

There was a clothing line with Selena Gomez’s name on it, although I’m more familiar with her name through the various celebrity gossip sites than with her clothing line.

photo13

photo14

There’s one of those giant musical step-on keyboards (such as the one that was featured in the Tom Hanks movie Big) that has the logo of Rolling Stone magazine on it.

photo16

Then there were a display of these giant action figures based on Star Wars and the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers that were at least 2 feet tall.

photo17

There were sections of the store that had rows upon rows of empty shelves. There were some areas where the shelves had already been dismantled.

photo18

photo19

photo20

photo21

photo22

I only bought two items during this Kmart trip. One was a box of acid reducer over-the-counter medicine. With the Easter holiday coming up and with the stress over filing my income taxes, I really want to prevent any kind of acid reflux as a result of eating foods that I normally don’t eat or stress. I got 50% off the listed price, which was nice.

photo23

And then I purchased this doll for 50% off. She is an Ever After High doll, a line of Mattel dolls that are similar to the Monster High dolls except that all of the students who attend Ever After High are children of famous fairy tale characters. I purchased Madeline Hatter, who’s the daughter of the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland.

photo24

photo25

She carries a teapot-shaped purse.

photo26

She wears a teacup-shaped hat, which is incredibly cute.

photo27

The front of her hat has some gold designs that one would find on a fancy teacup. She wears earrings shaped like spoons and she has long curly hair that’s primarily purple with light blue streaks.

photo28

Even the heels of her shoes suggest a teapot handle.

photo29

All in all it’s an incredibly cute doll and I’m fortunate that I got her for around $11.

March 27, 2015

I came back to Kmart the next day because I made the same mistake as a month earlier: I didn’t arrive with enough money so I had to curtail what I wanted to buy. This day I made sure I had more than enough money before I arrived in the store. I still took more pictures because it looked like the store was rapidly clearing out with each passing day.

photo1

photo2

photo3

Many of the items were now sporting 50% off discounts, such as this line of 18-inch What a Doll!, which looked like it was Kmart’s answer to the ever popular American Girl line.

photo4

photo5

I saw these cloth Mooshka dolls on sale, which I thought were incredibly cute looking.

photo6

For those who missed out on last year’s Holiday Barbie doll, there was a second chance to buy that doll and one could buy it at a steep discount.

photo7

Going back even further, anyone who missed out on a chance to buy a special 30th anniversary Cabbage Patch Kids doll a few years ago also got a second chance to buy one at a major discount.

photo8

There were still plenty of cometics to go around, such as this perfume endorsed by Britney Spears.

photo9

I admit that there are two reasons why I had ever heard of One Direction in the first place: 1) I’ve seen various products bearing the band’s name such as the One Direction eye shadow in the next two photos and 2) I have a One Direction song on one of my Just Dance video games. (To be honest, I literally can’t recall the name of the song or what it sounded like. I could do a Google search but I’m too lazy to do so.) One Direction recently made major news when one of the members of that group, Zayn Malik, announced that he was leaving the band and it caused a lot of their teenaged fans to go into total hysterics.

photo10

The idea behind the One Direction eye shadow is to choose the package based on your favorite One Direction member. I looked closely at the photos of the enclosed makeup and it looks like all of the eye shadows are identical. The only difference is which photo of the One Direction band member is featured on the box.

photo11

There was perfume endorsed by the rock band KISS.

photo12

First there were the Monster High dolls, now there’s Monster High cosmetics. This is strange when you consider that Monster High was originally aimed at elementary school aged girls and the Monster High makeup I saw is definitely inappropriate for young girls. My parents wouldn’t let me wear makeup of any kind until I was in middle school.

photo13

photo14

photo15

A few weeks ago I found Ketchup Kritter, a device where you put a red devil head on a bottle of ketchup and watch him vomit ketchup on your food. On this trip I found his buddy, Mustard Monster, where you get to put him on a bottle of mustard and watch him vomit mustard on your food.

photo16

Then there is this device where you can mold bacon strips into an edible bowl. It might work with some foods but I can’t imagine trying it with ice cream or cereal.

photo17

There weren’t many books left on the shelves.

photo18

Here’s a sample of the books that one can choose from.

photo19

There’s nothing wrong with a dollhouse that one could assemble for a doll lover. It’s just that this dollhouse is designed to fit an 18-inch doll (instead of the usual 1/12 scale dolls that measures between 3-6 inches), which means that this dollhouse would take up a huge amount of space in anyone’s home.

photo20

No, the next photo isn’t upside down. That was how I found these Homer Simpson slippers hanging on the racks. These slippers are totally bizarre for this reason: you generally put your foot inside of Homer’s mouth so it would look like Homer is either eating (or choking to death) on your foot.

photo21

There were watches based on a band one of whose members has recently quit and a one-time teen idol who is now more famous for his frequent brushes with the law than for his music.

photo22

I was glad that I purchased my underwear pack when I did because the lingerie department was full of slim pickings. There is no way in hell I would ever wear THIS on my crotch.

photo23

And then there is this children’s loft bed with a sliding board. That poor kid would have a hard time deciding on whether it’s playtime or nap time.

photo24

A flameless candle?!?

photo25

Over in the school supplies section, there were Duck Dynasty folders available for students. Maybe I could see teenagers using this but I can’t imagine parents being willing to buy a folder for younger kids based on a TV show featuring a person who has gotten into controversy for making outrageous statements like this one featuring a hypothetical situation about an atheist family, rape, and decapitation.

photo26

You can have your lips smell and taste like soda pop.

photo27

I get the idea of something for a cold night like a matching mug and blanket set. But do you know how hard it would be to balance a mug full of hot liquid while keeping a warm blanket wrapped around you and hoping that you don’t spill the mug or the blanket falling off of you?

photo28

There were cheap shelves for items that ranged from $1-3. But the merchandise in them were pretty messy and disorganized.

photo29

And then there is this thing. It’s a hooded jacket but it has no sleeves. Or maybe it’s a vest but it has a hood and it looks awfully thick for a vest.

photo30

photo31

That camouflage hooded sleeveless coat or vest looked tasteful compared to this shocking pink variation.

photo32

I found this in the Plus Size Women’s department. This shirt was in at least a size 20 and it had thin horizontal stripes, which would make a 300 pound woman look like she is wider than normal and weighs at least 500 pounds.

photo33

And then there is this line of Selena Gomez flannel checkered shirts. On the surface there’s nothing wrong with them until you look closer at the shoulders.

photo34

Yes, those are studs at the shoulders.

photo35

There were the same shirts in other colors and they all had the same pattern with shoulder studs.

photo36

Okay, I’m not a fashion designer but I’ve done enough sewing to know that you don’t embellish anything that already has a pattern because the embellishments will either disappear among the pattern or make the pattern so busy that the outfit is ugly. If you’ve ever seen a gown or a cowboy shirt embellished with bling, you’d see that the designer typically uses a plain solid fabric as the base to embellish, not something that already has a busy pattern.

photo37

That fox welcome sign is pretty cute. It’s too bad that you can see the large area of chipped paint one of the fox’s ears on the left side.

photo38

I had considered buying myself a bag of socks until I found that all of the sock bags had been opened. Many of the bags also looked like one or more pairs of socks had been removed from each bag.

photo39

I even saw a loose individual sock that was just hanging on a rack. Even though the bags of socks were at 50% off, there was no way I was going to buy an opened bag like that because I have a feeling that I wouldn’t get all of the socks that the bag label said I would get.

photo40

On this trip I purchased two items. First is this box of Life cereal. Yeah, I know it sounds lame but I was running low on cereal and I saw a shelf full of Life cereal that was on sale for 30% off so I went for it.

photo41

Then there is this other item that I had my eye on for quite some time. The MiP robot was originally priced at $99.99. This robot’s discount had finally sunk to 50% off and there weren’t a lot of MiP robots left on the shelves so I decided to buy it. The price was $50 and I got an extra $2 off because I was using my Kmart Shop Your Way Reward Card and I had received enough points to get that discount. Sweet!

photo42

I chose the black robot. It looks pretty nice and very attractive and it definitely warrants its own entry that I may get around to writing at a later date. The box of Life cereal and the MiP robot turned out to be the last items I’ve ever purchased at Kmart’s Greenbelt, Maryland location.

April 1, 2015

Yes, I made a trip to Kmart on April Fool’s Day but the going out of business sale was no laughing matter.

photo1

The bags of soil that were the only outdoor items that I saw for sale on a previous trip were sold out. Only the two soda machines remained.

photo2

I checked both machines to see if I could purchase a soda like I used to do sometimes before entering Kmart in better days. I took a closer look and found that the LED lights weren’t working. I tried inserting a dollar in the bill slot in one of the machines and that machine just wasn’t working at all. It looked like someone had disconnected those two machines for good.

photo3

photo4

Inside the store I saw a new sign saying that the going out of business sale was now in its final two weeks.

photo5

There were even steeper discounts than before.

photo6

photo7

However there were more empty areas than before as well. There were floor marks indicating where stock shelves used to be located.

photo8

photo9

photo10

There were also areas of the store that were roped off with yellow police tape where collapsed shelves, signs, and various fixtures were stored.

photo11

photo12

photo15

photo16

photo17

Plus there were rows upon rows of empty shelves.

photo13

photo14

photo18

photo19

One part of the store looked like a portion of the drywall was stripped away. There were instructions spray-painted in this neon red paint color. There were other instructions that were written in ink. I have no idea if these instructions were written recently or if they were originally written when remodeling was originally done on the space when the former Bradlees turned into Jamesway then, again, the former Jamesway turned into Kmart.

photo20

photo21

photo22

Despite the increase in empty areas, there were still plenty of items that were available for sale at steeper discounts than ever before. The items ranged from pretty nice (sadly the clothes that I personally liked didn’t fit me because they were in sizes that were either too big or too small for me) to totally bizarre.

photo23

photo24

photo25

photo26

photo27

photo28

photo29

photo30

photo31

photo32

photo33

photo34

photo35

photo36

photo37

photo38

photo39

photo40

photo41

photo42

photo43

photo44

photo45

photo46

photo47

photo48

photo49

photo50

photo51

photo52

photo53

photo54

photo55

photo56

photo57

photo58

photo59

photo60

photo61

photo62

photo63

photo64

photo65

Even though Easter was just a few days away, there weren’t a lot of holiday items aside from these greeting cards.

photo66

photo67

photo68

In fact, there were far more Christmas items than items for any other holiday (including Easter). At least it provided an opportunity for anyone wanting to get a head start on this coming Christmas in just over eight months while paying far less than they would’ve just four months ago.

photo69

photo70

photo71

I didn’t buy anything on this trip. Like I wrote earlier, the clothes that I was interested in were either several sizes too big or too small for me. I began to have a feeling that the window of opportunity for me to buy the choice items at a discount has closed for me and I’m just seeing the dregs now.

April 5, 2015

Easter Sunday fell on April 5 this year and it was also Passover as well. After attending church, I decided to go to Kmart because I was curious about whether it would close on this holiday like many other area stores did. When I arrived, I got my answer as I saw plenty of cars parked outside. At first I thought it was a shame that employees were made to work on Easter/Passover until I realized that once Kmart closes for good, they were going to have all the time off they could financially withstand so they might as well work through a holiday.

photo1

When I first entered I noticed a new sign that was literally the final countdown of the number of days left until Kmart closes its doors forever.

photo2

There were plenty of shoppers on that Easter Sunday as they were looking for bargains that were starting to hit rock bottom prices.

photo3

There were more and more empty and partially empty shelves on that day.

photo4

photo5

photo6

photo7

photo8

The back of the store was mostly blocked off with yellow police tape. I noticed that the ceilings had these pulleys with yellow rope dangling that weren’t there before. I saw that more and more dismantled signs and shelves were behind that roped off area.

photo9

photo10

photo11

photo12

photo13

photo14

photo15

The one area in the back that weren’t roped off was the aisle leading to the Layaway section and the public restrooms. I decided to go down that aisle to check it out.

photo16

When I first approached the Layaway desk, I noticed that no one was working there and the lights were off. When I stepped closer to the desk to investigate, the lights automatically turned on. It was a pretty surreal experience to say the least.

photo17

photo18

The public restrooms were across from the Layaway desk. I decided to check out the women’s bathroom.

photo19

photo20

One toilet still had the seat cover on it but, otherwise, the women’s bathroom was just as clean as I found it on previous trips before Kmart’s going out of business sale.

photo21

photo22

Down the hallway from the restrooms was this opened door that looks like it leads to the warehouse where inventory was kept before being put on store shelves.

photo23

Also near the restrooms was another opened door that looks like it leads to an Employee’s Lounge. (I didn’t investigate either doors because I think those areas were for employees only.)

photo24

The leftover inventory was getting slimmer and slimmer. Most of the items left were ones that I photographed on previous trips. There were a few new items I took pictures of for posterity.

photo25

photo26

I couldn’t help but notice a One Direction board game, especially since the Internet went in a total uproar a few weeks earlier when one of its members decided to quit the band. I guess this board game is a collector’s item now (assuming that anyone will even care about buying One Direction collector’s items 10-20 years from now).

photo27

I found one oddity on this trip. It’s a CD called Music for Vampires. I have to admit that the title sounded intriguing and it was on sale for $6.

photo28

Until I turned the CD on the other side and I found that it was basically a compilation of mostly New Wave and Modern Rock songs from the 1980’s and 1990’s that only used the word “Vampires” in the title in an attempt to get Twilight fans to buy this. I would’ve bought it myself but I didn’t because I already have most of the songs either on other CD’s or as MP3 files.

photo29

April 9, 2015

With Kmart closing soon, I decided to make another trip to see how things were going. The countdown sign located by the front door was updated to reflect the fact that shoppers had only four more days until the final closure.

photo1

The discounts have gone very steep with some items reaching the 85% off mark.

photo2

There were plenty of shoppers when I was there who were searching for something—anything—they could buy very cheaply.

photo3

photo4

photo5

There were more bare shelves and more empty areas when I was there. If I had to guess, I’d say that about 25% of inventory was left.

photo6

photo7

photo8

photo9

photo10

photo11

photo12

photo13

photo14

photo15

photo16

photo17

photo18

The stuff I found on the shelves were literally the dregs, such as this candy that was supposed to look and feel like boogers. The Elf on the Shelf was back on the store shelves along with various leftover Christmas items. There was literally nothing that tempted me. Nothing.

photo19

photo20

photo21

photo22

photo23

photo24

photo25

photo26

photo27

photo28

photo29

photo30

I found this Ashlee Simpson CD that was a Kmart exclusive. It was originally $5.99 but it was now on sale for $2.99.

photo31

April 17, 2015

I intended to go to Kmart on the final day of its existence. It would’ve been interesting to see what was left on the shelves. It also would’ve been interesting to observe both employees and customers to see if anyone would get misty-eyed over Kmart closing for good. Or if the employees would just stop giving a damn about anything since they were going to be unemployed the next day.

But then a few things happened that distracted me. First there were the taxes. Yeah, that sucked but the alternative to not bother filing would’ve been worse so I gritted my teeth and made every effort to get them done by the April 15 deadline.

Then there were the cherry blossom trees, which bloomed later than usual this year. On top of it, after a long cold winter, the weather had gotten warmer at last and the snow was becoming a distant memory of me. I fell into temptation from both the weather and the cherry blossoms and basically enjoyed the beautiful scenery instead of going to a dying big box retailer like Kmart.

By the time I returned to Kmart the store had already closed for good. But I noticed a few interesting things that I photographed.

The giant Kmart letters that once graced the outside of the building were gone. There were faint outlines that showed where the letters used to be placed.

photo1

photo2

photo3

Curiously the soda machines were still located near the entrance. Not that it really mattered since they weren’t even working.

photo4

The front door had a few signs posted.

photo5

photo6

One of the signs announced that Kmart was officially closed while the other sign announced that a fixture sale was going on and the store was opened from 12-5. Unfortunately I got there after the store had closed for the day. However, I noticed the dates and tomorrow was going to be the last day of the fixture sale. So I had another chance to go inside that store and take a few last photos of an empty store. The only problem was that the Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire was also happening that same day and I was selling my wares there. Since the event was ending at 4 p.m., I had a chance to show up for the last hour of that fixture sale so I made a mental note to return the next day.

photo7

photo8

I looked through the door and saw that the store was empty of inventory. Basically it was an opportunity to purchase shelves or maybe a shopping cart.

photo9

I walked around to the side where Kmart once had its Garden Center. Instead of plants, potting soil, and other seasonal items, the entire area was mostly bare. Although I saw that the Kmart letters were there on one side of the empty space so I found out where the giant Kmart letters went.

photo10

photo11

The parking lot outside Kmart was empty except for a few shopping carts that were left behind. It was kind of eery seeing these shopping carts in an empty parking lot waiting for someone—anyone—to use them once again.

photo12

photo13

photo14

April 18, 2015

Thanks to the fixtures sale, I thought I had another opportunity to take more pictures of an empty Kmart. However April 18 was the last day of that sale and it would only be held from 12-5 p.m. On top of it, I had to work the Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, which was going on at the same time. Since that event ended at 4 p.m. I thought I would have some time left to check out the tail end of that fixtures sale. Once the 4 p.m. end time came, I quickly packed up my tables, chair, and inventory so I could go to Kmart for one last visit.

I arrived in the parking lot around 4:40, which would give me 20 minutes until the official end of that fixtures sale. Except when I came to the door I found that it was locked.

photo1

I also saw some glue or tape residue where the green since the sign announcing the hours for the fixtures sale was once placed.

photo2

It looked like the store closed before the official 5 p.m. closing time. I guess things like remaining open during the official posted time doesn’t really matter since the store is officially gone for good. It’s not like keeping customers satisfied really matters anymore. I looked through the locked doors one more time and I noticed that there were still fixtures in that store. I guess they’ll eventually be put in storage somewhere or get shipped to the remaining Kmarts that are still in business as of this writing.

photo3

The only thing different I noticed from the day before is that the abandoned shopping carts in the parking lot were gone. I don’t know if someone connected with Kmart took them or if someone simply stole them. All I know is that the parking lot near Kmart is now completely empty. The only odd thing that remained were the two soda machines near the front doors that aren’t even working.

Even though I hated the crappy customer service (due mainly to understaffing the cashier area so the checkout lines were always long no matter what time of day or even what time of year), I’ll still miss the nice things I used to purchase for reasonable prices. There is another Kmart in Hyattsville that I could go to. There’s also one in Crofton that I could go to on my way to my weekly support group meeting for people who are separated or divorced. But how much longer the surviving Kmarts will last is up in the air since both Kmart and its parent company Sears are predicted to completely go out of business. Right now it looks like Sears is more focused on dismantling itself and Kmart by closing a lot of stores across the United States than on doing anything radical to save both stores. Sears and Kmart are currently in a downward spiral where they close some stores, which results in lost revenue, which leads to closing even more stores, resulting in even more lost revenue, and so on.  In a way it’s sad since I’ve known both stores since I was a child. Oh well.

Over a week ago I had quite a day. My support group for people who are separated or divorced held a fundraising bag bingo at a local Elks Lodge located in Severn near my original hometown of Glen Burnie. Since I had wanted to visit my two art pieces that are on display in the Station North Arts Cafe as part of the Station North Art District Salon Show and that cafe is only opened until 3 p.m. most days and Glen Burnie is located just south of Baltimore, I decided to make a long day out of being in the Baltimore area.

First, I traveled to Baltimore where I arrived in the area just an hour before the cafe closed for the day. The weather was warm with low humidity that day and it was incredibly sunny and beautiful. I couldn’t resist taking a photo of the cloudy blue sky after I arrived in the area.

photo1

I walked past the Chicken Box where I saw this chalk window display showing the map of the ongoing Station North Arts District Salon Show.

photo2

I also took a photo of one of the many murals on display in the Station North Arts District.

photo3

I finally arrived at the Station North Arts Cafe. As I was taking the photo below, a man approached me, introduced himself as being the cafe’s owner, and invited me into his establishment while saying that his place is the best restaurant in Baltimore.

photo4

I walked inside and looked around at all the art on the walls until I finally found my two pieces located outside the door leading to the next room where the kitchen, counter, and cash register were located.

photo14

Here are my two pieces as they are currently on display at the Station North Arts Cafe. (You can click here for brighter and clearer versions of the pieces.)

photo5

The cafe has a very funky decor that I found charming, such as the area behind the counter.

photo6

I ordered my lunch then I went to the bathroom. I found the decor in the bathroom was so incredibly cool that I couldn’t resist photographing it.

photo7

photo8

photo9

photo10

photo11

The rest of the cafe had funky decorative touches everywhere that I found very charming.

photo12

photo13

I ordered the All-American Grilled Cheese & Tomato while paying a little extra for a couple of strips of smoked bacon with a bag of Utz potato chips and a Diet Pepsi. I found my lunch to be very tasty. The rest of the menu looks very interesting and I’d love to try the other items but I would definitely have to plan any future trips to that cafe since the place is only opened until 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

After I finished eating my late lunch, I decided to travel south so I could check out the place where I grew up from ages 5-19. I took Route 2 out of Baltimore and I drove through Brooklyn. I remember when I was a teenager, my family used to go out to a family-owned seafood restaurant in Brooklyn called Gunning’s Crab House on special occasions. The place looked run-down on the outside but when you entered through the doors you’d see brightly-painted rooms with wooden furniture and wall panelings. The food was excellent and I still have memories of eating that restaurant’s signature crab fluff dish. Sadly Gunning’s went out of business years ago. Otherwise, I would’ve planned on just ordering a drink at the Station North Arts Cafe and saving my appetite for Gunning’s. 😦

As I continued to drive, I decided to pull into this local Roses lot. I’m well familiar with Roses because there is a Roses in Ocean City and I remember when I used to go on vacation with my then-husband and sister-in-law, my sister-in-law used to insist on spending some time shopping at Roses because she’s pretty hooked on shopping for items at the cheapest prices. (She’s been known to shop in at least four or more stores if she’s looking for a certain item because she wants to but it at the cheapest price.) I haven’t been to Ocean City since 2011 (just five months before my husband abruptly walked out on me) so I’d thought it would be fun to visit the Roses in Brooklyn just for old time’s sake.

photo15

Roses is a discount store that’s similar to Big Lots in that it sells consumer items at cut-rate prices. There are basically two kinds of items sold at Roses. One is overstocked items, such as these toys based on that controversial reality show, Duck Dynasty.

photo16

The other kind of items that Roses sells are ones that are cheap Chinese-made knock-offs of more well-known products, such as these $5 articulated 1/6 scale big-eyed dolls available in a variety of funky skin colors that remind me of Mattel’s Monster High dolls.

photo17

As I parked in the Roses parking lot, I saw these two guys walking along Route 2 and they definitely caught my attention. One was a person that I initially thought was a topless woman until I realized that it was really an overweight man with long blonde hair and man-boobs. The other person had long blonde hair and was wearing a cowboy hat and a western-style shirt. I also wasn’t sure if the person was really a woman or a cross-dressing cowgirl. This cowgirl definitely stood out on the streets of Brooklyn. The cowgirl also shook her hips as she and her friend walked past Roses. I tried to get a picture of these unusually looking pair but they walked too fast for my camera and I didn’t feel like running down the street to catch up with them.

A day later or so after my trip, I was still on a mental high from my recent trip to the Baltimore area, I was checking out a few YouTube videos about my hometown of Glen Burnie when I found a video featuring that cowgirl I saw walking past Roses in Brooklyn.

It was through YouTube that I found out that the cowgirl I saw walking past Roses in Brooklyn was none other than Dale Crites, also known as Britney Girl Dale. Damn, I was close to a local celebrity who once tried out for America’s Got Talent and I didn’t realize it until later. Man, I now regret not running down the street so I could get a photo of Britney Girl Dale and Dale’s friend.

After my brief visit to Roses, I continued traveling south along Route 2 until I hit the northernmost border of Glen Burnie and Route 2 becomes known as Ritchie Highway. Here are a few things about my life. I was born in Baltimore and I lived there with my family for the first few years of my life. When I was five my family moved to Glen Burnie because my parents—especially my mother—had an ambition of living in the suburbs and the housing in Glen Burnie was cheap compared to other places they checked out.

The next photo shows the former location of a chain of chicken restaurants known as English’s Fried Chicken. That place used to be among my favorite restaurants growing up. Sadly the Glen Burnie location closed soon after I left for college but there are still a few English’s Fried Chicken places left on the Eastern Shore, especially in Ocean City. English’s former Glen Burnie location is now occupied by another chicken place known as Hip Hop Chicken. (No, I haven’t tried eating there. I was still full from that lunch I ate at the Station North Arts Cafe.)

photo18

Across the street from the shopping center where Hip Hop Chicken is located is the Motor Vehicles Administration (MVA). This was the building where I took my driver’s test when I was 16. I flunked the first time but I practiced my driving some more and I managed to get my driver’s license on the second try. Recently I saw the MVA’s Glen Burnie location mentioned on Roadside America’s site for one reason.

photo19

There is a giant Crash Test Dummy statue located in the front of the building. I don’t recall seeing this statue when I was growing up. I think someone installed it after I permanently moved away from Glen Burnie. I have to admit that it’s impressive looking.

photo20

Glen Burnie consists of two major highways that run parallel to each other—Ritchie Highway and Crain Highway. Both are full of car dealerships, shopping centers, shopping malls, and all kinds of fast food outlets. The next photo shows the dashboard view of Ritchie Highway.

photo21

The next three photos show why Glen Burnie has been dubbed “The Car Capital of Maryland.” There are all kinds of auto dealerships that are located throughout Ritchie Highway.

photo22

There are so many auto dealerships that are located next to each other that some of them have to resort to attention-getting gimmicks, such as this Ford dealership’s giant inflatable fox.

photo23

photo24

The next photo shows Crain Highway, which runs through downtown Glen Burnie. Yes, the next photo shows the main downtown hub of Glen Burnie. Now you know why Glen Burnie isn’t exactly a tourist destination.

photo25

Here’s further south along Crain Highway. Now you know why Glen Burnie is synonymous with the term “suburban sprawl.”

photo26

I decided to enter one of my favorite shopping malls from my teen years. When I was growing up, it was known as Glen Burnie Mall. Nowadays it’s known by the more pretentious-sounding The Centre at Glen Burnie.

photo27In my time the mall had two large anchors—Toys R Us and Montgomery Ward—with a bunch of smaller stores that I loved. My favorites were the Record Bar, where I bought plenty of albums with my allowance money, and Walden Books, where I loved to check out the books and magazines on sale there. There were also trendy clothing stores like Merry-Go-Round and Chess King as well as this great video arcade where I spent plenty of quarters playing the classic video games of the era like Space Invaders and Pac-Man.

Montgomery Ward went out of business years ago but I noticed a Target in its place. I saw that Toys R Us was still there in its original place but it has been joined by an h.h. gregg. (It looked like the mall went through an expansion on one side in order to accommodate h.h. gregg’s arrival.)

photo28

I decided to enter the mall for old time’s sake just to see what’s still there. I saw that the old video arcade is long gone. The closest thing to an arcade video game that’s in the mall is this claw machine in the photo below, which is giving away Starbucks plastic cups with a gift card inside. (Judging from the sign, it looks like you have to spend the quarters and win one of the cups in order to learn what kind of gift cards are being given away.)

 

photo29

There’s a nice glass case display devoted to the Baltimore sports teams (Orioles and Ravens).

photo30

I saw that Lane Bryant’s was still there and the jewelry kiosks were also there in the center of the mall but the vast majority of stores I saw in that mall were ones that came along after I left Glen Burnie.

photo39

photo42

photo35

But most of the mall was empty with few shoppers.

photo31

photo33

photo40

photo41

There was a children’s play area that looked relatively new. (I don’t recall a play area like that when I was growing up.) I only saw one young girl in the play area when I was there but she left with her mother around the time that I walked by there.

photo37

photo36There were also a few stores there that were running Going Out of Business sales, which means that this mall will become even more empty in a few weeks.

photo32

photo34

photo38

I felt so sad at seeing my once-favorite shopping mall turning into a dying shopping mall that I decided to briefly stop in Toys R Us for a brief pick-me-up. That store is one of the few original stores that’s still in the mall and it’s still standing even though other Toys R Us stores have been closed in recent years. (There were once three Toys R Us stores near my current home and they all eventually closed. These days if I have to go to Toys R Us for any reason, I have to drive at least a half-an-hour.)

photo43

Toys R Us sells the usual classic toys like Barbie dolls and Hot Wheels cars along with some technologically advanced stuff, such as this tablet for kids that was on sale the day I was at that store.

photo44

Toys R Us had a really cute Dumbo ride that’s patiently waiting for a child willing to ride his back.

photo45

I left that mall feeling sad that my one-time favorite mall has become one of those malls that get documented on sites like DeadMalls.com. At the fork that splits Crain Highway off from Ritchie Highway, I decided to drive down Crain. I kept on driving south until I ran into another place I recognized from my past—The Doll Motel.

photo46

The Doll Motel has long been a landmark in the southern part of Glen Burnie and this place looks exactly the same as I remembered it. Even the trimmed bushes and the decorations around the place are exactly the same.

photo47

The Doll Motel also played a big part in my wedding. My fiance and I decided to hold our wedding in the backyard of my parents’ home because we were into the idea of a spring garden wedding but we were also on a tight budget. We decided to hold our wedding on the first Saturday in June because we bought into the tradition of holding a June wedding and we also decided on a Saturday because my fiance invited his friends and relatives who were literally scattered all over the United States (in contrast, most of my friends and relatives lived in Maryland) and many of them preferred Saturday because they could fly in on Friday then leave on Sunday so they could return to their jobs on Monday. We encouraged our out-of-town wedding guests to stay at the Red Roof Inn that was located near BWI Airport (which is located near Glen Burnie—I still remember when the planes used to fly over our neighborhood flying to and from that airport). But there was a problem: my fiance’s Orthodox Jewish step-mother and his father, who converted to the Orthodox Jewish faith so he could marry his second wife. His father said that our Saturday wedding was the Sabbath and he asked us if we could hold the wedding on a Sunday instead but my husband told him that we were having guests flying as far away as California and we had to schedule our wedding around their work schedules so they could attend. (In contrast, my husband’s father and step-mother lived—and still continue to live—in New York City and they had recently became self-employed so they had more flexible work schedules.)

photo48

Staying at the Red Roof Inn by the airport was out of the question since Orthodox Jews are prohibited from driving on the Sabbath (among other prohibitions). We suggested that they stay with my parents since the wedding was going to be held in their backyard (and they were even willing to host them in their home) but they turned that idea down. We ultimately arranged to have them stay at The Doll Motel so they could make the long 1.5 mile walk along the very busy Crain Highway to my parents’ home to attend our wedding. We arranged to hold the wedding late enough in the afternoon so it would be past sunset by the time they were ready to return to their motel room and they could catch a ride from another wedding guest. My ex-husband’s father and step-mother never talked about their experiences with The Doll Motel so I have no idea if they liked the place or not.

photo49

After I finished taking the above photo of the house that serves as The Doll Motel’s office, I decided to keep driving south on Crain Highway. I decided to pull into the parking lot of another Glen Burnie business that still exists long after I moved away.

Crabtowne USA was the nearest seafood restaurant nearest to our home when I was a young child. (In later years there was another seafood place that opened ever closer to our neighborhood and there have been other nearby seafood restaurants that have opened since I moved away.) It also once had a reputation for attracting a rough redneck crowd and fights used to break out every now and then (especially on Friday and Saturday nights). I remember my parents decided to eat there on a rare date night out as a couple but they never went back. For years my parents would occasionally make a reference to Crabtowne USA as the place they vowed they would never go back to because they were pretty unnerved by the fellow diners they saw during the one time they ate there.

photo50

I had originally decided to just take a couple of photos of the exterior of Crabtowne USA for old time’s sake then move on.

photo51

But as I got closer to the sign so I could take a close-up shot of it, I noticed a smaller sign that’s underneath the large sign that promoted its Classic Arcade.

photo52

As someone who spent plenty of quarters playing video games when I was in both high school and college, I became intrigued enough by the sign to actually go inside the building. Off to the side of the main dining area is this large room full of video games.

photo53

There were a few rows of vintage 1970’s and 1980’s video games and most of them were ones that I played years ago.

photo54

Not only did this room have the most famous of the video games (such as Pac-Man) but it also carried some of the less famous video games that were popular back in the day but, for some reason, they are relatively obscure. And, yes, that’s a foosball table in the above photograph.

photo55

I felt like I had just stepped back in time and entered an old video arcade circa 1979-1985. Or I had entered one of the video arcades on Ocean City’s Boardwalk that have a row of the older vintage arcade machine.

photo57

Over the years I purchased some of these old arcade games for both the Playstation 2 and the Nintendo Wii and I still play some of these titles from time to time. However, it’s still not quite the same as standing at a real arcade cabinet, dropping a quarter in the slot, and pushing a joystick or pressing a button.

photo58

In addition, Crabtowne USA had a few video games that I’ve never seen released on any console, computer, or mobile platform, such as this Nintendo game in the above photo that’s based on the Popeye cartoons.

photo56

If all that weren’t enough, along the walls there were vintage pinball games from the 1970’s, 1980’s, and 1990’s.

photo59

There were all kinds of pinball games based on movies, TV shows, sporting events, and even one that was based on the rock band Kiss.

photo60

The best thing about Crabtowne USA’s retro arcade is the fact that all the games still cost one quarter to play. That was totally sweet!

photo61

For the young ones, there were also kiddie rides similar to what one used to frequently find at the shopping mall or inside some stores.

photo62

There were also some kitschy decor in that room such as the sign below.

photo63

The biggest irony about all this is that I don’t recall Crabtowne USA having anything like this when I was a teen. If I wanted to play pinball, I had to go to one of the many shopping malls and shopping centers that are located all along both Ritchie Highway and Crain Highway in Glen Burnie. (Back in the day it seemed like nearly every single shopping mall and shopping center had a video arcade.) I assumed that the restaurant had set up the video games and pinball machines after I moved out of the area because I previously known Crabtowne USA for the stories I’ve heard about drunken brawls from my parents and the other adults in my neighborhood. For all I know, the people who run the restaurant could’ve set up this vintage arcade in an effort to move away from its redneck reputation (as well as tap into the nostalgia market of people who grew up playing these vintage video games).

Like many video arcades there were change machines so people can get quarters to play the old games. I was in my total glory as I played a few video games and pinball machines. If I had more time, I would’ve ordered dinner and played these games until I ran out of extra cash. But I had to cut my time at Crabtowne USA short but I plan on returning one day in the future. (In a way, Crabtowne USA has given me a new reason to visit Glen Burnie on a more regular basis than once every two or three years. I haven’t visited the town as much since my widowed mother sold the original family home six years ago and moved to Odenton.)

After Crabtowne USA I decided to drive further south along Crain Highway where I decided to make a detour through my old neighborhood. The photo below is my childhood home. My parents bought this house and I moved there with my family from Baltimore when I was five. I lived there until I was 19 and I decided to transfer from Anne Arundel Community College (where I spent my freshman year) to the University of Maryland at College Park. After college graduation at 22 I moved back home for a year until I got married at 23. My husband and I were married in my parents’ backyard.

photo64

This house is a two floor, three bedroom house with one and a half bathrooms and a garage. It was a nice house even though I hated the neighborhood it was located in due mainly to the kids who made my life hell (such as the ones I had the misfortune of running into when I was at Artscape in Baltimore last month) and the fact that if you were someone without a driver’s license (like I was as a kid), you had to rely on someone else willing to give you a ride because there were very few places within easy and safe walking distance.

photo65

Both of my parents were avid gardeners. Over the years they purchased a lot of trees, plants, and bushes from Evergreen Gene’s (which I actually drove past during this trip but I didn’t stop there). After I got married and moved away my parents grew tired of mowing the lawn so they replaced the lawn in both the front and back yards with lots of trees, bushes, and shrubs. It’s nice to know that the current owners have kept the original plantings in the front yard even if some of the trees and bushes could use some pruning. I would’ve loved to have seen the back yard but it didn’t look like anyone was home at the time and I wasn’t about to break in to the back yard and risk arrest for the sake of a few photos and satisfying my curiosity.

photo66

Here’s a dashboard shot of the street where my old childhood home is located. As you can see it’s very sprawling with lots of homes (which were all built in the 1960’s and 1970’s). My neighborhood was located so far south in Glen Burnie that it was literally up against the border with the next town, Severn. When my family first moved there were no playgrounds. In fact it would be a few years before we got a playground that was at least a 15-20 minute walk from my home. When I was growing up there were no stores within safe walking distance except for the local High’s convenience store. In later years there was a shopping center that was built that had a Giant on one end and a Fortune Cookie on the other but you literally had to dodge traffic on Crain Highway if you wanted to walk there. The nearest bus stop was an hour’s walk along Crain Highway. (A closer bus stop was finally set up closer to the entrance of my neighborhood long after I permanently left Glen Burnie. One would still have to walk at least 15 minutes since this bus stop isn’t in the neighborhood but it still beats the old days of having to walk an hour.) The nearest library was also an hour’s walk. You needed a car to go anywhere.

photo67

Another dashboard view of the street where my childhood home is located. When my mother’s multiple sclerosis grew so bad that she could no longer drive, she was in the same boat as I was before I was able to legally drive except she couldn’t walk so she was totally housebound and relying on friends and family to bring food and do errands. Which was why she ultimately had to sell the house and move elsewhere.

photo68

I didn’t stay long in my old neighborhood because it was getting close to the time for my support group’s bingo event and I wanted to arrive in time to buy myself some dinner before the bingo began. So I went from my neighborhood and drove a mile down the road until Crain Highway became known as New Cut Road and I was in Severn. Ironically the bingo venue is located near the church my family took me to when I was a child, St. Bernadette Roman Catholic Church. I briefly drove around in the church parking lot while getting a glance at the rectory next door but I didn’t have much time to explore so I just drove on down Stevenson Road until I reached the Elks Lodge.

photo70

The Elks Lodge has this small yet charming memorial garden.

photo71

photo72

photo73

photo74

Here are a couple of wide shots of the room where the bingo event was held.

photo75

photo79

It was a bag bingo that was a fundraiser for my support group, Changing Focus. The next photos showed some of the bags that were donated to this bingo and they included such designer names as Vera Wang and Coach. The bags looked lovely but I attended the bingo more for the chance at socializing with some of the people I’ve met through the support group. I had already decided that if I had won any of the bags I would’ve immediately sell it on eBay in order to raise some much-needed cash for myself.

photo76

You can tell that the Elks Club holds bingo events on a regular basis because it has some pretty fancy bingo equipment.

photo77

photo78

The decor of the Elks Club seemed like it was stuck in the 1970’s yet I found it quite cozy and charming.

photo80

photo81

I ate dinner at the Elks Club and it was quite good and affordable. The next photo shows my bingo pack before the event began. I was provided with a bunch of paper bingo cards in a variety of colors along with a schedule of which bingo games would be played, which bingo cards would be used, and what the prize would be. For a dollar extra I bought this special red bingo ink that could be used to mark off the numbers on the cards.

photo82

Bingo night turned out to be a long one and it ended around 11 p.m. As the evening went on I gradually went through and discarded the bingo cards. I ended up not winning anything that evening even though there was a couple of games when I was only one or two squares away from winning until someone else called out “BINGO!” I only took photos of the last two bingo rounds of the evening. The photo below shows a regular bingo game.

photo83

The final photo in this post shows a bingo variation called “Coverall” where you had to cover all the numbers on a card before you call out “BINGO!” As you can see, there was one card where I was three squares away from winning but someone else beat me to it.

photo84

When I attended my weekly support group meeting the following Thursday (August 21), I learned that this event raised over $2,000 for Changing Focus. Sweet! 🙂

I was totally exhausted from such a long day. I got confused as to which way to turn out of the Elks Club parking lot and I soon realized that I made a wrong turn when I saw Stevenson Road turn into Quarterfield Road. I found a parking lot where I could make a quick turnaround and, when I entered, I saw a sign saying that the building was Quarterfield Elementary School. That was the first school I had ever attended and I was there from grades 1-5. (Anne Arundel County Public Schools didn’t even have kindergarten at the time I started school. I think the school system eventually got wise and added kindergarten classes when I was in the fourth or fifth grade.) If it weren’t for the fact that my the battery power was low on my smartphone and it was after 11 p.m. at night time, I would’ve walked around the school and taken a few photos. It was kind of neat to accidentally blunder across my old school.

In any case I eventually found my way back to the main roads so I was able to travel home without any incident. The next day I decided to do a Google search on both Glen Burnie and Crabtowne USA and I found this post on The Surfing Pizza blog that’s also about Glen Burnie and, like me, he also grew up in that town but he moved away as an adult. (He moved to Baltimore while I moved closer to DC.) That post covers similar ground to this one except he goes into two other malls from my childhood that have undergone radical changes—Harundale Mall and Jumper’s Hole Mall.

Yesterday marked the one-week anniversary of the day that I last saw Spike the Hedgehog alive. It fell on a Sunday, which was a day I usually devoted to the weekly cleaning of Spike’s cage and I moved him out of his cage and into his outdoor playpen. Once I finished cleaning his cage, I removed him from his outdoor playpen and put him back in the cage. He overheated earlier because I had left a window open while the outside temperature rose to a high of 85 degrees Farenheit with very high humidity. I closed the window and turned on the air conditioning and once I finished the cage cleaning and the sun went down, Spike seemed okay. He managed to go inside the pink plastic igloo he used as his bedroom so I thought that all was well.

Monday morning I notieced that Spike didn’t even touch his mealworms, which were his favorite food. Monday evening Spike didn’t emerge from his igloo but it was also very hot and humid outside and I know from past experience that in extremely hot weather Spike tended not to even emerge until well after 11 p.m. So I wasn’t that concerned as I changed his food and water yet left the unopened Easter egg where I stored the mealworms. Tuesday morning I saw that Spike still hadn’t opened the Easter egg full of mealworms so I thought that something was up. Since hedgehogs are nocturnal, I decided to wait until after dinner before I investigated. By dinner he still hadn’t emerged so I went over to his cage and called out his name. He didn’t respond with any kind of snuffling sound like he usually did when I talked to him. I bumped the side of his cage and found that he didn’t make any of the hissing noises he usually makes whenever I accidentally bumped into his cage or changed his food and water. I then opened his cage, lifted his igloo and found that he was dead.

Earlier on the same day that I last saw my pet hedgehog Spike alive, I visited the Baltimore Comic-Con. Among the various items for sale in the Artists Alley was this table that was full of handcrafted jewels that were made to resemble the Chaos Emeralds from the Sonic the Hedgehog video games. They were a bit on the large side (I thought that the best use for them would be as paperweights because they looked too big to wear in a necklace) but they were visually stunning looking.

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013

I’ve been slowly doing one final cleaning of Spike’s cage. So far I removed his litter and threw it in the trash. (I inspected his litter as I scooped it out and found that, unlike other weeks, I didn’t see any hedgehog droppings among the litter clumps. I still threw the clean litter in the trash as a precaution just in case Spike died of some kind of a contagious disease. I don’t know what killed Spike and I saw no evidence of blood or oozing pus or any other kind of injury or infection. It’s possible that he simply died of old age but since I didn’t have anyone do an autopsy on him so I’ll never know exactly why Spike died.) I plan to do a thorough cleaning of his cage and furniture using Lysol in order to kill any germs that may or may not have had a hand in Spike’s death. Once I finish this special cleaning, I’m going to pack up his cage and furniture and put it all in the attic for the time being.

Right now I’m going to take some time off from being a pet owner while I get over Spike’s death. I would like to own another pet sometime in the future but I haven’t decided on whether I would get another hedgehog (If I did this, I would make sure that I adopted a baby hedgehog instead of an adult like Spike was when I brought him home to live with me because I hope that, with a baby hedgehog, I would have this pet for longer than I had Spike) or if I would get a dog. When I was a teenager my parents had a half-Labrador Retriever/half-Chesapeake Bay Retriever named Napoleon and, while he was a rambunctious dog, he was basically a sweetheart. When I was in college and I lived in off-campus housing I had a housemate who had a dog named Michelle and I got along really well with Michelle. (My time with Michelle was short-lived. Michelle’s owner went out of town for a couple of weeks of following the Grateful Dead’s latest tour and the dog was placed in the care of another housemate who was a bit of a flake. This housemate tried taking Michelle for a walk along a very busy highway without a leash and the dog suddenly decided to bolt after some car and she ended up getting hit by one of the cars.)

I also once had a pet parakeet as a teenager named Baby, who managed to coexist beautifully with Napoleon. (Both the parakeet and the dog basically ignored each other.) It’s possible that I may decide to get a parakeet or some other kind of bird instead of a dog or hedgehog.

All I know is that cats are out of the question for me because I am allergic to them. Any member of the rodent family (such as rabbits, chinchillas, guinea pigs, hamsters, etc.) is also out of the question for me because I have a couple of electronic rodent devices in my home that emits high-pitched sounds that humans can’t hear but they are very offensive to rodents. I had to buy them from the hardware store a few years ago after my home suffered from a sudden invasion of field mice who chewed up rolls of surplus paper towels, chewed through boxes of food in the pantry, and left their droppings everywhere.

In any case, I’m just going to take my time deciding on who will be my next pet. It’s highly unlikely that I’ll come to any kind of a decision for at least six months.

Yesterday after I attended church, I went to Target to look for a storage box that’s big enough to house Spike’s cage and furniture while I keep it up in the attic. I found the perfect size storage box (it was the largest box that the store had in stock) then wheeled my car to the checkout line. On the way to the checkout line, I found this new Monster High doll that’s totally ironic for me in light of Spike’s recent death. Here name is Howleen Wolf, she’s the daughter of the Wolf Man and the younger sister of Clawdeen Wolf, Clawd Wolf, and Clawdia Wolf.

Monster High Howleen Wolf doll

Here’s the ironic part. Like the other Monster High dolls, Howleen Wolf comes with a pet of her very own. This particular pet happens to be a hedgehog named Cushion.

Monster High Howleen Wolf doll

A doll with a pet hedgehog. That is pretty ironic. If Spike hadn’t died, I might have even been tempted to buy Howleen Wolf. This time I left the doll package on the shelf. I just wasn’t in the mood of collecting anything that was hedgehog-related other than taking the above two photos with my smartphone.

For the 19 months I had Spike I had gotten into taking smartphone photos of every hedgehog related items I could find on the store shelves as well as collecting Internet graphics of anything with hedgehogs. While hedgehog products weren’t as prevalent as—let’s say—dogs and cats, there were a sizeable amount of hedgehog products I could’ve bought if I wanted. (In reality I didn’t buy too much hedgehog stuff because of limited space in my home. I’m in the process of doing extensive decluttering of my home and starting a new hobby where I collected a lot of stuff was the last thing I wanted to get into.) It was pretty cool to see the amount of hedgehog there is out there.

First off is the main hero of the Sonic the Hedgehog video games. I confess that I played those games long before I even had the idea of getting a pet hedgehog but I still thought it was fair to give a nod to the character that helped me to be tolerant of hedgehogs.

Sonic the Hedgehog

But Sonic wasn’t the only video game character that I encountered. I also downloaded other hedgehog-themed video games for my iPod Touch and iPad including the following:

Crazy Hedgy.

Crazy Hedgy

Rollerhog

Rollerhog

Spikes

Spikes Video Game

Ironically I recently found out that there was a video game that was made for the PC years ago called Spike the Hedgehog. I had never heard of that video game before and I only named my pet Spike because he never hesitated to put his spikes up every chance he got. Given that one negative review I saw on Amazon.com, I think there’s a reason why this particular game is obscure.

I also remember reading about a hedgehog in literature. Who can ever forget that bizarre croquet game in Alice in Wonderland where the players used a flamingo as a mallet and a hedgehog as a ball?

Alice in Wonderland

I later learned that Beatrix Potter, who’s best known for the books Peter Rabbit and The Tale of the Squirrel Nutkin, wrote and illustrated a book called The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle whose main character is a matronly looking hedgehog who did the laundry.

Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle

There were plenty of hedgehog toys, figurines, and a vairety of miscellaneous products that I could’ve collected if I wanted to (but I mostly didn’t due to limited space in my home).

Ty Beanie Ballz Prickles

Ty Beanie Ballz Prickles the Hedgehog

The Calico Critters Pickleweeds Hedgehog Family

Calico Critters Pickleweeds Hedgehog Family

A forest-themed water bottle that includes a hedgehog.

Wegman's Water Bottles

A pair of Kikkerland Hedgehog Dryer Balls.

Kikkerland Hedgehog Dryer Balls

Some hedgehog plushies I found at Otakon 2012 that was held in Baltimore.

Plushies for Sale at Otakon 2012

Hedgehog-shaped Christmas ornaments.

My new hedgehog ornaments I purchased from Valley View Farms
Valley View Farms, December 3, 2012

Westland Adora Bears Hedgehugs

Westland Adora Bears Hedgehugs

A plush hedgehog puppet on sale at the 2012 Faerie Con in Hunt Valley, Maryland.

Faerie Con, Hunt Valley, Maryland, November 10, 2012

Inner Creatures’ Spikey anthro hedgehog ball-jointed doll.

Spikey the anthro ball jointed resin hedgehog doll

Aurora’s Herzog the Hedgehog.

Aurora Herzog the Hedgehog

A handcrafted Sonic the Hedgehog quilt on sale at Awesome Con 2013 in Washington, DC.

photo25

Craft Play wooden hedgehog kit.

wooden hedgehog craft kit

Ganley the Birthday Hedgehog.

Ganley the Birthday Hedgehog

Special edition Sonic the Hedgehog statues sold at Katsucon 2013 in National Harbor, Maryland.

Katsucon 2013

Special Sonic the Hedgehog edition of the board game Monopoly sold at Katsucon 2013 in National Harbor, Maryland.

Katsucon 2013

Hedgehog print on sale at Katsucon 2013 in National Harbor, Maryland.

Katsucon 2013

A t-shirt that reads "Hedgehogs: Why Don’t They Just Share the Hedge?" that I bought for myself at Katsucon 2013 in National Harbor, Maryland.

Katsucon 2013

A hedgehog birthday card.

Hedgehog Birthday Card
Hedgehog Birthday Card

A Scentsy Buddy Havi the Hedgehog that was on sale at the 2013 Hon Fest in Baltimore.

photo35

eeBoo’s Waste-Not hedgehog craft kit.

eeBoo Waste-Not Hedgehog Craft Kit

If the above products weren’t enough, there were a variety of hedgehog-shaped toys that I could’ve purchased for a dog or cat that were sold in the big-box retailers like PetSmart and Petco.

Hedgehogs by Martha Stewart Pets
Halloween Cat Toy Resembling a Hedgehog With a Witch Hat
Christmas Catnip Hedgehog Toy
Christmas Hedgehog Toy for Dogs
Toy Shoppe Playables Dog Toy
Aspenpet plush hedgehog toys for dogs
hedgehog dog toy
Halloween Hedgehog Toy for Dogs
Halloween Hedgehog Toy for Dogs
Halloween Hedgehog Toy for Dogs
Halloween Hedgehog Toy for Dogs

In Europe there is a hedgehog character named Mecki who is very popular there. Below is a 1952 German-language stop-motion animation featuring Mecki. (Unfortunately there are no English subtitles in the one clip I found online.)

Mecki’s popularity has led to a variety of spin-offs including postcards and stuffed animals.

Mecki Hedgehog
Steiff Hedgehog
Steiff Hedgehog

Here in the United States there was one animated hedgehog character I was more familiar with. His name is Mr. Pricklepants and he was one of the minor characters in the Disney/Pixar film Toy Story 3.

Despite his small role in that film, I saw this one toy spin-off in one of the stores.

Mr. Pricklepants From Toy Story 3

Earlier this year the Animal Planet cable channel broadcasted its annual Puppy Bowl (which is usually shown on the same day as the NFL Super Bowl) that features cute puppies playing with each other in a football field-like room along with the Bissell Kitty Halftime Show (featuring cute kittens swatting at various toys), hamsters broadcasting in the Puppy Bowl blimp, and a cockatiel named Meep the Bird who issued tweets on Twitter (get it?). At this year’s Puppy Bowl, Animal Planet featured hedgehog cheerleaders, who were incredibly cute. (I only wished I had known about the hedgehog cheerleaders sooner because I happened to live near the Discovery Channel building in Silver Spring where the Puppy Bowl is shot. I could’ve enter Spike in the tryouts.)

Hedgehog Cheerleaders
Hedgehog Cheerleaders
Hedgehog Cheerleaders
Hedgehog Cheerleaders
Hedgehog Cheerleaders

I saw people dressed in costume as hedgehogs. This one person cosplayed as Shadow the Hedgehog at Otakon 2012 in Baltimore.

Cosplayer at Otakon 2012

Here’s a person dressed as Sonic the Hedgehog at Awesome Con 2013 in Washington, DC.

photo10

There was even a hedgehog who served as a mascot for a company called Spokeo who had gotten its share of controversy for its business practices. When I checked the URL for the first time in over a year last night, I saw that the cute blue hedgehog mascot had since been replaced by a typical bland corporate logo.

Spokeo Logo

I’ve had my fun with using my smartphone or Internet searches to document all of the hedgehog-related products that are out there while I had Spike but now that my pet is deceased and I have no immediate plans to replace him with another hedgehog, I’m going to cut back on this activity. If I happened to see a really cute and memorable product I’ll snap a photo but, otherwise, I’m no longer going to go out of my way to take these pictures. As you can see in this blog, I already have more than enough hedgehog images to keep me amused so I don’t really see the need to continually take more pictures.

I’ve been attending a lot of local conventions lately and I found another one that seemed interesting to me. I originally considered going to it on Saturday because there would be special sceening of the animated movie Jay and Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie which would include not only the movie but also a live appearance by Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes that will include a Q&A that would be part of a live podcast. The only reason why I didn’t go was because of the price. A one-day Saturday pass cost $25. That’s not so bad except the Jay and Silent Bob event cost extra. The Saturday pass did not automatically give you an admission to that event yet if you wanted to buy the pass for the separate event, you were required to buy the Saturday Comic-Con pass as well. The regular Jay and Silent Bob pass cost $40, which meant you had to pay a total $65.

But that’s not all. There was a "Super Groovy" ticket for the Jay and Silent Bob event that cost $75, which not only netted you an autographed print but it enabled you to enter the event first before those who purchased only the regular $40 pass. Since the "Super Groovy" ticket also required that you purchase a Saturday pass for the rest of the Baltimore Comic-Con, anyone who wanted it had to pay a whopping $100.

I not only wasn’t crazy about paying extra fees but I had an issue with the idea of people who paid more for the "Super Groovy" ticket had the right to cut in front of people who could only afford the $40 pass. I was personally more in favor of the usual first-come, first-served policy that usually accompany a movie screening where people who line up early had the right to get good seats over those who arrived later. With this two-tier pricing, one who arrived very early to get in line but paid only the lower $40 price would see later arrivals get into the theater before that patient person simpy because the later arrivals had deeper pockets and could afford the higher ticket price.

On top of it, I was still smarting from having to pay a very high $1,600 health insurance bill. (Here’s some background. As a spouse of a federal government employee, I had long enjoyed being covered under my husband’s generous health insurance benefits. When my husband succeeded in his quest to divorce me, I filled out a form with the federal government in order to continue being covered under my ex-husband’s health insurance since I’m currently seeing a therapist and I also want some kind of insurance in case something unexpected happened to me. The federal government takes up to 90 days to review my request. In the meantime I would remain covered, I assumed that they would continue to deduct some of my ex-husband’s pay to keep me covered while the govenment reviewed my case. Imagine my surprise when I got a notice saying that I would continue to be covered but I needed to cough up $1,600 for the 90 days I was covered while the government reviewed my case.) I really didn’t feel that I could afford to be extravagant so I decided to skip the whole Jay and Silent Bob event and attend Baltimore Comic-Con on Sunday, when ticket prices cost only $20. Besides, the one panel that I was interested in (besides the Jay and Silent Bob event) was held only on Sunday.

Normally when I attend an event at the Baltimore Convention Center, I usually drive my car to the North Linthicum light rail stop then take the train to the Convention Center stop because it’s the cheaper option. However the one panel I was interested in was being held in the morning and the light rail system tends to start later on Sundays and I was afraid of missing that panel. So I ended up driving the car into the city and parked at one of the many parking garages. I arrived early enough to park in this one garage that had a special rate: If you leave before 4 p.m., you only have to pay a $15 parking fee. (The full price is $20 per day.) On top of it, that garage was just a short walk from the convention center, which was great since it ended up being so hot and humid.

I knew I was at Baltimore Comic-Con when I arrived at the Baltimore Convention Center and I saw all kinds of cosplayers waiting outside in line on a bright sunny September day that ended up in the high 80’s along with very high humidity. (It felt more like summer than fall that day.)

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013

In the lobby of the convention center was this really awesome life-sized balloon sculpture of Dr. Who and a Dalek that was done by Starkey’s Balloons.

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013

Everywhere at the Baltimore Comic-Con there were cosplayers and staffers wearing these interesting looking t-shirts.

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013

I managed to make it to the one panel I wanted to attend. Toy designer Paul Harding and comic artist Mark Buckingham gave a very interesting presentation on the topic "Toy Design: From Paper to Plastic." It was a demonstration on how an original 2-D illustration gets translated into a 3-D statue and action figure. It was a very interesting topic that I enjoyed while I ate the lunch and drank the sodas that I brought with me from home. (I brought my own lunch rather than buy any of the overpriced food and drinks sold in the Baltimore Convention Center.)

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013

They had some real-life models based on the characters Snow White and Bigby Wolf from the comic book Fables.

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013

I spent the rest of my time in the Baltimore Comic-Con in the Artists Alley. The high point was seeing this framed The Amazing Spider-Man comic book that once belonged to actor Nicolas Cage on sale for $250 on one of the vendor tables.

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013

The rest of the area was a whirlwind of vintage comic books, dolls, costumes, t-shirts, vinyl figurines, DVD’s, and stuffed animals while various cosplayers were walking around the area and the various comic book artists and writers signed autographs for fans. There were some strange stuff on sale like a Jerry Garcia action figure (I’m old enough to remember when Jerry Garcia was alive and The Grateful Dead used to frequently go on tour) and Stan Lee Cologne (that’s right, you now have the opportunity to smell like the famous Marvel Comics comic book writer and editor <LOL!>). There was even a table that gave away free samples of PlowOn Energy Gum. (To be honest, I didn’t like the taste that much although it did a great job of keeping me awake since I chewed it at a time when I began to feel physically tired. I managed to keep on visiting every table in that room at least once. But I would rather drink Five-Hour Energy to stay awake than to chew PlowOn Energy Gum.) The next several photos should convey an idea of what the giant Artists Alley room was like.

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013

I finished my day at Baltimore Comic-Con by sitting in on a cosplay costume contest for a few minutes. I didn’t stay long because, as you can see in the photo, the room was very crowded.

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013

Thanks to my decision not to skip the Jay and Silent Bob event the day before, I treated myself to a couple of items from the Artists Alley. Believe me, it took a lot of discipline to limit myself to just two items because there were a lot of stuff sold in that room that I felt tempted to buy but I didn’t because I didn’t want to go further into debt than I already am.

I found this really cute Funko vinyl figure that’s based on the character Rainbow Dash from My Little Pony.

Swag From Baltimore Comic-Con 2013

I also found this DVD collection of vintage early 1960’s black and white episodes of Astro Boy. It’s definitely a blast from my childhood. (Astro Boy was definitely one of the first Japanese anime series I ever watched on TV but I was too young to realize that was anime.) Now I can relive my early childhood whenever I want.

Swag From Baltimore Comic-Con 2013

September 8, 2013 turned out to be a momentous day for me and it’s not just because I attended the second and final day of Baltimore Comic-Con. When I came home I did the usually weekly Sunday cage cleaning of my pet hedgehog Spike. Little did I know at the time that this particular day would be the last day I ever saw Spike alive. When I finished with cleaning his cage, I saw that he went into the pink plastic igloo that he used as his bedroom. I never saw him alive again after that.

Occupy the Dollhouse: The Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy 1
Occupy the Dollhouse: The Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy 2

The dolls and one of their new pony allies survey the damage done to Dollotti Park in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. All of the dolls in the Occupy the Dollhouse movement are safe and sound. However they are actively trying to raise awareness of those living in New York and New Jersey whose lives have been impacted by both Hurricane Sandy and the Nor’easter that struck the same areas one week alter. Here is how you can help the victims of these twin storms rebuild their lives.

If you are able to volunteer directly, Occupy Wall Street has started an Occupy Sandy program which, according to this Slate.com article, has even outperformed the American Red Cross in certain situations.

If you live too far away from the devastated areas, here are some organizations you can send money and any other material things that these groups may ask for.

American Red Cross

Charity Navigator’s page on ethical charities (which is valuable to help weed out the scammers who are now out in full force raising money when little to none of the funds raised will really go to the people impacted by Hurricane Sandy).

The Nation’s page on How to Help the Victims of Hurricane Sandy.

CERG UU Disaster Relief Fund

Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund

The protesting dolls have been laying low in Dollotti Park throughout the summer while creating new alliances in order to help further the cause of the 99%. On the first anniversary of Occupy Wall Street in New York (which started the worldwide Occupy movement), the dolls finalize their new alliance with a street action involving a stencil, spray paint, and concrete.

Spray Paint Action
Pony 2012

Pony 2012. Not to be confused with Kony 2012.

I was out a lot this past weekend. I spent all day Saturday at Hello Craft’s Summit of Awesome conference in Washington, DC. I spent all day Sunday at Baltimore Comic-Con.

I’ll admit that it was the first time I attended a comic book convention in several years. My husband was an avid comic book collector dating as far back as his undergraduate days and it was through him that I read mostly Marvel books like The X-Men, The Avengers, Alpha Flight, Dazzler, and Cloak & Dagger. We even attended a local comic book convention (I forgot whether it was in College Park or Silver Spring or some other place nearby) which consisted of tables and tables full of comic books. There was a Marvel artist who sold his autographed drawings of superheroes and we purchased two of his drawings and I purchased frames for both of them soon afterwards.

But then my husband and I got involved with other things and we eventually stopped reading comic books. My husband even stopped buying comic books because he felt that they took up too much time, money, and space.When my husband suddenly moved out last December, he left most of his comic book collection behind.

I’ve long heard about the San Diego Comic-Con and how it has literally turned from a comic book convention to this monster event where many Hollywood studios give previews of their upcoming big-budget films and they send their actors and directors to hype these movies. There have been complaints from comic book purists about how that convention has perverted its origins. (A few years ago my husband was in San Diego for a conference that was held the same week as Comic-Con. Unfortunately, he was stuck in so many meetings from morning to night that he was never able to find the time to sneak away and check out Comic-Con.)

So I headed out to the North Linthicum Light Rail Stop where I had to compete for space on the train with baseball fans who were on their way to the game at Camden Yards between the Baltimore Orioles and the New York Yankees. (When I later left the Baltimore Convention Center, I saw numerous baseball fans walking towards the Inner Harbor and I heard them mention that the Orioles lost that game to the Yankees. That sucks!) The weater was sunny and it was warm but not too hot and the humidity was even low for a change.

So far Baltimore Comic-Con has avoided being turned into a monster convention like the one in San Diego. Heck, it was even smaller than Otakon last month. The admission was pretty reasonable. (The Sunday admission is lower than both the weekend pass and the Saturday-only admission.) But it was larger than the last comic book convention I attended years ago.

I don’t recall anyone dressing up as comic book characters at that other comic book convention years ago. At Baltimore Comic-Con there were lots of people who were dressed up as their favorite comic book character. There was even a costume contest held in one of the larger rooms on the third floor but I couldn’t get in because all the audience seats were taken up. There were people dressed in costumes waiting to go in. (Apparently they only judged a small amount of costumers at a time—probably according to categories like robots or female villains.) But there was no shortage of costumed people milling about in the hallways and in the main vending area. The costumer in the photo below iis definitely a blast from my own youth. This guy came dressed as Mr. T.

Mr. T at Baltimore Comic-Con

Someone didn’t just dress up as Batman. He dressed as a Lego Minifig Batman.

Lego Minifig Batman

This guy wasn’t crawling on his knees. He really was that short.

Short Zorro at Baltimore Comic-Con

This woman was using her cell phone while dressed in this cool costume.

Cool Costume at Baltimore Comic-Con

Here’s another reminder from my younger days. This couple came as Brad (a.k.a. "Asshole") and Magenta from The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show

I really thought this woman’s costume was quite lovely.

Cool Costume at 2012 Baltimore Comic-Con

Two Captain Americas met each other.

Two Captain Americas at 2012 Baltimore Comic-Con
Two Captain Americas at 2012 Baltimore Comic-Con

This next picture proves that you can never be too old to be a cosplayer. A man with grey hair wore nothing but a loincloth.

Man Wearing Loincloth at 2012 Baltimore Comic-Con

Here’s a Mighty Morphin Power Ranger.

Mighty Morphin Power Ranger at 2012 Baltimore Comic-Con

Is the guy in the next photo standing next to Robocop really film director Kevin Smith or someone who closely resembles him? (It’s not an outrageous thought about Kevin Smith being at Baltimore Comic-Con. He is a well-known comic book enthusiast and he lives in New Jersey, which is just a few hours drive away from Baltimore.)

Is That Really Kevin Smith at the 2012 Baltimore Comic-Con?

I managed to get a photo of Robocop alone.

Robocop at Baltimore Comic-Con 2012

This woman’s costume definitely provided a realistic depiction of her as an angel statue.

Angel Statue Costume at Baltimore Comic-Con 2012

This woman dressed as Catwoman was photographed by a professional photographer who brought along high-end equipment.

Photographer and Catwoman at Baltimore Comic-Con 2012

I saw this pretty wild-looking costume in the Dealers’ Room.

Cool Outfit at Baltimore Comic-Con 2012

This woman came as Catwoman.

Catwoman at Baltimore Comic-Con 2012

This cosplayer took a break with his cellphone.

Cosplayer at Baltimore Comic-Con 2012

I liked this woman’s Viking-style costume.

Cosplayers at Baltimore Comic-Con 2012

This guy came as the Red Skull.

The Red Skull at Baltimore Comic-Con 2012

I spent the bulk of my time in the Dealers’ Room. As you would expect at a Comic-Con, the vendors sold plenty of comic books ranging from vintage pre-1960’s superhero comics costing hundreds of dollars to recently released comic books.

Stacks of Comic Books at Baltimore Comic-Con 2012

There were plenty of other comic-related stuff on sale besides comic books at Baltimore Comic-Con. This giant statue of the Incredible Hulk dominated the Dealers’ Room.

Giant Incredible Hulk Statue at Baltimore Comic-Con 2012
Giant Incredible Hulk Statue at Baltimore Comic-Con 2012
Giant Incredible Hulk Statue at Baltimore Comic-Con 2012

The vendor who had that large Hulk statue sold a variety of superhero statues. The statues in the photo below were among the more expensive statues. (The prices ranged in that group from $200-$500.)

Expensive Statues at Baltimore Comic-Con 2012

Betty Page and Storm (the latter from The X-Men) statues.

Betty Page and Storm Statues at Baltimore Comic-Con 2012

This statue looked like a cross between Snow White and a superheroine.

A Cross Between Snow White and a Super Hero at Baltimore Comic-Con 2012

One table sold a Buddah Homer Simpson. It reminded me of this small Buddah statue my parents kept in their bedroom when I was growing up. My parents purchased that statue while they spent their honeymoon in New York City, when they visited the Chinatown section.

Buddah Homer Simpson Statue at Baltimore Comic-Con

One vendor in the Dealers’ Room had this Monster High Sarah Screams doll on sale for a whopping $150! (I normally see Monster High dolls sold in places like K-Mart and Target for around $20.)

Expensive Monster High Sarah Screams Doll

There was even a booth that sold Avengers perfume. This was not a joke. You could really buy perfume so you could smell like your favorite superhero in The Avengers.

Avengers Perfume at Baltimore Comic-Con

One vendor sold drinking glasses that were grouped according to type of comic character. All the glasses on this shelf in the photo below depicted Looney Tunes characters like Yosemite Sam and the Road Runner.

Comic Drinking Glasses at Baltimore Comic-Con

The sign below by Stylin Online was accurate. It was a tower of t-shirts.

Tower of T-Shirts at Baltimore Comic-Con 2012

There were all kinds of hats, most of them based on video game characters.

Hats at Baltimore Comic-Con 2012

Here’s a vintage Jesse Ventura action figure (originally released during his heyday as being Minnesota Governor) still in its original box.

Jesse Ventura Action Figure

Here’s another blast from my past. I saw a vintage toy based on the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters.

The Stay Puft Marshallow Man Action Figure

The next few photos are of what I personally thought was the most elaborate booth in the Dealers’ Room. It was a promo for a video game called Flavor Monsters and it’s currently available as a free app on iTunes, Google Play, and Facebook.

Flavor Monsters Video Game Booth at Baltimore Comic-Con 2012
Flavor Monsters Video Game Booth at Baltimore Comic-Con 2012
Flavor Monsters Video Game Booth at Baltimore Comic-Con 2012
Flavor Monsters Video Game Booth at Baltimore Comic-Con 2012
Flavor Monsters Video Game Booth at Baltimore Comic-Con 2012
Flavor Monsters Video Game Booth at Baltimore Comic-Con 2012

Like Otakon, Baltimore Comic-Con also has an Artist’s Alley section where aspiring artists sell their wares. The table at the left was known as Quiltoni and had these cool quilts based on Dr. Who and Tetris.

Cool Quilts at Artist's Alley at Baltimore Comic-Con 2012

I saw this Wallace and Grommit poster at a booth that touted how British artists have contributed to the comic field at Baltimore Comic-Con 2012. (Someone at that booth said that at one point Captain America was drawn by a British artist, which sounded pretty ironic that a superhero most synomynous with America was once drawn by a non-American.)

Wallace and Grommit Poster

Stan Lee was supposed to be at Comic-Con this weekend but most of his appearances were scheduled for the day before, when I couldn’t make it. I had wanted to check out one of the few panels that were held on a Sunday that was on how to break into the comics industry with an emphasis on using social media. It was more out of curiosity than out of having created a comic book that I wanted to publish. (I don’t have any comic books or comic strip characters or anything like that.) The Dealer’s Room was so massive that I had a hard time finding the one opened entrance/exit door so I ended up arriving a half-an-hour late. I got the gist that even with social media it’s still relatively hard breaking into the comics industry.

I was pretty tired when that panel ended and the entire Comic-Con was scheduled to close in one hour so I left. I have to admit that Baltimore Comic-Con was an interesting experience. I’ll close this entry by writing briefly about this colorful business card that was handed to me when I was trying to find my way back out of the Dealers’ Room/Artist’s Alley areas (they shared the same large room). It had an interesting name: Girls With Slingshots and it had this tagline: "two girls, a bar, and a talking cactus". The back of the card had this info:

The Girls: Jamie and Hazel
Turn-Ons: sarcasm, coffee, girly drinks, adult toys
Turn-Offs: Why aren’t you reading this comic?!

LOL! I should check the website out sometime. I hope it lives up to the business card.

Previous Entries

Categories