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There was massive hype about the solar eclipse that blanketed much of North America last week. Even though the Washington, DC area was included in the eclipse’s path, we were located too far north to achieve a total eclipse. According to this link, my area would see 81% coverage. I know people who scheduled special trips to places further south (such as South Carolina) in order to see the full eclipse. If it weren’t for the fact that I was too broke to travel, I might have done this myself. But I was still happy to see the 81% coverage.

Last month I attended a workshop on making a special solar eclipse viewer so I could safely see it. I also received a free pair of solar eclipse glasses so I could directly view the eclipse without burning my eyeballs. Here is what the glasses looked like.

Here’s a rare selfie of me wearing those glasses. Yeah, I’ll admit that they looked dorky on me but I was able to directly look at the sun safely (unlike President Donald Trump, who actually looked at the eclipse with his bare eyes while First Lady Melania and their young son Baron did the sensible thing and looked towards the ground). I remember those glasses were so dark that I had to remove them if I needed to walk even a step or two so I wouldn’t inadvertently trip over something.

I attempted to hold the glasses over my smartphone’s lens but this was the best photo I was able to get (when the eclipse was almost over).

Here’s a cropped closeup of that view, which is why this next photo looks a bit on the grainy side.

The biggest obstacle to the solar eclipse were some clouds that kept on covering the sun at various times. Luckily the sky was only partly cloudy so we could still see the eclipse.

I could’ve viewed the solar eclipse in my yard but I decided to travel for that event because I just felt a need to be around other people while I was viewing this extremely rare event. I ended up at Roosevelt Center in Greenbelt, Maryland where a few people gathered around.

The STEM center Makerspace 125 offered free refreshments (in the form of cookies and lemonade).

The next few photos show the various stages of the solar eclipse as seen through some of these homemade eclipse viewers.

Even though my area didn’t get full coverage, there was this really cool effect that one could see on the ground. If you look close enough, you can see these crescent-shaped shadows that were formed by the eclipse. They looked like scales on a fish.

I feel very fortunate that I got a chance to see that solar eclipse even if I only saw 81% coverage. The only downside was the very hot and humid weather (also known as a typical August day in the Baltimore-Washington, DC area). I was pretty overheated by the time the solar eclipse passed through our area.

When I got home I decided to find another way of remembering this occasion. Last year I made an ill-fated New Year’s resolution where I would do one new sketchbook drawing a day. I even purchased a small hardcover sketchbook for the occasion. Despite that effort, I found that I couldn’t always find time to make a new sketch. At first I modified it to once a week then a couple times a month. Then I misplaced the sketchbook for a few months. (I later learned that I had brought it with me to church when it was having one of its social events and I left that sketchbook behind. Then the person who found it kept on forgetting to give it back to me.) Now that my sketchbook was found, I decided to make my first new drawing since last September (when I did this drawing the day after I attended the third and final day of Intervention Con). Of course I had to incorporate that photo of President Donald Trump trying to view the solar eclipse with his bare eyes.


Uber can’t be fixed—it’s time for regulators to shut it down.

A new book examines how the upper-middle class has enriched itself and harmed economic mobility.

The rise of the 21st century Victorians.

Brooklyn’s famous Green Lady explains her lifelong devotion to the color green.

The far-out sci-fi costume parties of the Bauhaus school in the 1920s.

It’s the end of the shopping mall as we know it.

How to deal with a 4Chan troll. There is some information that’s useful for anyone who’s dealing with any kind of online troll regardless of whether it involves politics or not.

Low-income workers who live in RVs are being chased out of Silicon Valley streets.

Feminist publication makes history by appointing black trans woman as editor-in-chief.

The sketchbook of drawings done in ballpoint pen by Nicolas V. Sanchez.

A look at the female pioneers of the Bauhaus art movement.

The fight for health care is really all about civil rights.

23 ways to treat yourself without buying or eating anything.

Glow-in-the-dark “toonie” coins celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary.

These bosses share the worst interviews they’ve ever seen and the results are stunning.

Browse a collection of over 83,500 vintage sewing patterns.

Bid on old computers, speakers, radios, and other junk from the bowels of RadioShack.

This transgender doll is making huge strides in teaching children about gender roles.

She took on Tesla for discrimination. Now others are speaking up.

A new kind of tech job emphasizes skills, not a college degree.

Women in tech speak frankly on the culture of harassment.

Over decades of poverty, Detroit’s have fostered a resilient informal economy based on trust.

GoFraudMe is a blog that exposes fake GoFundMe campaigns.

Rural America is the new “inner city.”

3 ways to be seen as a leader in your field.

Artist repaints mass-produced dolls to make them look realistic and the result is amazing.

Every Sega game ever made is coming to iOS and Android for free.

Edvard Munch’s famous Scream painting animated to Pink Floyd music.

Despite serving time in a Russian prison under Vladimir Putin, a member of the punk rock group Pussy Riot is still defiant.

This 106-year-old cooking show host is YouTube’s oldest creator.

I finally added something new in my RedBubble store for the first time in over a year. Here is some background.

A few weeks ago I attended Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School in Washington, DC. (No, I haven’t uploaded any of the drawings I made there yet but I’m going to do so soon.) I took part in a contest where I incorporated the European Christmas demon known as Krampus. My prize was a drink of my choice from the bar (where I picked a fruity tasting beer whose name now escapes me).

A few days later I came up with an idea for Krampus where I gave him a modern-day twist by merging him with a certain wealthy politician. Here he is: Trumpus.


I really had a blast creating this piece. I wished I had thought of this sooner because I could’ve come out with Trumpus products earlier in the holiday shopping season instead of having something just four days before Christmas. I decided to do this product line any way because I know that there has been a trend in recent years where people go post-Christmas shopping. Part of the reason is because of the rise in people giving gift cards as presents and part of the reason is because people are more inclined to shop for themselves if they didn’t get a certain item they wanted for Christmas.

And that’s not to mention that Donald Trump will be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States on January 20. (The Electoral College decided to certify the popular vote and make Trump president. This happened despite a movement known as the Hamilton Electors cropped up and there was talk of replacing Donald Trump with a moderate Republican alternative like Mitt Romney or John McCain. Well, that didn’t happen.)

I have Trumpus available in t-shirts, laptop/mobile cases, laptop/mobile skins, framed art prints, coffee mugs, and more! Click here to do your Trumpus shopping.

I’ve pretty much ditched my original New Year’s resolution of doing one new sketchbook drawing per day. I found that if I was working on a different creative project at the same time, trying to schedule a daily sketchbook drawing became arduous. I only did one sketch last month and it was one I did on the Monday after I attended Intervention Con (which you can read about here, here, and here).

Sketchbook Drawing the Day After Intervention Con Ended

What’s even sadder is that I haven’t even done a single drawing this month yet even though I learned through one of my Facebook friends about something called Inktober where you create one new drawing every day this month until Halloween. Yeah, I’m lame. (LOL!) I’ll make an effort to do at least one sketchbook drawing this month but doing something as ambitious as Inktober is just not realistic for me.

Intervention Con Day 1

Intervention Con Day 2

Usually the third day of a convention tends to be relatively truncated because it falls on a Sunday and many people are rushing to travel back home so they can return to their real lives the next day. There were still a few events that encouraged me to go back out to the Hilton Hotel in Rockville for the third day in a row. I attended this panel discussion featuring Intervention Con founder Oni Harstein (on the right in the photo below) on how to market your work online. I took a lot of notes at that panel.

Intervention Con, Day 3, September 18, 2016

Afterwards I attended this talk where Craig W. Cobalt (on the right in the photo below) talking with actor René Auberjonois (left). It was a really highly spirited discussion because not only had Auberjonois appeared on shows like Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Benson, and Boston Legal but his acting career goes back decades. He gave a really fascinating account on his experiences working with the legendary Katharine Hepburn. He should write his memoirs about his long acting career because his talk was so fascinating. He even finished his talk by singing this brief song (“Les Poissons”) he sang when he was the voice of Chef Louis in the Disney movie The Little Mermaid.

Intervention Con, Day 3, September 18, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 3, September 18, 2016

After that presentation ended I stayed in the same room where I ate my lunch (which I brought with me from home) while listening to actress Alex Kingston (in pink ears below) speaking about her days as River Song on Doctor Who with Cat Smith (right side in below photo). She also gave a fascinating talk on what it was like to play River Song with three of the actors who portrayed the various regenerations of Doctor Who.

Intervention Con, Day 3, September 18, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 3, September 18, 2016

After that presentation ended I spent the rest of my time taking a few miscellaneous photographs.

Intervention Con, Day 3, September 18, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 3, September 18, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 3, September 18, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 3, September 18, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 3, September 18, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 3, September 18, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 3, September 18, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 3, September 18, 2016

The last photo I took at Intervention Con was this one of my program book and badge.

Intervention Con, Day 3, September 18, 2016

After I left Intervention Con I briefly stopped at the Micro Center store mainly because it was only located just a couple of blocks from the Hilton Hotel. I didn’t buy anything because I didn’t have much money left after that weekend. (I spent the bulk of my money on the weekend pass. I didn’t buy anything in the Artists Alley this time around because of a lack of cash.) I ended up having far less money at the end of the month than usual but it was worth it. I got a lot of good advice regarding how to market my arts and crafts on social media and I intend to try to use it. I loved all of the panels and workshops I attended. The only letdown was that, unlike the previous Intervention Cons I attended in 2013 and 2014, there were no vintage arcade games this time around. I was mildly disappointed because I had fond memories of playing such games as Tetris and Wizards of Wor and they were all on free play, which was fantastic. (You can see the photos of those vintage arcade games that I took at a previous Intervention Con right here.) I missed those vintage arcade games. Otherwise I loved Intervention Con and I would love to go again next year.

The next day I did this quick sketchbook drawing showing how I usually feel about going to an event like Intervention Con. (LOL!)

Sketchbook Drawing the Day After Intervention Con Ended

I’m still trying to plug away at working on my sketchbook as often as possible, even though I’ve long since given up on trying to create a new drawing every single day because I’ve discovered that it’s simply not realistic with me, especially if I’m currently working on another creative project. At least I managed to complete two sketches this month. This first one I drew during this intense heatwave where the temperatures shot up to the upper 90’s and it became very humid.


This next one I was inspired to draw after attending this free event in downtown DC that wasn’t really all that it was cracked up to be. It was supposed to be an expo highlighting video games done by local programmers and it was also supposed to be a networking event. Sure, I expected people to play video games but since it was also billed as a chance to meet people and since it was being held in a local bar, I thought I would have a chance to talk to people. When I got there I saw more people being engrossed in playing video games than people actually schmoozing among each other. I saw tables full of people just looking at video screens while ignoring their neighbors next to them or across the table from them. It was such a bust for me because, personally, if all I really wanted to do was to stare at a computer screen playing video games, I would’ve stayed home instead of paying to ride the Metro to Farragut North then walk around the corner to the bar where the event was held. At least I have this drawing to remember that event by. (LOL!)


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

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

Amazing Fantasy Featuring Carlos Danger

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

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

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

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

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

I attended this meetup on sketching wildlife in a journal that was sponsored by the Greenbelt Biota group and was held in Makerspace 125. There were drawing materials and books available. I found this one book on how to draw birds in a stylized manner that looked interesting to me. (Sadly I forgot to write down the name of the book and I not only have since forgotten the book’s title but also the author as well.) Using the lessons in that book, I took a stab at doing stylized drawings of a robin and a blue jay.



A few years ago, when I was still married, I purchased this product that was briefly on sale at most of the arts and crafts big box retailers for about a year until it was discontinued. (The Lumi company itself is still in business but anyone who wants to purchase something from its Inkodye line can only do so online.) I didn’t do anything with that kit at the time because I was dealing with hip problems at the time followed by my husband’s sudden walkout and all of the physical, emotional, and financial fallout from those two catastrophic events.

A few months ago, while I was doing a little bit of decluttering, I found the Lumi Inkodye kit that I originally purchased from one of the arts and crafts big box retailers a few years earlier.


I decided that it would be a shame to not do anything with it after buying it so I decided to give it a try. I figured that if it worked really well for me, I could continue to purchase more Lumi Inkodyne products online.

The kit came with a packet of special detergent, a blank pencil case, an acrylic overlay, and two small dye packets—one in orange and the other in magenta. The pencil case itself is light on one side and dark on the other, which indicates that only one side of the pencil case should be worked on.



The instructions had this bonus tip towards the end that said:

Love to draw? Try drawing on transparency film with an opaque black paint marker or fresh dry erase marker to block the sun and transfer your illustrations onto fabric.

That tip seemed to speak personally to me. So I dug up an old black Sharpie marker and purchased some transparency film a local arts and crafts supply store. I had an idea of using the orange dye packet to create a fox pencil case. I found a fox photo on the Internet that I traced over on the transparency film. Then I opened the orange packet and smeared half of the packet on the pencil case while putting the other packet half in a ziplock plastic sandwich bag to keep for another project. Then I placed the transparency film with my fox drawing and put everything outside where the sun did its thing for a half an hour.


Afterwards I washed it using half of the enclosed packet of special detergent. (The instructions said to wash one load with the special detergent followed by another load using regular detergent.) I put the other half of the opened packet in a ziplock sandwich bag for use in another project. I began to eagerly look forward to seeing my fox image appear like magic. (Yeah, I know that it’s really science and not magic.)

Except the image never appeared on the canvas. In fact, it looked like an orange tye-dye pencil case that one could’ve found in a circa-late 1960’s hippie art supply shop. The result wasn’t bad but it also wasn’t what I had in mind. I later decided to paint a fox head on the pencil case using brown, black, and white acrylic paint while having the funky orange show through. I have to admit that I liked the result much better.


It was a bit of a letdown that the process didn’t work quite like what I had in mind. I read online that Inkodyne can be used on a t-shirt as an alternative to tye-dye. I had one packet of magenta dye and a half a packet of orange dye left so I decided to try the tye-dye idea. I purchased a blank white t-shirt from a local arts and crafts supply store, gathered a bunch of rubber bands of various sizes, and proceeded to tie the shirt like I would with a conventional tye-dye project. Then I smeared both packets around the t-shirt until I used both of them up. I placed the shirt on some wax paper and put it outside in direct sunlight. I left it outside for 30 minutes then I flipped it over on the other side so it could get its share of sunshine for another 30 minutes.


The big snag is that the leftover special detergent did something really funky with the ziplock plastic sandwich bag where it fused both halves together so it looked like it was some kind of an experimental abstract art piece. I literally could not open the bag at all. I decided to wash it once using regular detergent then wash it again using plain water. I found that the Inkodye process wasn’t really affected at all despite not using that special detergent. (Of course it helped that I wasn’t trying to aim for a specific design.)

But then I looked at the result and I found that I really didn’t need to use the rubber bands at all because I didn’t have enough Inkodyne packets to completely cover the t-shirt with dye. I also found that while the sleeves and back of the shirt were adequately covered with colored splotches, the front of the shirt looked relatively plain by comparison. I fixed it by making an emergency run to Jo-Ann’s Fabrics & Crafts and purchasing a Tulip beaded t-shirt transfer. Using my iron I managed to successfully have something for the front of the shirt that matched the colored splotches.


Here’s the front of the shirt.


And here’s the back of the shirt.


The bottom line is that Inkodyne is fine if you want to do an abstract kind of project (such as what I did on that t-shirt) but if you want to do something that’s more concrete, you may need to look at alternatives since Inkodyne may not live up to your expectations. I suspect there’s a reason why a lot of the big box arts and crafts retailers opted to stop carrying Lumi Inkodyne products after one year.

I’ll end this post with a couple of selfies of me modeling this t-shirt.



I need to find a different title than “daily sketches” because I have completely thrown by the wayside my New Year’s resolution that I would create one new sketch each day. I quickly learned that working on daily sketches each day takes time from other arts and crafts projects that I’m working on as well as other things that I should be doing (such as cleaning the house). My “daily sketchbook” effort really became pathetic when I made only one new sketch in the entire month of June—and that one was in response to the horrible shootings at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida.


This past month I managed to churn out three sketches, starting with this one. I was inspired to create this sketch after hearing the news about a bullfighter matador in Spain named Victor Barrio who was recently gored to death by his bull opponent in the ring. His death was shown live on Spanish television and he is known to have been the first matador killed during a bullfight in over 30 years.


I feel bad for the bullfighter’s family because I know that dealing with a loved one’s sudden and unexpected death is such a shock. But I have zero sympathy for the late bullfighter himself because he was participating in a so-called “sport” whose advocates call it “sheer beauty and artistry” when all it really entails is some man slowly torturing a bull to death with spears while waving a red cape and shouting “¡Olé!” I’ve never understood what was so great about bullfighting, especially when I took Spanish in college and one of the chapters in the class textbook dealt with words and phrases related to bullfighting. I remember the instructor in that class admitted that she personally didn’t like bullfighting either. (She originally came from Cuba, a nation with no bullfighting tradition.) That bullfighter would still be alive had he picked a different occupation that’s less dangerous and deadly. Bullfighting is one so-called “tradition” that needs to go away along with other so-called “traditions” like female genital mutilation and slavery.

Later in the month I did this drawing full of gears of many colors. I had gone to an event at this makerspace located in Crystal City, Virginia known as TechShop and its logo has the letter “o” shaped like a gear. I just took that gear idea and elaborated it further with a bunch of interconnected gears. It was something I did really quick and it shows. (If I was doing a professional drawing, I would’ve done it using a 2H pencil first while erasing and refining it until I got it just right. Then I would’ve traced over it with ink.)


For the last drawing I did in the month of June, I went back to Rory’s Story Cubes. I mixed the Prehistoria and Enchanted sets together and this drawing was the result.


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