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I attended this year’s Greenbelt Green Man Festival. On the first day (May 13) I arrived shortly before the festival closed down for the day mainly because I had spent the bulk of the day walking the Gateway Arts Open Studio Tour. I still managed to take a few photos.

2017 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

2017 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

2017 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

2017 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

2017 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

The following day was more sunny and it was a warm pleasant day. Plus it was Mother’s Day on top of it. I spent the bulk of my day at the festival where I took these photos.

2017 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

2017 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

2017 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

2017 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

2017 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

2017 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

2017 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

2017 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

2017 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

2017 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

2017 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

2017 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

2017 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

2017 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

2017 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

2017 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

2017 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

2017 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

2017 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

2017 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

2017 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

2017 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

2017 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

2017 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

2017 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

2017 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

2017 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

2017 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

2017 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

2017 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

2017 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

2017 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

2017 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

2017 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

2017 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

2017 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

2017 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

2017 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

2017 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

2017 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

2017 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

Makerspace 125 had its giant box full of Legos for any child to play with.

2017 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

While the outdoor festival was winding down, the festival moved indoors to the New Deal Cafe. The band Kiva closed the 2017 Greenbelt Green Man Festival with their show.

2017 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

2017 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

2017 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

I only purchased one thing for myself that weekend: a bar of honey rose-scented goat milk soap that was made by Natural Image Botanicals.

2017 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

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That day was the People’s Climate March on Washington, the latest in a series of anti-Trump marches that began with the Women’s March back in January. I would’ve gone to that one if it weren’t for the fact that I had a scheduling conflict. But I don’t feel too guilty over missing that one since I took part in the Women’s March on Washington and the Werk for Peace Dance Protest.

Besides there are more anti-Trump marches on Washington planned for the future which will focus on LGBTQ rights, fans of the hip hop group Insane Clown Posse (that one is because, for some weird reason, the federal government has classified the fans of this group as gangs and terrorists), and public education. I’m sure there will be even more marches the longer Trump stays in the White House.

I had a pretty busy Saturday. First I decided to help out with the yard sale that’s put on by Changing Focus, which helps people deal with separation, divorce, and widowhood. The yard sale was held on the grounds of the Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church in Crofton, Maryland, which gave me a rare opportunity to see this church in broad daylight. (The support group meetings are usually held on Thursday nights.) I noticed that the church had its own Little Free Library.

Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church

Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church

I also saw this huge banner saying that the church is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church

Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church

Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church

Plus I took a couple photos of this beautiful azalea bush that was in full bloom.

Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church

Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church

The yard sale had plenty of items but I saw none of the outdated technology products that I saw in previous yard sales. (Which included a Westinghouse vacuum tube, a microcassette recorder, blank 5.25″ computer floppy disks, a TiVo, a VHS tape rewinder, and a portable analogue TV set with a built-in VHS player.) I guess the organization is discouraging these kinds of donations mainly because I never saw anyone buy the outdated technology items. There were still some kitschy items, some of which definitely belongs in a museum.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 29, 2017

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 29, 2017

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 29, 2017

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 29, 2017

Changing Focus Yard Sale

Changing Focus Yard Sale

Changing Focus Yard Sale

Changing Focus Yard Sale

Changing Focus Yard Sale

Like previous yard sales, this one was well-attended with plenty of shoppers. The weather was cloudy, hot (the temperature rose into the upper 80’s), and very humid. At one point there was a shower but, fortunately it was a short-lived storm. By the time the volunteers grabbed tarp to cover the clothes with the rain had ended. That brief storm didn’t affect attendance at the yard sale very much.

Changing Focus Yard Sale

The next photo shows the pit beef tent on the church grounds. The proceeds from the sale went to the Anne Arundel Volunteer Fire Department.

Changing Focus Yard Sale

The Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church had a book sale inside the building, which I browsed through. I also managed to walk next door to the grounds of the Crofton Country Club, where the Festival on the Green event was held.

Festival on the Green, April 29, 2017

Festival on the Green, April 29, 2017

The next two photos show a hockey mask that was signed by one of the actors who played Jason in the Friday the 13th movies. That mask wasn’t for sale. It was part of the decorations that were displayed on the Laurel House of Horror and Escape Room booth.

Festival on the Green, April 29, 2017

Festival on the Green, April 29, 2017

Festival on the Green, April 29, 2017

Festival on the Green, April 29, 2017

Festival on the Green, April 29, 2017

Festival on the Green, April 29, 2017

Festival on the Green, April 29, 2017

Festival on the Green, April 29, 2017

I bought a few items during my time in Crofton. I bought this bar of vanilla bean soap from the Simply Natural Handcrafted booth.

What I Purchased During My Time in Crofton

I bought a couple of books at the used book sale that was held inside the Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church. I found this hardcover book of counted cross-stitch patterns called The Great Counted Cross-Stitch Book by Ed and Stevie Baldwin for only 50 cents.

What I Purchased During My Time in Crofton

I also purchased a used copy of the Weight Watchers Quick Success Program Cookbook by Jean Nidetch. I once owned a copy of this book and I used to frequently cook meals from that book regardless of whether my husband and I were on diets or not. (The recipes in that book are that delicious.) When my marriage imploded I made the mistake of telling my husband that I had been going to the Thursday night Changing Focus meetings in an effort to improve myself. (He blamed me for the marriage collapse. At the time I wanted him back so I told him about those meetings in the hopes that he would return home.) He used that information to let himself into our home when I wasn’t there on Thursday nights and take some belongings. Among those was that cookbook. So I now have my own copy so I can cook those meals for myself now.

What I Purchased During My Time in Crofton

Like I wrote at the beginning of this post, I had a pretty busy Saturday. I ended up leaving the Changing Focus yard sale earlier than usual because I had another event scheduled at 2 p.m. for the same day. It was a beer tasting that I purchased through my church auction last fall. Even though it gave me a chance to socialize with some of my friends from church while tasting a few beers, I didn’t take any pictures. I was more into enjoying myself than playing photographer.

April 22 was not only Earth Day but it was also the day that a massive March for Science took place in downtown Washington, DC to protest the Trump Administration’s official denial of climate change while cutting funds for federal research. I thought about going myself because, as someone who was once married to a NASA software engineer, I know the importance of science in everyday life (even if science was never my favorite subject in school).

But then it rained like crazy and I decided to can that idea. I didn’t feel guilt over what I did because I had already previously participated in the Women’s March on Washington and the Werk for Peace dance protest. The People’s Climate March was scheduled to be held in Washington, DC on the following Saturday. In addition, there are more anti-Trump marches on Washington planned for the future which will focus on immigration, LGBTQ rights, and fans of the hip hop group Insane Clown Posse (that one is because, for some weird reason, the federal government has classified the fans of this group as gangs and terrorists).

And I’m sure that the longer Donald Trump stays in office, the more people will hold massive protest marches.

So I ended up going to Silver Spring where I took place in the second annual Creator Con. At least it was held indoors so I didn’t have to deal with being rained on. Here are the photos I took during my time there.

Creator Con

Creator Con

Creator Con

Creator Con

Creator Con

Creator Con

Creator Con

Creator Con

Creator Con

Creator Con

Creator Con

Creator Con

Creator Con

Creator Con

Creator Con

Creator Con

Creator Con

Creator Con

Creator Con

Creator Con

Creator Con

Creator Con

Creator Con

Creator Con

Creator Con

Creator Con

Creator Con

Creator Con

Creator Con

Creator Con

Creator Con

Creator Con

Creator Con

Creator Con

Creator Con

Creator Con

Creator Con

Creator Con

Creator Con

Creator Con

Creator Con

Creator Con

Creator Con

Creator Con

Creator Con

Creator Con

There was one thing that blew my mind. There was a band consisting of teenage boys who did covers of classic rock songs like The Animals’ “House of the Rising Sun” and The Rolling Stones’ “Miss You.” I found it interesting that there were kids who did covers of songs that first came out decades before they were even born.

Creator Con

Creator Con

Creator Con

Creator Con was held at Eubie Blake High School, which had these pro-LGBTQ signs on display. I’m old enough to remember a time when a teen openly admitting that he/she was LGBTQ would not only result in all kinds of bullying and harassment but many teachers would’ve been indifferent to that student’s plight. Now there are official signs making a LGBTQ teen feel welcome.

Creator Con

Creator Con

It’s been two years since I last went to this annual event, which traditionally closes the weeks-long National Cherry Blossom Festival. The last time I was there, the Sakura Matsuri was held on Pennsylvania Avenue right next to the Old Post Office Building (which was then undergoing renovation into the Trump International Hotel—you can see those giant blue TRUMP signs in the background of some of the photos I took during that event).

Since that time the event has been relocated. It is now held at the Navy Yards near Nationals Park. I don’t know if Donald Trump have had a hand in that festival’s relocation or not but it doesn’t matter because I don’t have to see those Trump International Hotel signs.

Like previous Sakura Matsuri festivals, this one was a celebration of all aspects of Japanese culture including anime, J-pop, J-rock, kendo, and traditional Japanese crafts. There were also a lot of cosplayers walking around. Here are the photos I took of the Sakura Matsuri.

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017
Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Dancing Skeleton

I had a relatively quiet Halloween this year due mainly to a combination of tight finances and my mother’s latest health battle. (She spent a few days in the hospital earlier this month for sepsis.) I purchased this interesting pack of marshmallow Peeps from Five Below because these Halloween Peeps looked pretty unusual. I’ve seen Halloween Peeps shaped like black cats, ghosts, jack o’lanterns, and gravestones but this was the first time I’ve seen Peeps shaped like Frankenstein’s head.

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But that’s not all I found at Five Below. I also found pumpkin spice-flavored Peeps. These are the chicks that I usually see at Easter but I guess Just Born has decided that chicks aren’t just for Easter anymore.

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I wasn’t sure if I was going to like the combination of marshmallow, white chocolate fudge, and pumpkin spice but I found that they were quite tasty.

Among the treats I gave out this year was Utz Bats & Jacks Pretzels. That pack usually gives out a free black and white Halloween decoration (which is basically the Utz girl dressed as a witch while being surrounded by bats).

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The same decoration is given out each year. I know that the decoration is in black and white because it’s meant for children to color it using crayons or other media. I displayed it outside a couple of years ago in its uncolored state at the last minute before the first trick or treater arrived. This year I decided to take out some colored pencils and color it in.

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I did the coloring Friday night. I displayed it in the trunk of my car at my church’s Trunk or Treat event yesterday (Sunday), which was held in the parking lot for the children at that congregation. I took some photos of the event, which I’ll write about later.

After the Trunk or Treat event I hung that same colored decoration on the door of my home alongside the ghost from the Scream movies (which I’ve owned for a number of years) and a traditional Mexican Day of the Dead decoration (which I purchased from Five Below just a couple of days ago for only 99 cents).

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Like I wrote two weeks ago, I purchased this new bat to replace a previous bat that was stolen from the porch in 2014.

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I have a Grim Reaper dangling from the bottom of my mailbox near my small coffin.

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I also have some smaller Halloween items placed on the front porch near the coffin and Grim Reaper.

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I deliberately didn’t cut down the dead Black-Eyed Susans and other dead foliage in order to have this dead plants effect (which is way cheaper than buying fake dead Halloween foliage in the stores). Safeway had a special “2 medium pumpkins for $10” sale so I bought two pumpkins and carved jack o’lantern faces on them then placed them among the dead plants. I kept the seeds and roasted them so I now have healthy snacks.

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The next photos were taken in Glen Burnie earlier this month during one of the days I visited my mother in the hospital. After that visit I drove past a couple of homes where I saw those Donald Trump signs on the front lawn, which were the first homes I’ve ever seen anyone display anything that was pro-Trump. (It figures that I saw them in the town where I grew up from ages 5-19.) After I took photos of those two houses with the Trump signs, I decided to stop by Giant because I needed to buy a few things and I thought it would be easier to buy them at the Giant in Glen Burnie then drive straight home. I got out of that store just in time to enjoy this lovely sunset.

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In the same shopping center as that particular Giant I saw that one of those Spirit of Halloween stores had set up its temporary shop there.

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I went over to that store where I took these pictures documenting what’s considered “in” for Halloween 2016.

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Of course since this is an election year, there would be opportunities for people to dress up as either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.

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There was a Bernie Sanders mask available for sale. It’s too bad that there were reports of primary election rigging in places like IllinoisMassachusettsKentuckyArizonaNew YorkCalifornia, and Nevada since there were many poll results that stated that Bernie Sanders could’ve beaten Donald Trump by a much wider margin than the current narrow margin between Clinton and Trump. (Some recent polls say that Hillary Clinton has since come out way ahead but who knows what will go down on November 8.)

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I didn’t buy anything at that store due to tight finances. Even if I could afford to shop there I don’t think I would buy very many items because I’m really not into large lawn displays and there are so many costumes and masks that I can really keep in my home before I get overrun with costumes and masks.

I spent the bulk of Halloween day going to the first of a two-day session on how to improve my job hunting skills that’s offered by the State of Maryland. It’s currently being held in its offices in Laurel, which is located next to Laurel Shopping Center. During one of the breaks I walked around the far end of that shopping center where I saw the place where a second-run movie theater used to operate (but it went out of business a few years ago). There’s currently a haunted house known as Laurel’s House of Horrors that’s operating there. I didn’t go inside at all mainly because the admission was $30 and I’m really not into spending that much money on something that’s only going to last one hour at the most. I have to admit that the exterior looked interesting.

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I’ll finish this entry with this giant spider in the center of this giant spider web that’s currently displayed outside Makerspace 125.

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Like I wrote in my previous post, I did other things in Baltimore besides take pictures of cosplayers next to a fountain that has since been closed down. I took a little walk around the downtown area, starting with these police motorcycles parked outside the Baltimore Convention Center.

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These street drummers outside the PNC Bank building could be heard throughout the surrounding blocks.

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This marker shows where a series of riots took place in Baltimore during the Civil War. Maryland was one of those border states that nearly seceded to the Confederacy until Abraham Lincoln offered a compromise where Maryland could still keep slavery legal in exchange for the state remaining in the U.S. Had Lincoln not done that and Maryland became a Confederate state, Washington, DC would’ve ended up being in the geographically awkward position of being the U.S. capital located inside of the Confederate States of America.

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I briefly stepped inside Harborplace but there are so many empty storefronts in both pavilions that I no longer make a special shopping trip there. These days I only go to Harborplace if I’m in the Inner Harbor area for a different reason and I feel the need for some food, drink, or to use the restroom. There are just a few stores left that I felt was worth photographing, such as McCormick World of Flavors.

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I also stopped briefly at the giant candy store It’s Sugar, which sold sexy underwear for both men and women made from candy.

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It’s Sugar also sold some election-themed stuff like party masks and toilet paper featuring Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. I had sticker shock when I saw that each roll of toilet paper costs $6. (I could buy a 12-pack of toilet paper at Aldi for $1 less than that.)

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Like I wrote before, there are a lot of empty store spaces in both Harborplace pavilions. Someone tried to cover one of the spaces with this nice looking ceramic art.

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Across the street from Harborplace is The Gallery, which is yet another shopping mall. The Gallery has more stores than Harborplace but most of the stores are chains (such as Game Stop) which already have stores located closer to my home so I don’t really need to drive all the way to Baltimore to shop. The Gallery had this interesting vending machine that I’ve never seen before—it sells rollable flats. That’s right, it’s a vending machine that sells shoes. I thought it was pretty interesting but I don’t know if it’s the sort of thing that will catch on in other shopping malls in the Baltimore-Washington, DC area.

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There are a couple of interesting sculptures at the fountain that’s located near the entrance to The Gallery.

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Walking north of the Inner Harbor one can find some interesting things to photograph.

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I walked along East Baltimore Street until I hit The Block. Historically that area was a place where burlesque performers did their striptease act while comedians performed there as well. By the 1950’s The Block became a full-fledged red light district with strippers who took all of their clothes off replacing the more demure burlesque performers and X-rated movies replacing the comedians. It was and still is the epitome of sleaze. As a child I can remember my father once loaded up the car when some relatives from Ohio came to visit and he gave a driving tour around Baltimore. He drove through The Block, which was lit up at dusk, while my Ohio relatives just oohed and ahhhed. He didn’t stop the car in The Block because even then it was way too sleazy for families to walk around in.

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I had a misadventure at The Block when I was 19. I was attending Anne Arundel Community College as a freshman at the time and things between my then-boyfriend and I weren’t going too well. My boyfriend’s best friend, whom I’ll just call “John,” who was also a student at the same college, suggested that the three of us check out The Block. So we all loaded into his car and drove down East Baltimore until we hit that area.

John took us around to a couple of strip bars. The strippers weren’t all that attractive and I remember one of them looking like she weighed at least 250 pounds. We also checked out some peep shows, which were porn movies that were shown in individual booths. Basically you dropped a quarter into this slot and you saw the movie for about a minute or two then it would stop. If you wanted to see more of that same movie, you dropped another quarter, then another quarter, then another until you reached the end of that movie or you’ve had your fill of it (whichever came first).

At the time the legal drinking age was 18 so I drank a few beers and got drunk in the process. I remember the last thing we did was to go into these individual rooms that had a glass partition that was covered with a curtain. There was a phone next to this pay box that asked for a quarter. I picked up the phone receiver, dropped a quarter into the box, and the curtain was drawn to reveal this scantily-clad woman on the other side. I was totally blasted by then and all I could do was laugh hysterically. The woman was pretty patient about seeing this drunken teenage girl just laughing her ass off like a hyena and I think she asked if I was okay and having a good time. The curtain abruptly closed after a couple of minutes and I staggered out of that room.

I was totally hung over the next day. My boyfriend and I went our separate ways, I transferred to the University of Maryland at College Park the following year, and I basically focused more on my studies and campus life in general and less on visiting red light districts. When I was married I think my then-husband may have driven briefly through The Block once or twice on the way to someplace else in Baltimore but I don’t remember.

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My devout Roman Catholic grandmother used to tell me that good girls don’t go to The Block. My grandmother is now deceased along with most of my older relatives, with the exception of my mother (who’s currently struggling with multiple sclerosis), so there’s no one around to warn me to not to venture near The Block because I’m a good girl. Heck, I’m divorced so I don’t have to worry about protecting my virtue and innocence anymore since it’s all gone, baby, gone.

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I haven’t really explored The Block since my brief misadventure when I was 19 and seeing it now just looks sad. The X-rated movie theaters and peep shows are now gone (thanks in large part to the advent of home video and the Internet). There’s strictly an emphasis on live performances by strippers and selling sex toys. The Block is also way smaller than I recall. (The Wikipedia says that at its height The Block stretched several blocks long. I think I remember The Block being around two or three blocks long when I was there at 19. Nowadays The Block is literally one block long.)

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These buildings on the edge of The Block are being renovated into office buildings although, to be honest, I can’t imagine any corporation or medical practice or any kind of straight-laced businesses (like insurance companies or travel agencies) wanting to put its offices next to strip clubs and sex shops. But, then again, Disney did take a risk in New York City when it decided to pour money into renovating the historic New Amsterdam Theater in Times Square, which led to other companies following suit and ultimately pushing out the strip clubs, peep shows, porn theaters, and sex shops. Maybe that’s what Baltimore is hoping: Disney or some other straight-laced company decide to invest in that area while leading other straight-laced businesses to relocate to The Block and ultimately purge the area of its burlesque and porn past. Maybe it’ll happen once the ugly memories of Freddie Gray and the Baltimore Uprising recedes further into the past but that’s going to take a very long time. (LOL!)

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Around the corner from The Block is The Grace and Hope Mission. That’s right, it’s a Christian church and/or mission that probably caters to the people who work there. If one considers the fact that Jesus reached out to the prostitutes and other societal outcasts in his day, one can say that The Grace & Hope Mission is really being very Christian by emulating Jesus.  If one were to look at the upper left corner of the photograph below, one would see what looks like apartments or condominiums. (The balconies are a definitely giveaway.) I’m not sure if I would even want to live so close to The Block given the fact that it’s a very high crime area. I would be especially afraid to go to or from my apartment/condo at night.

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The crown jewel of The Block is the historic Gayety Theater. Not only did burlesque performers like Blaze Starr performed there but comedians like Jackie Gleason and Red Skelton used to have shows there whenever they came to Baltimore. It has a lovely facade that was restored not too long ago.

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Today the Gayety houses Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club, which features entertainment that’s a far cry from Jackie Gleason’s comedy routines of yore.

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The Hustler Club also has a sex shop that not only features all kinds of sex toys but there are even signs advertising something called “the official pleasure collection” that’s inspired by the controversial Fifty Shades of Grey book trilogy and movie.

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I came across something that I didn’t expect to see at The Block. Apparently the Hustler Club had something called “WTF Weekend” that featured Mama June from that controversial TV reality show Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, which was abruptly cancelled by TLC despite its high ratings a few years ago after Mama June left the father of her youngest daughter, Honey Boo Boo, for an old flame. Except it was revealed that this old flame had just finished serving time in prison for child molestation involving a young girl. Worse, before he was arrested and convicted for that molestation, he was accused of sexually abusing Mama June’s oldest daughter, who was a child at the time. Basically Mama June threw away her well-paying job as a reality TV star for hooking up with a convicted child molester despite having minor daughters still living at home (including Honey Boo Boo) while alienating her now-adult oldest daughter in the process. So now Mama June is reduced to making a living by doing live appearances in sleazy places like The Block with Little Sassee Cassee, a two-foot tall woman who’s billed as The World’s Smallest Entertainer. That event had just passed a week before I showed up yet that poster was still up.

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The whole area of The Block just looked like a sad shadow of its past self. Unlike my last extended visit at 19, I didn’t even bother going inside any of the buildings because I had a feeling that the interiors would look even sleazier and more depressing than what I saw on the outside. Plus the people who were going inside and outside these buildings just looked like the kind of people I just don’t want to make even small talk with. Some of these people just oozed sleazy vibes on first sight. You’re definitely not going to find anyone like Richard Gere’s suave wealthy character in Pretty Woman. (Hell, I can’t imagine anyone from the 1% venturing anywhere near The Block, especially when they have the money to pay for a high-priced escort service to make house calls.) It was just as well that I didn’t go indoors because I was spared what goes on in these establishments, as described in this article.

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Not only did I not bother with entering any of the nightclubs on The Block, I didn’t even bother with entering the few non-sexually oriented businesses either, such as Subway. (Shoot, I don’t even remember any corporate chain fast food places on The Block when I went there at 19.)

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The 2 O’Clock Club is one of the few original businesses left on The Block. Blaze Starr got her start as a burlesque performer there and she even owned the place at one point. She sold it and retired from her burlesque career when The Block went from being an area that featured burlesque shows to showing porn movies and peep shows. That place was the site of a brutal murder not too long ago.

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I can remember when the neon signs on The Block would especially stand out at night. Given the crime that frequently goes on these days, there is no way in hell I would ever walk in that area at night to see the lights in their full glory, even if I was with other people.

Right where The Block ends is a carry-out place called Mandi Kitchen that serves Halal dishes.

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Right next to The Block is a police station. Seriously! Anyone who becomes a crime victim on The Block would only have to walk a few feet to get a police officer for help. It’s been said that the police station is there so the cops can keep a close eye on The Block, although given the crime that still goes on, I can’t say that they are watching that area too closely.

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Across the street from the police station is a building that probably had a business that was once a part of The Block. The side edge of this building still says “KS Film Game Room,” even though that business has long since closed.

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The building now houses offices of a business that specializes in retirement savings plans.

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I have to admire The Block for still tenaciously hanging on when red light districts in other U.S. cities (such as the intersection of 14th & U Streets, N.W. in Washington, DC and Times Square in New York City) have long since fallen to gentrification, home videos, and Internet streaming. But The Block seems like a cancer or AIDS patient who is still alive but the body has dwindled to skin and bones and the patient is mostly bedridden. Only time will tell whether The Block will still be around for the turn of the 22nd century or if it will ultimately be something that one only reads about on the Wikipedia.

I got away from The Block and I walked past the historic Shot Tower. This particular photograph has some very subtle delicate cloud formation in the sky.

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I briefly walked into Little Italy but I only walked about a half a block in the area when I felt my feet getting really tired. I managed to stay long enough to admire some of the building facades but I decided that I’m going to have to explore Little Italy another day.

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I walked back to the Shot Tower Metro Station and took the subway to Lexington Market. I thought about going inside to get a soda but I arrived 20 minutes late because the building had already closed for the day by then. I ended up taking a photo of the outside before walking to the Lexington Market light rail stop. I took the light rail train out of the city and to North Linthicum, where my car was parked.

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American Flag

I spent part of the Mother’s Day weekend at the Greenbelt Green Man Festival. Earlier this month I made an allusion to showing off a new product that I modeled on behalf of a new startup. Basically the startup’s first product is a jumpsuit that’s been pretreated with Sawyer Permethrin so one can go hiking, camping, gardening, and other types of outdoor activities without worrying about being bitten by ticks and mosquitos (both of which carry nasty diseases like Lyme and Zika). I posted a selfie while wearing one of those suits. I was also given packaged suits to carry around with me to sell as I walked around the festival ground.

I didn’t sell any suits. Most of the people I spoke with said that they weren’t into camping or money was tight. But the suit I was wearing did get people to open up to me about Lyme disease because they mentioned that they have a friend or relative who’s struggling with this devastating illness. I even had a longtime friend admit to me that she currently has Lyme disease. I knew that she had health issues, which have affected her mobility, but they never got specific as to the cause until she saw me wear that jumpsuit with a sign affixed to the back saying “Ask Me About Permethrin-Treated Disposable Jumpsuit.”

I wore the suit on the first day of the festival while I walked around taking pictures.

Festival Ad Poster

 

Greenbelt Green Man Festival

Greenbelt Green Man Festival

Greenbelt Green Man Festival

Greenbelt Green Man Festival

Greenbelt Green Man Festival

Greenbelt Green Man Festival

Greenbelt Green Man Festival

Greenbelt Green Man Festival

Greenbelt Green Man Festival

Greenbelt Green Man Festival

Greenbelt Green Man Festival

Greenbelt Green Man Festival

Greenbelt Green Man Festival

Greenbelt Green Man Festival

Greenbelt Green Man Festival

Greenbelt Green Man Festival

Greenbelt Green Man Festival

Greenbelt Green Man Festival

Like I wrote earlier I didn’t make any sales on those permethrin-treated jumpsuits. What was worse was that I saw The Backstabbing Couple From Hell (a.k.a. my ex-husband and his mentally ill second wife who used to be a friend of mine until I found out she wasn’t such a good friend). I left the festival about an hour before closing time because I grew tired of seeing them walking around acting all happy. (I have no idea if they are really happy or not and I don’t care.)

The following day I was scheduled to be a substitute teacher for the English language classes my church offers to recent immigrants on Sunday afternoons. I ended up skipping Sunday morning service so I could check out some of Greenbelt Green Man Festival. I didn’t wear the jumpsuit on the second day because I was only there about an hour and a half at the most and I went straight to church for the English classes. I took a few photos of the second day of the festival.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival

Greenbelt Green Man Festival

Greenbelt Green Man Festival

Greenbelt Green Man Festival

Greenbelt Green Man Festival

Greenbelt Green Man Festival

Greenbelt Green Man Festival

Greenbelt Green Man Festival

Greenbelt Green Man Festival

Greenbelt Green Man Festival

Greenbelt Green Man Festival

Greenbelt Green Man Festival

Greenbelt Green Man Festival

Greenbelt Green Man Festival

Greenbelt Green Man Festival

Greenbelt Green Man Festival

I bought just two items at this weekend’s Greenbelt Green Man Festival. One was a pendant made from recycled dominos that features an image of Edgar Allan Poe.

What I Bought at This Year's Greenbelt Green Man Festival

What I Bought at This Year's Greenbelt Green Man Festival

The other was a t-shirt featuring an image of Jesus riding on the back of a dinosaur.

What I Bought at This Year's Greenbelt Green Man Festival

Anyway that’s it for this year’s Greenbelt Green Man Festival.

UPDATE (June 25, 2016): You can read about why I’m no longer involved with that startup for whom I was selling those jumpsuits at the Greenbelt Green Man Festival right here.

Last week I uploaded a few quick sketches because I had this New Year’s resolution that I would do a quick doodle every day. I’ve started to realize that doing a new sketch every day isn’t realistic because there are days when I’m working on other things and I end up not being able to squeeze any drawing time. So I’m going to modify it by trying for at least twice a week. If I draw more than that, then great! So here are the three sketches I drew over the past seven days.

Once again I turned to Rory’s Story Cubes for inspiration. I got two dice that had a question mark and a drawing of the Janus comedy/tragedy masks. That served as an inspiration for this sketch, which is based on my trepidation about the possibility of getting some work as a paid contractor. (I can’t go into details right now because things haven’t settled. I’m hoping that they do but right now I just don’t know. For the time being I’m still relying on my ex-husband’s alimony payments plus whatever little money I make selling my arts and crafts in order to survive.)

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This next drawing was inspired by a recent trip to the campus of Saint John’s College in Annapolis where I saw a large navigational device called a Ptolemy Stone (which is mentioned on the Roadside Attractions website). I took photos of this stone, which I’ll upload at a later date. But here’s the drawing I did entirely in ink along with some information about the Ptolemy Stone (most of which I took from Wikipedia since I have never attended that school as a student).

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This last drawing I did immediately after I finally saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens. (I waited two weeks after the movie was released because I wanted to avoid the crowds. I went on a Tuesday night because one of the local movie theaters in my area have special $5 days on Tuesday that apply to any movie that have been released longer than a week. I really loved this movie. It was on par with the original trilogy that I saw in my youth and it was way superior to those mediocre prequels that George Lucas insisted on unleashing to the general public. I’m glad that Lucas sold the franchise to Disney because the studio gave it to J.J. Abrams who did a tremendous job with it.) I did a quick fan sketch of one of the newer characters, a robot known as BB-8.

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That’s it for my latest crop of quick sketches. I’ll try to do some more next week.

Santa ClausBaby New Year

 

 

 

 

I was invited to check out an open house in Laurel, Maryland that was held at the home of an alumni of my support group for people who are separated or divorced. So I went to the open house, ate food, socialized, and took a few pictures while I was there.

The man who hosted that event had a collection of Venetian masks on display.

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The man’s home overlooks Stone Lake, which is the main lake in his housing development.

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And here is Stone Lake at sunset.

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