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Why this Star Wars moviegoer really admires Luke Skywalker.

Hateful people are exhausting.

She encouraged a girl she babysat. Eleven years later she received a special thank you letter from the same girl.

Why we’re underestimating American collapse.

44 majestic facts about Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor.

Why you’ve never heard of the six Chinese men who survived the Titanic.

A former Amazon employee sheds light on the company’s dark side.

Ten stunning 3D prints in Polyamide (SLS).

Woman finds ring filled with Charlotte Brontë’s hair and is now $26,000 richer.

Embroidery tattoos are actually a thing and they look realistic.

Doctor Who fan builds TARDIS-inspired free library in Detroit.

Woman takes anti-selfies stance by “dying” at famous landmarks and they are strangely hilarious.

LEGO funeral set exists to help children learn about death.

Historical colorized pictures show Native Americans at the White House for receiving full U.S. citizenship in the 1920s.

The first inhabitants of Asia were black.

When Charlie Chaplin entered a Chaplin lookalike contest and came in 20th place.

Leonardo da Vinci’s earliest notebooks are now digitized and made free online.

The little-known Underground Railroad that ran south to Mexico.

A rare interview with the woman who inspired David Bowie to write and record his song “Life on Mars.”

The founder of Chicago, Illinois was a Haitian man named Jean-Baptist-Point Du Sable.

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I was going to an evening networking event that was scheduled to be held at Dupont Circle. I decided to save money on Metro fares by arriving in the area before the evening rush hour began (when the fares would’ve cost more). Dupont Circle is among my more favorite areas of Washington, DC so I knew I would have plenty of ways of killing time before the networking event began.

I started my visit with touring The Phillips Collection (which I wrote about in my last post). Afterwards I simply walked around the area where I shot these pictures.

I noticed these scooters from Uber and Lyft that were available for rent. I found that Uber and Lyft do more than just provide peer-to-peer ridesharing in cars.

I walked by Kramerbooks & Afterwords where I saw this sign encouraging shoppers to bring their dogs with them inside of the store.

I briefly looked inside of the store where I saw that it had book copies of the recently-released Mueller Report, where Robert Mueller investigated whether Russia interfered into the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election.

Afterwords I walked around by the fountain. Between the warm weather and the increasingly longer days, I saw plenty of people doing things like relaxing and chatting with each other. I even saw one person play his guitar.

After the fountain I walked towards Panera Bread, where I ate dinner. On the way to Panera Bread I decided to check out the Made in DC store.

All of the goods were handmade by DC-area artists. The inventory ranged from clothing to posters to soaps to cards to jewelry. There was even a cafe in the back where you could consume locally-made food and beverages.

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Immaculately restored film lets you revisit life in New York City in 1911.

Russian man finds skull in garden. Wife tells him it belongs to her ex-husband.

A glimpse of life inside Prince’s Paisley Park.

America’s drug war is ruining the world.

Judy Blume taught a generation of young girls to be feminists.

Former Trump VP spills the beans on Donald Trump’s awful dealmaking skills.

The BBC is letting you download more than 16,000 free sound effect samples from its archive.

Traditional masculinity officially labeled as harmful by the American Psychological Association.

Teen buys every cupcake in shop after customer fat-shames her.

The wild Baroness of Greenwich Village who was the real artist behind Duchamp’s urinal.

Why this South American company is making laptops in Rwanda.

Religious Trauma Syndrome: How some organized religions lead to to mental health problems.

This Instagram account shows how Instagram photos look the same.

A woman escaped from Saudi Arabia in order to seek a better life.

Teen siblings create app for people struggling with mental health.

Here are 53 songs written or sung by R. Kelly that are now tainted.

Photographers document India’s wondrous and weird church architecture.

This teacher tried to simulate a dictatorship in her classroom. The students crushed her.

These photos of Senegalese in the 1920s and 1950s are a reminder of a forgotten elegance.

The tragic decline of musical literacy and quality.

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I first met Baby Rafael’s parents last year before they got married and before his mother got pregnant soon after the wedding. I met them through the Greenbelt Makerspace, which recently moved out of its current space and it’s currently on hiatus. His mother especially used to turn up at the Fiber Fans Night when it was held at the Greenbelt Makerspace.

I saw Rafael’s photos on Facebook soon after he was born but I hadn’t met him in person until last month when his parents decided to take him to Roosevelt Center where they were meeting with other parents of young children outside. So I took this initial photo of him in his stroller.

Here’s a photo of him in sunglasses. His mom told me that ever since she posted a photo of her son in sunglasses on Facebook she has had friends and relatives give her sunglasses for the baby because they felt that he looked so cute wearing them. I have to admit that he reminded me of Snoopy as Joe Cool in that photo I shot of him in his sunglasses.

I was on my way to the Fiber Fans group, which is currently meeting at the New Deal Cafe when I saw Rafael in person. I told his mother that she might want to bring Rafael over to the cafe once they’re done socializing with the other parents and young children. About an hour later both parents arrived with Rafael. We all took turns holding the baby. Rafael was really alert and interested in his new surroundings. He was constantly turning his head every which way so he could see everything as much as possible.

The last photo is of a diorama that someone did of the New Deal Cafe using Peeps. I thought it was incredibly cute.

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There are times when I decide to spend a weeknight at The Space, a makerspace located in Beltway Plaza Mall in Greenbelt, Maryland. While some nights are relatively quiet there are other nights that are full of people working on a variety of activities. Here are my photos of The Space on a busy night, which included jewelry making, taking photos of recently created jewelry, sewing, drawing, painting, and playing video games.

The Space, May 14, 2019

The Space, May 14, 2019

The Space, May 14, 2019

The Space, May 14, 2019

The Space, May 14, 2019

The Space, May 14, 2019

The Space, May 14, 2019

The Space, May 14, 2019

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I recently took a further step to put that nightmare divorce behind me. A few months ago I finally got rid of my wedding dress when my housemate volunteered to drop it off to a local thrift store that is run by a non-profit charity. It had been sitting up in the attic and I finally realized that the dress had long since outlived its usefulness. I’m only writing about it today because today would’ve been my wedding anniversary had my husband not left me for a woman who has severe mental health problems and insisted on a divorce ASAP. (He married her just two months after our divorce was final.)

My parents purchased the wedding gown for me when I got married. My fiancé and I really went traditional when it came down to planning out wedding. We decided to marry in June, which is a popular wedding month. I had my parents pay for the wedding because it’s traditional. We ended up having a simple wedding in my parents’ backyard because I had just graduated from college the year before and my parents were still paying off the debts. My parents cooked and prepared most of the food in an effort to save on catering bills. My parents hired a professional photographer and made the arrangements for the flowers and wedding cake.

My new husband and I spent out wedding night at a hotel in Baltimore. The next day we drove back to my parents’ home in Glen Burnie where I left my wedding gown behind before we flew to Florida for our honeymoon. (We stayed with my cousin and her then-husband, who lived an hour’s drive from Orlando. Their marriage ended in divorce a few years after our honeymoon.) While we were out of town my mother had a dry cleaners clean and box the dress. When we returned from the honeymoon, we went to my parents’ home where we picked up the box containing the wedding gown. When we arrived to our new home, we put the box containing the wedding gown up in the attic where it stayed for years.

When I look back, I think buying a $200 dress that I could only wear once was a pretty stupid idea. But so many brides at the time were so starry-eyed that they and/or their parents end up buying something expensive that they only wore once and I fell into that trap. I think the Millennial Generation are on to something because I’m reading reports that far fewer of them are buying elaborate bridal gowns. In fact, more of them are ditching the whole traditional white wedding altogether mainly because the costs of such weddings have become astronomical while many Millennials are struggling with paying off huge amounts of college debt.

The biggest irony is that my mother borrowed her bridal gown when she married my father. She told me that her co-worker at the insurance company where they both worked offered to lend her her wedding gown because the co-worker noticed that they both had the same body size. The co-worker only asked that my mother pay to have it dry cleaned before returning the dress back to her.

But when it came time for me to get married, my mother was really eager to buy me my own gown. Unlike her, I didn’t have any recently married friends whose gowns I could borrow (in fact I was among the first in both my family’s then-latest generation and my circle of college friends to get married) and, unlike men’s suits, there weren’t any places that rented bridal gowns. (Talk about sexism!)

My fiancé opted to buy his suit for our wedding. He was able to wear that suit over and over again for other formal occasions, such as other people’s weddings, giving a presentation at a conference, attending some other kind of formal event, etc. All he had to do was to switch ties, switch shirts, and even switch formal shoes and he could wear his suit to other events. In contrast, wearing my wedding gown to someone else’s wedding is severely frowned upon in my country mainly because people would see it as my attempt to draw attention away from the bride on her special day. And there was no way I could wear my wedding gown to any one of my previous office jobs or for a formal evening company function because that would’ve been frowned upon as well for not being “professional” enough.

I know there is the idea that a woman could one day pass that wedding gown down to her daughter when she gets married. Except I ended up not having any children so I had no one to pass the gown to. Even if I have had a daughter, there’s always the possibility that she would’ve ended up never getting married or she would’ve decided to get married in a different dress from the one that I was married in. I wonder how common it really is for women to wear their mother’s old bridal gowns at their own weddings. Every now and then I see articles like this one and that one about generations of women getting married in the same wedding dress that their grandmother or great-grandmother got married in. But if that was common, you wouldn’t see media outlets posting stories about it because it wouldn’t be unique.

My late father-in-law’s second wife had an idea on how she handled the wedding dress issue that, in retrospect, was probably the best idea ever. Her marriage to my father-in-law was her first and she was somewhere in either her late-thirties or early-forties when she married him. She was older than the usual bride at that time (which was 23) and she had already been living on her own for a number of years when she decided to get married. What she decided was to buy a plain no-frills white dress that had a suit jacket and very little lace or beading. At the time it seemed like an unusual dress to get married in.

A few years later when my husband and I visited his father and step-mother I remember they showed us photos from a dinner that was held in the middle of this conference they attended. My husband’s step-mother wore a white business suit that seemed very tasteful. She mentioned that this suit was the same dress that she got married in. After the wedding she had a seamstress take off a few inches from the bottom of the dress and it turned out to be a nice business suit that could be worn in the summertime. I have to admit that in hindsight, she had a clever idea when she chose her wedding dress that was free from excessive lace or beading because she was able to re-use it for other occasions and she didn’t look out of place.

After my divorce I slowly began getting rid of items from my wedding. In 2014 I burned my wedding cake topper at a party that was held by someone from my support group for people who are separated or divorced. In 2016 I burned a wedding present that my mother made for me and my husband at the same location. (It was an embroidered piece that had the names of me and my husband along with our wedding date.)

Now it’s 2019 and I got my wedding gown out of the house. Here are a few photos I shot before the gown left my house.

While I was on my honeymoon with my husband my parents sent the gown to a dry cleaner in their town who then packed the gown in this huge keepsake box after it was cleaned.

That box was incredibly elaborate and bulky. It took up a sizable amount of space in the attic. But it looked nice. When you open the front flap you’d see plastic window where one could see the veil and a portion of the gown.


Attached to the box were this orange ticket that had the gown’s retrieval number and a white receipt from the dry cleaner that had my mother’s work and home phone numbers along with the $44 price that my parents paid to have the gown cleaned and boxed.

Here are a couple of photos of me wearing that wedding gown on that June 8 wedding day a long time ago. It’s been a few months since I got rid of that gown and I don’t really miss it. My attitude is that if I find myself pining to see that gown again, all I have to do is to look at these two old pictures of me wearing that gown.

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I went to the 15th annual Greenbelt Green Man Festival on Mother’s Day weekend. This year the weather was pretty bad but the festival went on despite that. The first day I arrived early to the festival where I took a few photos.

The 2019 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

The 2019 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

The 2019 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

The 2019 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

The 2019 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

The 2019 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

The 2019 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

The 2019 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

The 2019 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

The 2019 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

The 2019 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

The 2019 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

It was cloudy when I first arrived but after about an hour or so I felt a few raindrops so I ended up going over to the Mental Health Awareness art event that was held indoors in nearby Beltway Plaza (and which I wrote about in my last post).

The next day it really rained and it poured hard at times. I ended up not arriving to the festival until late in the day and that was because I was curious to see if there were many people who came on the second day (which was also Mother’s Day). Many vendors had put up extra plastic around their canopies in order to keep their wares dry. I also saw that many vendors had decided to pack up and leave early. I couldn’t blame them because there were so few people at the festival due to the heavy rain downpour.

The 2019 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

The 2019 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

The 2019 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

The 2019 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

The 2019 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

Many of the schedule performers ended up moving indoors to the nearby New Deal Cafe. Some of the festival-goers also moved indoors.

The 2019 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

The vendor who was selling the official Greenbelt Green Man Festival t-shirts also moved indoors where one table was taken up with t-shirts.

The 2019 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

There was a drumming circle that was scheduled to be held outdoors towards the official end of the festival. That drumming circle was moved to the awning outside of the New Deal Cafe. They had plenty of drums available for people to borrow so I ended up borrowing one and participated in the drumming circle.

The 2019 Greenbelt Green Man Festival

I shot this video covering both days of the festival. It begins with the official opening of the festival, then it moves on to short footage of a hula hooper and a man dancing with his two children. It ends with scenes from the closing drumming circle on the second day. (At times you can see my hand attempting to drum with one hand while holding the smartphone with my other hand.)

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Ramadan

Black-owned restaurant in Dallas reserves Mondays to serve the homeless.

When America forgot about its black World War I soldiers.

19-year-old student hides spy camera in his clothing to take secret street photos in the 1890s.

The problem isn’t robots taking our jobs. It’s oligarchs taking our power.

How to make a shiv with hard, dried fish.

Twitter drags down conservative radio host after he “jokingly” mocks his son’s LEGO robotics tournament.

The invisibility of being old, disabled or both.

Even as a child Donald Trump was a horror.

Watch Russian dancers appear to float magically across the stage.

From most hated to American hero: The whitewashing of Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Ramadan

I spent May Day doing a special freelance project for a friend at his workplace in Takoma Park, Maryland. (I’m not going to write too much about this project at this point because it’s still pretty much a work in progress.) During breaks I walked around outside enjoying the warm spring air.

The Takoma Park Public Library is part of a larger complex known as the Takoma Park Community Center. In addition to the library there is also a police station on the lower level, conference rooms, classrooms, a youth center, and an art gallery (featuring works by local artists). Outside of the building is a community garden area.

Located at the concrete stairwell leading to the entrances to the police station are these colorful wall murals.

Located adjacent to the Takoma Park Community Center complex is the Takoma-Piney Branch Park, which has flowers planted nearby in full bloom.

The entrance to this park has a metal sculpture that looks very flowery.

When I was there I saw this boy kicking a soccer ball around on the field.

And this little girl was taking advantage of the recent rainstorms to make some mud pies.

This sign definitely points out why people should not be smoking in the park.

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Ramadan

Photographer shoots forest animals like they are professional models.

Condoms that change color in contact with STD win tech award.

Best friends for 60 years learn that they are biological brothers through DNA site.

Black children don’t have Nick Sandmann’s rights.

Richard Branson sank a ship and turned it into a sea-saving monster.

Martin Luther King warned us about the well-intentioned liberal.

Why women must be at the forefront of the technical revolution.

U.S. cities sidestep Trump to embrace the U.N.’s social goals.

The Polish ballerina who shot Nazis on her way to the gas chamber.

Revisiting the horrifically sexist Battleship game cover from 1967.

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