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There’s a Greek Festival that’s held at a local Greek Orthodox Church in my area about twice a year. I’ve been going to that one for a number of years but I haven’t blogged about it until a couple of years ago. Since that 2016 post, I’ve gone back to that Greek Festival a few times but I haven’t taken any new pictures until earlier this month. So, without further ado, here are some new photos I shot at the Greek Festival that was held at St. Theodore Greek Orthodox Church in Lanham, Maryland earlier this month.

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Today is the last day that Toys R Us is in business. When it closes its doors at the end of the day today, the entire store chain will be history after being in business for 70 years. When Toys R Us began closing a huge amount of its stores in January, I took photos of the one in Annapolis because, at the time, it was among the stores that were NOT slated to be closed. I had heard rumors that the entire chain would eventually go kaput so I decided to take photos of what an average Toys R Us store was like on a typical business day. I purchased a Fingerlings monkey and I was given this free frequent rewards card.

I ended up never needing to use that card because soon after that trip Toys R Us decided to close all of its stores at once. I went back to the Annapolis store during the early phase of that going out of business sale in late March. I made one more trip to that same store in early April, mainly because I was visiting another place in the same area at the time and I decided to drop by the store. I made one impulse purchase on that trip—a 12-inch plush version of the store’s mascot, Geoffrey Giraffe.

Here’s a closeup of his hoof with the backwards letter “R”, which was part of the Toys R Us logo.

photo28

You can see more photos of Geoffrey in my April post.

That purchase of Geoffrey Giraffe turned out to be the last thing I ever purchased from Toys R Us. I wasn’t able to make any more return trips to any Toys R Us store after April due mainly to the fact that all of the last remaining Toys R Us stores are located at least a half-an-hour’s drive away from where I live and money was too tight for me to make too many long-distance trips. (It wasn’t always like this. At one point there were three Toys R Us stores located closer to my home but—one by one—they gradually closed until my only Toy R Us shopping options depended on taking long car trips.) So I’ve ended up experiencing the last day of Toys R Us virtually, thanks to YouTube videos like these.

 

 

Given what happened, I think it’s very appropriate that the Geoffrey Giraffe plush toy was the last thing I ever purchased from Toys R Us since he was the corporate mascot. He even appears on this latest melancholy update of Toys R Us.com’s website, which announced its farewell.

Toys R Us got killed off by Wall Street corporate greed while its workers are now out of a job. Adding insult to injury, Toys R Us has refused to give their employees any kind of a severance package and they are now organizing to fight that chain for what should be rightfully theirs. It’s a horrible situation no matter how you look at it. Too bad, so sad.

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Mother’s Day Weekend 2018 was a big deal for me. First, there was the annual Greenbelt Green Man Festival but it wasn’t the reason why it was a big deal for me. Just a few days before the festival I decided to ditch both my Droid Ultra smartphone and Verizon. My five-year-old smartphone was literally on its last legs. The camera feature had died first (which was why I ended up using the Canon PowerShot camera for photography and videography) but the last few months I had to deal with a phone that constantly kept on crashing and rebooting. This even happened when I was on the phone with someone.

And then there was Verizon, who was increasingly price-gouging me. It got to the point where it started to charge me $125 per month for just the cell phone. I asked someone at Verizon what can I do to lower my cell phone bill and I was told to just get one of those pay-as-you-go phones. The downside is that I wouldn’t be able to transfer my current phone number to that pay-as-you-go phone so I would’ve had to deal with the hassle of telling all of my friends, family, and various business associates that I have a new phone number.

I settled on Consumer Cellular, with monthly plans starting at $25 per month. So far I’ve been very pleased with that company. As for my new phone, it’s actually a used phone that I got from a friend of mine but it’s new to me. (LOL!) It’s a Samsung Galaxy J3. It’s not exactly the top-of-the-line phone but it’s good enough for my purposes.

The Greenbelt Green Man Festival was the first place where I tried the camera part of my new smartphone. This selfie I took is officially the first photo I’ve ever taken with my new smartphone camera.

My Selfie at the Greenbelt Green Man Festival

This video, featuring the band Kiva and a bunch of people dancing is officially the first video I shot with my new smartphone.

On the first day of the Greenbelt Green Man Festival I took a bunch of shots of the festival itself. There were a couple of people playing with hand puppets shaped like a cricket and a praying mantis.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival.

The theme for this year’s Greenbelt Green Man Festival was soil, which was reflected in the official t-shirts that were for sale.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

There was a local beekeeper who showed off his beehive.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

There was a hands-on activity where people of all ages were encouraged to build their own fairy garden.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

There was a community art event where people were encouraged to paint on a canvas that was shaped like a peace sign.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

There was a small pool with rubber ducks that kids could play with.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

There were plenty of handcrafted items made by local artisans on sale at that festival throughout the weekend.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

The Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

The Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

Some people offered their services, such as Gwen Vaccaro, who runs her own spa known as Pleasant Touch.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival.

Some people staffed information booths that promoted local environmental organizations and local environmental issues.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

The Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

The Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

There were musical acts who performed throughout the entire two-day festival.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

A local Girl Scout Troop did a food and toiletry drive for a local homeless shelter on the first day of the festival.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

People basically hung out with each other and had a good time.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

The Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

May 12 was also Scratch Day. The Greenbelt Makerspace had put out a bunch of laptops in anticipation of people coming in and try their hand at coding in Scratch. However, the festival was simultaneously being held right outside its doors so very few people took advantage of this opportunity.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

The second day of the festival was not only Mother’s Day but it was also the first day of the new season of the Greenbelt Farmers Market (which had been on its usual winter hiatus). A new Lebanese restaurant was in the process of opening its doors but there was still more work to be done in the restaurant before it could be properly opened to the general pubic. The restaurant decided to offer Lebanese Zaatar bread on a carryout basis, which I found to be very tasty.)

The Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

The Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

The Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

The biggest downer about the second day of the festival was the rain, which resulted in fewer people at the festival.

The Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

Many people opted to go indoors instead. Some of them went to the Greenbelt Makerspace.

The Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

The Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

Many of the performing acts moved indoors to the New Deal Cafe where they were still able to perform despite the rain.

The Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

The band Global Warming performed its indoor set.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

Here’s a short video I shot of this band in action.

I shot some more footage of the band Tower Green, whose set officially closed the Greenbelt Green Man Festival.

The one thing about getting a new phone with a working camera is that I was able to play with an app for the first time in 2018. I took a photo of Hatsune Miku at the very end of the festival when a truck had arrived to take down the stage.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

Here is what I purchased at this year’s Greenbelt Green Man Festival. I purchased this nice vegan cupcake that I ate soon after I took these photos.

The Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

The Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

I purchased this bar of jasmine soap from Acorn & Clover.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

I was also given a free soap sample by Acorn & Clover.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

Last, but not least, I purchased another bar of soap from Mystic Water Soap.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

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Ramadan

Once again I took part in the Changing Focus Yard Sale, which was held on the grounds of the Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church in Crofton, Maryland. Like the previous times I attended, I collected money from people who wanted to buy the used items that were donated from the members of Changing Focus (which is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people deal with being separated, divorced, and widowed). In-between handling the money and interacting with the customers, I took these photos of a few choice items that were on sale this time around.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 28, 2018

This porcelain doll looked like the late Princess Diana having an incredibly bad hair day while wearing a dress that looked a couple of sizes too big for her.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 28, 2018

These two Victorian-style dolls were snapped up about a minute or two after I took this shot.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 28, 2018

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 28, 2018

The weather was warm and gorgeous outside. It was the perfect day to hold a yard sale. The flowers were at their peak bloom as well.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 28, 2018

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 28, 2018

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 28, 2018

These kids were playing under one of the flowering trees while their parents shopped at the yard sale.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 28, 2018

This is definitely the epitome of kitsch: a porcelain Avon Lady figurine dressed in Victorian-style clothes.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 28, 2018

There were plenty of other things on sale that were definitely kitschy.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 28, 2018

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 28, 2018

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 28, 2018

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 28, 2018

Most of the time I participate in these yard sales, I come across at least one item that belongs in a museum. This time it was a film cartridge for the Kodak Pocket Instamatic camera (which was my first camera I ever owned—this post I wrote over two years ago has photos I shot with that camera when I was trying to earn a photography badge in Girl Scouts). What’s even more amazing is that this film was still in its original foil cover, which has never been opened.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 28, 2018

Here’s another view of the wrapped Kodak film cartridge that has the words “Open at Cut.” (There’s a little cut along the center seam where one is supposed to rip in order to open the package.)

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 28, 2018

I don’t know if anyone bought it. I have no way of knowing if that film would be usable since it was probably manufactured during the Pocket Instamatic’s 1970s heyday. When I was doing a quick Google search about the Pocket Instamatic, I came across this website that was not only selling vintage Pocket Instamatic cameras but it was also selling newly manufactured 110 film cartridges just for that camera. (Which proves that there’s a market for just about anything these days.)

But that wasn’t the only Kodak film product I saw on sale that day. There was also a Kodak 35mm camera gift box set that was definitely for those who miss the days of shooting with 35mm film.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 28, 2018

I saw a vintage Soviet Union sports pendant (note the hammer and sickle in the center).

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 28, 2018

The Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church has a labyrinth on its property. A young boy was walking along the labyrinth while his father was watching the child while sitting on a bench on the far left side of the photograph.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 28, 2018

At one point I went indoors where I checked out the Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church’s used book sale.

Book Sale, Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church, April 28, 2018

Book Sale, Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church, April 28, 2018

I saw boxes full of vintage Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mystery series.

Book Sale, Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church, April 28, 2018

Book Sale, Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church, April 28, 2018

The church sold more than just used books. They had boxes full of VHS tapes. (I saw people actually browsing and buying them.)

Book Sale, Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church, April 28, 2018

I purchased two books at the used book sale. One was Dan Brown’s Inferno, which is another novel in the historical series featuring Robert Langdon. (I had previously read Angels & Demons, The Da Vinci Code, and The Lost Symbol.)

Book Sale at the Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church, April 28, 2018

I also found this book on puppet making, which I bought on impulse. (It only cost $1.)

Book Sale at the Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church, April 28, 2018

Both the yard sale and the used book sale were scheduled to coincide with the Festival on the Green, which is usually held on the grounds of the Crofton Country Club that’s located next door to the Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church. The festival had all kinds of handcrafted goods made by local artisans while providing entertainment (some of which included people dressed in costumes). I browsed through the various tables but I ended up not buying anything because money was very tight for me.

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Many of the items on sale were displayed with the upcoming Mother’s Day holiday in mind.

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

 

This year is also an election year with the midterm elections coming up in Maryland. There were plenty of political candidate signs on display.

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

This event was the first time I ever shot a video at the Festival on the Green. There was a woman who wore fox ears and a fox tail who was playing the ukulele and singing “Hickory Dickory Dock.”

All in all it was a pretty glorious day. I learned that Changing Focus managed to raise $1,600 from that yard sale. Sweet!

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Ramadan

I follow Adorable Amigurumi on Instagram and I saw a notice about a free amigurumi pattern that was being offered through her Ravelry shop. So I downloaded it and I thought it sounded like a cool project for me to work on. In fact, I had toyed with the idea of doing a hands-on craft project at the upcoming Greenbelt Spring Maker Festival that would be relatively short and easy and I could complete it by the end of the festival.

Well things didn’t happen that way. I started my amigurumi project at the festival but I only got less than 10 percent done by the end of the day. That was because I got distracted by people who were visiting my table perusing the handcrafted items I had for sale. Plus I was checking out the other tables at that event while I was going to and from the bathroom.

The Greenbelt Makerspace has Fiber Fans night where people bring their latest knitting, sewing, or crocheting project and work on it while socializing. So I took my amigurumi bunny project and finished it there. Here’s the bunny rabbit that I photographed at the Greenbelt Makerspace after I finished it.

As for the yarn, I had some multicolored pastel yarn that I originally obtained from my church. (My church has an active Handcraft Circle that have been around for many years. As members moved away or even died, they or their family would donate their yarn stash to the church for the Handcraft Circle to use. One consequence is that my church currently have around 10 bins of donated yarn along with lots of knitting and crochet needles. My church could easily open a yarn shop if it wanted to since it has the necessary supplies. I ended taking a few skeins because my church would like to eventually get rid of the excess yarn.)

Here’s a closeup of the rabbit’s face. I found the google eyes from Jo-Ann’s Fabrics & Crafts. I embroidered a nose using embroidery floss that I also found at Jo-Ann’s.

The rabbit wears a ribbon that I managed to scrounge from the Greenbelt Makerspace’s ribbon supply.

The rabbit’s inner ears were created with pink rabbit fabric that I got from the Greenbelt Makerspace a year or two ago when it was trying to get rid of some excess fabric. I sewed the fabric to the rabbit using the same embroidery floss as the rabbit’s nose.

After I finished crocheting the rabbit at the Greenbelt Makerspace during Fiber Fans night, I walked a few feet over to the New Deal Cafe where I took a few shots of my new amigurumi rabbit checking out the live acts that performed that night while enjoying the candlelight and the general ambiance.

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Ramadan

This year I took part in the Greenbelt Spring Maker Festival, which was put on by the Greenbelt Makerspace in Greenbelt, Maryland. The weather was warm yet windy. (At one point a guy who had his table next to mine had mounted his iPad on a tripod. He had to leave his table for a moment and a gust of wind blew over the entire tripod—iPad included—and smashed the glass on the screen.) Here is my vending area at the festival.

Greenbelt Spring Maker Festival, April 14, 2018

Greenbelt Spring Maker Festival, April 14, 2018

Greenbelt Spring Maker Festival, April 14, 2018

Yes, I used Giant’s off-brand version of Oreos to entice visitors to my area. (LOL!)

Greenbelt Spring Maker Festival, April 14, 2018

The thrift shop Barbies that I refurbished as Fairy dolls made their appearance along with other arts and crafts I have done in the past.

Greenbelt Spring Maker Festival, April 14, 2018

Greenbelt Spring Maker Festival, April 14, 2018

I brought back the doll couch that I made from a broken Dance Dance Revolution dance pad. I had two American Girl dolls—Julie Albright and Addy Walker—sit on the couch along with a stuffed lion that I got from Build-a-Bear Workshop. (I wanted to show that this couch could seat stuffed animals as well as dolls.)

Greenbelt Spring Maker Festival, April 14, 2018

A Barbie doll models this “fur” coat that I knitted using fur yarn.

Greenbelt Spring Maker Festival, April 14, 2018

I attempted to do a live demonstration at my booth where I would crochet a small amigurumi bunny rabbit. I had this ambition that I would finish the rabbit by the end of the festival. Well, I ended not finishing it mainly because I had to tend to people who were browsing my table and there were times when I toured the rest of the festival. I would finish it later on.

Greenbelt Spring Maker Festival, April 14, 2018

Greenbelt Spring Maker Festival, April 14, 2018

Here are my photos of the rest of the festival which I took while I was going to and from the bathroom. There were 3D printers that printed various 3D items, musicians playing live on stage, children playing with Legos, woodworkers, a sewing demonstration, numerous computer demonstrations, and an information table that dealt with things like composting. There were vendors that sold jewelry, knitted hats with matching knitted scarves, and ceramics.

Greenbelt Spring Maker Festival, April 14, 2018

Greenbelt Spring Maker Festival, April 14, 2018

Greenbelt Spring Maker Festival, April 14, 2018

Greenbelt Spring Maker Festival, April 14, 2018

Greenbelt Spring Maker Festival, April 14, 2018

Greenbelt Spring Maker Festival, April 14, 2018

Greenbelt Spring Maker Festival, April 14, 2018

Greenbelt Spring Maker Festival, April 14, 2018

This boy was checking out a table where one can play music with oranges that were connected with some kind of an interface with a computer.

Greenbelt Spring Maker Festival, April 14, 2018

Greenbelt Spring Maker Festival, April 14, 2018

Greenbelt Spring Maker Festival, April 14, 2018

Greenbelt Spring Maker Festival, April 14, 2018

Greenbelt Spring Maker Festival, April 14, 2018

Greenbelt Spring Maker Festival, April 14, 2018

Greenbelt Spring Maker Festival, April 14, 2018

Greenbelt Spring Maker Festival, April 14, 2018

Greenbelt Spring Maker Festival, April 14, 2018

Greenbelt Spring Maker Festival, April 14, 2018

Greenbelt Spring Maker Festival, April 14, 2018

When I first started going to these maker events, I saw 3D printed items in only one color. At this event I saw 3D printed items based on Winnie the Pooh and Snoopy and they were 3D printed in more than one color, which was cool.

Greenbelt Spring Maker Festival, April 14, 2018

Greenbelt Spring Maker Festival, April 14, 2018

Greenbelt Spring Maker Festival, April 14, 2018

Greenbelt Spring Maker Festival, April 14, 2018

Greenbelt Spring Maker Festival, April 14, 2018

Greenbelt Spring Maker Festival, April 14, 2018

Greenbelt Spring Maker Festival, April 14, 2018

Greenbelt Spring Maker Festival, April 14, 2018

Greenbelt Spring Maker Festival, April 14, 2018

Greenbelt Spring Maker Festival, April 14, 2018

Greenbelt Spring Maker Festival, April 14, 2018

Greenbelt Spring Maker Festival, April 14, 2018

Greenbelt Spring Maker Festival, April 14, 2018

This year there was an attempt to include the Greenbelt Library in the festival even though the building is located a few feet outside of Roosevelt Center (where the festival took place). Phil Shapiro brought his portable wind tunnel where he enticed families with young children to check it out. I happened to take this photo of him during downtime where he was reading.

Greenbelt Spring Maker Festival, April 14, 2018

He had me use his phone to film him sending paper streamers through the wind tunnel. He later uploaded the footage I shot on YouTube while he added some music in the background.

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Ramadan

On this particular Friday the 13th I wasn’t needed at work. (The boss had to be elsewhere that day.) So I decided to check out the cherry blossoms in Washington, DC on Friday the 13th at the National Arboretum.

The one big secret is that the National Arboretum has its share of cherry blossoms but this place gets far less tourists than the Tidal Basin. So it’s a good way to savor the cherry blossom trees in full bloom without dealing with the crowds.

This couple were formally dressed because a professional photographer was about to take some photos of them underneath the cherry blossoms.

The Visitors Center had this cherry blossom bouquet that came from the Embassy of Japan.

There were plenty of other things to photograph at the arboretum besides the cherry blossom trees.

Before I left for the arboretum I had packed my car because I was scheduled to participate at the Greenbelt Spring Maker Festival, which was taking place the next day. Among the things I had packed were two American Girl dolls and a stuffed animal I got last year from Build-A-Bear Workshop. I took a photo of the three of them near the columns.

After I took the above photo, I ended up using just the lion fairy for the other photos because trying to pose three large dolls/stuffed animals was a bit arduous and I found it easier to just use only one of them. The lion was wearing a rainbow fairy outfit that matched the cherry blossoms.

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I had decided to attend a meeting of my support group for people who are separated or divorced while checking out the cherry blossom trees that were blooming on Crofton Parkway. I remember a few years back I saw something online that had a list of less crowded alternatives to the cherry blossoms in the Tidal Basin and these trees on Crofton Parkway were on the list.

But first I decided to go to Wegman’s where I ate dinner. When I pulled into the parking lot I saw this bumper sticker that said “Pro-America Anti-Trump.”

While I was in Wegman’s, I saw that not only did that store have the Fingerlings on sale but it also had larger plush versions of the Fingerlings monkeys. When you pressed their chests they made the same noises that the robot Fingerlings monkeys make.

After eating dinner at Wegman’s but before I went to my meeting I took a few brief pictures of the cherry blossom trees on Crofton Parkway while sunset was beginning.

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May Day

In my last post I mentioned that I went to the Historic London Town and Gardens in Edgewater on April 6, 2018 mainly because that place was among the Annapolis-area museums that were offering $1 admission as part of a Maryland Holiday Weekend special. After I left the museum around closing time, I realized that I was close to Annapolis. I decided to check out the Annapolis Toys R Us store, which was (and still is as of this writing) having its going out of business sale.

I originally visited the Annapolis store back in late January after Toys R Us originally announced that it was only going to close around 200-300 of its stores. I picked the Annapolis location because I heard rumors that those store closures were only the first steps in eventually winding out Toys R Us by the end of the year and I wanted to take photos of a store that was NOT on the list of closing stores. I wanted to photograph what a typical Toys R Us store was like for posterity. A few weeks after that visit, Toys R Us decided to close all of its stores so I headed back to the Annapolis store to take pictures of the store that was in the early phases of its going out business sale.

On April 6 I was close to the Annapolis Toys R Us store so I decided to stop by briefly to see how things were going there. There were definitely changes in that store, starting with the outside. By that point a giant “Going Out Of Business” banner had been unfurled and the smaller window signs that previously had cheerful Easter-themed signs were replaced by smaller-sized “Going Out of Business” signs.

When I went inside I saw more “Going Out of Business” signs along with more empty shelves than I saw on my previous visit. Even though the signs said that everything was “up to 30% off,” I found that the vast majority of items were still 10% off. I’ve been to enough of these going out of business sales over the years (such as the closing of the local Kmart store in my area three years ago) to know that the store will keep on offering no more than 10% off for as long as it possibly can. You probably won’t see the deep discounts until the store gets closer to the day that it closes its doors forever.

I still saw some Toys R Us exclusives that I didn’t see on my previous visits. The majority of them were the Disney Princess line of dolls and related toys.

There were other types of toys that weren’t Toys R Us exclusives that were still available for sale on the shelves.

This one little boy really seemed to enjoy going for the superhero action figures. The only sad thing about the last major toy store in the U.S. closing is that children his age will no longer experience the thrill of going into a toy store and looking around wide-eyed at the myriad of toys for kids his age. Too bad, so sad.

Compared with the last time I was at Toys R Us, I saw that they had more cashiers at the registers so the lines were smaller. I also noticed that there were a lot of small 12-inch stuffed versions of the store’s Geoffrey Giraffe mascot on display at the cash register.

I made one purchase on this trip to Toys R Us. I was given this bag at the checkout that looks like Toys R Us decided to go cheap and hire some yahoo with very little formal training in graphic design or even art in general.

The bag is bright orange with the logo done in a slightly darker orange color. The only problem is that there isn’t much contrast between the logo and the background so the logo can be very hard to see because it looks like it is blending in with the background.

Here’s my purchase. Yes, I bought one of the Geoffrey Giraffes that were on display at the cash register. It was an impulse buy. This little guy brings back memories of when Toys R Us used to sell Geoffrey Giraffe wearing a shirt that had the Toys R Us logo, such as this one.

This closeup of his neck shows how Geoffrey has stars on his body instead of the usual spots that a giraffe has.

Here’s a closeup of Geoffrey’s head along with a hang tag showing the illustrated version that Toys R Us had used in recent years. Like I wrote in this blog post back in January, I prefer the earlier versions from the 1970s and 1980s because Geoffrey had a more expressive face. In some ways, the real-life plush giraffe looks less bland and lame than the illustrated version.

One nice touch I found was that one of Geoffrey’s hooves had been embroidered with the backwards letter R that was usually displayed as part of the Toys R Us logo.

photo28

Here’s a small white tag on Geoffrey’s tush that has a black and white illustrated line drawing along with Geoffrey’s name.

Here’s the Toys R Us sales receipt. Compared with the other receipt I received from my earlier trip to Toys R Us when I checked out the going out of business sale for the first time, this one is relatively short. They got rid of the announcement asking the customer to leave feedback on how Toys R Us is doing in exchange for the chance to win a Toys R Us gift card, which makes sense since Toys R Us announced that it would no longer honor gift cards after April 21. Plus it really no longer matters if customers leave feedback—both good and bad—since Toys R Us plans on closing down for good.

Here’s a close-up of the top of the receipt showing the Toys R Us logo and the reminder that all sales are final.

Here’s the bottom of the receipt. Geoffrey Giraffe’s original price was $9.99 but, as this receipt shows, this was one of the products that Toys R Us had offered for 30% off, which meant that the giraffe only cost $6.99 (without the Maryland state sales tax).

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I recently purchased an Easter Lamb Talk Back Pet for only $5 from Five Below. Here are a few still photos I took of the lamb when it was still in its original package.

I first found these Talk Back Pets in the store on the Thursday before Easter and I shot a video while doing some mischievous things to them by making them say “Fuck off” and “Hail, Satan!” Two days later I returned to Five Below where I saw that the lamb were the only ones left in stock so I purchased it and shot a special Easter video featuring that lamb.

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