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I uploaded my latest article that I wrote for LinkedIn Pulse a couple of days ago. It was an article I had been thinking about for a while. I finally got the incentive to write it late last week when the #JobMarket hashtag started to trend on LinkedIn. (That was in response to a new report that says that there are enough jobs for every person in the U.S. but employers complain about not finding the right person for the job.) It’s also a response to all those articles I’ve read over the years about the things that employees do—either on their resume or at the job interview—that leads to an employer not hiring that person. I decided that it was past time for someone to turn the tables and write about the things that employers do that leads a prospective employee to either not accept a job with that company or, if the person does gets hired, causes the new employee to soon leave that job. This article is based on my own struggles with looking for a day job to pay the bills along with a couple of jobs that I worked at, which ended up being short-lived. Here is my article:

The Things That Recruiters and Hiring Managers Do That are Major Turn-Offs For Prospective Employees

By the way, it’s not the first time I’ve written for LinkedIn Pulse. Click here to read the other articles I’ve written.

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A few years ago, while I was in the throes of my recent separation from my husband and dealing with declining sales of my arts and crafts due to the recession, I became involved with a group that was trying to start a few new worker-owned cooperatives in the hopes of providing not only new jobs but green jobs as well.

I’ll admit that I had a selfish reason for getting involved—I was hoping to land whatever new jobs that would be created and I figured that I would land a better chance of getting a paying job if I helped the group out during the early days.

I came up with the idea of starting a thrift store and the group loved it so much that I was tasked with doing the research about starting one. I spoke with people who ran other thrift stores that already existed and found that it was very space-intensive. (You not only need a large space for items that are currently for sale but you also need additional storage space for out-of-season items so you don’t do things like try to sell heavy sweaters in August.) I also volunteered at the group’s booth for the 2014 Greenbelt Green Man Festival and I even made my first appearance in the 2014 Greenbelt Labor Day Parade on that group’s behalf as well.

Basically the thrift store idea fizzled because I found out that finding a large space for an affordable rent in the Washington, DC area is incredibly difficult, especially for a new thrift store. At one point the group suggested that I might try doing a series of weekend flea markets instead. That one was also a struggle because I needed to find suitable land which has adequate parking, suitable Metrobus access (for people who don’t have a car), and is easy to locate. What really killed the flea market idea was learning that I not only had to file a permit with the City of Greenbelt but I also had to file a permit with Prince George’s County as well. That’s right, two different types of paperwork at two levels of government. I finally just threw my hands up in the air and walked away.

Recently I got an email from the group saying that a reporter was doing a story about our efforts to start a bunch of worker-owned cooperatives. I had the reporter interview me by email. The story has just been published in In These Times magazine recently but a number of the interviews she did had to be cut because of space limitations in the print edition, including mine.

Even though my interview got cut, I’m going to provide the link to the web edition, which is online now.

The reporter sent another email recently where she mentioned the possibility of doing follow-up stories using the interview footage that was cut from the original story. If that happens, and if my interview actually gets used, I’ll definitely let you know.

I’ve recently published another article on OpenSource.com, which I not only wrote but I also took the photographs as well. Here’s the link:

How Linux and maker spaces can strengthen our social fabric

I have to thank Phil Shapiro for his suggestion that I write something for that website. I previously wrote a tutorial on tracing photos in Inkscape back in 2014 but I didn’t get much response to that one. Phil basically encouraged me to try again and he feels that this story might result in gaining a few new contacts that may help me find a new day job to help me pay the bills. Only time will tell whether Phil is right about this or not.

My article is about this event that was held one Saturday afternoon in May at the STEM center Makerspace 125 in Greenbelt, Maryland. It was a workshop titled “Build a PC and Install Linux.” Basically the attendees got hands-on experience in building a PC using donated used computer parts and installing the Ubuntu operating system. Once the attendees finished, they were allowed to take their new PC’s home free of charge. I took a bunch of photos that I uploaded on to Flickr and I showed Phil, who then urged me to write the OpenSource.com article.

But I’m going to show something from that workshop that’s exclusive only to readers of this blog. Like I wrote a few paragraphs ago, I took the pictures that are in that article. However, OpenSource.com only printed a few of the photos I took. So, as a treat to you readers, I’m going to post the outtakes from that article right here. All of them were taken during that workshop.

Here’s one of the Brood X cicadas that had hatched back in May who was crawling around in Roosevelt Center just a few feet away from Makerspace 125. Those bugs were not only big but they made this loud mating call that sounded like a car alarm and they were really noisy between sunrise and sunset.

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

The rest of the photos outtakes were taken inside Makerspace 125 during the workshop.

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

An automated knitting look at Makerspace 125.

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

If you want to see the photos that actually accompanied my article, click here.

Ramadan

I’ve heard plenty about how there’s a trend for people getting employment through the Gig Economy and how this has been hailed in news articles like this one. I also went to a workshop on this topic plus I heard it again when I served as an extra at a taping of an upcoming TV special featuring financial guru Ric Edelman.

I’m giving the Gig Economy a try but there is one thing I’ve encountered that doesn’t get mentioned in the mainstream media: Scammers are also lurking looking to take advantage of people who are looking for work. I wrote this story and posted on LinkedIn Pulse because I really think this scam trap needs to be publicized as widely as possible. Here’s the link to this article (which includes screenshots of a Google Hangout conversation with someone who sounds like a facsimile of one of those Nigerian prince email scammers).

Dangerous Potholes on the Road to the Gig Economy

I’ve been writing occasional articles for LinkedIn Pulse, the majority of which are crossposted from this blog. So far I’ve written seven articles in two years. I’ve been told that I need to start contributing there if I want to get my name out there in the professional world but it’s a challenge getting noticed. Even with a hot trendy topic like the Gig Economy I’ve gotten less than 50 hits as of this writing. I’m hoping that some of you reading this may want to check my latest article out, especially since that one is exclusively on LinkedIn Pulse and it hasn’t been crossposted in this blog.

Today I got notice from RoadsideAmerica.com that a tip I submitted, along with corresponding photographs, have been accepted. It’s about this house in Hyattsville that has long been a fixture for its unique decorating style. It is featured on its Latest Tips page and it has its own page that has a brief blurb written by me along with my own photographs. It’s pretty cool that my name is involved on someone else’s website. I have a lot of other pictures that didn’t make it to that page that I’ll write about in a future post.

Today is World Emoji Day, which I had never heard of until I saw a link on Google’s homepage today. The link takes you to the Made With Code site where you can create your own emoji using the simple programming language Blockly. I took a stab at it and here’s the result.

emojicreatedusinggoogle

Since this blog is about my arts, crafts, and photography, it made sense for me to create an artist emoji, complete with a French beret and a funky shirt.

And speaking of art, I took a short online Left Or Right Brain Test and here’s the result, which doesn’t surprise me in the least bit.

leftbrainrightbrain

I recently appeared on the first episode of a new YouTube series called C.H.A.O.S. (Cartoons, Hobbies, and Other Stuff). I was talking about my memories of the McDonaldland commercials that the TV networks used to air on Saturday mornings between the cartoons. Here’s the episode in question. For those of you who only care about what I have to say, I can be found just past the 7 minute mark. But it’s worth seeing the whole thing since it has a runtime of just a little over 9 minutes.

Filming the interview was no big deal. Here’s a photo I took of the behind the scenes during the making of that video. The person on the left is George Kochell, who was also interviewed in that video, and the person holding the video camera is the series’ director/editor Ola Betiku.

makingofvideo-webversion

One fringe benefit of getting involved with that first episode is that a bunch of Happy Meal toys were purchased especially for this video shoot, which you can see in the above photo. The toys were based on the characters from the Angry Birds video game and they were released in conjunction with the release of the Angry Birds movie. It was the first week of the Angry Birds Happy Meal toys so the local McDonald’s gave away the red bird. We looked at the red bird toys and noticed that there was an on/off switch in the back but we couldn’t figure out what the bird did when the switch was flipped on. Filming went on despite not being able to figure out the red bird toy. When filming was finished for the day (it was cut short due to the fact that it was a sweltering hot day) I was given one of the red bird toys along with some wrapped apple slices and one of the small apple juice boxes (the latter two were from the Happy Meals).

It was only after everyone else had left and I took a closer look at the red bird did I figure out that you had to not only turn the switch on in the bird’s back but also press down on the feathers on top of the bird’s head in order to get any kind of action. I filmed a short video of me playing with that bird and I uploaded it on Facebook. A few hours later, when it was a bit darker, I shot the same toy indoors because it showed up better in the dark. I shot another short video and uploaded it on Facebook as well. I’ve recently combined the two videos together into one minute-long video and uploaded it on to YouTube. Enjoy!

Here’s a profile about me that has just been posted on Art Lives Here for you to check out. Yay! 🙂

I recently got a notice from Spoonflower that my entry in the recent Hedgehog contest, RoboHedgy, failed to make the Top 10 but it has made another cool list: It’s currently listed among the 100 Designs: Recent Trends category and I’m pretty happy about it.
robohedgy-instagramversion

http://www.nablopomo.com

On the last day of May I decided to attend two back-to-back workshops that were held at Makerspace 125 in Greenbelt, Maryland. The first workshop was on creating your own art dolls. I haven’t created an art doll since Cinnamon Fire back in 2010 and I was winging it when I created her. (I originally did it for a contest that was sponsored by Art Doll Quarterly magazine but my entry didn’t get anywhere with the judges.)

This workshop was taught by a person who has been creating art dolls for a while. The next photo shows some of the art dolls she has created.

Art Doll Workshop at Makerspace 125, May 31, 2015

And here is my new art doll that I created in that workshop.

Art Doll Workshop at Makerspace 125, May 31, 2015

I intentionally created a melancholy doll because I went through a bit of a bad patch lately stemming in large part from the fact that this workshop took place shortly before what would’ve been my wedding anniversary had my husband not abruptly left me for a woman whom I once thought was my friend (but I now know differently) and my constant fretting over financial problems.

Art Doll Workshop at Makerspace 125, May 31, 2015

She measures about four inches tall. She has a clothespin body, a small wood base, pipe cleaner arms, and a face that the instructor had made from clay using a mold. (The faces were plain and we had to do face ups using watercolor pencils.)

Art Doll Workshop at Makerspace 125, May 31, 2015

I made her long hair from yarn that I glued on to her head. Her dress was made from a scrap of black fabric. I used a piece of fancy ribbon to create a headdress that suggests a veil. I glued tiny floral accents to each wrist.

Art Doll Workshop at Makerspace 125, May 31, 2015

I used red fabric scraps to cut out a broken heart that I glued to her chest. As I was cutting the tiny heart into two pieces, I found that I had frayed the material a little bit. I still used it because the frayed heart only further drove home the sadness and grief I’ve felt nonstop since the abrupt separation and divorce. I only wished that there had been a sad face available because I would’ve used it. I ended up using the face that came closest to being the slightly less than happy.

Art Doll Workshop at Makerspace 125, May 31, 2015

Pictures of my art doll, along with ones of other art dolls done by other people, are now on display at the Makerspace 125 website.

That workshop was immediately followed by another workshop on watercolors. While I’ve done watercolors mixed with other media (usually either ink or acrylic paint), I haven’t done an art piece using only watercolor since the time I did a series of apple watercolors for a Commercial Illustration class at a local community college where I had to deal with this teacher who had this unnatural obsession with me and my work that creeped me out so much that I ended up quitting taking art classes at that school.

Fortunately the teacher for this watercolor class was a very nice woman who’s pretty sane and normal (compared to that Commercial Illustration teacher) and I enjoyed this workshop as much as the previous art dolls workshop. Here is my watercolor.

Watercolor Workshop at Makerspace 125, May 31, 2015

It all started when the teacher instructed us to wet the paper first then put down a layer of whatever color we choose and I happened to choose blue. As I put down that layer, I began to think about the water and I thought it would be a perfect aquatic theme. I used my smartphone to do a Google search on a few images of fish swimming in the ocean before I remembered that it’s now crab season in Maryland so I did a blue crab. (I opted to do the blue crab as a living creature before it would be thrown in a pot of boiling water where it would turn red.) I used a couple of blue crab photos that I found through Google as my reference guide when working on the crab. My teacher and classmates liked it, which was cool. You can now view my blue crab along with other watercolors done by my classmates on Makerspace 125’s site.

Here’s a last photo of the two items I made in two back-to-back workshops at Makerspace 125.

The Items I Made at Two Workshops at Makerspace 125

http://www.nablopomo.com

It’s been many months since I last wrote something on Medium.com. I finally published a new article on that site. It’s something that tends to kick around in my mind this time of the year as students on both the high school and university level graduate. I’ve long had this fantasy when someone would invite me to give a Commencement Speech at some graduation ceremony somewhere in the U.S. and my speech would basically consist of life lessons that I learned from what I experienced in my adult life (either directly or indirectly through my friends and family). Last night I was stricken with a bit of insomnia so I began to dwell on my fantasy speech. I finally decided to just type it in the computer just to get my fantasy speech out of my head. Once I finished typing, I went back to sleep.

I thought about making a new post in this blog about that speech until I remembered that it’s been a while since I wrote my first story on Medium.com so why not publish it there for a change. Besides, I feel that that post is better suited for Medium.com since it’s really off-topic from the main focus of this blog (which is on my arts, crafts, and photography). So I uploaded it there this morning and you can now read it. It’s called Advice I Would Give to Graduates in a Commencement Speech If I Ever Have the Chance.

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