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I attended my first-ever Edcamp one month ago. I was accompanying Phil Shapiro, who needed some help with setting up this exhibit that he was displaying and I went along. He had also recently purchased this used smartphone off of eBay that can shoot 4K video and photos and he wanted me to handle photography/videography duties using that smartphone. (It was a Samsung Nexus and he got it cheap because it had a cracked screen.) This particular Edcamp was held at Loyola College’s campus in Columbia, Maryland.

Going there opened some family memories because I had a now-deceased uncle who attended the Loyola campus in Baltimore although I don’t recall ever hearing him reminisce about his days there when I used to visit him at various family gatherings. I only knew that he was a Loyola alumni.

The Columbia campus resembled a modern-day office building, which looked nice but it definitely didn’t look like a college or university. (I attended the University of Maryland at College Park, which has many brick buildings with Greco-Roman style columns.) When Phil and I arrived, we knew that we were in the right place because we saw these signs.

Edcamp at Loyola College, October 27, 2018

Edcamp at Loyola College, October 27, 2018

Edcamp at Loyola College, October 27, 2018

Edcamp provided a free breakfast of bagels and cream cheese. They had an opening session where the organizers greeted all of the attendees. Edcamp is definitely unlike any other conference I’ve ever been to. At an average conference, there are usually workshops, panels, and speeches that are planned and scheduled ahead of time. At Edcamp, workshops and other events aren’t planned ahead of time. Basically people show up and just volunteer to lead a workshop or panel based on an idea that he or she has suddenly come up with. While the breakfast and opening session is going on, volunteers start to create a schedule using Post-It Notes along with room assignments. The attendees could then take a picture of this schedule with their smartphones.

Edcamp, Loyola College, October 27, 2018

All of the attendees were given swag starting with this Northrop-Grumman bag.

Edcamp at Loyola College, October 27, 2018

Edcamp at Loyola College, October 27, 2018

Northrop-Grumman also provided this missile-shaped pen that has three separate inkwells in three different colors.

Edcamp at Loyola College, October 27, 2018

Edcamp at Loyola College, October 27, 2018

The bag was also filled with all kinds of goodies ranging from stickers and buttons to promo flyers for various education technology-related products.

Edcamp at Loyola College, October 27, 2018

Edcamp at Loyola College, October 27, 2018

Edcamp at Loyola College, October 27, 2018

What was really cool was that I got this free blank book that I could use as a sketchbook.

Edcamp at Loyola College, October 27, 2018

Edcamp at Loyola College, October 27, 2018

When Phil and I arrived at Loyola the first thing we did was to set up his exhibit in the designated hands-on room, which featured exhibits that people could touch and play with. Phil had something he called an Open Source Petting Zoo where all of the computers at that exhibit were running the Linux Mint operating system with various open source applications like Libre Office (which is an open source alternative to Microsoft Office) and Inkscape (which is an open source alternative to Adobe Illustrator).

Edcamp at Loyola College, October 27, 2018

There were people who were interesting in testing out the Open Source Petting Zoo.

Edcamp at Loyola College, October 27, 2018

The hands-on room had other things on display that people can look at, touch, and even play with.

Edcamp, Loyola College, October 27, 2018

Edcamp, Loyola College, October 27, 2018

Edcamp, Loyola College, October 27, 2018

Edcamp, Loyola College, October 27, 2018

 

Edcamp, Loyola College, October 27, 2018

Edcamp, Loyola College, October 27, 2018

 

Edcamp, Loyola College, October 27, 2018

Edcamp, Loyola College, October 27, 2018

You know that you’re at a technology-oriented conference when you see a robot.

Edcamp, Loyola College, October 27, 2018

Edcamp, Loyola College, October 27, 2018

I even got my first-ever look at the Google Cardboard. During the day I managed to use it to view 360 videos for the first time, which was pretty cool.

Edcamp, Loyola College, October 27, 2018

Once I managed to help Phil with setting up his Open Source Petting Zoo, he said that I was free to check out the rest of the conference. The one workshop I attended was about Google, which had one two other people, including the guy who was giving the workshop. We chatted a bit but it was pretty informal. When the first workshop ended it was time for lunch, where we had our choice of sandwiches that came from Jason’s Deli. During the lunch there was an impromptu panel that sprung up. Phil volunteered to be on the panel even though the topic wasn’t decided on until the last minute. So I sat in the audience and shot pictures of that workshop with the smartphone that could shoot 4K photos and videos.

Edcamp at Loyola College, October 27, 2018

So here’s Phil Shapiro in the middle in the next photo.

Edcamp at Loyola College, October 27, 2018

Here’s a wide shot of the entire panel.

Edcamp at Loyola College, October 27, 2018

Here’s another wide shot of the panel, this time with Phil Shapiro holding the microphone.

Edcamp at Loyola College, October 27, 2018

Here’s a closeup of Phil with the microphone.

Edcamp at Loyola College, October 27, 2018

I even got silly and switched to my own smartphone so I could take this last photo of the panel using my smartphone’s Hatsune Miku app.

Edcamp at Loyola College, October 27, 2018

After lunch I spent the rest of the afternoon checking out the hands-on room, which had a variety of neat things to try. It was raining on the day of Edcamp so it was no big deal spending the entire day indoors. I managed to get a glimpse of this lake with a walking tour that’s outside of the campus building. If the weather had been nicer, I definitely would’ve spent some time walking by the lake. Instead I had to settle for taking photos from outside of a window.

Edcamp at Loyola College, October 27, 2018

Edcamp at Loyola College, October 27, 2018

Edcamp also had a drawing for door prizes. When we first arrived we were all given raffle tickets that we could drop into any prize bag. One of the prize bags I put my ticket in was for this writing software that had me interested because I had majored in journalism in college. I won that prize. I received this bag that was clearly marked Loyola College.

Edcamp at Loyola College, October 27, 2018

Edcamp at Loyola College, October 27, 2018

When I pulled out the flyer I saw that this software was aimed at teaching students how to write. Except that I’m not a full-time professional teacher. I’ve taught Sunday school at my Unitarian Universalist church a number of years ago until I burned out after my second year and I quit after that. I’ve ran a Zentangle workshop for adults during the Enrichment Hour at the same church. I also served as an assistant teacher for the Takoma Park, Maryland chapter of Girls Who Code but that was a part-time gig and I wasn’t the main teacher. Phil said that he might find a use for it. I hope so because I would hate to waste this prize.

Edcamp at Loyola College, October 27, 2018

Edcamp ended around 2 or 3 p.m. so I helped Phil with dismantling his Open Source Petting Zoo and put everything in his car. I was glad that he was driving that day because it was raining like crazy that day. Afterwards Phil was interested mainly in the 4K video I had shot that day. Of the footage I provided to him, he chose to highlight only two of the videos that I made on his own YouTube channel. One was of people checking out something called Merge Cubes in the hands-on room.

The other was of people testing this kit where kids can easily create their own video games.

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Not too long ago I went to Target where I saw that there is yet another addition to the Fingerlings line. In case you’ve forgotten, the Fingerlings are a line of robot animals that sits on your fingers (hence the name) and they cost around $15 each. I have the monkey and the unicorn but I have to admit that I’m kind of smitten by that baby dragon. (No, I didn’t buy it. I’m trying to conserve my money as much as possible these days.)

Target also had adult Halloween costumes on sale that are totally wacky to say the least. They actually have a costume where one can dress as a LEGO brick.

If LEGO bricks aren’t your thing, you could dress up as food. Seriously! You could dress up as a taco for Halloween.


Or you could dress up as a bowl of cereal with milk in it. It looks like a bowl of Fruit Loops. I guess if Lucky Charms or Captain Crunch is more your thing, you are out of luck. (LOL!)

You could also dress as a slice of pepperoni pizza. LOL!

Target had plenty of candy and snacks available for people to give away to trick or treaters, including this box of  Jurassic Park candy lollipop dinosaur claw rings.

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All those months of dealing with my ex-husband ending all further alimony payments, getting one job where I was promised that I would eventually get full-time hours only to not being able to even get 20 hours a week after working there for four months while the boss was job hunting himself, and only being able to get freelance piecemeal work began to take a personal toll on me. I really wanted to take a vacation for just a day or two but I couldn’t afford to do it so I was trapped. But then I got my current gig where I was helping a therapist prepare for a series of upcoming webinars that are slated to begin next month so I managed to get just enough money in that I could do something fun.

However the best I was able to afford was taking the Metro to Tyson’s Corner Center in Tyson’s Corner, Virginia. It was better than nothing so I decided to go for it. It was raining heavily that day but I wasn’t going to let that stop me. Besides, I was riding a Metrobus to the nearest Metro subway stop so I didn’t have to worry about driving on slippery roads. I rode the Silver Line Metro to the Mall. When I arrived at the plaza that has the entrances that are located the closest to the Metro station, I noticed that it looked pretty deserted due to the rain.

That’s in contrast to past visits where, depending on the time of the year, there is usually some kind of activities for people to participate in, whether it’s playing with a giant chess set or a giant ice skating rink.

I found out that this year is the 50th anniversary of Tyson’s Corner Center and there were signs touting this fact everywhere.

I walked past the Microsoft Store. I can count the number of times I’ve actually stepped inside of that store on one hand. I walked past the entrance but I didn’t go inside on this trip.

I’ll admit that I only went to this mall for a change in scenery. I didn’t do much shopping because money was still too tight for me at the moment. I basically shot photos of whatever appealed to me at the time.

At least I found out that Golden Girls socks are actually a thing this year.

Pez dispensers have always been a bit on the kitschy side but Pez has really outdid itself with pink flamingoes Pez dispensers.

I made a brief stop inside of the Apple Store, where I saw the latest computers with the large monitors.

I also got a look at the new iPhone XS, which has received a lot of press for its over $1,000 price tag. I have to admit that the iPhone XS has nice sharp graphics on its screen. If the phone allowed for people to do their own upgrades (such as adding more memory or replacing the hard drive) it would be one thing but, as far as I can tell, this smartphone is just like all of the others where you can’t even open your own phone and it will ultimately be disposable once it stops working completely. I’m going to stick with my Samsung Galaxy J3 phone for the time being.

I came across this kiosk that I haven’t seen on previous visits. It’s for a store called b8ta and it sells a mix of Google products and technology products that are created by smaller companies.

I made a brief stop inside of Build-A-Bear Workshop where I saw these cute Halloween plushies and a brontosaurus on display.

I eventually made my way to the American Girl Place. I haven’t been there since last December so there were plenty of new things to see. I saw that Felicity Merriman, the historical doll who’s supposed to represent the American Revolution era, has been taken out of retirement and is now available for sale once again. She’s on display with Addy Walker (who represents the American Civil War period) and Samantha Parkington (who represents the first few years of the 20th century that’s known as the Edwardian Era).

Here’s another historical doll, Nanea Mitchell (who represents Hawaii around the time of the Pearl Harbor bombing) with some new accessories available for sale.

Maryellen Larkin, who represents the 1950s, relaxes in her trailer, which is sold separately from the doll. The details of this trailer are pretty impeccable.

Kit Kittredge, who represents the Great Depression, sits behind her newly released vegetable stand.

Last year I saw Z Yang for the first time. Even though she’s a contemporary doll, this one caught my eye because she’s into photography and videography like I am. I learned that she is among the dolls who will be retired soon. I would say that I’m sorry to see her go but I’m still a bit cash-strapped at the moment so there was no way I could afford this doll and her accessories. There is also the issue of space because I really don’t have enough room to have a huge collection of large dolls.

This doll in the next photo was a bit of a surprise. Gabriela McBride was released last year as American Girl’s Girl of the Year Doll for 2017. Usually the Girl of the Year doll is on sale only from January 1-December 31 then she is retired. I was surprised to see that she was still around in 2018. I still remember last year the times I tried to take her picture but the first time I failed because the phone on my previous smartphone (Droid Ultra) began to act erratically and it wouldn’t take any photos while I was at the store yet it finally worked after I returned home. The second time I brought my older Canon DSLR with me but that effort failed because I had to be elsewhere and I shot photos at that other place before I arrived at the mall and I ran out of battery power by the time I arrived. My smartphone worked miraculously until I got to Gabriela McBride and my smartphone camera decided to stop working. The third time was finally the charm when I arrived last December with a Canon PowerShot camera that I purchased used off eBay and I took some photos of that doll and her accessories without a hitch. I thought that she would be retired at the end of 2017 just like her Girl of the Year predecessors but it wasn’t the case with her.

The country singing pair of Tenney Grant and her friend Logan Everett were also slated for retirement but I didn’t bother with taking their pictures. I had already shot them and their accessories on a previous visit and there wasn’t anything new with those two.

I managed to check out the 2018 Girl of the Year. Her name is Luciana Vega, she’s a Latina, she’s into STEM, and her big dream is to work for NASA so she could go to Mars.

American Girl went all out with the space theme. In fact, one of my Facebook friends who works for NASA was posting approvingly about this doll earlier this year. (He’s the father of two daughters—both of whom are now young adults—and I’m sure he would’ve bought this doll for them if they were still kids.)

Seeing this doll in person I have to say that she’s gorgeous and her clothes are literally out of this world. (If there were ever human adult versions of her dresses, I would definitely want to buy them.) She has gorgeous black hair with a purple streak in it. If I weren’t so cash-strapped, I would definitely feel tempted to buy this doll.

Her accessories, which are sold separately, includes things like astronaut ice cream and a replica of an Apple Watch.

There are corresponding books, one of which comes with the doll and the other two are sold separately. A few days before I came to Tyson’s Corner I was at the library where I saw a young girl checking out a pile of books, including one of the Luciana books.

Among her separately sold play sets is one that resembles a STEM makerspace. There is even a cute robot dog.

If it weren’t for the fact that this STEM maker station cost $100, I would say that it would be a cool thing to purchase for the local makerspace in my area for the kids to play with.

I thought that this robot dog came with the maker station but I found out that this robodoggie is sold separately for $35.

There is also a space telescope so Luciana could look up at the stars.

Then there is this NASA space laboratory and a NASA space suit for Luciana to wear. I can understand why my Facebook friend was gushing about Luciana online. In fact, this capsule reminds me of my ex-husband, who works for NASA. If we were still together, I definitely would’ve urged him to go to the American Girl Place with me so he could see this in person. I also would’ve told him that we could stop off at Wasabi afterwards because I was trying to get him to consider the two of us eating there before he abruptly left me just three days after Christmas and three months after my hip surgery in 2011. (I had gone to Wasabi for the first time when I was still married in October, 2011 but I went by myself that time.)

The details of this capsule are pretty astounding. My ex-husband definitely would’ve gotten a kick out of it if he had seen it for himself in person.

Yes, it’s sad that visiting the American Girl Place so we could see this NASA space laboratory together is another thing I’ll never get to do with my ex-husband but that’s the way things go.

My ex-husband was never into dolls and normally I would never have been able to get him to even step one foot inside of that door. I think I may have gotten him to make a rare exception and actually visit a doll store because he definitely would’ve been impressed with the painstaking details of this NASA space laboratory.

Luciana is totally rocking this astronaut space suit.

For families who want to purchase Luciana and her accessories but who are cash-strapped, there are Mega Construx kit versions.

Like other Girl of the Year dolls, the American Girl Place has a designated space where people can have their selfies taken with a standee of Luciana Vegan and a space capsule.

The sign said to turn the handle and look inside but the door handle was broken when I was there.

The best I was able to do was to shoot through the door window.

American Girl sold separate Washington, DC souvenir t-shirts for dolls. They also had matching shirts for their human owners as well but I only shot the doll shirts.


I didn’t spend much time in the store beyond Luciana and the BeForever historical dolls. But I saw this car that looked cool. It reminded me of that Volkswagen that American Girl came out for the 1970s historical doll Julie Albright a few years back.

I also shot these two outfits that were released just in time for the upcoming winter holiday trio of Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa.

After my visit to the American Girl Place I ate a sushi dinner at Wasabi, which is the place that delivers food on conveyor belts and you could pick which plates you want.

After dinner I walked around the mall a bit. I found a temporary Halloween store that was selling costumes. This year they have costumes based on that mega-popular video game Fortnite. (I’ve seen kids play that game and they can’t seem to get enough of it. I haven’t tried it myself as of this writing.)

I did get a chuckle out of this obvious parody of My Little Pony‘s Rainbow Dash, even though I know nothing about Fortnite‘s Rainbow Smash.

They also had two costumes based on the late artist and TV personality Bob Ross. A couple of friends or lovers could dress up together as Bob Ross and one of his paintings, which I find hilarious.

Just a few feet away from the Halloween store is a Christmas store. This is crazy. Halloween and Thanksgiving haven’t even happened yet and there is already a Christmas store.

Just a few days after I took this shot of these Grinch ornaments I learned that someone is coming out with yet another remake of How the Grinch Stole Christmas that will be shown on the big screen. I guess that’s why there was a display of these ornaments. I personally think that doing yet another remake is so unnecessary. I have the original 1960’s TV special on DVD so I can always play that one on my TV screen instead of paying over $10 to see the remake in a movie theater.

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Today’s prompt word for Inktober is “angular.” This was yet another prompt that I struggled with. Finally I decided to draw a robot using mostly rectangles and triangles.

As of today, I’m now at the halfway point in doing one new Inktober drawing per day until Halloween.

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The American Revolution’s greatest leader was openly gay.

The hidden problem of homelessness on college campuses.

Ex-KKK member denounces hate groups one year after rallying in Charlottesville.

The violence Central American migrants are fleeing was stoked by the U.S.

Monica Lewinski says unexpected headlines trigger her trauma. Here is how she copes with them.

Who needs Barbie? These high-tech dolls teach girls how to code.

Japanese-Americans imprisoned in internment camps in the 1940s watch the crisis stemming from the current detention of immigrants in camps with heavy hearts.

How America treats its own children makes it an outlier.

The Muslim World War II heroine that time forgot.

So we’re gonna pretend these refugees aren’t a result of our actions in Central America?

Study finds that most manufacturing jobs are dead ends.

There’s an obscure Monopoly game rule that changes the whole game—and you probably had no clue it existed.

A Holocaust survivor says that America feels like Germany before the Nazis took over.

Sex robot can now refuse to have sex if she’s not in the mood.

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Previous in This Series

A Shot of a Ferris Wheel on the Day Before the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, August 30, 2018
2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 1, 2018
2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 2, 2018

That awful hazy, hot, and humid weather that had plagued most of the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival decided to stick around for the last day. Despite the super-hot weather, I decided to see this year’s Greenbelt Labor Day Parade mainly because I wanted to see some of the marchers.

I decided to drive my car to the parade route instead of walking because it was just so hot outside. I managed to find a spot on a side street just a few feet away from the parade route so I carried my portable folding chair. I ran into a friend of mine from my church congregation so I sat near him in a shaded spot. When the parade began just a few minutes after I arrived (I was late getting out the door that morning compared to other years I attended the parade), I pulled out my smartphone and took a few photos.

2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

The mayor and the entire city council of Greenbelt rode in an old-fashioned red fire truck.

2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Since 2018 is a mid-term election year, the politicians were out in full force. Ben Cardin is running for re-election to the U.S. Senate.

2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

The local chapter of the Moms Demand Action marched in the parade while calling for sensible gun reform.

2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Paul Pinsky is running for re-election to the Maryland State Senate.

2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Alonzo T. Washington is running for re-election to the Maryland House of Delegates.

2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Former NAACP leader Ben Jealous, who’s running for governor of Maryland, marched in the parade. Seeing him march brought back memories of last year’s Greenbelt Labor Day Festival when I saw him in person mingling among the festival attendees. Earlier this year I saw him in person again at this fundraiser for his campaign and I had my picture taken alongside him. Here he is in the parade wearing a full suit despite the high heat and humidity.

2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Unlike the other two times I saw him in person, I wasn’t able to shake his hand. I later learned that he had to go to another campaign-related engagement after the parade so he couldn’t stick around. I still think it would be cool if he got elected governor and I could tell people that I actually met him in person before he was elected and I have the pictures to prove it. After Ben Jealous passed by me, I took some more photos of the parade.

2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

A robot participated in the parade. This one was with a local Boy Scout troop.

2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

The Greenbelt Dog Training group brought their pooches with them to prove how well-behaved they were.

2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

The Greenbelt Makerspace also participated in the parade as well.

2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Like I wrote earlier, the politicians were out in full force because this year is the mid-term elections. Neal Simon (no relation to the famous playwright Neil Simon who recently passed away) is running for the U.S. Senate.

2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Winnie Obike is running for the Maryland House of Delegates.

2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Aisha Braveboy is running for state’s attorney.

2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Last, but not least, Calvin Hawkins is running for an at-large position on the Prince George’s County Council.

2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

There were more floats and people marching but I didn’t take as many photos as last year because the heat was getting to me at times and I just wasn’t in the mood for doing an excessive amount of picture taking this year. If it weren’t for the fact that Ben Jealous was marching in the parade and I had some friends from the Greenbelt Makerspace who were also involved in the parade, I would’ve blown it off this year because of the extreme heat and humidity.

Once the parade was over I waited until the people dispersed and the police moved the barriers up the road (where the parade was still traveling) before I got in my car and took a back route to Roosevelt Center (where the festival was taking place). I managed to find convenient parking outside the Coop Supermarket. In fact the parking lot was half-empty because the parade was still winding its way past Roosevelt Center and many people were on the parade route. I had to go to the festival on the final day because I was being honored at an awards ceremony plus I had to pick up my art from the art show. I’ll write more about what it was like to go to the festival in extreme heat and humidity in my next post.

Next in this Series

2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2018
The Day After the End of the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 4, 2018

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A Shot of a Ferris Wheel on the Day Before the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, August 30, 2018

Last year I attended the opening night of the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival for the first time in my life. While I’ve attended previous festivals, I generally tended to blow off opening night and show up on the first full day of the festival.

This year I wasn’t able to attend opening night, mainly because I was helping out with a special project in Takoma Park where we were aiding a man who was required to do a job interview via a smartphone app. (I wrote a post about it because it was the first time I had ever heard of a job interview being conducted in this way. I have a feeling that doing a job interview via smartphone app is a harbinger of things to come for job seekers in the future.) So I reverted to previous years where I didn’t attend the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival for the first time until Saturday.

This time last year the weather was not only cooler than usual but it rained as well. For the first time ever I wore a hooded sweatshirt and long pants to the festival. This year it was completely the opposite, especially in the morning and early afternoon. The weather was cloudy, in the high 80’s, and the humidity was very thick. Just walking around the festival was a miserable experience and I grew tired pretty quickly.

I took the free shuttle over to the festival grounds where I saw that the Greenbelt City Hall had lowered its flags to half-staff to honor the recent passing of Senator John McCain.

Greenbelt #LaborDay Festival in Greenbelt, Maryland, September 1, 2018.

Greenbelt #LaborDay Festival in Greenbelt, Maryland, September 1, 2018. The flags were at half-staff in honor of Senator John McCain.

One new thing I noticed this year was the concrete barriers that had chalk art on them.

Greenbelt #LaborDay Festival in Greenbelt, Maryland, September 1, 2018.

Greenbelt #LaborDay Festival in Greenbelt, Maryland, September 1, 2018.

The Greenbelt Elementary School PTA had its used book sale, which was very popular as people shopped for bargains.

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Saturday was Community Day where various local groups and businesses had their information booths where they gave out flyers, brochures, and sometimes free goodies like candy, pens, and pencils.

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

I shot the Chick-fil-A cow mascot.

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

The Old Greenbelt Theater had a poster for the movie that it was currently showing, Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman.

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

The Greenbelt Makerspace had its open house where it displayed its computers, robots, and various types of electronics and maker tools.

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

The carnival midway was lively as people ate food, went on the rides, and played some of the midway games.

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

After a while the heat and humidity got to me so I ducked inside of the Greenbelt Community Center so I could cool off in the air conditioning. There is an art exhibition highlighting three local artists that’s currently going on until October. I really liked the art on display in that room so much that I took a few pictures. I especially liked the ones by Jim Doran because I found his skeleton and skull art so interesting and whimsical to look at.

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

The main reason why I was at the festival on Saturday was because I had entered this mixed-media piece in the Greenbelt Labor Day Art show called Robot in the Park.

I wrote a blog post about this piece a few months ago so I suggest clicking on this link if you want to learn about the story and the creative process behind this piece.

I submitted my work to the Greenbelt Labor Day Art Show early on Thursday evening before the festival began. One of the conditions of participating in this show is that I had to sign up for a one-hour volunteer shift sometime during the weekend. I signed up to work on Saturday from 2-3 p.m. so I had plenty of time to eat an early lunch, take the free shuttle to the festival grounds, and walk around a bit. I was even able to view the Greenbelt Labor Day Photography Show and the art show itself before my shift began. I found out that my piece had won a second place ribbon in the mixed-media category, which thrilled me. That ribbon meant that I could attend the award ceremony that was scheduled on Labor Day itself where I would collect my prize and receive public recognition.

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

So I served my one-hour shift then I decided to walk around the festival some more. I found that the weather had cooled off a little bit so it made walking a bit more pleasant even though the humidity still remained high. I decided to sit at one of the tables outside the Greenbelt Makerspace where I sorted through the photos I had taken so far. At one point an old friend whom I hadn’t seen in a while stopped by and we chatted a bit. At that point the weather turned darker and I saw lightning flashes. It eventually started to rain. Fortunately I was underneath an awning so I could watch the rain while staying dry. At one point the sun came out so there was that unusual phenomenon of raining while it’s sunny at the same time. (When I was a kid, I used to be told that such weather meant that the devil was beating his wife.) When the rain started to taper off into a drizzle, a rainbow suddenly appeared.

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

By the time the rainbow appeared I was hungry so I walked over to one of the food vendors where I ordered a large cheese crab pretzel. The weather had cooled off considerably and it was pleasant walking outside. The only downside was that it was wet everywhere from the rain so I walked back to the tables under the Greenbelt Makerspace awning and consumed my dinner there. I resumed sorting through the photos I had taken that day until night fell. I walked over to another food booth where I ordered a vanilla ice cream cone with a chocolate dip top and ate that. I also took a few night photos of the festival.

2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

I didn’t stay long because my body had grown tired from walking around the festival in high humidity earlier and it was hard finding a dry place to sit due to the rain. I decided to pick up the next free shuttle bus and head home.

Next in This Series

2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 2, 2018
2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 3, 2018
2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2018
The Day After the End of the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 4, 2018

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Not too long ago I went to Target to buy a loaf of bread and sit in the Starbucks area surfing the Internet. I currently own two Fingerlings, a monkey that I purchased from the now-shuttered Toys R Us and a unicorn that I purchased from the same Target store as my most recent visit. While I was at Target I noticed that the store had gotten a new shipment of Fingerlings. Not only did I see a unicorn in a color scheme I had never seen before but there are now panda bear Fingerlings.

Target, August 14, 2018

I also saw monkey Fingerlings that now come with an even smaller plastic monkey under the Fingerlings BFF label. This small monkey is meant to purchase on the tail of the larger Fingerling monkey. Based on what I saw in person, I don’t think this tiny monkey is electronic at all.

Target, August 14, 2018

Target, August 14, 2018

Target also got these large plush Fingerlings monkeys known as Hugs, which have very long arms (so these monkeys can hug someone). When you press a button they make random chatter noises that are identical to what their smaller electronic robotic counterparts can make.

Target, August 14, 2018

Here is how tall a typical Fingerlings electronic monkey measures against one of these plush hugs.

Target, August 14, 2018

I have a friend who’s totally dinosaur-mad. In fact, she loves it whenever I sent her pictures of some dinosaur products that are on sale. I found this board game that’s based on the Jurassic Park movies.

Target, August 14, 2018

I found something else that my friend would like even better. As I was walking down one of the Target aisles, I heard a strange noise. I turned around and found that Target had got a shipment of FurReal pets that were shaped like baby t-rex dinosaurs and one of them was turned on to make a noise every time someone walked past. I have to admit that this dinosaur was not only totally cute but it was very attractively designed with bright colors.

Target, August 14, 2018

I also shot a short video for my friend so she can get the full idea of how totally awesome this FurReal dinosaur robot really is.

If I wasn’t financially struggling so much, I would’ve bought this critter for myself on impulse.

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I had a pretty busy Sunday on July 15, 2018. I went carpooling with one friend to church where there was a Tye-Dye Sunday scheduled. By the time I got home from church I turned around and went carpooling with a different friend to this meetup that took place in Rockville.

CoderDojo is basically a global network that provides free computer programming clubs to young people. My friend thought it would be good for me to check this out, especially since I worked as an assistant facilitator with the Takoma Park chapter of Girls Who Code over the past year.

The Washington, DC chapter of CoderDojo meets at the Rockville Public Library in Rockville, Maryland. I had never stepped foot inside this building before but I have to admit that it’s very impressive.

There was an art show going on featuring art done by local youths. It brought back memories of the first time my elementary school art teacher had selected one of my art projects to be shown at the Anne Arundel County Art Show that was displayed at the since-demolished Harundale Mall.

The CoderDojo met in a room on the second floor of the library, which is a designated STEM center. That room had an array of all kinds of stuff that one would normally find in a makerspace (such as computers and robots) but there was some pretty cool STEM-themed art as well.

The meeting started off with a presentation about what computing was like back in the 1990s (when the Computer Internet revolution was just beginning). I enjoyed it because I remember those days like they happened yesterday. There was a mention of using modems attached to telephone wires in order to access the Internet at a blistering 9600 bps.

I enjoyed the presentation very much. Once that ended, the kids started to work on their own projects while parents and other adult volunteers went around helping the kids with their latest projects.

By the time that meetup ended it was closing time for the library. My friend and I were heading back towards the parking garage by cutting through Rockville Town Square when I shot this photo of some kids playing in the fountain.

I also discovered that there was an It’s Sugar store located in Rockville. I had previously visited It’s Sugar in Baltimore and Chinatown in Washington, DC and I managed to convince my friend to stop in the Rockville store for a brief visit, where I shot these photos.

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A few days earlier I saw this article in The Washington City Paper about a new city-wide festival that was launching called By the People. It would be held in a few different venues located throughout Washington, DC over a long weekend (Thursday-Sunday) and it was described as being like South by Southwest, except the admission would be free to the general public.

I was intrigued by what I read and if I had discovered that article a few days earlier, I would’ve checked out this event on Thursday or Friday night. But I had planned on participating in the Poor People’s Campaign Rally and March on Washington on Saturday. It turned out that the March itself ended on the Mall, which was also one of the locations where the By the People event would be held, so I decided to check it out.

The one Mall venue where By the People was held as at the Smithsonian Arts and Industries Building.

By the People Art Event

By the People Art Event

By the People Art Event

By the People Art Event

Inside was very visually appealing with the large art installations providing a nice contrast with the historic interior.

By the People Art Event

There was an all-ages hands-on workshop where one can create his/her own comic book superhero. That table was very crowded.

By the People Art Event

By the People Art Event

By the People Art Event

By the People Art Event

By the People Art Event

By the People Art Event

By the People Art Event

By the People Art Event

By the People Art Event

By the People Art Event

By the People Art Event

By the People Art Event

By the People Art Event

By the People Art Event

By the People Art Event

By the People Art Event

By the People Art Event

By the People Art Event

By the People Art Event

By the People Art Event

By the People Art Event

By the People Art Event

I came across this cute little robot named Pepper.

By the People Art Event

By the People Art Event

I found Pepper to be so cute that I shot a short video of this robot in action.

After I spent some time indoors I walked outside where I checked out the gardens that are located between the Arts and Industries Building and the Smithsonian Castle.

By the People Art Event

By the People Art Event

I was getting very tired by that point so I started looking for the nearest Metro station. While I was on my way back to the Metro I saw that the upcoming Smithsonian Folklife Festival was still being erected on the Mall. (The festival itself wouldn’t officially open for another few days.)

By the People Art Event

By the People Art Event

I had thought about going to Union Market on the following day to check out some more of the By the People event but I was so completely exhausted the following morning that I ended up not going. If this event is held again next year, I’m definitely going to make attending it my top priority because I really liked what I saw at the Arts and Industries Building.

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