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Ramadan

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

When America forgot about its black World War I soldiers.

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

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

How to make a shiv with hard, dried fish.

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

The invisibility of being old, disabled or both.

Even as a child Donald Trump was a horror.

Watch Russian dancers appear to float magically across the stage.

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

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Ramadan

On that day I was traveling with a friend to Virginia because we were both currently helping an elderly woman with self-publishing her memoirs for her children and grandchildren and it was a chance for the two of us to earn some extra money.

Once we arrived in Virginia we had some time to kill before our appointment with the woman so we decided to kill some time at the Arlington Public Library. Since that day was also the Star Wars-themed May the Fourth, I saw this display featuring various Star Wars videos and books that was shaped like R2-D2.

One unique thing about this library that I haven’t seen in other libraries elsewhere is that you can borrow American Girl dolls for one week. Seriously, you can walk in and check out a doll for one week. The good news is that you can save $115 on the retail price of a new American Girl doll. The bad news is that you can only keep her for one week. But a cash-strapped person can at least get a taste of what it’s like to live with an American Girl doll even if it’s only for one week.

Most of the American Girl dolls I saw available for borrowing were all from the historical BeForever line. (There’s no Girl of the Year or Truly Me dolls available.) But that’s fine because a child could borrow a doll and start envisioning the times in which this doll lived while checking out the vintage period clothes that she comes dressed in.

The upper level of the library had this makerspace that it recently opened. Anyone with an Arlington Public Library card can access the equipment and make stuff. That library had some pretty nice equipment, including 3D printers, a vinyl cutter, and sewing machines. I also saw some 3D prints resembling Groot from the Guardians of the Galaxy movie.

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Ramadan

In recent years I’ve been seeing stuff on the Internet about people equating May 4 with Star Wars while using as a pun. (“May the Fourth be with you.”) I’ve seen most of the Star Wars movies (including the mediocre prequels and that godawful Star Wars Holiday Special, which I wrote about in this blog years ago). I’ve enjoyed most of the movies but I’ve never really paid much mind to May 4.

It looks like that day is really getting mainstream acceptance outside of the Internet geekdom. On May 4 I was traveling with a friend to Virginia because we were both currently helping an elderly woman with self-publishing her memoirs for her children and grandchildren and it was a chance for the two of us to earn some extra money. While my friend was driving on the I-495 Capital Beltway in Maryland I saw this highway sign that invoked May the Fourth, complete with the sign written in the way that Yoda usually speaks.

Once we arrived in Virginia we had some time to kill before our appointment with the woman so we decided to kill some time at the Arlington Public Library, where I saw this display done up like R2-D2 and it featured Star Wars books and videos.

By the way the Wikipedia has an interesting article on the origins of May the Fourth and it apparently originated with the day that Margaret Thatcher took office as the UK Prime Minister.

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Ramadan

The annual Sakura Matsuri street festival in Washington, DC is one of the last major events that is held as part of the National Cherry Blossom Festival. The festival is usually held in the Federal Triangle area (such as the one in 2015). Except when I last attended two years ago, the festival was moved to the Navy Yard.

This year the festival has been moved back to its original location in Federal Triangle. On my way to the festival I saw tourists taking selfies outside of the Trump International Hotel, which had me rolling my eyes. (LOL!)

Selfies at the Trump International Hotel

I arrived at the festival and it was as I remembered from the last time I went in 2017. There were cosplayers dressed in various costumes, a variety of Japanese imported goods available for sale, a variety of performances and demonstrations. The admission fee is now $10 per person. (I remember when this festival used to be free years ago. Then they decided to turn it into a paid event and charge $5 per person. Now the prices are higher.) Here are some photos and videos I shot at this event.

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

I shot this video of Ai’s Sakura Band, which is led by a Japanese pianist, composer, and arranger named Ai Yamashita. This group played traditional Japanese music that celebrated sakura (the Japanese word for “cherry blossom”).

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Here are a couple of photos of me standing next to the sign featuring that cute cartoon blob.

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

There was this table selling wooden chopsticks with geek sayings on them. Having seen Guardians of the Galaxy, I laughed at the chopsticks that said “I was Groot.”

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

At one point I went over to the science area of the festival where I briefly petted this baby seal robot with one hand and shot this video with the other.

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

The next couple of photos show the women who represented each of the 50 states and territories who were chosen to be Cherry Blossom Queens and Princesses for 2019.

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

I even shot this short video of the group singing “My Country Tis of Thee.” The lead singer had a very nice voice.

I made my way over to the Wishing Tree where one can write his/her own wish on a piece of paper then hang it on the tree.

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

I ended up writing my own wish. I had to do with my latest job being unsteady. (I work for a government contractor that is currently having a hard time with getting new work because many of the government contracting officers have been spooked by President Donald Trump’s recent month-long shutdown. Apparently many of them are afraid of another shutdown happening again so they are holding on to their funds more than they used to.) I wrote this on my piece of paper: “I wish for financial stability with a well-paying job. I wish my new book sells lots of copies. I’m not asking to be rich.”

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

I would’ve written more about how I only wish to be financially stable and I’m not asking to be rich but I ran out of space on the paper.

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

The next photo shows the only thing that I purchased at the Sakura Matsuri this year: a small dish of vanilla Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

I briefly checked out a calligraphy show where someone did some Japanese calligraphy in ink while music played. Here’s a video I shot of that event.

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

I saw the Yosakoi Dance Project demonstrate their high-energy style of dance. I took a couple of decent shots of the group in action.

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

I also shot this video of the group in action.

At one point the leader of the dance troupe took his young daughter on stage where they briefly chatted. She looked so adorable in her little kimono.

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

I continued shooting more pictures of the festival.

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

I shot this video of Japanese singer-songwriter Rie Tamuro, who played her acoustic guitar and sang. She played a mellow folk style of music. I thought she was quite talented.

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

The last video I shot was of the Japanese alternative rock band LUST. The group’s music reminded me of what I used to hear from the Seattle grunge rock scene of the 1990s.

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

The last photo I shot at the festival featured a group of people doing the traditional Japanese bow, which was appropriate since in Japan people bow to each other when they are arriving and leaving.

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival

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A six-year-old boy is making $11 million a year on YouTube reviewing toys.

Bill Clinton’s crime bill destroyed lives and there’s no point denying that.

100-year-old life hacks that are surprisingly still useful today.

After it stopped posting to Facebook, a Danish broadcaster saw its traffic stability improve.

A country without a heart.

A grasshopper has been stuck in this Van Gogh painting for 128 years.

How to build a hexapod robot out of tongue depressors.

An insider explains how rural Christian white America has a dark and terrifying underbelly.

An entire Manhattan village owned by black people was destroyed to build Central Park.

21 books that changed science fiction and fantasy forever.

What well-meaning white people need to know about race.

How Southern politics defended white supremacy—and made the South poorer.

Want to grow the U.S. economy? Cancel student debt.

When you’re “too functional” to have your mental illness taken seriously.

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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’ve served as an English teacher to recent immigrants through a special program that my church offers as part of its social justice program. 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. 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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