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This is the third year that a maker event took place in Greenbelt, Maryland. (It used to be known as the Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire until this year, when the organizers decided against renewing the license with Make magazine, which holds the rights to the name “Maker Faire”. One of the reasons I heard is that the organizers of this event has always insisted on it being a non-commercial, non-profit community event which is the opposite of most Maker Faire events, which tend to have all kinds of corporate sponsorships.) After sitting out last year, I decided to return as a participating vendor with my own table.
Makerspace 125 is the main spearheader of this event. This is what it looked like on that day all decked out in balloons and hoops wrapped with yarn.
Someone draped the nearby Mother and Child statue with long strings of beads.
Here is my vending area at this year’s event.
A few days earlier I created a video slideshow of my sketchbook drawings I made over the years (I only admitted the ones that depicted partial or full nudity because this festival is an all-ages family-friendly event). I made a little brochure explaining about myself. I also offered free Oreo cookies.
This section shows the comic book coasters I made by cutting up the comic book collection that my ex-husband left behind. (I attempted to sell them but comic books are worth squat these days, especially if they were published after 1985.) I first debuted them at the 2015 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire and I still had a few left mainly because I haven’t worked as many art shows and craft fairs in recent years as before the economic meltdown of 2008.
Last, but not least, here is my Barbie doll section.
The one in the front is the Barbie that I customized into the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl (which I also documented in my four-part DIY video series).
The three other dolls in the back are ones I originally found in thrift stores and I converted them into fairy dolls.
Since this event took place the day before Easter Sunday, there were plenty of eggs on display this year.
Here are my photos of the rest of the festival. The day started off cloudy and cool but then the sun came out and it got progressively hotter until I took off my hooded sweatshirt and just walked around in a t-shirt instead. The cream in the middle of the Oreo cookies I was giving away started to ooze from the middle of each cookie. (I ultimately had to put the entire pack in the refrigerator when I returned home.)
Even though the weather was ideal, the event drew a smaller crowd this year than in previous years. I have a feeling that the fact that this event was scheduled on the day before Easter had something to do with it. I only made a total of $25 in sales throughout the entire six-hour event. I was sort of disappointed because I really wanted to get rid of some excess crafts that have been stored in my home for the past few years while earning extra money. Oh well. At least I got to see a lot of my friends at this event so that’s something.
I also shot a short video of some parts of the festival, which you can view below.
Happy Earth Day! Here are some links for you to enjoy! 🙂
How Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, and Warren Buffet adhere to the Five-Hour Rule where they set aside at least one hour a day (or five hours a week) devoted to such practices as reading, reflection, and experimentation.
It’s been two years since I last went to this annual event, which traditionally closes the weeks-long National Cherry Blossom Festival. The last time I was there, the Sakura Matsuri was held on Pennsylvania Avenue right next to the Old Post Office Building (which was then undergoing renovation into the Trump International Hotel—you can see those giant blue TRUMP signs in the background of some of the photos I took during that event).
Since that time the event has been relocated. It is now held at the Navy Yards near Nationals Park. I don’t know if Donald Trump have had a hand in that festival’s relocation or not but it doesn’t matter because I don’t have to see those Trump International Hotel signs.
Like previous Sakura Matsuri festivals, this one was a celebration of all aspects of Japanese culture including anime, J-pop, J-rock, kendo, and traditional Japanese crafts. There were also a lot of cosplayers walking around. Here are the photos I took of the Sakura Matsuri.
As I look back on this, I have to admit that I really pushed my body to the max. That was because the night before I went to Light City in Baltimore, where I waited outside in the cold for over two hours waiting for my animation, The March of Liberty, to finally show on the big screen. I was so stiff and sore the following day that I ended up skipping church.
I still pushed myself to check out the first annual Kamecon because I like seeing cosplayers all dressed up, I was attracted by the $3 admission fee, it was held on the campus of my alma mater (the University of Maryland at College Park), and it was held just three miles from my current home.
Compared to other anime conventions like Otakon and Katsucon, Kamecon is relatively small. The entire event was held in one of the ballrooms at the Adele H. Stamp Student Union building. But the participants were pretty enthusiastic as they donned costumes and hung out. Here are some photos I took.
There was a line at the ticket office located next to the Hoff Theater but it wasn’t too bad. I think I may have spent about 15 minutes in line at the most.
I decided to bring my Canon Digital Rebel EOS camera with me to this event. Here’s a selfie I was able to take thanks to the restroom mirror. (Yes, I was wearing the My Little Pony Rainbow Dash hoodie in order to blend in a little bit with the cosplayers.)
Some people were waiting to have their photo professionally taken.
The entire convention took place in a ballroom, which included an indoor tent/lounge where people could chill.
There was a Jubeat video game that had a cool cube design. I didn’t see anyone play it mainly because it was directly imported from Japan and that machine required a 1 yen coin, which doesn’t do any good for the vast majority of Americans present.
There were other video games that people played.
I took a few shots of two cosplayers who were dancing alongside one of the dancing video games while it was playing Lady Gaga’s hit song “Poker Face.”
I even shot a short video of those two dancing cosplayers.
The ballroom was divided, with half of the room being reserved for Artists Alley. There was a photography ban of that area (unless the photographer gets permission from an Artists Alley participant) so I took only one wide shot of the entire area from the other side.
There were board games and card game packs available for attendees to play with.
Here are some more pictures of Kamecon, including cosplayers.
I also took a few pictures of the University of Maryland campus because it was such a lovely warm sunny spring day. But I didn’t take too many pictures because I was growing tired from both checking out Kamecon and Light City the night before. Here’s a long shot of the Jim Henson Memorial.
The cherry blossom trees on campus were in full bloom.
Here’s a shot of the Mall.
One of the terrapin statues that are located on campus.
March is Women’s History Month, which ended just two days earlier, but there was still this poster featuring the University of Maryland’s famous female alumni including Connie Chung, Dominique Dawes, Gayle King, Sarah Winnemucca, Judith Resnik, Adele H. Stamp, and Carolina Rojas Bahr.
I’m writing this blog post instead of watching the Super Bowl this year. None of my friends and acquaintances were throwing any Super Bowl parties and I’ve ditched cable a few years ago because I grew tired of Comcast increasing my bill from $79 per month to a whopping $200 per month. (I wasn’t watching any pay-per-view shows at all. Comcast likes to lure you with a low “introductory price” bill for the first year or two then start to jack up the rates really high.) I haven’t gotten around to buying rabbit ears so I can watch network television. These days I use my TV set to watch videos and play console games. So I’m spending Super Bowl Sunday doing something else.
Yesterday I had a whole bunch of stories crop up in my Facebook newsfeed about this 13-year-old girl named Danielle Peskowitz Bregoli who became an Internet sensation after she appeared on The Dr. Phil Show and uttered this phrase: “Cash me outside, how bow dah!”
Danielle had appeared on an episode titled “I Want To Give Up My Car-Stealing, Knife-Wielding, Twerking 13-Year-Old Daughter Who Tried To Frame Me For A Crime.” Having seen video excerpts from that episode posted on that last link, it’s obvious that this girl needs help. I’ve long cringed at Dr. Phil putting minors on his show when these troubled teens would be better off seeing a therapist where they could work out their issues in a private office. That’s because I’m not sure putting these kids on television really help them in the long run and there’s always the chance that their classmates will see that troubled teen on TV and they’ll use that show to taunt and bully the kid at school.
Danielle can be hard to understand because she has chosen to speak what she calls “street talk” where this white middle class girl from the suburbs tries to talk like she’s from the inner city hood but she fails miserably because I doubt she has actually had any kind of exposure to real inner city residents. Shoot, I’ve heard real inner city residents in both Baltimore and DC talk more clearly and eloquently than her! Danielle acts tough but I would be willing to bet that she wouldn’t last even fifteen minutes in a really tough hood like this one before she either gets shot, beaten up, or she has a total meltdown because the real hood didn’t conform to her fantasy idea of what a hood is like.
Danielle isn’t the first troubled teen who has ever appeared on The Dr. Phil Show but, for some reason, her phrase “Cash me outside, how bow dah” resonated with someone enough that this person made a meme with her face and her quote. That led to other people making other memes featuring the girl and her quote and, before you know it, she has become the latest Internet sensation. She is known as The Bhad Bhabie on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and she has opened her own store on Shopify where she’s trying to cash in on her unexpected Internet notoriety. What’s more, she’s scheduled to make a return appearance on The Dr. Phil Show this week.
Frankly I just don’t get the Internet exalting Danielle like this. She’s not some prodigy where she’s a whiz at music or dancing or art or chess or some other field. She’s just a 13-year-old girl with an average intellect who has serious issues and someone needs to put her in some kind of a therapy situation before she ends up either becoming a teen mom, a jailbird, or dead. Based on what I’ve read, it seems like she’s thrilled with being an Internet celebrity but I hope some responsible adult is telling her not to expect this kind of fame to last forever because she will ultimately be replaced by the Next Big Thing on the Internet. So far she has been seen threatening paparazzi in Hollywood as if she is some kind of a major celebrity.
The whole thing is just crazy. In fact, I did my own parody meme that I’ve just unleashed on various social media sites where I used an image of Grumpy Cat.
Need a Valentine’s Day gift idea but you’re cash-strapped at the moment? Check out this this cool “You Rule Valentine” free tutorial using a cheap wood ruler and other supplies that you can find at your local dollar store.
If that previous Valentine’s Day gift idea isn’t up your alley, here are some more free tutorials for other Valentine-themed crafts using materials that you can find at your local dollar store.
Are you interested in learning how to play a musical instrument but you can’t afford to buy or rent one? Check out these free tutorials on how you can build your own guitar, ukulele, banjo, and even a violin out of cigar boxes.
Are you itching to crochet something to wear? Check out these free patterns where you can make variations on the pineapple bolero crochet jackets.
Do you find yourself in this scenario?: You’re in the mood to watch a movie. You’re too broke to go to your local movie theater and pay the ever-increasing ticket prices (let alone buy anything from the concession stand). You can’t afford to pay for Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime. Video rental stores don’t exist anymore. You only want just a couple of hours of escapist fun. What’s a broke person to do? Here is a list of the best free movies that are currently available on YouTube, including such classics as Night of the Living Dead, Carnival of Souls, Nosferatu, Detour, and His Girl Friday featuring stars like Cary Grant and Vincent Price. Yes, they are all completely legal for you to watch online without having to deal with torrents and things like that.
Feeling frustrated with President Donald Trump? You can take out your frustration with this free video game called Super Trump Run, whose gameplay is reminiscent of Super Mario Bros.
Another one of my childhood memories have gone the way of the dodo bird. I’m sure most of you have heard this announcement that Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will permanently shut down in a few months after operating for 146 years.
I feel sad because I still have fond memories of the few years when my mother took me to that circus as a small child whenever it performed at the Baltimore Civic Center (now known as the Royal Farms Arena). I loved watching the elephants and tigers do their tricks. (This was long before I learned about the allegations that these animals suffered abuse.) I still remember when this guy did a high wire act on a motorcycle and he even twirled his motorcycle around on that wire above our heads. I remember feeling awed by that stunt while my mother feared that the guy would somehow slip up or the wire would snap and that man and his motorcycle would fall on top of us.
I also loved the clowns because I thought they were hilarious. I especially loved it whenever a bunch of clowns emerged from a tiny clown car because I always used to wonder how so many people could pack inside such a tiny car like that. This was back in the day when clowns were considered to be child-friendly people who only wanted to make people laugh. (I feel sad that most people now consider clowns to be creepy and scary because it wasn’t always like this. I would love to spend the night at the Clown Motel in Tonopah, Nevada one day before I die but I would need to get plenty of money first before I can turn that dream into a reality.)
I remember my mother stopped taking me to that circus the year I was going through First Communion. That was because my parents couldn’t afford both going to the circus and the expenses connected with my First Communion, which included wearing a special dress with a veil (like a bride’s dress, a girl’s First Communion dress was also one that could be worn only once, especially since I didn’t have any younger sisters I could pass this dress down to) and throwing a post-communion party at our home afterwards. Personally I would’ve preferred going to the circus over First Communion but I wasn’t given the opportunity to make that decision. I never went back to the circus after that. (I don’t know why that was the case. The only thing I could guess is that maybe ticket prices had gotten too expensive for my parents to afford.) But I still have fond memories of the few years I went to the circus.
I haven’t been to a circus as an adult. The closest I came was the time when, in 2010, my then-husband and I visited the John and Mabel Ringling Museum of Art, which included circus memorabilia (such as a miniature replica of a circus that was created by a lifelong circus fan). I don’t know if I’ll be able to check out the Ringling Bros. last circus shows for old-time’s sake because of financial issues. Oh, well. At least I still have the Nintendo Wii Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus video game to remember it by.
Continuing with this series on having a tabletop Christmas, here are some more ornaments that I currently have on my small tabletop tree.
I’ve been into animation since I was a child so it’s quite logical that I would have a lot of Christmas ornaments to reflect my interest in animation. Some of these ornaments were ones that I purchased while others were given as gifts from various relatives over the years. I used to have a lot of animation-themed ornaments back when my husband and I used to put up a six-foot tree. Since my husband left I’ve done some serious downsizing. While I still have a few animation-themed ornaments left, my collection of Christmas animation ornaments is a far cry from what I had five years ago (when my husband left just three days after Christmas with no indication that he was the slightest bit unhappy).
The ornaments shaped like Disney characters tend to predominate my collection the most. Okay, so I like Disney animation, especially Mickey Mouse. Here’s a caroling Mickey Mouse next to a ceramic ornament featuring a pink mouse in a stocking that I was given as a child by my parents and I still have it.
Here’s a wooden Mickey Mouse clock. (No, it’s not a real functioning clock.)
This was an ornament that I purchased during one of my many trips to Walt Disney World over the years. My husband and I arrived shortly after the 1st Disneyana Convention was held so the resort was selling these ornaments at a clearance sale for half-price.
I also have a Mickey Mouse stocking hanger. I still have the same stocking that my parents originally purchased for me when I was an infant. It hasn’t been filled with anything since my husband left. These days I just hang my stocking as a decoration since it’s really not worth the effort for me to fill my own stocking. (Filling one’s own stocking kills the element of surprise right there.)
I have a small Santa Mickey snow globe decoration that I received when I attended the annual post-Christmas white elephant gift exchange that my support group for people who are separated or divorced puts on each year. The snow globe has the year 2013 written on it.
I also have other Disney characters besides Mickey Mouse in my Christmas tree, such as Winnie the Pooh.
Flit is a hummingbird from the animated Disney movie Pocahontas.
The next photo has two Disney ornaments. The raccoon is Meeko from the Pocahontas movie. The other figure is Stitch from Lilo in Stitch and he’s dressed like Elvis Presley.
I have another Stitch ornament. This one is a small plush ornament and he’s wearing ear muffs, mittens, and a red sweater that says “NAUGHTY” on it. Next to Stitch is Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh and he’s sliding downhill on a sled.
These next two photographs show a double-sided ornament. On one side is Belle and the Beast from the film Beauty and the Beast.
The other side shows the Beast after he’s been transformed back into his original human self.
Rounding out the Disney decorations are two dolls resembling the two princesses Anna and Elsa from the movie Frozen. I originally bought the dolls thinking that I would display them at Christmas then put them away in the attic after the holidays. Except when it came time to take down everything, I couldn’t bear to put these dolls away. These days I keep them with my doll collection upstairs and I bring them downstairs to join the other Christmas decorations.
I have other animated-themed ornaments that are based on non-Disney characters as well, such as this one featuring Sylvester and Tweety from the Warner Brothers Looney Tunes cartoon shorts.
My parents gave me this ornament based on Dr. Seuss’ classic Christmas book How the Grinch Stole Christmas (which was later turned into a made-for-television animation special then it was remade into a live action theatrical feature film starring Jim Carrey). This one features the scene after the Grinch had finished making a Santa outfit for himself and placed reindeer antlers on his dog Max and they are both standing in front of a mirror (which is actually a real mirror).
I know that technically the ornament in the next picture is really based on a video game but Sonic the Hedgehog was turned into a cartoon series in the 1990’s so I’m going to include it here on a technicality. I bought this ornament back in the days when I owned a Sega Game Gear and I was really into playing Sonic the Hedgehog. Basically the ornament is shaped like a Game Gear (including a Christmas scene featuring Sonic) while Sonic is running on top of the Game Gear bearing Christmas presents. I’ve long since sold my Game Gear but I still have the ornament nonetheless.
Today is yet another birthday for me. For this special day I’m going to upload .jpegs of some special letters I wrote earlier this year that basically explains a few things about myself.
Here is some background. This past spring the Religious Exploration program (which is what my Unitarian Universalist congregation calls its Sunday school program) decided to do an intergenerational activity which is supposed to foster more community between the young children in the program and other adult members beside the children’s parents.
So the Mystery Buddy program was started. Basically one adult and one child would be paired up. Neither would know about who the buddy was other than each person was given a mailbox number where the two buddies would deliver letters. (The mailboxes were really manilla folders that were hung on a bulletin board and they each had a number.) Basically each Sunday in April the person would drop off a letter for his/her buddy while picking up the letter that the buddy left for him/her. At the end of the month a special reception would be held after both Sunday service and the Religious Education classes (which run concurrently) where both paris of mystery buddies would meet each other in person for the first time.
I decided to take part of it because I figured that it would be fun. I was paired with a pre-school boy who is a big fan of My Little Pony. Since the kid was so young, I had to be careful about writing letters mainly because I wasn’t sure what his reading level was (or if he had even learned to read yet). I decided to create picture collages instead. Well, anyway, we managed to put our letters in the slots and I finally met him in person. (The boy was a bit on the shy side and he ended up not speaking much while sticking closely with his mother. I ended up talking with his parents instead, which was okay.)
So, as a special birthday feature, I’m going to upload what I originally gave to my Mystery Buddy. Each week of the Mystery Buddy program had a different theme so we didn’t have to come up with a subject idea for our letters, which was a great idea. The first week focused on music. I downloaded some graphics off the Internet and I did this collage in Photoshop where I mixed in some of the musicians I actually like (such as Pink Floyd and The Beatles) with Octavia from My Little Pony (as a nod to my Mystery Buddy’s interest in that show), the virtual pop star Hatsune Miku (I figured that he might be into cartoon characters), and the Internet sensation Keyboard Cat (I figured that he would get a kick out of that one). For added measure I had Rainbow Dash near the rainbow-producing prism that graced Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon album.
Week 2’s theme was favorite hobbies. I ended up doing a short one-page letter where I included a few samples of my drawings and photographs.
Week 3’s theme was happiest childhood memory. I was a bit stumped on this one until I decided to write about The Enchanted Forest. Even though, at two pages, it’s the longest of my letters, it’s basically a short and simplified version of my Saving The Enchanted Forest movie that I screened at last year’s Artomatic in Hyattsville.
The fourth and final week had favorite games as the theme. I decided to just list two board games (Monopoly and The Game of Life) and two video games (Pac-Man and Angry Birds).
Okay so I didn’t write my entire autobiography in those letters but hopefully, through reading them, you have the chance to learn a little more about the person who writes this blog (me). 🙂
I took these photos not too long ago. I took this photo at a railroad crossing in Riverdale Park, Maryland.
I shot this photo of a vintage toy train sharing shelf space with old books in a local bookstore.
I found a special NFL Baltimore Ravens Beanie Baby at a local Safeway.
I saw these Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump bobblehead dolls on sale at a local Safeway.
I saw this lovely sunset over Route 50 on the way back from a job interview.
I saw this on the floor at a local record store. It’s a unique way to recycle old vinyl records.
A local pizza parlor in my area has recently gotten a couple of vintage arcade machines.
Here are some painted Halloween pumpkins and other gourds that I saw on sale at a local farmers market.
I saw this blooming fall flower during one of my walks around the neighborhood.
I saw a pair of turkeys of display at the Greenbelt Farmer’s Market this past Sunday.