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Today is Tax Day in the U.S. and I’m burning the stress candle at both ends between getting my taxes done on time, following up on some potential job leads, and doing some general spring cleaning of my home. The one fringe benefit of Tax Day is that it gives me an incentive to go through papers trying to find any documents I could use for filling out those damned tax return forms while I take that opportunity to throw old papers either in the trash or the recycling bin (depending on if the paper in question is recyclable or not).
In the course of sorting through old papers I came across a letter from last year notifying me of the death of my onetime divorce lawyer while saying that if there are any outstanding papers from him that I need I should go to the lawyer handling my late lawyer’s estate and get them immediately. (Luckily my divorce lawyer had given me all the documents I needed around the time of my divorce so I didn’t need to do that.)
Well, anyway, here’s a video break that’s appropriate for today. It was originally a Beatles song but the late George Harrison did a live performance of that tune during a 1992 concert in Japan that also included Eric Clapton on guitar.
Last night, which was April Fool’s Day, I headed up to Baltimore where I checked out this year’s Light City event. I was there because I wanted to see my own animation, The March of Liberty, being shown on the big screen. It took a while for me to find the screen that was showing it but I finally found it at Pier 5 in the Inner Harbor, which is located on the outermost edge of Light City.
The area was a big screen that had a few plastic adirondack chairs around so I picked a chair and I sat down in it at 7:30 p.m. I waited and waited as I saw other people’s videos and as the sun set and the temperature dipped to 50 degrees. Even though I had a jacket on, I was still chilly because I wasn’t moving. I waited and waited. At one point the end credits were showing and I saw my name on it and it was also how I found out I had started watching the middle of the videos. The videos automatically rewinded back to the first videos so I kept on waiting and hoping that my video was showing soon.
One hour passed. Then another 30 minutes passed. I began to get concerned because I had taken the light rail into the city and I didn’t have the luxury to wait until Light City’s official Saturday night midnight closing time. (The last Light Rail was scheduled to leave Baltimore at 11:30 p.m.) I also continued to freeze as I waited.
Finally at around 9:35 p.m. my video was shown. I waited a little over two hours in the cold outdoors for my video to finally be shown. I took out my smartphone and shot this short reaction video to actually seeing my animation being shown on the large screen.
It was incredible thrilling thing for me to see my work being shown like that. After I saw my animation, I left the On Demand area and gradually made my way through the crowds (yes, Light City was just as crowded as last year) while seeing the other light exhibits on my way back to the Convention Center light rail stop so I could take one of the last light rails to North Linthicum, where my car was parked.
I woke up the next morning feeling very stiff and sore. I ended up skipping church this morning. But it was worth it because I had the rare privilege of having my work shown to a potential wide audience. I took a bunch of pictures during my time at Light City but they will have to wait for another post because I’m a bit on the tired side right about now.
If you’re curious about my animation, you can see The March of Liberty in its entirety below.
By the way, Light City will continue into next week in Baltimore. I highly recommend it not only for the chance to see my video being shown on a giant screen along with the others but also for seeing so many creative works of art all done in lights. Click here for more information about this event.
I felt compelled to make this podcast after I heard about this new podcast series that has suddenly gone viral called Missing Richard Simmons. Having listened to only the first episode, I found it highly exploitative. Since I’m reviewing a podcast, I’d thought it would be appropriate to do my review in podcast form, where I go into details on why I find the entire series to be exploitative and why we should all just leave Richard Simmons alone.
I felt so strongly against that podcast series that I even made a YouTube video version of it as well. The only difference between the two is that the video version has visuals that I downloaded from various websites. So if you prefer visuals with your podcasts, then check out the video below.
I shot a short video featuring the Chalice Dancers at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church right at the beginning of Sunday service. They did a Hawaiian dance to Hawaiian music.
Four years ago I wrote this rant titled A Warning For Those Who Intend to Enter This Year’s Peeps Diorama Contest after I saw a Washington Post Peeps diorama wall calendar that had gone on sale at a local store. As someone who entered the contest two years in a row (in 2008 and 2009), I realized the full implications of that release I was required to sign before I could even enter my dioramas in that contest where The Washington Post could launch spin-off products without having to pay a dime to the original artists and the artists had no legal recourse because they signed that release just like I did.
In the years since I wrote that rant, I noticed that it would become the most-read post during the time of the year when The Washington Post announced its annual Peeps diorama contest only to have it slip out of WordPress.com’s list of my top ten most-read posts once the winners were announced. In fact, seeing that post rise to the top of the most-read list is how I usually knew that The Washington Post has announced a new call for entries to that contest.
According to this article on DCist.com, The Washington Post will no longer hold the Peeps diorama contest. The Washington Post said that it has been getting fewer submissions, which correlates to the decline in readership in recent years. So, after 10 years, the annual Washington Post Peeps diorama contest is now history.
However, the alternative weekly Washington City Paper is hinting that it may pick up the Peeps diorama contest and the show could still go on this year. In the meantime there is a DC-area Peeps diorama contest that’s being held at National Harbor (which makes sense since the Peeps store is located there) but the theme of that contest is limited to depicting the new National Harbor social media campaign #ThisIsHowYouHarbor.
In commemoration to the now-defunct Washington Post Peeps diorama contest, I’ll end with post with a few videos—all of which I shot. The first two feature Peeps dioramas that were submitted to that contest by the late prolific Peeps diorama artist Carl Cordell and he later displayed all of his dioramas at the 2008 Artomatic.
The last two are my own entries to the contest that I submitted in 2008 and 2009. I didn’t even get Honorable Mention. I decided to quit after 2009 when I read that The Washington Post received over 1,000 submissions that year and I decided that it wasn’t worth working on something that would most likely get lost in the shuffle. So, without further ado, here are Peep Floyd and Pop Star Peepney Pursued by the Peeperazzi.
UPDATE (April 16, 2017): The Washington City Paper went through with its hint that it would pick up the Peeps diorama contest for this year. They pulled it off despite the short notice. Following The Washington Post‘s previous tradition of announcing the contest winners on Easter Sunday, the City Paper has posted the winners on its website today. If you’re in the Baltimore-Washington, DC area, you can view these winning dioramas in person at the Peeps store located at National Harbor. Given the response to this contest, it’s very likely that The Washington City Paper will probably hold this contest again in 2018 and in the years to come.
I found out on Facebook about a dance protest that was being organized by the LGBTQ activist group Werk for Peace. They were protesting the Trump Administration giving plum jobs to homophobes along with its policy towards Muslim immigrants. The protest started at the Trump International Hotel and it ended at the White House. It was a pretty joyous protest despite the fact that it was bitter cold outside. (The temperature was in the low 30’s.) The high point was when they played Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” and people were cheering and dancing outside the White House. Here’s a short video of the protest when the people initially gathered and danced outside the Trump International Hotel.
Here are my still photos, starting with the Trump International Hotel.
The next photo shows the pickup truck that led the protest as it blasted dance music.
The protest went down Pennsylvania Avenue as people were literally dancing in the streets.
The employees at the White House Gifts store came to the front door and cheered the protesters on. One of the protesters (draped in a rainbow flag) ran over to the store and embraced the employees.
The protest ended at the White House as people were dancing in the streets while holding anti-Trump signs.
This next photo made a humorous reference to the non-existent Bowling Green Massacre.
I’ll admit that this protest was small compared to the Women’s March on Washington but I don’t mind because I wasn’t crammed in as much and there also seemed to be more of a sense of joy as people were cheering and dancing. It also didn’t receive as much media coverage, aside from this WTOP story.
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.
Last December I was helping out with creating this video. Basically my help consisted of scanning pages from a certain book so excerpts from the book can be shown on screen.
The video is now online. Phil Shapiro reviews Charlie Reisinger’s book The Open Schoolhouse and it includes the pages that I scanned.