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Mother’s Day Weekend 2018 was a big deal for me. First, there was the annual Greenbelt Green Man Festival but it wasn’t the reason why it was a big deal for me. Just a few days before the festival I decided to ditch both my Droid Ultra smartphone and Verizon. My five-year-old smartphone was literally on its last legs. The camera feature had died first (which was why I ended up using the Canon PowerShot camera for photography and videography) but the last few months I had to deal with a phone that constantly kept on crashing and rebooting. This even happened when I was on the phone with someone.

And then there was Verizon, who was increasingly price-gouging me. It got to the point where it started to charge me $125 per month for just the cell phone. I asked someone at Verizon what can I do to lower my cell phone bill and I was told to just get one of those pay-as-you-go phones. The downside is that I wouldn’t be able to transfer my current phone number to that pay-as-you-go phone so I would’ve had to deal with the hassle of telling all of my friends, family, and various business associates that I have a new phone number.

I settled on Consumer Cellular, with monthly plans starting at $25 per month. So far I’ve been very pleased with that company. As for my new phone, it’s actually a used phone that I got from a friend of mine but it’s new to me. (LOL!) It’s a Samsung Galaxy J3. It’s not exactly the top-of-the-line phone but it’s good enough for my purposes.

The Greenbelt Green Man Festival was the first place where I tried the camera part of my new smartphone. This selfie I took is officially the first photo I’ve ever taken with my new smartphone camera.

My Selfie at the Greenbelt Green Man Festival

This video, featuring the band Kiva and a bunch of people dancing is officially the first video I shot with my new smartphone.

On the first day of the Greenbelt Green Man Festival I took a bunch of shots of the festival itself. There were a couple of people playing with hand puppets shaped like a cricket and a praying mantis.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival.

The theme for this year’s Greenbelt Green Man Festival was soil, which was reflected in the official t-shirts that were for sale.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

There was a local beekeeper who showed off his beehive.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

There was a hands-on activity where people of all ages were encouraged to build their own fairy garden.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

There was a community art event where people were encouraged to paint on a canvas that was shaped like a peace sign.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

There was a small pool with rubber ducks that kids could play with.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

There were plenty of handcrafted items made by local artisans on sale at that festival throughout the weekend.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

The Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

The Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

Some people offered their services, such as Gwen Vaccaro, who runs her own spa known as Pleasant Touch.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival.

Some people staffed information booths that promoted local environmental organizations and local environmental issues.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

The Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

The Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

There were musical acts who performed throughout the entire two-day festival.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

A local Girl Scout Troop did a food and toiletry drive for a local homeless shelter on the first day of the festival.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

People basically hung out with each other and had a good time.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

The Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

May 12 was also Scratch Day. The Greenbelt Makerspace had put out a bunch of laptops in anticipation of people coming in and try their hand at coding in Scratch. However, the festival was simultaneously being held right outside its doors so very few people took advantage of this opportunity.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 12, 2018

The second day of the festival was not only Mother’s Day but it was also the first day of the new season of the Greenbelt Farmers Market (which had been on its usual winter hiatus). A new Lebanese restaurant was in the process of opening its doors but there was still more work to be done in the restaurant before it could be properly opened to the general pubic. The restaurant decided to offer Lebanese Zaatar bread on a carryout basis, which I found to be very tasty.)

The Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

The Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

The Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

The biggest downer about the second day of the festival was the rain, which resulted in fewer people at the festival.

The Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

Many people opted to go indoors instead. Some of them went to the Greenbelt Makerspace.

The Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

The Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

Many of the performing acts moved indoors to the New Deal Cafe where they were still able to perform despite the rain.

The Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

The band Global Warming performed its indoor set.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

Here’s a short video I shot of this band in action.

I shot some more footage of the band Tower Green, whose set officially closed the Greenbelt Green Man Festival.

The one thing about getting a new phone with a working camera is that I was able to play with an app for the first time in 2018. I took a photo of Hatsune Miku at the very end of the festival when a truck had arrived to take down the stage.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

Here is what I purchased at this year’s Greenbelt Green Man Festival. I purchased this nice vegan cupcake that I ate soon after I took these photos.

The Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

The Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

I purchased this bar of jasmine soap from Acorn & Clover.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

I was also given a free soap sample by Acorn & Clover.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

Last, but not least, I purchased another bar of soap from Mystic Water Soap.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, May 13, 2018

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Ramadan

Before I got my current day job doing administrative work for the executor of his late aunt’s estate, I had done some volunteer work as an assistant facilitator for the Takoma Park, Maryland chapter of Girls Who Code, a nationwide organization that is dedicated to encourage girls to become comfortable with technology so they will feel emboldened to enter computer science and other STEM related fields as women. This chapter met two afternoons a week after school in the computer lab at the Takoma Park Public Library (that’s the one that’s located on the Maryland side of town—there’s another Takoma Park Public Library that’s located on the Washington, DC side and is part of the DC Public Library system).

I ended up having to drop out when I had a serious car problem earlier this year (the brakes died and I couldn’t afford to get them repaired immediately) followed by getting my current day job. I helped with editing this video about what the girls did during their time with Girls Who Code. (Other people had shot video footage and photos.)

The video that I edited was shown during the graduation ceremony that was held last week. Unfortunately I had to miss it because of my day job but the ceremony was initially live-streamed over the Internet and it’s now archived on YouTube.

I recently wrote a new article on LinkedIn Pulse about my experience with Girls Who Code called “How I’ve Personally Seen Girls Who Code Change Lives,” which you can read right here.

Ramadan

A look at the digital ruins of a forgotten future called Second Life.

U.S. mints coins for Donald Trump-Kim Jong Un summit that might not happen.

Fewer tourists are coming to the U.S. and experts say that it’s largely Trump’s fault.

Barbie “Shero” doll with a hijab honors Olympian Ibtihaj Muhammad.

Martin Luther King may have been killed by a Memphis police officer, not James Earl Ray.

How white Americans used lynchings to terrorize and control black people.

Laminated jewelry crafted from vintage books by Jeremy May.

A look at the guerrilla grafting movement—secretly grafting fruit-bearing trees onto ornamental city trees in order to feed the poor.

A Princeton sociologist spent 8 years asking rural Americans why they are so pissed off. Hint: It’s not about the economy.

The surprising secret to aging well.

New York City has genetically distinct “uptown” and “downtown” rats.

Why the DNC is fighting WikiLeaks and not Wall Street.

How Australia all but ended gun violence.

83,500 vintage sewing patterns put into online database from Vogue, McCall’s, Butterick, and Simplicity.

Stunning images of pagan costumes worn at winter celebrations around the world.

Watch the illustrated version of “Alice’s Restaurant,” Arlo Guthrie’s Thanksgiving Counterculture Classic.

The bots that are changing politics.

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Ramadan

I was asked by a friend of mine to help with editing a video that someone else had shot. It was shot at the MidWinter Play Day that was held at the Takoma Park, Community Center in Takoma Park, Maryland. The only thing that was really significant was that it was the first time I had ever worked with 4K video (which has its own Wikipedia page). Otherwise, editing it was no different from the other videos I’ve edited (mainly the ones that I shot myself). Well, anyway, here’s the video in question.

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Ramadan

Once again I took part in the Changing Focus Yard Sale, which was held on the grounds of the Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church in Crofton, Maryland. Like the previous times I attended, I collected money from people who wanted to buy the used items that were donated from the members of Changing Focus (which is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people deal with being separated, divorced, and widowed). In-between handling the money and interacting with the customers, I took these photos of a few choice items that were on sale this time around.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 28, 2018

This porcelain doll looked like the late Princess Diana having an incredibly bad hair day while wearing a dress that looked a couple of sizes too big for her.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 28, 2018

These two Victorian-style dolls were snapped up about a minute or two after I took this shot.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 28, 2018

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 28, 2018

The weather was warm and gorgeous outside. It was the perfect day to hold a yard sale. The flowers were at their peak bloom as well.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 28, 2018

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 28, 2018

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 28, 2018

These kids were playing under one of the flowering trees while their parents shopped at the yard sale.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 28, 2018

This is definitely the epitome of kitsch: a porcelain Avon Lady figurine dressed in Victorian-style clothes.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 28, 2018

There were plenty of other things on sale that were definitely kitschy.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 28, 2018

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 28, 2018

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 28, 2018

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 28, 2018

Most of the time I participate in these yard sales, I come across at least one item that belongs in a museum. This time it was a film cartridge for the Kodak Pocket Instamatic camera (which was my first camera I ever owned—this post I wrote over two years ago has photos I shot with that camera when I was trying to earn a photography badge in Girl Scouts). What’s even more amazing is that this film was still in its original foil cover, which has never been opened.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 28, 2018

Here’s another view of the wrapped Kodak film cartridge that has the words “Open at Cut.” (There’s a little cut along the center seam where one is supposed to rip in order to open the package.)

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 28, 2018

I don’t know if anyone bought it. I have no way of knowing if that film would be usable since it was probably manufactured during the Pocket Instamatic’s 1970s heyday. When I was doing a quick Google search about the Pocket Instamatic, I came across this website that was not only selling vintage Pocket Instamatic cameras but it was also selling newly manufactured 110 film cartridges just for that camera. (Which proves that there’s a market for just about anything these days.)

But that wasn’t the only Kodak film product I saw on sale that day. There was also a Kodak 35mm camera gift box set that was definitely for those who miss the days of shooting with 35mm film.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 28, 2018

I saw a vintage Soviet Union sports pendant (note the hammer and sickle in the center).

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 28, 2018

The Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church has a labyrinth on its property. A young boy was walking along the labyrinth while his father was watching the child while sitting on a bench on the far left side of the photograph.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 28, 2018

At one point I went indoors where I checked out the Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church’s used book sale.

Book Sale, Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church, April 28, 2018

Book Sale, Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church, April 28, 2018

I saw boxes full of vintage Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mystery series.

Book Sale, Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church, April 28, 2018

Book Sale, Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church, April 28, 2018

The church sold more than just used books. They had boxes full of VHS tapes. (I saw people actually browsing and buying them.)

Book Sale, Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church, April 28, 2018

I purchased two books at the used book sale. One was Dan Brown’s Inferno, which is another novel in the historical series featuring Robert Langdon. (I had previously read Angels & Demons, The Da Vinci Code, and The Lost Symbol.)

Book Sale at the Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church, April 28, 2018

I also found this book on puppet making, which I bought on impulse. (It only cost $1.)

Book Sale at the Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church, April 28, 2018

Both the yard sale and the used book sale were scheduled to coincide with the Festival on the Green, which is usually held on the grounds of the Crofton Country Club that’s located next door to the Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church. The festival had all kinds of handcrafted goods made by local artisans while providing entertainment (some of which included people dressed in costumes). I browsed through the various tables but I ended up not buying anything because money was very tight for me.

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Many of the items on sale were displayed with the upcoming Mother’s Day holiday in mind.

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

 

This year is also an election year with the midterm elections coming up in Maryland. There were plenty of political candidate signs on display.

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

Festival on the Green, April 28, 2018

This event was the first time I ever shot a video at the Festival on the Green. There was a woman who wore fox ears and a fox tail who was playing the ukulele and singing “Hickory Dickory Dock.”

All in all it was a pretty glorious day. I learned that Changing Focus managed to raise $1,600 from that yard sale. Sweet!

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Ramadan

Not too long ago someone made a comment on one of my posts on my Instagram account telling me that he/she really liked my work and he/she asked me to submit my recent art to this publication called 1340 Art Magazine while providing a link to a webpage where I can send a sample of my work. I looked at the magazine’s Instagram account, where I learned that they also have a print publication version that’s released quarterly. So I figured what the hell and I sent a picture of one of my paintings. Not long afterwards I receive an email from Lisa Harris informing me that I was selected to be among the finalists whose work would be featured in an upcoming issue of that magazine. She said that in order to qualify for having my work possibly being selected for publication, I had to follow this link and fill out the online form.

When I went to that form I saw that they charged $20 for one submission and $30 for four submissions with a message saying that paying the higher fee and submitting four pictures would increase my chances of being selected for their print publication. I began to lose my enthusiasm for submitting anything, especially since I’m dealing with major financial problems at the moment.

A couple of days ago Lisa Harris sent me another email urging me to get my submission in before the May 31 deadline if I want to have a shot at getting any of my art published in the online quarterly publication.

It seemed like an awesome opportunity but I was leery about paying a submission fee, especially since I had never heard of 1340 Art Magazine before. I did a Google search on that publication and I saw that the word “scam” came up after I typed in the name of the publication. Here are some links about 1340 Art Magazine that made me change my mind about submitting anything to them.

Reddit thread: 1340 art magazine – Is it a scam?

Wet Canvas thread: 1340art magazine, possible scam?

How’s My Dealing? 2.0 thread: 1340 ART MAGAZINE

Plus there are YouTube videos on 1340 Art Magazine being a scam operation by impaired00Visions,  panda shy, and heather macdonald.

This whole thing reminds me of a similar Instagram encounter I had with Boho Queen Jewelry late last year. Thanks to doing a quick Google search, I decided that I’m going to save my money and not bother with submitting anything to 1340 Art Magazine. By the way, I came across this article on the Agora Advice Blog on How to Recognize An Art Scam that’s worth reading.

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Ramadan

American Flag

Two years ago there was a massive rain storm that resulted in flooding in certain areas. The hardest hit was the historic district of Ellicott City. Many of those affected were locally owned businesses who saw their livelihoods wash away with the flood.

Many of these businesses managed to rebuild to the point where they could put that horrible flood behind them. But now they are being impacted again. Over the past week there have been frequent rain, which got very heavy at times. Yesterday there was yet another flood that swept away many of those same businesses as the one in 2016. Here is how bad it got.

While one can easily blame climate change for the second devastating flood in two years, there’s another culprit as well: overdevelopment.

There is at least one business owner who have announced that she’s throwing in the towel and I can understand her feelings.

I wouldn’t be surprised if other businesses decide to follow suit. It must be horrifying beyond words to see your own business and life’s work get swept away in one flood, go through great time, effort, and money to reopen the business only to see it get swept away in another flood just two years later. Like I wrote earlier, most of these businesses are locally owned so they don’t have the deep pockets and huge resources that a corporate-owned store chain has. There’s only so much that an individual business can take before the owner decides to just quit.

The saddest part is that the historic area of Ellicott City is one of the loveliest places to walk around, especially in the fall when the leaves start to change colors. To see historic Ellicott City in better days, check out the photos I took of the area in 2014 and 2015.

There’s already a new effort to raise funds to help the affected people there. If you can’t afford to donate money, at least keep Ellicott City in your thoughts along with those who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving in the military on this Memorial Day.

Ramadan

For the third year in a row I went to Light City in Baltimore (which is also the festival’s third year). (You can read about my previous visits in 2016 and 2017.) The first year I went I basically just took the Charm City Circulator bus as far as the Shake Shack (which is located across from Harborplace) and I underestimated how big this festival was. The second year I had an animation that was showing at Light City so I took the Charm City Circulator until I got to a stop that was as close to the On Demand area (where my animation was being shown along with other film shorts) and I still have memories of sitting outside for two hours waiting for my animation to show up on screen as the temperature kept on getting colder and colder as time went on.

This year I decided not to submit anything to Light City so I could begin my tour anywhere. I also ended up going on the last night of Light City. I couldn’t get there earlier in the month due to scheduling conflicts so the final night was my first and last time that I visited Light City 2018.

I drove my car to Linthicum and stopped at a Royal Farms store so I could pick up a chicken dinner and a diet soda for only $7. (I know from previous years that many of the restaurants, fast food outlets, and food tents tend to draw very long lines during Light City. It was easier to just bring my own food to Light City.) I parked my car at the North Linthicum light rail station and took the train to the Camden Yards station.

I had the idea of taking the Charm City Circulator bus all the way over to the other side of the Inner Harbor near where Little Italy is located. When I arrived I found that this area has been heavily built up. There’s a new complex called Harbor East and I took some photos there along with some photos of Little Italy. I took so many photos that day that I decided to break up this year’s Light City entry into two. Yesterday I wrote about Little Italy and Harbor East. Today’s blog post is about Light City itself.

This year I shot video footage of some of the Light City exhibits. Here is the resulting video showing the highlights of that festival.

Here are the still photos I shot at Light City. When I arrived at the Inner Harbor the first thing I did was to eat the Royal Farms chicken while viewing the Harbor East marina at the beginning of a sunset.

Harbor East, April 28, 2018

I walked along the Inner Harbor where I saw the beginnings of Light City.

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

There were Fireflies Pedicabs that provided a service to give people a ride along the eastern end of the Inner Harbor. They were very colorful to look at.

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

I arrived at the first Light City structure called Pulse Portal by Davis McCarty. Even though it was still light outside when I was there, I managed to have fun shooting the Inner Harbor at sunset through the colored glass of the structure.

Light City, Baltimore, Maryland, April 21, 2018

Light City, Baltimore, Maryland, April 21, 2018

Light City, Baltimore, Maryland, April 21, 2018

Light City, Baltimore, Maryland, April 21, 2018

Light City, Baltimore, Maryland, April 21, 2018

Light City, Baltimore, Maryland, April 21, 2018

When I was there a couple were preparing to get married by that structure.

2018 Light City, Baltimore, Maryland, April 21, 2018

2018 Light City, Baltimore, Maryland, April 21, 2018

2018 Light City, Baltimore, Maryland, April 21, 2018

2018 Light City, Baltimore, Maryland, April 21, 2018

Mr. Trash Wheel was docked along the Inner Harbor.

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

The Herd by Kelley Bell consists of a flock of inflatable blue creatures floating in the Inner Harbor.

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Octopus by Tim Scofield, Kyle Miller, and Steve Dalnekoff is a giant animatronic octopus whose tentacles were slowly moving while it was changing colors and playing very calming electronic music. I found it pretty mesmerizing to watch in person.

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

This Coffee Bar tent was one of many tents that served refreshments to the general public at Light City.

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

I came upon the On Demand area, which brought back memories for me. Last year I had my animation, The March of Liberty, shown in that area. I still have memories of sitting outside freezing in one of those adirondack chairs for over two hours waiting for my animation to be shown. I was so thrilled when it was finally shown that I shot this quick reaction video.

This year I didn’t submit anything to this festival. It was partially due to laziness and partially because I still have less-than-thrilling memories of sitting outside in the cold for a very long time. Even though I was ultimately happy when my animation was shown, it didn’t really lead to any further opportunities for me. (I had hoped that the showing of my animation at Light City would lead to some kind of a job or career breakthrough for me but it didn’t work out that way.) In contrast to last year, I didn’t spend much time in the On Demand area. I hung around just long enough to shoot these two pictures.

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

There were a few giant screens that were placed throughout the Inner Harbor that showed random video clips.

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Something in the Water by Post Typography + PI.KL + Figure 53 featured some underwater lights that flashed just below the surface of the harbor.

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

I came upon the Institute of Marine & Environmental Technology (IMET) where a few of the Labs @ Light City were held. I arrived on the last night of Light City so the building was closed when I was there, which is why I was only able to get a few external shots.

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Here’s the installation As of a Now by Elissa Blount.

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

There was another underwater installation called What Lies Beneath by Formstone Castle.

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

A drummer and a dance troupe performed outside of the Power Plant.

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Many people walked through the bridge-like Synesthesia by Surcreative.

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

There was this line standing outside of the igloo-like The Eighth Art that was so long that I decided to skip it.

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

There were a few street performers playing for the Light City crowd.

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Sun Stomp by the Sun Stomp Collective was this animation that required people to stomp on these nearby metal bleachers. The effect was pretty neat but it provided noise that was so loud that I had to leave quickly before I developed a headache.

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

This year Light City had something called Mini Light City, which was geared towards families. This elephant balloon graced the entrance to Mini Light City.

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

There was a tent sponsored by Future Makers where parents and children could make simple projects that involved light. That area was very crowded.

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

The Mini Light City area had another tent that was easier to get inside. It was sponsored by The PURGG Project and it included hands-on demonstrations using robots and drones.

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

A WJZ-TV (Channel 13) van parks at Light City.

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Light City in Baltimore drew such huge crowds that Harborplace was packed with people. This photo shows why I decided not to buy anything from It’s Sugar that night.

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

There were some psychedelic-like effects at the installation Colour Moves by Rombout Frieling Lab.

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

There was a small carnival consisting of a ferris wheel ride (known as The Big Wheel) surrounded by concessions stands.

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Many people have fun with rotating the giant prisms that made up the installation Prismatica by Raw Design, Atomic3, Jean-François Piché, and Dix au carré/Production: Quartier des Spectacles, Montreal.

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Here’s the bird-like installation On the Wings of Freedom by Aether and Hemera.

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

The big HMO giant Kaiser Permanente sponsored something called a Thrive Garden, which, as far as I could tell, was a place where people sat down on benches.

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Here is Elantica by Tom Dekyvere.

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Some vector animations were shown on the outside of the Maryland Science Center.

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Club Light City was an outdoor bar and dance area that was very crowded.

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

And last, but not least, here is the installation Drone Prix.

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

This year, for the first time ever, I managed to visit the entire Light City area in the Inner Harbor. The key to my success was that I took the light rail to Camden Yards then I walked to the nearest Charm Circulator bus stop where I took the Orange bus to the Little Italy stop then walked through Harbor East in order to get to the very far eastern end of the Inner Harbor then walked west back towards the Maryland Science Center. While I managed to see most of the Inner Harbor attractions, I didn’t see all of Light City. This year the festival expanded to a few outlying neighborhoods such as Fells Point and Federal Hill. I wasn’t able to attend any of these other Light City events due to tight finances and scheduling conflicts. Maybe next year I’ll make an effort to visit at least one of these neighborhoods hosting their own portion of Light City.

As I left the Inner Harbor to go back to the Camden Yards light rail stop I saw this sign announcing a special Lyft pick-up spot for those who went to Light City and decided to use Lyft’s services.

Light City, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

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Ramadan

This week the Internet lost its mind for three reasons—two of which were legitimate and the other will have you go WTF?!?

The first legitimate reason was the opening of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, which is a decision that is so controversial and such a hot flashpoint among the Israelis and Palestinians that the vast majority of other countries prefer to have their embassies stay put in Tel Aviv. A group of mostly unarmed Palestinians peacefully protested that embassy opening and it led to Israeli troops firing weapons on them, killing and injuring many Palestinians. Of course this brutal attack on unarmed protesters were rightfully condemned on social media and in real life. There were even a group of Jewish protesters who blocked a major thoroughfare in DC in protest against what happened to the Palestinians.

The second legitimate reason why the Internet blew up was over this video that had suddenly gone viral for the most insane reason. Basically a New York lawyer named Aaron Schlossberg was in a local fast food place where he heard some employees speaking Spanish amongst themselves and he literally exploded in this crazy rage that was caught on video, uploaded online, and suddenly went viral.

Then this photo surfaced of Schlossberg attending a rally in New York City in May, 2017 where he’s standing next to a man holding a sign that’s written in Hebrew. This guy goes off on a couple of fast food workers for speaking Spanish amongst themselves because he believes that everyone should be speaking English since they are in America yet he has no problem with standing next to a guy with a sign that’s also written in a foreign language (Hebrew).

An earlier video from 2016 have also surfaced on Twitter where Schlossberg called a white man from Massachusetts “an ugly fucking foreigner.”

Since that time Schlossberg has had to deal with trolls giving his law firm negative reviews on Yelp, someone starting a GoFundMe page that would raise enough money to hire a mariachi band and a taco truck that arrive outside of his office, being kicked out of his office space, and having to dodge reporters by cowering under his oversized umbrella.

I can understand why the Internet went in an uproar over those two stories. Having military troops firing heavy artillery at mostly peaceful unarmed protesters is wrong. Adam Schlossberg is a total asshole for thinking that he has the right to publicly bully anyone whom he thinks is a foreigner (with the exception of anyone who speaks Hebrew, which is a foreign language just like Spanish) even though his targets are basically law-abiding people who just want to go on with quietly living their lives.

But the third story this week is one that has also gotten as much attention as the other two and it has me totally annoyed: Does a certain sound clip sound like the word “Yanny” or the word “Laurel?” I first heard about this when one of my Facebook friends posted this sound clip on her wall asking what does it sound like. Half of us answered “Laurel” while the other half answered “Yanny.” Okay I thought it sounded innocuous.

But then this whole Laurel or Yanny sound bite exploded on the Internet to the point where people are actually spending time arguing over what is the actual word being spoken. It has gotten mainstream media attention. The U.S. military issued an apology over a tasteless joke conflating bombing the Taliban in Afghanistan with Laurel or Yanny.

It reminds me of a similar argument three years ago over the colors of a certain dress and I found that argument to be just as annoying as this current argument over a sound bite. I have no problem with people being passionate over the recent bloodshed in Gaza or Aaron Schlossberg because those are legitimate issues. But if you’re risking longtime close relationships over your stance on a stupid issue like Laurel or Yanny, you are a pretty pathetic person who needs to step away from the computer and go outside for a while (while leaving your mobile devices indoors).

Ironically I found this very interesting article on Snopes about the origins of the Laurel or Yanny debate and how it’s scientifically possible for two people listening to the same audio to hear different words. But this debate does NOT deserve to have as great importance as the killings in Gaza or the openly public racist rants of Aaron Schlossberg.

And, no, I have no intention of divulging whether I really heard Laurel or Yanny because I am really not in a mood for a drawn-out debate on something that’s totally frivolous like the Laurel or Yanny issue.

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Ramadan

When I got involved with some of the trainings associated with the Maryland Poor People’s Campaign, I thought that my role would be limited to support and logistics for the next six weeks. That’s because nearly all of the rallies and direct actions were scheduled for Mondays (with the exception of Memorial Day weekend, when the event is scheduled for the following Tuesday). I recently started a new day job a little over a month ago and I really don’t have the luxury to ask my boss for a day off just yet.

But then a few things happened. Last week I ended up staying home because the boss, who’s currently the executor of his late aunt’s estate, had to fly to India (where his family is originally from) to deal with estate-related issues. I assumed that I would have to come in to work this Monday. But then I got a text from the boss saying that he was sick so he’s not going to have me come in until the following Monday.

So the good news is that I was able to attend the first event of the Maryland Poor People’s Campaign in person. The bad news is that I’m not getting paid for the days that I don’t work. Right now my work hours are pretty erratic because there have been days when I haven’t come in at all or a work session is cut short. If this keeps up I’m going to have to look for either a second part-time job with more reliable hours or a steady, reliable full-time job. I don’t relish the prospect of job hunting again because it took me nearly two years to find a new job after my previous stint with a startup went nowhere after two weeks.

Well, anyway, when I got the text from my boss telling me not to show up this week, I got in my car and drove to Annapolis. I found space in a nearby parking garage and walked to the State House. While I was on my way I found something that was really appropriate for the occasion—a tree that was dedicated to Martin Luther King, Jr.

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018


Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Martin Luther King had started the original Poor People’s Campaign when he decided to shift his focus from civil rights to the larger issues of economic justice and income inequality. At the time of King’s assassination 50 years ago last month, he was in Memphis to help out with sanitation workers who were on strike there. So, yeah, it was a cool coincidence to find that tree dedicated to MLK.

I arrived at Lawyers Mall for the rally, which kicked off this protest. Since it happened on the day after Mother’s Day, the theme of this protest was how poverty have affected women and children.

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Okay, I’ll admit that it was a pretty small turnout. I later learned that the majority of people living in the Washington, DC area had opted to go to the events that took place at the U.S. Capitol building. I had thought about going to the one in DC since I live closer to DC but I opted to go to Annapolis instead since I’m a Maryland resident. I’m glad I went because that contingent needed as many people as possible.

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

There was even a voter registration table that day in an attempt to sign up new voters for the upcoming Mid-Term Elections in Maryland.

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

A few people from The Real News Network interviewed one of the rally participants. Here’s the resulting story.

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Another reason why I’m glad I went to Annapolis is that I ran into an old friend of mine, Ann, who came from her current home in Frederick for this event. We took pictures of each other. Here’s Ann.

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

And here’s me.

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

After the rally we marched over to nearby College Avenue. A small contingent of direct action volunteers proceeded to stop traffic. They were arrested by the police and released a few hours later.

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

Maryland Poor People's Campaign, Annapolis, Maryland, May 14, 2018

I remember when I underwent training I was told to be prepared for potential counter-demonstrators, especially from alt-right groups. Fortunately there were no counter-protests and everything was very peaceful with no injuries or property destruction. After the direct action, those of us who weren’t arrested went back to the Lawyers Mall where we had a closing circle where we held hands as people said prayers. I saw a cop with a bomb-sniffing dog that was sniffing around in the bushes on the perimeter of Lawyers Mall but the dog turned up nothing. (We were told during training not to bring anything that could be used as a weapon.) I did experience sticker shock when I got back to the parking garage and found that I had to pay $8 even though I was parked for only three hours. (There is another garage near St. John’s College that has free parking but that’s only available after 6 p.m. on weekdays and all day weekends.)

I not only took photos at the protest but I also shot some video footage as well.

I was glad that I was able to witness the first in a series of protests from the Poor People’s Campaign. I learned that the Maryland group will have a rally next week that focuses on immigration and the mistreatment of Native Americans but there will be no civil disobedience mainly because, given the Trump Administration’s current hostility towards immigrants (especially if they aren’t white), the organizers don’t want to risk someone being deported just for doing nonviolent civil disobedience. Given my current job, it’s unlikely that I’ll be able to go to another protest unless the boss decides that he doesn’t need me on a particular day. I’ll just stick to doing whatever behind the scenes support work needs to be done.

When I got home from Annapolis I learned about the crazy drama in Jerusalem that also happened while I was in Annapolis, which has given me yet another reason why I despise Donald Trump.

Despite being overshadowed by the bigger protest in Washington, DC, this protest in Annapolis did garner some local media coverage.

The Capital Gazette

The Real News Network

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