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I’ve been spending the past few weeks planning what drawings I will do on a daily basis for Inktober. Starting tomorrow I will upload a new ink drawing each day in this blog and on my various social media sites, each of which will be based on a word that’s listed on the official Inktober prompt list.

This is the second year that I’m doing Inktober. Last year I did drawings where I drew whatever I wanted. I only used the official Inktober prompt list if I was stumped and I needed an idea. This year I’m sticking strictly with the official Inktober prompt list as a way of challenging myself. Anyway, in case you missed what I did last year, you can click on the Inktober category for all of the Inktober drawings I did along with descriptions of what I did and how I came up with the idea of doing that drawing.

If you aren’t able to spend the time reading all of my blog posts, you can check out the video I made of all of my 2017 Inktober drawings.

If you prefer to just look at the drawings while controlling how long you can view each drawing and/or you don’t want to listen to music in the background, you can check out my Flickr album where you can view all of my drawings at your own pace and convenience.

Inktober 2017

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I did a digital art piece that’s now hanging in my church as part of the Seven UU Principals art show. Here’s the art.

I did the piece entirely in Adobe Photoshop. It’s the image of the flaming chalice being surrounded by a circle, which is a symbol of the Unitarian Universalist faith. I decided to try using words to create a picture instead of just doing a regular drawing. The flame is the only part where I did a regular digital drawing instead of using words (although I drew a red heart in the center of the flame).

As for the color scheme I used the traditional yellow and red for the flame. For everywhere else I used a rainbow color scheme to symbolize both the UU and Poor People’s Campaign acceptance of everyone regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender (including gender identity), class, age, physical health, mental health, and other categories that people in power like to categorize people in.

As for the words I used lyrics from two songs that are among the official songs of the Poor People’s Campaign. The circle uses lyrics from this song, “Everybody’s Got a Right to Live.”

The chalice itself has the words from “A New Unsettling Force.”

With this art I attempted to do a Unitarian Universalist variation on the Poor People’s Campaign and I think I succeeded.

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Last Friday I was at the Takoma Park Library in Takoma Park, Maryland after hours in order to help out with a unique project that’s appropriate to write about now since this weekend is the Labor Day holiday weekend and Labor Day itself is tomorrow. I’m only blogging about this because I think it may be a harbinger of things to come regarding job hunting. There was a time when if you were selected for a job interview, you had to arrive at the potential workplace in person. You had to wear nice clothes and shoes (jeans, short, t-shirts, and sweatshirts were guaranteed ways of NOT getting the job) and made sure that you arrived on time, preferably early (because arriving late to a job interview was a guaranteed way of NOT getting the job). Then there were employers who preferred to do the initial job interview by phone and if your voice or how you answered certain questions didn’t impress them, you wouldn’t get the job.

I’ve gone through in-person interviews and phone interviews but I’ve had friends who had job interviews via Skype and they told me that it was an adventure itself because they had to worry about getting a reliable Internet connection, making sure that they looked presentable from the waist up, and worry about the background because they had to make sure they didn’t sit in front of a place that would turn the potential employer off (such as a trash dumpster or a poster with a raunchy saying).

Last Friday I was helping a friend of a friend with yet another way of doing a job interview and I’m afraid that it’s a harbinger of things to come. This man has a day job but he’s looking for a second part-time job because he has financial issues and he doesn’t make enough at his day job to deal with them all. With this potential second job the employer has required that he downloaded this smartphone app that’s especially made for job interviews. Instead of meeting or talking with someone, this man was required to turn on the app, read a question, and shoot a video of himself with the smartphone answering that question. Then he had to press the “Next” button in order to upload that video on to a server that will be viewed by the potential employer at a later date. Then he had to read the next question and shoot a video of himself with the smartphone answering that question then press the “Next” button. He had to keep on doing this until he hit the end of the questions. The man had to answer all the questions and upload the video clips by a deadline or else he would be disqualified from being considered for the job.

My friend, Phil Shapiro, is an expert on a variety of technical issues, including video (he has an active YouTube channel where he shows off his video knowledge) and he works at the Takoma Park library, which has a reliable WiFi connection and it is well-lit. He suggested that his friend use the library to shoot his job interview and he recruited a couple of people (including myself) to help out. We had to wait until after the library’s 8 p.m. closing time and the job seeker got off from his day job.

I basically took turns holding an overhead light (which is actually a desk lamp I originally purchased from IKEA over 10 years ago) while Phil and another friend coached the job hunter on how to present himself and what he could say that would wow the potential employer. It was a pretty fascinating process. Here are a few photos I took when Phil took over the overhead light holding duty.

Phil had this tripod that he brought from home. The tripod is meant to hold a real camera but Phil found this holder for the tripod that can hold a smartphone while fitting into the tripod screw. I should get one for myself sometime since I have a tripod at home.

The next photo shows the preparation for shooting a take of that job interview where the job seeker was instructed on how to compose himself and where he should look on the smartphone it won’t look like he’s looking down on the floor on up on the ceiling.

The last photo shows the job interview itself as the job seeker talks directly to the smartphone camera as he answers one of the job interview questions. Phil managed to get a clip-on microphone that plugs into the smartphone via the headphones jack and he clipped it on to the job seeker’s collar. It produced a sound that was far superior than just using the smartphone’s built-in microphone.

It was an interesting experience and I have a feeling that soon everyone who wants a job will have to do job interviews through smartphone apps instead of traveling to someone’s office or doing a phone interview or even a Skype interview.

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A few months ago I found that Five Below had these Talk Back Pets, which cost $5 each. I purchased one and I made a special greeting video for Easter and the Fourth of July.

This weekend is another holiday weekend so I made a special Labor Day greeting video. I was influenced by Donald Trump’s announcement this week that he’s seeking to freeze pay raises for federal employees. Here’s the video. Enjoy!

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

Target, August 14, 2018

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

Target, August 14, 2018

Target, August 14, 2018

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

Target, August 14, 2018

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

Target, August 14, 2018

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

Target, August 14, 2018

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

Target, August 14, 2018

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

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

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Yesterday I saw the entire Internet explode in grief because Aretha Franklin died. She was an amazing talent and she will be missed. I’m not going to write too extensively about her since so much has already been posted online. Instead I’m just going to post this clip from the 1980 movie The Blues Brothers where Aretha made this memorable appearance as the sassy diner owner who also sang her song “Think.”

You may have noticed a change in this blog. For the first eight years of this blog’s existence I basically used the default graphic that WordPress.com provided. One of the reasons why I picked this template is because I not only liked the overall clean layout but I also liked the default graphic because its watercolor-like graphic had pretty much set the theme of this blog (an emphasis on my own arts, crafts, and photography with a little bit of videography thrown in). Here is what this blog used to look like until recently.

I was okay with this design except there was one thing that bothered me. Even though I liked the default graphic, it’s also not exactly my unique imprint. In fact I’ve stumbled upon other WordPress blogs with the exact same layout and default graphic and it was jarring to me because it looked like my blog but with different content.

Last summer I took a free online course through Alison.com on Internet marketing and I learned that it’s important to have your own brand in order to stand out from the rest. I learned how I could customize my own WordPress layout by adding different graphics. Despite my newfound knowledge I still dragged my feet on actually incorporating that lesson in my own blog.

When I first started this blog I thought it would be cool if I had a mascot for this blog. This mascot would not only represent me in this blog but also on my various social media sites as well. (I learned through that same Alison.com lesson that consistency across the Internet is the key to developing a personal brand.)

I originally named this blog Sagittarius Dolly after my zodiac and the fact that I like dolls. It also sounded similar to the famous surrealist artist Salvador Dali, which definitely dovetails with the art theme of this blog. I thought it would be cool to have a Sagittarius doll as the mascot. I learned that the Asian ball-jointed doll company known as Soom came out with a line of monthly dolls that were loosely based on the zodiac. I fell in love with Heliot, who not only had the features of a centaur but it also shows him holding a bow and arrow. (Sagittarius is both a centaur and an archer.) I would’ve loved to have purchased this doll blank so I could give him my own faceup and he would become the blog mascot. But I had to give up that idea when I learned that this doll cost close to $800 and it was way out of my prince range.

I decided to put this idea on the back burner but I hadn’t given up on my dream of having a Sagittarius doll as a mascot for this blog. A few years later I began to warm to the idea of having a Sagittarius doll mascot. There was a British doll company known as Makies that had a line of dolls that were printed on a 3D printer based on what you designed using the Makies website. I created one doll whom I named Victoria. I paid $150, which was a lot for a 10-inch doll but it was the first doll to be individually printed on a 3D printer so I thought she was special because I designed her using new technology.

A couple of years after I obtained Victoria, I got word that Makies had lowered their price of production to $80 per doll. I thought it would be cool if I used the Makies website to design a Sagittarius Dolly mascot. I would’ve been happy if it was a doll wearing a Sagittarius t-shirt. By the time I got around to acting on my idea, I learned that Makies had shut down its website because it decided to move from the UK to the US. But then there was total silence for a number of months until I learned that Makies decided to sell its technology and assets to Disney and close down completely.

So my idea of getting a Sagittarius doll was foiled again. I learned that American Girl was coming out with Create Your Own Doll where you could design your own doll online then American Girl will ship it to you. It’s a similar concept to what the now-defunct Makies had. I thought it would be cool to design a doll wearing a Sagittarius t-shirt until I found out that a customized doll costs at least $200 (which is more than the $110 retail price of an off-the-shelf doll).

But then I came across a series of patterns for crochet amigurumi dolls that were made by Little Bamboo Handmade Crafts. I fell in love with the Sagittarius amigurumi doll and I decided to buy the pattern and try making him. Here is the result.

The big challenge was getting the needed materials despite having an even more limited budget than before. Part of it stemmed from my ex-husband stopping all further alimony payments to me and part of it stemmed from working a part-time job that had yet to materialize into full-time work despite the boss promising me that it would happen sometime in a yet-to-be-determined future. The good news is that the local non-profit Greenbelt Makerspace had this huge stockpile of yarn that I was able to borrow for this project. I also got the two buttons for the eyes from Greenbelt Makerspace’s huge button collection.

I had a half-bag full of stuffing leftover from previous projects so I was able to use that.

I had some leftover yarn stash myself that I was able to use for the vest and hoofs. It was just that I needed different yarn colors that I didn’t already own so the Greenbelt Makerspace was very useful for that.

The only yarn I had to purchase was some more gold-brown yarn because I ran out of what the Greenbelt Makerspace had and I needed more so I could finish the horse part of the centaur’s body. I also decided that my Sagittarius should have rainbow-colored hair and the makerspace didn’t have any rainbow yarn so I ended up buying a skein.

I also purchased white felt. It was originally for the arrowhead (per the original instructions) but I had more felt leftover. I decided to make a Sagittarius symbol cutie mark (similar to what you see on My Little Pony). I dyed the cutie marks using red paint then embellished it with glitter.

I’m really happy with the results. The hair looks really cool when viewed from behind.

I have to confess that this pattern was among the most challenging crochet patterns I’ve had to deal with in recent years. I had never had to do so much increasing and decreasing along with frequent counting. It was a problem because I’m a regular at the Fiber Fans Night at the Greenbelt Makerspace and it was very difficult to do any kind of socializing while working on this piece because there was so much counting involved. If I got involved in someone else’s conversation, I would lose count so I had to frequently rip out a row or two. I soon learned that I could only work on this project when I was completely alone. I tried playing music while I was working on this piece and even I would lose count because I would get into the rhythm of the music. I could only work on this project when I was in a completely quiet room by myself.

At one point I had to redo the head and body because it didn’t turn out. The head was so heavy that it would flop over and the neck looked like a giraffe’s. Fortunately I was able to get it right the second time. But after the struggle I did with this project, I probably would never attempt this pattern again unless someone pays me a very generous commission of at least $200 because it is very time-consuming.

I have to say that I would recommend the Sagittarius pattern only for those who have been crocheting for a while (namely intermediate and advanced). This pattern is definitely not for beginners because they may find it even more frustrating than I did. But the struggle I had with that pattern was worth it because I’m happy that I have a mascot at last! 🙂

When I showed this doll to one of my friends, he was so impressed with it that he borrowed it so he could use it to test this 4K videocamera on his smartphone that he’s been playing around with. He posted the short video on YouTube. (There is no sound in this video.)

By the way, Little Bamboo Handmade Crafts has patterns for dolls representing the other zodiac symbols as well as other types of amigurumi. You can check it out on Ravelry, Craftsy, Etsy, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.

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As you may know, this past weekend was the one-year anniversary of the Unite the Right protest in Charlottesville which resulted in the horrible death of Heather Heyer. As for Donald Trump, he has steadfastly refused to denounce the white supremacists and their actions last year. There were quite a few vigils for the victims of Charlottesville (such as two events I went to in the same week on August 14 and August 16) but I find it telling that Donald Trump has refused to distance himself from these latter-day Nazis and KKK members and has said little about Heather Heyer or the other people who were victimized by the alt-right.

For the first anniversary of Charlottesville, one of the original organizers of the Unite the Right rally, Jason Kessler, wanted to do a repeat performance in Charlottesville. When he was denied a permit for his little shindig, he decided to move the event north to my hometown of Washington, DC. He probably figured that since Donald Trump is basically a racist fascist sympathizer, President Trump would be flattered if a group of his most loyal alt-right supporters would have a march to Lafayette Square (located just across from the White House) then have an Unite the Right 2 rally.

Except things didn’t turn out that way. Donald Trump decided to head out of town this weekend. (After all, even though they are his most ardent supporters, they aren’t rich like he and his cronies are so they really don’t matter at all, except for getting their votes at the ballot box in 2020.)

I decided to head down even though I knew that I would be risking my life in doing so. I’m just fed up with all of the hatred of the poor, minorities, and women that has sprung up gradually since Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980 and it has continued through the years until the hatred grew and grew and it’s now this big monster that is a threat to this country. I’ve experienced some of this hatred myself ever since I was in elementary school when the kids called me “retarded.” This taunting went through high school. Even though the teasing stopped during my freshman year at Anne Arundel Community College, I was still frequently looked down upon like I was some kind of an inferior lowlife freak (mainly from those who went to my high school—the students who went to different high schools and didn’t know about my so-called “retarded” reputation treated me like I was a human being). I ended up permanently moving from Glen Burnie as an adult because I knew that, no matter what I did, these people would never see me as anything other than someone who is inferior.

But I will admit that my experiences with facing this kind of hatred is nothing compared to an African American, as the families of people like Travon Martin, Freddie Gray, Sandra Bland, and numerous others will attest.

Going downtown to face those Nazis wasn’t an easy decision for me. I still remember vividly the car that was intentionally plowed into a group of people by that alt-right scumbag in Charlottesville. There was a possibility that something like that could’ve happened to me. I was still waffling on the fence about going to DC last Sunday until I saw this trailer for Michael Moore’s upcoming documentary, Fahrenheit 11/9.

Watching that preview only strengthened my resolve to go ahead with my plans for last Sunday. I was all ready to go downtown with my camera, take photos of these alt-right assholes, then plaster them all over social media in the hopes that someone will recognize these assholes and they either lose their jobs or get evicted from where they are living or their neighbors shun them or something equally bad happens to them.

I knew that there was a chance that I would end up like Heather Heyer but I swallowed that fear and headed downtown anyway. I began to realize that this is what a soldier in wartime has to deal with, especially if he or she is sent to the front lines.

Before I left home I took out a blank sheet of paper and wrote down my name, address, the phone numbers of my next of kin, the cell phone number of my housemate (who had just left for a week-long trip visiting relatives in New Jersey the day before), and the phone numbers of my church and the minister. Then I folded the paper and put it in the pocket of my shorts. I felt that should the worst happen to me like what happened to Heather Heyer last year, at least some people will be notified so they could plan some kind of a memorial service for all of my friends, relatives, and acquaintances.

So I took the Green Line Metro from the Greenbelt station. As I was about to board the train I noticed a bunch of people leaving the train who looked like they were cosplaying as their favorite anime and video game character. I remembered that the annual giant East Coast anime convention known as Otakon was that weekend and it was the third and final day when the entire con pretty much closes down after 3 p.m. (I used to go to Otakon but I haven’t been since 2013 because I grew tired of paying at least $75 for a weekend pass only to encounter huge crowds everywhere I went. Besides my finances have gotten increasingly dicey so I really can’t afford major splurges like Otakon at the moment.) So I boarded the Green Line train and switched at L’Enfant Plaza. While I was switching trains I saw this artist who was engrossed in doing this sketch right in the Metro station.

Artist

I switched to the Silver Line then got off at Federal Triangle. I made my way to Freedom Plaza, where many of the counter protesters had gathered.

Counter Protest Rally in Freedom Plaza

I arrived late in the afternoon just in time for the beginning of the march to Lafayette Square. I managed to get a few pictures of people with their signs.

Counter Protest Rally in Freedom Plaza

Counter Protest Rally in Freedom Plaza

Counter Protest Rally in Freedom Plaza

Counter Protest Rally in Freedom Plaza

Counter Protest Rally in Freedom Plaza

Counter Protest Rally in Freedom Plaza

Counter Protest Rally in Freedom Plaza

Counter Protest Rally in Freedom Plaza

As you can see from the photos there was a mix of people of all ages, races, gender identities, and sexual orientations. One of the people in the next photo even gave me free bottled water after I shot this picture.

Counter Protest Rally in Freedom Plaza

Counter Protest Rally in Freedom Plaza

Counter Protest Rally in Freedom Plaza

Eventually the march began from Freedom Plaza. I heard people with microphones or bullhorns warning us that this march was risky since we would be directly confronting the Unite the Right 2 people. People’s spirits were up despite the risks involved and the fact that it was very humid outside. (Fortunately the day was cloudy so we didn’t have to deal with being in direct sunlight.)

Counter Protest Rally in Freedom Plaza

So the march started to move towards Lafayette Square.

The March From Freedom Plaza to Lafayette Square

The March From Freedom Plaza to Lafayette Square

The March From Freedom Plaza to Lafayette Square

The March From Freedom Plaza to Lafayette Square

There were Secret Service people around, especially as we started to get closer to Lafayette Square.

The March From Freedom Plaza to Lafayette Square

There was a street musician on the march route who serenaded the marchers with his rendition of “Stand By Me” while singing this altered lyric, “No, I won’t be afraid. No I won’t be afraid of the KKK. For as long as you stand by me.” He also earned a lot of tip money that day (as you can see in the photo below).

The March From Freedom Plaza to Lafayette Square

The March From Freedom Plaza to Lafayette Square

The March From Freedom Plaza to Lafayette Square

The March From Freedom Plaza to Lafayette Square

The March From Freedom Plaza to Lafayette Square

The March From Freedom Plaza to Lafayette Square

We finally arrived at Lafayette Square where there was a huge police presence (some of them on horseback) along with extensive barricades that completely blocked the other end of Lafayette Square.

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

There was another street musician in Lafayette Square who was playing his violin while earning a huge amount of tips in the process.

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

So we all crowded into one end of Lafayette Square while trying to see if anyone had seen any alt-right Nazis or KKK people there. I overheard someone who was sitting in a tree saying that she could barely see them because they were located so far on the other side of the park. So we all waited patiently as we heard thunder and saw a few lightning bolts appear before the rain really started. (Which is why you can see plenty of umbrellas in some of these photographs.)

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

At one point a guy approached me asking if I want a free sign that he had just made up. Apparently he had created a bunch of signs and he decided to give them away. I took him up on his offer. Here is what that sign looked like.

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Here’s a glimpse of the White House in the distance.

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

PETA was there as well along with two costumed folks.

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Lafayette Park has long been home to this 24-hour-a-day/7-days-per-week anti-nuclear protest camp that has been there since Ronald Reagan occupied the White House. It has continued even though both of its original founders are now deceased. I saw that this camp had been moved from its usual spot at the edge of Lafayette Park that’s closest to the White House all the way over to where the counter protesters were gathered. (Unfortunately I didn’t take a picture of that site.)

After waiting for a while I pulled out my smartphone looking for news on the alt-right protesters only to find out that a whopping 20-25 protesters from the other side had shown up. The counter protesters outnumbered the alt-right protesters. When I read later news reports, I saw how pathetic the turnout really was on the other side.

Unite the Right was a pathetic failure

There were plenty of reasons for the pathetic display. But the basic issue is that Charlottesville was a complete disaster — a moment that was supposed to somehow win white nationalists favor, but actively turned much of the nation against them when they engaged in violence and, in one case, literal murder.

White nationalists dwarfed by crowds of counter protesters in Washington

The showing from “Unite the Right 2” participants fell far short of the hundreds that organizer Jason Kessler was expecting, based on his event permit application.

Kessler, who organized last year’s “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, blamed the low turnout on logistical issues and confusion regarding the group’s transportation — a claim echoed by at least two men who spoke to reporters. “People are scared to come out after what happened last year,” one of the men added.

Rally by White Nationalists Was Over Almost Before It Began

After weeks of hype, white supremacists managed to muster just a couple of dozen supporters on Sunday in the nation’s capital for the first anniversary of their deadly rally in Charlottesville, Va., finding themselves greatly outnumbered by counterprotesters, police officers and representatives of the news media.

Unite the Right: White nationalists outnumbered at Washington rally

As a small group of white supremacists gathered for their second “Unite the Right” rally, the rain began to fall.

Much like the sodden pavements outside the White House, the follow up to last year’s rally in Charlottesville was nothing more than a damp squib.

This last article explains why I never saw any alt-right protesters nor was I able to come up to them close enough so I could get a shot with my camera.

‘Hell no’: counterprotesters outnumber white supremacists at White House rally

To protect their safety and that of others, officials had organised a special route for the parade. Kessler and his companions were escorted onto the metro. A special car was prepared for them, the Southern Poverty Law Center reported. In downtown Washington, police officers said they planned to clear part of the metro station platform to escort Kessler up to the street. As he came up the elevators, he was met with hundreds of news photographers and a roar of outrage from protesters amassed waiting.

In Lafayette Park, in front of the White House, Kessler and his tiny group of supporters were taken away to their own distant corner of the park talked to each other in front of journalists. Cordoned off and dozens of meters away, too far to even see him, a crowd of thousands of counter-protesters waved signs and shouted their disapproval.

In a nutshell, the tiny alt-right group showed up at Lafayette Square earlier than originally scheduled then decided to cut their rally short when the rain came down and leave the area. So the counter protesters won this round simply by outnumbering the alt-right.

To be honest, I don’t even know what Jason Kessler was thinking when he decided that DC would be the perfect place to have his little hate rally. With the exception of having a white supremacist currently occupying the White House, he was holding a rally in hostile territory. There is an African American majority living in that city. Plus there are plenty of Latinos and LGBTQ folks who also call DC home. There was no way in hell that they were going to sit back and let the alt-right have their rally with no blowback at all. Especially since it was the one-year anniversary of that brutal murder of Heather Heyer at the hands (or maybe I should say car) of a white supremacist.

Hell, many of the local bars and restaurants in DC had decided that they would not serve any white nationalists.

I arrived in downtown DC while bracing myself for the likely possibility of a violent confrontation. In the end it turned out that I stood a greater chance of being struck by lightning than getting killed by a Nazi. I’m glad that no one was killed on Sunday and that the alt-right were too minuscule to provide much of a threat.

I grew tired of sitting in the rain with my umbrella so I decided to head back to the nearest Metro station that was opened. Metro, in its infinite wisdom (sarcasm), decided to close the two Metro stations that were closest to Lafayette Square. I ended up walking several blocks until I found the Gallery Place/Chinatown Metro station. While I was walking I saw a group of black-clad antifa demonstrators blocking the corner of 13th and G Streets, Northwest. I didn’t know why they were doing this. They managed to get this white car that was headed in the antifa’s direction to turn around and drive a different route. Here are a few photos of what I saw on my way back to the Gallery Place/Chinatown Metro station.

Counter Protesters Agains the Unite the Right 2 Protesters

Counter Protesters Agains the Unite the Right 2 Protesters

Counter Protesters Agains the Unite the Right 2 Protesters

I just kept on walking towards the Metro station. It’s just as well that I kept my distance because I read some news stories about antifa and they weren’t flattering at all:

Unite the Right 2018: antifa attacks police and journalists in Charlottesville and DC

At Unite the Right, black-clad antifa again give peaceful protesters a bad name.

I would rather focus on the fact that the counter protesters won through largely peaceful means. However, I read this opinion piece that sounds pretty alarming: I was at the sad white supremacists gathering. It didn’t fool me. Their movement is rising.

It sounds like the counter protesters have won a battle but it hasn’t decisively won the war—yet. We’ll see how things turn out in the mid-term elections this November. In the meantime, here’s a video I also shot at the counter protest that included all kinds of footage ranging from shouting some unique slogans (such as “Oy Vey! Oy Vey! Nazi Scum Go Away!”) to street musicians serenading the counter protesters as they made their way to Lafayette Square.

Here’s hoping that there won’t be a Unite the Right 3 anywhere in the United States next year.

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The boss at my current day job decided to spend a large chunk of August in India with his family (where they originally came from). No, I’m not getting paid while he’s in India visiting members of his extended family who still live there. (Without going into details, let’s just say that I’ve been working for this guy for over four months and not only have my hours not increased to full-time work, despite his assurances that it would eventually happen, but they have gotten increasingly erratic.) I took a one-day offer to do some side work for a friend of mine while he’s working at his day job in Takoma Park, Maryland.

The annual National Night Out happened to be taking place on that same day and it’s near where my friend works so my friend and I decided to head over to that event to check it out. I’ve attended the National Night Out events in Greenbelt (and I even wrote a blog post about it back in 2016) so I was okay with seeing how a different town observes that event. I took some photos as well.

The event was held in the parking lot outside of Piney Branch Elementary School (which was closed for summer vacation). The police closed down the street that went past the school.

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

The police and other local community groups gave away free food and drinks. I managed to eat a hot dog and a hamburger for dinner.

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

A local television station was covering this event.

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

MacGruff the Crimefighting Dog was there greeting people and having his picture taken with them.

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

There were all kinds of activities for people of all ages to do, including playing with a giant chess set, playing with a giant Jenga tower, petting a police horse, and playing various games. A deejay was there spinning the tunes while all this was happening. Everyone present seemed to have a good time.

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

There was even a “Dunk-A-Cop” game where kids could throw balls to soak a cop.

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

There was a petition drive to recall the Takoma Park City Council. I don’t know what the issue was about nor did I bother to find out because I don’t live in Takoma Park.

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

Here’s a video of the event, which I helped to shoot and edit using a friend’s iPodTouch. I played around with the slow-motion features of this camera during the jump rope footage, which was pretty interesting when I viewed it later.

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A few weeks earlier I wrote a blog post about some interesting art on the walls of my Unitarian Universalist congregation that was done by a local self-taught artist named Antonio Moore. More recently the church held an artist reception for Moore immediately following the weekly Sunday service.

As part of the artist reception Moore gave a live demonstration of his painting style. Here are a couple of photos.

I also shot this short video os his painting demonstration.

Here’s the finished product.

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