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A few years ago I did an autobiographical video for my LinkedIn profile titled My Name is Kim Keyes. I basically included a few things about myself while including sample video clips and photographs of the work I’ve done. Recently I decided to do new video for my LinkedIn profile that reflects the things I’ve done since then.

The most important thing I included was my new gig where I spend a few hours a week as an assistant to a local chapter of the Girls Who Code group. A friend of mine encouraged me to get involved even though I’m not an expert coder or programmer or anything like that. I learned that you don’t need to be a super-programmer to get involved with encouraging girls under 18 to get involved with computers.

This gig started as volunteer work and I only started to receive a paycheck because the group got funding from a local nonprofit foundation. It’s not a lot of money but it’s still nice nonetheless. I’m still looking for more steady work so I could support myself but this Girls Who Code gig is a start. (I can’t really write too much about this Girls Who Code chapter because the girls are minors and I really don’t have anyone’s permission to write too extensively about the girls who are participating.)

I also included clips from more recent videos and animations I’ve worked on as well as new photographs. So, without further ado, here is My Name is Kim Keyes (2018).

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I shot some footage of Honey Boat, which was once a band but, for now, it has been reduced to just Andy Weaver on guitar and vocals. This performance took place at an event known as the Campfire Sessions (where local musicians perform a short set then answer questions from the audience about their music) that was held at the New Deal Cafe in Greenbelt, Maryland on January 31, 2018. Andy has a really pretty voice and her guitar playing is excellent as well.

Here’s the story so far. A YouTube star named Logan Paul flew to Japan with a few of his buddies where he made a series of vlogs that basically dissed both the Japanese and their culture and they went to great effort to be the epitome of the Ugly American stereotype. If that weren’t enough, Logan Paul and his friends went to a park in Japan that’s known as the Suicide Forest because many people frequently travel there to commit suicide. Logan Paul and pals went off of the marked trails and went further into the woods where they found a guy who had recently hanged himself. Logan Paul then filmed the dead body in nauseating detail while he and his pals laugh and cracked tasteless jokes.

Logan Paul uploaded that video online where it experienced a nasty backlash. Many people flagged that Suicide Forest video yet YouTube kept it online and it even listed that video on its Trending list along with a thumbnail of Logan Paul wearing that goofy Toy Story hat and that hanged body. The video was taken offline by Logan Paul himself and not YouTube after it had received so many views and so much backlash.

In the wake of that debacle, YouTube decided to remove Logan Paul from its very lucrative YouTube Red and Preferred Partner programs while keeping him on the regular Partner program. At the same time YouTube decided to notify a bunch of smaller YouTube channels (including my own Sagittarius Dolly channel) that they will be removed from the Partner program on February 20 unless they get a huge amount of both subscribers and watch hours. YouTube said that it was being done in the wake of the Logan Paul Suicide Forest debacle even though thousands of innocent people are being unfairly penalized for what Logan Paul did. I did a video on the subject titled Dear YouTube, Why Should Small Content Creators Like Myself Pay the Price for Logan Paul?

A few weeks after that video, Logan Paul attempted to show remorse for his actions by putting out a video titled Suicide: Be Here Tomorrow, which is a very nicely done PSA that seeks to raise awareness of suicide. Many people on the Internet were crowing that it’s a new chapter in Logan Paul’s life as he has learned his lesson. I didn’t join the crowd initially because I wanted to see what he does next after releasing that video. Basically he did a few things that led me to conclude that Logan Paul’s suicide prevention video was little more than a PR stunt and he hasn’t really gained any new sense of empathy for suicide victims or anyone else. I did a second video where I recorded my reaction to seeing Suicide: Be Here Tomorrow while blasting Logan Paul for his post video antics titled Why Logan Paul can take his “Suicide: Be Here Tomorrow” Video and Shove It.

I thought I was done with making videos blasting Logan Paul. But then something else happened today. Logan Paul made yet another video that has gotten the Internet in a tizzy. As The Guardian puts it:

In a video uploaded on Monday, he tasered two dead rats and removed a live fish from water and “performed CPR” on it. YouTube responded by suspending all advertising on his channel.

Basically YouTube has removed Logan Paul from its regular Partner program so he can no longer collect any kind of ad revenue on any of his videos. But the BBC has a further detail about Logan Paul’s latest punishment:

This time it has decided to temporarily suspend all advertising on his channels.

That’s right, the suspension is just temporary and YouTube could easily reinstate Logan Paul to that program at a later date when this newest round of outrage dies down.

Personally I think it’s not enough. Logan Paul has been given so many chances and has screwed them all. I’ve seen other YouTubers get their videos yanked off-line and even thrown off the platform for lesser violations that what Logan Paul has done. I know that Logan Paul is YouTube’s cash cow but this is a time when that cash cow has too much of a dark side that will affect YouTube’s reputation.

Meanwhile thousands of other channels like myself will soon be demonetized due to Logan Paul and other YouTubers who’ve done wrong (such as DaddyOFive). I made a short video expressing my outrage that Logan Paul is getting as what amounts to a slap on the wrists. It’s the shortest of my Logan Paul rants because I’ve already gone over so much material in my previous two videos. Here is Another Open Letter to YouTube Regarding Logan Paul and Demonetizing Smaller Channels Like My Own.

I promise that this will be the last video I’ll make about Logan Paul and YouTube because I have too many other things to worry about at the moment.

I recently went to Toys R Us in Annapolis because I wanted to take some photos of the store for posterity. (The chain has recently filed for bankruptcy and it is in the process of closing stores. It had been closing stores for years now and it’s gotten to the point where I have to drive at least a half an hour if I even want to go to a Toys R Us because all of the Toys R Us stores that used to be located close to my home are now closed.) I saw this line of toys known as Fingerlings that I had heard of.

Basically Fingerlings are these low-cost robot toys that sit on your finger while making noises and react to touch and sound. They became the big hot toy of 2017 and they tended to sell out whenever a new shipment arrived in stores. Basically if anyone wanted to buy one in time for the Christmas holiday season had to go on eBay and pay several times over the original $15 retail price.

I found a shelf that had a small supply of the monkey Fingerlings so I decided to buy one for the heck of it and see what the fuss was about. I shot this video documenting my first experience with a Fingerling.

Recently I decided to take extensive photographs of a typical Toys R Us store mainly because late last year, just before Christmas, Toys R Us had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. This month Toys R Us is closing a large number of its stores throughout the United States. Nearly three years ago I did an extensive post covering the two-month period that the Kmart in Greenbelt, Maryland conducted its going out of business sale. This time I decided to take a photo of a Toys R Us store that is NOT among the stores that are slated for closure because I wanted to provide sort of a time capsule as to what it was like to visit a Toys R Us store on a typical day when it was in normal operations.

The biggest irony about the upcoming store closings is that this year is Toys R Us’ 70th anniversary. When I looked up Toys R Us’ Wikipedia page I learned one interesting fact—that chain started its first store in the Adams-Morgan section of Washington, DC. That store, which was then-called Children’s Supermart, was operating in a space that is now occupied by the iconic nightclub Madam’s Organ Blues Bar. A few years later the first store with the Toys R Us name was opened in Rockville, Maryland. Toys R Us went from being a local business to a national (then international) store chain when it was sold to Interstate Department Stores, Inc. in 1966.

In a way it’s kind of sad that this is happening to Toys R Us because I grew up watching those commercials on television that featured someone dressed in a Geoffrey Giraffe costume while the ad jingle went “I don’t want to grow up, I’m a Toys R Us kid/There’s a million of toys at Toys R Us that I can play with.”

There was only one Toys R Us store in the town that I grew up in (Glen Burnie, Maryland). Sometimes my mother would buy toys from that store but she also purchased toys from Montgomery Wards and Sears as well. I still have memories of when I used to go to the one in the Glen Burnie Mall and it had a sign that said that children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Sometimes I would get permission from my mom to go to either the Record Bar (which sold vinyl records, 8-track tapes, and cassette tapes) or the video arcade (both of which have long since gone out of business) while she and my grandmother went inside of some clothing store. I was somewhere between 12-15 when I did this. (I know that for a fact because I pretty much lost interest in doing this once I reached 16.) I always made an effort to go past the Toys R Us entrance in the mall where I would enter that store without being accompanied by an adult just so I would flout that rule. None of the store employees ever did anything to kick me out for being an unaccompanied minor under 16 but it still filled my juvenile ego to know that I flouted a store rule. I never stayed too long inside Toys R Us because most of the toys were geared towards younger kids and I had pretty much outgrown any interest I had in things like Barbie dolls or Play-Doh. I only went inside because a sign said I couldn’t do it and it was an easy way to rebel against authority without getting into any kind of serious trouble. (LOL!)

Ironically that Glen Burnie Toys R Us is still going strong and it’s among the stores that is being saved from closure for now. The same can’t be said for the rest of the mall and, in fact, that mall had finally closed down for good last year.

When I moved closer to the Washington, DC area as an adult, I was lucky enough to be in an area where there were three different Toys R Us stores all located just a short drive away from my home—in New Carrollton, Laurel, and Langley Park. I used to periodically shop at Toys R Us mainly to purchase presents for my then-husband’s nieces and nephews or to buy baby shower gifts for various friends, relatives, and coworkers. There was a time when my church had a Toys for Tots-like program around the winter holiday season where we purchased toys for the children at this non-profit community center in Washington, DC that strived to provide programs for inner city kids from low-income families that would be an alternative to gangs and I used to shop at Toys R Us for that reason as well.

But then Toys R Us encountered its first problem when the dotcom boom happened and it was very slow in getting an online presence.  Amazon, which sold only books at the time, wanted to start selling toys so Toys R Us entered into a ten-year contract with Amazon to allow that online site to be its exclusive online supplier. It might have sounded like a good idea at the time but, in retrospect, that deal was like having Coca-Cola decide to let Pepsi-Cola handle all of its marketing and distribution of Coke products. Amazon soon allowed other third-party retailers to sell toys on its site, which resulted in a lawsuit.

One-by-one, over the next few years, the Toys R Us stores that were located closer to my home started to close. The one in New Carrollton was located in a building with a flat roof. A major blizzard hit the area where two feet of snow accumulated. The flat roof of the New Carrollton Toys R Us had accumulated so much snow that it literally caved in. I still remember seeing local news reports about that roof collapse along with pictures of stuffed animals floating on top of huge puddles that were created by melting snow. The chain decided to permanently close that store rather than rebuild. The building was razed then rebuilt and a CVS Pharmacy now sits in that location.

As for the one in Laurel I remember that the chain decided to do a remodel of that store while remaining open for business during the remodeling. Once that job was done that store looked really nice with a fresh coat of paint and bright lights. A year or two later the chain decided to close the Laurel store, which had me rolling my eyes since that chain had spent time and money remodeling that store only close it soon afterwards.

At that point the one in Langley Park was the closest Toys R Us store to my home. Compared to the Laurel store or even the New Carrollton store, that Langley Park store was a major hot mess. The floors had scruff marks everywhere and the shelves were totally messy and disorganized. It was almost like no one cared about having that store looked its best so it would encourage customers to return. I don’t know if the clientele had anything to do with the store deciding not to do much to keep up appearances or not. (Many immigrants, mainly from Central America and the Caribbean, started to settle in Langley Park starting in the 1980’s.)

Early one morning the bodies of two men were found in the parking lot of the Langley Park Toys R Us. Each of the men have had their their throats slashed. A third man was also knifed and survived. Naturally this story of three immigrant men being attacked in a Toys R Us parking lot was extensively covered by the local news media. Police found out that these slayings were the result of a drug deal gone bad and a suspect was arrested. That Toys R Us store closed soon after that incident.

As a result of those closures, these days if I want to shop at a Toys R Us, I have to drive at least a half-an-hour in any direction in order to get to a store. As a result, my shopping at Toys R Us has become very rare. These days if I need to buy a toy for whatever reason, I’m more likely to go to the Target store that’s located only three miles from my home and it has a pretty decent toy selection.

At this point there are only two Toys R Us left in my county and they require at least (depending on the traffic) a half-an-hour commute. One is a regular Toys R Us store in Clinton and the other is a Toys R Us outlet store at National Harbor. The Clinton store is the one that is among the stores that Toys R Us plan to close soon. Once that happens, my county will only have the outlet store left and no more regular Toys R Us stores.

At one point Toys R Us had opened a giant flagship store at Times Square in New York City. I went there many times whenever my then-husband and I visited his father and step-mother. I used to be awed by the four floors that not only included toys but I remembered there was a giant life-sized version of Barbie’s dreamhouse that you could walk through while browsing the selection of Barbie dolls that were displayed on shelves inside of that house, an animatronic t-rex robot, a giant candy section, and large 3D displays that were built from LEGOs.  In addition there was this giant indoor ferris wheel that was as tall as the store itself so one could see all four floors of the store while going on that ride. I never went on that ride myself because I still have memories the one and only time I went on a ferris wheel when I was seven years old and it literally made me feeling so dizzy that I never cared to repeat that experience. On top of it, the lines to that ferris wheel were usually long and I wasn’t in the mood to wait in a long line to get on a ride. I last went to New York City in 2011 (just a few months before my hip surgery and my husband’s subsequent sudden walkout) and I walked past that store while seeing the ferris wheel through the glass windows from the outside. I’ve heard that this store is now closed, which is too bad. Here’s a video tour of the Times Square store I found on YouTube that was shot shortly before it closed.

As for the chain itself, it has been going through more troubles in recent years. This article said that Toys R Us has an e-commerce site that’s very clunky to use compared to Amazon while also mentioning that kids these days are more likely to play with computers, smartphones, and tablets than traditional toys like Barbie dolls and Lego. Another article said that Toys R Us’ prices are higher than what Walmart, Amazon, and Target charge for the same toy. There is another factor in Toys R Us’ decline and it has less to do with kids’ playtime, their parents’ shopping habits, or the cost of toys and more with the fact that in 2005 the management decided to sell the company in a leveraged buyout to the real estate investment trust Vornado Realty Trust and the private equity firms KKR and Bain Capital. This trio of companies have focused more on doing a complex financial deal that would leave them richer while drowning Toys R Us in debt. It’s the usual Wall Street financial shenanigans that focus more on extracting huge short-term profits for the very wealthy 1%  class and less on operating a viable profitable store chain in the long run.

In a way one could say that karma had finally struck Toys R Us. When that chain first started opening stores throughout the United States in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, a lot of the smaller toy stores that were locally owned were driven out of business because many of them couldn’t compete with the wide selection of toys or the low prices that Toys R Us provided. Now it’s Toys R Us’ turn to eventually get driven out of business through a combination of increased competition (from the likes of Amazon, Walmart, and Target) and being literally milked heavily for profits by a bunch of Wall Streeters.

Of course it’s the employees who are suffering the most due to increased workplace stress and losing their jobs.

Which led me to my recent visit to a Toys R Us store in Annapolis, Maryland. I wanted to pick a store that isn’t among the stores being closed and I ended up picking the one in Annapolis because I decided to attend the weekly Thursday night meeting of my support group for people who are separated or divorced. The meetings are held in Crofton and Annapolis is just a few miles away on Route 50 so it made sense for me to go to the Annapolis store then head back to Crofton for the meeting.

The next photo shows the outside of the store. Some of the stores in this chain are Toys R Us only while other stores are its Babies R Us subsidiary. (The latter store focuses on items for babies and toddlers such as furniture, formula, and diapers.) This location is a larger store that has both Toys R Us and Babies R Us under the same roof.

Here’s what I first saw when I entered the store.

The next photo shows the Fingerlings, robot toys which were THE Hot Toy of 2017. These critters were sold out everywhere just before Christmas and these toys were sold on eBay for several times the original $15 retail price. As of late January I saw a few of these toys on the store shelves at the original retail price.

There was a section devoted to toys that were based on recent movies, such as Coco and Batman vs. Superman.

The store was nearly empty when I visited it. I know that the fact that I visited it on a Thursday in late January was a major factor. But this particular Toys R Us is located across the street from Annapolis Mall and I noticed that the mall was filling up with cars when I was leaving the area yet Toys R Us was mostly empty.

The store had a few Toys R Us exclusive toys, such as this Funko Pop! vinyl set featuring Mickey and Minnie Mouse.

They had some retro video games based on Space Invaders and the old Sega Genesis console system on the shelves yet they kept the games for the newer console systems kept behind locked cases.

Curiously Toys R Us had a bunch of Sharper Image products that it was selling on its store shelves. (The Sharper Image is a separate store chain that specializes in upscale electronic products.) This store sold mainly robot dinosaurs.

Toys R Us had an entire display devoted to last year’s hot trend, Fidget Spinners. (Remember them? I certainly do.)

Toys R Us carried a few American Girl dolls but they were all of the 14-inch Wellie Wishers.

This next item was among some of the more unusual toys I found on sale. This one is a Bear Surprise, where each bear is a pregnant female who could carry anywhere between 3-5 cubs. (The person wouldn’t know for sure until after he/she purchases a Bear Surprise and take her home.)

The one thing I most remember about Toys R Us is its mascot, Geoffrey Giraffe. I remember when that store used to sell Geoffrey Giraffe stuffed animals where the giraffe wore a sweater with the Toys R Us logo. I didn’t see any stuffed Geoffrey Giraffes on sale. In fact, I didn’t see much of Geoffrey Giraffe anywhere in this store except for this graphic. It’s obvious that they’ve redesigned him but he looks incredibly lame compared with the Geoffrey Giraffe I knew when I was growing up. It was like someone decided to make Geoffrey into this bland forgettable character that would blend in with a corporate environment. I can’t imagine any child being enthusiastic about this Geoffrey Giraffe.

The Journey Girls are 18-inch dolls that are Toys R Us’ answer to the ever-popular American Girl doll. They cost around $40, which is cheaper than American Girl’s $110 dolls.

Curiously Toys R Us had a section devoted to jewelry from Claire’s (which is a separate retail chain that sells jewelry and other accessories).

Here’s another Toys R Us exclusive I found, a Zoomer robot unicorn.

Naturally Toys R Us had a line of Star Wars toys.

They had a whole shelf full of Sharper Image drones.

Here are some more toys I found at Toys R Us, which includes Wonder Woman, Gremlins, and even a stuffed Godzilla plush.

I remember when Teddy Ruxpin first came out back in the 1980s and I saw news stories about this teddy bear. I was amazed by the animatronic technology back then even though this product was aimed at young children and I didn’t have any young children of my own. Teddy Ruxpin has been re-released and he’s compatible with a smartphone app and Bluetooth.

Toys R Us had a section devoted to bikes, small cars that children could ride in, and rollerblades.

Here’s another shot of an empty store aisle.

Toys R Us had an arts and crafts section including a shelf dedicated to nothing but Crayola products.

A quarter of the store was devoted to Babies R Us, which had cribs, blankets, and other products geared towards infants and toddlers.

Here’s a shot of the hall in the Babies R Us section that has the restrooms.

Toys R Us had a couple of STEM-focused high tech toys that are designed to encourage making and coding but they were pretty small compared to what Target and Best Buy offer.

They had a bunch of shelves devoted to board games. Some were the games I knew from my childhood, such as Rock’Em Sock’Em Robots, while others were definitely ones I hadn’t heard of before.

There was an aisle devoted entirely to LEGO products.

This one was another interesting item where you create your own version of a Kinder Surprise Egg.

Toys R Us had toy vacuum cleaners and toy irons for those budding young housewives.

I remember when Zhu Zhu Pets were the big Hot Toy way back in 2009. Like Fingerlings, Zhu Zhu Pets were sold out in stores everywhere just before the holiday season but then they became plentiful once Christmas passed. I haven’t seen Zhu Zhu Pets on sale anywhere in my area in a few years so I was surprised when I found them at Toys R Us.

Toys R Us also had Barbie dolls on sale along with newer dolls, such as the DC Super Hero Girls dolls.

I saw one discount bin full of polar bear Christmas ornaments.

I found a few dolls and plush based on Disney’s Moana movie and Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros. video game series.

I decided to make one purchase. The woman at the cash register offered me a free frequent rewards card. I accepted it even though I rarely shop at Toys R Us these days and I don’t know when I’ll make another trip to any Toys R Us store in my area. (Like I wrote earlier, most of those stores are located at least a 30-minute trip from my home.) I have to admit that the card is pretty colorful.

Here’s the one purchase I made. I bought a $15 Fingerlings monkey for the heck of it. I shot a video of the first time I played with this baby monkey, which I’ll write about in my next post.

Not too long ago I made a video that’s an open letter to YouTube where my channel (also called Sagittarius Dolly just like this blog) is in danger of being demonetized. YouTube decided to do this in the wake of Logan Paul’s Suicide Forest video except YouTube is penalizing the wrong people.

This past week Logan Paul uploaded the first new video he made since both the Suicide Forest video and his subsequent apology video. It’s a nicely done PSA called “Suicide: Be Here Tomorrow” and it included an interview with a man who attempted suicide by jumping off of the Golden Gate Bridge and he miraculously survived. Here’s the video:

The video seemed promising even though there was one thing that had bothered me. Had Logan Paul simply made that Suicide Forest video then I would say that this new video is sufficient enough to prove that Logan Paul has learned a lesson from this incident. However, prior to the Suicide Forest video, Logan Paul made other videos where he and his pals essentially made fun of the Japanese and their culture while visiting their country. As of this writing he has yet to issue any kind of apology to Japan for his awful behavior. Here are the lowlights of those videos that were compiled by We The Unicorns.

I didn’t immediately jump on the “Logan Paul has learned his lesson” bandwagon because of that lack of apology to Japan. I’m glad I sat out that bandwagon because there were two recent incidents that had me question the sincerity of Logan Paul’s “Suicide: Be Here Tomorrow” video. One was an inappropriate comment he made on a picture that was posted on rapper Cardi B’s Instagram account. The other was this interview he made on ABC’s Good Morning America where he basically said that the guy committed suicide in the Suicide Forest as a way for him to make that Suicide Forest video and raise awareness of suicide prevention. You can watch this interview in its entirety—if you can stomach it.

In response I made this video titled “Why Logan Paul Can Take His ‘Suicide: Be Here Tomorrow’ Video and Shove It.” In that video I briefly mention the earliest suicide that affected me when my Great Uncle Jack killed himself when I was seven or eight years old. Feel free to share it with everyone you know.

Writing off Logan Paul is no big loss for me and I definitely won’t regret making my latest video. Here’s a video I found which goes over previous outrageous things Logan Paul has done in the U.S. prior to his fateful Japanese trip that will have your blood boiling.

January 20 was the one-year anniversary of the inauguration of Donald Trump while the following day would be the one-year anniversary of the Women’s March on Washington. (Ironically the Federal Government also shut down on that same day but it would reopen three days later.) The organizers decided to hold another Women’s March that would take place in cities throughout the United States. (There were other Women’s Marches that took place in other countries as well. One of my Facebook friends attended one in her hometown of Montreal.)

This year’s Women’s March on Washington was different in some ways. Last year the DC march was the main march and people from all over the U.S. and came to DC. It drew famous people to that march like Madonna, Ashley Judd, and Alicia Keys. This year the main focal point of the march was being held in Las Vegas, where the organizers spent Saturday (January 20) holding a conference with the theme of “Power to the Polls” (this year is the mid-term elections where plenty of Senate and House seats are up for grabs) while spending the following day (January 21) marching on the streets to commemorate the anniversary of the 2017 march. Las Vegas was chosen as the main march for this year because it is a swing state in the upcoming elections.

There was definitely a difference between this year’s march and last year’s march. Last year I remember going to a Metro station on the Sunday before that march so I could take advantage of the free parking on the weekends (Metro charges people to park during the week regardless of whether you actually ride the subway or not) and the usual light crowds to add more fare to my SmartTrip card so I wouldn’t have to stand in a very long line on the day of the march. This year I forgot to do this and I wasn’t willing to pay the $5.20 weekday parking fee just so I could increase my SmartTrip farecard. I took my chances and saw that the lines were pretty short this year and I had no problem with adding fare to my card on the day of the march itself.

Last year a group of women from my church decided to go and we agreed to meet very early in the morning in order to be able to beat the expected crowd. This year there were no organized effort from my church to march together. I had planned on getting there on my own by about 7 a.m. except I had a hard time getting to sleep that night due to the fact that I gorged myself with too much cake at this party that was held at my church the night before so I woke up later than I intended.

The one thing that remained the same is that I wore the same Grumpy Cat hat that I wore last year. Apparently there was some controversy about wearing those knitted pink pussycat hats last year on the grounds that they trivialize the serious issues regarding sexism and feminism. This year there’s controversy about the hats because the pussy hats are supposed to represent women’s pussies and the color pink is supposed to represent the color of the vagina. Except the hats could be offensive to transgender and non-binary women who may not have the usual pussy and it could also be offensive to women of color, whose vaginas tend to be more brown-colored than pink.

On top of it, I never got around to knitting my own pink pussycat hat mainly because I was more focused on knitting other hats in a variety of colors for my church’s annual mittens and hats sale late last year. So I wore Grumpy Cat on my head once again. In a way it’s appropriate because I’m grumpy about politics these days plus I’ve learned that the real life Grumpy Cat is actually female. (Which explains why actress Aubrey Plaza was hired to do the voice of Grumpy Cat in the movie Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever.) Here are a couple of selfies wearing that hat after I reached the rally in downtown DC.

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

The weather was even better this year. Last year it had rained in the area for the past few days prior to the march and it had even rained on Inauguration Day. Even though it didn’t rain on the day of the march, the sky was still very gloomy with the clouds out and the ground was incredibly wet. I remember it was cold as well so I wore my heavy winter coat. This year it was sunny and the latest below-freezing cold temperatures that had been plaguing our area for the past few days had finally left our area the day before. On the day of the march the temperature went up to the 50’s so I decided to wear a lighter jacket instead of my heavy winter coat.

Another difference I noticed between this year and last year is that I didn’t see any signs touting Hillary Clinton nor did I see anyone cart any life-sized Hillary Clinton standees. I think the march participants have moved on and decided to just focus on President Trump and the upcoming mid-term elections.

Like last year I took a bunch of pictures, which I’ve posted here. Unlike last year, I managed to shoot a short video of the event at various points of that march, which you can view right here.

The rest of this post has the still photos I shot that day along with my personal descriptions and opinions of that event.

So I woke up late that morning and I wasn’t finally out the door until 10 a.m. I was nervous about how crowded the Greenbelt Metro station would be until I arrived there and I found that I had no problem with finding a parking space. I also found that there were almost no lines to speak of. There was just one fellow protester stationed at the Metro entrance who was greeting people.

Women's March on Washington 2018

The Metro subway train wasn’t very crowded and I managed to find a seat. Since I heard that this year’s rally was being held further down the Mall at the Reflecting Pool next to the Lincoln Memorial, I got off at the Foggy Bottom Metro station. (I learned years ago that Foggy Bottom is the closest station to the Lincoln Memorial because you’ll end up doing less walking than getting off at the Smithsonian Metro and walking down the entire length of the Mall. I saw plenty of march participants get off at the Smithsonian station while I knew that they had a very long walk ahead of them. LOL!)  When I got out of that station the first thing I saw were the merchants outside the Foggy Bottom Metro station who were hawking Women’s March-related wares (including t-shirts, buttons, and even pink pussycat hats).

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Two men were playing chess while people were doing other things around them like vendors selling merchandise and protesters buying merchandise and walking towards the Lincoln Memorial.

Women's March on Washington 2018

I purchased three buttons from a vendor who was having a three buttons for $10 sale. I pinned them to the back of my Grumpy Cat hat.

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

While walking down 23rd Street, NW, I encountered a mix of protesters lining the street with their signs. I also saw more vendors selling their wares every block or so between the Foggy Bottom Metro station and the Lincoln Memorial.

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

I finally reached the Lincoln Memorial where I saw protesters with their signs.

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Anti-abortion protesters tried to stage a counter-protest but they were clearly outnumbered by the women’s marchers, many of them are pro-choice. (Many of the anti-abortion protesters were in town for the annual March for Life, which usually happens on the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade decision that legalized abortion.)

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

The last time I was at a protest by the Lincoln Memorial was when I checked out the Juggalo March last September. There were far more people at this protest than at the Juggalo one. Yet this protest was less crowded than last year’s Women’s March but that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. For one thing we weren’t packed tightly into a single area like sardines, which I definitely liked.

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

One guy managed to swipe an anti-abortion sign and alter it in order to turn it into a pro-Planned Parenthood sign.

Women's March on Washington 2018

Naturally there were more vendors there as well.

Women's March on Washington 2018

This next photo, where I set the camera on the highest telephoto setting, was the closest I could get to the stage or the giant jumbotron video screen itself. But I was able to hear many of the speeches unlike last year, when I was too far away to hear anything.

Women's March on Washington 2018

I brought my portable folding chair with me so once I found a decent place to sit where I could hear the rally, I sat in my chair and ate my lunch. I only moved once when I needed to use one of the portapotties. Most of the speakers I heard were Democratic congresspeople (such as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi) and DNC Chair Tom Perez.

I was really pissed when Debbie Wasserman Schultz took to the stage where she denounced Trump. I still remember when, during her time as DNC Chair in 2016, she helped in rigging the Democratic primaries that would allow Hillary Clinton to get the nomination. She disregarded the numerous polls that said that Bernie Sanders had a far better chance of defeating Donald Trump in the general election than Hillary Clinton. I’m not making this stuff up as a pro-Bernie sore loser. Former Interim-DNC Chair Donna Brazile wrote a book last year that basically confirmed this. As far as I’m concerned, Debbie Wasserman Schultz should not have been invited to go on stage giving her speech when she is one of the people who made Donald Trump’s election possible and I’ll never forgive her for this.

After sitting in my chair for a while I used the portapottie again. Afterwards I literally ran into a group of friends from my neighborhood, which thrilled me because I wouldn’t be protesting alone. The rally ran overtime like last year but it was bearable this time since we weren’t packed together like sardines. We walked around while I took a few pictures of a few people, such as this woman who played her violin while the protesters walked past her.

Women's March on Washington 2018

Even though the weather was mild on that day, the Reflecting Pool was frozen from all of those days of below-freezing temperatures that had been going on since Christmas. I saw people walking on the frozen Reflecting Pool despite a posted sign from the National Parks Service warning people not to do this. I didn’t see anyone fall through the ice but other people did because this news story had photos of people who crashed through the ice at the Women’s March. Fortunately the Reflecting Pool isn’t very deep but I still would never walk on the ice like that.

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

When the rally ended we started to march past the World War II Memorial.

Women's March 2018

Women's March 2018

Women's March 2018

We eventually reached Pennsylvania Avenue, NW where we marched down that street.

Women's March on Washington

Women's March on Washington

We walked past both the Secret Service and the DC Metropolitan Police.

Women's March on Washington

Women's March on Washington

We marched past the Renwick Gallery, which I recently visited on Christmas Eve.

Women's March on Washington

The march ended at the White House, where people gathered into both the closed-off area of Pennsylvania Avenue, NW and nearby Lafayette Square.

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

An impromptu dance party broke out in Lafayette Square while people took selfies and admired each other’s signs. Arriving at the White House gave all of us a chance to sit down. (At least I actually went on the march to the White House this year. Last year I was so tired and frazzled from being packed in the Mall that I didn’t even bother with marching.)

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The next two photos show an encampment that was originally set up by antiwar activists back in the early 1980s (when Ronald Reagan occupied the White House) and it still remains in Lafayette Square to this day despite the fact that the two original founders, William Thomas and Concepcion Picciotto, have since passed away.

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

As people left the White House area, many of them left their signs outside of the fence where I took a few more photos.

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

I saw yet another vendor by the White House.

The Women's March on Washington 2018

After a while we all left the White House since the protest tended to peter out once we all reached the destination. We parted ways since my friends took a car into DC while I took the Metro. I walked towards the Metro Center station so I could take the Metro back to Maryland. On my way there I encountered this really nice looking historic clock that I couldn’t resist photographing.

Women's March on Washington 2018

At one point during the march we ran into a photographer we knew who shot a group picture of us. That photo of us was published in the latest issue of The Greenbelt News Review. The link (which opens in a new window) goes to a .pdf document but the photo in question is on the front page located in the bottom right hand corner. You can clearly see me in my Grumpy Cat hat on the right.

It’s the second year in the row that I participated in a Women’s March in January. I have a feeling that I’ll be attending more such annual marches wearing my Grumpy Cat hat until the Trump Administration leaves the White House or I die—whichever comes first.

For a comparison between this year’s march and last year’s march, check out my post about the 2017 Women’s March on Washington.

Last year I went to the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore because it has free admission on Martin Luther King Day. (The regular admission price is $15.95 for adults under 60 and $13.95 for people age 60 and up.) I had a blast even though I arrived too late in the day to get a free slice of birthday cake that the museum usually serves for that occasion. This year I decided to do it again except I made every effort to wake up early and get out of the door so I could arrive by noon (when the birthday cake would be served).

So I managed to arrive earlier than last year while braving the cold weather (the temperature was in the low 20’s that day). I took the light rail into the city then transferred to the Charm City Circulator bus. I managed to arrive shortly before noon. The main disadvantage is that the museum was way more crowded than I remembered last year when I arrived later in the afternoon. But I still tried to make the best of my visit since it was free admission day.

One of the buildings had a new exhibition which featured this giant dragon sculpture that was made entirely from balloons.

There were a few wall hangings that were literally displayed on the ceiling of that building.

I managed to arrive on the third floor of the building where the birthday cake was being served along with a few other activities as well. There was an opportunity to create buttons, which I didn’t get to do because the museum had run out of button making supplies by the time I arrived. But I managed to get a photo of a couple who were able to make buttons.

The entertainment featured a children’s gospel choir known as the Cardinal Shehan School Choir, who came from one of the local Catholic schools in Baltimore. This group has been featured on Good Morning America after one of their videos went viral. After hearing them, I understood why because this choir was so phenomenal, especially since the singers were all children.

In fact, I shot this video of them doing their final number called “Rise Up” that I think you will definitely enjoy.

While the choir was performing I got a chance to look at the birthday cakes that were served to the general public on a first-come, first-served basis. The cakes were available in a variety of flavors.

The museum also gave out a variety of hot beverages (including hot chocolate and a few different flavors of tea). The next photo shows my cup of hot chocolate and the slice of cake that I chose.

This next photo should give you an idea as to how crowded this room got with people making buttons and consuming cake and hot drinks.

I stepped out of the balcony on that third floor where I got a great view of both the museum’s main building and Federal Hill.

Once I finished eating my cake and the choir finished performing its set, I left that large and crowded room and explored the rest of the museum where I took these pictures.

The museum had this special exhibit called The Great Mystery Show, which featured art related to science and mysticism. This NASA astronaut sculpture in the next photo had me thinking about how my ex-husband would’ve loved this since he works for NASA and he told me that he once wanted to become an astronaut only to find out that his eyesight would’ve been considered too poor for such a position. (He managed to study computer programming so he found another way of working for NASA even if he never became an astronaut.)

The statue in the next two photos intrigued me because it was made mostly from sea shells.

The most memorable part of the museum was seeing this sculpture of Edgar Allan Poe that was made entirely from marshmallow Peeps.

The base of the Poe sculpture was flanked by a black cat and a raven, who were both also made from marshmallow Peeps. (Those two were references to two of Poe’s famous works—The Black Cat and The Raven.)

Near the Poe sculpture was this heart that was made from glass, which was a reference to another famous Poe piece known as The Tell-Tale Heart.

The most surreal part of the museum was seeing a TV monitor that had non-stop showings of Martin Luther King giving his famous “I Have a Dream” speech while the monitor was flanked by flowers, tarot cards, two gold masks, and an Ouija board.

I was amazed by this life-sized sculpture of what looked like the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz.

I found this interesting recipe posted on the museum wall that I would like to try at some point in the future.


I really liked this colorful and funky cat illustration.

This dress looked like it was made from glass with all of the glass beads.

I couldn’t resist taking a picture of this inspirational quote from Leonardo da Vinci regarding science and art.

I really liked this next photo, which is a painting of Albert Einstein.

I was also amazed by what this one artist did with small tins (such as a sardine tin and a tin box that was about the size of a pack of Altoids). This person created scenes with paper cutouts. The tiny details were astounding.

I made only one purchase at that museum. I found this crochet pattern book for $5 that was about creating tiny equipment, furniture, and buildings that were small enough for LEGO Minifigs, tiny dolls, and other types of tiny toys. It looked really interesting.

Even though I had that slice of cake, it was no substitute for lunch and I was starting to feel hungry as I was touring the museum. I thought about eating in the museum’s cafe until I saw that it was very crowded. I began to become tired of the throngs of people who were crowding in the museum because they were also taking advantage of the free admission. I decided to leave the museum and walk along the Inner Harbor while taking some photos. This next photo shows a building in the middle that’s under construction complete with a construction crane.

The weather had been mostly non-stop freezing since Christmas with an exception of a couple of days when the temperature reached the low 50’s just a couple of days before MLK Day. Unfortunately that respite was short-lived and the area was plunged into yet another deep freeze. The next few pictures clearly show the effects of the below-freezing temperatures had on the water itself where you can clearly see ice that had been forming.

Some of the litter thrown into the Inner Harbor had been encased in ice.

A pair of ducks were swimming in the non-icy portions of the water.

These stone installations resembled three Adirondack chairs.

The next photo shows the statue of William Donald Schaefer, who served as the mayor of Baltimore and governor of Maryland.

I walked by Harborplace where I visited It’s Sugar.

 

I bought a few things in that store, including a special pack of Skittles that  was known as “Sweet Heat” because spices were added to the candy. I tried them and I found the spicy taste to be interesting but, to be honest, I prefer regular Skittles.

I bought a small box of this treat called Marshmallow Madness. The idea is based on the Lucky Charms cereal except that the cereal part has been excluded so all you get is just small colored marshmallows in a variety of shapes. I’ve seen Marshmallow Madness be available in cereal-sized boxes. On this trip I saw that there were smaller box versions of Marshmallow Madness so I decided to buy it to see what it tasted like.

My verdict is that while the marshmallows are tasty, I found myself missing the cereal part. (I used to frequently eat Lucky Charms cereal as a child. Even though I rarely eat presweetened cereal these days, I still found myself lamenting the lack of cereal in Marshmallow Madness. I guess old habits die hard. LOL!)

I purchased a pack of orange-flavored Donald Trump-themed gummy candy known as Make America Sweet Again mainly because the package design was such a hoot. I took a bunch of detailed photographs of this product so you’ll get the idea.

I haven’t opened that candy as of this writing. I have an idea of doing something creative with this candy so I don’t want to just eat it right now, especially since there are only two It’s Sugar locations in the entire Baltimore-Washington, DC area (one at Harborplace and the other in the Chinatown area of DC) and I don’t really live close to either location so I can’t shop there too often.

I took a couple of photos of Harborplace, which showed it becoming more and more of a dead mall. This was shot on Martin Luther King Day when a lot of people are off from school and work. I remember Harborplace in better days when it used to draw a huge crowd of shoppers. I remember the days when I made special trips to this place so I could spend the day there. Despite the presence of It’s Sugar, H&M, and Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium, this pavilion is still pretty much empty. I didn’t even bother with visiting the other pavilion because I know it’s the same situation from previous visits. Too bad, so sad.

The sign announcing a “New Tradition” at Harborplace that “Begins Fall 2016” had me laughing. Or maybe having a mostly empty mall is Harborplace’s idea of a “new tradition.” LOL!

The only area of Harborplace where I saw quite a few people was at the temporary ice skating rink that was set outside of one of the pavilions.

There weren’t really a lot of affordable place to eat lunch at. (I still remember the old days when that pavilion I had just visited used to have an entire floor dedicated to a food court that had all kinds of foods ranging from pizza to sushi to Chinese to Subway subs.) I decided to go to the Così that’s located across the street from the Baltimore Convention Center for a late lunch. Except when I arrived just 15 minutes before 3 p.m. I saw a notice on the door saying that Così would be closing early at 3 p.m. for MLK Day. I basically got my lunch to go and walked around the area looking for an appropriate place to eat lunch. Unfortunately it was way too cold to eat anywhere outside. I ultimately walked to the Hilton Baltimore where I sat down in one of the cushions in the lobby and quietly consumed my TBM (tomato, basil, and mozzarella) sandwich with a bag of potato chips and a Diet Coke. That hotel was very empty that day where the staffers outnumbered everyone else.

After I finished lunch, I decided that it was time to head back to the light rail station and get out of the city. I walked past Orioles Park at Camden Yards and took this one last photo. The place definitely looked pretty sad and deserted in the off-season. Baseball season will begin in a few months so this area will have a lot of Baltimore Oriole fans entering through those gates. (It also reminded me of the fact that the last time I attended a game there was back in 2007. It was the year before my hip replacement and it was also when I was still married because I used to accompany my husband to those games. I don’t know when I’ll ever attend another game there in person.)

Last week I received this email from YouTube announcing that my Sagittarius Dolly channel (which I named after this blog), which I registered in its regular Partner program, is in danger of being demonetized due to its recent new standards it has instituted. Under the new system I am now required to have a minimum of 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours (where I never used to have a quota before under the old system) or else I will lose all monetization.

Granted I never made much money. (YouTube required a $100 minimum before it would even cut a check or put money into my PayPal account. The most I ever made in any month was around three or four dollars so I never received any cash from YouTube.) But it really sucks that YouTube has instituted these new rules in an effort to avoid that Logan Paul Suicide Forest incident but these rules seemed to target less popular channels like myself instead. This article in USA Today says that YouTube’s stricter requirements would still not have prevented Logan Paul from uploading his Suicide Forest video because his channel had already exceeded YouTube’s quotas.

Basically those of us with less-popular channels are paying the price for Logan Paul’s Suicide Forest stunt and it’s not fair. I made this video that’s an open letter to YouTube. I included some background about the Logan Paul Suicide Forest incident (don’t worry, my video does not show any dead bodies because I feel that poor suicide victim’s friends and family have already suffered enough from what Logan Paul did) but it basically focuses on how I feel that it’s not fair that people like me have to pay the price for the antics of Logan Paul and other popular YouTubers (such as DaddyOFive and PewDiePie).

UPDATE (January 27, 2018): I came across this article on The Motley Fool that is totally critical of YouTube’s new standards and it makes the same point that I’ve been making that the wrong people are being penalized for Logan Paul flying to Japan and making that Suicide Forest video. As this article explains:

This still seems like a bad business decision. YouTube is a big business, and the number of creators generating six figures in revenue has soared 40% over the past year. The problem is that few of them became overnight success stories. You start small. You work your way up. Shutting off the partnership program until late in the popularity cycle is going to turn off a lot of potential contributors. This is going to open the door for other social media sites and video-sharing outlets to introduce monetization solutions for mainstream users, and it’s not going to stop the next YouTube celebrity from doing something ill advised to leave marketers revisiting brand safety issues again. Chaos among upstart hungry creators will be a dinner bell somewhere else.

YouTube is throwing out the babies, but it’s keeping the bathwater.

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

UPDATE (February 3, 2018): I made another video in response to Logan Paul’s “Suicide: Be Here Tomorrow” and his latest antics that call into question the sincerity of that video.

Today is the one-year anniversary of President Donald Trump’s inauguration. Today is also the day that the Federal Government has shut down, which is historic because the Republicans control the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives. In a way it’s fitting that this has happened since President Trump had promised to run the country like a business and he has had a long string of multiple bankruptcies and failed businesses. President Trump had definitely kept his campaign promise to run this country like his businesses. LOL!

Today is also the day of the Women’s March in Washington, DC, which I’m going to attend. (After I finish this post, I’m going to take a shower then head to the nearest Metro and go downtown.) With this government being completely shutdown as of midnight last night, today is going to be very interesting indeed.

I’m going to end this post with a video from last year that’s really appropriate for today.

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