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April 8 was a pretty busy night. The local theater in Greenbelt, Maryland was among the numerous theaters nationwide who held a simultaneous screening of the film 1984. Before the movie began a group of local activists held a reading of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speech “Beyond Vietnam” in honor of the 50th anniversary of that speech. (Ironically MLK gave that speech exactly one year before his assassination.)

Reading Martin Luther King's Letter

Reading Martin Luther King's Letter

Reading Martin Luther King's Letter

By the way, if you’re curious about the speech itself, you can read the text or you can hear Rev. King actually give that speech himself.


I decided to check out this night networking event that was held at the UMBC Training Center in Columbia, Maryland. I decided to beat the rush hour traffic and head up to Columbia a few hours early. I hung around the Mall in Columbia for a bit since I haven’t been there in a very long time. Here’s a photo of the indoor carousel that’s located on the upper level of that mall.

I saw this incredibly colorful clown sculpture that was made from balloons.

This year is the 50th anniversary of the Mall in Columbia, which is why there was a 50th birthday cake floating in the fountain. The cake was made from balloons so it wasn’t edible anyway.

The Disney Store had this huge display because it had recently released the live action remake of its 1990’s animated film Beauty and the Beast.

The next photo shows the official doll that was widely mocked on the Internet as being ugly and looking like Justin Bieber. The doll was supposed to resemble actress Emma Watson, who played Belle in the movie, but I personally thought that the results were less-than-thrilling. I agreed with the critics who said that the doll looked more like Justin Bieber wearing a long brown wig than Emma Watson. (By the way a doll artist named Noel Cruz took one of the dolls and did a total repaint job. The results resembled Emma Watson way better than the original doll faceup.)

The Disney Store sold a larger doll that was based on the 1990’s animated version. I thought that doll looked way better than the other one.

The Disney Store also sold this Moana doll that looked gorgeous. I’ll admit that I haven’t gotten around to see the movie yet but I totally adored that doll so much that I would’ve bought it if it weren’t for the fact that I’m still dealing with tight finances.

I ate an early dinner at the Mall in Columbia because I wasn’t sure about the food situation. I was glad I did because this event had mostly snacks. After dinner I drove straight to the UMBC Training Center where the Coaches’ Corner event took place. It was basically an event where we received free counseling in small groups from various career coaches coupled with networking and it ended with a panel discussion from all of the participating career coaches. The day before the event I received an email asking participants to take photos of the evening, upload them on social media, and give them various hashtags. Here are my two photos from the event. The next photo shows the networking that took place before the panel discussion.

The last photo shows the panel discussion from the career coaches.

I only took two pictures because I was more focused on getting advice on finding jobs than taking pictures. I got some pretty good advice from the career coaches, especially on using LinkedIn.

Last week I was doing some shopping when I came across some interesting items that I took photos of with my smartphone camera. First up, I was browsing around Michaels Arts & Crafts when I saw a rack devoted to stuffed animals that resembled two popular Internet celebrities: Boo and Grumpy Cat.

Internet Celebrities as Stuffed Animals

I went on to Safeway, where I found out that 2014 is the 50th anniversary of Pop-Tarts.

Pop Tarts 50th Anniversary Box

Pop Tarts 50th Anniversary Box

Pop Tarts 50th Anniversary Box

While I was still at Safeway, I was browsing the bakery section when I found that it was carrying a new product: Waffle Nuts. Yes, it’s a hybrid of a waffle and a donut.

Waffle Nuts

Waffle Nuts

I took advantage of the 2 for $1 sale and bought two chocolate frosted waffle nuts. When I tried them at home, I have to admit that, while I thought the chocolate frosting was really good, the rest of the waffle nut was underwhelming. I think it’s an example of how experimenting with coming up with new combinations don’t always work. I like waffles and I like donuts but I just don’t think they taste so good as a hybrid. I personally wouldn’t buy another waffle nut.

In 2009 the Barbie doll celebrated her 50th anniversary and Mattel released all kinds of commemorative dolls and other spin-off products (such as t-shirts). I purchased two of the commemorative dolls and made a slideshow comparing and contrasting them.

I shot this video on the last day of the week-long Barbie convention that was held in Washington, DC (when the organizers opened the showroom floor to the general public for the admission price of $7) in 2009. Since that year was the 50th anniversary of the release of the first Barbie doll, the convention focused on that milestone. This video does provide a little taste of the marketplace that has sprung up around the Barbie doll fandom–ranging from special limited-edition collectible Barbies to vintage Barbies to one-of-a-kind customized Barbies to vintage clothes to new handmade clothes, etc.

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