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I went to my first Baltimore Comic-Con in quite a few years. I attended that event the first time in 2012 and the second time the following year. Then I didn’t go for another few years until recently. The main reason was financial. I ended up going to other events, such as Intervention Con, and with tight finances being the norm these days, I couldn’t afford to attend those events and Baltimore Comic-Con as well. Something had to give and Baltimore Comic-Con was the one that I ended up not attending.

But then a few things happened. First, my utilities company informed me that they had made a billing error in my favor for the last several months so, for the next few months I’m paying a lower bill than usual. Then I found out that Intervention Con wasn’t going to happen this year mainly because the organizers decided to focus on holding two specialized conventions instead—PotterVerse for Harry Potter fans and (Re)Generation Who for Doctor Who fans. While I like both Harry Potter and Doctor Who, I don’t like them enough to consider spending time and money at specialized conventions. I’m more into conventions that cover things like art in general or comic books in general instead of a very narrow field.

I’ll admit that I miss Intervention Con because that was my favorite convention due to the fact that it’s smaller and more intimate than—let’s say—Awesome Con or Otakon. Getting a good seat at a panel was no problem, I found it easier to meet people, and I didn’t have to do as much walking because of the small size so I didn’t become physically spent as much as when I used to go to Otakon. If you want to know why I loved going to Intervention Con so much, check out my blog posts and pictures from the cons I went to in 2013, 2014 (Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3), and 2016 (Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3).

As I was typing this, I remember that another annual event I usually loved going to at this time of the year, the Silver Spring Maker Faire, has also decided not to put on another event in 2017. I hope it’s not some kind of a sad trend where the organizers of these fun annual events have decided to cut back on holding their events because it would be really sad if that was the case. (If you want to know why I’m sad about what happened with the Silver Spring Maker Faire, check out the photos I took in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016.)

Like I wrote a few paragraphs ago, I found out that I had a little bit of extra spending money so I decided to go to Baltimore Comic-Con for the first time in four years. What made it really sweet is that the famed 1980s rapper DMC (from the group Run-DMC) was going to be there and he was not only signing autographs for fans (who paid at least $20 for one of his comic books) but he was giving two panels—one on Saturday and one on Sunday.

Saturday was the only day I could go to Baltimore Comic-Con because of finances and the fact that I was serving as a substitute teacher in my church’s program that teaches local immigrants how to speak English the following day. But I managed to treasure every moment of my time there and I took a bunch of photos the moment I stepped outside of the Baltimore Convention Center and paid the $35 Saturday admission fee.

Baltimore Comic-Con

Baltimore Comic-Con

While I was waiting in line I witnessed this cute scene of a baby dressed in a Batman outfit (which isn’t apparent in the photo below because of the angle of the baby but I saw him wearing it in real life) looking at this man wearing his Spider-Man cosplay outfit.

Baltimore Comic-Con

Here’s the cover of the official Baltimore Comic-Con program book.

Baltimore Comic-Con

I even shot a short video when I first arrived soon after the convention opened at 10 a.m. that morning. Fortunately the ticket purchasing lines were shorter that morning, which wasn’t the case later in the day, so I was able to quickly purchase my ticket then go straight to the Dealers Room where I saw the convention employees actually clapping their hands at each guest who walked through the doors.

The employees only did that in the morning. When I returned to the Dealers Room at various times later in the day, the employees stopped clapping for everyone and simply looked at people’s paper bracelets (which served as our passes) before letting them in the room.

If Intervention Con is my favorite convention because it’s smaller and more intimate, then I have to say that Baltimore Comic-Con is my second favorite because the organizers are trying to strike a balance between focusing on comic books and having a few celebrities in attendance, but not as many of them as the gigantic San Diego Comic-Con. I’ve heard all sorts of stories as to how humongous and utterly exhausting it is to walk through that event and I’m pretty reluctant to even consider trying it. I had a hard enough time going to a three-day event like Otakon (which is why I’ve stopped attending in recent years) and I think San Diego Comic-Con would be even worse. I’m happy to say that finding a decent seat at a workshop or panel is still really easy at Baltimore Comic-Con. I never had to stand in any long lines in order to get to the panel of my choice (and I went on Saturday, which is usually the busiest and most crowded of the three days).

After I got my ticket I initially checked out the vendors room but I only stayed there briefly because the panel featuring DMC was scheduled to begin at noon. I found a few reminders that DMC was here at Baltimore Comic-Con this year.

DMC of Run-DMC Fame and Now Darryl Makes Comics

DMC of Run-DMC Fame and Now Darryl Makes Comics

I arrived at the panel early enough that I was able to get a front row seat. This panel was devoted to DMC’s comic book venture known as Darryl Makes Comics and it also had others who currently work on the comic book series including Greg Pak, Khoi Pham, Domo Stanton, and Amy Chu. DMC can be seen in the photos wearing the black Motörhead t-shirt.

DMC of Run-DMC Fame and Now Darryl Makes Comics

DMC of Run-DMC Fame and Now Darryl Makes Comics

DMC of Run-DMC Fame and Now Darryl Makes Comics

DMC of Run-DMC Fame and Now Darryl Makes Comics

DMC of Run-DMC Fame and Now Darryl Makes Comics

DMC of Run-DMC Fame and Now Darryl Makes Comics

DMC of Run-DMC Fame and Now Darryl Makes Comics

I learned that DMC has been into comics since childhood and this fascination even influenced his rapping days with Run-DMC. He said he started Darryl Makes Comics as a way of getting different voices into the comic book industry who tend to be overlooked by the larger companies—including not only people of different races but also people from different classes, older people, women, etc.

I was really enthusiastic by this panel and I found out that DMC was selling copies of his comic books with his signed autograph in the Dealers Room for $20. I wanted to buy it but, unfortunately I was tempted by a whole bunch of other stuff that was also on sale in that same room and I didn’t have unlimited funds. I took a bunch of photos of some of the stuff that was on sale.

There was a booth by a company called FigureThis who had this really neat idea where they will shoot full body photos of you with multiple cameras placed all around you then send those photos to a 3D printer where it will print a 3D figurine of your image.

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

I still have photos posted in older blog posts of various 3D printers that I’ve shot at various events over the seven years that this blog has been in existence. I have older photos of really large 3D printers that cost at least $2,000. At Baltimore-Comic Con I saw these smaller portable printers by a company known as M3D that were available on sale for only $295.

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

What’s more, these printers were small enough that a visitor can easily carry the printer home with him/her after purchasing it. If I had more money to spare, I definitely would’ve purchased one myself.

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

I was very impressed with the 3D figurines this small 3D printer was capable of producing.

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

There was this really cool looking computer from a company known as Chimera Computers, whose slogan is “They might have the flash, but we have the power!”

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

There were a whole bunch of other products besides comic books (yes, they had a lot of comic books available for sale) that were on sale ranging from t-shirts to drinking glasses to vintage Nintendo video games to realistic looking figurines to superhero stories written in chapter book form for children who are beginning readers. In short, there was a little something for everybody.

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

The cosplayers were out in full force and I took a lot of pictures of them as well. I saw a lot of people dressed as Batman this year because the day I went to Baltimore Comic-Con also happened to be Batman Day, a day which many comic book shops in the U.S. hold Batman-themed events to observe the anniversary that Batman made his first ever appearance in Detective Comics #27 in 1939.

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

After wandering around the Dealer Room snapping pictures for a few hours, my legs were growing tired. I decided to check out the 2:45-3:45 p.m. (yes, that was the actual scheduled time) panel on “Baltimore Celebrates Batman Day!” (That panel was how I learned that there was actually such a thing as Batman Day.) I’ve been a Batman fan from way back starting with the time my parents gave me a Batman bank as a present and I still have those early childhood memories of putting loose coins in the slot located on Batman’s back. I grew up watching the reruns of the 1960’s TV series starring the recently deceased Adam West and reading whatever Batman comic books my mother happened to purchase during her weekly grocery shopping trip. (Sometimes she would buy Batman while other times she would buy comic books featuring Captain America, Superman, The Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, and The Incredible Hulk.) So I was eager to check out that panel.

The panel was moderated by Jimmy Palmiotti and it had people who had worked on either the Batman or Harley Quinn comic books including Amanda Conner, David Finch, Peter J. Tomasi, James Tynion IV, John Timms.

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

The panel primarily focused on the Batman and Harley Quinn comic books that have come out in the last five years while also mentioning the feature films Batman had appeared in within the last ten years. I’ll admit that I was a bit lost. That was because I haven’t read a Batman comic book since Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns graphic novel series back in the late 1980’s. (I remember finding Miller’s interpretation of Batman as a very dark vigilante to be an interesting take but the story left me feeling so cold that I never re-read it. It didn’t help that, years later, Frank Miller was openly accusing the Occupy Wall Street movement as being a bunch of louts, thieves and rapists. Never mind the fact that my visits to the Occupy sites in Baltimore and DC indicated otherwise. I ultimately donated The Dark Knight Returns to an upcoming used book sale after my husband left me. Ironically Frank Miller was Baltimore Comic-Con’s 2017 Guest of Honor and he made his only convention appearance the day before. I wasn’t that inclined to even check him out in person and I don’t regret opting to go on Saturday instead of Friday.)

I watched the Batman feature films of the 1980’s and 1990’s but I stopped watching them after that because they seemed to emulate Miller’s vision of a dark violent vigilante anti-hero and I grew tired of that. The only Batman movie I’ve watched in recent years was this year’s The LEGO Batman Movie, which was excellent because it expertly combined the campiness of the 1960’s TV series with the darker interpretations of recent years and it worked extremely well. In fact, I purchased it on DVD when it was released. Maybe DC Comics should just let LEGO have exclusive rights to making future Batman movies because LEGO knows how to tell an entertainingly memorable Batman story.

My legs were a bit sore so it was a relief to sit down even if what the panelists discussed about Batman went over my head, with the exception of when they were discussing The LEGO Batman Movie. Although I was so intrigued by hearing the description of the Harley Quinn comic book series that I’m going to see if my local public library have the graphic novel reprints on the shelves. The high point of that panel was when the panelists asked if anyone had attended any of the Batman Day celebrations at a local comic book store in addition to going to Baltimore Comic-Con and someone got up said he actually went to such an event before he arrived at the Baltimore Convention Center. He had snagged some free Batman and Harley Quinn masks, which he gave to the husband and wife team behind the Harley Quinn comic book.

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

The panel ended but my legs were still sore and tired. I decided to stay in the same room for the next panel that was about the legendary comic book writer and artist Jack Kirby.

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Panelist Mark Evanier talked about his personal friendship with Jack Kirby, which he wrote a book about called Kirby: King of Comics. Abram Books’ Charlie Kochman was also on hand as the two of them discussed the book and Evanier’s recollections about Kirby. I found it to be a very interesting talk and it seemed like Kirby was definitely an interesting and unforgettable person.

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

After the panel ended at 5 p.m. I thought about making one more return trip to the Dealers Room but my legs were really hurting by then so I decided to just take the next light rail back to the North Linthicum station (where my car was parked) and head home.

I had thought about buying one of DMC’s comic books with his autograph for $20 but I found something else in the Dealers Room that I ended up buying instead and I couldn’t afford to buy both.

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

It’s a plastic ocarina, which I purchased for $20, and it came with a free songbook that provided instructions on how to play the ocarina along with songs from the classic Nintendo video game The Legend of Zelda. I paid an extra $5 for a Star Wars ocarina songbook. I bought it from the STL Ocarina booth after hearing the person staffing it playing lovely music with that ocarina. I’ve been slowly trying to teach myself how to play it but I think it will be awhile before I can play songs on it that sound just as lovely as what I heard at that booth.

As for the Darrel Makes Comics comic book, I’ll go to the local public library to see if it has a copy of any of the issues on the shelves. I would like to read it at some point since I own a couple of old Run-DMC CDs and I’ve always been a fan of the group. This is one of those times when I regret having to deal with tight finances just so I can survive.

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Santa Claus

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10

This latest installment in my 12-part Tabletop Christmas series focuses on other tree ornaments that I haven’t featured in this series so far.

The ornament in the next photo was one that was released in commemoration of the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ voyage to the New World in 1992. That commemoration was controversial mainly because Christopher Columbus’ role in history has become extremely controversial in recent years. I remember when replicas of the Niña, Pinta, and Santa Maria docked at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, which drew some protests. I saw those ships myself and I was disappointed to learn that only the top deck was opened to the general public while the rest of the decks were roped off. I purchased the ornament because I thought it was very cute, which was the same reason why it survived my purge of excessive ornaments.

photo1

This next photo shows a very stylized reindeer that I purchased from the Christmas shop at Valley View Farms years before I started this blog. I’ve always loved the design of this reindeer, which was why that one also survived my ornaments purge.

photo2

Here’s a cute Hallmark ornament in the form of a bull-shaped piñata that has “Feliz Navidad” written on the sides.

photo3

Here’s a glittery gold snowflake ornament that was given to me by one of my relatives years ago. I especially love the way it reflects when the lights are on.

photo4

Here’s a gold heart that I purchased years ago because my then-husband said that he loves hearts. I kept it after he left and I made my ornaments purge because it looks lovely in the Christmas tree, especially when viewed from afar.

photo5

The two ornaments in the next photo feature a gold leaf and a dolphin. I know the gold leaf was given to me and my then-husband by a family member but I don’t remember if it came from my parents, my mother-in-law, or my sister-in-law. The dolphin ornament was a Hallmark ornament that I purchased for my then-husband not long after we were married because my husband really loved dolphins. Naturally he left that one behind when he left me but I kept it because the dolphin looks really cute in the tree, especially with it looking like it’s in the middle of a mid-air jump through a Christmas wreath.

photo6

This stylized wood star came from a relative from my then-husband’s side of the family but I don’t remember if his mother, sister, or his late Aunt Sue gave it to us. I usually hang this one towards the bottom of the tree.

photo7

The next photo features two small ornaments. The pink elephant is made from glass and I purchased it from the Christmas shop at Behnke’s Nurseries years ago because it reminded me of the famous “Pink Elephants on Parade” sequence from the Disney movie Dumbo. This ornament even came with a tiny plastic champaign glass but, unfortunately, the champaign glass snapped off a long time ago and I couldn’t find it. The pink elephant still looks nice without the champaign glass so I kept it. The cat is a Hallmark ornament that was given to me by my parents when I was a teenager.

photo8

The next photograph shows a Hallmark Mistletoe Fairy that I purchased mainly because when I was married my husband and I had a tradition where we hung mistletoe above the kitchen door and we used to time our meetings at the kitchen door so we would kiss. (LOL!) We didn’t get mistletoe in 2011 mainly because I was recovering from hip surgery and my husband was sick with bronchitis at the same time. I also didn’t know that he was planning to leave me three days after Christmas (and three months after my hip surgery) for a seriously mentally ill friend of ours. I thought about getting rid of that ornament when I was doing my ornaments purge but I ended up keeping it because this fairy looks really nice in the tree. I no longer keep mistletoe in my home so this ornament is about as close to having mistletoe as I get these days. (LOL!)

photo9

This next ornament is a ceramic peppermint unicorn ornament that I purchased from a Hallmark store at a clearance price during a post-Christmas sale one year. That’s another ornament that I’ve always loved to hang in my tree.

photo10

Remember the Beanie Babies craze of the 1990’s? At one point Ty came out with a line of Christmas ornaments that were smaller versions of the Beanie Babies. I selected Peace the Tye-Dyed Bear because I thought he was cute and I also remember the traditional “Peace on Earth” greeting at Christmas.

photo11

The next few photos are small greeting cards that double as Christmas ornaments, which were given to me by my parents. Each of these greeting card ornaments have the same Victorian Era illustrations on both sides along with a tiny string to hang them on. Here is one of these card ornaments that I still have.

photo12

The inside of this card says “A special gift from you to me to hang upon your Christmas tree. From: Mom & Dad To: Kim”.

photo13

Here’s the other greeting card ornament that I still have. This one also has the same Victorian Era illustration on both sides.

photo14

The inside of this card says “A special gift from you to me to hang upon your Christmas tree. From: Mom & Dad To: Kim.”

photo15

Last, but not least, is this red bell that’s currently hanging on my tree as a Christmas ornament. Here’s some background. I’m currently involved in starting a new local chapter of the National Grange in my hometown and I’m serving as the Vice President mainly because this new chapter desperately needed officers and I stepped up to the plate. We decided to walk around town singing Christmas carols one evening before Christmas as a way of both publicizing the new group and spreading Christmas cheer in general. One person brought a bunch of bells that we could ring so that was how I ended up with this red bell. The high point came when we walked around the hallways of this apartment complex that’s designed for senior citizens and disabled adults singing Christmas carols and the residents there really loved it and they all smiled. At the end of the evening I attempted to give my bell back to the person who brought it but she told me that I could keep it. So I hung it on the Christmas tree.

photo16

I especially like the snowflake cutout at the bottom.

photo17

Part 12

Santa Claus

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8

For the latest installment on my series about celebrating Christmas on a tabletop, I’m going to devote this entry to the Christmas tree ornaments that I’ve had since I was a child. All of them were given to me by my parents for either my birthday or Christmas. (Both days are only 10 days apart.)

Here’s a brass bell-shaped ornament engraved with my first name.

photo1

Here’s a bird’s nest that includes two birds—one red and one blue—whose beaks are opened as if they are about to burst into song. I still have the remnants of the original blue bow towards the top of the strings but that bow has mostly fallen apart.

photo2

Here’s a Hallmark ornament that my parents gave me. It’s marked “Christmas, 1980” and it has these words:

A Daughter is the sweetest gift a lifetime can provide.

The ball’s image has a couple of white cats (which is pretty ironic because I’m allergic to cats) and a bunch of plants including poinsettias, a spider plant, a Norfolk pine tree, and a coleus.

photo3

photo4

photo5

photo6

Here’s a brass ornament that’s shaped like a guitar. I took guitar lessons throughout my teen years and I still play it occasionally.

photo7

This next photo shows a Santa Claus whose arms and legs are jointed so one can put him in a few poses (mainly looking like he’s running while swinging his arms).

photo8

I have a wooden block ornament that has the same picture of Santa Claus on all four sides. The top of the block is mainly red with the letter “A” and the bottom is mainly red with the letter “B.”

photo9

photo10

Last but not least is this white harp-playing cherub angel. I think it might have graced a wrapped package as a decoration (I don’t remember off-hand) and I decided to use it as an ornament since it had string attached to it. All I know is that I’ve had that one since my childhood.

photo11

Part 10
Part 11
Part 12

Santa Claus

 

 

 

 

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Continuing with this series on having a tabletop Christmas, here are some more ornaments that I currently have on my small tabletop tree.

I’ve been into animation since I was a child so it’s quite logical that I would have a lot of Christmas ornaments to reflect my interest in animation. Some of these ornaments were ones that I purchased while others were given as gifts from various relatives over the years. I used to have a lot of animation-themed ornaments back when my husband and I used to put up a six-foot tree. Since my husband left I’ve done some serious downsizing. While I still have a few animation-themed ornaments left, my collection of Christmas animation ornaments is a far cry from what I had five years ago (when my husband left just three days after Christmas with no indication that he was the slightest bit unhappy).

The ornaments shaped like Disney characters tend to predominate my collection the most. Okay, so I like Disney animation, especially Mickey Mouse. Here’s a caroling Mickey Mouse next to a ceramic ornament featuring a pink mouse in a stocking that I was given as a child by my parents and I still have it.

photo1

Here’s a wooden Mickey Mouse clock. (No, it’s not a real functioning clock.)

photo2

This was an ornament that I purchased during one of my many trips to Walt Disney World over the years. My husband and I arrived shortly after the 1st Disneyana Convention was held so the resort was selling these ornaments at a clearance sale for half-price.

photo3

I also have a Mickey Mouse stocking hanger. I still have the same stocking that my parents originally purchased for me when I was an infant. It hasn’t been filled with anything since my husband left. These days I just hang my stocking as a decoration since it’s really not worth the effort for me to fill my own stocking. (Filling one’s own stocking kills the element of surprise right there.)

photo4

I have a small Santa Mickey snow globe decoration that I received when I attended the annual post-Christmas white elephant gift exchange that my support group for people who are separated or divorced puts on each year. The snow globe has the year 2013 written on it.

photo5

I also have other Disney characters besides Mickey Mouse in my Christmas tree, such as Winnie the Pooh.

photo6

Flit is a hummingbird from the animated Disney movie Pocahontas.

photo7

The next photo has two Disney ornaments. The raccoon is Meeko from the Pocahontas movie. The other figure is Stitch from Lilo in Stitch and he’s dressed like Elvis Presley.

photo8

I have another Stitch ornament. This one is a small plush ornament and he’s wearing ear muffs, mittens, and a red sweater that says “NAUGHTY” on it. Next to Stitch is Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh and he’s sliding downhill on a sled.

photo9

These next two photographs show a double-sided ornament. On one side is Belle and the Beast from the film Beauty and the Beast.

photo10

The other side shows the Beast after he’s been transformed back into his original human self.

photo11

Rounding out the Disney decorations are two dolls resembling the two princesses Anna and Elsa from the movie Frozen. I originally bought the dolls thinking that I would display them at Christmas then put them away in the attic after the holidays. Except when it came time to take down everything, I couldn’t bear to put these dolls away. These days I keep them with my doll collection upstairs and I bring them downstairs to join the other Christmas decorations.

photo12

I have other animated-themed ornaments that are based on non-Disney characters as well, such as this one featuring Sylvester and Tweety from the Warner Brothers Looney Tunes cartoon shorts.

photo13

My parents gave me this ornament based on Dr. Seuss’ classic Christmas book How the Grinch Stole Christmas (which was later turned into a made-for-television animation special then it was remade into a live action theatrical feature film starring Jim Carrey). This one features the scene after the Grinch had finished making a Santa outfit for himself and placed reindeer antlers on his dog Max and they are both standing in front of a mirror (which is actually a real mirror).

photo14

I know that technically the ornament in the next picture is really based on a video game but Sonic the Hedgehog was turned into a cartoon series in the 1990’s so I’m going to include it here on a technicality. I bought this ornament back in the days when I owned a Sega Game Gear and I was really into playing Sonic the Hedgehog. Basically the ornament is shaped like a Game Gear (including a Christmas scene featuring Sonic) while Sonic is running on top of the Game Gear bearing Christmas presents. I’ve long since sold my Game Gear but I still have the ornament nonetheless.

photo15

Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10
Part 11
Part 12

Last week I was making some cat drawings for a potential children’s book project that someone who lives in my neighborhood wrote and she’s trying to get it self-published through Amazon.com. (She needed some illustrations for her book.) While I was drawing one cat that was based on a photograph of the writer’s recently deceased cat, I had this weird idea. I’ll admit that I was inspired to do this after seeing yet another photograph of Donald Trump online while he’s spewing his latest hateful rhetoric. (He’s said so many hateful things in public on a daily basis that I literally can’t keep track anymore.) I even parodied the Trump campaign’s “Make America Great Again” slogan. I did this in colored pencils.

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I need to find a different title than “daily sketches” because I have completely thrown by the wayside my New Year’s resolution that I would create one new sketch each day. I quickly learned that working on daily sketches each day takes time from other arts and crafts projects that I’m working on as well as other things that I should be doing (such as cleaning the house). My “daily sketchbook” effort really became pathetic when I made only one new sketch in the entire month of June—and that one was in response to the horrible shootings at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

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This past month I managed to churn out three sketches, starting with this one. I was inspired to create this sketch after hearing the news about a bullfighter matador in Spain named Victor Barrio who was recently gored to death by his bull opponent in the ring. His death was shown live on Spanish television and he is known to have been the first matador killed during a bullfight in over 30 years.

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I feel bad for the bullfighter’s family because I know that dealing with a loved one’s sudden and unexpected death is such a shock. But I have zero sympathy for the late bullfighter himself because he was participating in a so-called “sport” whose advocates call it “sheer beauty and artistry” when all it really entails is some man slowly torturing a bull to death with spears while waving a red cape and shouting “¡Olé!” I’ve never understood what was so great about bullfighting, especially when I took Spanish in college and one of the chapters in the class textbook dealt with words and phrases related to bullfighting. I remember the instructor in that class admitted that she personally didn’t like bullfighting either. (She originally came from Cuba, a nation with no bullfighting tradition.) That bullfighter would still be alive had he picked a different occupation that’s less dangerous and deadly. Bullfighting is one so-called “tradition” that needs to go away along with other so-called “traditions” like female genital mutilation and slavery.

Later in the month I did this drawing full of gears of many colors. I had gone to an event at this makerspace located in Crystal City, Virginia known as TechShop and its logo has the letter “o” shaped like a gear. I just took that gear idea and elaborated it further with a bunch of interconnected gears. It was something I did really quick and it shows. (If I was doing a professional drawing, I would’ve done it using a 2H pencil first while erasing and refining it until I got it just right. Then I would’ve traced over it with ink.)

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For the last drawing I did in the month of June, I went back to Rory’s Story Cubes. I mixed the Prehistoria and Enchanted sets together and this drawing was the result.

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I spent Thanksgiving Day with family members. I baked this black forest cake that I made from a cake mix that I purchased at Aldi. (All I had to do was add eggs, oil, and water.) The frosting is one of Pillsbury’s canned frostings while the cherries came in a jar. It was incredibly easy to make and my relatives were impressed so it was all good.

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The dinner itself was held in the home of one of my cousins. The house in the photos isn’t her home. It belongs to one of her neighbors who have this incredible penchant for putting up a lot of outdoor decorations for every single holiday both major and minor. Here is what it looked like with the Thanksgiving decorations.

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My cousin owns two dogs and one cat. She used to have two cats until last month when one of them, Cookie, suddenly died. While the dogs seemed normal, her remaining cat, Purdy, has taken Cookie’s death very hard. I wrote about Purdy a few months ago about how she seemed to act like she’s the queen of the home and I even took this photo.

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I generally saw Purdy more than Cookie, who was a very shy cat whom I only saw when he was darting from one hiding place to another. Despite the different personalities, Purdy has pretty much changed since Cookie’s death. My cousin told me that the cat tends to hide more and there are times when she will go outside and start meowing as if she’s calling out to Cookie. Both Purdy and Cookie arrived at the home as kittens within a few weeks of each other 15 years ago. Even though they weren’t biologically siblings, they treated each other as if they were. When I was at the home I didn’t see Purdy in her usual roosting places (either on a couch or in an empty box) and she was in hiding. She only emerged once while meowing forlornly. Only time will tell whether Purdy will get over Cookie’s death and resume her normal regal habits.

Overall I had a nice Thanksgiving Day visit and I enjoyed myself.

Recently I decided to visit my mother at my cousin’s place (where she currently lives) on my way to a bingo event that was located nearby. I also ended up taking pictures of the real Queen of the House (and it’s not my cousin either).

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She is a cat named Purdy and she acts very regally. She meows every time you call her name. She expects to be petted but she will never come to you begging for pets. That’s the kind of thing that the two dogs she lives with would do and she considers herself to be above all that. No, she wants YOU to come to HER so YOU can attend to HER NEEDS. Now THAT’S acting regally.

Purdy also lives with another cat named Cookie but he tends to be incredibly shy and he hides most of the time. I can pretty much count on one hand the number of times I’ve actually seen Cookie (and it’s usually when he’s darting from one hiding space to another). I don’t know if Cookie is naturally shy or if Purdy has anything to do with Cookie’s behavior. But, for all intents and purposes, Purdy is the Queen of the House.

It’s been two years since I last attended the annual Sakura Matsuri street festival that’s held in downtown Washington, DC as part of the larger National Cherry Blossom Festival. I thought about going down early in the morning so I could check out the Cherry Blossom Parade that precedes the Sakura Matsuri by starting at 10 a.m. But I was too lazy to get my act together so I could arrive that early so I basically ate breakfast and lunch at home then headed out to the Sakura Matsuri in the afternoon. (I was glad I ate my meals at home because nearly all of the food vendors had very long lines.)

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

I even dug out this Japanese imported Stitch hat that I purchased at one of the Otakon anime conventions that were held in Baltimore. I know it was before my marriage broke up because I bought it with my then-husband in mind because he was such a huge fan of the Disney movie Lilo & Stitch and Stitch was his favorite Disney character. I also remember when I modeled the hat for him and he was thrilled with it. That hat had been sitting in a drawer since my husband left but I decided that I could continue to use it because I think it’s a cute hat. Besides, it enabled me to blend in a little bit with the other people who were cosplaying. I even had several people at the festival notice my hat and telling me that they loved it. When I arrived in downtown DC, the one of the first things I did was to take a rare selfie of me wearing that hat.

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Like most other years, the festival was very crowded. I still enjoyed myself as I looked around at the sights and sounds of the festival. I even took a few silly pictures while I was there. I recently started to follow the official Sonic the Hedgehog accounts on Facebook and Instagram and it was through social media I learned that there is something called Travel Tuesday where people can submit photos of a Sonic doll or stuffed animal either at an event or some famous landmark (like the Eiffel Tower). I decided to pack my articulated Sonic vinyl doll so I could take his photo for Travel Tuesday. Here are the photos that I submitted but, as of this writing, none of them have been selected for Travel Tuesday.

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

I also played around a little bit with the Hatsune Miku photo app on my smartphone. I thought it was appropriate since that character originated in Japan. (Although now that I look at the pictures, I realized that I should’ve varied the girl’s pose just a little bit since she had the same facial expression and pose. Oh well.)

Hatsune Miku at the Sakura Matsuri

Hatsune Miku at the Sakura Matsuri

Hatsune Miku at the Sakura Matsuri

I basically walked around shooting pictures of cosplayers and the various items I saw on sale. I noticed a lot of ram and sheep plushies on sale this year, which makes sense since 2015 is the year that’s known alternatively as the Year of the Sheep, the Year of the Ram, or the Year of the Goat.

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

I only purchased one thing at this year’s festival.

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Yes, it’s chocolate gelato made by Dolci Gelati and it was very delicious!

While I heard musicians perform on the various stages throughout the festival, I only managed to capture one of the acts with my smartphone because it was one of the few times that I was even able to get close to a stage because everything was so crowded. As for the act that I captured, according to the program book, she is a pop singer from Kyoto named Jonetsu Mariko. I thought I recognized the name for some reason and the program book said that she was making a return appearance to the Sakura Matsuri. After I got home, I searched through this blog and I found out that I previously saw her at the 2010 Sakura Matsuri and I had also videotaped her that time. (She appeared under the name Jonetsu Marie and Shabondama High School.) In any case I took a still photo of her.

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

I even shot a short video of her performing on stage.

That video was the only one I shot at this year’s Sakura Matsuri.

I also saw that NASCAR driver Akinori Ogata was there with his race car, just like the last time I attended the Sakura Matsuri two years ago. Once again he appeared with Eneos, which makes motor oil. Eneos also had a bean bag toss game called “Cornhole.”

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Getting on the Metro so I could go home was a bit of a hassle. The last photo shows the long line that I had to stand in just so I could enter the Federal Triangle Metro Station. I’m only lucky that I had the foresight to put enough money on my Metro SmartTrip card for a round trip so I wouldn’t have to stand in another line at the farecard machines.

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Open House at Makerspace 125, January 25, 2015

Makerspace 125 decided to hold an Open House where guests were encouraged to socialize, eat lots of food, play games, and make something. As you can see in the photographs, a good time was had by all.

The 3D printer was kept busy printing out all kinds of small 3D items.

Open House at Makerspace 125, January 25, 2015

Here are a few close-ups of one of the 3D printer’s outputs—a small shark paperweight bust.

Open House at Makerspace 125, January 25, 2015

Open House at Makerspace 125, January 25, 2015

The next few pictures show a toy robot cat. A few days earlier, one of the kids who frequent Makerspace 125 decided to skin the body of this cat to see how it works. The kid thought that the robot cat’s body looked far cooler without the skin so the skin was never put back on the cat.

Open House at Makerspace 125, January 25, 2015

Open House at Makerspace 125, January 25, 2015

Open House at Makerspace 125, January 25, 2015

Open House at Makerspace 125, January 25, 2015

Open House at Makerspace 125, January 25, 2015

Open House at Makerspace 125, January 25, 2015

An exhibit on how someone managed to repair his broken backpack instead of just throwing it away.

Open House at Makerspace 125, January 25, 2015

A few days ago I took a couple of photos of an infrared camera known as the Cheese Webcam as a work in progress. The result of that work was on display at the Open House using Makerspace 125’s large TV set.

Open House at Makerspace 125, January 25, 2015

A few kids were playing with LEGOs.

Open House at Makerspace 125, January 25, 2015

Open House at Makerspace 125, January 25, 2015

A Minecraft game already in progress.

Open House at Makerspace 125, January 25, 2015

And, finally, here are a couple more shots from the Open House.

Open House at Makerspace 125, January 25, 2015

Open House at Makerspace 125, January 25, 2015

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