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American Flag

Happy 241st birthday, United States of America!

And, on that note, here are some patriotic-themed products I’ve seen on sale at various stores this summer.

Today is also an appropriate day for me to once again embed my animation, The March of Liberty, which was shown at Light City in Baltimore earlier this year. After all, it ends with the Statue of Liberty marching to “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

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You know that the summer games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil are coming (in fact the opening ceremonies will be held today) when you start seeing things like this. I was at a local Safeway when I saw this display made from soda cartons.

2016 Summer Olympics

Here is the design of this Coke can.

2016 Summer Olympics

2016 Summer Olympics

Last summer Coca-Cola came out with these bottles that had specially printed labels that said “Share a Coke With [First Name of Person]”. These bottles appeared randomly in various stores. I took some photos of this special display at Target on the Fourth of July last year along with some of the bottles. At the time I complained that I didn’t find any bottles with my name on it.

This year the named bottles came back and I started seeing them as early as May. I even got lucky and found a bottle with my name on it.

A Named Coke Bottle

Throughout the spring and summer, I would take a look at some of these named bottles whenever I came across them in the stores. Whenever I saw a bottle that had a name of one of my friends on it, I would take a photo of it with my smartphone then tag that friend’s name in Facebook. Most of my friends got a kick out those photos, which was cool.

A Named Coke Bottle

A Named Coke Bottle

A Named Coke Bottle

A Named Coke Bottle

A Named Coke Bottle

A Named Coke Bottle

One of my friends, Nathan, mentioned that the Coke bottle with his name happened to be near another bottle with the name Mariah, which is his sister’s middle name.

A Named Coke Bottle

Coke Bottle With a Name on It

Coke Bottle With a Name on It

Coke Bottle With a Name on It

Coke Bottle With a Name on It

Coke Bottle With a Name on It

Coke Bottle

Coke Bottle

Coke Bottle

Coke Bottle

Named Coke Bottle

Named Coke Bottle

Named Coke Bottle

Named Coke Bottle

Named Coke Bottle

A Coke Zero Named George

Vanessa Diet Coke Bottle

Named Coke Bottle

Named Coke Bottle

Named Coke Bottle

Named Coke Bottle

Named Coke Bottle

Named Coke Bottle

Named Coke Bottle

For added measure, I even found a bottle that had my therapist’s first name. I would later give this bottle to her during our scheduled therapy sessions after I drank the contents first.

Named Diet Coke

But now this weekend is Labor Day Weekend, which marks the official end of summer and it’s also when this campaign is officially coming to a close. Like an old saying goes, “All good things must come to an end.”

While I was browsing the aisles at Target recently I found a few interesting Christmas items. Here’s a t-shirt with a groan-inducing pun.

Trip to Target

The next couple of photos feature the Coca-Cola polar bears. Basically if you purchased three participating Coca-Cola products, you get a free polar bear plushie.

Trip to Target

Trip to Target

I’m old enough to remember the original Cabbage Patch Kids craze where people literally fought each other in the store aisles to get their hands on a doll before the holiday season. Even though the Cabbage Patch Kids no longer induce insane fighting frenzies, I can still find one on the store shelves occasionally. I found this Target exclusive, which is a special Limited Edition 2014 Holiday Kid.

Trip to Target

Ever since Disney released Frozen last year, many of its songs have become popular, including “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?”

Well, some enterprising employees at the local Safeway came up with a unique way of building a snowman inside the store.

Soda Snowman

If you look close enough, you’d see that the snowman was constructed entirely out of soda cartons, specifically various Coke products. I have to admit that it’s a very interesting looking snowman.

Last week I decided to attend the weekly support group meeting for people who are separated or divorced. On my way there I did some shopping for groceries and a few other items I needed to buy.

First I stopped at the Safeway in Bowie, where I saw this giant Coca-Cola polar bear.

Coca-Cola Polar Bear

Coca-Cola Polar Bear

Then I headed to the Target in Crofton that’s located in the shopping center just a mile or so away from the meeting place. Earlier this month I found this funky mashup of a piggy bank and Twilight Sparkle the alicorn princess pony from My Little Pony. On this latest trip I found another piggy bank/My Little Pony hybrid, this one is based on Rainbow Dash the pegasus pony.

My Little Pony Piggy Banks

My Little Pony Piggy Bank

My Little Pony Piggy Bank

My Little Pony Piggy Bank

If you’re looking for unique reasonably-priced one-of-a-kind art that doesn’t take up a lot of space in your home, I have this piece currently on sale in my Etsy shop.
Skull Art 8
This art is very small so it’s perfect for people with limited display space. It’s also the ideal gift for people who are into skulls. For more information about this piece, read the post I originally wrote on October 22, 2010. You can order this skull art right here.

I’ve been doing some extensive decluttering lately and I have some items that will be on sale this coming Saturday at a yard sale that will benefit my support group for separated or divorced persons.

First up is this souvenir map of a now-defunct theme park that I bought with my allowance money when I attended with my parents for my first and only time.

It’s a large folded poster-sized map of a theme park called The Wildlife Preserve that was located in Largo, Maryland.

Vintage 1970s Map of a Now-Defunct Theme Park

As you can guess from the logo, it was an animal theme park similar to Disney’s Animal Kingdom except this one was far less elaborate than the Disney one.

Vintage 1970s Map of a Now-Defunct Theme Park

Interestingly, the tiny print under the logo says that it was owned and operated by the American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.—also known as ABC. I never realized that the television network had a hand in running the place until I saw the fine print. Ironically, ABC itself would eventually be bought by Disney and that network has been so closely merged with Disney that one could find references to ABC shows at the various Disney theme parks in the United States.

Vintage 1970s Map of a Now-Defunct Theme Park

As this section of the map shows, this theme park was primarily a drive-through park where a family would drive a car very slowly along a paved road that had various wild animals frolicking around in various sections of the park.

Vintage 1970s Map of a Now-Defunct Theme Park

One of the big rules was that the windows had to remain closed at all times, which turned out to be a very good idea. That’s because at one point, we came across this ostrich who started to look into the windows of our car while staring at us. I can only imagine what would’ve happened had any of us violated that closed window rule. (LOL!)

Vintage 1970s Map of a Now-Defunct Theme Park

The front area of the park was the one area that we didn’t need a car to drive around in. (It was also the smallest area of the park.) There were a few places to grab food and drink which I don’t recall very much other than they basically served fast food. Of course, there was a gift shop. There was one pavilion that had a bird show where the various birds did tricks and stuff like that. There was another pavilion that showed reptiles and I remembered the trainer had a boa constrictor and he invited the audience to come down to the front of the stage and pet the snake. I petted the snake and I remembered that its skin was as smooth as a tabletop. My mother was grossed out at the idea that I petted a large snake but I didn’t think it was any big deal.

Vintage 1970s Map of a Now-Defunct Theme Park

Last, but not least, there was the front gate where one bought tickets and a parking area where people can leave their cars when they were not driving the main path through the park.

Vintage 1970s Map of a Now-Defunct Theme Park

The Wildlife Preserve only lasted a few years mainly because taking care of exotic animals at a theme park that was opened only five or six months a year proved to be a very expensive money loser. That theme park was converted to a few other theme parks that didn’t have animals (the Wikipedia has a complete list of all the theme parks that have come and gone in that same location) and, today, it serves as the location for Six Flags America.

I thought about just throwing it in the recycling bin but I couldn’t bring myself to do it because I thought that it would be a shame to just get rid of something that has really great line art that has somehow remained among my belongings for many years. I decided to donate the map directly to the benefit yard sale mainly because I just don’t think that there is a big market for items from an obscure now-forgotten theme park that only lasted four years in the 1970’s. I figured that a parent of an animal-loving child could buy it as a poster for the child’s bedroom. Or some art student could buy it and use it in a collage project.

The rest of the stuff in this entry are various collectibles that my husband and I have hoarded over the years. After he left, I decided to try selling them as a way of both decluttering my home and raising some much-needed cash for myself. I looked on eBay and I found that many of the listings for the same items I wanted to unload had either gone unsold or had sold for so little (like $5 or less) that it wasn’t worth the effort to use eBay at all. So I tried the local antique dealers and collectibles stores throughout the greater Baltimore-Washington, DC area. I sent e-mails to dealers as far away as Frederick and those e-mails either went unanswered or I was turned down because none of the stores were interested in what I had. (I had one store manager who was interested in the commemorative Jackie Robinson Wheaties box only to change his mind at the last minute.)

Now I’ve decided to donate them to the yard sale just to get rid of them. Here are the pictures I uploaded on my Flickr account that I originally used to show the dealers what I was selling.

The Jackie Robinson Wheaties box.

Jackie Robinson 50th Anniversary Wheaties Box

Jackie Robinson 50th Anniversary Wheaties Box

Jackie Robinson 50th Anniversary Wheaties Box

Jackie Robinson 50th Anniversary Wheaties Box

Jackie Robinson 50th Anniversary Wheaties Box

Jackie Robinson 50th Anniversary Wheaties Box

The Cal Ripken, Jr. Wheaties box. This particular one is interesting because the front of the box originally had Cal Ripken wearing just a plain black shirt. It was subsequently withdrawn and replaced with Ripken wearing the Baltimore Orioles black shirt that has his number 8. This one is an error box but I couldn’t get any of the dealers to give a damn about this one, which I found really surprising.

Cal Ripken in Plain Black Shirt Wheaties Box

Cal Ripken in Plain Black Shirt Wheaties Box

Cal Ripken in Plain Black Shirt Wheaties Box

Cal Ripken in Plain Black Shirt Wheaties Box

Cal Ripken in Plain Black Shirt Wheaties Box

Cal Ripken in Plain Black Shirt Wheaties Box

The next few pictures are of the corrected Cal Ripken, Jr. Wheaties box where he’s wearing the properly marked shirt instead of the plain black shirt like on the other box.

Cal Ripken Wheaties Box

Cal Ripken Wheaties Box

Cal Ripken Wheaties Box

Cal Ripken Wheaties Box

Cal Ripken Wheaties Box

Cal Ripken Wheaties Box

Here is a six-pack of specially marked bottles of Coca-Cola that commemorated the year that Cal Ripken, Jr. broke Lou Gehrig’s record for the longest consecutive playing streak. The bottles are made from glass—not plastic—and none of them have ever been opened. I’m really surprised that there were no takers with this one.

Special Cal Ripken Coca-Cola

Special Cal Ripken Coca-Cola

Special Cal Ripken Coca-Cola

Special Cal Ripken Coca-Cola

Special Cal Ripken Coca-Cola

Special Cal Ripken Coca-Cola

Special Cal Ripken Coca-Cola

Last, but not least, there is this 1980’s Ghostbusters cereal, which I kept because the box touted that it’s a “Limited Edition Hologram Series.” I thought the hologram looked cool at the time and I figured that it would be an interesting collector’s item. But, as time went on, this cereal box (along with the others in the post) was cluttering up the place and there were times when I grew tired of seeing it. Despite its “Limited Edition” claims and despite the fact that the cereal was a spin-off product based on one of the most popular movies of the 1980’s, I couldn’t get anyone interested in buying it.

Ghostbusters Cereal Box

Ghostbusters Cereal Box

Ghostbusters Cereal Box

Ghostbusters Cereal Box

Ghostbusters Cereal Box

Ghostbusters Cereal Box

Ghostbusters Cereal Box

 

All of the items mentioned in this post will be on sale tomorrow at the Changing Focus Yard Sale in Crofton, Maryland and they will be on sale for very cheap prices. Whatever doesn’t get sold at the yard sale will be donated to the North Laurel Thrift Shop after 2 p.m.

Ramadan
I basically stayed home for the Fourth of July. With Washington, DC and so many other towns in my area putting on fireworks shows of their own I figured that the highways would be clogged with traffic so I decided to stay close to home. I was doing some web surfing and going through old things to see whether to keep them, donate them to charity, or try to sell them online then donate them to charity if I failed to sell.

I saw that the weather was sunny outside so I decided to go out for the heck of it. I found that the weather was warm, but not too hot, and the humidity was way down as well. Yesterday had to be the best Fourth of July in terms of weather in a long time. (Most other Fourth of July holidays tend to be very hot and humid.) I decided to take a stroll through Target where I found this display.

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This sign made it seem like there are now personalized bottles of Coca-Cola available in Coke, Diet Coke, and Coke Zero. Sure enough, there are personalized bottles of soda that one could buy for himself, herself, or for someone else. While some of the bottles were marked “Friends” and “Family”, the vast majority of them had a person’s first name on the labels. I even found one that had my ex-husband’s first name on it. (If I was still married to him, I definitely would’ve bought that soda for him. I think he would’ve gotten a kick out of it.) Sadly, I didn’t find any sodas with my name on it. Oh well. 😦

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I also found boxes of Crayola crayons on sale that were pretty funky. Someone at Crayola had this idea to sell boxes of crayons with different color palettes based on princesses, pirates, mermaids, and more. (Who knew that pirates and mermaids needed their own special color palettes?) When I was growing up, the choices between boxes of 8 crayons, 16 crayons, 24 crayons, 48, crayons, 64 crayons, 96 crayons, and 120 crayons. Choosing boxes of crayons based on what kind of things you want to draw and color seems so confusing to me, especially since I tend not to stick to only one or two subject matters in my art.

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After that trip to Target, I went back home where I ate dinner until it was time for me to go to the fireworks show nearest to my home. I found out via Facebook that some of my friends were not only going to the one by the shores of Greenbelt Lake but they were participate in this big drumming circle that was starting around 5:30 p.m. I’ve tended to avoid the pre-fireworks events in the past because of the high heat and humidity and they took place while the sun was still up. This year I decided to arrive early because of the low heat and low humidity. However parking was a bit of a hassle so I ended up parking near one of the back entrances to the park (where there were fewer cars because most other people were busy competing for spaces in the very crowded front). The downside is that it was at least a 20 minute walk from my car to the area of the park where my friends were gathering for the drumming circle. Even though I brought along this tiny bongo that I have at home, I missed the drumming circle by the time I got there. But I managed to run into a lot of my friends so I spent time socializing with them while taking a few pictures of Greenbelt Lake in the late afternoon sun.

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There was this band that started its set with “The Star Spangled Banner” and it played a variety of marching band music (mainly written by John Phillip Sousa).

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The next picture is of my small bongo that I purchased during my last trip to Florida in early 2011.  The drum head should be a giveaway as to where I purchased it. 😉

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At first I thought I had brought my bongo with me for nothing but I wasn’t too annoyed since it is a very small bongo. (One of the photos in this post should give you an idea as to how small this bongo really is.) But when that other band finished its set, an impromptu drumming jam session broke out and I was able to play my small bongo while I also took some photos whenever I wanted to give my hands a break from bongo playing.

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I even shot a short video of the drumming jam session. The drumming went on continuously until the first few seconds after fireworks started.

I took a lot of photos of the fireworks show, which I managed to whittle down to the ones that are posted below. I really enjoyed the show this year.

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Yesterday I was visiting a friend at his home in Takoma Park, Maryland. (We are currently working on a project together that could potentially earn us some extra money on the side.) It was a very warm and sunny day. After the visit I decided to drive closer to the downtown area. I realized that it’s been a few years since I last visited the area, which didn’t make sense to me because I live relatively close to Takoma Park. Oh well, at least I got there yesterday while basking in the warm sunshine and I didn’t regret it.

What’s really wild is that just five days earlier on St. Patrick’s Day, the entire Baltimore-Washington, DC area was buried under six inches of snow.

IMG_20140317_102942380-small

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By yesterday much of the St. Patrick’s snow had melted, as you can see in the photos I took of the downtown area.

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Despite the very warm and sunny day, there are now new snowstorm forecasts for the area for next week. Nooooooooo!!!! I’m so tired of snow that it’s not even funny! 😦

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