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Microsoft Paint avoids brush with death.

Tutorials—some free—on how to make doll clothes for any size or shape of your doll.

Why the death of malls is about more than shopping.

How to get your Instagram marketing off the ground.

After a century of dispute, the German alphabet just got a new character.

In her first act as a Disney Legend, Whoopi Goldberg tells Disney to stop hiding its history.

Artist Leticia Santos finds geometric inspiration in D.C.’s row houses.

Black Southern Baptist minister renounces church over its Trump support in a scathing open letter.

An open letter to Rev. Franklin Graham from a “small church” pastor.

Download 200+ Belle Époque art posters from 1880-1918 for free.

A new low: “Photo community” asks for (and gets) free commercial license to photos.

Growing paper clothes in rural Japan.

The extraordinary reason exceptional people avoid mediocre friends. (They rewire your brain.)

Colorizing an early 1900s photo of New York brings it to life.

12 tips to being a better photo blogger.

A history of why the U.S. is the only rich country without universal health care.

The best worst reactions to the news that the next Doctor Who will be a woman.

Honda debuts a one-of-a-kind “Minnie Van.”

This untouched 70s home is the grooviest thing you’ll see all year.

An attempt at a world record for the most Frida Kahlo lookalikes in one place.

Third Eye Comics has been around for a few years. The store had simply moved to larger quarters just around the corner from its former location. The store decided to have a grand opening event to celebrate this. Here’s a look at the entrance to the new facilities.

Third Eye Comics Grand Opening, July 8, 2017

This is a really cool example of trompe l’oeil.

Third Eye Comics Grand Opening, July 8, 2017

As you can see in the next few photos this event was well attended.

Third Eye Comics Grand Opening, July 8, 2017

Third Eye Comics Grand Opening, July 8, 2017

Third Eye Comics Grand Opening, July 8, 2017

There were all kinds of items available for sale, such as this Weeping Angel tote bag from the Doctor Who TV show.

Third Eye Comics Grand Opening, July 8, 2017

There were comic books, graphic novels, vinyl toys, coffee mugs, and other kinds of related merchandise available for sale.

Third Eye Comics Grand Opening, July 8, 2017

Third Eye Comics Grand Opening, July 8, 2017

Third Eye Comics Grand Opening, July 8, 2017

Third Eye Comics Grand Opening, July 8, 2017

Third Eye Comics Grand Opening, July 8, 2017

Third Eye Comics Grand Opening, July 8, 2017

Third Eye Comics Grand Opening, July 8, 2017

Third Eye Comics Grand Opening, July 8, 2017

Third Eye Comics Grand Opening, July 8, 2017

Third Eye Comics Grand Opening, July 8, 2017

Third Eye Comics also has a games store, known as Third Eye Games, whose entrance is located next to Third Eye Comics’ space.

Third Eye Comics Grand Opening, July 8, 2017

As you can guess from the name, Third Eye Games have all kinds of card games and board games available for sale, such as this Ghostbusters game.

Third Eye Comics Grand Opening, July 8, 2017

There were plenty of people playing games when I was there.

Third Eye Comics Grand Opening, July 8, 2017

Third Eye Comics Grand Opening, July 8, 2017

Third Eye Comics Grand Opening, July 8, 2017

I took advantage of the store’s special 20% discount on graphic novels to make my one and only purchase from that store. As you can guess by the cover, Deadpool the Duck is a mash-up between Howard the Duck and Deadpool. Having read it, I can tell you that it’s definitely hilarious. I would recommend picking it up if you have the chance.

Third Eye Comics Grand Opening, July 8, 2017

Intervention Con Day 1

Intervention Con Day 2

Usually the third day of a convention tends to be relatively truncated because it falls on a Sunday and many people are rushing to travel back home so they can return to their real lives the next day. There were still a few events that encouraged me to go back out to the Hilton Hotel in Rockville for the third day in a row. I attended this panel discussion featuring Intervention Con founder Oni Harstein (on the right in the photo below) on how to market your work online. I took a lot of notes at that panel.

Intervention Con, Day 3, September 18, 2016

Afterwards I attended this talk where Craig W. Cobalt (on the right in the photo below) talking with actor René Auberjonois (left). It was a really highly spirited discussion because not only had Auberjonois appeared on shows like Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Benson, and Boston Legal but his acting career goes back decades. He gave a really fascinating account on his experiences working with the legendary Katharine Hepburn. He should write his memoirs about his long acting career because his talk was so fascinating. He even finished his talk by singing this brief song (“Les Poissons”) he sang when he was the voice of Chef Louis in the Disney movie The Little Mermaid.

Intervention Con, Day 3, September 18, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 3, September 18, 2016

After that presentation ended I stayed in the same room where I ate my lunch (which I brought with me from home) while listening to actress Alex Kingston (in pink ears below) speaking about her days as River Song on Doctor Who with Cat Smith (right side in below photo). She also gave a fascinating talk on what it was like to play River Song with three of the actors who portrayed the various regenerations of Doctor Who.

Intervention Con, Day 3, September 18, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 3, September 18, 2016

After that presentation ended I spent the rest of my time taking a few miscellaneous photographs.

Intervention Con, Day 3, September 18, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 3, September 18, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 3, September 18, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 3, September 18, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 3, September 18, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 3, September 18, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 3, September 18, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 3, September 18, 2016

The last photo I took at Intervention Con was this one of my program book and badge.

Intervention Con, Day 3, September 18, 2016

After I left Intervention Con I briefly stopped at the Micro Center store mainly because it was only located just a couple of blocks from the Hilton Hotel. I didn’t buy anything because I didn’t have much money left after that weekend. (I spent the bulk of my money on the weekend pass. I didn’t buy anything in the Artists Alley this time around because of a lack of cash.) I ended up having far less money at the end of the month than usual but it was worth it. I got a lot of good advice regarding how to market my arts and crafts on social media and I intend to try to use it. I loved all of the panels and workshops I attended. The only letdown was that, unlike the previous Intervention Cons I attended in 2013 and 2014, there were no vintage arcade games this time around. I was mildly disappointed because I had fond memories of playing such games as Tetris and Wizards of Wor and they were all on free play, which was fantastic. (You can see the photos of those vintage arcade games that I took at a previous Intervention Con right here.) I missed those vintage arcade games. Otherwise I loved Intervention Con and I would love to go again next year.

The next day I did this quick sketchbook drawing showing how I usually feel about going to an event like Intervention Con. (LOL!)

Sketchbook Drawing the Day After Intervention Con Ended

Intervention Con Day 1

Even though Intervention Con was held in a hotel I decided to commute back and forth from my home because it was cheaper. That was how I was able to spend Saturday morning attending a meeting of a new Job Club for people who are either unemployed, underemployed, or just aren’t working their dream jobs because they have to pay bills that I had a hand in forming. I’m not going to write more about this here because it’s one of those topics that really warrants a separate post.

After that meeting ended I returned home to eat lunch and pack dinner and drinks for this evening then I headed to the Hilton Hotel in Rockville. I arrived at the Twinbrook Metro station, which has free parking on the weekend (I only had to worry about paying parking fees that first night) then walk one block to the hotel.

On the first day of Intervention Con the weather was warm outside (it went up into the low 80’s) but some of the hotel conference rooms were a bit chilly because they had the air conditioning way up high. I solved that problem by wearing my Rainbow Dash hoodie. It also has the additional benefit of helping with blending in with the cosplayers who were there at that convention. Here’s a rare selfie below.

Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016

It was a pretty funky outfit since I wore a long-sleeved hoodie with a pair of summer shorts. (LOL!) I didn’t arrive at the convention until around 3 p.m. The first workshop I went to was called “Button down for WHAT?!”, which was devoted to making buttons. It was hosted by Stephanie Byrd of the local button making firm Red Fish Rue Fish. Each participant could make one button for free.

Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016

The needed supplies to make a button were already provided so all one needed is his/her imagination.

Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016

I decided to do the legendary Goat Man as a baby, which I previously wrote about here. I did this initial pencil drawing.

Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016

Then I colored it and provided the lettering using colored pencils.

Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016

Once I was done I took it to this button making machine where it was made into a button.

Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016

After I finished making my button I immediately headed over to this workshop on “Thriving Artists” that was given by Rob Balder. I learned a few helpful hints (like how you’re more likely to have a successful Patreon page if you have a popular YouTube channel and how self-education is very important and there are a lot of free college level courses online that one can take without having to go thousands of dollars into debt). That workshop also had this excellent quote from the late tennis star Arthur Ashe that goes:

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”

Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016

After going to two workshops in a row, I decided to just take it easy. I ate the dinner I brought with me in the hotel lobby at this table that had plugs and USB ports available for charging various electronic devices. I charged my smartphone while I ate my dinner. Afterwards I walked around the convention. I headed into the video room for a few minutes. I played a couple of video games myself (mainly the classic arcade games that were loaded on to this X-Box) but I mostly took photos and looked at other people playing games.

Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016

I spent the majority of my free time in the Artists Alley.

Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016

There were tables in the Artists Alley where the celebrities were there at various times to sign autographed photos and pose for photographs. I took all my photos of these celebrities from afar because I was too cash-strapped to pay for the privilege of meeting with my favorite celebrities. The prices of the signed photos ranged anywhere (depending on how popular this celebrity is) from $5-$55. If one also wanted to pose for a photograph with his/her favorite celebrity, those fees not only cost extra but they ranged from $20-$55. I managed to take this faraway photo of an autograph/photo session featuring Gigi Edgley of Farscape and Alex Kingston of Doctor Who.

Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016

There was a live Internet radio broadcast at Intervention Con.

Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016 Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016

A person dressed as Boba Fett stalked the lobby of the Hilton Hotel.

Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016

I attended “The Social Media: BEST and WORST” panel with Mary Ratliff, M. Sieiro Garcia, and Steven Archer. They discussed some of the excesses of some people on social media and they provided advice on how to protect your personal identity online. (The best advice they gave was to sign up for a free Google Voice number that would be tied in to your personal phone but you wouldn’t have to give out your private number. Instead you could publicly give out your Google Voice number and if you start getting harassing messages you can ditch that particular Google Voice number.)

Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016

I went to one more panel on “The Comical Side of Elections Season” where Joe Wos shared his memories of working with Pat Paulsen during the times he ran for President as a satiric act. He also mentioned other hilarious campaigns, such as Howard the Duck (which I actually reviewed this past summer).

Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016

He has a version of this presentation that you can listen online right here. I highly recommended it because it is really interesting.

I grew tired after that last panel so I decided to head home. On my way out the door I took one last photo of this cosplayer.

Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016

Intervention Con Day 3

Over a week ago I got a notice (via one of the e-mailing lists that I’m currently on) of a Bernie Sanders march that was taking place in Baltimore. It was one of many that have broken out all over the country over the past few months which have drawn many people yet the mainstream media had ignored it. I only knew about these marches because of Facebook and Twitter.

I found out that the march was supposed to start in the Penn-North area of Baltimore, which is the same area where those riots broke out in the wake of the police murder of Freddie Gray last year. (You can see the photos I took during this period of both the May Day protest and my trek through the Penn-North area on Cinco de Mayo, exactly one week after the riots.)

I know from my previous trip to Penn-North that parking can be hard to find plus there are a bunch of boarded up row houses that I really don’t feel comfortable in parking my car nearby. I decided to park my car at the North Linthicum station so I could take the light rail into the city. Even though I made every effort to get out early, the downside of relying on public transportation on the weekends is that public transportation runs less often on the weekends. (That’s true for both Baltimore and DC.) I arrived just as the light rail left the station so I had to wait another 15-20 minutes for the next train to arrive. In the meantime it was cold outside plus it was raining off and on. I was still determined to press on despite the cold and gloomy weather so I got on the next light rail train going into the city.

I got off at the Lexington Market light rail stop then transferred to the nearby Metro stop that’s located just a few feet away. When I entered the station, I noticed these really pretty tile pieces that lined the ceiling.

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So I had to wait a bit for the next Metro train to show up. I got off at the Penn-North station. The next photo shows the CVS that was torched during last year’s riots. I remember when the news media made a huge deal over what happened with the implication that the people were animals for burning down a pharmacy. Well the same CVS has since rebuilt and re-opened but you won’t hear about it on Fox News or CNN.

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I was trying to look for a group of people brandishing Bernie Sanders signs and I walked around a bit. The next two photos show boarded up row houses that are literally a stone’s throw from the CVS.

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Penn-North is such a mix between nice buildings (which I photographed last year) and deteriorating boarded-up row houses. This mural (which includes famous jazz singer and Baltimore native Billie Holliday) is located at the intersection of Pennsylvania and North Avenues.

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I caught up with a single man who had a Bernie Sanders sign. He told me that the group had already left. He said that the march would end at Penn Station and he suggested that I get in my car and drive there. Unfortunately for me my car was at the North Linthicum light rail stop so I ended up taking the next MTA bus to the Station North Arts District then walk to Penn Station. When I arrived I didn’t see any crowds or marches. I went inside where I did a search on my smartphone and found that the march route wasn’t anywhere near Penn Station. In fact, the final destination was the Hollywood Diner Food Truck Park on Saratoga Street, which is nowhere near Penn Station or the Station North Arts District. Yeah, that guy was definitely wrong about the march’s destination. Unfortunately it was around 1 p.m. by that point and the march was scheduled to end at 2. By the time I made my way to the North Avenue light rail station and take it to the Charles Center stop then walk a few blocks, the march would be over.

So I sat on a bench and ate the lunch that I had packed with me. Being inside Penn Station brought back a lot of memories for me. For a few years when I was a child my family would take the Amtrak to Ohio to visit my great-aunt who lived in a small town along with her children (my cousins) who all lived in the same area. (Some lived in that same small town while others lived in another small town located just a few miles away.) We would go to Penn Station to catch that train. That station looked really huge to me when I was very young. Seeing it as an adult, I have to say that it’s pretty small compared to Union Station in Washington, DC or Grand Central Station in New York City. Yet Penn Station has the same kind of classical Greco-Roman decor that the larger aforementioned stations have, including stained glass ceilings, Roman columns, and little touches of classical art.

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After I finished eating my lunch and taking pictures inside, I stepped outside where it started to rain a bit harder. I took a couple of interesting shots outside of Penn Station.

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Ultimately I headed back on Charles Street towards North Avenue. I’ve been to the Station North Arts District enough times (thanks mostly to attending sessions of the Baltimore chapter of Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School at The Wind-Up Space) that I know my way around the area. I’ve noticed some more arty touches that have been added since my last trip to the area a few months ago, such as these painted storm drains.

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I walked past the BAMF Cafe, which is a new geek-themed cafe that had opened last year. I last went there just before it opened full time when the windows were loaded with all kinds of cool looking toys. I decided to step inside and see what the place looked like because it intrigued me. (Just the word “BAMF” brought back memories because my then-husband used to collect comics, especially The X-Men. One of the characters in that comic book, Nightcrawler, was capable of doing teleportation and he used to make a “BAMF” noise everytime he used that power.)

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I found that the cafe has a very cozy interior that’s full of toys, art, and books on all aspects of the geek fandom including comic books, science fiction, horror, anime, and cult movies. It was such a visual treat.

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I didn’t order any food or drink because I had just consumed my lunch at Penn Station. I plan on doing so the next time I find myself in the Station North Arts District.

The weather started to rain harder so I decided to cut this trip a bit short and head back to pick up my car that was parked at the North Linthicum light rail stop. While I walked towards the North Avenue light rail stop, I saw this really cool looking decorated car that was just parked on North Avenue.

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I attempted these two artsy shots when I was crossing an overpass.

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The last photo shows this really cool painted mural that’s painted on the side of an underpass on North Avenue near the light rail stop. (You can really see the raindrops coming down in the foreground.)

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I later found out that there was very little media coverage of the Bernie Sanders march in Baltimore. In fact, the only media story I found was this video that was shot by The Real News.

I pretty much stayed close to home during Memorial Day Weekend. On the holiday itself I spent most of my time gardening and trying to clean up my yard in general. (Which is a challenge considering all the rain we were getting.) In the evening I decided to head off to this bar that I literally haven’t visited since my college days mainly because I heard that it is currently having a series of pinball contests.

I last visited Town Hall when I was still a student at the University of Maryland a long time ago. I went with my then-boyfriend and his friend. At the time that place was literally a dive with some rough redneck looking people. I’ll never forget this one man sitting at the bar who had such a huge gut on him that, if he was a woman, I would’ve thought that he was nine months pregnant and close to delivering a baby. I subsequently broke up with that boyfriend and I ended up with another college boyfriend who became my ex-husband but he and I never went to Town Hall together because I still had less than fond memories of the place. Even after the old Town Hall was completely razed and a new one was built in its place, I hadn’t gotten around to going back. Until this past Memorial Day.

There weren’t a lot of people the night I was there. (I think there was one bartender on duty with two other patrons just hanging around.) I checked out the pinball machines and they looked impressive.

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My personal favorite was the one that was based on the British TV show Doctor Who.

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Here’s the art featuring just a portion of the different personas of The Doctor (as played by different actors in over the show’s 50 years in existence).

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The top of the pinball machine had a Dalek.

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The pinball game itself had a miniature Tardis where the pinball could go through.

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I didn’t stay too long at Town Hall because I was still kind of tired from spending most of the day gardening. I saw the information about a summer Pinball League that was planning on holding its tournaments in Town Hall. This league is affiliated with something called the Free State Pinball Association. The ultimate end-of-the-season grand prize is a pinball machine. For me winning a pinball machine would be a nightmare because I wouldn’t know where to put it in my modest size townhouse.

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http://www.nablopomo.com

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

Free Tutorials

How to easily clean a hot glue gun. That one is important for those of us crafters who frequently use that tool because that is one item that can easily gunk up with old dried glue.

29 Geek DIY’s To Make Right Now includes an abacus bracelet, a Doctor Who Tardis phone charging station, and RPG dice earrings.

What is Spec Work? is a video that describes the term and shows why designers should never waste their time with spec work.

16 Creative Ways To Give Sneakers A Makeover is a great tutorial for those who are in the mood to buy a new pair but currently own a good pair of sneakers and don’t really have the money to buy a new pair or two for fashion reasons.

Browse other free tutorials previously mentioned in this blog (along with pictures) right here.

Miscellaneous Links

Here are seven reasons why the contemporary art world is an insufferable scam—corrupted by the super-rich.

David Irvine is an artist who specializes in collecting old, discarded paintings from thrift shops and adding pop culture characters like Darth Vader and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters. The results are interesting to say the least.

Here’s a clip from a 1950’s TV show that features an appearance by Samuel Seymour, who was the last surviving witness to the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. He mentioned how, as a five-year-old boy in Ford’s Theater, he saw John Wilkes Booth jump from a balcony to the stage where Booth broke his leg and he was initially concerned about Booth until he saw President Lincoln slumped in his seat. This TV appearance happened just in time because Seymour would die just a few months after appearing on that show. Seymour’s brush with history has since earned him his own Wikipedia page.

When I made my first trip to London back in 2007, I managed to make a brief visit to the world-famous Abbey Road Studios (where a lot of classic albums were made, including The Beatles’ Abbey Road and Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon) and I even walked in the same crosswalk where The Beatles were once photographed. While I saw the famous graffiti-filled walls on the perimeter of the property, inside of the building was off-limits to the general public. Google now has a virtual tour inside the Abbey Road Studios that is totally awesome and gives a fascinating glimpse of Abbey Road’s rich recording history that goes as far back as the early 20th century. There are also a few fun hands-on features as well, such as trying your hand at mixing music with the J37, a machine that was used to mix such albums as The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

I only went to one high school reunion in my life—the five-year reunion. It was held in the historic Belvedere Hotel, which has since been converted to luxury condominiums. At the time I was a new college graduate and a newlywed. I even convinced my husband to come along with me even though he never attended my high school (he grew up on Long Island while I grew up in Maryland) because I wanted to show him off as a “Ha! Ha! In your face!” message to those assholes who made my high school years miserable. We decided to rent a room at the hotel that night so we could hop on a elevator going to and from the lower level ballroom where the reunion was held without worrying about driving home that night. That backfired because my husband was bored, no one cared about the fact that I married a NASA employee who was a graduate from Oberlin College, and the majority of the few friends I made in high school didn’t go. The majority of those who attended that reunion were the popular kids (mainly the jocks and cheerleaders) who looked down on me as a retarded alien freak during those high school years and they didn’t give a damn about how I married well while they all gave off this “You’re still inferior and too insignificant for me” vibe when I unsuccessfully attempted some small talk during that reunion night. I socialized with the two or three friends who were there only to discover that I hadn’t seen them since Graduation Day and I didn’t have much in common with them anymore. The only good thing was the night we spent in that hotel room, which I recall was a very fancy room with nice bedsheets and soft towels. I haven’t gone to any other high school reunions since. I came across this post called Why I Will Never Go to My High School Reunion and it does a great job articulating on why high school reunions are overrated.

Passover

Free Tutorials

Simon Philion made an unsuccessful attempt at using Kickstarter to help fund his new idea: The Cool Baby, a life-like baby that’s really a flask where one can store alcohol and drink secretly in public. Someone has come up with a cheaper DIY alternative to the Cool Baby and has posted the free instructions here.

Here’s an alternate way of dyeing Easter eggs that will create really spectacular effects.

How to use sports jerseys to make wall art.

Browse other free tutorials previously mentioned in this blog (along with pictures) right here.

Miscellaneous Links

20 Creepiest Urban Legends From Around the World includes such figures as the Goat Man and Bloody Mary.

And, speaking of creepy, here is a statue of Lucille Ball in her hometown of Celoron, New York that the local townspeople want removed because it definitely looks like the statue is out to get you just like Chucky the killer doll from those Child’s Play movies. (Although I maintain that if they added wings to the statue, she’d be a dead ringer for one of the Weeping Angels from Doctor Who.)

19 of the Greatest Easter Eggs Hidden Around the Web.

The day before the latest massive snowstorm that was big enough to shut down the entire Baltimore-Washington, DC area down, I decided to do some grocery shopping when I learned about the weather forecasts. I did the bulk of my shopping at Aldi’s but there were a few items that I still needed that Aldi’s didn’t have in stock so I went to Safeway.

What was really surreal is that the day before the snowstorm it was raining like crazy and the temperature was in the relatively warm 40’s (it sure beats the sub-freezing temperatures that we’ve been getting). I walked past this vehicle in the parking lot that had these window stickers that only fans of Doctor Who can understand.

Vinyl Stickers on a Windshield

I found these giant sized Pez dispensers on display inside the store.

Giant Pez Dispensers

To give you an idea of how big these Pez dispensers were, here is my hand next to one of them.

Giant Pez Dispenser

I’ve been seeing these items appearing in more and more stores. On the surface they look like coloring books that happen to come with a small pack of Crayola crayons. But, believe it or not, they are supposed to be the latest in smartphone technology. The idea is to color the pages using the enclosed crayons, download the appropriate app on your favorite smartphone or tablet, then take pictures of each page you’ve colored using that special app. The characters that you color are supposed to come to life in your smartphone/tablet and you can take pictures of them. Additionally they are supposed to make noises and you can control them. They have the potential to either be totally innovative or a total bust.

Crayola Color Alive

Later that evening I headed over to Makerspace 125 where I sat in on a very basic introduction to Scratch Programming as part of its weekly “Taste of Tech” series. I have to say that I was pretty impressed with Scratch, especially the animation part. I basically played around with the Scratch website but I didn’t save any of the animations that I created (mainly because they really weren’t much). I did take a few photographs of the latest outputs from Makerspace 125’s 3D printer.

This Peep chick looks pretty darned close to its edible marshmallow counterpart.

Makerspace 125, March 4, 2015

And here’s one more photo of some of the 3D printouts.

Makerspace 125, March 4, 2015

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