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Happy Earth Day! Here are some links for you to enjoy! 🙂

Donald Trump’s modeling agency is on the verge of collapse, say industry insiders. It will be the latest in a line of failed ventures like the Trump Taj Mahal, Trump Steaks, and Trump Vodka.

The original sculptor of the Charging Bull statue on Wall Street says that the Fearless Girl statue facing his statue distorts his work so much that he is considering filing a lawsuit.

Cannabis industry attracts more mainstream investors as business grows.

A mass-market shoe with 3D-printed midsoles is coming soon.

Eight-year-old boy learns to drive on YouTube then takes his little sister on a joyride to McDonald’s.

Microsoft Office vulnerabilities mean that no .doc is safe.

You’ll be working with robots sooner than you think.

Are you a photographer who needs a light box but you are currently short on cash? Here’s a video showing how you can make your own light box for less than $10.

Google’s new AutoDraw web-based drawing tool is a better artist than you.

It may be time to say farewell to the Pentax camera as Ricoh shrinks its camera business.

Chinese doctors use 3D printing to prepare for facial reconstruction surgery.

Microsoft to offer self-service refund for digital games.

How to stop Microsoft Office hackers from stealing your bank account.

12 ways to study a new programming language.

How Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, and Warren Buffet adhere to the Five-Hour Rule where they set aside at least one hour a day (or five hours a week) devoted to such practices as reading, reflection, and experimentation.

Exiles from the war-torn areas of Syria, Palestine, and Afghanistan form a theater troupe in Germany.

Why Kickstarter decided to radically transform its business model.

How Steve Bannon’s multimedia machine drove a movement and paid him millions.

Microsoft will unveil the most powerful gaming console it has ever made on June 11.

Beware of “drive-by” computer scam.

Fake SEO plugin used in WordPress malware attacks.

Yes, some businesses still run Microsoft’s much-maligned Windows Vista.

Ohio inmates built and hid computers in prison using recycled electronic parts.

Dear Microsoft, stop blaming girls for not pursuing STEM careers.

Artist Hasan Elahi discusses racism in the digital art world.

Take a weirdly hypnotizing tour of America’s dying malls.

According to a recent survey, British women said that they prefer knitting to sex to help them relax from stress.

For photographers on a very tight budget, here’s a video showing how you can make your own DIY photography studio in your own home.

Disney files patents to bring humanoid robots to its theme parks.

Gizmodo reports on why people still use Microsoft Word.

Disney launching new animated Star Wars series on YouTube.

Black girls have been playing with white dolls for a long time.

Paper horror houses (including the Bates Motel) that you can download, print, and build for free.

Passover

There’s no glory in overworking. It’s just imminent burnout.

Tesla is now worth more than Ford and Elon Musk is already rubbing it in to everyone who ever doubted him.

14 stunning embroidery Instagrams.

Magic moments marking 170 years of British photography.

A Singapore man who lives with more than 9,000 Barbie dolls.

YouTube will now block ads on channels with under 10,000 views.

This robot will literally make you a salad.

A beginner’s guide to microblogging on Mastodon, the open source alternative to Twitter.

An interesting story on how writing on Medium each week has changed one woman’s life.

A 27-year-old entrepreneur talks about how he launched a seven-figure snack business in 18 months.

3D knitting brings tech to your sweaters—for a price.

There’s more to tech stock photography than hokey gold bitcoins.

3D printing in-store is very close and retailers need to address it.

A comparison of six free web-based SVG editors.

Nine anime things that Astro Boy did first.

Chinese man “marries” sex robot he built for himself after he failed to find a girlfriend.

Seven integral WordPress plug-ins.

White toddler girl defends her choice of a black doll to a cashier at Target.

Animated vloggers like Kizuna Ai could be the future of YouTube.

Chobani founder, who immigrated to the U.S. from Turkey, stands by hiring refugees.

Brands see the future of fashion in customized 3D-knitted garments produced while you wait.

3D printing: Don’t believe all of the hype.

Five free graphic design tools.

Top 10 WordPress plugins for business sites in 2017.

Hollywood’s whitewashed version of anime never sells.

New robots just want to be your child’s best friend.

How to make a coin sorting machine from cardboard.

How Harvard Business School has advocated the propagation of immoral profit strategies.

Photos showing 100 years of people knitting.

Talking bendable Justin Trudeau doll for sale.

WordPress for Google Docs lets multiple users collaborate on content in real-time.

Six of the most innovative 3D printing companies.

GIMP is crowdfunding critical updates like high bit depth and layer effects.

This man makes amazing surreal animations from famous artwork.

Open Collective is a GoFundMe-like service for open source projects.

Philadelphia museum showing glass bongs as high art. The museum’s directors say that this exhibit is less about potheads and more about allowing an underground community of artists to showcase their work without fear of being stigmatized or prosecuted.

A look at one crafter who renders pop culture figures in embroidery.

Knitted knockers for breast cancer survivors.

A girl who lost her eye to cancer got the best lookalike doll.

Adobe is currently developing AI that turns selfies into self-portraits.

60 free and easy Easter crafts to make for this holiday weekend.

Improvisation is the heart of Cuban animation.

Researchers are working on robots that can monitor and care for the elderly, such as the animal-like MiRo.

As the ballerina moves, this robot paints the dance.

How to get Microsoft Word for free.

What we can learn from the brief period when the government employed artists through its Works Progress Administration (WPA).

Software engineer starts unlikely business: A weekly newspaper.

Russian startup company Renca recycles industrial waste into 3D printable cement.

Can collecting digital art make museums more competitive?

New business fad: Tripping on Ayahuasca.

“Pink Tax” forces women to pay more for gender-specific items than men.

Adobe and IBM are rolling out more artificial intelligence tools for brands.

ISIS recruiting videos hit YouTube after London attack.

Elon Musk wants to merge your brain with a computer.

In the 1970’s this 25-mile-long art project by conceptual artist Christo Javacheff wowed the Bay Area.

A double-amputee toddler gets a doll with prosthetic legs.

Not all animators yearn to direct big studio films.

The disturbing YouTube videos that are tricking children into watching them.

Microsoft Word macro malware automatically adapts attach techniques for Mac OS and Windows.

Little girl mistakes a water heater for a robot and gives it a hug.

Easy Easter crafts that will bring an element of nature to your home.

3D printer helps revive 103-year-old Delage Type-S car.

Virtual anime girl Kizuna Ai rises to fame. She was created using the same software that was used to create virtual pop star Hatsune Miku.

Is YouTube turning against the marginalized community it built its network on?

Italian artists craft the world’s first 24-carat gold-plated shoes that costs ₤21,000 per pair.

The new world of 3D printing and counterfeiting.

Why Piet Mondrian could be considered to be the first digital artist.

Microsoft provided information to the British authorities after the London attack.

Google launches new site to showcase its open source projects and processes.

Open source software is for everyone—so where are the women?

A free tutorial on making a pocket jack-in-the-box in order to keep children occupied while traveling.

Google executive explains how fake news can be detected.

How a two-time Iraq combat veteran uses photography to help him deal with PTSD.

Are 3D printers overrated?

Major advertisers withdraw support from Google and YouTube over the posting of extremist videos.

Animation presents the beta release of Animation Wave, which empowers marketing professionals to create videos and ads in minutes for distribution on social media.

Things I managed to do with the $250 computer from hell.

Asia’s hottest art fair includes taking selfies with a lifelike replica of Mao Zedong’s corpse.

Starbucks CEO says that not every decision in business is an economic one because leadership and moral courage is not a passive act.

How to find your niche and build a photography career.

3D printing could usher in a revolution but small, local businesses are unlikely to benefit from it.

Here’s what it takes to make it as a financially successful podcaster.

No one can explain why YouTube bans some LGBT content.

The life-changing magic of tidying up your computer.

A billionaire collector of Rembrandt’s works said he started his collection with the intention to take art out of hidden, private collections and put it back into the public domain by creating a lending library. He’s doing this in an effort to build bridges between different groups and countries.

A woman who spends her time doing Lionel Ritchie-themed street embroidery.

The famous 1967 New York exhibit that transformed photography.

Adobe and Microsoft are working together on artificial intelligence.

14 hipster hobby ideas.

7 cool YouTube hacks you can use.

Hungry? Call your neighborhood delivery robot.

Ever since DreamWorks Animation was purchased by Universal, several films have been cancelled. So what’s actually happening?

Google unveiled a new set of features for its popular Maps app that lets users share their locations with friends and contacts in real time so they can quickly let friends know if they are running late to a meeting or stuck in traffic.

Washable heartbeat sensors can now be embroidered onto clothing.

A Pittsburgh non-profit is making tiny hijab headscarves for Barbie dolls in an effort to increase inclusivity and fight Islamophobia.

Adobe and Microsoft are sharing sales and marketing data.

Microsoft and Toyota sign patent deal for potential connected cars.

Robot company claims to create, not kill, jobs.

The most common grammar mistakes on Microsoft Word.

A step-by-step guide to making Instagram-worthy gold leaf Easter eggs.

Inmates crochet mats made from plastic bags then donate them to the homeless.

Little boy who misses his Royal Air Force father gets a huggable hero doll that looks exactly like his father.

Adobe interns don’t make coffee, they make apps. They also get paid as well.

Netflix snatches up the worldwide distribution rights to a Japanese anime version of Godzilla.

This new robot skin is more sensitive than a human hand.

Robots could help children give evidence in child abuse cases.

Ever since I started this blog back in 2010 I’ve been using both this blog and my social media accounts to promote myself as a creative person. I have to say that each social media platform is a completely different animal and it can be a chore at times to tailor a message to the audience on that platform. Based on my own personal experience, if I ever had to do a succinct definition of what each social media platform does, it would go like this:

Facebook: This is where you see your friends and family write about their children’s latest accomplishments or post photos from their recent awesome vacations to such really cool places like Cancun or Walt Disney World or London or Rio de Janeiro or Austin or Niagara Falls, etc. You’d better watch what you write about your parents or other family members and friends because they are on Facebook and they won’t hesitate to scold you online if you write anything that they perceived as being too critical of them—even if it’s something that’s relatively benign. (As a silver lining, if you’re lucky enough your scolding friend/relative might end up having his/her words re-posted on Lamebook for everyone to read and mock.)

Twitter: LOOK AT ME! I’M AN ATTENTION WHORE WHO’S WRITING OUTRAGEOUS THINGS IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS!!! PLEASE RT THIS!

Instagram: Selfies, selfies, and more selfies. If you don’t pay enough attention to my selfies, I’ll risk my life taking my selfies in dangerous locations without a safety net.

YouTube: I’ll become a YouTube star simply by making video reviews of toys and video games or making videos about some expensive upscale fashion items that I have just purchased during my recent trip to the upscale shopping mall. I’ll emulate PewDiePie’s method of continuing my YouTube stardom by making regular appeals for money while claiming that I’m a destitute poor person and threatening to delete my YouTube channel once I get a certain number of subscribers.

Flickr: I’ll post photos from my awesome trips to really cool places like Cancun or Walt Disney World or Rio de Janeiro or Austin or Niagara Falls, etc. along with my very arty photos of sunsets.

Tumblr: I’ll post my fan art of comic book superheroes (especially ones from DC and Marvel), My Little Pony, Star Wars, Star Trek, and Doctor Who then watch everyone reblog my work.

DeviantArt: I’ll post my fan art of Japanese anime characters that will get a lot of attention.

Google+: Hello? Is there anybody in there? Just hit the “Like” button or reply if you are reading my Google+ post. Is there anyone at home?

MySpace: Wait, this social media site still exists?!? Well, hot damn, it’s still around! I’m amazed that Rupert Murdoch didn’t totally run this site into the ground when he made that ill-advised purchase years ago. I wonder if Tila Tequila is still the Queen of MySpace despite her fascination with Adolf Hitler and the White Power movement?

LinkedIn: I’ll focus exclusively on my current job and my previous work experience. I’ll make it as plan vanilla and boring as possible with no drama whatsoever. I won’t even attempt to add any flair, creativity, or anything else that expresses my individuality because then I’ll get pegged as being “unprofessional” and it’ll be such a turn-off to potential employers that I’ll never be able to find another paying job ever again. Boring is good but try to be as unique as you possibly can without standing out from the rest of the LinkedIn crowd so much that you’ll get denounced as being “unprofessional” and you’ll become so unemployable that you’ll be forced into early retirement.**

Pinterest: I’ll pin whatever arts and crafts sites I find. If I happened to pin an arts and crafts site that shows how to make a certain Disney character, I’ll see that pin get re-pinned by others so many times that my e-mailbox gets clogged with notifications of all these re-pins.***

Minds.com: Here’s where I’ll find the latest conspiracy theories, dispatches from Anonymous, and alternative health remedies that may or may not actually work.

**Here’s a message for those of you who are staunch LinkedIn users: This post is satire. I know that, in a perfect world, I shouldn’t have to write this disclaimer but I’ve encountered enough stuffy humor-challenged professional people in various jobs over the years that I know that some stuffy humor-challenged businessperson who’s a heavy LinkedIn user would take this post 100% seriously if I didn’t include this footnote.

***This actually happened to me nearly two years ago when I pinned a site that provided a free pattern on how to crochet an amigurumi Stitch from the Disney movie Lilo & Stitch. That one pin is the most re-pinned pin on my Pinterest account. People are still re-pinning that Stitch crochet pattern to this very day. I had to disable all e-mail notifications because I grew tired of my inbox getting clogged with so many notices of people re-pinning that one pin. Especially since I didn’t create the original pattern nor do I hold any legal rights to the Stitch character whatsoever.

Santa Claus

 

 

 

 

Like I wrote in a prior entry, that particular Sunday was a busy day for me. I started off with going to Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School (link is definitely NSFW) and I ate an early dinner while I was at the Bier Baron. After the event ended and I finished eating, I decided to get back on the Metro and head to the White House so I could check out the National Christmas Tree.

Even though I’ve lived my entire life in the Baltimore-Washington, DC area, I’ve only been to the National Christmas Tree two other times. One of them was when I walked past it one spring or summer day but that was in the off-season when it just looked like a typical pine tree. The other was when I went during the winter holiday season and that was when Bill Clinton occupied the White House.

Yeah, I know it’s kind of pathetic that I live in the area and I haven’t made more of an effort to actually visit the National Christmas Tree. This year I decided to actually schedule a visit since next year a new Trump Administration will take control of the White House and Trump seems to have gone out of his way to continue with pissing off people on Twitter. I just want to photograph the Washington, DC area as it is now before Trump takes over because I have a feeling that the DC area will never be quite the same as it is right now.

Like I wrote earlier I last went to the National Christmas Tree when Bill Clinton was in office. While the White House has always had a fence around it, there was a time when you could walk close to the fence then cut through this fenced alleyway over to the Ellipse where the National Christmas Tree is located. Thanks to 9/11 the entire downtown area has become more fortified, including the White House. Basically one now has to walk one block away from the White House, turn a corner, then walk another block back towards the Ellipse side of the White House. This new path definitely increases walking time to get to the National Christmas Tree.

It didn’t help that on the night I went there were even more cutoffs because of a scheduled motorcade of limousines carrying certain VIPs to and from the White House. Living in the DC area you get used to having streets and sidewalks get periodically blocked off to make way for these special motorcades. Here is what it was like at the intersection of 14th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, Northwest.

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I eventually made my way back towards the White House on the Ellipse side. My feet were sore but all that walking was worth it once I reached the National Christmas Tree.

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Surrounding the National Christmas Tree were a variety of toy train layouts resembling small villages and towns with a toy train running through each.

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There was a display of smaller trees with each one representing a U.S. state or territory.

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The next photo shows the tree that represented my home state of Maryland.

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The one other time I went to the National Christmas Tree during the winter holiday season I remember that there was a giant lit Yule log and I could warm myself by the fire. I didn’t see any Yule logs or bonfires this time around but I encountered something that I didn’t expect. There was a tent sponsored by Google enticing people to do some computer coding in order to get a free cup of hot chocolate.

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This exhibit was somehow tied in with the 100th anniversary of the National Parks Service. (Although, for the life of me, I didn’t see how doing some computer coding was in any way related to visiting National Parks Service places like the Lincoln Memorial or Mount Rushmore or Yosemite.)

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Basically you had to queue up outside and wait until someone opened the tent door and let you inside. Since I went on a Sunday night I didn’t have a long wait outside. Once I was inside the tent I had to wait some more until a station with a Chromebook (you can definitely tell that Google sponsored this) opened up.

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Once I reached the next available Chromebook I found that it was opened to the Made With Code site. I definitely recognized that webpage because I had previously visited it on World Emoji Day back in July and I created my first personalized Emoji. Using the Blockly programming language (another indication that Google sponsored this) I created this Christmas-themed Emoji.

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The next step was to wirelessly send my newly created Emoji to the nearest hot chocolate dispenser.

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A screen at the top showed a selection of recently created Emojis. I found the one I created and chose that one.

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Here’s where the cool part came in. The hot chocolate dispenser poured out the drink while creating special foam at the top that resembled my newly created Emoji.

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There were some specially provided tables where you can center the hot chocolate and take a picture of it.

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Given that cool looking foam featuring an Emoji that I personally coded myself, it was almost a shame to drink the hot chocolate. I was just glad I had my smartphone with me so I could photograph it for posterity and drink my free hot chocolate without regret. (As for the hot chocolate itself, it was okay but I’ve tasted better hot chocolate at Starbucks. I can’t complain too much about it since I got it for free.)

There was a stall that sold the official 2017 White House ornament. It was nice looking but I didn’t buy it since I have a small artificial tree these days and it can’t hold too many ornaments.

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The last picture I took that night was of a life-sized nativity scene that was placed near the National Christmas Tree.

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Today I got notice from RoadsideAmerica.com that a tip I submitted, along with corresponding photographs, have been accepted. It’s about this house in Hyattsville that has long been a fixture for its unique decorating style. It is featured on its Latest Tips page and it has its own page that has a brief blurb written by me along with my own photographs. It’s pretty cool that my name is involved on someone else’s website. I have a lot of other pictures that didn’t make it to that page that I’ll write about in a future post.

Today is World Emoji Day, which I had never heard of until I saw a link on Google’s homepage today. The link takes you to the Made With Code site where you can create your own emoji using the simple programming language Blockly. I took a stab at it and here’s the result.

emojicreatedusinggoogle

Since this blog is about my arts, crafts, and photography, it made sense for me to create an artist emoji, complete with a French beret and a funky shirt.

And speaking of art, I took a short online Left Or Right Brain Test and here’s the result, which doesn’t surprise me in the least bit.

leftbrainrightbrain

Have anyone checked out today’s Google Doodle, which celebrates the fact that the Eiffel Tower in Paris opened to the public for the first time on this day in 1889?

126th-anniversary-of-the-public-opening-of-the-eiffel-tower-4812727050567680-hp

I’ve never been to Paris but I’ve seen a couple of Eiffel Tower replicas. One is a life-sized replica at King’s Dominion near Richmond, Virginia where people can actually ride up to the top. The other is at Epcot located in the World Showcase area at the French Pavilion. It’s located behind the theater where the Impressions de France movie is shown. Unlike the King’s Dominion one, this Eiffel Tower is mainly for show and is off-limits to the public.

I would love to see the real thing in Paris but money is pretty tight for me at the moment.

In any case, since today is an Eiffel Tower anniversary, I’d thought I’d highlight something that I currently have on sale in my Spoonflower shop. It’s called J’Aime La France outfit for 18-inch dolls (such as American Girl) and it’s my riff on the default Meet outfit that the 2015 Girl of the Year Grace Thomas wears. Prices for my outfit range from around $10-$17, depending on which fabric you select. All you have to do is sew it yourself. You can see a few dolls model the outfit below, which was produced on the Basic Cotton.

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See more close-up pictures and read more about this outfit right here. Buy the outfit right here.

FREE TUTORIALS

How to make a mechanical knitting loom using Legos.

Have old comic books that you want to get rid of but no one wants to buy because they aren’t considered “valuable” enough? Turn them into coasters!

A free tutorial on how to create a miniature garden that’s small enough to fit a teacup.

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

MISCELLANEOUS LINKS

The amazing works of art which were created in the world’s second largest refugee camp.

For those of you who have been posting NSFW content in your blog using Blogger, you need to read about Google’s recent announcement that it’s banning public NSFW blogs from Blogger.

And, speaking of which, the next couple of links are NSFW. A story about Cynthia Plaster Caster, who was known among certain rock stars back in the late 1960’s for making plaster casts of, ahem!, certain body parts. These days she teaches others her craft and, through her website, she still offers her plaster caster services but she focuses more on breasts than penises.

Late last night, while I was doing laundry and general computing, I saw a link on Google located below the search box that had a small Christmas tree icon and it said “The holidays are Made With Code. Light up a tree in our nation’s capital.” So I clicked on it and it led me to a page where I can actually program the colors and patterns of the lights on one of the state Christmas trees that are currently on display at the White House. So I played around a bit with the Blockly programming language and came up with a light color and pattern scheme. I picked the Maryland state tree (mainly because I live there) as being the one that will display what I’ve programmed and then I submitted it.

According to the page after I submitted it, my design is going to be displayed on the Maryland state tree on December 5 at approximately 7:33 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Since I live near DC, I could even time it where I would arrive in time to see my tree with my pattern if I wanted to. I don’t know if I’ll do it. It really depends on things like having free time or if it will rain. But it’s kind of neat in any case.

You can view what I’ve programmed (as well as see the link where you can do your own Christmas tree coding) right here.

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