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DIY rebels are working to become the decentralized online alternatives to the Internet tech giants.

Why engagement rings should be banned.

Cornel West on the sad legacy of Barack Obama.

The 10 most socialistic countries in the world.

The Boston Public Library will digitize and put online 200,000 vintage records.

Africans are being sold at Libyan slave markets. Thanks, Hilliary Clinton.

Here are some facts and questions about that Nazi the New York Times failed to note.

A dog called Odin survived the California wildfires after refusing to abandon his goats.

White newspaper journalists exploited racial divisions to help build the GOP’s southern firewall in the 1960s.

The plutocrats are pursuing Internet censorship and they are barely even hiding it.

Revisiting the Greenbelt towns, a forgotten 1930s attempt at American Utopia.

Why the fall of the House of Clinton may trigger domino effect worldwide.

The military is burning art from Guantanamo that the world should see.

The driverless revolution may exact a political price.

This normal-looking house is actually a modern hobbit hole in disguise.

Reaganomics killed America’s middle class.

The retaliatory state: How Trump is turning government into a weapon of revenge.

MLK Jr. quotes about capitalism that Dodge didn’t include in their Super Bowl truck ad.

How the Right is mainstreaming the Holocaust-denying fringe.

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Santa Claus

On Christmas Day I drove to Lanham to see if a certain house was still continuing its overdecorated tradition despite the fact that that the family member who was responsible for the lights had passed away. I found out that not only were the family not carrying on that tradition but the house has been put up for sale.

But there are a few houses who have willingly picked up the mantel of trying to be the most decorated Christmas house. The house in Glen Burnie that I wrote about for TopBuzz.com has pretty much surpassed what the house in Lanham did.

But there’s another house located on Lastner Lane in Greenbelt that has the potential to one day be as decorated as the house in Lanham was (although it still has a ways to go before it could even begin to match that house in Glen Burnie). Each year the owners seem to add more Christmas lights. You can compare the photos I took in 2012, 2014, and 2016 with these recent photos I took in December, 2017.

Santa Claus

December 21, 2017 was the Winter Solstice, which means that it was the longest night of the year. The New Deal Cafe in Greenbelt, Maryland was having an Open Mic night and, well, since it was the Winter Solstice I decided to actually go on stage and try being a performer. A few months ago I purchased this ocarina from Baltimore Comic-Con.

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Since that time I’ve been teaching myself using some sheet music I downloaded from various web sites so I decided to try performing it in public for the hell of it. Most of my friends were there that night and they were polite in cheering me on as I performed songs like “Bingo” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” on stage. I hung around after my short set checking out the other performers, doing some socializing with my friends, and editing some photos for future blog posts and social media.

I ended up staying until closing time. I originally intended to just go straight home until I stepped outside and I saw a group of people sitting around a folding table that had been set up with lit candles while they were drumming. I asked them what was going on and it turned out that some people who are into pagan or nature spirituality had decided to set up an impromptu ritual late at night in honor of the Winter Solstice. They decided to wait until late at night because a few of the participants were working at the New Deal Cafe. Sure enough the New Deal Cafe employees and volunteers who wanted to take part in the ritual soon arrived after they did the last bit of cleaning up the place for the next day.

Basically the ritual consisted of some people chanting, some people drumming, and one man playing a didgeridoo. I ended up hanging around despite the very frigid weather that night. I was mesmerized by the lovely candles that were set up. I took a few pictures that night.

The ritual had pretty much ended by midnight due to the cold.

Santa Claus Baby New Year

One Saturday in early December a snowstorm hit my area. The snow lasted the entire day and into the night, it was ultimately somewhere between 1-2 inches, and it basically laid in the grass but not on the sidewalks and streets. The temperatures were below freezing the entire day. The weather wasn’t very conductive to doing much of anything outdoors. I decided to take a short drive to Roosevelt Center so I could check out what the Festival of Lights display looked like in the snow.

I’ve taken photos of the Greenbelt Festival of Lights before. The first time was in January, 2016 just before the festival officially ended. The second time I shot the opening ceremony in December, 2016. I skipped this year’s opening ceremony because I decided to attend the Holiday Warm-Up Party that was scheduled at my church the same evening. I decided to take pictures of what it all looked like in the middle of the snowstorm. Here is what I shot in the afternoon.

I briefly stopped by the Greenbelt Makerspace, which was deserted because most people opted to stay in their own homes instead of venturing out. That makerspace had its own decorations for Christmas and Hanukkah up.

I didn’t stay in the makerspace too long due to a lack of people plus I was in the mood for some hot chocolate at the New Deal Cafe. As I walked across the way I saw this squirrel who seemed to ignore the snowstorm all around it because it was more focus on satisfying its hunger.

I basically spent my time at the New Deal Cafe sipping hot chocolate, talking with the few people who were there (there were more people than at the Greenbelt Makerspace but it was still less crowded than usual on a Saturday afternoon), and doing some web surfing until sunset. The snowstorm was still going strong when I took these night photos of the Festival of Lights.

I began to feel some icy patches forming underneath my feet so I decided to return home. The snowstorm didn’t stop until around 9 p.m.

Beltway Plaza in Greenbelt, Maryland is basically a typical suburban shopping mall. It is anchored by a Target at one end and a Giant at the other end. It is a thriving indoor mall despite the fact that other malls similar to Beltway Plaza has succumbed to the phenomenon known as dead malls or the retail apocalypse in recent years. Beltway Plaza has such staying power that The Washington Post did an article about it last year.

The mall has a Southwestern-style motif on the outside that has gotten pretty grimy over the years. But a few weeks ago I was lucky enough to be at the mall right at the point where it was briefly transformed into a total visual marvel. Outside there were some dramatic looking clouds that had come in that looked threatening but it didn’t rain at all. At sunset both the sun and the clouds combined to create this awesome effect.

This visual effect started to reflect off of the exterior of Beltway Plaza, which added a very warm glow to the mall that contrasted with the dark clouds in the background.

Here’s another shot of the clouds that reflected the glow of the sunset as it contrasted with the mall in the foreground.

Early last month it was an unusually warm November day so I sat on a park bench outside the New Deal Cafe in Greenbelt, Maryland. One nice touch that the cafe has is that there is a dog dish filled with water that’s available for any dog to drink from. Except other animals besides dogs have also taken advantage of the cafe’s generous offer, such as this sparrow in the next two photos.

On the first Saturday in November I went to two different events that were held on the same day at two different churches. Fortunately both churches were located just a few miles from each other so getting to both of them was no problem.

The first thing in the morning I went to the Christmas Bazaar that was held at St. Hugh of Grenoble Catholic Church in Greenbelt, Maryland. They had some nice things on sale along with some nice Christmas decorations.

Christmas Bazaar, November 4, 2017

There were all kinds of handcrafted wares available for sale along with a sale on used books and DVDs and a booth that sold fair trade items such as crafts from Third World countries and ethically sourced foods.

Christmas Bazaar, November 4, 2017

Christmas Bazaar, November 4, 2017

There was even a table and chair set that was on sale for $160. I had no idea if the tablecloth, china, cloth napkins, and the centerpiece were included in that sale or not.

Christmas Bazaar, November 4, 2017

Christmas Bazaar, November 4, 2017

The next two photos show what I bought at the Christmas Bazaar. I purchased this small nativity set that was made in Peru yet it has an African theme to it. (I found it charming that a leopard replaced the usual sheep, donkeys, camels, and cows that one usually find in a traditional nativity set.)

Christmas Bazaar, November 4, 2017

Here are the two other items I also purchased at the Christmas Bazaar. One is a used DVD of the movie The Producers, which is well-known for the one where Mel Brooks made his film directorial debut and it was also one of Gene Wilder’s early film roles. It was later turned into a Broadway musical then was remade as a film that featured the music from that Broadway show. I only paid $1 for that DVD, which was a great deal since I found that film to be hilarious. The other is a fair trade dark chocolate candy bar that was made from ethically sourced ingredients and it was made in a factory where the workers there were paid fair wages.

Christmas Bazaar, November 4, 2017

After spending an hour or so shopping at the Christmas Bazaar I decided to head over to a different Catholic church for lunch that was located a few towns over from the other one. The main difference between the two churches is that St. Hugh of Grenoble is a Roman Catholic church while the other is an Eastern Orthodox church. St. Gregory of Nyssa Byzantine Catholic Church in Beltsville, Maryland was the setting for that church’s annual Slavic Festival, which focuses on all kinds of homemade Slavic food. Here’s a photo of the front of the church building.

Slavic Festival, Beltsville, Maryland, November 4, 2017

As I was walking to the entrance to the Slavic Festival, I couldn’t help but notice the church’s charming gazebo that is located near that entrance.

Slavic Festival, Beltsville, Maryland, November 4, 2017

That Slavic Festival was very well-attended for a good reason: The food is excellent. I purchased the Sampler Platter for lunch, which included holupki (cabbage stuffed with beef and pork in a tomato sauce), kolbasi (homemade smoked sausage), pirohi (pirogi), haluski (dumplings with chopped onions and cabbage), and sauerkraut. It was all so delicious.

Slavic Festival, Beltsville, Maryland, November 4, 2017

Slavic Festival, Beltsville, Maryland, November 4, 2017

The Slavic Festival took place in a large room that was off to the side from the room where weekly Sunday worship takes place. That room had all kinds of appropriate fall decorations including pumpkins and autumn leaves in shades of red, yellow, and orange.

Slavic Festival, Beltsville, Maryland, November 4, 2017

Slavic Festival, Beltsville, Maryland, November 4, 2017

Slavic Festival, Beltsville, Maryland, November 4, 2017

The room where the weekly religious services takes place was open for visitors to take a look. I took the majority of the pictures in that room because there was all kinds of interesting Eastern Orthodox Christian art everywhere.

Slavic Festival, Beltsville, Maryland, November 4, 2017

Slavic Festival, Beltsville, Maryland, November 4, 2017

Slavic Festival, Beltsville, Maryland, November 4, 2017

Slavic Festival, Beltsville, Maryland, November 4, 2017

Slavic Festival, Beltsville, Maryland, November 4, 2017

Slavic Festival, Beltsville, Maryland, November 4, 2017

Slavic Festival, Beltsville, Maryland, November 4, 2017

Slavic Festival, Beltsville, Maryland, November 4, 2017

Slavic Festival, Beltsville, Maryland, November 4, 2017

Slavic Festival, Beltsville, Maryland, November 4, 2017

Slavic Festival, Beltsville, Maryland, November 4, 2017

Slavic Festival, Beltsville, Maryland, November 4, 2017

Slavic Festival, Beltsville, Maryland, November 4, 2017

Slavic Festival, Beltsville, Maryland, November 4, 2017

Slavic Festival, Beltsville, Maryland, November 4, 2017

A church member was around to provide information about the church facilities. The one thing I learned is that this church was originally founded by immigrants from Czechoslovakia, which I found quite fascinating for personal reasons. One of my ancestors came from that same country (back when it was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire) but he was an ethnic Czech while the people who founded St. Gregory were Slovaks. Czechoslovakia has since split further into two separate nations. My ancestor came from the state of Bohemia, which is one of the two areas known as the Czech lands (the other is Moravia), and that state is now in the Czech Republic. The other nation is Slovakia, where the Slovaks live.

Another cool thing about the Slavic Festival is that they also offered takeout food that could be frozen and eaten later. I purchased a bunch of carry-out home cooked meals to put in my freezer. I’ve defrosted and eaten a few of those meals since that day but, as of this writing, I still have some Slavic food in my freezer just waiting for me to defrost, heat, and eat. It’s nice to eat a special home cooked meal made from scratch where I don’t have to do any of the making.

In addition to checking out the two different events at two different churches, I did one other activity that day. After I left the Slavic Festival I went to nearby Laurel where I visited Dinosaur Park, which I’ll write about in my next blog post.

I really did a lot of things on the weekend before Halloween. Friday I went to the Final Friday Art Walk in Hyattsville then I went over to catch the tail end of the nearby Greenbelt Pumpkin Festival. While I was sitting in the New Deal Cafe recharging my camera battery, I had someone, whom I’ve done some work for on an upcoming documentary focusing on the musical acts who have appeared at the New Deal Cafe during the cafe’s 22 years in existence, contact me suddenly via Facebook Messenger saying that he needed me to shoot some more footage for his documentary. One of the acts, The Mojo Priests were performing that very night while the other act, The Wild Anacostias, were performing the following night.

I managed to film The Mojo Priests on a partially-charged camera battery. (That director was only lucky that I happened to be at the New Deal that night when he made that last-minute Facebook Message asking me to film that band. If I had been elsewhere like in DC or Baltimore or Montgomery County or Northern Virginia, there would’ve been no way I could’ve been done this on an extremely short notice.) As for the Wild Anacostias, I couldn’t stay for the entire concert mainly because I needed to be at church the following morning so I had to go to bed at a reasonable hour so I could wake up early the next day.

That afternoon I went to Annapolis to check out a few Halloween-related events. I managed to squeeze in the Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk in the early evening mainly because the Wild Anacostias weren’t due to start performing until after 8:30 p.m.

After I finished the Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, I headed straight to the New Deal Cafe where I shot some footage of the Wild Anacostias. Here is a Halloween costume fashion show, where the band encouraged audience members to take to the stage where they were showing off their Halloween costumes.

Here’s the band performing the song “I Got a Spell on You.”

The band performs the song “It’s Your Voodoo Working.”

Here’s the band performing “Fortune Teller.”

And, last but not least, here’s the band performing “Spooky.”

Like I wrote earlier, I couldn’t stay for the entire show due to church the next morning but I hope that he’s happy with what I shot. My friend is working on a documentary that’s supposed to feature all kinds of performances at the New Deal Cafe over the cafe’s 22 years in existence. He’s gathered older videos that I shot as well as what others have shot as well. For the past few months he wanted new footage of the latest acts and he’s also filming interviews with people who have either worked at the cafe or performed there. I know that there’s a certain wisdom in always having more footage than what you’ll really need so you won’t be short-handed when it comes to the final editing. But the challenge is to make sure that you don’t go overboard on this or else you can easily end up with a documentary running three hours or more that very few people will want to sit through because it’s too long.

In any case, after this post, I’m going to revert to my previous policy of not talking about ongoing work I do for others until after a project is done. If and when this documentary gets released, I will let you know in this blog.

The Saturday before Halloween was definitely jam-packed for me. In the afternoon I went to Annapolis to check out a few things. The night before I promised someone that I would film a portion of a performance at the New Deal Cafe that was happening a few hours after I returned from Annapolis. That performance was scheduled to begin until later in the evening. Earlier that evening there was the annual Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk through the woods. I decided that I could squeeze it in before the performance at the New Deal Cafe.

I’ve gone on that walk other years (in 2012, 2014, 2015, and 2016) but I have gotten very few decent photos from the walk itself. This year I purchased a used Canon digital camera from eBay that has special low light settings so I decided to use it on the pumpkin walk in an effort to take pictures in the dark woods. I have to say that I have gotten the best photos ever from that Canon camera. Here are the photos I managed to shoot successfully.

Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, October 28, 2017

Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, October 28, 2017

Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, October 28, 2017

Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, October 28, 2017

Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, October 28, 2017

The wooded path has fallen tree logs and exposed roots that can make this path a challenge to walk on at times, which is why I always carry a hiking stick and a flashlight with me when I go on that pumpkin walk.

Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, October 28, 2017

Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, October 28, 2017

Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, October 28, 2017

Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, October 28, 2017

Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, October 28, 2017

Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, October 28, 2017

Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, October 28, 2017

Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, October 28, 2017

Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, October 28, 2017

Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, October 28, 2017

Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, October 28, 2017

Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, October 28, 2017

Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, October 28, 2017

Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, October 28, 2017

Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, October 28, 2017

Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, October 28, 2017

I encountered a ghoul on the walk holding one of the jack o’lanterns.

Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, October 28, 2017

Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, October 28, 2017

Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, October 28, 2017

You can’t get more self-referential than a headless horseman carved on the side of a pumpkin. (LOL!)

Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, October 28, 2017

Here’s a pumpkin for Minecraft fans.

Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, October 28, 2017

Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, October 28, 2017

Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, October 28, 2017

Here’s a little bit of humor.

Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, October 28, 2017

Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, October 28, 2017

The legendary Goat Man greeted walkers on the wooded path.

Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, October 28, 2017

Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, October 28, 2017

The Halloween fairies greeted visitors as well.

Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, October 28, 2017

Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, October 28, 2017

Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, October 28, 2017

Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, October 28, 2017

Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, October 28, 2017

Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, October 28, 2017

Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, October 28, 2017

Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, October 28, 2017

Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, October 28, 2017

Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, October 28, 2017

The next pumpkin references the upcoming Greenbelt municipal election, which was held soon after the Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk.

Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, October 28, 2017

Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, October 28, 2017

Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, October 28, 2017

Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, October 28, 2017

Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, October 28, 2017

Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, October 28, 2017

Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, October 28, 2017

Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, October 28, 2017

Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, October 28, 2017

Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, October 28, 2017

Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, October 28, 2017

Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, October 28, 2017

Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, October 28, 2017

Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, October 28, 2017

Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, October 28, 2017

Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, October 28, 2017

Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, October 28, 2017

Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, October 28, 2017

Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, October 28, 2017

Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, October 28, 2017

Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, October 28, 2017

I have to say that this year was the best year I ever had picture-wise. Other years I would’ve been lucky to get at least 10 photos to turn out well but to have the vast majority turn out well really thrilled me. Having the right camera for the job makes all the difference in the world.

On the Friday before Halloween I wanted to have fun. I found out that there were two events happening on the same night. One was the Final Friday Art Walk in Hyattsville and the other was the Greenbelt Pumpkin Festival. I decided to go to the Hyattsville one first since that one was scheduled to end earlier. Costumes were encouraged for all ages so I put on my Rainbow Dash hoodie. When I arrived in Hyattsville I decided to check my smartphone to see if my camera was even working and—to my surprise—I found that it was working. I decided to use that opportunity to take a rare selfie.

A Rare Selfie

Sadly my smartphone camera stopped working after that selfie. At least I have my Canon camera with me to continue taking photographs with. The only bad thing was that I discovered that I didn’t have much battery power left. I managed to take a few pictures nonetheless.

The entire Art Walk trail was marked by orange balloons, such as the one in the next photograph.

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

I first went to the horn sculpture that is located outside the Hyattsville Court House.

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

Next I went to Art Works Now, which was all decked out for Halloween.

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

Art Works Now had this hands-on demonstration in a type of printing process using acrylic paint and glass plates.

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

Here is what I created.

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

I briefly visited this new place known as Uzu, which provides Japanese comfort food. (No, I didn’t eat there.)

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

I went to the Artist & Craftsman Supply store, which had a special art exhibit done by the store’s employees.

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

I visited Tanglewood Works, which held a meade tasting by a local supplier who plans to set up shop in Hyattsville soon.

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

A marching band was playing music as it walked along the sidewalk.

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

I went inside this haunted house that was created using upcycled and recycled materials.

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

I went inside this place that housed a recording studio and a tattoo parlor.

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

The last place I went to on the Final Friday Art Walk was to the Pyramid Atlantic Art Center. By that point my camera battery had died and the art walk was going to officially end soon. So I took these last two pictures before I got back in my car and headed for the other event.

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

I headed to the Greenbelt Pumpkin Festival, where people were still carving pumpkins. I pulled out my camera in the hopes of being able to get one picture and, miraculously, I managed to take this picture of a pumpkin carving in progress.

Greenbelt Pumpkin Festival, October 27, 2017

But then my camera totally died. I tried my smartphone camera since it had worked earlier only to find that it wasn’t working either. I decided to duck inside the New Deal Cafe and make an effort to recharge my battery for a few minutes before I would go back outside and take more pictures of the lit pumpkins. I rested for a few minutes when I suddenly got this urgent Facebook Message from someone whom I’ve been doing some recent video work for.

On that note, I’m going to violate my own personal policy of never writing in this blog about ongoing projects I do for other people until after the project in question is done because I can’t really go any further in this narrative unless I write a little about this project. Here’s the thing. The New Deal Cafe is a non-profit cooperatively-run eating establishment that’s located in Greenbelt, Maryland. (You can read more about it here and here.) Ever since its inception it has hosted live music (mostly from local bands). The performers don’t get paid by the cafe (mainly because it’s totally run on a very shoestring budget) but the cafe provides tip jars and that is how the musicians make any money. From time to time I’ve shot videos there of various acts over the years, all of which I’ve uploaded on to YouTube and embedded in various posts throughout the seven years that this blog has existed.

A few months ago this filmmaker whom I’ve known for a few years came up with this idea of doing a documentary featuring the various music acts who have played at the cafe over the 22 years that the cafe has existed. He found out that I had been shooting some video and wanted to use what I’ve got. I gave him the video footage that I have on my laptop (and it’s also the same footage that I’ve uploaded on to YouTube) and he has been contacting other people who have also shot videos in an effort to obtain their footage as well. He also planned on interviewing various people to get their recollections of what it’s like to see these bands or work with them or even play in those bands.

Despite the video footage he received from myself and others and his plans to interview people, he still wanted new footage of recent band performances and he asked for my help in filming. Fortunately I had recently purchased a used Canon digital camera off eBay so I had a more reliable camera than my nearly four-year-old smartphone camera, which only sporadically works these days.

So I shot some recent footage of various bands over the past several weeks, which is why you’ve been seeing more embedded footage of what I’ve shot at the New Deal Cafe lately.

So I was sitting in the New Deal Cafe waiting for my camera battery to recharge so I could shoot still photos of the Greenbelt Pumpkin Festival when this filmmaker came over on Facebook Messenger. He decided at the last minute that he urgently needed new footage for two bands—one that was scheduled to perform that very night I happened to be at the New Deal Cafe while getting his message. The other would be scheduled to perform the following night. He couldn’t be there for either band but he desperately wanted some footage of both bands. I told him that I was recharging my camera battery and I could try to record that night’s band but I couldn’t guarantee anything. (I had never tried shooting anything on a half-charged battery before.) He got me to agree to shoot both that night’s band and the other band the following night, even though I can’t stay too late most Saturday nights these days. (That’s because I not only attend church on Sunday mornings at 10 a.m. but I’m currently volunteering with the church’s program of teaching English to recent immigrants and those classes run from 1:15-3:15 p.m. On top of it, that Sunday was the Sunday before Halloween and I was among the adults who were involved with the Trunk or Treat event that was scheduled to run between the end of Sunday service and the beginning of English classes.)

By the time I got away from Facebook Messenger, I put the battery back into my camera and darted outside to see the lit pumpkins only to find that volunteers had already taken them away. Yeah, it sucked but I’ve shot photos and videos of previous Greenbelt Pumpkin Festivals so it’s not like I don’t know what such an event is like. I went back inside the New Deal Cafe and I managed to film one of the bands in question, The Mojo Priests. I didn’t film for too long because I only had a half-charged battery. But I managed to film some footage of the band in action.

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