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American Flag

Let’s take a moment to remember the sacrifices our armed troops have made for this country on this Veterans Day holiday.

Now let’s go on to the links for this week.

A U.S. military veteran speaks out on the issue of whether NFL players should be allowed to take a knee or be required to stand during the playing of the national anthem.

NFL players never used to stand for the national anthem before 2009, when the NFL switched it as a marketing strategy to make the athletes look more patriotic.

Here are some ways people disrespect the flag daily based on flag code.

Niger is the perfect example of the US state of perma-war.

How Twitter killed the First Amendment.

Sorry, but Haribo gummies are reportedly made with slave labor.

Interesting and colorful paintings made with controlled pours.

Artist shows how people in other professions react when asked for free stuff.

How to be an artist, according to Bauhaus master Josef Albers.

Artists who caught companies and fake artists shamelessly copyright their work and selling it.

White people commit the most heinous crimes, so why is America terrified of black men?

11th-century herbal remedy guide now digitized and online.

Wall Street got a bailout, why not Puerto Rico?

One man’s hobby is to Photoshop himself into various celebrity photos in a hilarious way.

Facing poverty, adjunct professors in America turn to sex work and sleeping in cars.

How to master color theory.

Trumpism run amok: How Alabama’s GOP runoff explains the brave new world.

Profile of an American city where the government barely exists.

Is this the end of the job as we know it?

Ta-Nehisi Coates explains why America should have seen Trump coming.

Leonardo da Vinci’s bizarre caricatures and monster drawings.

Hurricane Maria started in 1898: how America spent more than a century brutalizing Puerto Rico.

The United Nations says that robots could destabilize the world through war and unemployment.

How many Palm Beach mansions does a Wall Street tycoon need? As many as destroying America’s hometown newspapers can buy him.

Smithsonian digitizes and lets you download 40,000 works of Asian and American art for free.

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I was in Dupont Circle recently to check out the DC chapter of Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School (which I’ll get to in a later entry). I was still suffering the effects of this nasty cold I got but I managed to do some walking around the area both before and after Dr. Sketchy’s.

First I stopped off at Krispy Kreme, where I purchased this Halloween-themed donut.

I checked out Fantom Comics, where I noticed some new additions to its mural in the stairwell leading to the store’s second floor location.

I also saw some posters that are decrying the blatant Islamophobia and racism that has occurred over the last few months ever since Donald Trump was sworn-in as president. It’s nice seeing more and more stores in DC openly defying the Trump Administration’s racist-based policies.

I purchased a new graphic novel volume of The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl then headed off to The Bier Baron, where Dr. Sketchy’s took place. Afterwards I was in the restroom when I saw something humorous posted on the stall and I attempted to pull out my camera to take a picture only to find that I had lost it. I totally freaked out because I had just purchased that camera on eBay recently and it would suck if I had lost it so soon. I had to do some serious backtracking starting with the table I sat at while Dr. Sketchy’s was going on. The camera wasn’t there. Then I went back to Fantom Comics only to find that I had left my camera there. I was totally relieved because it would’ve really sucked if I had lost it so soon after buying it. Granted I had purchased it used but I paid $80 for it and it would’ve really been bad to lose something this expensive.

As I was walking back to the Metro I noticed seeing homeless people all over the place. Granted homelessness has been a problem since Ronald Reagan got into office and all the mental hospitals closed along with fewer affordable housing being built but it seems like it’s getting worse in recent years.

I would like nothing more than to have a complete reversal of the government away from the policies of the last 40 years and towards a more progressive one that makes providing homes for everybody as well as other social programs (such as jobs retraining program for unemployed and underemployed adults) a top priority.

When I was waiting to switch trains at the Gallery Place-Chinatown Metro station I saw this woman sitting on the ground playing her guitar and singing loudly while other people around her were ignoring her and pretending that she wasn’t even there. It was such a surreal thing to see that I shot this short video for a minute until my own train arrived and I had to quit filming so I wouldn’t miss it.

Uber can’t be fixed—it’s time for regulators to shut it down.

A new book examines how the upper-middle class has enriched itself and harmed economic mobility.

The rise of the 21st century Victorians.

Brooklyn’s famous Green Lady explains her lifelong devotion to the color green.

The far-out sci-fi costume parties of the Bauhaus school in the 1920s.

It’s the end of the shopping mall as we know it.

How to deal with a 4Chan troll. There is some information that’s useful for anyone who’s dealing with any kind of online troll regardless of whether it involves politics or not.

Low-income workers who live in RVs are being chased out of Silicon Valley streets.

Feminist publication makes history by appointing black trans woman as editor-in-chief.

The sketchbook of drawings done in ballpoint pen by Nicolas V. Sanchez.

A look at the female pioneers of the Bauhaus art movement.

The fight for health care is really all about civil rights.

23 ways to treat yourself without buying or eating anything.

Glow-in-the-dark “toonie” coins celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary.

These bosses share the worst interviews they’ve ever seen and the results are stunning.

Browse a collection of over 83,500 vintage sewing patterns.

Bid on old computers, speakers, radios, and other junk from the bowels of RadioShack.

This transgender doll is making huge strides in teaching children about gender roles.

She took on Tesla for discrimination. Now others are speaking up.

A new kind of tech job emphasizes skills, not a college degree.

Women in tech speak frankly on the culture of harassment.

Over decades of poverty, Detroit’s have fostered a resilient informal economy based on trust.

GoFraudMe is a blog that exposes fake GoFundMe campaigns.

Rural America is the new “inner city.”

3 ways to be seen as a leader in your field.

Artist repaints mass-produced dolls to make them look realistic and the result is amazing.

Every Sega game ever made is coming to iOS and Android for free.

Edvard Munch’s famous Scream painting animated to Pink Floyd music.

Despite serving time in a Russian prison under Vladimir Putin, a member of the punk rock group Pussy Riot is still defiant.

This 106-year-old cooking show host is YouTube’s oldest creator.

I headed to Dupont Circle to check out Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School at the Bier Baron in Washington, DC. Usually I would get to Dupont Circle by taking the Green Line Metro from the Greenbelt station, transfer to the Red Line at the Fort Totten station then taking that train the rest of the way to the Dupont Circle station. This particular Sunday the Greenbelt station was closed because Metro was doing this month-long Safe Track work and it was offering shuttle buses as a substitute.

Rather than dealing with shuttle buses, I decided to go from Sunday service at my church and drive to the Silver Spring Metro station because it’s on the Red Line (plus I wouldn’t have to do any transfers). It also gave me an opportunity to take a few photographs of this charming penguin mural that was recently erected outside the station.

A homeless person’s belongings sit across from the penguins wall mural.

Once I arrived in downtown Washington, DC I saw this dog sticking its head outside the window of a car that was driving through Dupont Circle.

Here’s a welcoming sign that was posted in the window of Second Story Books.

The next few photos show the window display at 1 West Dupont Circle Wines & Liquors, including Absolute Vodka in a rainbow bottle and a few skull-shaped decanters.

I found this interesting relief outside one of the buildings in Dupont Circle.

I eventually made my way to the Bier Baron where Dr. Sketchy’s was held. The model for this event was a burlesque performer named Candy del Rio. Some of the drawings in this post are definitely NSFW.

There was only one contest during this event, which I took part in. The theme was science (in a nod to the March For Science, which was held in Washington, DC the day before.) I decided to go for science fiction and incorporate the movie Jurassic Park and dinosaurs.

I won that contest and my prize was a drink of my choice from the bar. I chose a hard cider that made me a bit loopy. (Fortunately I had taken the Metro so I was pretty much sober by the time I reached my car at the Silver Spring Metro station.)

I did a couple more drawings of Candy del Rio before the event ended.

I took a few more photographs after I left Dr. Sketchy’s and the Bier Baron starting with this window display.

I really love this building with the red brick. This one houses the Portuguese Embassy.

I’ll end this post with yet another dog sticking its head outside the window of a car.

Turn your smartphone into a hologram projector using everyday items.

Tips on how to use emojis correctly and in a professional way as part of your marketing campaign.

Is American retail at a historic tipping point?

Artist crafts classic Stephen King-style book covers for classic songs.

3D printing replicates body parts.

Japan’s largest anime store opens up to international shoppers, but there’s a catch.

Eight things no one tells you before you become a YouTube sensation.

Apple’s most powerful computer in years will be in stores by Christmas.

Facebook releases several new open source tools for video and virtual reality.

How one writer became disappointed by Patreon.

Twitter has a serious problem with bots.

The truth about succeeding in business with your husband.

3D printed cars are the future. But are they safe?

Is multimedia journalism the way forward?

Streamers flock to YouTube Live, but the money (and crowd) is still at Twitch.

Find out if a robot will take your job.

Too many dolls: Is American Girl overextending itself?

PBS travel guru Rick Stevens sacrifices $4 million nest egg to house dozens of homeless women and kids.

Why photography is such a difficult business to get into.

You can now 3D print a tiny pretzel made of glass.

You can now live stream to YouTube from your phone if you have at least 1,000 subscribers.

Microsoft lets users access accounts without passwords.

Robots will soon become our children’s tutors. Here’s why that’s a good thing.

How Android smartphone users can stop Google from tracking your every move with its Google Timeline feature.

Nazi-looted art claim sets new test for Germany.

L.O.L. Surprise is the top selling doll for the past five months with over 2.5 million sold.

Adult animation brings more approachable culture to traditional TV.

How YouTube’s shifting algorithms hurt independent media.

Woman makes spectacular PowerPoint presentation persuading man to date her.

Software audit highlights major security weakness across all open source software.

How to make your kid’s art last forever without cluttering up your home.

The controversial My Friend Cayla doll have been banned in Germany. Parents must either destroy their child’s doll or face a fine of roughly $26,500 and two years in prison.

For animators looking to get into video games, there is a growing community just for them.

Where YouTube went wrong.

Six things you should never store on your work computer.

Why open source pharma is the path to both new and cheaper medicines.

New tools makes 3D printed objects look less 3D printed.

How the sudden unexpected fame of the 13-year-old Cash Me Outside How Bow Dah Girl has highlighted the double standard between the way that white teens and teens of other races are treated.

A World War II era photographer in Poland documenting the Lodz Ghetto buried his negatives in 1944 in an effort to preserve his work. After the war he returned to the burial site and and found that more than half of the original 6,000 negatives remained intact.

Viddyoze is a fully automated video animation that allows marketers to create magnificent animations in just a few clicks.

Microsoft’s Top 10 grammar mistakes made in Word and Outlook.

This Lego-compatible tape will turn anything into a Lego-friendly surface.

This self-taught Polish embroiderer’s 3D embroidery creations using polymer clay are one-of-a-kind.

Open source prototype turns any room into a 3D printer.

YouTube takes on Facebook with real-time video sharing app Uptime.

The best free PowerPoint alternatives in 2017.

Just as liberals will go into political correctness, conservative extremists will delve into patriotic correctness.

Retirees knit small sweaters to keep chickens warm and cozy in cold weather.

Adobe’s plan to reinvent itself for the era of AI and VR.

More millennial dads watch parenting videos on YouTube than moms.

Experts say that psychopathic CEOs, enabled by protective investors and weak human resources departments, are rife in Silicon Valley.

Texas woman uses plastic bags to crochet sleeping mats for the homeless.

How the AxiDraw is designed to make handwriting obsolete.

Sixteen months later, YouTube Music is still a missed opportunity.

Uber’s “hustle-oriented” culture becomes a black mark on employees’ resumes.

How to get started with drone photography.

Can Japan make anime great again?

How (and when) to use Microsoft Word footnotes and endnotes.

A New York Times article about the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, which specializes in art from outsider and self-taught artists.

Martin Luther King Day

Here’s something that I wanted to write about ever since I witnessed something that I saw on my birthday last month. I decided to finally post this on Martin Luther King Day mainly because one frequently overlooked aspect of MLK’s civil rights movement is that he not only called for an end to racism and segregation but he also fought for economic justice as well. He frequently gave caustic, biting, and radical critiques of American society and politics. In fact, when he was shot to death in Memphis he was there to help out with a sanitation workers strike that was going on at the time. Here is what he had to say about economic justice.

Had Martin Luther King’s vision of economic justice become a reality, I’m sure that I would not have encountered this incident in Baltimore in the first place.

Last month I celebrated my birthday by going to Baltimore where I went to Harborplace and Christmas Village. On that day the Polar Vortex had hit the area and temperatures were barely above freezing in the daytime while temperatures totally plummeted at night to as low as 18 degrees Fahrenheit. I decided to go anyway despite the cold because it was my birthday and I wanted to do something fun. When I was walking back to the Camden Yards Light Rail station, I was passing the Baltimore Convention Center where I saw this person lying under a white blanket outside the Convention Center’s doors.

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Given the freezing temperatures I felt that this guy shouldn’t even be outside. The challenge is that I didn’t know whom to call right off. I haven’t lived in Baltimore City since I was five years old and I currently live closer to DC than Baltimore. I didn’t know what homeless organizations were active in Baltimore. So I took out my smartphone and took the above picture then frantically did a Google search for any homeless organizations who could get this man off of the streets.

I texted the photo to a couple of organizations while indicating where the person was located. For added measure I texted the photo to the Baltimore Police Department. I even uploaded this photo on my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts urging people to forward this to anyone who could help bring this person in from the cold. I don’t know if my efforts helped or not other than the fact that for the next few days I did a Google search for any recent homeless deaths in Baltimore outside the Baltimore Convention Center only to turn up empty-handed. I guess this person somehow survived the Polar Vortex but I’ll never know for sure.

I was originally raised Roman Catholic and throughout my Catholic girl years I heard the parable about the Good Samaritan numerous times. The indication is that all good Christians should be Good Samaritans for the less fortunate and there’s no excuse for not helping others. The reality of trying to be a Good Samaritan is far more complex than my CCD education ever indicated. For one thing, you’ll never know whether you were even effective in getting help for that person. For all I know there might have been a different homeless organization who could’ve sent a car or van immediately and picked up this person and I somehow missed that information in my Google search. Or maybe a homeless organization or the police did pick that person up but never notified me that this had happened. On top of it, it’s very hard to get help for someone when you don’t even live in the area because you don’t know immediately where to turn.

I hope the person in that photo turned out okay but I’ll never know for sure.

Santa Claus

 

 

 

 

Last year I planned on going to Baltimore to celebrate my birthday at Christmas Village in Baltimore. I had to scuttle those plans because my birthday fell on a Tuesday and it turns out that the place was closed on certain Tuesdays including my birthday. (I ended up going to Tyson’s Corner instead and I still had fun last year.)

This year my birthday fell on a Thursday so I decided to go to Baltimore, just like I planned last year. I was determined to go there despite the fact that the Polar Vortex had just arrived in my area so the temperatures plunged to below freezing. (I basically wore a heavy winter coat and a hat so I was able to brave the deep freeze.)

On the way to Baltimore I stopped off at a local Jo-Ann’s Fabrics & Crafts store to check out the recent sales. I found a bundled pair of slipper socks. The original price was $9.99, which would’ve been a decent price for two pairs of thick socks. But they were on sale for half-price, which meant that I paid $5 for the bundle (or $2.50 per pair).

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I took the light rail into the city. I initially went by Harborplace where I saw this ice skating rink.

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Since my last visit to Harborplace, I found that the store It’s Sugar had moved from one pavilion to another. (It is now located next to the Ripley’s Believe It or Not Odditorium.)

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I purchased a few things for myself on my birthday. Here is this cute gingerbread man cookie I bought.

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I purchased this Pez dispenser featuring Badtz-Maru, one of Hello Kitty’s friends.

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I bought myself this Guinness Luxury Dark Chocolate Truffle Bar. It was very delicious.

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I took a few photos of other items in that store but I didn’t buy any of them.

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After my visit to Harborplace I took a couple of photos of the Inner Harbor area at sunset.

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I eventually made my way to the Christmas Village in Baltimore.

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I’ve been there other years (see the photos I took in 2013, 2014, and 2015). Some of the same vendors were there this year while there were others whom I had never seen before. I also saw some empty booths but I had no idea if fewer vendors signed up or if it was because I came on a Thursday night and some of the missing vendors only worked on the weekends. I had been looking forward to eating some bratwurst with sauerkraut for dinner followed by a Belgian waffle topped with hot fudge and whipped cream for dessert. Unfortunately the waffle place wasn’t there this year, which was a big disappointment. The German food booth was still there so at least I was still able to eat the bratwurst and sauerbraten platter.

I purchased only one item. It was a pack of incense that I got from the large Käthe Wohlfahrt booth that was located at one end of the main tent. I’ve been lighting the incense each night since then so my home can smell like Christmas. (LOL!)

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On my way back to the light rail stop, I saw this homeless person laying down under a thin blanket outside the Baltimore Convention Center. Usually I wouldn’t pay this person much notice other than the fact that the Polar Vortex had arrived and the temperatures were forecasted to dip under 20 degrees Fahrenheit over night. (The following morning my AccuWeather app on my smartphone registered 18 degrees Fahrenheit.) I felt that this person should really be indoors but I didn’t know where to turn since I live 30 miles south of Baltimore.

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I took the above picture and frantically did Google searches on my smartphone for homeless organizations in Baltimore. I texted the photo to a couple of organizations while indicating where the person was located. For added measure I texted the photo to the Baltimore Police Department. I even uploaded this photo on my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts using people to forward this to anyone who could help bring this person in from the cold. I don’t know if my efforts helped or not other than the fact that for the next few days I did a Google search for any recent homeless deaths in Baltimore outside the Baltimore Convention Center only to turn up empty-handed. I guess this person somehow survived the Polar Vortex but I’ll never know for sure.

Once I reached the North Linthicum Light Rail Station (where my car was parked) I drove over to Glen Burnie. Last year I found out about this overdecorated house on Delmar Avenue and I saw it for the first time on Christmas Eve. This year I decided to check it out again and, yes, it is still just as heavily decorated as it was last year.

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The only difference I could tell between this year and last year is the next-door neighbor’s lighted sign that said “DITTO” with an arrow pointed to the other house. (That neighbor’s house didn’t have any outdoor lights at all other than that “DITTO” sign.)

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By the way the house on Delmar Avenue has its own Facebook page that you can view to get the latest news and photos about that house.

Last year I shot a bunch of still photos of that house. This year I decided to shoot a video so you can get a sense of the flashing lights (including an animated laser display that’s shown on the garage door) and the constant Christmas music.

I headed home after visiting that house so that was it for celebrating my birthday in Baltimore and Glen Burnie.

The day before I got an email from out of the blue from an employment agency in Baltimore saying that one of the recruiters had seen my resume that I posted on indeed.com and she felt that I would be qualified for a position right in the heart of downtown Baltimore. It would’ve involved administrative work but at least it would be located near the tourist area and it would’ve served as a decent day job so I could pay the bills while spending my free time on my arts and crafts.

I initially expressed reservation because I would be commuting from outside Washington, DC into Baltimore and the recruiter countered with her claim that she has an employee who lives in College Park and she takes the MARC train into Baltimore so commuting would be no problem at all. The recruiter really wanted me to show up in person so I agreed.

Except after I arrived, went through the effort to fill out an application form, took a computerized test to see how capable I was at simple math problems and English grammar, and spoke with the recruiter in person, she told me that the client was located in the lower level of same building as the employment agency. She also admitted that she told the client that she would send a list of the 10 candidates (including myself) to the client and the client would select three finalists to interview himself. Basically the employment agency would call me two days later if I made it among the three finalists.

I’ll admit I was pretty peeved because had I known that there was a 70% chance of not getting hired, I would have never made the long commute to Baltimore—especially since it was an administrative position with a company I had never heard of before. (Needless to say I never heard anything back from that employment agency.) The only solace is that it got me out of the house and it was a beautiful sunny autumn day. I managed to arrive in the Inner Harbor area about a couple of hours before my scheduled job interview. I arrived at Harborplace first. I thought about visiting that McCormick World of Flavors store. I visited that store the first time when I went to Baltimore back in 2013 just hours after my appearance in divorce court and I snapped this picture.

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I would browse that store every time I found myself at Harborplace, most recently back in June when I checked out a cosplay photoshoot then I walked around the rest of the city visiting various places including that McCormick World of Flavors store. Sadly I found out that the store is now history because I saw an empty storefront in its place.

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I later looked online and I found this Baltimore Sun article announcing that McCormick decided to close the store but it will still continue to sell its spices online. I’ll admit that I never purchased anything from that store partly because of finances and partly because most of the grocery stores in my area sell McCormick products and it’s just easier for me to purchase the spices locally.

The employment agency itself is located just a few blocks north of Harborplace with a Light Street address yet the building’s main entrance is located around the corner on Water Street. Light Street is your typical modern city street with a paved road, traffic lights, and rushing cars. But just walking around the corner on to Water Street I saw this little side street that is paved with cobblestones and the buildings are smaller than the taller high risers surrounding it. I felt like I had just stepped back in time into Baltimore circa 1870-1920.

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This street’s charm comes complete with a wine store known as The Happy Grape.

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Everything on this side street seemed so laid-back compared to Light Street just around the corner. People basically meandered around very leisurely. It was like time has slowed down to a crawl.

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Not everything about Water Street was so quaint. I saw this guy rifle through one of the dumpsters. (I suspect that he’s a homeless person who was probably looking for wasted food to eat.) Then, again, the Industrial Revolution had its share of social problems stemming from extreme income inequality not unlike today.

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One of the restaurants on Water Street, Supano’s Steak House, had these nice looking doors with painted murals devoted to Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin.

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If I wasn’t so cash poor these days, I would’ve treated myself to a light meal at that restaurant. Instead I walked towards Harborplace where I saw a sign that said that the McCormick & Schmick’s restaurant was having a happy hour special where shrimp only cost $1 each but one had to order at the bar in order to get that special price. I ordered five shrimps along with a diet soda. The bill came to $10 (including tip), which wasn’t too bad. There were also other menu items available at special happy hour prices but I had to watch my money really carefully because it would’ve been very easy to spend up to $25 even at happy hour prices. It brought back memories of the time that my then-husband and I went to that restaurant’s DC location with a bunch of friends of ours from our church and we all enjoyed ourselves. (Basically the food is very good but it’s also expensive, which was why I went for the happy hour shrimp in the first place.) The biggest downside of not getting that administrative job is that it was located within walking distance of that restaurant and I saw myself going there for the happy hour food at least once a week after work. I would’ve loved have tried the other happy hour menu items. Oh well.

I had a pretty eventful day full of travel, starting with a brief visit to my old school, which I wrote about in a previous post. Afterwards I drove further north until I ended up at the Station North Arts District. I arrived a bit early where I ate a cheap dinner at McDonald’s. (I originally planned on eating at the BAMF! Cafe only to find out that, for unknown reasons, the place decided to close earlier than usual on that day.) Afterwards I did some walking around the area taking pictures while dealing with the heat and humidity (a.k.a. the usual Mid-Atlantic Region summer weather). I shot this interesting looking wall mural that I hadn’t noticed before.

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The next two photos are of this billboard that constantly changes with new messages. (Someone writes a message, then it gets painted over with white paint only to have a new message get written on it.) The latest message asks “WHOEVER DIED FROM A ROUGH RIDE: THE WHOLE DAMN SYSTEM…” (obviously a reference to the death of Freddie Gray at the hands of the Baltimore police last year).

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A homeless man naps outside on the steps of an empty building that looks like it has just gotten new windows put in. (Notice the stickers on the windows.)

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The next few photos has all kinds of commentaries.

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I came upon this nice little park on St. Paul Street that has lovely colorful murals painted on the walls and on the sidewalk.

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I didn’t stay too long in that park because it was almost close to the start of Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School at The Wind-Up Space. The model for this session was a burlesque performer known as Whiskey Joy from Timeless Tease Productions. Some of the drawings I did are definitely NSFW.

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It was only after the event started that I realized that I was running out of paper in my sketchbook, which totally annoyed me because there is an art supply store located just a block away from The Wind Up Space and I forgot to go there to buy a new sketch pad while I was walking around that area. Ugh! I dealt with it by doing multiple drawings on the same page, such as the next two drawings below.

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I did one standalone drawing of Whiskey Joy.

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I took part in one contest that was held that evening. July 11 was Andy Warhol’s birthday and the challenge was to draw Whiskey Joy in the Andy Warhol style. I did this multipart drawing that was based on Warhol’s numerous portraits of Marilyn Monroe. I was only one of two people who attempted this (there were a lot of college students who were there that night—The Wind Up Space is located near the Maryland Institute College of Art—and Andy Warhol just doesn’t resonate with the younger generation). My drawing made it among the finalists by default but I lost to the other contestant.

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I did one last drawing of Whiskey Joy on the last clean sheet in my sketchbook before I left for home.

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