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Today’s prompt word for Inktober is “star.” For this drawing I decided to draw the same real-life person that I drew for Inktober last year.

She is a transgender person known as Madonna Girl Dale (although she also has been known as Kesha Girl Dale and Britney Girl Dale) who is such a big Madonna fan that she frequently dresses up like Madonna and prances down Maryland Route 2 between Baltimore, Brooklyn Park, and Glen Burnie. I’ve previously written at length about this person, which you can read in last year’s Inktober post. For this year’s Inktober drawing I drew her next to a poster featuring the circa 1984-1985 Madonna, which was around the time that she scored her first big hit with “Lucky Star” (which also nicely dovetails with today’s Inktober prompt word).

Recently she posed for some photos (link is NSFW) for an upcoming issue of DicE magazine which, based on what I saw on that magazine’s Instagram account, is primarily a motorcycle magazine with models posing sexy next to a motorbike. Not bad for someone who has spent so much of her life dancing to Madonna music along Maryland Route 2. If you want to learn more about Madonna Girl Dale, I suggest checking these links:

Meet Dale Crites (2011)

“Meet Dale Crites, a.k.a. BritneyGirl Dale,” The Baltimore Sun, November 22, 2013.

“Britney Girl Dale,” Uncustomary.org, March 24, 2015.

Filmmaker Dan Bell’s 2015 documentary Britney Girl Dale.

Filmmaker Dan Bell’s interview with radio station 98 Rock about his experiences with filming his documentary Britney Girl Dale.

Montage of Britney Girl Dale’s messages left on radio station 98 Rock’s voicemail in 2015.

Madonna Girl Dale (2015) Documentary Short/Baltimore’s Madonna Impersonator.

Madonna Girl Dale interview with The Maryland Crabs podcast, January 19, 2017.

“Britney Girl Dale/Madona Girl Dale/Dale Crites” thread on the Kiwi Farms forum.

Madonna Dale YouTube channel.

MadonnaGirlDale on Instagram

MadonnaPaulaAbdul4Ever on Instagram

MadonnaLoveDale on Twitter

Madonna Girl Dale on Facebook

Dale Crites LinkedIn page.

Dale Crites IMDb page.

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There’s a Greek Festival that’s held at a local Greek Orthodox Church in my area about twice a year. I’ve been going to that one for a number of years but I haven’t blogged about it until a couple of years ago. Since that 2016 post, I’ve gone back to that Greek Festival a few times but I haven’t taken any new pictures until earlier this month. So, without further ado, here are some new photos I shot at the Greek Festival that was held at St. Theodore Greek Orthodox Church in Lanham, Maryland earlier this month.

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Four years ago this video featuring a crying child named Abby went viral. She started crying because she had heard yet another ad on the radio urging voters to choose one of the candidates who were running and she grew tired of hearing such ads all the time.

Ironically the 2012 elections were tame compared to the hell that’s currently going on with this year’s elections. Tomorrow the Elections From Hell will be over. In some ways it will be a relief but in others it will lead to a divided nation that will take a long time to heal, thanks in large part to Donald Trump’s blatant maligning of everyone except for white Christian heterosexual men with no disabilities along with the DNC’s blatant siding with Hillary Clinton during the primaries at the expense of other candidates. (On a side note, I find myself wondering if the DNC was so enthralled with Hillary Clinton from the beginning, why did it even bother to run a state to state primary campaign in the first place? They could’ve just said “Hillary Clinton is our candidate—like it or lump it!” and saved taxpayer money on running the Democratic primaries.)

These days I only express my political opinions in this blog because social media has become such a toxic cesspool of political trolls trying to pick fights with people for the fun of it. Even then I try to keep those political opinions to the bare minimum because I didn’t create this blog for political opinions. (Besides there are so many political blogs out there—ranging from the alt right to far right to center right to center left to far left to socialists to communists to outright anarchy—that any political blog I write would probably get lost in the shuffle no matter how well written and well researched my posts are.)

These elections have had an effect on my life. Not only have I quit writing my political opinions on social media but, as I wrote before in this post, I have jointed the #DEMEXIT movement by re-registering as an independent because I’ve become so disgusted with the DNC shenanigans during the primaries. Thanks to reports that the Clinton campaign had hired professional trolls, I no longer trust anyone who writes pro-Hillary Clinton posts on social media because I automatically assume that they are getting paid to do so.

But that doesn’t mean I’ll support The Donald. He has become so odious and toxic that I would never vote for him even if his name was the only one on the ballot. Then again there are still those persistent rumors that he’s waging a fake campaign because he really wants to help his friend Hillary Clinton win as well as gain free publicity for this new venture called Trump TV that he plans to embark on after the elections. (Which shows that he is expecting to lose because, otherwise, why create a time consuming project that could potentially affect his ability to devote time to the duties of the Oval Office?)

These elections have turned into a freak show that’s more suited for an episode of The Jerry Springer Show than for something as serious as choosing a person who will become the leader of the United States of America for the next four years. When you have Donald Trump continuously spewing crazy stuff on a daily basis you know that things have gone wrong. But that’s not all, folks! Hillary Clinton enlisted Jennifer Lopez for her help at a rally and Lopez responded by doing a sexy gyration while wearing thongs. Clinton got on stage to speak after Lopez finished doing her thing. Madonna is also doing her thing to help Hillary Clinton by offering to perform oral sex on anyone who votes for Clinton.

What’s even more disgusting is that the media has not only played along with all of these shenanigans but it has even attempted to blatantly alter the elections as well. This headline says it all: This Election Has Disgraced the Entire Profession of Journalism. This sketch from last weekend’s Saturday Night Live have further driven the fact of how journalism has become an incredibly big joke in the United States and it has become a detriment to coverage of this year’s elections.

All of these shenanigans are enough for an average American voter to feel tempted to just not bother with voting. I have a better solution than that.

Instead of focusing on voting for president, let’s turn our attention to towards the down ballot elections. This year there are plenty of people running for the Senate and the House of Representatives. This is one of those years where we need to focus on these other races mainly because the Congress serves as a check and balance on the White House. With Donald Trump’s outright disdain for the Constitution and Hillary Clinton’s pro-fracking policies (and that’s not to mention that her running mate, Tim Kaine, favors the TPP) we desperately need a Congress that will stand up to the president no matter who will occupy the Oval Office.

As to who to vote for president, that’s a tricky question. Both of the major party candidates have issues. My solution is to vote for Jill Stein of the Green Party because I can’t stomach voting for either Clinton or Trump. I know it’s not an easy decision. If you’re leaning towards a third party candidate, you’ll be facing messages like this one from Keith Olbermann.

You’ll have people saying either “A vote for a third party is a vote for Donald Trump” or “A vote for a third party is a vote for Hillary Clinton” on the grounds that voting third party siphons votes away from the two major parties. That’s true to some extent but I think this automatic equation of voting third party equals voting for Trump or Clinton is total bullshit.

In reality voting for a candidate means that you’re voting for that candidate. A vote for Donald Trump is a vote for Donald Trump. A vote for Hillary Clinton is a vote for Hillary Clinton. A vote for Jill Stein is a vote for Jill Stein. A vote for the Libertarian Party’s Gary Johnson is a vote for Gary Johnson. A vote for any of the lesser-known third party candidates (such as Darrell Castle of the Constitution Party) is a vote for that candidate.

It’s stupid thinking that voting for Jill Stein or Gary Johnson is really a vote for Donald Trump because 1) they don’t have the exact same policy positions and 2) if I was a strong Donald Trump supporter, I would personally prefer voting directly for Trump just so I would feel pride in voting for the candidate whom I’m the most excited about instead of this “let’s vote for a third party candidate and hope the elections will swing to Trump despite wasting our vote on not voting directly for him.”

I know that voting third party isn’t going to lead to Jill Stein going to the White House. What I’m hoping is that if enough people vote for the Green Party so it’ll receive at least 5% of the votes, it will qualify for federal funding for the next elections so maybe the Greens can use that funding to build a grassroots movement that will eventually grow to a genuine party with enough power that it can win elections on the state and local levels and, one day, it’ll field candidates to Congress and the White House. It’s past time for the American voters to have more voting alternatives than just Democrats and Republicans. Other Western democracies have more than two parties and many of them have smaller populations than the U.S.

I would advise people to vote for the candidate whom they feel is best suited for the White House. If that choice happens to be a third party candidate, then vote third party. The only exception I would make is if you live in the key battleground states (Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Maine, New Hampshire, Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, Utah, Arizona, and Nevada) where the margins are very tight between Clinton and Trump, I would suggest holding your nose and voting for Clinton. That’s because a Trump presidency would be a major disaster for the U.S. and possibly the world. (Remember, this is the same man who has a history of multiple bankruptcies.)

In fact, there is a website called Trump Traders where people who live in solidly blue states (just like where I live) can trade votes with a person living in one of the aforementioned swing states. I’ve just signed up and I feel even better about voting for Jill Stein so the Greens can get the 5% needed and having my counterpart pull the lever for Hillary Clinton in order to keep Trump out of the White House.

As for me I live in a state (Maryland) that’s projected to go for Clinton so I have that luxury of choosing a third party candidate. If you live in a solid pro-Clinton or pro-Trump state then you have that luxury to do the same. Don’t let other people scare you into thinking that “a vote for a third part candidate is a vote for Clinton/Trump/the other side.”

I’m going to end what I hope to be my final political rant before the elections with this video of Kate Smith doing the definitive version of “God Bless America.”

Yesterday’s snowstorm + extreme cold weather definitely wasn’t fun for me. But I found out that some people tried to make the best of it. Last August I wrote about driving through Brooklyn, Maryland when I saw this man wearing a cowgirl outfit with a long blonde curly wig. Shortly afterwards, as I was watching YouTube videos about my hometown of Glen Burnie that I found out that this person was a performer known as Britney Girl Dale. Yesterday while I was snowed in, I found a video through Facebook showing Britney Girl Dale dancing to Madonna’s “Living For Love” outside in the snow in sub-freezing cold temperatures and even stripping down to a bikini top and a g-string while doing some pole dancing. You have to see this video for yourself.

I have to admit that Britney Girl Dale was either brave or crazy or both to do something like that. (LOL!)

Yesterday it was extremely cold (with temperatures sinking into the teens) and it was snowing a lot. Well what a difference a day makes. Today the temperature went into the 40’s this afternoon and the snow started to rapidly melt.

Church was canceled this morning because of the parking lot filled with snow so I took it easy around the house. As the temperature began to rise in the afternoon, I decided to take a fun car trip after being stuck in my home the day before.

I had heard about rivers and lakes freezing everywhere and there were a few photos of a frozen Niagara Falls that went viral on the Internet. I decided to drive to Sandy Point State Park near Annapolis to see how frozen the Chesapeake Bay got.

It has literally been years since I last went to Sandy Point. (I think it was the time that I went to a beer and wine festival with my then-husband.) I drove to the park, paid the $3 admission fee through the automated tollbooth, and drove around. I first encountered a gaggle of geese who decided to walk across the street.

The geese would alternate between walking one way then the next. It was like they couldn’t make up their minds where to go.

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They finally joined the larger flock on one side and I was able to move my car.

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That white house looked gorgeous. It looked like it could’ve been one of those old Southern plantations. There was a sign that said “Private Property” so I have no idea if someone actually lives in the park or if some of the park’s employees have offices there or what.

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I eventually made it to the beach. Here’s my first panoramic shot of the area.

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I attempted to walk to the water’s edge but I stupidly wore tennis shoes instead of snow boots because I was constantly stepping into puddles that resembled frozen ice. The next photo shows how deceptive the ground looked in that you think you were stepping on either ice or solid ground but you were really stepping in a deep puddle instead.

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Worse, I slipped and fell twice and I realized that I also should’ve packed a hiking stick as well. (Fortunately I wasn’t hurt.) Ultimately I decided against going any closer to the shoreline because I grew tired of stepping into deep puddles. So I took the bulk of the photos from a distance. The next photo shows a frozen Chesapeake Bay with the Bay Bridge.

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Here’s another vantage point of the frozen Chesapeake Bay with a buoy that is standing still among the ice.

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It looked like the Chesapeake Bay was frozen solid until I saw this large ship sailing through with no trouble at all.

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Here’s another scenic view of the area.

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At one point I decided to go to the nearby public restrooms because the building was located at the top of a small hill. I thought just going up a little higher might get me more nice shots. The bad part was that I was stepping through melted puddles on the way up that hill. I managed to get one shot before my cellphone began to emit the dreaded low battery warning. (Another stupid thing I did was that I forgot to pack my portable recharger.) I managed to get this shot before I decided to walk back to my car. (I also was feeling increasing uncomfortable walking around in squishy wet shoes and socks.)

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I took one last panoramic shot of the area before I left.

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As I was leaving I spotted a bird. I thought to myself “Could it be…?” I pulled my car off to the side of the road and watched the bird.

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Yes, my hunch proved correct. I saw my first robin of the year. Usually the return of the robins mean that spring is coming soon.

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God, I hope spring is coming soon. I’m so tired of the constant cold weather! I’m reading on the Internet that today’s weather was just a brief respite and more cold temperatures are going to arrive as early as tomorrow. I hope it’s wrong.

As I was leaving the park, I came across this interesting looking building that houses a store called the Ski Haus. The store was a few minutes away from closing for the day so I didn’t go inside. But I thought that the building looked cool enough to photograph.

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Late last night I posted online my experiences with the first day of Intervention Con. This post is about my second day, which not only had more people attend (compared to the previous day) but there were more things for me to do.

The weather outside that day was nothing but non-stop rain, which made me glad that I was at an indoor convention.

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Yesterday I started this crochet project during some downtime because I had thought about going to the Early Bird Stitch-n-Bitch that was scheduled for 9 a.m. on the second day. Except I didn’t make it because I overslept a little bit. I still brought my crochet project with me and I worked on it some more during downtimes. Of course I took some more photos, such as the next one of one of the official Intervention Con camera operators with his high-end equipment.

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

The major bummer about oversleeping is that I not only missed the Early-Bird Stitch-n-Bitch but I also missed half of the documentary Plastic Galaxy, which is a fascinating look at the Star Wars toys, the original Kenner employees responsible for creating them, and the collectors. I’m sorry that I missed the first half and I was too broke to buy the DVD that was on sale in the Dealers Room. I’ll try to catch it online at some point.

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

There were a few more cosplayers walking around but it seemed like the vast majority just wore casual clothes.

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

And here’s a rare online picture of me with a Doctor Who cosplayer that someone else volunteered to take with my smartphone camera.

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

At one point I ate the lunch that I brought with me then I attended a session on “Manga Studio 5: An Intro”. The leader of that panel was one of the leaders of the previous night’s panel on “Comics Rehab: Overcoming Creative Depression” that I attended and she promoted this one towards the end of the previous one. I decided to check it out because my potential future is in a constant state of flux and I wanted to know what software is out there. (I have a friend who’s practically an open source evangelist who frequently promotes the idea that open source applications are the solution to almost everything. I just wanted other opinions so I can think about things, which was why I attended the workshop.) Manga Studio 5 looks like a very interesting program even if it’s not open source. (The retail price is $50 but one can find that application online for far less.)

I stayed in the same room after that panel ended because I was interested in the panel following it which was titled “The ToonSeum and Creating a Museum Celebrating Your Passion!” It was given by an artist named Joe Wos who was the original founder of the ToonSeum, which is a museum dedicated to cartoons and comic books in Pittsburgh. I found his talk totally fascinating as he gave details about the challenges of trying to find space for such a museum and getting the funding in order to keep it in operation. I found his talk so interesting that I would definitely put the ToonSeum on my personal itinerary if I ever find myself in the Pittsburgh area again. (Come to think of it, I’ve been through Pittsburgh—usually when I was traveling to Ohio—but I’ve never actually stopped in that city. I need to rectify that one day.)

Joe Wos mentioned that his young daughter had her own table in the Artist’s Alley. I came across her table later, which had this amusing sign.

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

The sign convinced me enough to shell out $2 for one of her small drawings. I have to say that she has a lot of potential. 🙂

I spent time in the Dealers Room perusing the various items on sale.

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Here’s another shot of one of the two rooms that had video games available to play. I focused more on the vintage arcade games from the 1970’s and 1980’s (such as Super Mario Bros., Tron, and Wizard of Wor) than on the later console games.

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Walt’s Cards & Board Gaming Room, named after one of the sponsors who provided the games for this room, was full of games and players.

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

I had wanted to attend a panel on “Living the Dream: Planning a Sustainable Career.” I walked into an empty room that I thought that the panel was being held in. To pass time, I took out my crocheting and started to work on my latest project. Some guys came in and they started to talk about the joys and struggles of making a web series called Shotgun Mythos. It sounded really interesting even though it didn’t sound like the panel I had planned on attending. It wasn’t until about a half an hour into the presentation that I looked at my schedule and realized that I had walked in the wrong room! It was a workshop on “The ABCs of Creating a Web Series/Shotgun Mythos.” It was still an interesting workshop even though I had never heard of this web series before. (I should at least check out an episode online sometime in the future.)

I decided to head into another panel that I was interested in and, this time, I made sure that I found the right location before entering the room. Kelsey Wailes gave a demonstration on how she creates her Doctor Whooo owls. I took a few photos during the presentation.

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Here’s an interesting story about the below photo. During my weekend at Intervention Con I had uploaded a few select photos on both my Twitter and Instagram accounts. A few minutes later I got a notification from Instagram that the Official Instagram of Doctor Who on BBC America had hit the “Like” button. Seriously, my modest photo was noticed by someone at BBC America. That was so awesome that I approached Kelsey after the panel was over and I told her about this. She was so thrilled when she heard this that she had me forward that photo to her Instagram account with the indication that BBC America had liked that photo. I don’t know if anything will come of that attention from BBC America but it’s pretty cool.

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

By the way, if you like her art, you can not only check her out on Instagram but also on Deviantart, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Etsy.

After the workshop was over I ate the dinner that I brought with me. I also saw the sign leading to this special party that was only for designated Enablers, who are the special attendees who paid a higher admission fee than the basic admission fee that I paid. (The Enabler passes started at $15 above the basic admission and there were different levels of Enabler where the more money you paid, the more goodies you get.) One day, when my fortunes improve, Ill seriously consider being at least a low-level Enabler and I’ll be able to attend parties like the one indicated by the sign in the photo below.

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

The Internet radio station Tau Radio Independent Broadcasting did live broadcasts from Intervention Con the entire weekend.

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

I hung around the con while killing time alternating between playing video games and working on my latest crochet project. I patiently waited until the 8 p.m. magic hour arrived. There were subtle hints of what was happening on the second day of the con such as what I found at the water fountain below.

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Intervention Con was hosting the premiere of the first episode of the new season of Doctor Who.

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

I could’ve watched this same episode on my own TV at home but there’s something special about seeing the show in a large room with a bunch of other like-minded individuals.

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

There were also people who even arrived totally dressed up for the occasion, which I would not have experienced had I sat home watching television alone. (Besides, given my current situation, I have plenty of other opportunities to watch TV at home alone so I didn’t mind seeing Doctor Who at Intervention Con.)

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

After the episode ended, there was supposed to be a general party but most of the people left immediately. I hung around because there was one last event I was curious about. It was called “Club 242 Presents Drink and Draw Artist Jam” and I was curious about it even though I left my drawing pad and pencils at home. (I didn’t realize it until after I arrived at the hotel.) But it was okay because the organizers provided paper and pens for those who didn’t bring their own. There was a lot of serious drawing going on while dance music played.

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

There were a few people who opted to dance instead of drawing.

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

I even shot a short video of the dancing mainly because someone was playing this techno dance music cover of Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” that I only recognized because of the lyrics. The music part sounded pretty different from Madonna’s original version.

There was a bar that, for a fee, served booze so people could drink and draw. I didn’t drink any alcohol mainly because I had a half-an-hour commute in front of me but I drew some anthro female dog. (I was kind of influenced by these really cute Pinkie Cooper anthro dog fashion dolls that I saw on sale at Target. I ended up buying a couple for myself because they were so cute. I should write a separate blog post about these dolls at some point since I’ve had them for a while.) The biggest challenge was that it was getting late at night and I was pretty tired after a full day of being at Intervention Con. I drew a really quick sketch until I felt too tired to attempt another drawing.

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

I decided to prop the drawing on one of the decorative ledges on the walls of the room where the party took place. I took a quick photo from that horizontal perspective but I was in a really tired mood and I didn’t think that it was among my better efforts so I decided to leave it on the ledge and left for home.

Intervention Con, Day 2, August 23, 2014

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