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The Day Before the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival
Greenbelt Labor Day Festival (Day 1)
Greenbelt Labor Day Festival (Day 2)
Greenbelt Labor Day Festival (Day 3)

Doing constant walking during the holiday weekend began to take a toll on me by Labor Day itself. I woke up feeling totally stiff and sore and I was facing a day that included the annual Labor Day Parade in the morning then the afternoon would be the fourth and final day of the Labor Day Festival itself.

I briefly thought about blowing off the parade until I remembered that some of my friends were marching in it and I really wanted to see them strut their stuff on the parade route. So I forced myself out of bed and ate a quick breakfast. I decided to drive my car as close to the parade route as possible. I figured that I would have better luck if I parked towards the early part of the route instead of Roosevelt Center, where the parade ends and it is also where the festival fairgrounds are located so it draws a larger crowd. I was proven correct and I really lucked out when I found a parking spot located just around the corner from the parade route.

I found the temperature to be quite reasonable. It was in the low 70s with low humidity and it was bright and sunny outside. I set up my folding chair, pulled out my new Canon camera (which I bought off eBay for $80 and it arrived just a few days before the holiday weekend), and waited for the parade to begin. I started taking pictures when the marchers arrived.

Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 4, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 4, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 4, 2017

Paul Downs, who won the Greenbelt’s Outstanding Citizen Award just three days ago, was in the first car in that parade.

Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 4, 2017

A colonial-style fife and drum corp marched behind the car carrying Paul Downs.

Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 4, 2017

Mayor Emmett Jordan and the Greenbelt City Council rode in this vintage red fire truck.

Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 4, 2017

U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen took part in the parade.

Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 4, 2017

The parade continued with more marchers, some of whom were on horseback.

Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 4, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 4, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 4, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 4, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 4, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 4, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 4, 2017

There was this ominous looking military vehicle in the parade. There were no signs indicating who this vehicle was aligned with or anything like that.

Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 4, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 4, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 4, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 4, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 4, 2017

The next two photos show robots that were created by a group of students known as The Irrational Engineers.

Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 4, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 4, 2017

It was the unions who helped to create Labor Day to begin with so a few local unions took part in this parade.

Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 4, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 4, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 4, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 4, 2017

Some local political groups and politicians took part in this parade.

Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 4, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 4, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 4, 2017

Maryland State Senator Paul Pinsky worked the crowds as he marched in the parade.

Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 4, 2017

Maryland House of Delegates member Anne Healey preferred to ride instead.

Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 4, 2017

There were a contingent calling for affordable health care available for all U.S. citizens.

Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 4, 2017

This one politician, David Grogan, managed to get Spider-Man (or someone dressed like him) on his side.

Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 4, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 4, 2017

Here’s one of my friends, Patty Daukantas, who was riding in the Toastmasters parade float.

Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 4, 2017

Makerspace 125 finally showed off its completed parade float, which I saw being constructed during the last few days.

Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 4, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 4, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 4, 2017

Some more of my friends were marching with the New Deal Cafe. This group won the Best in Parade award and they were awarded $400. Here are a few still photos I shot.

Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 4, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 4, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 4, 2017

I also shot a short video of this group in action. They took a festive New Orleans Mardi Gras jazz approach, which probably explains why they won.

Here’s the rest of the parade that I photographed.

Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 4, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 4, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 4, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 4, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 4, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 4, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 4, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 4, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 4, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 4, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 4, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 4, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 4, 2017

Finally here is the Mission BBQ truck which ended the parade.

Greenbelt Labor Day Parade, September 4, 2017

After the parade ended I went back home where I ate lunch (mainly because it was cheaper than eating yet another meal at the festival).

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Greenbelt Labor Day Festival (Day 4)

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Previous in This Series

The Day Before the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival
Greenbelt Labor Day Festival (Day 1)
Greenbelt Labor Day Festival (Day 2)

What a difference a day makes! Like I wrote in my last entry, I briefly attended the second day of the festival due in large part to the rain. The third day of the festival was different. It was sunny outside, the temperature reached into the low 70’s, and the humidity was low as well. It was the perfect outdoor weather for the festival!

When I arrived at the festival I saw that the STEM center Makerspace 125 had created a small miniature golf course consisting of handmade decorations that were miniature replicas of various Greenbelt landmarks and the local wildlife.

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

This mini golf course was especially a big hit with the kids.

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Even though the third day fell on a Sunday, I blew off church that morning because I wanted to make sure that I would arrive at the Greenbelt Museum on time for another event I wanted to take part in. This year the Greenbelt Museum was the site for the Retro Town Fair, which was the first time I participated in it since 2014.

I submitted two hand-knitted clothes for dolls. One was the funky “fur” coat for 1/6 dolls, which I had my Blythe doll model mainly because she was the one doll I had who looked best wearing it. The other was the Alice’s Tea Party knitted dress for 18-inch dolls. I had my Addy Walker doll model it because she looked like those African American church ladies I frequently see in my area on Sundays walking in public all dressed up in their finest dresses and hats (or a hair accessory).

Basically I had to submit my entries between 11 a.m.-2 p.m. then wait until between 2-4 p.m. before I can see the entire Retro Town Fair. So I submitted my entries then walked back to the main part of the Labor Day Festival where I hung around for a bit while I ordered a giant crab pretzel for lunch from one of the food booths. After lunch I walked back to the Greenbelt Museum while I took these pictures.

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

I came upon my dolls and I found that I won two white 3rd place ribbons. I was pretty happy with that award even though the organizers had them laying down the entire time. (I guess it was probably easier to display them that way without worrying about them falling down.)

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

The festival area was full of people once again since Tropical Storm Harvey went away. Here are some pictures I took.

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

The bingo tables were reopened as well with people eagerly playing bingo.

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

There was this very long line at the ice cream stand.

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

There were a couple of pint-sized Stormtroopers from Star Wars.

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

That day was also the first day of the Craft Fair, where the vendors were blessed with ideal weather for selling their handcrafted wares.

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

What was really wild is that I got lucky when I met a prominent person whom I’ve seen on TV a few times (back in the days when I still had cable television). The former head of the NAACP, Ben Jealous, is running for Maryland governor in next year’s mid-term elections and he was at the festival talking to the people and asking them for their opinions. Here are a couple of pictures I took of him.

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

If he gets elected next year, I’ll definitely have these photos to show people while telling them “I met Governor Jealous when I was at the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival back in 2017.” (LOL!)

Makerspace 125 had a busy day. Not only were the volunteers there running the miniature golf course but they were also putting the final finishing touches on their parade float for the next day. When I was there, they were making giant LEGO blocks.

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

I even went to the Greenbelt Theater, which was running classic cartoons (Superman, Betty Boop, Popeye, and various Looney Tunes shorts) for free on the big screen.

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2017

I walked back to the Greenbelt Museum where I picked up my dolls and my award ribbons then I headed back home feeling exhausted yet happy at all the good things I experienced that day.

Next in This Series

Greenbelt Labor Day Parade
Greenbelt Labor Day Festival (Day 4)

Previous in This Series

The Day Before the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival
Greenbelt Labor Day Festival (Day 1)

The cooler than usual weather on this holiday weekend not only continued on the second day of the festival but it rained as well. Tropical Storm Harvey, formerly known as Hurricane Harvey, arrived in the area dumping a huge amount of rain. Fortunately it had lost much of its powerful punch that it unleashed on Texas and Louisiana by the time it arrived in the DC area to the worst that happened is that it was totally wet and cold outside. For the first time ever I wore a t-shirt, long pants, and a hooded windbreaker to an outdoor Labor Day festival.

The only major advantage is that parking was relatively easy to find compared to sunny days. I went to the festival despite the bad weather because I wanted to check out my submissions to the Art Show to see if I had won anything. Besides, the Art Show was being held indoors at the Greenbelt Community Center so it was no big deal to go on a rainy day.

As I was walking through the festival grounds on the way to the Art Show I saw that the entertainment had gone on despite the bad weather. As this next picture shows, there were a few hardy souls in the audience who stood there with umbrellas while there were others who decided to sit in the wet bleachers and groove to the band onstage.

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 1, 2017

The next few photographs show the festival in the rain.

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 1, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 1, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 1, 2017

The originally scheduled bingo games were cancelled altogether.

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 1, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 1, 2017

Some of the attractions were also closed, such as this giant slide.

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 1, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 1, 2017

Amazingly there were a few carnival rides that were still opened despite the rain. What’s more, there were people willing to ride in the rain. (Most of them were under 18.)

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 1, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 1, 2017

The Greenbelt Elementary PTA’s used book sale went on with tarp covering many of the books, VHS tapes, and DVDs.

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 1, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 1, 2017

I arrived at the Art Show. I found that none of my submissions won anything this year. I wasn’t too bitter because I’ve won other years and I wasn’t obsessed over winning anything. I took a few pictures of my art on display.

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 2, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 2, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 2, 2017

That day was also Community Day when various local groups and businesses have information tables out and they try to engage the general public. These photos show how the rain had affected the attendance at these tables.

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 2, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 2, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 2, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 2, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 2, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 2, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 2, 2017

After checking out these tables I went to Makerspace 125 because it was indoors and it was sponsoring a special Make and Take event. Basically people could use K’NEX building toys to make their own Fidget Spinners (which is this year’s fad toy for all ages).

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 2, 2017

I gave it a try and here’s the Fidget Spinner that I built.

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 2, 2017

Here is what it looks like when I gave it a spin.

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 2, 2017

I also took a couple pictures of the official Makerspace 125 parade float that would be used in the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade in two days.

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 2, 2017

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 2, 2017

Compared to the day before, I decided to cut my time at the festival short because of the continuing rain. Instead I went to the local movie theater where I saw the film Wonder Woman, which I enjoyed thoroughly. (Yeah, I know I was watching this movie for the first time many weeks after everyone else saw it and made it into a huge summer hit. At least I finally saw it on the big screen).

Next in This Series

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival (Day 3)
Greenbelt Labor Day Parade
Greenbelt Labor Day Festival (Day 4)

There was massive hype about the solar eclipse that blanketed much of North America last week. Even though the Washington, DC area was included in the eclipse’s path, we were located too far north to achieve a total eclipse. According to this link, my area would see 81% coverage. I know people who scheduled special trips to places further south (such as South Carolina) in order to see the full eclipse. If it weren’t for the fact that I was too broke to travel, I might have done this myself. But I was still happy to see the 81% coverage.

Last month I attended a workshop on making a special solar eclipse viewer so I could safely see it. I also received a free pair of solar eclipse glasses so I could directly view the eclipse without burning my eyeballs. Here is what the glasses looked like.

Here’s a rare selfie of me wearing those glasses. Yeah, I’ll admit that they looked dorky on me but I was able to directly look at the sun safely (unlike President Donald Trump, who actually looked at the eclipse with his bare eyes while First Lady Melania and their young son Baron did the sensible thing and looked towards the ground). I remember those glasses were so dark that I had to remove them if I needed to walk even a step or two so I wouldn’t inadvertently trip over something.

I attempted to hold the glasses over my smartphone’s lens but this was the best photo I was able to get (when the eclipse was almost over).

Here’s a cropped closeup of that view, which is why this next photo looks a bit on the grainy side.

The biggest obstacle to the solar eclipse were some clouds that kept on covering the sun at various times. Luckily the sky was only partly cloudy so we could still see the eclipse.

I could’ve viewed the solar eclipse in my yard but I decided to travel for that event because I just felt a need to be around other people while I was viewing this extremely rare event. I ended up at Roosevelt Center in Greenbelt, Maryland where a few people gathered around.

The STEM center Makerspace 125 offered free refreshments (in the form of cookies and lemonade).

The next few photos show the various stages of the solar eclipse as seen through some of these homemade eclipse viewers.

Even though my area didn’t get full coverage, there was this really cool effect that one could see on the ground. If you look close enough, you can see these crescent-shaped shadows that were formed by the eclipse. They looked like scales on a fish.

I feel very fortunate that I got a chance to see that solar eclipse even if I only saw 81% coverage. The only downside was the very hot and humid weather (also known as a typical August day in the Baltimore-Washington, DC area). I was pretty overheated by the time the solar eclipse passed through our area.

When I got home I decided to find another way of remembering this occasion. Last year I made an ill-fated New Year’s resolution where I would do one new sketchbook drawing a day. I even purchased a small hardcover sketchbook for the occasion. Despite that effort, I found that I couldn’t always find time to make a new sketch. At first I modified it to once a week then a couple times a month. Then I misplaced the sketchbook for a few months. (I later learned that I had brought it with me to church when it was having one of its social events and I left that sketchbook behind. Then the person who found it kept on forgetting to give it back to me.) Now that my sketchbook was found, I decided to make my first new drawing since last September (when I did this drawing the day after I attended the third and final day of Intervention Con). Of course I had to incorporate that photo of President Donald Trump trying to view the solar eclipse with his bare eyes.

Makerspace 125 in Greenbelt, Maryland has been hosting a series of workshops on how to build a viewer for the upcoming solar eclipse (which will take place on August 21, 2017) since it’s totally foolhardy to directly look at a solar eclipse with your own eyes. I took a few photos of one of the workshops on July 22 while I got my own viewer for that fateful day.

This is the equipment used to make a solar eclipse viewer (which were mainly recycled cardboard mailing tubes and packages).

Workshop on Making a Solar Eclipse Viewer

A volunteer shows how to make a solar eclipse viewer at Makerspace 125 in Greenbelt, Maryland.

Workshop on Making a Solar Eclipse Viewer

This is what the solar eclipse viewer looked like when completed.

Workshop on Making a Solar Eclipse Viewer

Here’s demonstration on how one can view the sun safely using a solar eclipse viewer.

Workshop on Making a Solar Eclipse Viewer

I’ve recently published another article on OpenSource.com, which I not only wrote but I also took the photographs as well. Here’s the link:

How Linux and maker spaces can strengthen our social fabric

I have to thank Phil Shapiro for his suggestion that I write something for that website. I previously wrote a tutorial on tracing photos in Inkscape back in 2014 but I didn’t get much response to that one. Phil basically encouraged me to try again and he feels that this story might result in gaining a few new contacts that may help me find a new day job to help me pay the bills. Only time will tell whether Phil is right about this or not.

My article is about this event that was held one Saturday afternoon in May at the STEM center Makerspace 125 in Greenbelt, Maryland. It was a workshop titled “Build a PC and Install Linux.” Basically the attendees got hands-on experience in building a PC using donated used computer parts and installing the Ubuntu operating system. Once the attendees finished, they were allowed to take their new PC’s home free of charge. I took a bunch of photos that I uploaded on to Flickr and I showed Phil, who then urged me to write the OpenSource.com article.

But I’m going to show something from that workshop that’s exclusive only to readers of this blog. Like I wrote a few paragraphs ago, I took the pictures that are in that article. However, OpenSource.com only printed a few of the photos I took. So, as a treat to you readers, I’m going to post the outtakes from that article right here. All of them were taken during that workshop.

Here’s one of the Brood X cicadas that had hatched back in May who was crawling around in Roosevelt Center just a few feet away from Makerspace 125. Those bugs were not only big but they made this loud mating call that sounded like a car alarm and they were really noisy between sunrise and sunset.

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

The rest of the photos outtakes were taken inside Makerspace 125 during the workshop.

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

An automated knitting look at Makerspace 125.

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

Build A PC and Install Linux Workshop, Greenbelt, Maryland, May 20, 2017

If you want to see the photos that actually accompanied my article, click here.

Late last week I finished my latest animation, which is based on the song “Jack Sprat (aka Butcher the Hog)” by The Bachelor and the Bad Actress. Here is the video. I’ll write more about how I made it below.

I’m pretty friendly with a few local musicians. (None of them are major stars and all of them have day jobs since they don’t make enough money from being musicians to pay the bills.) A few months ago I did a short animation to Phil Shapiro’s song “Open Source is Yours and Mine.

Among my musician friends are a husband and wife duo known as The Bachelor and the Bad Actress. (I even went to their wedding that was held during the Crazy Quilt Festival in Greenbelt, Maryland a couple of years ago.) At one point I was communicating with Joe the Bachelor on Facebook (yes, he’s married now but he’s still known as The Bachelor because, well, old habits die hard [LOL!]) and I linked to the “Open Source is Yours and Mine” and I joked about offering to trash one of his songs the way I “trashed” the “Open Source” song. He really liked the video and was open to the idea of an animated music video to one of The Bachelor and the Bad Actress’ songs.

Meanwhile I’ve been going to the weekly animation meetup at Makerspace 125 and there is talk about all of us collaborating together on one animation but nothing has happened yet along those lines (as of this writing). When I mentioned this to Joe the Bachelor, he offered to let those of us in that meetup to each take one of their songs and animate it.

I brought it up with the meetup group but it was met with indifference. I decided to do one of their songs on my own and show it to the other meetup attendees just to show that it’s possible. I picked “Jack Sprat (aka Butcher the Hog)” because the lyrics were straightforward and I figured that I could do a comedic animation that’s reminiscent of the old Warner Brothers Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies shorts from the 1940’s and 1950’s.

I used Moho Anime Studio Debut for the bulk of the animation. There were a few times when I had to use Adobe Photoshop for some scenes where using Anime Studio would’ve been frustrating. (Like most graphics programs, Anime Studio Debut uses layers. Unlike the other graphics programs, you literally cannot control the opacity in those layers. So I switched to Photoshop for those times when I needed to control the opacity of certain layers, exported the graphics as a .jpeg, then imported it into Anime Studio Debut. I’m going to stop here on the technical stuff since not everyone is interested in such details.)

This animation was my first foray into actual lip-synching. Anime Studio Debut recommended this free open source software called Papagayo, which churns out lip movements based on both audio recordings and what you type into the application. If you want to know more about this, I suggest getting it yourself, since it is free to download.

I originally planned on doing the entire thing in Anime Studio Debut while I would use iMovie only to put in the opening title and closing credits. There was a snag when I discovered that Anime Studio Debut can’t go any further than 3,000 frames and the song lasts longer than that. I was basically using the app’s default at 24 frames per second. If you do the math, you’d know that the maximum run time that the software can handle is 125 seconds or two minutes and five seconds. The song runs for two minutes and 31 seconds.

I found a workaround when I brought the song into Audacity and broke it up in two. Then I created two separate animation files, exported them separately, then brought them into iMovie where I managed to patch everything together into one file.

While I was working on this, I found out that Moby had been releasing animated music videos. The first one is a statement about people being addicted to their smartphones. The second one has become controversial because it makes an unflattering statement about President Donald Trump but that’s another story altogether. I was influenced by the end titles in both videos and they were my inspiration for how I created the end title in my own animation where I showed people where they can download or stream The Bachelor and the Bad Actress’ music.

Speaking of President Trump, I added some imagery of my own about The Donald along with a quote from George Orwell’s book Animal Farm. See if you can spot them while you’re watching my video.

I have to admit that this was my most ambitious animation to date and there were times when I was on the verge of burnout. And that’s because I was also doing some major job hunting using tips from a book that I had recently gotten a hold of.

I finally decided that doing two big things at once wasn’t good for my health. With the Fourth of July holiday coming up, I decided that I would finish the animation first then resume reading the job hunting book after the holiday. (If this book works for me and I end up getting a new day job to pay the bills, I will write another post praising this book and urging all my readers of this blog to buy it.) With another finished animation under my belt, I now have something recent I can show to any potential employer interested in my animation skills.

I’m also toying with starting a Patreon page where I would make short animations (meaning less than five minutes) for anyone willing to give me some money. Working on this animation has shown me what I can realistically do for a potential patron while setting a price that’s reasonable for the patron while not pricing myself so low that I end up making $1 or $2 per hour (which is impossible to live on anywhere in the United States of America).

By the way, if you like the song, “Jack Sprat (aka Butcher the Hog),”  you can purchase it or stream it through The Bachelor and the Bad Actress’ Bandcamp page.

Ramadan

Like I wrote yesterday, I decided to devote a separate post to my attendance at the latest installment of Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School in the Dupont Circle area of Washington, DC because it would have made my last post extremely long otherwise.

This event was held during DC Pride Weekend and it was also held on the same day as a big demonstration on the Mall for LGBTQ rights. I wasn’t able to make it because I attended Sunday service at my church that morning, Dr. Sketchy’s was supposed to begin at 3 p.m., and there’s the issue of Metro’s unreliable weekend service where you typically have to wait between 15 minutes to a half-an-hour for the next train. I wasn’t too bitter about missing the march because it was very hot outside. (The temperature went as high as 95 degrees with high humidity.)

I saw rainbow flags everywhere in Dupont Circle as I was walking to the Bier Baron, where the event was held. Even the Bier Baron itself was decked out in rainbow colors.

Once I was inside I even got in on the act by laying out my pencils in a rainbow pattern.

Once again Reverend Valentine hosted the event. I gave her this toy dinosaur that I found outside Makerspace 125 in Greenbelt, which was among the items that the STEM center invited the general public to take for free. (Makerspace 125 is currently undergoing some major spring cleaning and reorganization of the space.) I knew she was into dinosaurs so I figured what the hell since it was free and everything. (Besides, it gives me the excuse to post this picture right here.)

She loved it when I gave it to her. She said that it will live with the other toy dinosaurs that she has on display in her kitchen.

The event was pretty well-attended despite the fact that it was scheduled during DC Pride Weekend and that big march was still going on at the Mall just a few miles away. The model for this event was a burlesque performer named Amira Jade and some of these drawings are definitely NSFW.

There was only one contest at that event. This one was a beach theme. She said that she would also give extra points for including a dinosaur. So I had Amira Jade with Dino the Dinosaur.

I also decided to ad Batman surfing on a surfboard in the ocean as my personal tribute to Adam West, the actor who played Batman in the 1960’s TV series who had died the day before. It was based on this incredibly campy clip from the TV show.

My drawing made it among the finalists but I didn’t win. Oh well. You win some and you lose some.

I did a couple of more drawings of Amira Jade before the event ended.

Ramadan

The STEM center known as Makerspace 125 in Greenbelt, Maryland is currently reorganizing its space and doing some spring cleaning. They left quite a few items outside its doors encouraging passers-by to take what was there. Among the free times that were available was a nice looking wood desk and a wood cabinet. I also saw some half-built desktop computers outside, which would be perfect for anyone who is into building computers from scratch.

I managed to snag this toy dinosaur because I have a friend who’s into dinosaurs in a big way. She loved it when I gave it to her. She said that it will live with the other toy dinosaurs that she has on display in her kitchen.

Ramadan

I happened to be in Roosevelt Center when I saw these interesting chalk drawings made by someone. I have no idea who did them or why they did them, all I know is that they were made in the area that’s located near Makerspace 125.

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