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Several weeks ago I received an email from inviting me to write for them. Basically I would get paid depending on how many people read my articles. I decided to give them a shot for a while to see how well it works for me.

For my debut article, I wrote a story about yesterday’s opening of the first medical marijuana dispensary in Silver Spring, Maryland known simply as Rise. I took all of the photos in that post and I even shot a short video of a couple of speeches that were made at the opening ceremony (one of them by former Baltimore Ravens football player Eugene Monroe). You can read all about it right here.



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

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

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

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

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

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

Seven integral WordPress plug-ins.

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

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

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

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

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Top 10 WordPress plugins for business sites in 2017.

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

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

Photos showing 100 years of people knitting.

Talking bendable Justin Trudeau doll for sale.

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

Six of the most innovative 3D printing companies.

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

This man makes amazing surreal animations from famous artwork.

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

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

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

Knitted knockers for breast cancer survivors.

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

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

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

Improvisation is the heart of Cuban animation.

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

As the ballerina moves, this robot paints the dance.

Santa Claus

Christmas Eve has become loaded for me in terms of memories. It was on a Christmas Eve when my fiancee put an engagement ring on my finger for the first time while we were visiting his mother for the holidays.  (This was back when she lived in a small condo in Yonkers during the years between her first and second marriages.) Shortly after he popped the question to me a few months earlier, he took me to visit his mother, who then promptly drove us to visit this family-owned jewelry store that my fiancee’s family had long frequented. We chose the engagement and wedding rings then waited a few months for the orders to finally arrive in time for that special Christmas Eve.

It was also on a Christmas Eve when the fiancee I married pulled something really nasty on me. By December, 2012 I had adjusted to being separated from my husband. I knew that Maryland state laws specifically says that one can’t file for divorce until after the one-year anniversary of the separation. In our case, the one-year anniversary was on December 28. I thought that my husband wouldn’t consider filing for divorce until after the New Year and I also thought that it was possible that we would remain separated for many more months or even years. (I know plenty of people who remain technically married to their separated spouses mainly because neither partner has ever gotten around to filing for divorce.)

I didn’t check e-mail last Christmas Eve and Christmas Day because I had Internet problems so I did other things that didn’t involve the computer (such as visiting my own family). It wasn’t until December 26 when I got an e-mail from my separated husband dated December 24 that included an attachment. That attachment was a divorce petition in a .pdf format. In that e-mail my husband wrote something like “I’m sorry for the timing but it has to be done in order to get the ball rolling.” Never mind the fact that my husband really couldn’t really file for divorce until after the actual anniversary (December 28).

Adding insult to injury, I consulted a lawyer on my own after the New Year who told me that the divorce petition wasn’t real because there was no case number assigned to it. In the meantime my husband was pressuring me to sign the papers and send them to his lawyer because he claimed that I could avoid divorce court if I did it that way. However, that same lawyer I consulted said that getting divorced doesn’t work that way. A judge has to be involved in a divorce proceeding in order to prove that a marriage has been legally dissolved and it usually involves at least one court appearance.

Personally I think my husband sent that divorce petition on Christmas Eve in a total “Fuck You, Bitch!” gesture because he knew that I tended to get sentimental around the holiday season and he wanted to screw me over mentally so I would hate him enough to give him the divorce he said he desperately wanted. Well he succeeded on that front because I now consider him to be a totally toxic person to be avoided at all costs. In my mind he has gone from being a loving husband to being one of my worst enemies.

So on the one-year anniversary of that Christmas Eve missile sent by my so-called “loving” husband, I decided to do something fun. Several years ago I learned that Christmas Eve is an excellent time to go downtown to check out stores, museums, and other tourist attractions because most people are stuck in the overcrowded suburban shopping malls. There’s a huge difference between going to a Barnes & Noble in downtown DC on Christmas Eve and going to a Barnes & Noble in a suburban shopping mall on that same day because the crowds are way smaller in the downtown stores.

I read in The Washington Post about an interesting new exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore involving robots and I decided to check it out. It was a longer commute than usual mainly because there was this horrendous accident on the northbound lane of I-95 where a couple of cars looked totaled. The website said that the museum would be opened until 6 p.m. like usual and there were no announcements of early closings on Christmas Eve. Except once I got there around 4:15 p.m., the clerk at the front entrance told me that the museum decided to close at 5 p.m. at the last minute yet the admission was still $15.95. I was loathed to pay that much for only being in the museum for 45 minutes so I walked along the Inner Harbor for a bit while I took some nice early sunset photos.



I walked over to the Christmas Village in Baltimore, the same place where I went to just a few days ago. This time the weather was way colder (the temperature never went above 45 degrees and it became colder the more the sun began to set). There were far fewer shoppers than just a few days earlier. The outdoor vendors were in the process of packing everything up sine it was the official last day for this Christmas Village.


I went inside the heated tent. Half of the vendors were still there but there were also plenty of empty stalls.


I managed to treat myself to a snack from one of the food booths. I ordered a belgian waffle topped with chocolate syrup and whipped cream. It was delicious.

I managed to buy one more thing at the Christmas Village in Baltimore. It’s a Swedish-made owl candle holder that uses tea candles and it looks really nice. In fact, I plan to use it for other occasions besides Christmas.


I continued walking along the Inner Harbor where I took photos of the U.S.S. Constellation at sunset.



I visited Harborplace but both pavilions were nearly empty even though the stores were still opened.  I managed to visit It’s Sugar and took this shot featuring the teddy bear from the Ted movie and a stuffed effigy of Phil Robertson from the popular reality show Duck Dynasty (and who has been in the news a lot lately for his controversial comments regarding homosexuality and his observations of African Americans during the Jim Crow era).


The front window wasn’t the only time I saw the teddy bear from the Ted movie. There was a version of Ted dressed like a Jamaican Rastafarian pot smoker.


I took a panoramic shot of the store with my Droid Ultra smartphone to give you an idea of how uncrowded that store was despite the fact that it had every single kind of candy available for sale.


I didn’t linger around Harborplace too long because many of the stores were in the process of closing early for Christmas. There weren’t a lot of people around with one exception. I saw a line form outside Santa’s Workshop as kids were making their last-minute wishes to Santa Claus.



I took one final photo of one of the Harbor place pavilions as it was lit up at night. It looked really peaceful with the lack of people around.


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