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Earlier this month I was suffering from this horrendous cold that literally made me feel tired all of the time. By the time Saturday rolled around, I had an inkling to just get out somewhere because I was tired of sitting at home. I decided to check out College Park Day, which was held on the grounds of the College Park Aviation Museum in College Park, Maryland. I even brought a sketchbook because I heard that some local musicians were playing and I thought I could do some sketches since I’m participating in this year’s Inktober online event. I ended up not drawing anything. It was a nice event but I didn’t stay long because the temperature was an usually high 80 degrees with very high humidity. (It was definitely not a typical October day in my area.) The weather coupled with my cold resulted in a short stay. I managed to take a few photos during my short stay.

College Park Day, October 7, 2017

College Park Day, October 7, 2017

College Park Day, October 7, 2017

College Park Day, October 7, 2017

College Park Day, October 7, 2017

College Park Day, October 7, 2017

College Park Day, October 7, 2017

College Park Day, October 7, 2017

College Park Day, October 7, 2017

College Park Day, October 7, 2017

College Park Day, October 7, 2017

Testudo, the University of Maryland’s terrapin mascot, was on-hand for the festivities despite the hot and humid temperature.

College Park Day, October 7, 2017

College Park Day, October 7, 2017

College Park Day, October 7, 2017

College Park Day, October 7, 2017

College Park Day, October 7, 2017

College Park Day, October 7, 2017

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Recently some local artists decided to get together to fight urban blight by painting art murals on the abandoned buildings that dot Route 1 in Hyattsville, Maryland. Here are a few photos I took during my most recent trip to Hyattsville.

While I was driving around Hyattsville I found another one of those Little Free Library boxes.

One particular feature of this Little Free Library is that there is a small box that has tiny erasers that anyone can take.

As for the new Hyattsville murals, they can all be found on Route 1. As the sign in the next photo states, this was a project that was undertaken by a local design firm known as Green Owl Design.

As you can see, the murals are definitely eye-catching and awesome to see in person. I would recommend parking your car long a side street and look at all the murals while you’re walking around.

This next photo shows a bush that was planted in what looks like a recycled bathtub.

Located at the intersection of Route 1 and Hamilton Street is Polka Dot Park, which is a brand-new urban park.

When I was there that day, some of the animators who worked on the new animated film Loving Vincent, which is based on the life of Vincent Van Gogh, were there doing a special painting. By the time I arrived the painters had just finished and they were on the verge of leaving. They did their own version of Van Gogh’s classic Starry Night painting.

I made a brief stop at the Renaissance Square Artists Housing, which offers affordable one- and two-bedroom apartments to low-income artists.

One interesting feature is that this places offers its own version of the Little Free Library, with this one focusing exclusively on art.

Once again I volunteered to handle the money transaction for the yard sale that was held by Changing Focus, a nonprofit group that helps people deal with separation, divorce, and being widowed. The yard sale took place on the grounds of the Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church in Crofton, Maryland, where the weekly Changing Focus meetings take place.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 30, 2017

The weather was cloudy and it veered between being warm and cool. When the sun was behind the clouds, I felt cool enough that I would wear my hooded sweatshirt that I brought with me.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 30, 2017

However when the sun emerged from behind the clouds, the temperature would suddenly shoot up and I would end up removing my sweatshirt.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 30, 2017

The weather was crazy at times but at least it didn’t rain so people were more likely to come out and do some shopping.

The yard sale gave me an opportunity to take pictures of some oddities that were on sale. I have to admit that the organizers’ decision to no longer accept certain electronics and other outdated items have had an effect. Like the spring yard sale that took place earlier this year, there were far fewer oddities that really belong in a museum than in the past. (My all-time personal favorite is the time when someone donated a Westinghouse vacuum tube that was still in its original box.) There were still a few items that were worth photographing but they were more of a cool vintage sort than something that was totally outdated. Some of the vintage items could easily belong in a museum.

These fuzzy slippers were obviously meant to resemble an animal but I wasn’t able to figure out which animal. (I couldn’t tell whether it was a bear or a pig with that snout.) In any case, I saw someone purchase it so it all worked out.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 30, 2017

This plate had the pictures and names of Canadian songbirds written in English and French. The one thing I learned is that Canada has the same songbirds as in the United States.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 30, 2017

Those Depression-era pink glass plates looked pretty nice. If it weren’t for the fact that I’m trying to live a more simple life with fewer possessions, I would’ve definitely bought the whole set.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 30, 2017

I never knew there was such a thing as a Never Clog Sugar Shaker.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 30, 2017

This one really caught my eye because it looks like something that belongs in a museum. It’s a cookbook called Frances Lee Barton’s Cooking School of the Air and it also has the name General Foods on it. Many of the pages had the date July 5, 1934 printed on the bottom of each page. I later did a Google search and found that this cookbook was based on a radio show that aired on the NBC Red Network from 1932-1935. After reading that, I found myself wishing I had actually bought it for myself because it would’ve been interesting to try some of the recipes from a long time ago. Oh well. I found that Amazon.com has a few used copies of that book so if I ever feel the need to cook any meals from that cookbook, I can buy it online.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 30, 2017

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 30, 2017

There was one customer who asked about what kind of furniture it was and it had me stumped. Someone else with the Changing Focus group figured out what it was. Apparently it was something that was used in the days before indoor plumbing became common. Basically one would draw water from a well then place some of the water in a pitcher on the top shelf level of the furniture. A bowl would be placed on the lower shelf while soap and other washing supplies would be placed in the cabinet below. Anyone wanting to wash up would take the pitcher of water, pour it into the bowl, then wash his/her hands or other body parts.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 30, 2017

There were a set of two wine glasses that also had seven colored 3 LED lights. The photos on the boxes made it look like one could drink liquids while the glass glowed a variety of different colors.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 30, 2017

This set of vintage 1948 crochet baby bibs looked really nice. It’s amazing that something that was handmade for a baby nearly 70 years ago has survived being spat upon and enduring other food stains.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 30, 2017

I came upon a postcard that caught my attention. It was for an ice cream parlor known as the Sugar Bowl. I remember when, during one of our numerous trips to Arizona, one of my husband’s step-sisters encouraged us to try going for ice cream at the Sugar Bowl in Scottsdale because that was one of her favorite places. We ate there once and I liked it. (I think my husband liked it as well but we only ate there once.) I looked on the back of this postcard and saw that it was the same Sugar Bowl that is in Scottsdale. That is pretty ironic that I would find this postcard at a yard sales held thousands of miles away from Scottsdale.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 30, 2017

The Changing Focus yard sale is usually held in conjunction with the Festival on the Green, a craft show that’s held on the grounds of the Crofton Country Club (which is located next to the Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church). At one point I managed to walk over to the festival where I saw all kinds of neat stuff.

Festival on the Green, September 30, 2017

Festival on the Green, September 30, 2017

Festival on the Green, September 30, 2017

Festival on the Green, September 30, 2017

Festival on the Green, September 30, 2017

Festival on the Green, September 30, 2017

Festival on the Green, September 30, 2017

Festival on the Green, September 30, 2017

Festival on the Green, September 30, 2017

Festival on the Green, September 30, 2017

Festival on the Green, September 30, 2017

Festival on the Green, September 30, 2017

Festival on the Green, September 30, 2017

Festival on the Green, September 30, 2017

Festival on the Green, September 30, 2017

Festival on the Green, September 30, 2017

Festival on the Green, September 30, 2017

There was even a boxing demonstration.

Festival on the Green, September 30, 2017

Festival on the Green, September 30, 2017

Festival on the Green, September 30, 2017

Festival on the Green, September 30, 2017

Festival on the Green, September 30, 2017

Festival on the Green, September 30, 2017

Festival on the Green, September 30, 2017

Festival on the Green, September 30, 2017

At one point I shot this photo of the mascot for the Washington Capitals NHL hockey team.

Festival on the Green, September 30, 2017

Someone who was in that same booth where the mascot was located had offered to take a picture of me with the mascot using my own camera. I only went along even though I wasn’t in the mood to have my picture taken. Here’s the shot.

Festival on the Green, September 30, 2017

I helped with the yard sale until 2 p.m. when a truck arrived to take the unsold items to a nearby thrift store. I helped with packing the inventory in boxes, loading them onto the truck, then dismantling the folding tables (which belonged to the church). It was sometime around 3:30 or 4 p.m. when I finally left Crofton.

I only purchased two things for myself and they were both from the yard sale. One was the first book in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring. Among the numerous things that my ex-husband left behind when he abruptly ran away from home three days after Christmas in 2011 (and three months after I had hip surgery) were The Hobbit and two of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I tried looking for that third book but I couldn’t find it. (It would be weird if my husband had taken only the first book in that trilogy but none of the others but he’s been doing weird stuff ever since he ran away from home. In the process he has not only alienated me but many of our long-time friends as well.) It turned out that the yard sale only had one of the books and it was exactly the one that was missing from my home.

What I Purchased at the Changing Focus Yard Sale

I also purchased this book because it has some neat craft ideas that I wouldn’t mind trying in the future.

What I Purchased at the Changing Focus Yard Sale

I shot this video footage of the Linwood Taylor Band doing an awesome cover of Robert Johnson’s “Dust My Broom” live at the New Deal Cafe in Greenbelt, Maryland on September 29, 2017.

If you like what you hear and see, you can check out some more of the band’s music at tunein.

I went to my first Baltimore Comic-Con in quite a few years. I attended that event the first time in 2012 and the second time the following year. Then I didn’t go for another few years until recently. The main reason was financial. I ended up going to other events, such as Intervention Con, and with tight finances being the norm these days, I couldn’t afford to attend those events and Baltimore Comic-Con as well. Something had to give and Baltimore Comic-Con was the one that I ended up not attending.

But then a few things happened. First, my utilities company informed me that they had made a billing error in my favor for the last several months so, for the next few months I’m paying a lower bill than usual. Then I found out that Intervention Con wasn’t going to happen this year mainly because the organizers decided to focus on holding two specialized conventions instead—PotterVerse for Harry Potter fans and (Re)Generation Who for Doctor Who fans. While I like both Harry Potter and Doctor Who, I don’t like them enough to consider spending time and money at specialized conventions. I’m more into conventions that cover things like art in general or comic books in general instead of a very narrow field.

I’ll admit that I miss Intervention Con because that was my favorite convention due to the fact that it’s smaller and more intimate than—let’s say—Awesome Con or Otakon. Getting a good seat at a panel was no problem, I found it easier to meet people, and I didn’t have to do as much walking because of the small size so I didn’t become physically spent as much as when I used to go to Otakon. If you want to know why I loved going to Intervention Con so much, check out my blog posts and pictures from the cons I went to in 2013, 2014 (Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3), and 2016 (Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3).

As I was typing this, I remember that another annual event I usually loved going to at this time of the year, the Silver Spring Maker Faire, has also decided not to put on another event in 2017. I hope it’s not some kind of a sad trend where the organizers of these fun annual events have decided to cut back on holding their events because it would be really sad if that was the case. (If you want to know why I’m sad about what happened with the Silver Spring Maker Faire, check out the photos I took in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016.)

Like I wrote a few paragraphs ago, I found out that I had a little bit of extra spending money so I decided to go to Baltimore Comic-Con for the first time in four years. What made it really sweet is that the famed 1980s rapper DMC (from the group Run-DMC) was going to be there and he was not only signing autographs for fans (who paid at least $20 for one of his comic books) but he was giving two panels—one on Saturday and one on Sunday.

Saturday was the only day I could go to Baltimore Comic-Con because of finances and the fact that I was serving as a substitute teacher in my church’s program that teaches local immigrants how to speak English the following day. But I managed to treasure every moment of my time there and I took a bunch of photos the moment I stepped outside of the Baltimore Convention Center and paid the $35 Saturday admission fee.

Baltimore Comic-Con

Baltimore Comic-Con

While I was waiting in line I witnessed this cute scene of a baby dressed in a Batman outfit (which isn’t apparent in the photo below because of the angle of the baby but I saw him wearing it in real life) looking at this man wearing his Spider-Man cosplay outfit.

Baltimore Comic-Con

Here’s the cover of the official Baltimore Comic-Con program book.

Baltimore Comic-Con

I even shot a short video when I first arrived soon after the convention opened at 10 a.m. that morning. Fortunately the ticket purchasing lines were shorter that morning, which wasn’t the case later in the day, so I was able to quickly purchase my ticket then go straight to the Dealers Room where I saw the convention employees actually clapping their hands at each guest who walked through the doors.

The employees only did that in the morning. When I returned to the Dealers Room at various times later in the day, the employees stopped clapping for everyone and simply looked at people’s paper bracelets (which served as our passes) before letting them in the room.

If Intervention Con is my favorite convention because it’s smaller and more intimate, then I have to say that Baltimore Comic-Con is my second favorite because the organizers are trying to strike a balance between focusing on comic books and having a few celebrities in attendance, but not as many of them as the gigantic San Diego Comic-Con. I’ve heard all sorts of stories as to how humongous and utterly exhausting it is to walk through that event and I’m pretty reluctant to even consider trying it. I had a hard enough time going to a three-day event like Otakon (which is why I’ve stopped attending in recent years) and I think San Diego Comic-Con would be even worse. I’m happy to say that finding a decent seat at a workshop or panel is still really easy at Baltimore Comic-Con. I never had to stand in any long lines in order to get to the panel of my choice (and I went on Saturday, which is usually the busiest and most crowded of the three days).

After I got my ticket I initially checked out the vendors room but I only stayed there briefly because the panel featuring DMC was scheduled to begin at noon. I found a few reminders that DMC was here at Baltimore Comic-Con this year.

DMC of Run-DMC Fame and Now Darryl Makes Comics

DMC of Run-DMC Fame and Now Darryl Makes Comics

I arrived at the panel early enough that I was able to get a front row seat. This panel was devoted to DMC’s comic book venture known as Darryl Makes Comics and it also had others who currently work on the comic book series including Greg Pak, Khoi Pham, Domo Stanton, and Amy Chu. DMC can be seen in the photos wearing the black Motörhead t-shirt.

DMC of Run-DMC Fame and Now Darryl Makes Comics

DMC of Run-DMC Fame and Now Darryl Makes Comics

DMC of Run-DMC Fame and Now Darryl Makes Comics

DMC of Run-DMC Fame and Now Darryl Makes Comics

DMC of Run-DMC Fame and Now Darryl Makes Comics

DMC of Run-DMC Fame and Now Darryl Makes Comics

DMC of Run-DMC Fame and Now Darryl Makes Comics

I learned that DMC has been into comics since childhood and this fascination even influenced his rapping days with Run-DMC. He said he started Darryl Makes Comics as a way of getting different voices into the comic book industry who tend to be overlooked by the larger companies—including not only people of different races but also people from different classes, older people, women, etc.

I was really enthusiastic by this panel and I found out that DMC was selling copies of his comic books with his signed autograph in the Dealers Room for $20. I wanted to buy it but, unfortunately I was tempted by a whole bunch of other stuff that was also on sale in that same room and I didn’t have unlimited funds. I took a bunch of photos of some of the stuff that was on sale.

There was a booth by a company called FigureThis who had this really neat idea where they will shoot full body photos of you with multiple cameras placed all around you then send those photos to a 3D printer where it will print a 3D figurine of your image.

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

I still have photos posted in older blog posts of various 3D printers that I’ve shot at various events over the seven years that this blog has been in existence. I have older photos of really large 3D printers that cost at least $2,000. At Baltimore-Comic Con I saw these smaller portable printers by a company known as M3D that were available on sale for only $295.

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

What’s more, these printers were small enough that a visitor can easily carry the printer home with him/her after purchasing it. If I had more money to spare, I definitely would’ve purchased one myself.

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

I was very impressed with the 3D figurines this small 3D printer was capable of producing.

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

There was this really cool looking computer from a company known as Chimera Computers, whose slogan is “They might have the flash, but we have the power!”

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

There were a whole bunch of other products besides comic books (yes, they had a lot of comic books available for sale) that were on sale ranging from t-shirts to drinking glasses to vintage Nintendo video games to realistic looking figurines to superhero stories written in chapter book form for children who are beginning readers. In short, there was a little something for everybody.

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

The cosplayers were out in full force and I took a lot of pictures of them as well. I saw a lot of people dressed as Batman this year because the day I went to Baltimore Comic-Con also happened to be Batman Day, a day which many comic book shops in the U.S. hold Batman-themed events to observe the anniversary that Batman made his first ever appearance in Detective Comics #27 in 1939.

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

After wandering around the Dealer Room snapping pictures for a few hours, my legs were growing tired. I decided to check out the 2:45-3:45 p.m. (yes, that was the actual scheduled time) panel on “Baltimore Celebrates Batman Day!” (That panel was how I learned that there was actually such a thing as Batman Day.) I’ve been a Batman fan from way back starting with the time my parents gave me a Batman bank as a present and I still have those early childhood memories of putting loose coins in the slot located on Batman’s back. I grew up watching the reruns of the 1960’s TV series starring the recently deceased Adam West and reading whatever Batman comic books my mother happened to purchase during her weekly grocery shopping trip. (Sometimes she would buy Batman while other times she would buy comic books featuring Captain America, Superman, The Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, and The Incredible Hulk.) So I was eager to check out that panel.

The panel was moderated by Jimmy Palmiotti and it had people who had worked on either the Batman or Harley Quinn comic books including Amanda Conner, David Finch, Peter J. Tomasi, James Tynion IV, John Timms.

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

The panel primarily focused on the Batman and Harley Quinn comic books that have come out in the last five years while also mentioning the feature films Batman had appeared in within the last ten years. I’ll admit that I was a bit lost. That was because I haven’t read a Batman comic book since Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns graphic novel series back in the late 1980’s. (I remember finding Miller’s interpretation of Batman as a very dark vigilante to be an interesting take but the story left me feeling so cold that I never re-read it. It didn’t help that, years later, Frank Miller was openly accusing the Occupy Wall Street movement as being a bunch of louts, thieves and rapists. Never mind the fact that my visits to the Occupy sites in Baltimore and DC indicated otherwise. I ultimately donated The Dark Knight Returns to an upcoming used book sale after my husband left me. Ironically Frank Miller was Baltimore Comic-Con’s 2017 Guest of Honor and he made his only convention appearance the day before. I wasn’t that inclined to even check him out in person and I don’t regret opting to go on Saturday instead of Friday.)

I watched the Batman feature films of the 1980’s and 1990’s but I stopped watching them after that because they seemed to emulate Miller’s vision of a dark violent vigilante anti-hero and I grew tired of that. The only Batman movie I’ve watched in recent years was this year’s The LEGO Batman Movie, which was excellent because it expertly combined the campiness of the 1960’s TV series with the darker interpretations of recent years and it worked extremely well. In fact, I purchased it on DVD when it was released. Maybe DC Comics should just let LEGO have exclusive rights to making future Batman movies because LEGO knows how to tell an entertainingly memorable Batman story.

My legs were a bit sore so it was a relief to sit down even if what the panelists discussed about Batman went over my head, with the exception of when they were discussing The LEGO Batman Movie. Although I was so intrigued by hearing the description of the Harley Quinn comic book series that I’m going to see if my local public library have the graphic novel reprints on the shelves. The high point of that panel was when the panelists asked if anyone had attended any of the Batman Day celebrations at a local comic book store in addition to going to Baltimore Comic-Con and someone got up said he actually went to such an event before he arrived at the Baltimore Convention Center. He had snagged some free Batman and Harley Quinn masks, which he gave to the husband and wife team behind the Harley Quinn comic book.

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

The panel ended but my legs were still sore and tired. I decided to stay in the same room for the next panel that was about the legendary comic book writer and artist Jack Kirby.

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Panelist Mark Evanier talked about his personal friendship with Jack Kirby, which he wrote a book about called Kirby: King of Comics. Abram Books’ Charlie Kochman was also on hand as the two of them discussed the book and Evanier’s recollections about Kirby. I found it to be a very interesting talk and it seemed like Kirby was definitely an interesting and unforgettable person.

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

After the panel ended at 5 p.m. I thought about making one more return trip to the Dealers Room but my legs were really hurting by then so I decided to just take the next light rail back to the North Linthicum station (where my car was parked) and head home.

I had thought about buying one of DMC’s comic books with his autograph for $20 but I found something else in the Dealers Room that I ended up buying instead and I couldn’t afford to buy both.

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

It’s a plastic ocarina, which I purchased for $20, and it came with a free songbook that provided instructions on how to play the ocarina along with songs from the classic Nintendo video game The Legend of Zelda. I paid an extra $5 for a Star Wars ocarina songbook. I bought it from the STL Ocarina booth after hearing the person staffing it playing lovely music with that ocarina. I’ve been slowly trying to teach myself how to play it but I think it will be awhile before I can play songs on it that sound just as lovely as what I heard at that booth.

As for the Darrel Makes Comics comic book, I’ll go to the local public library to see if it has a copy of any of the issues on the shelves. I would like to read it at some point since I own a couple of old Run-DMC CDs and I’ve always been a fan of the group. This is one of those times when I regret having to deal with tight finances just so I can survive.

One Saturday I was originally scheduled to take a day-long seminar because I’ve been thinking about volunteering once again as an English teacher to recent immigrants through my church’s program. (I’ve done it a few times before and I decided to take some time off from it for a while.) Except the seminar ended up being cut short after a few hours due to poor attendance. (My church is planning on publicizing the fact that we need more volunteer teachers while rescheduling the training at a later date.) So my training ended when we ate the provided lunch.

I previously saw on Facebook that there were a few events that were scheduled in the Gateway Arts District of Prince George’s County [Maryland] for that day that I suddenly had time to attend. (If the day-long training had proceeded as originally scheduled, this post would not even exist.) I picked two of those events because they were located close to each other.

The first event was the Waterfront Arts Festival, which was held inside Bladensburg Waterfront Park.

Waterfront Arts Festival

Bladensburg Waterfront Park isn’t just a lovely nature-filled park located on the banks of the Anacostia River but it’s also full of history since it was the place where the Battle of Bladensburg took place during the War of 1812.

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Throughout the festival there was a community art project where the general public was invited to paint on four bird statues. When I first arrived at the festival I came upon two of the birds that were being painted.

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Here’s the table which provided paints, brushes, and animal-shaped stencils.

Waterfront Arts Festival

I picked a turtle stencil along with some red and yellow paint. I painted a red terrapin with the letters “UM” in homage to my alma mater, the University of Maryland (whose College Park campus is located about three or four miles north of Bladensburg).

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

After I finished my contribution to one of the bird statues, I walked around the festival a bit while I was taking pictures. There was a children’s play area where kids could assemble giant building using these giant blue interconnected foam building blocks. The kids had a ball building giant structures using only their imaginations.

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

The next two photos show a demonstration of making resin-based art.

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

This table sold tote bags that were crocheted using yarn made from plastic store bags.

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Here are some more photos from the festival.

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival


Waterfront Arts Festival

These two photographers were comparing cameras, lenses, and related equipment.

Waterfront Arts Festival

I came upon the other community art place where the other two bird statues were being painted by the general public.

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

I made a contribution to one of those statues as well. I painted a black heart on top head of one of the birds.

Waterfront Arts Festival

Here are some more photos from the festival and the park in general.

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

There was an all-ages button making table courtesy of Arts on a Roll.

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

This last photo shows the one thing I purchased at the festival—a bar of soap from Kitty’s Bath Boutique.

Waterfront Arts Festival

Located just a mile or two from Bladensburg Waterfront Park was an artist reception that was held at Art Works Now in nearby Hyattsville. I managed to attend this one on my way back from the festival.

In-Cider Art Reception, September 9, 2017

The reception was for an exhibit called In-Cider Art, which featured the original illustrations that Caleb Luke Lin did when he designed the labels for Graft Cider. All of the original illustrations were available for sale.

In-Cider Art Reception, September 9, 2017

In-Cider Art Reception, September 9, 2017

In-Cider Art Reception, September 9, 2017

In-Cider Art Reception, September 9, 2017

In-Cider Art Reception, September 9, 2017

In-Cider Art Reception, September 9, 2017

In-Cider Art Reception, September 9, 2017

In-Cider Art Reception, September 9, 2017

The refreshments included samples from the various different Graft Cider products. Having tasted two of the different ciders I have to say that I liked them both. If I ever see Graft Cider in my local liquor store, I would definitely buy it.

In-Cider Art Reception, September 9, 2017

In-Cider Art Reception, September 9, 2017

Like I’ve written numerous times, I recently purchased a used Canon PowerShot ELPH 190IS for $80 on eBay (after the dealing with an increasingly erratic smartphone camera app and a Canon Digital Rebel DSLR camera battery refuse to recharge) and I’m fast falling in love with that camera. It shoots pictures and videos that are just as high quality (if not more high quality) than my Droid Ultra smartphone but it’s incredibly lightweight so I can carry it in my pocket or bag or purse (which is in contrast with the older and bulkier DSLR camera).

I recently used my Canon PowerShot when I saw the band Frenchy and the Punk when they performed at the New Deal Cafe in Greenbelt, Maryland earlier this month. In some ways it’s appropriate that I used this band to test my latest camera. I went through my older posts and I found that the last time I saw this band perform was in 2011 when they performed at—you guessed it—the New Deal Cafe. I was still married and my husband and I had just gotten our first smartphones (a Droid 3). I had recently done a Google search for tutorials on how to shoot photos and videos with my Droid smartphone (up until that point I had a flip top phone that didn’t take pictures mainly because, at the time I got this camera, having a cell phone with a camera cost nearly twice as much).

So I used that particular Frenchy and the Punk performance to practice my video shooting skills using that smartphone. I shot and uploaded a total of four videos from that particular show: “House of Cards,” “Magician and the Dancer,” “Yes! I’m French,” and a jam session the band did while people dressed in gypsy steampunk costumes danced in the audience.

I still remember that night like it was yesterday. My then-husband was also at that show along with a few friends of ours. Among those friends was a woman whom my husband would leave me for her just a few months later.

A few years later I saw Frenchy and the Punk’s booth at the Maryland Faerie Festival where they sold their CD’s and some handcrafted goods as well. I didn’t see them perform that day because, if my memory serves me correct, they were scheduled to perform later at a nighttime party that charged a separate $25 admission that was not included in the festival day pass. I not only couldn’t afford it but I was leery about making a long night commute through unfamiliar roads all by myself.

Let me see. In 2011 I saw Frenchy and the Punk perform at the New Deal Cafe while I was testing the camera function of my first smartphone that I had just recently acquired and I was still learning how to use. So it’s now 2017 and I managed to see Frenchy and the Punk perform at the same venue while I was testing a new camera that I had recently acquired and I was still learning how to use. Sometimes the past DOES repeat itself. LOL!

Well, anyway, I took a few still photos with my camera, which you can see below.

I also shot some video footage as well. I didn’t shoot as many songs this time around. (Well, actually I only shot three songs this time around while I shot four songs back in 2011. So I only shot slightly less footage this time.) First up is a song about the Abraham Lincoln Brigade which fought in the Spanish Civil War titled “¡Vive la Quince Brigada!”

I wasn’t able to get the title of the song that the duo performed when I shot this next video but it was catchy enough to get quite a few people dancing near the front of the stage.

Last, but not least, I shot the song that the band closed their show with: a very enthusiastic cover of the Mary Hopkin song “Those Were the Days.”

The band put on a show that was just as enjoyable as when I saw them in 2011. It’s like everything was the same in that I was testing out a new camera on the same band in the same venue. The only major difference is my personal life in that I’m now divorced. Otherwise everything was exactly the same as before.

For the past few weeks I’ve been complaining about dealing with not one—but two problem cameras. The camera that’s in my smartphone has been acting more and more inconsistently since last Christmas. I would frequently get those dreaded “Camera Error Please Restart Camera.” I would frequently complain about it in this blog. (You can read the most recent example here.)

That problem got so bad that I went back to using my 15-year-old Canon Digital Rebel EOS DSLR camera. That camera was once a top-of-the-line camera but the newer cameras have more megapixels plus that camera only does still photography. (I’m well aware that the newer DSLR cameras does videos as well as still photographs.) It’s also bulky and heavy compared to my smartphone.

For a while I brought the DSLR camera whenever I was going somewhere where I was sure that I would want to take photographs and I didn’t want to risk relying on the smartphone alone. But lately the DSLR camera’s battery isn’t charging (even though I make sure that I charge that battery ahead of whatever event I was taking it to). That came to a head when I made sure to charge it a day or two before the recent solar eclipse only to find that the battery wasn’t working at all. I was lucky that my smartphone camera decided to function just like old times so I was able to get a few photos of that eclipse. But then my smartphone camera reverted back to that “Camera Error Please Restart” message when I went to a Meetup event that took place just a few hours later.

I subsequently looked up replacement batteries for my DSLR camera and I saw that it varied widely between $8 to a whopping $60!

Then there was the issue of having to lug a heavy camera plus there are times when I want to shoot video and I would have to hope and pray that my smartphone camera is up to that challenge. I decided to shop around for a relatively cheap point-and-shoot camera that’s small enough to be portable (so I can easily carry it in a bag or in my purse), provide as many megapixels as the smartphone cameras, and is capable of shooting video.

After doing some Internet research on various camera prices and reading various online reviews, I decided on a Canon PowerShot ELPH 190IS. I purchased a used camera for only $80 on eBay and it arrived in my home just in time for the Labor Day holiday weekend. I got a camera, a battery, and a battery charger. The one thing missing was an SD card but I already had one on hand so it was no big deal to pop it into the camera. The only other thing missing was the manual but I was able to find a .pdf copy by doing a Google search then downloading it.

By the way, that’s the best way of finding a new copy of any missing manual. These days you can find a missing manual for just about anything no matter what the product is or how old a certain product is. (Don’t be like this guy and email some random stranger asking to scan a copy of a manual then email it to him for no compensation and to email it ASAP. It’s just quicker to do your own Google search and you won’t have to irritate random strangers either.)

Since the camera just a couple of days before upcoming Labor Day holiday weekend I decided to give it a real workout at the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival. On the Thursday night before the start of the festival and the holiday weekend I decided to use the video feature to record a friend of mine who was performing at the New Deal Cafe’s regular Thursday night Open Mike. He usually performs as one-half of the duo The Bachelor and the Bad Actress and I did that animated music video to the duo’s song “Butcher the Hog” not too long ago. (They were also the same couple who held a public outdoor wedding in the middle of a music festival a two years ago and I have the video and a bunch of photos to prove it.)

My friend was doing a solo set that night under the name Joey Campfire. (His wife wasn’t at the cafe that night.) He sang two songs and I shot a short video for the last one as a way of testing out my new camera. I have to say that I liked the results, which I uploaded on to YouTube. Here it is below.

I also took a couple of shots of the various carnival rides that people were setting up near the cafe in order to be ready for the festival’s opening the following evening. I took a boatload of photos and another short video that holiday weekend. I’m trying to get everything sifted, edited, and uploaded as fast as I can. I’m trying to aim for next week when I’ll show off what I took with my new camera.

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.

It seems like for the last week my mind has been overloaded with everything that has gone down in Charlottesville. I went to the second memorial event for Charlottesville in my event in a week. Here are my photos.

This event took place at the Greenbelt Community Church, which is a United Church of Christ congregation in Greenbelt, Maryland. It was organized by the Greenbelt Interfaith Leaders Association and it included participation by clergy from the various Christian and Jewish denominations.

The interfaith service for the #terrorist victims at #Charlottesville

The interfaith service for the #terrorist victims at #Charlottesville

The interfaith service for the #terrorist victims at #Charlottesville

The interfaith service for the #terrorist victims at #Charlottesville

This sign showed the schedule of events that took place during this service.

The interfaith service for the #terrorist victims at #Charlottesville

People were invited to take a flower from this makeshift altar and place it in the nearby memorial garden as a symbol of being in solidarity for peace.

The interfaith service for the #terrorist victims at #Charlottesville

The interfaith service for the #terrorist victims at #Charlottesville

The next few photos shows the wall in the memorial garden where people left the flowers along with a couple of poster boards and markers where people can write their feelings.

The interfaith service for the #terrorist victims at #Charlottesville

The interfaith service for the #terrorist victims at #Charlottesville

The interfaith service for the #terrorist victims at #Charlottesville

The interfaith service for the #terrorist victims at #Charlottesville

Various clergy gave speeches while people sang songs. The service ended with people lighting candles in a symbol of solidarity with the people in Charlottesville.

The interfaith service for the #terrorist victims at #Charlottesville

The interfaith service for the #terrorist victims at #Charlottesville

The interfaith service for the #terrorist victims at #Charlottesville

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