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Like I wrote in a previous blog post, I attended two festivals in one day. The first one was the smaller Greenbelt Blues Festival, which I already wrote about. After attending that festival, I went to the Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, which was a larger event. Here are the photos I took of the event while I was there.

This sign erroneously said that this festival was held on September 10. In reality, it showed up on September 22.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

The festival was well-attended and there were all kinds of arts and crafts on display along with local bands performing. The local craft breweries were selling their craft beers and ales. The weather was warm and pleasant (the humidity was low that day). All in all I had a good time and many of the festival goers also enjoyed themselves as well.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, Hyattsville, Maryland, September 22, 2018.

I only purchased one item at this festival. It’s a small bar of soap made from honey and it has a bee motif on it.

Hyattsville Arts & Ales Festival, September 22, 2018

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May Day

In my last post I mentioned that I went to the Historic London Town and Gardens in Edgewater on April 6, 2018 mainly because that place was among the Annapolis-area museums that were offering $1 admission as part of a Maryland Holiday Weekend special. After I left the museum around closing time, I realized that I was close to Annapolis. I decided to check out the Annapolis Toys R Us store, which was (and still is as of this writing) having its going out of business sale.

I originally visited the Annapolis store back in late January after Toys R Us originally announced that it was only going to close around 200-300 of its stores. I picked the Annapolis location because I heard rumors that those store closures were only the first steps in eventually winding out Toys R Us by the end of the year and I wanted to take photos of a store that was NOT on the list of closing stores. I wanted to photograph what a typical Toys R Us store was like for posterity. A few weeks after that visit, Toys R Us decided to close all of its stores so I headed back to the Annapolis store to take pictures of the store that was in the early phases of its going out business sale.

On April 6 I was close to the Annapolis Toys R Us store so I decided to stop by briefly to see how things were going there. There were definitely changes in that store, starting with the outside. By that point a giant “Going Out Of Business” banner had been unfurled and the smaller window signs that previously had cheerful Easter-themed signs were replaced by smaller-sized “Going Out of Business” signs.

When I went inside I saw more “Going Out of Business” signs along with more empty shelves than I saw on my previous visit. Even though the signs said that everything was “up to 30% off,” I found that the vast majority of items were still 10% off. I’ve been to enough of these going out of business sales over the years (such as the closing of the local Kmart store in my area three years ago) to know that the store will keep on offering no more than 10% off for as long as it possibly can. You probably won’t see the deep discounts until the store gets closer to the day that it closes its doors forever.

I still saw some Toys R Us exclusives that I didn’t see on my previous visits. The majority of them were the Disney Princess line of dolls and related toys.

There were other types of toys that weren’t Toys R Us exclusives that were still available for sale on the shelves.

This one little boy really seemed to enjoy going for the superhero action figures. The only sad thing about the last major toy store in the U.S. closing is that children his age will no longer experience the thrill of going into a toy store and looking around wide-eyed at the myriad of toys for kids his age. Too bad, so sad.

Compared with the last time I was at Toys R Us, I saw that they had more cashiers at the registers so the lines were smaller. I also noticed that there were a lot of small 12-inch stuffed versions of the store’s Geoffrey Giraffe mascot on display at the cash register.

I made one purchase on this trip to Toys R Us. I was given this bag at the checkout that looks like Toys R Us decided to go cheap and hire some yahoo with very little formal training in graphic design or even art in general.

The bag is bright orange with the logo done in a slightly darker orange color. The only problem is that there isn’t much contrast between the logo and the background so the logo can be very hard to see because it looks like it is blending in with the background.

Here’s my purchase. Yes, I bought one of the Geoffrey Giraffes that were on display at the cash register. It was an impulse buy. This little guy brings back memories of when Toys R Us used to sell Geoffrey Giraffe wearing a shirt that had the Toys R Us logo, such as this one.

This closeup of his neck shows how Geoffrey has stars on his body instead of the usual spots that a giraffe has.

Here’s a closeup of Geoffrey’s head along with a hang tag showing the illustrated version that Toys R Us had used in recent years. Like I wrote in this blog post back in January, I prefer the earlier versions from the 1970s and 1980s because Geoffrey had a more expressive face. In some ways, the real-life plush giraffe looks less bland and lame than the illustrated version.

One nice touch I found was that one of Geoffrey’s hooves had been embroidered with the backwards letter R that was usually displayed as part of the Toys R Us logo.

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Here’s a small white tag on Geoffrey’s tush that has a black and white illustrated line drawing along with Geoffrey’s name.

Here’s the Toys R Us sales receipt. Compared with the other receipt I received from my earlier trip to Toys R Us when I checked out the going out of business sale for the first time, this one is relatively short. They got rid of the announcement asking the customer to leave feedback on how Toys R Us is doing in exchange for the chance to win a Toys R Us gift card, which makes sense since Toys R Us announced that it would no longer honor gift cards after April 21. Plus it really no longer matters if customers leave feedback—both good and bad—since Toys R Us plans on closing down for good.

Here’s a close-up of the top of the receipt showing the Toys R Us logo and the reminder that all sales are final.

Here’s the bottom of the receipt. Geoffrey Giraffe’s original price was $9.99 but, as this receipt shows, this was one of the products that Toys R Us had offered for 30% off, which meant that the giraffe only cost $6.99 (without the Maryland state sales tax).

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Passover

The day after St. Patrick’s Day I helped a friend of mine with his booth at the annual Maker Faire NoVa that was held at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. I had attended previous STEM Maker events in Greenbelt, Silver Spring, and Washington, DC but it’s the first time I ever checked the Northern Virginia one. I have to admit that this event was the largest event of its kind that I had ever attended. To give you an idea as to how big it was, here’s a video I shot of this event.

And now it’s time for the still photos. I knew I had come to the right place when I saw this statue of George Mason (whom the university is named after) all dressed up for the occasion.

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These signs were further giveaways that I was at the right place.

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Maker Faire NoVa

The reason why I was there was that I was helping a friend of mine with his table. His name is Phil Shapiro and he frequently hangs out on YouTube and Twitter. He wanted to demonstrate Inkscape, which is the free open source alternative to Adobe Illustrator. He brought a couple of Linux laptops that he made available for people to use. At the last minute he decided to have one of those laptops run Tux Paint, which is a free open source graphics program that is made for kids under 7, which turned out to be a good move because a lot of visitors were kids. The kids seemed to really like Tux Paint so it was all good. In any case, here is what the sign looked like.

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Here are a few shots of the table that I took before Maker Faire NoVa opened to the general public.

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Here’s Phil Shapiro at one of the laptops setting everything up before the show began.

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And here’s Phil showing off the two laptops with Inkscape and Tux Paint to the general public.

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One of the many kids tried his hand at drawing with Tux Paint.

Maker Faire NoVa

Near our table was one that was manned by Bob Coggeshall, who’s famous in the Unix world for inventing the Unix command sudo.

Maker Faire NoVa

Maker Faire NoVa

There were all kinds of projects that were run off of Raspberry Pi, such as this vintage teletype.

Maker Faire NoVa

There were also all kinds of 3D printed projects that looked amazing.

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There was a refurbished gumball machine that dispensed 3D printed charms for only 50 cents.

Maker Faire NoVa

It was at that gumball machine where I made my one and only purchase from Maker Faire NoVa: A tiny 1-inch printed 3D printed Darth Vader who’s seated like a Buddha. I only paid 50 cents for this cool item.

Maker Faire NoVa, March 18, 2018

There were also some vintage bikes that the public can ride.

Maker Faire NoVa

Maker Faire NoVa

It was at Maker Faire NoVa where I got my first-ever real life glimpse of a Bitcoin mining machine.

Maker Faire NoVa

It was also at Maker Faire NoVa where I got my first glimpse of American Girl’s 2018 Girl of the Year doll. Her name is Luciana Vega, she’s into STEM and her big ambition is to be the first person to explore Mars.

Maker Faire NoVa

This boy was showing his work in progress on his latest project. He was in the process of building his own BB-8 robot from the Star Wars movies.

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Maker Faire NoVa

There was just a variety of things I saw at Maker Faire NoVa that were simply astounding.

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George Mason University’s Fairfax campus is pretty big. In fact, I think it may be as big as my own alma mater (University of Maryland at College Park). I briefly went through the campus Barnes & Noble store, which had copies of Michael Wolff’s controversial bestseller about Donald Trump’s first year in the White House called Fire & Fury.

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I really had a blast at Maker Faire NoVa. It helped that the weather was in the 50’s that day so I was able to wear a light jacket instead of my heavy winter coat for a change. I even saw my first robin of the year while I was walking around outside going from building to building while checking out the event. (The entire event was spread over four buildings.) Sadly that warm weather was a short-lived thing because the weather turned really cold and rainy the next day followed by a snowstorm.

The only downside about that event is that for about a couple of days before that event I started to have stuffed sinuses. By the time of that event my throat felt more scratchy as I talked more and more with the general public while I worked at Phil’s booth. My legs had grown stiff and sore by the end of the day due to the huge amount of walking and standing I did throughout the day. The following day I felt extremely tired and sick. I ended up spending most of the next week sleeping (with the exception of the couple of times I went out in the snow where I did some shoveling two days after Maker Faire NoVa). I even ended up skipping the big March for Our Lives on the following Saturday due to being sick. But the video, photos, and fond memories from Maker Faire NoVa made it all worthwhile.

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Santa Claus

One early Thursday evening I decided to make a stop at Homestead Gardens on the way to attending my weekly support group meeting for people who are separated or divorced. They had their Christmas shop open and they decorated the grounds with all kinds of gorgeous lights. That store sold a variety of Christmas decorations along with plants like poinsettias. Here are the pictures I took.

Once again Homestead Gardens had its giant train layout where one can see toy trains travel past the various Department 56 ceramic buildings.

After I went to Homestead Gardens I went to Wegman’s where I purchased dinner to eat before I headed to my meeting. I also took some photos of interesting Christmas display, which I’ll write about in my next post.

I went back to Baltimore earlier this month so I could check out the latest session of Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School at The Windup Space. Once I arrived at the Station North Arts District, I still had some time to kill so I decided to play around with my Canon camera (which I purchased used off of eBay for only half the price of the same brand-new camera in a store). These days the days are shorter while the nights are longer, which means that the sun starts to set around 5 p.m. or so. I decided to put my camera on the low-light setting and I took a few night photos of the area near The Windup Space.

I eventually went inside The Windup Space where I continued to take pictures inside the place using the same low light settings on my camera. This is also the section of my post where some of the images are definitely NSFW. The next photo shows the stage where the model poses while we all draw.

Here’s a photo of my drink, which I only shot because I liked that line drawing of the ram that was on my drinking glass.

Here is a photo of some of the really cool looking beer taps at the bar. (And, yes, they are really functioning beer taps.)

I took a few photos of the current exhibit that’s on display at The Windup Space (as of this writing). Many of the photos on display are definitely NSFW.

This box is another indication that Christmas is coming next month. (No, I didn’t take up the offer of snagging myself a free Xmas hat. I already have an old Santa Claus hat with Mickey Mouse ears that I purchased at a Disney Store years ago and that’s good enough for me.)

Here is some graffiti I found inside of one of the stalls in the women’s restroom.

The last two photos are two different promotional flyers advertising the latest Dr. Sketchy’s event.

The rest of this post features only my drawings because there’s generally a ban on photographing the model. The model for this Dr. Sketchy’s session was a burlesque performer named Ruby Spruce and some of these drawings are definitely NSFW.

At one point Ruby Spruce did this performance that totally flipped me out for reasons that had nothing to do with Ruby or Dr. Sketchy’s or even Baltimore. Two weeks earlier I ran into a friend at my church’s annual Halloween/Samhain service (which also included a Trunk or Treat event and a party) who was dressed in this costume as Carol Burnett doing her Gone With the Wind parody. I recognized the reference because my family used to watch Carol Burnett’s TV show when I was growing up. (If you want to see Carol Burnett in that costume, you can watch a poor quality video of a short excerpt from that comedy sketch right here and/or you can watch a better quality video of Carol Burnett reflecting on that comedy sketch.) Very few people in my congregation recognized that reference. I think it’s because my congregation is a mix of older people who rarely watched television—even when they were younger in the 1970s (which was The Carol Burnett Show‘s heyday) they didn’t watch TV very much—and people who were either too young to remember that show or weren’t even born then.

So here I was at Dr. Sketchy’s and Ruby Spruce decided to do her burlesque performance midway through that evening and she appeared in that same curtain rod dress that my friend wore two weeks earlier while the theme song from The Carol Burnett Show was playing while she gradually stripped down to pasties and g-string. Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to photograph the model so I couldn’t show my friend any pictures of Ruby wearing that same costume she wore at church.

Instead, I’ll just post the photo of my friend wearing that curtain rod costume at church two weeks before Dr. Sketchy’s chatting with another church member.

Halloween/Samhain Service, October 29, 2017

After Ruby’s performance, I drew her with that hoop structure she wore underneath her curtain rod costume.

The one contest I took part in that evening was about the then-upcoming Black Friday. The owner of The Windup Space, Russell, was working behind the bar that night so the emcees had this idea of somehow incorporating Russell and Ruby Spruce with a Black Friday sale. I came up with the idea of Russell grabbing Ruby and taking her away from the store before Donald Trump could. I had an orange-skinned Donald Trump shake his tiny hands and yelling “You Son of a Bitch! I had first dibs on her! I’m the President! COME BACK!” Then I had Russell say “President Trump still has Melania and Ivanka. He doesn’t need Ruby as well.” I’ll admit that this drawing was the culmination of my pent-up frustration with Trump and his crazy antics both in the White House and on Twitter. (Of course I also derived inspiration from The Daily Show‘s classic two-part series Don’t Forget: Donald Trump Wants to Bang His Daughter and Again, Don’t Forget: Donald Trump Wants to Bang His Daughter.)

My drawing made it among the finalists but I didn’t win. After that contest, I did one more drawing of Ruby Spruce before the event ended for the evening.

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.

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

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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.

Santa Claus

 

 

 

 

Ever since I did some serious downsizing in the wake of my husband’s sudden walkout on me five years ago, I’ve been making do with limiting most of my Christmas decorations to a coffee table in my living room. I basically celebrate something I call a Tabletop Christmas. Here’s a picture of my setup that I took in 2012 but it’s still the same this year so I have no problem with reposting it.

Christmas tree in 2012

I’ve written previous blog posts about some of my decorations that I’ve put up, which you can read about at these links below:

Angel Christmas Tree Topper

Christmas angel treetopper

Hippie Merman Ornament

Ginger Cottages Incense Burner

Behnke's Nurseries, December 14, 2012

A Small One-Piece Peruvian Nativity Set

Nativity made in Peru

A Small One-Piece Wooden Nativity Set

My new nativity scene I purchased from Valley View Farms

Two Hedgehog Ornaments That I Originally Purchased When I Owned Spike, My Late Pet Hedgehog

My new hedgehog ornaments I purchased from Valley View Farms

Befana the Witch Glass Ornament

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Ornament Resembling a Stuffed Teddy Bear in a Traditional German Outfit

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A Snowman Bell

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A Robot Nutcracker

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A Fused Glass Gingerbread Man That I Made in a Workshop

Christmas-Ornament,-December-16,-2013

A Fused Glass Tree-Shaped Ornament That I Made in a Workshop

Fused Glass Christmas Ornament

A Vintage Elf That I’ve Owned Long Before the Elf on the Shelf Became This Annual Big Marketing Juggernaut

IMG_20131228_103201787-small

Animatronic Mickey’s Clock Shop

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Tangled Reindeer Which I Customized Myself

Rudolf the Red-Nosed Tangled Reindeer

Steampunk Snowman Which I Customized Myself

Steampunk Snowman

Macy’s Christmas Ornament Featuring a Mickey Mouse Balloon and the World Trade Center

2000 Macy's Christmas Ornament

Lace Moose Ornament

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Owl Made From a Tiny Gourd

Owl Gourd Christmas Ornament

A Delftware Style Ornament

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There’s only one other place where I also make a token observation to Christmas besides my living room coffee table. I have a wooden Santa Mickey Mouse puppet that hangs outside throughout the holiday season. That’s my only outdoor decoration I have and it’s one that I previously wrote about back in 2014.

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And now, for the first time in this blog, here’s a selfie of me wearing a Santa Mickey hat and a red Christmas sweater posting next to my Santa Mickey puppet.

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For added measure, here’s another selfie.

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This morning I went to church (Christmas fell on a Sunday this year) then I went to a local Chinese restaurant where I ate lunch at its usual special-priced weekend buffet. Here is what I got in my fortune cookie: A message that said “You will pass a difficult test that will make you happier.”

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Hmmmm. I’ll see about that. It would be cool if that fortune came true because I can use some happy times right about now.

Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10
Part 11
Part 12

This year I went to the Maryland Faerie Festival for the first time since 2011, when it was held in its previous location of Upper Marlboro. But, starting in 2012, the Maryland Faerie Festival was being held at Camp Ramblewood in Darlington, which is at least an hour and a half drive away from my home. On top of it, the Maryland Faerie Festival began to hold its event on Mother’s Day weekend, which was at the same time as the similarly-themed Greenbelt Green Man Festival. (Prior to the change in location, the Faerie Festival was usually held a weekend or two after the Green Man Festival so anyone interested in such things didn’t have to choose which one to go to.) I generally went to the Green Man Festival because it was held closer to my home.

Until this year when the organizers of the Maryland Faerie Festival finally decided to hold it later in the spring so it wouldn’t conflict with Mother’s Day. I was pretty happy because I missed not going to that festival so I finally got the chance to check out Camp Ramblewood to see what it was like.

The only bad thing was that the weather had been hot and humid like crazy. (The weather was more like July and August than a typical June in the Mid-Atlantic region.) But I had missed going to that festival so much that I was willing to overlook the weather in order to go. Besides the AccuWeather app on my smartphone said that it was going to rain on that same day and I figured that it would cool things off a bit so I packed an umbrella.

Except I went to the Bowie Baysox baseball game the night before and found that AccuWeather was wrong about the weather because it rained when that app said it wouldn’t rain at all and I had left my umbrella in the car because of it. So for the Maryland Faerie Festival I packed my umbrella to bring with me into the park and it not only didn’t rain at all but the humidity was very high and the temperature rose to the low 90’s.

Despite the weather I still liked the atmosphere of the place overall and I took a bunch of nice photos.

Here’s a rare selfie of me wearing a unicorn mask. I purchased the mask a few years earlier from Mythical Masks by Miscellaneous Oddiments LLC at the Greenbelt Green Man Festival back when I was still happily married and I could easily afford the occasional indulgence.

A rare selfie taken at the #marylandfaeriefestival

I wore the mask long enough so I could get a discount on admissions (which was given to anyone who arrived in costume) but I ended up taking it off and putting it in my tote bag for the rest of my time at the festival because I was positively sweltering while wearing it due to the high heat/high humidity. (Most of the time I have that mask hanging on a wall in my home like a picture using special hooks.)

As I wandered around the festival I was delighted to see the abundant fantasy and nature that seemed to be naturally blurred as one. It was my first time at Camp Ramblewood and I hadn’t been to the Maryland Faerie Festival in four years so everything was new and novel to me as I took out my smartphone and photographed everything like mad.

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

I was taking a picture of the man in the next photo wearing a Green Man t-shirt and holding his dragon. When I mentioned his t-shirt and the Greenbelt Green Man Festival, we got to talking and it turned out that we have two friends in common yet I have never met him until that festival. It’s a small world after all (to quote the famous Disney song).

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

The next few photos show the booth that was staffed by the band Frenchy and the Punk. I once caught them live in a show that my husband and I attended together just a few months before he abruptly left me for someone else. (I even shot a few videos from that show here, here, here, and here.) Apparently Frenchy and the Punk is evolving beyond music to show off and sell their handmade arts and crafts, much of which I found quite impressive.

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

Everywhere I went there were all kinds of sights, sounds, and colors.

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the Wishing Tree Grove, people could hang up their wishes written on tiny strips of paper while children of all ages had the opportunity to create small fairy houses and fairy doors for all the wee magical folk.

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

And here are some more nice bucolic scenes.

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

There were all kinds of performances at that festival throughout the day. I caught one such act by a band known as Telesma, which played very catchy music that got people dancing on their feet while others sat around both inside and outside near the open-air barn where the performance took place.

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

I came across a Mermaid Lagoon. Seriously!

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

I came across this pirate ship display which had a large doll whose face resembled Barbie. I later did some Google research and I found that there is a three-foot version of Barbie available for sale. Wow! I never knew that before!

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

I also ran into a friend of mine at this festival. The woman on the right is Patty. She’s standing next to a friend of hers named Alex.

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

For those who wanted to spend an entire weekend at the Maryland Faerie Festival (the festival ran from late Friday night through late Sunday afternoon) but didn’t want to face a three-day long commute, Camp Ramblewood has cabins where individuals and small groups can rent that provides rustic living. For people who prefer to get even closer to nature, there are also areas that one can rent so he/she can erect a tent.

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

There was a red unicorn who was sharing a pen with a fairy goat while both mythical animals were being cared for by a yellow fairy. When the yellow fairy decided to ride the red unicorn’s back for a brief stroll around the festival grounds, the fairy goat, which had been lying down resting, suddenly got up and began to wander around the pen and bleat like crazy. I guess the fairy goat was upset over not being included with that outing. LOL!

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

I went through some forbidden forest, known as the Unseelie Woods until I found some Unseelie Faeries.

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

I checked out some goblins in a goblin tent.

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

There were also all kinds of arts and crafts that one can view and/or purchase.

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At times the heat and humidity was pretty overwhelming. At one point I actually rested under one of the tent canopies where I struck up this pleasant conversation with a woman and her owl.

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

I ended up eating dinner at the festival and I stayed until the official 6 p.m. closing time. (There was a special nighttime party event that was scheduled to begin a few hours later but I would’ve had to pay an extra $25 and I just didn’t want to deal with facing the first leg of my return trip home along dark rural roads by myself.) By the end of the day there were very few visitors left. I think the high heat and high humidity got to a lot of people because the place was nearly empty by around 4 or 5 p.m. I left after I finished my dinner. On my way out I saw that Camp Ramblewood has this wooden sculpture that’s not only two-sided but also has two genders.

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

At the #marylandfaeriefestival

Here is the one thing I got at the Maryland Faerie Festival and I got it for free. It’s a temporary rose tattoo. I put it on while I was still at the festival using some bottled water I had with me. The temporary tattoo lasted around five days until some of it began to break up. It became unrecognizable after seven days as more of the tattoo flecked away from the skin.

I got this temporary rose tattoo at the #marylandfaeriefestival

http://www.nablopomo.com

June 8, 2015 would’ve been my wedding anniversary had my husband not left me for one of our friends, filed for divorce, then remarried her just two months after my divorce was final. In addition, it would’ve been one of those special anniversaries. You know, the ones with the years ending in either the number “0” or “5.”

Yeah, it sucked for me but I was determined to make the best out of what could’ve been a melancholy situation. I decided to write a special post about my memories of the now-defunct Hutzler’s just for the day itself since my mother came close to buying me a wedding gown from that store only to find that there weren’t any available in my size at the time. (We subsequently went to a more traditional bridal gown shop in Glen Burnie that has also since gone out of business.)

Once that post went live, I decided to do some more fun stuff for myself. I learned that The Wind-Up Space in Baltimore was holding another session of Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School. In addition, that particular session was the Dr. Sketchy’s Baltimore chapter’s 7th anniversary so I thought it would be more fun to celebrate an actual anniversary on June 8 instead of commemorating an anniversary that could’ve been but never was.

Heck, in some ways I went full circle. My husband and I were married in my parents’ backyard in Glen Burnie. After the reception winded down, my new husband and I drove to Baltimore where we spent our wedding night at a hotel there. The following afternoon we returned to my parents’ home in Glen Burnie where we opened our wedding presents then we headed off to BWI Airport where we flew to Orlando for our honeymoon (where we ended up spending the week with my cousin and her then-husband). So it was appropriate for me to spend night of June 8 in Baltimore once again.

Once I arrived in the area the first thing I did was treat myself to dinner at this Popeye’s that had recently opened in the area. It may not have been fancy but I still liked it. (I’ve eaten at other Popeye’s before so I knew what kind of food they served.) After dinner I took advantage of the long days to walk around the Station North Arts District and take some photos before I went inside The Wind-Up Space.

I found this wheat pasted flyer for the Rez Ball XII that will be held later this month. I liked the neon Cheshire Cat. What I also found interesting is that this event is being held in Lanham, which is close to my own home.

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The Station North Arts District seems to be coming alive in color. There are some wall murals that I haven’t seen before with older wall murals whose colors seem brighter than on previous visits. (I have no idea if they were recently given a new paint job or if it’s the effect of the bright spring sunshine.) But, on the other hand, there are still boarded-up buildings that could use a makeover so they could be inhabitable once again. (My big beef with Baltimore is that there are so many boarded-up buildings yet there are a lot of homeless people who are literally living on the streets. It seems so logical for the city to take over those boarded-up buildings, bring them up to code, then find a way of making them affordable enough for homeless people to move in.) Yet the boarded up buildings also have some art on them, as if some artist is thinking that if the buildings are going to remain boarded up, might as well paint some pretty art on the boards. It’s such an interesting conundrum.

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Someone had painted footsteps in bright green paint on the sidewalk leading from St. Paul Street to North Avenue.

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Near the painted footprints, someone did a really pretty mirrored mosaic work of art.

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Then there is this building with a white billboard that’s at the intersection of West North Avenue and North Charles Street. I’ve seen this billboard before on previous trips. Here it is in 2013, when the billboard was nothing but a blank space with a tiny bit of graffiti.

Station North Arts District, Baltimore, Maryland,  July 26, 2013

By the following year, 2014, someone had painted large lettering on the billboard about land banking.

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For 2015, the billboard had been painted over with a new thought-provoking slogan that seems appropriate since the city is still in the aftermath of the police killing of Freddie Gray and the riots that immediately followed it, along with the city-wide curfew.

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The most unexpected discovery I made is located along St. Paul Street. I saw this lush garden through the mesh fencing and some animals. When I initially thought they were small dogs until I saw one of them raise its head and began to move in the way that led me to realize that they were chickens. Actual chickens in Baltimore!

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I realized that I had stumbled upon an urban farm. I know all about urban farms because there’s one located near my town in Edmonston called Eco City Farms. After all the bad news about Baltimore lately (based on both what I read and what I saw in real life), I’m pretty heartened that a group of people are trying to do something positive in the city and that’s a good thing.

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As I walked towards The Wind-Up Space I saw a small construction project currently underway. Maybe the next time I’m in the area this project will be finished and I’ll know exactly what they were building.

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I entered The Wind-Up Space and I saw that the place had a new art exhibit on the walls. I took a photo of this painting because I literally grew up reading Little Golden Books as a child.

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I also saw this interesting looking painting as well.

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Then there is this hanging owl blanket that I really loved. If only I had unlimited space, I would’ve talked to someone at The Wind-Up Space about buying it. Oh well.

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Then there is Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School itself. The model for this evening was a belly dancer named Deviana Fox. Even though belly dancers tend to show less skin than burlesque performers, I still slapped a NSFW on this post because the little skin she showed could still shock someone who thinks that belly dancers need to wear even more clothes so their skin can’t be shown at all. (Yes, there are people in the U.S. who can easily get their panties into bunches over a woman wearing an outfit that shows bare arms or legs.)

Deviana Fox had these large swords that she posed with at times throughout the evening.

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She also posed with this huge hookah throughout the evening as well.

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One of the contests I participated in was centered around the fact that June 8 would’ve been Joan Rivers’ birthday had she not died from complications stemming from what is usually minor throat surgery last year. The contest was to incorporate Joan Rivers doing one of her infamous red carpet interviews of Deviana Fox. I dressed Joan in the same outfit as Deviana while I had her say “She’s wearing MY outfit!!! Copying my style is gauche! What’s your response?” That drawing made it among the finalists but it didn’t win.

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There was one other contest I took part in. Apparently every year whenever there is a Dr. Sketchy’s Baltimore anniversary event, something goes wrong. This time one of the people running this event had came down with this cold so she was on stage speaking in this hoarse voice throughout the evening. The contest was to incorporate another disaster that could strike a future Dr. Sketchy’s Baltimore anniversary event. I thought of the opening sequence for the British comedy show Monty Python’s Flying Circus where there are a bunch of animated pictures playing along John Phillips Sousa’s “Liberty Bell March.” Then this giant foot comes down from the heavens and crushes the show’s title. (By the way did you know that the giant foot came from Agnolo Bronzino’s Renaissance-era painting Venus, Cupid, Folly, and Time?) This drawing didn’t make it among the finalists this time.

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I drew one last picture of Deviana Fox sitting in a recliner with a hookah before I headed home.

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http://www.nablopomo.com

Once again the annual Greenbelt Green Man Festival was held on Mother’s Day weekend. For the first time in three years I went to that festival without being involved in anything. (That was also the year I brought my late pet hedgehog Spike with me because there was also a Greenbelt Pet Expo that was held nearby.) Two years ago I worked as a vendor hawking my handcrafted wares, which turned out to be so financially disappointing to me that I decided to never sell there again. (I’ve worked as a vendor at that same festival other years before that one and the results were definitely mixed for me.) Last year I helped out with staffing a table that was run by the Greenbelt Cooperative Incubator for a few hours. So this year it’s pretty novel for me to go to this festival without having any kind of behind-the-scenes commitment and it felt great!

I arrived later to the festival than other years mainly because my lawn desperately needed mowing. I had mowed it the week before but the grass grew quickly back because of the frequent showers that have passed through our area. So I arrived to the festival feeling even more laid back this year.

The only downside was that it was very hot and humid that weekend. (The temperature went as high as 85 degrees Fahrenheit.) It usually doesn’t get that hot and humid in May. It’s the kind of weather that tends to show up in July and August. I ended up dressing lightly that weekend.

There were vendors selling their wares, a variety of entertainment acts performing on stage, an a variety of hands-on activities for people of all ages. Naturally I took a bunch of pictures. Here are the ones I took on the first day of the festival on May 9.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 1, May 9, 2015

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 1, May 9, 2015

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 1, May 9, 2015

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 1, May 9, 2015

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 1, May 9, 2015

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 1, May 9, 2015

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 1, May 9, 2015

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 1, May 9, 2015

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 1, May 9, 2015

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 1, May 9, 2015

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 1, May 9, 2015

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 1, May 9, 2015

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 1, May 9, 2015

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 1, May 9, 2015

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 1, May 9, 2015

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 1, May 9, 2015

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 1, May 9, 2015

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 1, May 9, 2015

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 1, May 9, 2015

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 1, May 9, 2015

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 1, May 9, 2015

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 1, May 9, 2015

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 1, May 9, 2015

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 1, May 9, 2015

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 1, May 9, 2015

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 1, May 9, 2015

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 1, May 9, 2015

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 1, May 9, 2015

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 1, May 9, 2015

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 1, May 9, 2015

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 1, May 9, 2015

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 1, May 9, 2015

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 1, May 9, 2015

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 1, May 9, 2015

The second day was actually Mother’s Day itself. I’m also helping my church will a social action project where I’m helping with teaching English to local immigrants. I decided to skip Sunday service so I could check out Day 2 of the Greenbelt Green Man Festival in the morning, then leave for the English class that I’m helping with teaching at my church from 1:15-3:30 p.m. After the class ended, I went back to the festival for some late afternoon fun before I headed home for dinner. I managed to arrive during the early part of the festival just in time to check out the first day of the new season of the Greenbelt Farmers Market. (That farmers market always have its first day coincide with Mother’s Day AND the second day of the Greenbelt Green Man Festival, which makes parking a total bitch. I managed to find some parking that was a short walking distance away from where all the action took place.)

The Greenbelt Farmers Market, May 10, 2015

The Greenbelt Farmers Market, May 10, 2015

The Greenbelt Farmers Market, May 10, 2015

The Greenbelt Farmers Market, May 10, 2015

The Greenbelt Farmers Market, May 10, 2015

I did some browsing at the Green Man Festival as well. There was an exhibit featuring a beehive that was run by some local beekeepers, which was pretty cool.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 2, May 10, 2015 (Mother's Day)

This particular hive has a newly hatched queen bee, whom the other bees have surrounded in an effort to protect her. Someone painted a blue dot on the queen bee’s back so visitors can easily spot her.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 2, May 10, 2015 (Mother's Day)

After checking out the Greenbelt Farmers Market and a little bit of the Greenbelt Green Man Festival, I left for my church’s English class. After that class ended I returned to the festival. By that time the vendors from the farmers market had left so there were more available parking. The beekeepers had left with their hive by then but there were plenty of things to see and do and photograph.

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 2, May 10, 2015 (Mother's Day)

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 2, May 10, 2015 (Mother's Day)

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 2, May 10, 2015 (Mother's Day)

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 2, May 10, 2015 (Mother's Day)

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 2, May 10, 2015 (Mother's Day)

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 2, May 10, 2015 (Mother's Day)

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 2, May 10, 2015 (Mother's Day)

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 2, May 10, 2015 (Mother's Day)

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 2, May 10, 2015 (Mother's Day)

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 2, May 10, 2015 (Mother's Day)

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 2, May 10, 2015 (Mother's Day)

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 2, May 10, 2015 (Mother's Day)

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 2, May 10, 2015 (Mother's Day)

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 2, May 10, 2015 (Mother's Day)

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 2, May 10, 2015 (Mother's Day)

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 2, May 10, 2015 (Mother's Day)

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 2, May 10, 2015 (Mother's Day)

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 2, May 10, 2015 (Mother's Day)

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 2, May 10, 2015 (Mother's Day)

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 2, May 10, 2015 (Mother's Day)

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 2, May 10, 2015 (Mother's Day)

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 2, May 10, 2015 (Mother's Day)

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 2, May 10, 2015 (Mother's Day)

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 2, May 10, 2015 (Mother's Day)

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 2, May 10, 2015 (Mother's Day)

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 2, May 10, 2015 (Mother's Day)

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 2, May 10, 2015 (Mother's Day)

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 2, May 10, 2015 (Mother's Day)

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 2, May 10, 2015 (Mother's Day)

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 2, May 10, 2015 (Mother's Day)

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 2, May 10, 2015 (Mother's Day)

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 2, May 10, 2015 (Mother's Day)

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 2, May 10, 2015 (Mother's Day)

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 2, May 10, 2015 (Mother's Day)

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 2, May 10, 2015 (Mother's Day)

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 2, May 10, 2015 (Mother's Day)

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 2, May 10, 2015 (Mother's Day)

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 2, May 10, 2015 (Mother's Day)

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 2, May 10, 2015 (Mother's Day)

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 2, May 10, 2015 (Mother's Day)

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 2, May 10, 2015 (Mother's Day)

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 2, May 10, 2015 (Mother's Day)

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 2, May 10, 2015 (Mother's Day)

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 2, May 10, 2015 (Mother's Day)

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 2, May 10, 2015 (Mother's Day)

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 2, May 10, 2015 (Mother's Day)

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 2, May 10, 2015 (Mother's Day)

Greenbelt Green Man Festival, Day 2, May 10, 2015 (Mother's Day)

I basically hung around for a couple of hours until it was close to dinner (also when the festival started to wind down) then headed home.

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