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Beauty blogger and her new husband ruined their wedding photographer’s reputation over a $125 fee, so a jury told them to pay her $1 million.

Sorry, Google memo man: women were in tech long before you.

How a Maryland town is turning its New Deal past into a new economy present.

An Indian woman was born into the Dalit caste, which made her “untouchable” by society. Despite the odds, she managed to immigrate to America where she became the first Indian woman to be employed as a conductor on the New York Subway.

Adobe to (finally) pull the plug on Flash, for real this time.

She encouraged a girl she babysat to continue with her interest in art. Eleven years later she got this letter.

The Italian highlanders who may have Scottish roots.

World’s oldest smiley face found on a jug from 1700 B.C.E.

Meet Anatomic Anna and Andy, dolls with removable organs.

Extinguished, a stunning animated short, will positively melt your heart.

Interactive art center Meow Wolf is forging a new business model for artists.

11 women who did groundbreaking things that men got the credit for.

The British Museum creates 3D models of the Rosetta Stone and 200+ other historic artifacts for free download or view in virtual reality. 

How the plastic pink flamingo became an icon.

A free tutorial on how to make a cardboard geodesic dome den.

An entire Manhattan village owned by African Americans was destroyed to build Central Park.

Why the myth of meritocracy hurts children of color.

Comic Parchment, the ultimate font.

Play The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy video game, which was designed by author Douglas Adams in 1984, for free online.

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Sometimes I like to bring my laptop to IKEA so I can sit in their cafe and surf the Internet using their wifi. I also like eating there as well. The next photo shows this cinnamon bun that I ate when I was there last time. IKEA’s cinnamon buns only cost $1 each but I think they taste much better than Cinnabon’s more expensive buns. What’s more, if I ever have a bunch of people over at my place, I can purchase a pack of six buns for only $4. Sweet!

Cinnamon Bun

I also saw a bin full of pink flamingo plushies. It doesn’t get more kitsch than this!

Pink Flamingos Plush

Sometimes you can find the unexpected at IKEA, such as this gorgeous sunset right outside the building.

The things you can find at Ikea: This lovely sunset outside the store.

I spent Small Business Saturday just cruising around two towns that are located squarely in the Gateway Arts District of Prince George’s County. First I headed to Mount Rainier where I checked out ReCreative Spaces.

Small Business Saturday at the Gateway Arts District of Prince George's County, Maryland

Small Business Saturday at the Gateway Arts District of Prince George's County

During my time there I created this Christmas ornament using green cardboard, ribbon, and pom-poms.

Small Business Saturday at the Gateway Arts District of Prince George's County

I also got this free recyclable shopping bag, which was pretty cool.

Small Business Saturday at the Gateway Arts District of Prince George's County

Small Business Saturday at the Gateway Arts District of Prince George's County

After my time at ReCreative Spaces I headed over to Hyattsville. The first place I stopped at was at the Pyramid Atlantic Art Center, where I took these pictures.

Small Business Saturday at the Gateway Arts District of Prince George's County

Small Business Saturday at the Gateway Arts District of Prince George's County

Small Business Saturday at the Gateway Arts District of Prince George's County

Small Business Saturday at the Gateway Arts District of Prince George's County

Small Business Saturday at the Gateway Arts District of Prince George's County

Then I stepped outside where I caught this cool lighting effect of the late afternoon sun on the American flag against a dark cloudy

I stopped by the Three Little Birds Sewing Company, where I took these pictures.

Small Business Saturday at the Gateway Arts District of Prince George's County

Small Business Saturday at the Gateway Arts District of Prince George's County

Next door to the Three Little Birds Sewing Company is a temporary pop-up shop that’s being run by Tanglewood Works in addition to its original location in nearby Edmonston.

Small Business Saturday at the Gateway Arts District of Prince George's County

Small Business Saturday at the Gateway Arts District of Prince George's County

Small Business Saturday at the Gateway Arts District of Prince George's County

Small Business Saturday at the Gateway Arts District of Prince George's County

Small Business Saturday at the Gateway Arts District of Prince George's County

Small Business Saturday at the Gateway Arts District of Prince George's County

Small Business Saturday at the Gateway Arts District of Prince George's County

I walked around outside where I took a few twilight photos (including some gorgeous sunsets).

Small Business Saturday at the Gateway Arts District of Prince George's County

Small Business Saturday at the Gateway Arts District of Prince George's County

Small Business Saturday at the Gateway Arts District of Prince George's County

Small Business Saturday at the Gateway Arts District of Prince George's County

The last place I stopped in while I was in Hyattsville was at Franklins Restaurant, Brewery, and General Store.

Small Business Saturday at the Gateway Arts District of Prince George's County

Small Business Saturday at the Gateway Arts District of Prince George's County

Small Business Saturday at the Gateway Arts District of Prince George's County

Small Business Saturday at the Gateway Arts District of Prince George's County

Small Business Saturday at the Gateway Arts District of Prince George's County

I was pretty content to just spend the bulk of my holiday weekend at the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival while spending my downtime at home working on this tiny art canvas for an upcoming local contest. Monday-Thursday before the holiday were spent visiting my mother in a hospital in Glen Burnie. Thursday turned out to be the day before she was released from the hospital so I put my latest painting in the car, drove to Glen Burnie to visit my mother (while leaving my art in the car during that visit), then go directly from the hospital in Glen Burnie to the Greenbelt Community Center so I could drop off my painting for the Greenbelt Labor Day Art Show since it was the first time period that submissions were being accepted. Friday I drove to Baltimore where I visited the Walters Art Museum then went to the nearby Escape Artists Gallery for a closing show party regarding this exhibition that I took part in. I was invited to take my painting with me when I left because it didn’t sell and the show was going to end in two days.

After spending the last five days commuting from the DC area to the Baltimore area I was ready to do less traveling for Labor Day.

I didn’t make it to the first night of the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival on Friday because I was in Baltimore at that time. I went on Saturday because I had signed up to serve a shift as a monitor at the art show. (All participants were required to sign up for one volunteer shift during the show.) The day before I had some ATM drama where I tried to use this machine in Baltimore that gave me one of those dreaded “Access Denied” messages. The following morning I went to my own bank’s ATM and I got some money with no problem at all. I felt happy and I was all ready to just enjoy the festival.

The weather was incredibly lovely and pleasant. It was warm but not too hot and there was no humidity in the air. In short, it was a perfect day to go to an outdoor festival.

Since parking is atrocious whenever the Labor Day Festival happens I took the shuttle bus over to the festival grounds after I ate lunch at home. I went over to the art show where I served my monitor shift for an hour from 3-4 p.m. Here is the painting that I submitted to this year’s Greenbelt Labor Day Art Show.

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You can read more about the making of this piece right here.

My monitor shift was peaceful and uneventful. After my shift ended I looked at the rest of the art that were on display in both the art show and photography show. I ate a giant pretzel topped with crabmeat and cheese for dinner then ate an ice cream cone for dessert. I checked the various booths and tables that were there that day. I played a few rounds of Bingo but I didn’t win anything. I also shot some photographs.

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Since this year is an election year, there were life-sized cardboard figures resembling Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

I hung around the festival as the sun started to set and day turned into night.

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Basically I took pictures until I grew tired. I decided to take the shuttle bus back to where my car was parked. While I was waiting at the bus stop I saw a couple pass me from behind and I immediately recognized them as my ex-husband and my onetime mentally ill friend whom he married just two months after out divorce was final. By then it was around 8 p.m. and I was leaving the festival while the Backstabbing Couple From Hell were just entering it. At least I didn’t have to worry about running into them. (LOL!)

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 4, 2016
Greenbelt Parade and Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2016

Just a few days before Labor Day I got word that my mother was sent to the University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center in Glen Burnie for sepsis. I even wrote a couple of blog posts on August 31, 2016 and September 1, 2016 about my mom’s latest hospitalization. Luckily the staff managed to treat it so she could be released just in time for the start of the Labor Day holiday weekend.

When I was growing up in Glen Burnie the hospital was known as North Arundel Hospital. I was there when I was a high school senior in order to have a pilonidal cyst removed just before the start of Thanksgiving Day. (In fact I was released just the day before Thanksgiving.) I visited other relatives during their hospital stays when it was still known as North Aundel.

The University of Maryland took over North Arundel after I permanently left Glen Burnie and they not only renamed that hospital but it also did major amount of remodeling of the original hospital building while adding other adjacent buildings next to it so that hospital is now way larger than when I remembered it while I was growing up.

I took a few photos of the hospital. It’s very glitzy compared to my memories of the old North Arundel Hospital. But my mom did get excellent care during her recent stay so I have no complaints.

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I also spent some time exploring Glen Burnie while I was commuting both to and from the hospital. In fact the whole week before Labor Day was spent commuting from the Washington, DC area to Glen Burnie. I checked out what was once one of my favorite shopping malls growing up that was known as the Glen Burnie Mall. In the years since I’ve moved that mall changed its name to The Centre at Glen Burnie but it has definitely gone downhill since I left that town. One of the few interesting things I found about that mall is that it was the first time I’ve ever seen a vending machine that dispenses Pringles potato chips. I purchased one and I found that it sold the small individual sized cans in that machine. But I still found it pretty novel that there is actually a vending machine that sells nothing but Pringles potato chips.

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I also went inside of Toys R Us, which is still going strong even though its main entrance faces a nearly dead mall. I saw that there is yet another re-release of Furby, which brought back memories of the time I did a fan site devoted to Furby in the late 1990’s-early 2000’s only to get all kinds of crazy attention from people who ere desperate to get their hands on these electronic critters. This new Furby generation was on sale for a whopping $99! (I remember when the original Furbys only cost $30.)

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I last took pictures inside this mall back in 2014 and even then it looked dead with very few stores still in business. As you can see, this mall has gotten even more deserted since then. There’s one end of the mall that’s not even worth walking to anymore because all of the storefronts and kiosks are completely closed and empty.

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I did some driving along the downtown Glen Burnie area on Crain Highway. This downtown was once very lively with a lot of locally owned mom-and-pop stores back when Glen Burnie was a small rural farming town. But then the developers built new shopping malls and shopping centers and those new shopping areas had siphoned off much of the original downtown businesses. When I was growing up, I saw mostly empty storefronts. In fact, that downtown was notorious for the New Glen Theater, which originally started as a regular movie theater but, by the time my family moved to Glen Burnie, that theater showed nothing but pornographic x-rated films. After I left Glen Burnie the New Glen Theater was somehow closed (I have no idea if the owner decided to sell or if the local officials seized it through eminent domain) and torn down. The downtown has undergone a bit of a revival in recent years. (Naturally all this happened long after I moved away.) There is this really cool antique store at the intersection of Crain Highway and Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard that is filled from the floor to the ceiling with antiques. One could easily spend the whole day in that store.

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I also checked out this large big box discount store that’s located closer to where my childhood home is located. It’s known as Gabe’s and there aren’t any stores with that name in my area. In fact, I did a search at Gabe’s site and I found that that chain does operate stores in my area under the name Rugged Wearhouse.

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As you can see Gabe’s is a discount place with a constant stream of merchandise that’s similar to places like Roses, Burlington Coat Factory, Marshall’s, and T.J. Maxx.

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I last visited my mother in the hospital on the day before she was scheduled to be released (which was the Friday before the start of Labor Day weekend). I brought my latest painting, My Little Pony, with me because it was also the first day that the Greenbelt Labor Day Art Show was accepting entries and it was the most convenient time due to the fact that I was going to Baltimore the next day (which I’ll write about in a future post). I left the painting in the car while I visited my mom. Afterwards I stopped off at this Royal Farms Store. I decided to pick up some dinner and I love Royal Farms’ fried chicken.

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This particular Royal Farms Store had an adjacent car wash that was also touted as being environmentally friendly.

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This particular Royal Farms is pretty spacious, as you can see in the next few photos.

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Royal Farms has a unique way of ordering food that I haven’t seen anywhere else. You go to this touch screen and order what you want. This screen prints out a receipt. You go to the cashier, show the person your receipt, and pay for your meal. Then you wait until your meal has been packaged then you pick it up.

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I also purchased a pack of Berger Cookies because I haven’t had them in a while and they are such a great treat.

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I basically drove from Glen Burnie to the Greenbelt Community Center so I could drop off my painting for the Greenbelt Labor Day Art Show. Then I returned home where I ate my Royal Farms fried chicken meal and Berger Cookies.

There was one weekend in June that had two festivals I was potentially interested in attending—one was the Maryland Faerie Festival and the other was Hon Fest. Both took place on the same weekend. I finally chose Hon Fest because I went to the Maryland Faerie Festival last year, money was a bit too tight for me to take a longer trip to Darlington, and I hadn’t been to Hon Fest since 2013. So I wallowed in this annual celebration of kitsch.

The only downside was the weather. For the past two or three weeks before the festival the weather had been a bit on the cool side with low humidity. It figures that the usual high heat and high humidity would make a comeback just in hime for Hon Fest. (The temperature went up as high as 91 degrees Fahrenheit and, boy, did I feel that humidity.) I dealt with the weather by periodically ducking into the air conditioned shops.

I took a whole lot of pictures because everything was so over the top.

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

One of the cooling stations was at St. Luke’s Church on the Avenue, which is a really lovely  historic church that is engaged in all kinds of social action projects, such as setting up its own urban garden.

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

The church got in on the Hon Fest kitsch action by setting up this giant Kerplunk! game outside.

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

I did some more shots of the festival and the surrounding area. It was one large major piece of kitschy eye candy.

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

At one point I played around with my Hatsune Miku smartphone app, which resulted in this photo.

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

Other than that photo I basically took my Hon Fest pictures straight with no filters or special apps.

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

I checked out this relatively new store (or at least it had opened since my last visit to the Hampden area back in 2013) called The Nerdporium, which has comic books and classic video games on sale.

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

After my brief visit to The Nerdporium I resumed my picture taking of the sights of Hon Fest in general.

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

I showed up to one of the stages where I saw a band that I recognized. They are The Wild Anacostias and I have seen them play at various places near my home before. That’s cool to suddenly run into their performance. They definitely got the crowd going.

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

The Wild Anacostias led a procession of Hons (people who dressed up in totally kitsch fashion) to an area where a professional photographer took a group shot.

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016
HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

Even Mr. Natty Boh got in on the fun.

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

I shot a short video of the beginning of the parade where you can see what the people who followed them wore.

This next photo is of the inside of a Royal Farms Store. I’ve been to other Royal Farms Store but this one is the fanciest I’ve ever been in. This location actually has two floors with tables and chairs. The others I’ve been in are the usual convenience stores with no seating.

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

Here’s the Glamour Lounge where a woman can get her hair teased into a beehive.

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

Here are a few more miscellaneous shots of the festival.

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

I finished my time at Hon Fest with some ice cream that was made on the premises at The Charmery. They not only had excellent ice cream but there is also a pretty cool wall mural with a painted sidewalk on the side of the store. A lot of people chilled by that store.

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

After I finished eating my ice cream and taking the previous photos, I decided to head back to the parking garage so I could retrieve my car. (One great thing about Hon Fest is that Johns Hopkins University lends out its parking garage for only $5. It’s only slightly more than taking the light rail then transferring to the Hampden shuttle bus and it’s way more convenient.)

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

I went inside a shop called Bazaar Baltimore, which sells all kinds of strange stuff.

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

Once I left that store I blundered around the area for a bit. (I rarely visit that area.) I managed to reach the 700 block of 34th Street, which is the same area that’s famous for its annual display of Christmas lights. Seeing that block again reminded me of the time I went there in June, 2013 and I did a blog post where I posted photos showing side-by-side comparisons of that block in early summer with that same block six months earlier when all the homes were decked out in lights. I took a few brief pictures of those homes but not as many as I took back in 2013.

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

What’s more, two of those homes in that block are currently for sale. If you’re looking for a new home in Baltimore and you’re the kind of person who loves to totally decorate your home for Christmas and you don’t mind getting a lot of attention from people who literally come from across the U.S. (and even some foreign countries), then you may want to call the phone numbers listed in those signs.

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

At one point, while I was on my way back to the parking garage I tripped and fell on my knees. One knee was scraped up so much that I had to use tissues to blot the blood and I ended up covering it with a large bandage when I got home. I was feeling a bit woozy from the high heat and high humidity so I wasn’t quite as careful when I was walking. Luckily I was okay. The wound got slightly infected at one point but I managed to get rid of the infection by using Dr. Gordshell’s Skin Cream. It’s the same stuff my parents used to use on me when I was a kid and I would sometimes have a scraped knee that became infected. This stuff did a great job with my latest wound. Dr. Gordshell’s is so good at fighting burns and infections that if you have a situation where it doesn’t work at all, then it’s time for you to see the doctor. I’m serious about this. (And, no, Dr. Gordshell’s isn’t paying me to endorse this. I have had enough first-hand experience that I can vouch for its effectiveness.)

I managed to take one more charming photo of a home in Hampden before I found the parking garage so I could retrieve my car and drive home.

HonFest, Baltimore, Maryland, June 11, 2016

I recently helped out with the yard sale that was put on as a fundraiser for Changing Focus, my support group for people who are separated or divorced. The yard sale was held on the grounds of the Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church. My role was basically collect people’s money as they bought stuff that was donated to the yard sale. Here are just some of the items I managed to photograph with my smartphone.

Someone donated a whole bunch of pink flamingoes along with the metal legs that are supposed to support the plastic birds. The only thing is that most of the metal legs didn’t even fit these birds. I remember trying to fit them in the holes and they just wouldn’t go in. Other people tried as well but very few of the legs actually fit the flamingoes. As a result we had to lay most of them on the ground. Despite this the pink flamingoes were completely sold out by the end of the yard sale.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 30, 2016

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 30, 2016

These shoes were the ultimate in Christmas kitsch, complete with Santa Claus.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 30, 2016

I once had something like this. There was a time when many people owned a VHS rewinder because rewinding the VHS tapes tended to put stress on the VCR motor that would cause that machine to wear out. So basically we used to play the VHS tape in the VCR until we were finished then transfer the VHS tape to the VHS rewinder to rewind the tape back to the beginning. These rewinders became obsolete with the advent of DVDs, online streaming, programs on-demand, etc.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 30, 2016

Here’s a throwback to the days when America Online was the big name on the Information Superhighway and that corporation would put its logo on all kinds of freebies like this coffee mug.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 30, 2016

Conair Hot Sticks, the perfect product for getting your hair in that perfect 1980’s hairdo.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, April 30, 2016

While the yard sale went on outside the Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church, inside the church there was a massive used book sale where all the proceeds went to the church itself. I saw this book on sale but I ended up not buying it. I regret it now because the title is pretty hilarious.

Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church Book Sale, April 30, 2016

Here’s an obsolete book from Kodak on how to make good sound movies.

Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church Book Sale, April 30, 2016

Here’s an antique Bible that’s written in Swedish.

Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church Book Sale, April 30, 2016

I scored big time at this book sale. I managed to buy all three Hunger Games books and the first two books in the Vampire Diaries series for under $10. See, there is a benefit to being behind in pop culture. (LOL!)

If that’s not enough, there was also the Festival on the Green, which is an arts and crafts show that’s held nearby on the grounds of the Crofton Country Club. Here are some photos I took there.

Festival on the Green, Crofton, Maryland, April 30, 2016

Festival on the Green, Crofton, Maryland, April 30, 2016

Festival on the Green, Crofton, Maryland, April 30, 2016

Festival on the Green, Crofton, Maryland, April 30, 2016

Festival on the Green, Crofton, Maryland, April 30, 2016

Festival on the Green, Crofton, Maryland, April 30, 2016

Festival on the Green, Crofton, Maryland, April 30, 2016

Festival on the Green, Crofton, Maryland, April 30, 2016

Festival on the Green, Crofton, Maryland, April 30, 2016

I made just two purchases at the Festival on the Green. Both of them were bars of soap that I purchased from Naturally Silky Soap and Natural Image Botanicals.

Festival on the Green, Crofton, Maryland, April 30, 2016

Festival on the Green, Crofton, Maryland, April 30, 2016

Last Saturday I decided to go to Crafty Bastards again for the first time since 2014. This event was subtitled “Cabin Fever” because this event was held indoors (which makes a lot of sense when it comes to Washington, DC in February).

I took the Metro to the NoMa/Gallaudet University station then walked along New York Avenue. I assumed that the venue was within walking distance. Actually it turned out to be at least a half-an-hour’s walk from the Metro station. Along the way I took some photos, such as this structure which graces the overpass on New York Avenue.

Structure at Edge of New York Avenue, NE Overpass

Not too long ago it was considered foolhardy to walk alone anytime in the Northeastern section of DC, especially during the crack epidemic of the 1980’s and 1990’s. It seemed like there was at least one shooting a week in that area. I still remember when I was taking night classes in an ill-fated effort to study desktop publishing (I finished the certificate but I wasn’t able to find a job in the desktop publishing field) back in the 1990’s. One class I took included a field trip to this printing plant that was in Northeast at the time. The week before that trip we were instructed to go directly to that printing plant and, what’s more, she strongly urged us to drive there instead of taking public transportation because that area as so crime-ridden at the time. We parked in a gated parking lot. The printing plant has since closed and there seems to be a resurgence of Northeast as these pictures show.

Mural on the Side of a Storage Facility

Wall Mural

I happened to stumble upon a really neat vintage shop known as nomad yard collectiv. I didn’t stay too long in that store because of Crafty Bastards but it sells all kinds of really cool vintage stuff.

nomad yard collectiv

nomad yard collectiv

nomad yard collectiv

I did some more walking along New York Avenue as I took these pictures.

National Park Service Brentwood Facility

National Park Service Brentwood Facility

DC Animal Shelter

Ivy City Area

After walking for a half-an-hour from the Metro station I finally made it to the venue in the Ivy City section. Hecht Warehouse once served as the warehouse for the Hecht department store chain. All that changed when Macy’s purchased Hecht and all of the Hecht stores were either converted to a Macy’s store or they were shut down (especially if the stores were located in a mall where a Macy’s already existed). Hecht Warehouse had remained empty for nearly 10 years when a developer decided to try converting it into upscale loft apartments along with building a few retail stores.

Hecht Warehouse

Hecht Warehouse

Hecht Warehouse

Hecht Warehouse

Right across the street from Hecht Warehouse is a bunch of giant storage boxes with smaller signs announcing the coming of another development known as Hecht Town.

Across From Hecht Warehouse are Signs Announcing Hecht Town

I eventually found a sign leading to the entrance to Crafty Bastards.

Sign to the Crafty Bastards Entrance

Next to the Hecht Warehouse is a MOM (My Organic Market) and a sign announcing the arrival of a Petco that will come soon.

Retail in Ivy City

I eventually found the entrance to the Hecht Warehouse.

Hecht Warehouse Entrance

There were a couple of outdoor food trucks such as this one in the next photo.

Lemongrass Vietnamese Cuisine Food Truck

The inside of the Hecht Warehouse lobby was amazing to behold. The developer took a gritty warehouse and totally remodeled it so it would look pretty upscale complete with a fireplace in the lobby.

Hecht Warehouse

Hecht Warehouse

Hecht Warehouse

Hecht Warehouse

The lobby even had a bar, which is amazing considering that the Hecht Warehouse is supposed to be an apartment complex and not a hotel.

Hecht Warehouse

There are a few vestiges of its warehouse past but they have been totally integrated into the new design.

Hecht Warehouse

Hecht Warehouse

Hecht Warehouse

Hecht Warehouse

Hecht Warehouse

I eventually made it to the area where Crafty Bastards was held. Since I arrived after 3 p.m. I only paid $5 admission fee to get in. (The regular price was $10.) Like previous Crafty Bastards this one was also a feast for the eyes and it provided a major challenge to the wallet as well. Here are just a small sampling of what went on at the Crafty Bastards Cabin Fever event.

Crafty Bastards at the Hecht Warehouse

Crafty Bastards at the Hecht Warehouse

Crafty Bastards at the Hecht Warehouse

Crafty Bastards at the Hecht Warehouse

Crafty Bastards at the Hecht Warehouse

Crafty Bastards at the Hecht Warehouse

Crafty Bastards at the Hecht Warehouse

Crafty Bastards at the Hecht Warehouse

Crafty Bastards at the Hecht Warehouse

Crafty Bastards at the Hecht Warehouse

Crafty Bastards at the Hecht Warehouse

Crafty Bastards at the Hecht Warehouse

Crafty Bastards at the Hecht Warehouse

Crafty Bastards at the Hecht Warehouse

Crafty Bastards at the Hecht Warehouse

Crafty Bastards at the Hecht Warehouse

I felt really tired by the time I managed to see each vendor booth at least once. Rather than walk for another half an hour in order to get to the NoMa/Gallaudet University stop, I decided to take the Metrobus back. Except the but I got on insisted on going all the way to Fort Totten, which was a half an hour trip. At least I got to sit down that time instead of spending all those 30 minutes just walking.

While I purchased a few things at that event, I was still very careful with how I spent my money since it’s pretty tight these days. I forgot to bring one of my cloth shopping bags from home (which is a big deal since DC has those laws where you have to pay in order to get a paper or plastic bag from any store or vendor) so I purchased this reusable souvenir bag for only $2.

My Crafty Bastards Purchases

I purchased this framed print from fashion designer Jay McCarroll (also known as the winner of the first season of Project Runway). I now have this print hanging in my living room.

My Crafty Bastards Purchases

I got this bar of fairy cakes soap from Dirty Ass Soaps, which smells wonderful.

My Crafty Bastards Purchases

My Crafty Bastards Purchases

I purchased this autographed copy of a book called Goodbye, Penguins by Greg Stones (whom I briefly met at his booth). This book is short but it’s full of twisted humor coupled with delicate illustrations.

My Crafty Bastards Purchases

My Crafty Bastards Purchases

My Crafty Bastards Purchases

And, last but not least, I purchased this dark chocolate candy bar from Harper Macaw, which is a chocolate candy maker based in Washington, DC. What’s really cool is that every Saturday Harper Macaw offers a guided tour of its factory for only $10 a person and it includes chocolate tastings. How cool is that? By the way, I loved that one chocolate bar I purchased.

My Crafty Bastards Purchases

A few weeks ago I took part in the fall yard sale which benefitted Changing Focus, whose support group meetings I have been attending since my husband suddenly walked out on me in late 2011. This yard sale was held in conjunction with the larger Festival on the Green that’s held in Crofton, Maryland. I didn’t have as much to donate as previous yard sales because I’m finally starting to make a dent in my own pile of excess clutter (much of which was stuff that my ex-husband had left behind and didn’t show any interest in picking it up). I volunteered to help with the sorting the day before the yard sale and to also help out with the yard sale itself.

The big challenge for me was that I caught a really bad cold right before that yard sale. For both days I took some Emergen-C just so I could get through everything without wanting to fall asleep. It was cloudy both days but fortunately the rain held off and it attracted a lot of frugal shoppers.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 26, 2015

Like the previous yard sales I was involved in, this one had a bunch of interesting items. There is this old overhead projector I remember used to be used frequently in classrooms from elementary school all the way to college. This is the really old-fashioned kind that doesn’t hook up to a computer and it uses sheets of plastic that were either printed on with a printer or written on with a marker prior to use. This one brought back a whole lot of memories for me while I also began to think that maybe this one is ready to be donated to a museum of some sort.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 26, 2015

And then there’s this JVC micro cassette recorder that uses actual micro cassette tapes.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 26, 2015

And a few blank 5.25-inch computer floppy disks.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 26, 2015

You also learn something new at yard sales. For example, I never knew that there was a jigsaw puzzle based on marshmallow Peeps.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 26, 2015

Then there were the dolls, such as these creepy looking ones in the next few photos. The boxes said that they were “Swinging Hobo” dolls but they looked more like clowns to me.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 26, 2015

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 26, 2015

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 26, 2015

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 26, 2015I found Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy. I once had both rag dolls as a child. These dolls still sport the embroidery heart underneath their clothes that says “I Love You”.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 26, 2015

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 26, 2015
Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 26, 2015

I saw this very cute porcelain tea set that’s doll-sized and would be perfect for a tea party. (I was briefly tempted to buy it but I ended not doing so because I’m kind of adverse to add new clutter to the household these days.)

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 26, 2015

Then there were some items that I didn’t even know what the hell they were.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 26, 2015

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 26, 2015

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 26, 2015

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 26, 2015

There were all kinds of stuff available for sale.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 26, 2015

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 26, 2015     Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 26, 2015

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 26, 2015

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 26, 2015

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 26, 2015

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 26, 2015

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 26, 2015

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 26, 2015

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 26, 2015

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 26, 2015

I was one of the volunteers to was in charge of taking money from people who wanted to buy something from the yard sale. I bought my lunch from one of the food vendors at the Festival on the Green. During one of my breaks, I walked over to the Festival on the Green’s craft show that was held at the country club that was located next to the church where the yard sale took place.

Crofton Festival on the Green, September 26, 2015

Crofton Festival on the Green, September 26, 2015

Crofton Festival on the Green, September 26, 2015

Crofton Festival on the Green, September 26, 2015

Crofton Festival on the Green, September 26, 2015

Crofton Festival on the Green, September 26, 2015

Crofton Festival on the Green, September 26, 2015

Crofton Festival on the Green, September 26, 2015

Crofton Festival on the Green, September 26, 2015

Crofton Festival on the Green, September 26, 2015

Crofton Festival on the Green, September 26, 2015

Crofton Festival on the Green, September 26, 2015

Crofton Festival on the Green, September 26, 2015

Crofton Festival on the Green, September 26, 2015

Crofton Festival on the Green, September 26, 2015

Crofton Festival on the Green, September 26, 2015

Crofton Festival on the Green, September 26, 2015

Crofton Festival on the Green, September 26, 2015

Crofton Festival on the Green, September 26, 2015

Crofton Festival on the Green, September 26, 2015

Yesterday Donald Featherstone died. You may not recognize the name but chances are that you’ll recognize his most famous invention: the plastic pink flamingos that still dot people’s lawns in the suburbs to this day. In 1958 Featherstone was an employee at Union Products when his company asked him to carve a flamingo. He did so and the rest is history.

Based on what I’ve read, it sounded like Donald Featherstone and his wife were pretty unique characters. Throughout their marriage they would wear matching clothes on a daily basis.

I’m well familiar with the pink flamingo lawn ornaments because I frequently saw them in my neighborhood when I was a child. (My parents weren’t into them at all so my house never had them.) I saw them so much that I ended up not noticing them because they were so prevalent.

But the plastic pink flamingos have become so iconic that there is now an official site called GetFlocked.com. One interesting tidbit I learned through that site is that the official Featherstone-designed flamingos are still manufactured in the U.S. instead of China and other Third World countries (where so many of the consumer products sold in the U.S. are manufactured these days).

Of course those plastic pink flamingos have made their way into pop culture. In the 2011 animated Disney movie Gnomeo and Juliet, there is a pink flamingo character named Featherstone in honor of the lawn ornaments’ original creator.

And then there’s John Waters, who made the notorious early 1970’s film Pink Flamingos where one can see a pair of pink flamingos on the front lawn of this pink trailer if one looked hard enough in this clip.

The movie was made in the town of Phoenix, Maryland, located way north of Baltimore. Ever since that film it seems like some sections of Baltimore (most notably in the Hampden area) have practically lionized the pink flamingo. Here are a couple of shots of the giant pink flamingo that’s displayed outside of Cafe Hon in Hampden.

photo9

Hampden, Baltimore, Maryland, December 22, 2012

And then there are the pink flamingos on display in various shops along Hampden’s main shopping area on West 36th Street.

Hampden, Baltimore, Maryland

Hampden, Baltimore, Maryland

Hampden is also home to the annual Hon Fest, which is supposed to be a celebration of kitsch. Of course, there are always a few pink flamingos there as well, such as the ones in the photos taken at the last time I went to that event in 2013.

photo11

photo33

Hon Fest happened a few weeks ago and there were some pink flamingos there as well. One can see them as part of booth decorations, sunglasses, and tote bags. (For the record, I wanted to go this year but that weekend kicked off this huge heatwave with high humidity that is still going on as of this writing. The night before the start of Hon Fest I went to a Bowie Baysox baseball game where I initially endured high heat and humidity until some clouds came in and it would shower off and on. The following day I went to the Maryland Faerie Festival since I haven’t gone there in a few years and it was another day of high heat and high humidity. I originally planned on going to Hon Fest on the third day but after enduring high heat and humidity for the past two days, I really wasn’t up to subjecting myself to more of the same for the third day in a row.)

Donald Featherstone may be gone but his pink flamingo creation will continue for generations to come.

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