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Last fall I was doing some tidying up around the house when I found this fused glass pendant featuring a bunny rabbit that I made years ago when I took a workshop that was offered through Profusions of Glass. (I may have even still been married when I made this pendant. LOL!) Well, anyway, I found it back in November shortly before Thanksgiving and I now have it in the place where I keep all of my other jewelry. I waited to write about it until today because the pink color scheme along with the rabbit just seems more like it’s appropriate for Easter Sunday than last November.
Since today is Groundhog Day, I’d thought I’d post some photos I took at last weekend’s World of Pets Expo that took place at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium, Maryland. I last went there in 2014 when I was battling a nasty chest cold. This year I was in much better health so I was able to enjoy myself at the expo even more. There were all kinds of vendor booths for both pets and their owners. There were various competitions for dogs including running through an obstacle course and jumping into a pool. I even went into a stall in the women’s restroom that had two toilets in the same stall.
There were all kinds of animals on display including llamas. Here are the pictures I took at that expo.
I recently checked out this free event at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, DC that was a cross between Alice in Wonderland and a 1990’s-era rave. Basically there were these giant inflatable bunny-shaped sculptures that were also lit up at night. The bunnies were created by an Australian artist named Amanda Parer and they are currently on a tour of the United States. (The installation is officially known as Intrude.) If that wasn’t enough, there was also music and street performers. It was a pretty wild experience to say the least. Here is a short video I shot of this event.
Here are the still photos I shot that night. The giant bunnies were located near this fountain that had lights that constantly changed colors.
Both the giant size and the light fixtures inside the inflatable sculptures made those bunnies stand out against the night sky.
There was also a party event that reminded me of a 1990’s era rave. Spinning the tunes was a deejay known as DJ Manifesto. He not only played music but there were times when he would play the violin as well. He was pretty amazing to watch.
There were also performers who did dance routines with lights.
There was a giant Lite-Brite board where the general public can create their own designs using large light pegs.
That even drew a lot of people of all ages. (There was an earlier late afternoon event that was geared towards families that took place before I arrived.) I saw plenty of people wear special bunny ears that flashed various color lights and I saw a few people dance. The temperature was in the 30’s but it was still a fun event despite the cold weather.
I even brought my small sketchbook with me where I did this drawing based on one of the giant inflatable lit bunnies.
Today is February 29, which only comes around once every four years. This means that it’s the first time that this blog actually has entries dated February 29. This month I only did three drawings in what I’m still calling my daily sketchbook even though I no longer do a new drawing on a daily basis. On Valentine’s Day I did this drawing, which I had posted in a previous entry (click on that link if you want to learn the story behind that sketch).
Last Saturday I went to this free event at the Navy Yards Park in Washington, DC. It’s a massive art installation featuring giant inflatable lit bunnies. I brought my sketchbook with me and I drew one of the bunnies.
I’ve also shot photos and a short video of this event, which I’ll write more about in a later post. For those of you in the Baltimore-DC area, this event will continue until this weekend then the bunnies will hop (or is it float?) away to a new destination. Here’s a local news story about the giant inflatable lit bunnies if you want to learn more about them.
And last, but not least, I did this drawing especially for today.
Happy Leap Year, everyone! 🙂
It’s been two years since I last attended the annual Sakura Matsuri street festival that’s held in downtown Washington, DC as part of the larger National Cherry Blossom Festival. I thought about going down early in the morning so I could check out the Cherry Blossom Parade that precedes the Sakura Matsuri by starting at 10 a.m. But I was too lazy to get my act together so I could arrive that early so I basically ate breakfast and lunch at home then headed out to the Sakura Matsuri in the afternoon. (I was glad I ate my meals at home because nearly all of the food vendors had very long lines.)
I even dug out this Japanese imported Stitch hat that I purchased at one of the Otakon anime conventions that were held in Baltimore. I know it was before my marriage broke up because I bought it with my then-husband in mind because he was such a huge fan of the Disney movie Lilo & Stitch and Stitch was his favorite Disney character. I also remember when I modeled the hat for him and he was thrilled with it. That hat had been sitting in a drawer since my husband left but I decided that I could continue to use it because I think it’s a cute hat. Besides, it enabled me to blend in a little bit with the other people who were cosplaying. I even had several people at the festival notice my hat and telling me that they loved it. When I arrived in downtown DC, the one of the first things I did was to take a rare selfie of me wearing that hat.
Like most other years, the festival was very crowded. I still enjoyed myself as I looked around at the sights and sounds of the festival. I even took a few silly pictures while I was there. I recently started to follow the official Sonic the Hedgehog accounts on Facebook and Instagram and it was through social media I learned that there is something called Travel Tuesday where people can submit photos of a Sonic doll or stuffed animal either at an event or some famous landmark (like the Eiffel Tower). I decided to pack my articulated Sonic vinyl doll so I could take his photo for Travel Tuesday. Here are the photos that I submitted but, as of this writing, none of them have been selected for Travel Tuesday.
I also played around a little bit with the Hatsune Miku photo app on my smartphone. I thought it was appropriate since that character originated in Japan. (Although now that I look at the pictures, I realized that I should’ve varied the girl’s pose just a little bit since she had the same facial expression and pose. Oh well.)
I basically walked around shooting pictures of cosplayers and the various items I saw on sale. I noticed a lot of ram and sheep plushies on sale this year, which makes sense since 2015 is the year that’s known alternatively as the Year of the Sheep, the Year of the Ram, or the Year of the Goat.
I only purchased one thing at this year’s festival.
Yes, it’s chocolate gelato made by Dolci Gelati and it was very delicious!
While I heard musicians perform on the various stages throughout the festival, I only managed to capture one of the acts with my smartphone because it was one of the few times that I was even able to get close to a stage because everything was so crowded. As for the act that I captured, according to the program book, she is a pop singer from Kyoto named Jonetsu Mariko. I thought I recognized the name for some reason and the program book said that she was making a return appearance to the Sakura Matsuri. After I got home, I searched through this blog and I found out that I previously saw her at the 2010 Sakura Matsuri and I had also videotaped her that time. (She appeared under the name Jonetsu Marie and Shabondama High School.) In any case I took a still photo of her.
I even shot a short video of her performing on stage.
That video was the only one I shot at this year’s Sakura Matsuri.
I also saw that NASCAR driver Akinori Ogata was there with his race car, just like the last time I attended the Sakura Matsuri two years ago. Once again he appeared with Eneos, which makes motor oil. Eneos also had a bean bag toss game called “Cornhole.”
Getting on the Metro so I could go home was a bit of a hassle. The last photo shows the long line that I had to stand in just so I could enter the Federal Triangle Metro Station. I’m only lucky that I had the foresight to put enough money on my Metro SmartTrip card for a round trip so I wouldn’t have to stand in another line at the farecard machines.
Lately it seems like I’ve been writing new shorter posts about some other website that has interested me. I decided that I needed to do something a little bit more streamlined so I’m not constantly running back to this blog with new updates. I have to organize myself a bit more because I have other things that I also need to spend time doing.
So I’ve decided to start a new feature called Link-O-Rama where I’ll provide links to other places on the Internet that have interested me and I want to share with you. I don’t know how often I’ll do this feature other than I’ll do it once a week only if I have a link to share. If I don’t have other links in mind for a given week, I’ll skip a week or two.
So here are the first links for this new feature that I’d like to share with you.
If, for whatever reason, you need to do some research on clothing, tools, toys, or furniture of the past or you just want to experience a quick trip down memory lane, Wishbook Web is a great resource. The site has scans of old store catalogs from Spiegel, Sears, Lord & Taylor, Wards, JC Penny, FAO Schwarz, Simpsons-Sears, and Eatons. The vintage catalogs posted at that site range between the years 1933-1988. This site also has a Flickr account full of more retro goodies like vintage greeting cards and obscure CD labels.
It’s never too late to code. A story about how people over 50 can learn to code and even start new careers.
I built my rabbit a cart and now he delivers me a beer! Seriously! That video is totally cute.
My father suffered a spinal cord injury that left him in a wheelchair for the last several years of his life. Geoff Raismen says that his research has come up with a new way of beating paralysis. It’s too bad that my father, who passed away in 2000, didn’t live to see this.
An awesome video by Creavite using kinetic typography that also has a serious message about the current state of education: I Will Not Let An Exam Result Decide My Fate.
Here’s a really beautiful yet informative graphic on the development of the various world’s languages, which visually show why some languages (like the ones spoken in the Scandinavian Peninsula) seem so similar to each other.
Jane Perkins is a British artist who creates stunning works of art using everyday objects she finds in recycling centers, second-hand shops, and junkyards.
A brief excerpt from an open letter to Hillary Rodham Clinton: Do you REALLY want to help your party and your country? If so then stop sucking all the (financial/political) oxygen out of the system giving other (genuine) progressives a shot at the White House.
A two-minute educational video on the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) narrated by former Labor Secretary Robert Reich.
Here’s a cat’s perspective on the Superbowl, which is this coming Sunday.
I made a return trip to Clark’s Elioak Farm this year, which is notable for being a farm that has many of the old attractions from the former Enchanted Forest amusement park, which closed years ago. For this trip I added an excursion to the site of the original Enchanted Forest park.
I’ve already written extensively about the history of The Enchanted Forest before so I won’t go into too many details here other than to say that it originally opened at a location that now houses The Enchanted Forest Shopping Center.
Old King Cole originally pointed the way to the amusement park and he continues to point the way to the shopping center.
The castle, which not only housed a gift shop but also provided the main entrance to the park, is still there.
The lute playing dragon still remains at the top of the castle waiting to see visitors.
Here’s the front entrance to both the castle gift shop and the park itself, which is now permanently shuttered and locked.
If you walk off to the side of the shopping center, you’ll see a wooded area surrounded by a fence with “NO TRESPASSING” signs. In some places there is additional heavy rope to discourage people from even coming up to the fence. If you look in the background of the photo really close, you’ll see the old Gingerbread House.
Here’s a very close-up shot of the Gingerbread House. Even though the official name was Hansel and Gretel’s House, many kids dubbed it the Gingerbread House because of the fact that it looked like, well, a gingerbread house. That building was one where parents could rent for an hour so they could hold birthday parties for their children. I’ve always wanted to have my birthday party in the Gingerbread House but I never had one mainly because my birthday is in December, when The Enchanted Forest was closed for the season. (The amusement park was only opened six months a year.) Nowadays no child can have a birthday party in the Gingerbread House and that structure looks like a shadow of its former self.
As for the rest of the shopping center, it’s a typical suburban shopping center. Without Old King Cole and the castle, it would be pretty indistinguishable. I shot this video a five years ago showing the jarring juxtaposition between the site’s origins as a fairy tale theme park and its current incarnation as a shopping center.
And here’s an old Super-8 movie of The Enchanted Forest when it was still operating that someone uploaded on YouTube. The colors in the film are faded and it’s mostly a silent film but it gives you an idea as to what The Enchanted Forest was like.
I ate lunch at the bagel place in that shopping center (BTW the food is pretty good) then I drove three miles to the place where many of the old attractions from The Enchanted Forest are currently displayed, Clark’s Elioak Farm.
I had taken extensive photos of the place last year so I’m just going to focus on some things that I haven’t photographed before, like this display of pumpkins that the farm is currently selling.
One of the teacups from the old Alice in Wonderland Teacup Ride is now permanently stationery as a funky chair among the other plainer wooden chairs.
Here’s are a few landscape shots of the old Enchanted Forest attractions that sit side-by-side with the farming fields. (Yes, Clark’s Elioak Farm is a working farm.)
The one new thing I noticed is the addition of a dinosaur family. I don’t recall seeing any dinosaurs at the old Enchanted Forest. Maybe it’s something new that was put up because dinosaurs remain a perennial favorite among children. This attraction was among the more crowded ones as children clamored for their parents to take their pictures in that area.
Here is one of the trucks used for the hayride. I didn’t go on it because the lines to buy tickets were so long and that ride was frequently packed with people.
Here is the birthday cake which used to be the centerpiece inside the old Gingerbread House (as I wrote earlier, that building was the ones that parents could rent for birthday parties).
Baby Bear peeks out the window of the Three Bears’ Home while Goldilocks looks terrified.
A framed portrait of the Three Bears inside their home.
The ceiling of the Three Bears’ Home provides an interesting picture.
A line of gingerbread men.
Another new thing I noticed this year is the re-creation of the old Mt. Vesuvius attraction at The Enchanted Forest. Mt. Vesuvius was a giant manmade mountain over a giant lake where the Little Toot boat ride used to ride through an opening in the mountain. There was a giant sliding board on the side of that mountain. While Clark’s Elioak Farm’s version of Mt. Vesuvius is way smaller than the original, it is still a sliding board and the kids seemed to enjoy going on it.
There was a hay maze added that the kids seemed to enjoy.
Another addition was that some of the trees on the farm now have faces on them.
Here’s a really cool artsy shot of the Crooked House.
Here’s another artsy shot of the Easter Bunny’s Home and Mother Goose. I especially loved the clouds in this picture.
Here’s a painted map of the old Enchanted Forest.
The biggest addition is this mining attraction where people can either mine for gems or do some geode cracking. (There are separate fees for each option.) This attraction is only in operation on the weekends. The seven dwarfs from the Snow White story are at this attraction, which is fitting since they were depicted in the Disney movie as being miners.
I also had some more fun with that new Mikuture smartphone app where I managed to insert a few photos of international pop superstar Hatsume Miku having fun on the farm. Here’s Miku rolling down the hill alongside Jack and Jill.
Here she is sitting on a mushroom.
Hatsune Miku is risking being swallowed alive by Willie the Whale.
Last, but not least, she’s sitting in front of the Crooked Man.
Here are the animals on the farm.
The last photo shows the two bars of handcrafted soaps that I bought at Clark’s Elioak Farm. I’m keeping one bar for myself and give the other to my mother since her birthday is this month.
Like I wrote earlier in this post, I had taken extensive photos of Clark’s Elioak Farm last year so if you want to see those, click here.
UPDATE (April 24, 2015): The current owners of the Enchanted Forest Shopping Center have just announced that they plan on moving the original giant storybook and the castle with the lute-playing dragon to Clark’s Elioak Farm while razing both the Gingerbread House and Cinderella’s Castle. Once these changes are complete, Old King Cole with his pointing finger will remain the only vestige of the shopping center’s theme park past.
Last night, while I was looking up information about the Russian animated film “Hedgehog in the Fog” after seeing a reference to it during the Opening Ceremonies to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, I found a YouTube clip of that animation. On the side of the page, there was a list of similar videos that I may be interested in and I found several clips that were marked as “Russian Winnie the Pooh.” These videos aren’t simply Russian dubs of the Disney Winnie the Pooh cartoons, they are original Russian animations based on the same source material (British author A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh books) as the Disney cartoons.
According to the Wikipedia, the Soviet animation company Soyuzmultifilm created and distributed the Russian Winnie the Pooh in 1969. For those who are used to the Disney animations or the illustrations of E.H. Shepard (which accompanied Milne’s books), these renderings of Pooh, Piglet, Rabbit, Owl, and Eeyore may seem jarring at first. And there are some notable absences from Tigger, Kanga, Roo, and Christopher Robin. (Gopher is also absent but he was an original Disney creation who wasn’t in the original Milne books) These animations definitely have a Russian flair about them from the exteriors of Pooh’s home to the insides of Rabbit’s home to the stylized trees in the forest.
All the clips I have posted here are in Russian with English subtitles. It’s really a fascinating treat to compare these animations with the Disney version.
Here is some additional background about the Russian Winnie the Pooh.