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On the Friday before Halloween I wanted to have fun. I found out that there were two events happening on the same night. One was the Final Friday Art Walk in Hyattsville and the other was the Greenbelt Pumpkin Festival. I decided to go to the Hyattsville one first since that one was scheduled to end earlier. Costumes were encouraged for all ages so I put on my Rainbow Dash hoodie. When I arrived in Hyattsville I decided to check my smartphone to see if my camera was even working and—to my surprise—I found that it was working. I decided to use that opportunity to take a rare selfie.

A Rare Selfie

Sadly my smartphone camera stopped working after that selfie. At least I have my Canon camera with me to continue taking photographs with. The only bad thing was that I discovered that I didn’t have much battery power left. I managed to take a few pictures nonetheless.

The entire Art Walk trail was marked by orange balloons, such as the one in the next photograph.

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

I first went to the horn sculpture that is located outside the Hyattsville Court House.

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

Next I went to Art Works Now, which was all decked out for Halloween.

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

Art Works Now had this hands-on demonstration in a type of printing process using acrylic paint and glass plates.

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

Here is what I created.

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

I briefly visited this new place known as Uzu, which provides Japanese comfort food. (No, I didn’t eat there.)

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

I went to the Artist & Craftsman Supply store, which had a special art exhibit done by the store’s employees.

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

I visited Tanglewood Works, which held a meade tasting by a local supplier who plans to set up shop in Hyattsville soon.

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

A marching band was playing music as it walked along the sidewalk.

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

I went inside this haunted house that was created using upcycled and recycled materials.

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

I went inside this place that housed a recording studio and a tattoo parlor.

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

The last place I went to on the Final Friday Art Walk was to the Pyramid Atlantic Art Center. By that point my camera battery had died and the art walk was going to officially end soon. So I took these last two pictures before I got back in my car and headed for the other event.

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

I headed to the Greenbelt Pumpkin Festival, where people were still carving pumpkins. I pulled out my camera in the hopes of being able to get one picture and, miraculously, I managed to take this picture of a pumpkin carving in progress.

Greenbelt Pumpkin Festival, October 27, 2017

But then my camera totally died. I tried my smartphone camera since it had worked earlier only to find that it wasn’t working either. I decided to duck inside the New Deal Cafe and make an effort to recharge my battery for a few minutes before I would go back outside and take more pictures of the lit pumpkins. I rested for a few minutes when I suddenly got this urgent Facebook Message from someone whom I’ve been doing some recent video work for.

On that note, I’m going to violate my own personal policy of never writing in this blog about ongoing projects I do for other people until after the project in question is done because I can’t really go any further in this narrative unless I write a little about this project. Here’s the thing. The New Deal Cafe is a non-profit cooperatively-run eating establishment that’s located in Greenbelt, Maryland. (You can read more about it here and here.) Ever since its inception it has hosted live music (mostly from local bands). The performers don’t get paid by the cafe (mainly because it’s totally run on a very shoestring budget) but the cafe provides tip jars and that is how the musicians make any money. From time to time I’ve shot videos there of various acts over the years, all of which I’ve uploaded on to YouTube and embedded in various posts throughout the seven years that this blog has existed.

A few months ago this filmmaker whom I’ve known for a few years came up with this idea of doing a documentary featuring the various music acts who have played at the cafe over the 22 years that the cafe has existed. He found out that I had been shooting some video and wanted to use what I’ve got. I gave him the video footage that I have on my laptop (and it’s also the same footage that I’ve uploaded on to YouTube) and he has been contacting other people who have also shot videos in an effort to obtain their footage as well. He also planned on interviewing various people to get their recollections of what it’s like to see these bands or work with them or even play in those bands.

Despite the video footage he received from myself and others and his plans to interview people, he still wanted new footage of recent band performances and he asked for my help in filming. Fortunately I had recently purchased a used Canon digital camera off eBay so I had a more reliable camera than my nearly four-year-old smartphone camera, which only sporadically works these days.

So I shot some recent footage of various bands over the past several weeks, which is why you’ve been seeing more embedded footage of what I’ve shot at the New Deal Cafe lately.

So I was sitting in the New Deal Cafe waiting for my camera battery to recharge so I could shoot still photos of the Greenbelt Pumpkin Festival when this filmmaker came over on Facebook Messenger. He decided at the last minute that he urgently needed new footage for two bands—one that was scheduled to perform that very night I happened to be at the New Deal Cafe while getting his message. The other would be scheduled to perform the following night. He couldn’t be there for either band but he desperately wanted some footage of both bands. I told him that I was recharging my camera battery and I could try to record that night’s band but I couldn’t guarantee anything. (I had never tried shooting anything on a half-charged battery before.) He got me to agree to shoot both that night’s band and the other band the following night, even though I can’t stay too late most Saturday nights these days. (That’s because I not only attend church on Sunday mornings at 10 a.m. but I’m currently volunteering with the church’s program of teaching English to recent immigrants and those classes run from 1:15-3:15 p.m. On top of it, that Sunday was the Sunday before Halloween and I was among the adults who were involved with the Trunk or Treat event that was scheduled to run between the end of Sunday service and the beginning of English classes.)

By the time I got away from Facebook Messenger, I put the battery back into my camera and darted outside to see the lit pumpkins only to find that volunteers had already taken them away. Yeah, it sucked but I’ve shot photos and videos of previous Greenbelt Pumpkin Festivals so it’s not like I don’t know what such an event is like. I went back inside the New Deal Cafe and I managed to film one of the bands in question, The Mojo Priests. I didn’t film for too long because I only had a half-charged battery. But I managed to film some footage of the band in action.

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

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

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

Waterfront Arts Festival

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

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

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

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

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

Waterfront Arts Festival

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

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

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

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

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

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

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

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Here are some more photos from the festival.

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival


Waterfront Arts Festival

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

Waterfront Arts Festival

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

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

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

Waterfront Arts Festival

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

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

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

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

Waterfront Arts Festival

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

Waterfront Arts Festival

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

In-Cider Art Reception, September 9, 2017

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

In-Cider Art Reception, September 9, 2017

In-Cider Art Reception, September 9, 2017

In-Cider Art Reception, September 9, 2017

In-Cider Art Reception, September 9, 2017

In-Cider Art Reception, September 9, 2017

In-Cider Art Reception, September 9, 2017

In-Cider Art Reception, September 9, 2017

In-Cider Art Reception, September 9, 2017

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

In-Cider Art Reception, September 9, 2017

In-Cider Art Reception, September 9, 2017

How classic cartoons created a culturally literate generation.

People are furious at these new shirts from Kylie and Kendall Jenner.

Kylie Jenner and Khloe Kardashian are accused of stealing ideas from indie African American designers. 

See photographs of figures in Russian history rendered in colorized portraits, such as Tolstoy, Chekhov, and more.

This artist is brining out the beauty in stretch marks.

The rise in art protests: how the gallery became a new battleground.

What it means to be on the left.

Interactive Periodic Table of Elements shows how the elements actually get used in making everyday things.

Someone called this white girl’s Japanese tea party racist on social media but then this Japanese user stepped in.

Gorgeous color autochromes of American women from over 100 years ago.

Creative mom dresses up in amazing cosplay to represent older women characters.

Fender custom shop recycles Hollywood Bowl bench boards to make $12k guitars.

Rural America is stranded in the dial-up age.

Director Michel Gondry makes a charming film on his iPhone, proving that we could be making movies, not taking selfies.

This man spent 6 years crocheting a Super Mario Bros map blanket.

Neoliberalism has conned us into fighting climate change as individuals.

Transgender soldiers of the American Civil War.

The 11 most unintentionally hilarious religious paintings.

Meet the unconventional family who lives in a 1940s time warp.

$330,000 in financial aid bought this person a slot in the American meritocracy. He writes about the flaws in that system.

How to get Microsoft Word for free.

What we can learn from the brief period when the government employed artists through its Works Progress Administration (WPA).

Software engineer starts unlikely business: A weekly newspaper.

Russian startup company Renca recycles industrial waste into 3D printable cement.

Can collecting digital art make museums more competitive?

New business fad: Tripping on Ayahuasca.

“Pink Tax” forces women to pay more for gender-specific items than men.

Adobe and IBM are rolling out more artificial intelligence tools for brands.

ISIS recruiting videos hit YouTube after London attack.

Elon Musk wants to merge your brain with a computer.

In the 1970’s this 25-mile-long art project by conceptual artist Christo Javacheff wowed the Bay Area.

A double-amputee toddler gets a doll with prosthetic legs.

Not all animators yearn to direct big studio films.

The disturbing YouTube videos that are tricking children into watching them.

Microsoft Word macro malware automatically adapts attach techniques for Mac OS and Windows.

Little girl mistakes a water heater for a robot and gives it a hug.

Easy Easter crafts that will bring an element of nature to your home.

3D printer helps revive 103-year-old Delage Type-S car.

Virtual anime girl Kizuna Ai rises to fame. She was created using the same software that was used to create virtual pop star Hatsune Miku.

Is YouTube turning against the marginalized community it built its network on?

Italian artists craft the world’s first 24-carat gold-plated shoes that costs ₤21,000 per pair.

The new world of 3D printing and counterfeiting.

Why Piet Mondrian could be considered to be the first digital artist.

Microsoft provided information to the British authorities after the London attack.

Google launches new site to showcase its open source projects and processes.

Open source software is for everyone—so where are the women?

A free tutorial on making a pocket jack-in-the-box in order to keep children occupied while traveling.

New tools makes 3D printed objects look less 3D printed.

How the sudden unexpected fame of the 13-year-old Cash Me Outside How Bow Dah Girl has highlighted the double standard between the way that white teens and teens of other races are treated.

A World War II era photographer in Poland documenting the Lodz Ghetto buried his negatives in 1944 in an effort to preserve his work. After the war he returned to the burial site and and found that more than half of the original 6,000 negatives remained intact.

Viddyoze is a fully automated video animation that allows marketers to create magnificent animations in just a few clicks.

Microsoft’s Top 10 grammar mistakes made in Word and Outlook.

This Lego-compatible tape will turn anything into a Lego-friendly surface.

This self-taught Polish embroiderer’s 3D embroidery creations using polymer clay are one-of-a-kind.

Open source prototype turns any room into a 3D printer.

YouTube takes on Facebook with real-time video sharing app Uptime.

The best free PowerPoint alternatives in 2017.

Just as liberals will go into political correctness, conservative extremists will delve into patriotic correctness.

Retirees knit small sweaters to keep chickens warm and cozy in cold weather.

Adobe’s plan to reinvent itself for the era of AI and VR.

More millennial dads watch parenting videos on YouTube than moms.

Experts say that psychopathic CEOs, enabled by protective investors and weak human resources departments, are rife in Silicon Valley.

Texas woman uses plastic bags to crochet sleeping mats for the homeless.

How the AxiDraw is designed to make handwriting obsolete.

Sixteen months later, YouTube Music is still a missed opportunity.

Uber’s “hustle-oriented” culture becomes a black mark on employees’ resumes.

How to get started with drone photography.

Can Japan make anime great again?

How (and when) to use Microsoft Word footnotes and endnotes.

A New York Times article about the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, which specializes in art from outsider and self-taught artists.

Free Tutorials

Check out this free tutorial on how to make crocheted hearts in a continuous chain. This is great for making jewelry or as a border for an afghan or even as something one can attach to the hemline of a dress or jacket.

Here’s another free crochet tutorial on how to crochet tulip stitches.

Are you an art newbie who wants to learn how to draw and/or paint or are you someone who wants to brush up on those skills yet can’t afford to buy how-to books or take any formal art classes? The Art is Fun site has free drawing and painting lessons that you can follow along while creating your own works of art.

Here’s a free tutorial on how to make your own fairy house using recycled plastic bottles, stones, and grout.

Miscellaneous Links

For generations many young people have been dissuaded from pursuing a career in the creative field because of the frequent stereotype of the “starving artist” who stands on street corners doing drawings or singing or poetry reading while panhandling for cash. This essay on Why I will never be a starving artist shows an alternative way of living where one can still have a creative career while not living in poverty.

And, speaking of starving artists, there is the disturbing trend of more companies expecting artists, writers, photographers, and programmers to work for them for either free or for extremely low pay while justifying this by saying that the would be creative person is getting exposure that will translate into a well-paying job somewhere else. If you are considering doing a few months of unpaid work for such a company, this chart will help you decide whether to take this unpaid opportunity in the hopes of getting more exposure for your work.

The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore has not only digitized its extensive art collection but it has also made them free for anyone to download and use.

Many of us have heard about or are familiar with that one person who is a ne’er do well. From an early age this person constantly keeps on making the wrong decisions that results in that person living in poverty and staying there. The Atlantic magazine’s website has this interesting article on Your Brain on Poverty: Why Poor People Seem to Make Bad Decisions that brings a perspective that most people don’t even consider when they wag their fingers at poor people and admonish them for what seems to be, on the surface, making a series of poor life choices.

Meet Naomi Parker-Fraley, a 95-year-old woman who served as the original inspiration for the iconic Rosie the Riveter poster from World War II.

When I first started on the Internet a number of years ago, The Onion was the one site that was satiric in nature and had gotten a lot of attention for its hilarious fake news stories. Nowadays there are so many fake news sites out there that get shared on social media that it’s impossible to tell which ones are genuine news sites, which ones are parodies, and which ones are propaganda sites that are very heavily one-sided. This rumor-busting site, Real or Satire?, can easily solve for you which sites you can trust. The next time you get some link from your Aunt Mildred on Facebook from a site claiming that Donald Trump is really the biological father of Hillary Clinton’s daughter, Chelsea Clinton, you can just copy the URL into its form and it’ll tell you whether to trust that link as fact or not.

I spent this year’s Fourth of July celebrations close to home. (Same as the previous four years since my husband left.) I started the holiday weekend with a visit to Community Forklift, which was having its First Friday event where the store stays open later than usual and there is usually live entertainment, a food truck, and some sales on selected items. There were all kinds of photogenic recycled items on display, as you can see in the photos below.

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Passover

Free Tutorials

Are you a knitter? If so, you can now download 300 free knitting books filled with patterns that were published from 1849-2012.

Are you more into crochet than knitting? Here are 20 crochet tips and tricks that will make you a better crocheter.

Here’s a free tutorial on how to make a Native American teepee for an American Girl-sized doll that could be easily adjusted for other kinds of dolls as well for non-doll uses (such as a pet).

Here are some cool and creative ways that you can recycle plastic bags into reusable items.

Browse other free tutorials previously mentioned in this blog (along with pictures) right here.

Miscellaneous Links

Check out some rare color photographs of the old Russian Empire that were shot from 1909-1915 before the Russian Revolution.

See the first extensive photos of the Pyongyang Metro subway system (most of which were previously closed to foreigners) that were shot by a Westerner. Each station is decked out with so much art that it looks like a mini art museum.

How to access a million stunning, copyright-free antique illustrations released by the British Library.

There was a time when the late Prince changed his name to this symbol, which was impossible to pronounce. Prince’s record company sent a special symbol font on floppy disks to various media outlet so they could refer to him by that symbol in their print stories. The media responded by referring to him as The Artist Formerly Known As Prince (or TAFKAP for short). Eventually Prince ended up reverting back to his original English name and dropping the symbol (with the exception of these two special custom-built electric guitars). Thanks to the Daily Dot, there is now a way of getting that symbol font for your computer absolutely free so making your own digital Prince tribute will be a piece of cake.

Three years ago I painted on a blank canvas bag for my annual church auction. The results looked nice but it was very time consuming to work on because I decided to do a Zentangle background and it turned out to be more time intensive than I expected. It didn’t help that I misjudged how much time would be needed to complete it so I didn’t start the project until about a month before the auction when I really should’ve started it at least three months earlier. (I would’ve kept more sane working hours on that project had I done so.) I literally worked long hours both day and night in order to finish it in time for the auction. The bag was purchased by a longtime church member who has since relocated to St. Louis due to a job transfer.

Until this year I hadn’t done any more personalized canvas tote bags mainly because that last bag had totally burned me out. But this year I decided that I would try it again except I would do things a little bit differently.

First I took the bag to the annual Tye-Dye Sunday that was held at my Unitarian Universalist congregation back in July. Here’s a young girl getting into tie-dyeing at that event.

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I was instructed to take my newly dyed items (I dyed the tote bag and a t-shirt that day), put it in a plastic bag, and put it in direct sunlight for a few hours so it’ll cook. That afternoon I was going to an art event in Washington, DC. Since I had intended to take Metro, I decided to take that plastic bag and put it in the back window of the car so it would be exposed to direct sunlight in 95 degree temperature while I was downtown.

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The dye that was used was manufactured by the Dharma Trading Company. Following the instructions that was posted on that site, I waited until the next day before I untied everything and put it all through the washing machine. Here is what the bag looked like after being tie-dyed.

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I left the bag alone for a while until recently. I looked through my collection of chalice clip art that I could use for this bag. I enlarged the clip art then printed it out on paper. Then I took tracing paper and traced over it. I covered the back of the tracing paper (especially the drawn lines) with a graphite pencil. Then I flipped the paper back to the front and, using pencil, I traced over the paper once again until I had the art on the bag.

After that I took my professional artist-grade acrylic paint and mixed it with GAC-900, which is a fluid medium that is especially used to make the acrylic paint suitable for fabric, and I painted on the bag. Following the instructions on the GAC-900 bottle, I put it through the dryer on high heat in order to set the paint. Here is what the bag looks like now.

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This last shot shows the interior of the bag. As you can see, it is lined on the inside. (The bag was originally purchased with lining on the inside. I did’t make the bag. I only purchased a blank bag and painted on it.)

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I like the results. I have to admit that tie-dyeing the background was way quicker and easier than hand painting Zentangles on the background like I did on that last bag three years ago. I’m hoping that this bag will sell as well at this year’s auction as the last bag did.

For those who are concerned about the environment, this bag is a perfect alternative to using plastic shopping bags that are handed out at most stores. (On top of it, both Montgomery County and the District of Columbia charge an extra five cents per plastic bag in an effort to encourage people to use reusable bags.) It can also be used to carry children’s toys, books, a change of clothes, or anything else that needs carrying.

The auction will be held on November 21 at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church in Adelphi, Maryland. For details and directions, click here.

I know I don’t always write fondly about how I grew up in Glen Burnie, Maryland. For years I only went back to that town to visit my parents. But then my father died and my mother’s MS overwhelmed her so much physically that she couldn’t live in my old childhood home so she moved in with other family members in Odenton so my visits there basically stopped. Last summer I discovered that Crabtowne USA had a collection of vintage arcade games and pinball machines from the late 1970’s-circa 1995. Stepping in that particular room was literally like a step back to my teen years when I used to spend plenty of quarters at the arcade. (At that time, nearly every mall and most of the larger shopping centers had a video arcade.)

Lately I’ve been feeling a desire to make a return to Crabtowne USA for the first time in 2015. (I would’ve gone earlier in the year except there were frequently snowstorms and ice storms and generally nasty cold weather.) The day before Memorial Day fell on a Sunday and I was going to go to worship service at my Unitarian Universalist congregation then help teach the local immigrants how to speak English through my congregation’s social action program to help the local immigrant community. That day was the last day of the spring class so I wanted to be there for that occasion. (That class was originally supposed to end earlier than Memorial Day Weekend but we had to cancel two classes in January because there were ice storms that happened two Sundays in a row.)

Usually I bring a bag lunch with me to eat between the end of the Coffee Hour (the socialization time that immediately follows the end of the worship service) and the beginning of the English class because it’s cheaper than eating at one of the nearby restaurants and fast food places. (These days even many of the fast food places charge at least $10 for a full meal.) Normally I would try to find available space in one of the buildings where Sunday school is held to eat lunch (which is easier said than done some weeks because there is always people using the classrooms for things like a book discussion group or a spirituality circle and there are times when I have to go back to the main building where Sunday service was held so I could sit down and eat my lunch). That last Sunday of class the weather was really lovely. It was warm but not too hot and the humidity was low. I decided to go down into the glen to eat my lunch for a change. There were a couple of other people who were also hanging out there so I managed to talk to them. Here’s a photo I took of the glen.

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About half the students showed up (because it was a holiday weekend) but the session went pretty well. When class finally ended at 3:30 p.m., I was ready to go on a trip to Glen Burnie. Not only did I decide to check out Crabtowne USA but there were a few other things I wanted to check out mainly because they were mentioned on Roadside America.

First I want to mention a few things about Glen Burnie. That town is the kind of town that other people tend to sneer mainly because it’s historically a working class town. The two parallel main roads through that town (Ritchie Highway and Crain Highway) are loaded with car dealerships, shopping malls, and shopping centers. If a developer decides to plop yet another shopping center in a previous open wooded area, you won’t get any protests from the locals or any petition drives calling for slow growth because the people there tend to be a bit apathetic compared to—let’s say—Takoma Park.

There is one area in the town’s northeastern part that’s upscale compared to the rest of Glen Burnie. This area is located along Marley Creek and there are all kinds of nice looking bungalows that look quite cozy. If you have enough money, you could even buy a house whose backyard faces Marley Creek so each day you’ll get picturesque views like this next photograph.

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Unfortunately for me I was among the majority of Glen Burnians who lived in a neighborhood that wasn’t located anywhere near a major body of water. (Most of Glen Burnie is like that, with the exception of that one neighborhood.)

This house I wanted to check out wasn’t among the ones that were directly on the banks of Marley Creek (although the creek is located just a few feet away) but it stands out in other ways that led to it being mentioned on Roadside America. When you first arrive at the house, it looks like a normal cozy neighborhood home until you get a look at the front yard.

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Everywhere you look there are mirrored sculptures. When you look on the ground, you see circle reflections similar to what you’d see in a dark nightclub with a disco ball dangling in the middle of the dance floor. (I tried to photograph the effect but, sadly, it didn’t show up on my camera.)

Since all this mirror looking glass sculptural goodness was on someone’s private property, I initially started taking a few photos with the telephoto function “on.” A next door neighbor saw what I was doing and he told me that it’s okay if I enter the person’s yard and take pictures because the owner doesn’t mind. I saw that the front gate was open so I took the neighbor’s advice and let myself in. The homeowner didn’t emerge. (In fact, I don’t even know if the person was even home at the time.) I quickly saw what the neighbor meant when he encouraged me to let myself in the front yard. The yard is an eclectic mix of mirrors, embedded colored lights in the bushes, and some gorgeous landscaping. Everywhere I went was a total burst of reflection and color.

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It’s definitely worth the trip if you’re ever in Glen Burnie. The neighbor was right about his advice—you need to actually be in the yard in order to get a full sense of what this yard is like. My only advice would be to enter the yard only if the front gate is open because it is still private property. (For the address and directions, visit the Roadside America site.)

After that first visit, I continued on to another place that’s also mentioned on the Roadside America site. It’s known as the Tiny Church for Geese and, like the mirror yard, this one is also located on private property. It’s literally one of those “blink and you’ll miss it” kind of attractions.

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It’s mostly hidden behind a hedge. Since this one is on private property and there were no indications that it’s opened to the general public, I basically used the telephoto feature on my smartphone.

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It looks like the church is in the middle of this island with a moat surrounding it. There is a covered bridge leading to and from the island although if you were a goose or some other bird, you would probably just use your wings instead.

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While I wasn’t able to get a closer look at the structures, the church looked like it would come up to my waist while the covered bridge is a bit shorter.

The only warning I would give about this place is that it’s located on a street that has a very narrow shoulder that barely fits a regular sized four-door passenger car. Also, Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard tends to be traffic-heavy at times so be careful when exiting out the driver’s side of the car. For the address and directions, visit the Roadside America site.

I went on to Crabtowne USA.

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I noticed that the outside of the building has been painted in a different color since my last visit last year. (It used to have a white exterior but it’s now light gray.)

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And there are also a few new promotional posters in the windows.

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There was also a crab statue at the front of the building that I hadn’t seen before.

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I sat at the front counter while taking a close look at the interiors.

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At one point I had to use the bathroom that was near the counter. I was impressed with the bathroom’s decor.

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I especially liked the fact that someone took an old wooden door and reused it as a countertop. Great example of recycling in action.

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I ordered a soft shell crab sandwich and a side order of french fries for dinner. It was very delicious!

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After dinner I made my way over to the arcade. It was still the same as before.

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After I played for a while, I was running low on quarters so I decided to treat myself to dessert. I headed over to Ann’s Dari-Creme, which has been a Glen Burnie institution for decades. The family-owned restaurant specializes in just two things: foot-long hot dogs and ice cream.

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The interior of the place is very small. While there are a few stools where customers can eat, they can frequently get crowded by people waiting for their orders behind them. This is why I have never eaten inside and I only consider eating there if the weather is nice.

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I ordered a chocolate milk shake and it is just as good as my previous trips there.

I finished my trip to Glen Burnie with one final visit to a place that’s also mentioned on Roadside America. This place is located near the neighborhood where I grew up in but this building wasn’t built until long after I left Glen Burnie for good. It’s a dental office with a twist.

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There’s a giant sculpture on the rooftop.

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Roadside America calls it the Giant Rotted Molar Sculpture but, to me, it looks more like a volcano with flowing lava. I can remember when this building first opened it also included an ice cream parlor called Dino-Bites (or something like it) so I assumed that it was a volcano since many dinosaurs were buried under lava thousands of years ago. Even back then there was a dentist office, which I thought was an odd pairing. (Mainly getting some ice cream followed by getting your teeth cleaned and examined.) I’ve driven past this building numerous times over the years and I finally got around to taking a picture of it.

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That’s it for my trip to Glen Burnie! I have to say that even though I enjoyed driving around and checking out the sights, I have zero inclination to move back there. But I will probably continue to visit from time to time as long as Crabtowne USA still has those vintage video arcade games and pinball machines. (LOL!)

http://www.nablopomo.com

UPDATE (December 23, 2015): Here’s some potentially devastating news regarding the church and bridge that were built big enough for geese.

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