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Ramadan

Fan art featuring 30 Disney cartoon girls reimagined as grown-ups.

Why aren’t people talking more about Latinos killed by police?

Will Donald Trump destroy the presidency?

A look at vintage Polaroids of Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill and other Star Wars actors taken during the making of Return of the Jedi.

Undercover author finds Amazon warehouse workers in UK peed in bottles over fears of being punished for taking a break.

Understanding the difference between race and ethnicity.

3 medical projects driving maker innovation in health.

A look at the 13 lesser known members of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Ex-Facebook president Sean Parker said that the site was made to exploit human vulnerability.

15 tattooed seniors answer the question: “What will it look like in 40 years?”

How these lava lamps are securing the Internet.

Behold the unnervingly rectangular livestock of pastoral art.

Watch as a 17th century portrait emerges from 200 years of discolored varnish.

Why job hunters don’t find work.

A profile of the man who is helping Americans access safe drinking water.

Why the US fails at worker training.

Somebody wrote an email bot to waste scammers’ time.

Twist fabric scraps into colorful twine.

This “Ordinary People vs. Creative People” comic has spawned a very creative meme.

Neoliberalm has conned us into fighting climate change as individuals.

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Man builds a Furby organ using recycled vintage electronic Furbys.

From the Green Book to Facebook: How black people still need to outwit racists in rural America.

If you care at all about the idea of journalism, Project Veritas should horrify you.

Here’s a free tutorial on how to crochet a blanket based on climate change data.

The “Pocahontas” nonsense matters but not in the way that Trump might like it to.

CNN crusades against the slave trade in Libya but they knew about it for years.

A look at a LEGO set featuring the women of NASA.

The Church of Sweden no longer refers to God as “he” or “lord.”

What if American hadn’t done the dumbest thing imaginable after 9/11?

The executives who bankrupted Toys R Us want $16-32 million in bonuses for their performance.

More than 80,000 vintage sewing patterns are now available online.

The driverless revolution may exact a political price.

10+ revenge stories that will make you think twice about being an asshole to other people.

6 badass acts of resistance erased from history.

Dollar General hits a gold mine in rural America where even Walmart failed.

Will the alt-right produce the next Timothy McVeigh?

How Clinton and Obama failed to defend the middle class.

Undoing the New Deal: The 1944 coup against Vice President Henry Wallace.

Mardi Gras

Robot in the Park
Mixed media (circuit board, rubber superball, tin, plastic 8-ball, string, glass beads, sticker, and acrylic paint on canvas)
5 inches x 5 inches
13 cm x 13 cm

I got the idea for this project when the plug of my cell phone charger literally broke apart. I noticed that there was a tiny circuit board inside of that plug. I began to think of creating a tiny art project utilizing this tiny circuit board that would be similar to my previous Robot Diavolino.

But then I didn’t do anything with that circuit board for a number of months. In the meantime I found a tiny rubber superball on the floor of my home with a smiley face printed on it. I don’t remember how I got that superball because it’s not something I would buy for myself since I had outgrown superballs a long time ago and I don’t have any young children who would play with one. It was way too small to donate to a thrift shop. I thought about throwing it away until I remembered that tiny circuit board and I figured that it would make a perfect head for my circuit board should I ever do anything creative with it. I put the two away in the same box then I forgot about them for a while longer.

I finally got around to making something with that circuit board and superball. What prompted it was that I learned that a local art gallery was having a call to artists and it was looking for art which used recycled materials.

So I finally purchased a small canvas, painted the background with acrylic paint, then assembled the robot itself. For the arms and legs I used glass beads that I had lying around the house. (I used to make jewelry to sell at local shows but I quit doing it because it never really sold well plus many local craft shows were inundated with jewelry tables and there were some craft shows that had a glut of jewelry. I basically threw in the towel because there was just too much competition.) For the hands and feet I used tin that was cut from the sides of an Altoids tin with special metal cutters. As for the 8-ball balloon, I found half of a plastic 8-ball on the floor of a local laundromat (which I sometimes cut through on my way to the shopping mall entrance). It looked like it came from a gumball machine. I pocketed that 8-ball half and used that for the balloon. I had some twine lying around the house, which made a perfectly scaled balloon string. Finally I used a heart-shaped sticker for the robot’s chest, which came from a book of Valentine’s Day-themed stickers that I purchased from a local arts and crafts store for only $1 a few years ago.

I managed to get this project finished just in time for the art gallery’s deadline. (I submitted this piece along with my Robot Diavolino.) I have yet to find out whether it has been accepted or not as of this writing. Regardless of whether it gets into that show or now, I’m pretty happy with how this project turned out.

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.

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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