You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Super Mario Bros.’ tag.

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.

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Last week I had to take my car to a dealer in Silver Spring because there was a recall on the steering wheel. After I had that fixed and picked up that car, I decided to chill out at a nearby Target store in Silver Spring. I normally don’t go to this particular store, mainly because there’s another Target that’s located closer to my home but I decided to go there since it was on the way back from the car dealership.

This particular Target has giant red cement dots outside its doors (which is a feature that the Target that is closer to my home doesn’t have). Normally I don’t pay attention to those dots but I saw that two of those cement dots have been converted to resemble the heads of Mario and Luigi from Super Mario Bros. and other numerous Nintendo video games.

The heads were there to promote the recently released Nintendo Switch console system.

I stepped inside the store where I noticed that this store is larger compared to the one I usually go to. It also had items on sale that I’ve never seen at the other Target, such as American Girl’s Wellie Wishers dolls.

Those dolls were released last year but it was the first time I had ever seen them in person. That’s because it’s been a year since I last set foot inside an American Girl Place. The next photo shows the clothes and other accessories that one can buy for a Wellie Wishers doll, which are priced somewhere between $20-25.

The Wellie Wishers are smaller than the other American Girl dolls. From what I’ve read, these dolls were created for kids who are younger than the larger dolls’ target audience of girls between the ages 8-12. These dolls have vinyl bodies (compared to the larger dolls’ cloth torsos) and they are depicted as being somewhere between the ages of 4-7 (while the larger dolls are supposed to be around 9 or 10 years old). At $60 per doll, they are definitely cheaper than the larger dolls’ $115 price. But these dolls are more expensive than the 18-inch Our Generation dolls that Target sells as its alternative to American Girl. (The Our Generation dolls are generally priced between $20-35 depending on how many accessories are included with a certain doll.) I still find them to be pretty cute and their clothes are very lovely and colorful.

I went to two different events on April 23. First I went to the Greenbelt Mini Maker Faire, which I wrote about in my last blog post. Then I went to Silver Spring where I checked out something called a Creator Con, which I first learned about on Facebook.

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

The event was held at the James Hubert Blake High School and the admission price was only $8 per person.

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

There were a couple of food trucks parked outside the school for hungry participants.

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

There was a Game Truck parked outside that has all kinds of video games for people to play. This Game Truck can be rented for all kinds of events through its website.

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

Inside of the convention there were plenty of information regarding art and technology schools, hands-on exhibits (including video games), and an Artist Alley full of various kinds of arts and crafts available for sale. There were also a few cosplayers who milled about. Since this event was held in a high school, the vast majority of participants were high school students. Yet many of these teens showed a lot of potential in their art and I wouldn’t be surprised if a few of them actually go on to be comic book artists or work in the video game industry.

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

At the Creator Con in Silver Spring, Maryland. #Creator16

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

Before the Barbie doll even existed there was Lilli, a German doll that was originally marketed as a sexy novelty item for men.

And speaking of Barbie, Mattel is about to roll out a new line of Barbies that are different from the big bust, tiny waist blonde that we’ve all gotten used to over the years. Some will be more petite, some will be taller, and some will be curvier. In addition, there will be Barbies with different skin colors, hair colors, and eye colors. Here’s a sneak peek of these new dolls. What’s more, this radical change in the Barbie line has resulted in the doll being on the cover of the latest issue of Time magazine.

Want to provide something unusual for your Super Bowl party next week? Here’s a recipe for making Bacon-Chocolate Shot Glasses, which you can fill with the beverage of your choice.

Someone did a stop-motion remake of the first level of the original 1980’s classic video game Super Mario Bros. that was done completely in cake. If you’re wondering how they did that, here’s a separate “making of” video.

Passover

I spent the Saturday before Easter at the Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival that’s held every year as part of the National Cherry Blossom Festival. Most of the cherry blossom trees in the area haven’t bloomed yet but it hasn’t deterred people from having a good time at the festival anyway.

I went to the festival back in 2012 and 2013 then skipped last year. The other two years I arrived in the afternoon and hung around until I grew tired. I ended up leaving the festival hours before the fireworks because of fatigue. This year I decided that I really wanted to check out the fireworks in person so I ended up not leaving for the festival until after 4 p.m. So I packed my folding chair, headed to the nearest Metro station, and took the subway to the Waterfront station.

When I first left the station I noticed this nearby building where someone had decorated the windows with cherry blossoms made entirely from Post-It Notes.

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Someone had even done a pretty decent replication of Mario from the numerous Nintendo games like Donkey Kong and Super Mario Bros.

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It’s been two years since I last walked around the Southwest Waterfront area. I noticed that there was a bunch of construction activity going on.

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I also walked past this Bible preacher urging festival attendees to become Christians.

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I eventually arrived at the entrance to the festival.

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The festival was full of people.

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Since I arrived late in the afternoon, I decided to treat myself to an early dinner. (For once I attended a public event without schlepping food and drink around.) I found a group of food trucks that provided different types of food ranging from Middle Eastern to Korean BBQ to pizza.

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I ended up ordering my food from the truck in the next few pictures. The truck served French crepes under the name Crêpes Parfait. I waited in a long line to order then I was given a number where I had to wait a little while longer until my number was called and I could pick up my crepe. I ordered the chicken crepe with sun-dried tomatoes and mozzarella cheese, which was definitely worth the wait. I was able to set up my folding chair along the Washington Channel where I ate my crepe while watching the beautiful scenery.

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After I finished eating my dinner I continued to walk around the festival. I saw another group of food trucks in a different area.

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I found a blue truck called Captain Cookie and, on impulse, I decided to treat myself to dessert. I ordered an ice cream sandwich which featured vanilla ice cream in between two snickerdoodle cookies. That ice cream sandwich was incredibly awesome! The ice cream tasted like there was actually vanilla bean mixed in and the snickerdoodles were exquisite. I picked up their business card in the hopes that I somehow run into that food truck again. (LOL!)

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The next photo shows the Washington Channel. The day was pretty lovely in that it was cool enough for a light jacket but it was still a very far cry from that Arctic chill that plagued our region earlier this year.

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I saw that one of the festival sponsors, Proctor & Gamble, was having a booth where they gave away free samples of Tide. I got in the line and picked up a bag full of Tide samples. I won’t have to worry about buying new laundry detergent for a while. (LOL!)

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The only part of the festival that I was disappointed in was that, unlike other years, there was no craft show that was held as part of the festivities. I was kind of looking forward to the craft show only to find that it was eliminated. At first I thought there was a show that ended early until I saw the official program and it wasn’t even listed. As a consolation I took a bunch of photos of the various demonstrations of Japanese-inspired crafts (some of which were hands-on) that were held at the festival along with general sights of the event.

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The official program guide urged visitors wishing to view the fireworks to stake out a place near the Titanic Memorial in order to get the best views and to get to the memorial early. I took that advice and made my way to the memorial.

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I set up my folding chair along the banks of the Washington Channel, where I was treated to a lovely sunset.

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After sunset a bunch of boats with red and blue lights were floating around in the channel.

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The fireworks began at 8:30 p.m. and they lasted between 15-20 minutes (just before the official 9 p.m. close of the festival). The fireworks looked incredibly spectacular along the waterfront. These are just a few of the fireworks that were shot off that night.

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After the fireworks ended I decided to head home. As I was crossing one of the streets at one point, I realized that I was holding the plastic bag containing the Tide samples wrong because Tide samples began to spill out right on to the street where cars were driving by. I managed to pick up a couple of the spilled samples quickly but I couldn’t pick them all up because I didn’t want to risk getting hit by a car. So I had no other choice but to leave a few of the envelopes in the street where they got smashed up under car tires.

Most people who were at the festival were headed towards the Southeast Waterfront Metro Station (many of us heeded the advice of the festival organizers not to drive there because of a lack of parking), which became totally crowded along the platform as everyone waited for the next subway train to arrive. I really lucked out when a car with a door happened to arrive right in front of me so I was able to get right on the train without having to push people. My train car filled up quick, as you can see in the next photo.

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I ended up having to stand for at least the first few stops. I ended up right against the back door leading to the next car. I looked through the window and I saw that the next car was just as crowded as my car was, as you can see in the photo below.

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I was eventually able to get a seat once the Metro got past the L’Enfant Plaza station and hordes of people got off (because that station is a major transfer point). When I got off the Metro and headed towards my car in the parking lot, I saw this lovely full moon.

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I’m glad that I finally saw the fireworks show at the Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival. It was the first time I saw fireworks in Washington, DC since the one year, soon after my husband and I were married, we headed off to the Mall on the Fourth of July with a couple of friends from my husband’s job. It was very crowded and it was very hot and humid (I remember it was in the mid-90’s that day). It was pretty uncomfortable the entire day. While the fireworks over the Washington Monument and the Tidal Basin were lovely, it was hell trying to get home after it was all over. It took us at least an hour before we could even get inside the Smithsonian Metro Station and it took another half an hour before we were able to board a train because it was that crowded. My husband and I swore off ever again going to the Mall on the Fourth of July.

In contrast to that one, the Southwest Fireworks Festival was pretty nice. It wasn’t quite as crowded and it was relatively easy to find a decent view of the fireworks. And I didn’t have to wait as long to get on a Metro train either. The only thing I would do differently is that I should’ve brought a blanket because it got pretty cold after sunset. While I was able to put up my hood and place my hands in my jacket pocket, I would’ve appreciated a little bit more warmth. Otherwise, it was a great fireworks show on a pretty lovely day.

Ramadan
Last Saturday I wanted to do something fun after I went through a bunch of CD’s to determine which ones I wanted to keep and which ones I should get rid of after ripping the songs that I really like to my MacBook. The weather was warm but not too hot while the humidity wasn’t too bad either so I decided to go to Artscape in Baltimore. (The fact that the festival was free was definitely a plus for me.) I walked around for a few hours and I mostly had a good time. I also took a whole boatload of photos and I uploaded three videos on to YouTube. So, anyway, here it goes!

Everywhere you went at Artscape there were lots of live music and vendors selling their arts and crafts.

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

I took the next few photos of this booth because some of the t-shirts said things like “Poly Girl Rock” and “Run Poly” (the latter is a parody of the famous Run-DMC logo) because one of my friends from my Unitarian Universalist congregation came out publicly as a polyamory person (along with her principal partner whom I also met through my church—I have never met any of their other paramours) and she has given media interviews about polyamory while also leading an organization called Practical Polyamory. I later uploaded these photos to Facebook while I tagged her name.

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

There were all kinds of trucks. Some of them sold food and beverages while others provided services like providing free testing for STDs and HIV/AIDS.

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

There were also interesting people to photograph on the street as well.

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Someone made a statue of a sea turtle using recycled plastic shopping bags.

Artscape 2014

I’d never thought I’d ever see the National Bohemian beer (a.k.a. Natty Boh) mascot rendered in real life.

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

There was an area dedicated to building the World’s Largest Art Park where, for a $5 donation, people could paint bricks that will ultimately be used to create such a park. I regretted not doing this myself but money was so tight for me that I had to literally hang on to all the cash that I had on me at the time. I would love to see the entire park when it’s finished.

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

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Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

There was this merry-go-round carousel which rotated and it had sculptures of a chicken drumstick, and ear of corn, and a crab claw.

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

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Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

There was a protest/community art project where people could write on Post-It Notes what they would prefer the Baltimore City Public Schools to spend its money on other than standardized tests.

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

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Artscape 2014

It was around the time that I took the previous picture that I happened to run into some people I knew from my childhood growing up in Glen Burnie, Maryland who recognized me while I didn’t recognize them until they gave their names. I already wrote at length about that encounter so I’ll just say here that I was less than thrilled with seeing those two women again and I was glad when they left after speaking with me for a couple of minutes. (Too bad I didn’t run into anyone from my college years at the University of Maryland at College Park. I would’ve been way happier and delighted because, to be honest, I prefer my college friends over my childhood friends.)

After they left I faced a dilemma. I had reached the north end at Artspace on Mt. Royal Avenue and there was still more to see on Charles Street. Normally I would walk back down Mt. Royal Avenue towards the Mt. Royal Light Rail Station then walk up Charles Street but I really didn’t want to risk encountering those women from my past again. (My previous post has all the details why I didn’t feel warm and fuzzy about seeing them again.) I looked on the map on my smartphone and found that I was not only close to North Street but I was also close to The Wind-Up Space, where I go to attend the Baltimore chapter of Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School. I found that I could walk along North Street towards The Wind-Up Space and turn right on Charles Street and I could pick up the rest of the festival at the other end. So I did just that and I didn’t have any further encounters with those two women from my old neighborhood (nor anyone else from my Glen Burnie days, for that matter). I also took some more photos along the way to North Street.

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

As I was walking along North Avenue, I came upon Red Emma’s, a worker-owned cooperative that’s a coffeehouse, vegan restaurant, and bookstore. I usually walk past Red Emma’s whenever I go to Dr. Sketchy’s at The Wind-Up Space but I had never been inside because Dr. Sketchy’s is usually held on a Monday night while Red Emma’s is closed on Mondays. I found that Red Emma’s was opened so I took advantage of a rare opportunity to see what this place was like on the inside.

Red Emma's, July 19, 2014

Red Emma's, July 19, 2014

Red Emma's, July 19, 2014

Red Emma's, July 19, 2014

I found that Red Emma’s is really nice looking and I was impressed with their book selection. The lines were too crowded for me to try the food (actually the lines were crowded at practically every single restaurant, fast food place, and food truck that I encountered during Artscape) and I was too broke to buy a book. I wouldn’t mind returning at a later date when I have more time and more money.

So I turned right on Charles Street and I was able to rejoin the festival.

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

There was a fashion area where would-be fashion designers sold their wares from booths, the backs of parked trucks, and even a funky-painted bus.

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

I came upon this cool looking booth for a hardware store called The Loading Dock that recycles materials from construction sites. It’s similar to what Community Forklift close to my home does.

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

I came across something called Magfest, which I can best describe as a festival within a festival.

Artscape 2014

This mini-festival is devoted to video gaming.

Artscape 2014

Basically there were video games (some were on computers while others were video arcade games) that people played while a live band played on a nearby stage. There was also a display of video game-inspired art.

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

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I even shot a short video to give people an idea of what Magfest was like.

There was another mini-festival within a festival called The Alternative Art Fair that had all kinds of interesting art that was held on the lower level of a parking garage.

Artscape 2014

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I came across some neat examples of urban gardening.

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

I found a couple of tents that had a dance demonstration by Arthur Murray, which is legendary in my family. As a teenager, my late aunt had taken dance classes through Arthur Murray and I was told that she was an excellent student. She even did a newspaper ad for Arthur Murray that included her photo and it ran in The Baltimore Sun. Sadly she had to give up those lessons when my grandfather died and money became tight as a result. (If you happened to come across a vintage 1950s Baltimore Sun newspaper and see an Arthur Murray ad featuring a photo of an attractive short-haired brunette named Linda Banahan, that was my late aunt.)

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

I eventually came up to the art cars that Artscape is well known for.

Artscape 2014

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The car in the next photo was covered in pennies.

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

This car was covered in doodles.

Artscape 2014

This is the same Star Wars themed car that I saw parked outside of a baseball stadium the night that I attended a Bowie Baysox game on Star Wars night last month.

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

The Star Wars car also sold science fiction earrings.

Artscape 2014

Yes, it’s a cockroach car.

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

This vehicle was covered in bottle caps.

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

This art car also had art for sale.

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

I came across a puppeteer that had a marionette with a big butt and he was making the puppet do some twerking.

Artscape 2014

I even shot a short video of the twerking puppet.

I took more photos of various performers and other things.

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

I found a Midway-style carnival games that were all with twists. There was a duck game where the ducks floated around in a pool that resembled the U.S.S. Torsk that’s permanently docked in the Inner Harbor.

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Believe it or not, this next photo is a ring toss.

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Then there was a ball toss game called “Political Punk Rock” where people can throw balls at targets that resembled people like Hilliary Clinton, Kim Jong Un, John Boehner, Bill Clinton, Sarah Palin, and more!

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

The next photo shows this giant game that was a cross between pinball and a foosball table.

Artscape 2014

There was a pizza variation on the classic game Twister.

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

There was a performer named Gregory Morgan who was literally a one-man band. He was quite good at playing all the instruments by himself.

Artscape 2014

I even shot a short video of Gregory Morgan to give you an idea of what he was like.

I took the last few photos before I took the next light rail back to North Linthicum (where my car was parked). I was totally tired by the end.

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

Artscape 2014

I first learned about the existence of this convention when I was at Otakon because the people behind Intervention Con had a table in the Dealers Room promoting it. I went to the official site online and I found that there were a couple of panels that I was interested in. However, since I was still trying to recuperate from the massive convention monster that is Otakon, I really didn’t think I could handle all three days of Intervention Con. The good news was that, unlike Otakon, an individual had the option of buying a one-day pass. After going through the schedule online, I picked Saturday to go because that day had the most panels I was interested in.

So I packed a lunch, dinner, and a few sodas and drove to Rockville. I found that, compared to Otakon and BronyCon, Intervention Con was smaller and more intimate. I didn’t have to do as much walking and there weren’t huge crowds like the other recent conventions I attended. While there were cosplayers at Intervention Con, there were far fewer of them and they were definitely in the minority. (The vast majority of Intervention Con attendees wore jeans and t-shirt and eschewed costumes.) The few cosplayers I saw had interesting costume, like the person in the photo below.

Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013

When I got my pass, the first thing I did was sit down in a hall chair and eat the lunch I brought with me. Once I finished, I proceeded to tour the entire Intervention Con, starting with the LARP Room, which provided pretend weapons for anyone who wanted to engage in live action role playing.

Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013

The Internet radio station Tau Radio Independent Broadcasting did a live broadcast from Intervention Con.

Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013

The Video Gaming room had a variety of the latest video games for computers and consoles that convention attendees can try, such as Rock Band. There were also a few of the older consoles (like one of the first Nintendo consoles) that one could use to play older games like Super Mario Bros. I had fun trying out some of the games, such as Fruit Ninja for the X-Box Kinect.

Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013

Walt’s Cards & Board Gaming Room was named after one of the sponsors who provided the games for this room. There were a lot of board games and card games that one could purchase. However, if you weren’t sure about purchasing a certain game, there was a Game Library on one side of the room where people could borrow a game and play it on one of the tables in the room.

Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013

The Art and Music Studio room was a place where people could create art and/or music. When I was there, people were drawing on the boards using the dry erase markers.

Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013

I have to admit that my favorite room at Intervention Con was the Arcade Gaming room, which had a variety of classic arcade games from the 1970’s and 1980’s. What was really cool was that all of the machines were on Free Play so I was able to take a trip down to my high school and college years as I played games like Tron, Ms. Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Tetris, Arkanoid, and Wizard of Wor.

Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013

The biggest room at Intervention Con was one that housed three different things—a guest area where some of those who gave panels and workshops signed autographs, the Artists’ Alley where aspiring artists tried to sell their handcrafted stuff, and the Vendors who sold t-shirts, buttons, and similar geek-oriented items.

Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013

The same room also ran a Charity Auction, which was a silent auction where people could bid on various items ranging from t-shirts to plushies. The proceeds from that auction went to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013, Maryland, August
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013

The first panel I went to was on "Making Makers" and it was given by Mark Frauenfelder, the person behind both Make magazine and BoingBoing.net. It was a very informative panel on how there is a trend towards people making their own things, which has been spurred on by the rise of 3D printers.

Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013

After that panel, I walked around where I found this flyer touting the official Twitter hashtag for Intervention Con (#interventioncon).

Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013

The last two pictures I took were of cosplayers (one was wearing a neat red dragon tail and the other was fully dressed as one of those Transformers robots) before my smartphone battery totally died. (Yes, I stupidly forgot to fully charge my phone before I headed to Rockville.)

Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013
Intervention Con 2013, Rockville, Maryland, August 24, 2013

Despite my dead cell phone battery, I did plenty of other things (like frequently returning to the Arcade Gaming room so I could play those old arcade games I used to love so much). I managed to check out Mark Frauenfelder again as he was among those who sat on a panel I attended titled "Revenue Streams: How to Make Ten-Tenths of a Living". It was basically advice from professionals on how one could potentially make at least a part-time income through their own original creative product/idea (like a self-produced comic book). That panel recommended an online essay, which I later read, titled 1,000 True Fans, which showed that a creative person would only need to cultivate that amount of true fans in order to make a living. There’s also a book, called The Art of Doing, that the panel also recommended reading. The panel was basically positive and upbeat and it also had this message, it takes time to cultivate being able to make a full-time living off of what you create and you shouldn’t feel like a failure if you have to get a day job to pay the bills. I enjoyed myself watching the panel while eating the dinner I had brought with me from home.

I also attended a panel titled "So You Wanna Be an Artist?" and it was given by a former Disney animator named Raul Aguirre, Jr. He gave a really upbeat talk on how he managed to make a living as an artist despite being the son of Mexican immigrants. He has a webstie called Man vs. Art where he has a podcast series that’s designed to provide insipration to would-be artists and urge them to not abandon their dreams. After that panel, I attended another panel titled "Sh!t Gets Real: A Conversation With Frustrated Artists" that provided a sobering counterpoint to Aguirre’s previous panel. (It was too bad that the powers-that-be at Intervention Con couldn’t combine the two panels into a point/counterpoint on the issue of trying to make a living as an artist. That would’ve been cool to see.) This panel was pretty funny while the participants provide their horror stories (complete with gallows humor) on trying to make a living as an artist. Basically the message is that many artists may have to get side jobs to pay the bills.

After that panel I grew tired so I drove home. I learned a lot at Intervention Con that day. I also liked the fact that it was a smaller convention because I didn’t wake up with my body hurting the next day (unlike Otakon).

The next day I packed both my lunch and dinner along with some sodas and a freezer cold pack in my thermal Wegman’s bag, grabbed my planned submissions to the Art Show, got in my car, and drove to the North Linthicum light rail station in order to wait for the train to take me into Baltimore. (This method is far cheaper than going into Baltimore and using a parking garage. The round-trip light rail fare costs only $3.20 per day versus the parking garage’s fee of $20 per day.) I wasn’t the only Otakon convention goer waiting at that station. I saw a group of cosplayers also waiting.

Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013

While I was on the train I spoke with a fellow Otakon-goer who was sitting next to me. She said that she was staying at the Baltimore Hilton Hotel with eight other people and I noticed that she was carrying a pillow and sleeping bag among her gear. I’m not surprised that she’s doing this. This particular Hilton charges a hefty fee for its rooms but it’s also conveniently located within walking distance of the Baltimore Conventon Center, Camden Yards, and Harborplace plus it’s right next to a light rail stop and a bus stop on one of the lines of Charm City Circulator.

I arrived about noon and I saw such a huge crowd waiting outside the Baltimore Convention Center.

Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013

I decided to go into the Baltimore Hilton and cross the sky bridge linking the hotel with the Baltimore Convention Center in order to get into Otakon. As I was going inside, I passed one of the eating places located at the Hilton with a long lunch line that went out the doors. I was very glad that I opted to carry my own lunch from home instead.

Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013

While I was in the Hilton on my way to the sky bridge, I came across something special. Since 2013 marks the 20th anniversary of Otakon, someone had organized an Otamuseum where vintage items from previous Otakons (such as programs, t-shirts, and badges) on display in glass cases.

Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013

As I was crossing the skybridge, I got a glimpse of the long line of people who were still trying to get their Otakon badges and they weren’t able to make it to the preregistration badge pickup the day before.

Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013

Once I made it inside the Baltimore Convention Center, I decided to head directly to the Art Show to drop off my submissions. It took me a while to find the Art Show because this year’s show was so massive. I finally learned that the Art Show was sharing a giant room with the Artists Alley. I only stopped briedly to take a photo of Eric Maruscak of Pepper Ink starting another real-time art project just like he did at last year’s Otakon.

Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013

I submitted my works to the art show then I walked around. It was very crowded yet it was lively and there were many people cosplaying as characters like Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Harley Quinn

Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013

I spent the bulk of the first day of Otakon in the Dealers Room. The first thing I saw was that writer Peter S. Beagle was back at Otakon. Last year I purchased a deluxe graphic novel adaptation of his most famous book The Last Unicorn and I had him autograph it for me. There were other books by him that were on sale in addition to The Last Unicorn that I would’ve loved to have browsed through and see if I wanted to buy anything else and have him sign it. Unfortunately his booth was even more crowded than last year so I was unable to even get a close look at all the books he had available. The photo below is the closest I ever got to Peter S. Beagle at this year’s Otakon.

Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013

Like previous Otakons, The Dealers Room was very big and it featured all kinds of stuff that one can buy including Pullip dolls, cute plush llamas, model robot kits, manga books, anime DVDs, and all kind of t-shirts imagineable. Japanese fashion designer h. Naoko was back with his Hangry & Angry line of clothes but, unlike last year, there was no h. Naoko fashion show scheduled. The strangest new item I saw on sale at many tables this year was a product called Necomimi Brainwave Cat Ears, which are cat ears you wear on your head and it’s supposed to detect your brainwaves and move around based on whatever brainwaves your head is generating at the moment. For My Little Pony fans who missed last weekend’s BronyCon at the Baltimore Convention Center, there were plenty of pony swag on sale in The Dealers Room.

Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013

I originally had every intention of visiting both the Dealers Room and Artists Alley on the first day but the Dealers Room was so huge by itself that, by the time I managed to visit all the booths at least once, my feet felt like they were ready to drop off and it was close to dinner time. So I decided to go on one of the upper levels, find a seat in the hallway, and eat the dinner I had brought with me.

Emerging from the lower level was an adventure itself. The exit doors of the Dealers Room was only in one area. The escalator was working so I took that up to a floor that was just underneath the main front entrace of the Baltimore Convention Center. Like the lower level, there were escalators and steps. What was weird was that while all the escalators in other parts of the building were working and available for everyone, the escalators located in the front of the Baltimore Convention Center was reserved only for people with disabilities who registered as such at the booth that was located on the upper level of the front entrace that we all had to manually walk upstairs in order to get that special designation. (Yes, it was as strange as it sounds here.) My feet came close to giving out and I barely managed to walk to the top of the steps.

It didn’t help that there was this huge thunderstorm that happened in the middle of the day. (My joints tend to be more creaky on rainy days.) But I managed to make it to the main lobby of the Baltimore Convention Center, where I saw plenty of cosplayers like the ones in the photos below.

Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013

Finding a place to sit was a challenge at times because many people had occupied the seats that were located in the hallways and terraces. The best place to find a place where I could sit and eat the food I brought with me from home: The Otacafe. There were plenty of seats there.

Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013

The catch was that I had to put up with a karaoke contest that took place while I was eating dinner but it was worth it in order to take a load off of my feet.

Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013

After dinner I happened to pass this room where photographs were being taken of various costumed Otakon attendees for the Otakon Cosplay Archive. Normally I would walk past that room since I wasn’t wearing a costume. But the sign mentioned that people had the chance to have 3D scans of themselves. I knew this meant that Otakon had gotten ahold of at least one 3D printer and I wanted to check it out.

Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013

For cosplayers interested in the traditional 2D photo, there were regular professional photo equipment that were set up.

Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013

In another room that was off to the side, a company called ShapeShot was responsible for the 3D photoshoots.

Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013

For $250 a cosplayer can get a full body scan (including the costume) that will result in a 6-inch figure. More cash-strapped con attendees can opt for having just a head scan for only $5. That head scan can be later used on a bunch of items ranging from coffee mugs to pencil toppers.

Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013

One could even opt to have his/her scanned head on top of a Lego Minifig.

Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013

After viewing all the equipment that goes into making a digital 3D scan of a living human being for 3D printers, I have to say that anyone considering going into a similar line of work would not only require a lot of money (including buying several top-of-the-line hi-res DSLR cameras) but one would need a large room in order to set up the entire system.

Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013

This cosplayer opted for the full body scan, including her costume.

Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013

I had originally planned on attending only one panel today, called "The Worst Anime of All Time", which was presented by the Anime News Network. It sounded like it was going to be a compendium of anime so bad that it’s really funny. I knew from attending previous Otakons that if you wanted to be assured of having a seat, you had to get in a line at least a half-an-hour before it begins. I arrived a half=an-hour only to encounter Walt Disney World-style lines, as you can see in the photo below.

Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013

Unfortunately the line going to the room was so long that all the seats were filled by the time I got towards the front of the line.

Instead I walked around the hallways of Otakon some more. I found the Otachan room where people of all ages can engage in Asian-themed crafts. If I hadn’t started to feeling tired at the time I took the next two photographs, I might have tried a craft or two myself.

Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013

By the late afternoon-early evening my feet continued to feel like they were about to give out so I decided to call it a day and leave Otakon. The front entrance of the Baltimore Convention Center was still filled with people trying to register and pick up badges so I took a similar route to the Convention Center light rail stop. I took the sky bridge from the convention center to the Baltimore Hilton then exited out of the Hilton over to the light rail stop. While I was on my way out I took a few more photos of various cosplayers.

Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013

As I was leaving I noticed the line of people waiting to register and/or pick up their badges in the late afternoon summer sun. That line was just as long as it was this morning.

Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013
Otakon 2013, Day 1, August 9, 2013

I arrived home feeling totally tired, stiff, and sore all over my body. So far it was only the first day of Otakon and I was already feeling like I’ve been there all three days. That didn’t sound good considering the fact that Otakon was going to last two more days.

This weekend I attended the Otakon anime convention in Baltimore for the first time in two years. I’m trying to do things to take my mind off my current personal problems and attending Otakon is another example of that. (My attendance did the trick because I was too busy walking around Otakon to notice the seven-month anniversary of my husband’s sudden walkout until after the event ended Sunday.)

Ironically the last time I attended Otakon two years ago, I did so because my husband was about to embark on a month-long business trip to Florida and Otakon happened to coincide with the first weekend that he was gone. I thought that being busy that weekend would help ease me into being away from my husband for that long. (Up until that time, there were times when my husband was away on business trips but they basically lasted no longer than a week. Of course, with this recent separation, I have been alone without my husband for the longest time ever. We’ve been apart for seven months now and I’m sure that we’ll remain apart for some time to come.) In any case, you can view my entries regarding Otakon 2010 here, here, here, and here.

I had pre-registered for this year’s Otakon about a month and a half ago. I was able to save money on convention fees plus I was able to pick my pass up the night before the convention began. Here is my badge that I wore last weekend.

My Otakon 2012 Badge

I opted to drive from my home to the North Linthicum light rail stop then take the light rail until I reached the Baltimore Convention Center. I also brought a giant insulated Wegman’s bag with lunch, dinner, sodas, and snacks. I found that it was way cheaper to do things that way than to stay in an Inner Harbor-area hotel and eat in restaurants or at one of the convention center’s food stands. I also didn’t have to worry about caring for my pet hedgehog Spike while I was away because I was able to change his food and water after I ate my own breakfast before I left in the morning.

The disadvantage of carting your own food and drinks around is that the bag I carried the stuff in (along with cold packs to keep the drinks cold and prevent food from spoiling) was a bit on the heavy side and my shoulders were totally sore by the time I returned home.

Here are the dolls I carted with me throughout Otakon. I brought small dolls (the largest was only 13 inches tall) because they were lighter and easier to carry and I could easily put them away when I wasn’t at a doll meet-up. The dolls I took were—from left to right—Soom Mini-Gem Uyoo, Orient Doll Ji, Makies elf doll, Bobobie Sunny, and Soul Doll Kimmy.

The Dolls I Took to Otakon With Me

While I waited for the light rail to arrive, I took this photo of my Makie doll.

My Makie Doll at the Baltimore Light Rail Stop

The disadvantage of being a commuter to Otakon is that if I don’t arrive in time to take a certain light rail and had to take a later one, I would be late for a panel or workshop I wanted to attend. That is what happened to me. On top of that, the security people at Otakon made us pre-registered folks enter the door at the far end of the convention center instead of taking the front entrance that was located closer to where the workshop I wanted to attend was located. (The security had reserved the front entrance for the long line of people who waited until the last minute to register for Otakon.) I arrived to the workshop a half-an-hour late as a result. On top of it, I discovered that you weren’t allowed to enter the workshop late. You had to wait in a line outside and hope that you would be let in. I learned quickly that if you don’t arrive early for a workshop or panel, you just won’t get in at all.

I managed to make it to the Hangry & Angry Fashion show, where I not only arrived early but I got a decent seat. At times that fashion show was like Mardi Gras where, instead of throwing beads to the audience, the models threw tiny Hangry & Angry toys to the audience. The Hangry & Angry clothes are wild and punk. It was a pretty fun experience. Here are a few shots from that show.

Hangry and Angry
Hangry + Angry Fashion Show at Otakon 2012
Hangry + Angry Fashion Show at Otakon 2012
Hangry + Angry Fashion Show at Otakon 2012
Hangry + Angry Fashion Show at Otakon 2012

After the fashion show, I took this photo of someone who actually came dressed as a soft drink that was served at a fast food restaurant, which I thought was hilarious. (After I uploaded that photo on Flickr, someone commented that the soft drink is really Grand Master Shake from Aqua Teen Hunger Force. I’ll take his/her word for it since I’ve never seen that show.)

A Soft Drink Cosplayer

I also found this Asian ball-jointed meet up. It was held on a Friday afternoon and there was a small group there. I took some photos of the few dolls that were there. I also had this strange encounter while I was at this meet up. These two women came up to me and one of them asked me if I ran the website Kim’s World of Art. I was amazed that anyone recognized me because I haven’t gone to any doll meet ups since the last time I went to Otakon in 2010. I answered “Yes” then one of them said that I have a photo of her bag that I posted on my site five years ago and she wanted me to remove it. Then the two of them quickly walked away before I had a chance to ask them any further questions. I have no idea who these people were and I don’t even know what image file they were referring to. If I had a URL of the image in question, then I could delete it easily. But I have so many images on my site that I wouldn’t know where to begin. On top of it, I didn’t recognize either woman nor did they give me their names.

I’m not really a regular doll meet up attendee. I did go to a several of them between 2004-2007 but then I simply cut way back because of other things that happened in my life (such as my left hip getting so bad that I couldn’t walk so I had to undergo a hip replacement in 2008). It’s just hard to accomodate anyone who suddenly comes up to me, asks me to remove a photo of a bag, then quickly walk away without giving me a name or a URL.

I was so unnerved by that encounter plus the doll meet up was so small that there were very few dolls on display where I was there. I just took the following three photos then quickly left without even showing off all of the tiny dolls I brought.

Asian Ball Jointed Doll Meet Up at Otakon 2012
Asian Ball Jointed Dolls
A Cute Volks Dollfie Dream Doll

I found another group sitting around near the Asian ball-jointed doll meet up who were in another meet up of their own. They were busy trading manga volumes. Here’s a photo of some of the manga books and related publications that were available for trade.

Manga Trading at Otakon 2012

I loved this person’s costume so much that I photographed it. According to a commenter on Flickr, this is supposed to be Kyubey from Puella Magi Madoka Magica. (I haven’t seen that particular anime.)

Cute Cosplayer at Otakon 2012

I walked around both the Dealers Room and Artist Alley. The next two photos are of The Last Unicorn author Peter S. Beagle who was busy signing autographs and chatting with fans.

Peter S. Beagle at Otakon 2012
Peter S. Beagle at Otakon 2012

I stopped by the Hangry & Angry booth where I took a couple of pictures (including one of my Makie doll Victoria sitting among the stuffed cats).

Hangry and Angry Booth at Otakon 2012
Makie Doll Among the Hangry and Angry Dolls
Hangry and Angry Dolls at Otakon 2012

I looked at the prices of some of the Hangry & Angry clothes and stuffed animals. They were a bit pricey. The cheapest item I saw was $25 for a small-sized t-shirt that looked like it was made out of very thin cotton. The booth was throwing an exclusive “Hellcat Party” the following evening that would be limited only to the first 20 people who spent more than $250. With the high prices, it would be pretty easy to spend that much in one drop. I saw one person plunk out a bunch of dollar bills buying lots of stuff. She spent the minimum $250 so she was given one of the 20 passes to that party. As for me, I bought a softbound coffee table book-sized manga about the Hangry & Angry cat characters for $40. I just preferred to buy something that’s going to last me many more years than most of the clothes that were sold at Otakon this year.

Here are some more things that were on sale at Otakon.

Wigs at Otakon 2012
Plushies at Otakon 2012
Ultra-Cute Arpakasso Alpaca Stuffed Toys From Japan
Lolita Dresses

I found it pretty ironic to find these realistic looking toy guns on sale because Otakon began on the one-week anniversary of that tragic shooting at a movie theater in Colorado.

Toy Guns on Sale at Otakon 2012

This car was painted with comic book characters.

Customized Car at Otakon 2012
Customized Car at Otakon 2012

This artist was in the process of drawing a chalkboard mural on the ground.

Drawing Chalkboard Mural at Otakon 2012
Chalkboard Mural at Otakon 2012

After doing some shopping where I didn’t buy very much, I decided to check out this workshop called “Digital Painting Crash Course” where people sat there looking at an artist demonstrating how to do some painting effects in Adobe Photoshop. He had some CD-ROMS to give out to participants except he only made 10 CD’s in a workshop where around 100 people attended. I’ll admit that it was hard to listen to what was essentially a lecture on using Adobe Photoshop without having a computer loaded with Photoshop so I could follow along. (Most computer training courses I’ve taken in the past generally had both instruction and hands-on lab while this workshop was instruction only.)

I ended up leaving Otakon around 4 p.m. mainly because there wasn’t a lot of things I was interested in attending by that time and I was getting very exhausted so I went home.

As for the weather, the heat was in the upper 90s with high humidity. Tha Baltimore Convention Center had air conditioning but there were places in the building that were warmer than others. The warmest areas were the main hallways where the sun went through the glass window roofs. The coldest areas were the ballroom where the workshops and panels were held. The air conditioning in those rooms were so cold that there were times I wished I had a jacket with me.

One thing I noticed at Otakon so far. What’s up with the escalators? At previous Otakons it was no problem with using them. Anyone was allowed to use them. So far, this didn’t seem to be the case. During picking up the badges for those who pre-registered, we weren’t allowed to use the escalators. We all had to walk up the steps. On the first full day at Otakon, the escalators were either not working at all or they were running but security wouldn’t let anyone use them. What. The. Fuck?!?

So I spent the evening at home watching the Opening Ceremonies of the London Olympics on NBC.

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