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Third Eye Comics has been around for a few years. The store had simply moved to larger quarters just around the corner from its former location. The store decided to have a grand opening event to celebrate this. Here’s a look at the entrance to the new facilities.

Third Eye Comics Grand Opening, July 8, 2017

This is a really cool example of trompe l’oeil.

Third Eye Comics Grand Opening, July 8, 2017

As you can see in the next few photos this event was well attended.

Third Eye Comics Grand Opening, July 8, 2017

Third Eye Comics Grand Opening, July 8, 2017

Third Eye Comics Grand Opening, July 8, 2017

There were all kinds of items available for sale, such as this Weeping Angel tote bag from the Doctor Who TV show.

Third Eye Comics Grand Opening, July 8, 2017

There were comic books, graphic novels, vinyl toys, coffee mugs, and other kinds of related merchandise available for sale.

Third Eye Comics Grand Opening, July 8, 2017

Third Eye Comics Grand Opening, July 8, 2017

Third Eye Comics Grand Opening, July 8, 2017

Third Eye Comics Grand Opening, July 8, 2017

Third Eye Comics Grand Opening, July 8, 2017

Third Eye Comics Grand Opening, July 8, 2017

Third Eye Comics Grand Opening, July 8, 2017

Third Eye Comics Grand Opening, July 8, 2017

Third Eye Comics Grand Opening, July 8, 2017

Third Eye Comics Grand Opening, July 8, 2017

Third Eye Comics also has a games store, known as Third Eye Games, whose entrance is located next to Third Eye Comics’ space.

Third Eye Comics Grand Opening, July 8, 2017

As you can guess from the name, Third Eye Games have all kinds of card games and board games available for sale, such as this Ghostbusters game.

Third Eye Comics Grand Opening, July 8, 2017

There were plenty of people playing games when I was there.

Third Eye Comics Grand Opening, July 8, 2017

Third Eye Comics Grand Opening, July 8, 2017

Third Eye Comics Grand Opening, July 8, 2017

I took advantage of the store’s special 20% discount on graphic novels to make my one and only purchase from that store. As you can guess by the cover, Deadpool the Duck is a mash-up between Howard the Duck and Deadpool. Having read it, I can tell you that it’s definitely hilarious. I would recommend picking it up if you have the chance.

Third Eye Comics Grand Opening, July 8, 2017

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Santa Claus Baby New Year

I happened to be in Brentwood on a sunny yet cold day. I finally did something that I’ve long wanted to do—take a few pictures of the Gateway Community Development Corporation building.

The Gateway CDC building is located in a small yet cozy looking cottage.

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At first glance one would think that he/she is looking at some front windows until you get a close-up view of those “windows” and soon realize that they aren’t really windows. They are actually paintings.

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Both of these painted false “windows” are actually a style of art known as trompe l’oeil.

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One side of the building has real windows along with a sign explaining what the Gateway Community Development Corporation is and what it does (which you can read about online right here).

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The other side of the building also has real windows along with plenty of open ground with a picnic table. I can imagine that it would be the perfect spot for a picnic on a warm sunny day.

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I recently attended Intervention Con for the first time since 2014. (Last year I opted to attend the 60th anniversary of the Enchanted Forest celebration that was held at Clark’s Elioak Farm that was scheduled at the same weekend. I wanted to go because it was both the 60th anniversary and the fact that the last of the attractions were moved from its former location—now known as the Enchanted Forest Shopping Center—to the farm. Even though it was of those “chance of a lifetime” events, it was so hot and humid on that day—which is typical August weather in the Baltimore-Washington, DC area—that I found myself wishing that I had opted for Intervention Con instead because it was held in an air conditioned hotel. I vowed that in the future I would only go to Clark’s Elioak Farm in the spring and fall because the summer is usually too hot and humid to enjoy anything.) This year I really wanted to go because there were not only a few panels that I was interested in attending but there were also some interesting guests who were going to be there as well.

Even though Intervention was being held at the Hilton Hotel in Rockville, Maryland, I ended up commuting from my home to the hotel while bringing my own food and drinks to save money. I found out that the hotel is located near the Twinbrook Metro station so I parked there instead of paying the hotel’s $15 per day fee for using its parking lot. (Yes, this particular hotel actually charges a parking fee.) The first night I had to pay $8.50 because I didn’t ride Metro. (It’s normally around $5 for those who ride the Metro.) It was still cheaper than what the hotel was charging.

As I was walking from the Metro parking garage to the hotel, I noticed this building that’s right next to the parking garage that has these really cool trompe l’oeil paintings on its warehouse doors.

Cool trompe l'oeil near Twinbrook Metro station on the way to #Interventioncon

Intervention Con, Day 1, September 16, 2016

I arrived at the hotel and paid for a weekend pass. I began to relax once I got my badge as I remembered why I love Intervention Con so much. It’s small compared to something like Otakon or Awesome Con but it’s way more laid back and I don’t have to wait in a long line for at least a half-an-hour in order to ensure that I would get a seat for a certain panel. I spent some time just taking a bunch of photographs of the convention and the hotel in general.

Intervention Con, Day 1, September 16, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 1, September 16, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 1, September 16, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 1, September 16, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 1, September 16, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 1, September 16, 2016

The first panel I attended was this one that was given by Jason Cranford Teague on “Children of the (Digital) Revolution.” It was a fun retrospective on how the various technology has changed since the 1970’s, especially with the size of cell phones and computers. I chuckled when he showed a photo of a rotary phone because I grew up with one in my house. (That phone was hooked up to only one line that everyone in the household had to share. There were no such thing as Caller ID or voicemail. There were answering machines but they were so expensive when I was growing up that only businesses had them.)

Intervention Con, Day 1, September 16, 2016

I attended my first presentation that was given by one of the convention’s celebrity guests. Dwight Schultz (left) talked with Ben Taylor on his days as an actor on shows like The A-Team and the various Star Trek series (The Next Generation, Voyager, and First Contact). It was quite an entertaining talk.

Intervention Con, Day 1, September 16, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 1, September 16, 2016

After that presentation ended I had an hour to kill before my next event. I went to the hotel lobby where I sat at this table that actually had plugs and USB ports where guests could charge their phones and other mobile devices. I ate the dinner that I brought with me while I was recharging my phone.  I glanced over at a group of people just a few feet away and I recognized one of them. It was René Auberjonois, who appeared in such TV shows as Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Boston Legal. He started to wheel his suitcase in my direction so I grabbed my smartphone, zoomed in on him (he was at least 10 feet away from where I was ) and snapped this photo.

Intervention Con, Day 1, September 16, 2016

After I took that photo like a paparazzi I finished eating my dinner then walked over to the main event for that evening. Thomas Dolby of “She Blinded Me With Science” fame gave a multimedia presentation about his music and technology career on the first night of Intervention Con.

Intervention Con, Day 1, September 16, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 1, September 16, 2016

It was an amazing presentation where he started with singing his first major hit, “She Blinded Me With Science,” then he went on to talk about his days as a major pop star when he worked alongside people like Stevie Wonder and David Bowie. Then he talked about what he did since he left the music business, when he became the founder of a technology company that came out with the first ringtones for cell phones back in the 1990’s. He’s currently living in Baltimore where he’s a professor at Johns Hopkins University and the artistic director of Program in Sound on Film at the Station North Arts District. He gave such a fascinating presentation that even just trying to write about what he said wouldn’t do it justice. It’s just as well because Thomas Dolby said that his memoir will be coming out in a few months. I’d love to read it, especially if it’s as entertaining and interesting as his presentation at Intervention Con. He finished his presentation with a live performance of his other 1980’s hit, “Hyperactive.”

After the Dolby event I went to one more event before I called it a night. I went to this panel on “Horror: Folklore and Fairytale: How Tales of the Past Influence the Narratives of Today” that was given by Michelle Sonnier and Melissa Braus. It was a really interesting talk on how much of an effect that folklores and fairytales have on pop culture. (The most obvious example is Disney frequently using the stories written by the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen for its animated feature films like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Frozen.)

Intervention Con, Day 1, September 16, 2016

One of the presenters had her book on display. She was selling copies of that book at her booth in the Artists Alley throughout the convention.

Intervention Con, Day 1, September 16, 2016

After that last panel ended I drove back home for the evening.

Intervention Con Day 2

Intervention Con Day 3

I spent the first Sunday in December attending another session of Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School at the Bier Baron in Washington, DC.

When I got off the Metro at Dupont Circle I encountered this protest.

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Yes, it was a group of Muslims who were protesting ISIS and terrorism in general. I hear so many right wing people in the media saying that all Muslims are terrorists but this march I saw directly contradicted that belief. Not only are all Muslims not terrorists but only a very tiny majority of them are actually waging violent jihad.

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These right wingers will denounce all Muslims for being terrorists yet they are strangely silent on white Christians who also commit terrorism, such as Robert Lewis Dear and Dylann Storm Roof.

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Having seen first-hand the outpouring of Muslims denouncing the terrorist extremists like ISIS makes Donald Trump’s call for a total ban on Muslims from entering the United States and refusal to rule out warrantless searches and ID cards for Muslims even more odious and more Hitler-like.

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The next two photographs show some of the flyers and postcards that the protesters were handing out to bystanders.

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I took one last shot as the protesters were walking south of Dupont Circle.

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I ate a quick lunch as Cosi then I walked over to the Bier Baron. On my way there I took a couple of photos of this wall mural that’s located on the side on this building on P Street, N.W.

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Not only does this mural depict a scene from The Wizard of Oz but it is also an example of a trompe l’oeil with a depiction of a realistic window that looks like it faces a view of the yellow brick road and the Emerald City in the distance.

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I arrived at the Bier Baron just in time for the start of Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School. A bellydancer named Naimah was the model so she was more clothed than the burlesque performers who usually serve as models. But she definitely had a way with a sword, as some of these drawings show.

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There was only one contest at that event and I took part in it. Since the latest Star Wars movie was opening soon, the challenge was to put Naimah in a scene from any of the films. I had Naimah laying triumphantly on the body of Jabba the Hutt, whose throat she slashed with one of her long swords. That drawing didn’t make it to the finals.

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After the contest I did a few more drawings of Naimah before the event ended.

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Even though the event ended at 6 p.m. it felt like it was much later at night since it has been getting dark earlier and earlier. I noticed a bar and restaurant located around the corner from the Bier Baron called The Fireplace, which has a fireplace facing the street outside.

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The fireplace at The Fireplace is covered with plexiglass, which felt warm when I put my hand on it.

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I also made a brief stop at Fantom Comics since it was on the way back to the Metro station.

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As you can guess from the name, Fantom Comics is a comic book store that’s located on the second floor of a building. The stairwell leading to the store is decorated with posters, drawings, and paintings, which makes it very colorful and interesting.

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Martin Luther King Day

With my husband still in hiding (he refuses to tell me where he is currently living) and all contact with him has been sporadic, I’ve been thrusted into this weird limbo since he abruptly left me on December 28. I’ve been receiving counseling from my church and from a local support group who specializes in people who have recently become separated or divorced. Since my husband is currently out of touch with me and I have to wait until he’s ready to talk to me, the consensus among the people I’ve spoken to is that I need to start focusing on myself. I received advice that I should try to do at least one thing I personally find fun each week.

On Saturday, January 7 I went to a friend’s birthday party near Frederick. (My husband was also invited to this party but, in one of the few messages I received from him since he abruptly left, he said that I should go since he decided not to attend.) With the turmoil stemming from both the recent separation and my mother’s hosptialization, I didn’t get around to buying a gift and card for my friend ahead of time. So, a few hours before the party began, I went to Frederick’s historic area where I did some shopping in the locally-owned mom-and-pop stores until I found both a gift and a card. As I walked around, I realized that this area was full of art and history. I did as much siteseeing as possible until it was time for me to go to the party.

I was sort of let down in that I didn’t get a chance to see most of what Historic Frederick had to offer. So this past Saturday (January 14), I decided to make a return trip to Historic Frederick with my Canon Digital Rebel SLR. Since I didn’t have any other social events scheduled for that day, I had the luxury to walk around until it was close to sunset.

On the way to Frederick, there was a sign that designated a scenic view where cars can pull off. I saw this nice skyline with some very dramatic cloud formations.

Frederick, Maryland Skyline
Frederick, Maryland Skyline

Once I reached Historic Frederick, I started to walk around where I viewed the city’s rich history and architecture.

Bell, Historic Frederick, Maryland
Antiques, Historic Frederick, Maryland

Here is the underside of the William O. Lee Unity Bridge.

Underside of William O. Lee Unity Bridge, Frederick, Maryland

Everywhere on the streets of Historic Frederick one can see art in a variety of places, such as this charming statue that’s located outside the local public library.

Statue Outside Frederick Public Library

Many of the stores in Historic Frederick are local family-owned shops and many of them have very nice storefront windows.

Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy dolls in store window, Frederick, Maryland
Stuffed animals in store window, Frederick, Maryland

Of course, Historic Frederick is rich in history complete with markers, such as the one that commemorated Sir Winston Churchill’s visit to a home that was once owned by Barbara Fritchie, a local elderly woman who was immortalized in a poem written by John Greenleaf Whittier and one that commemorated Dred Scott (who was the plaintiff of a notorious Supreme Court decision that kept slavery legal and declared that slaves weren’t fully human beings) and his wife, Harriet. (The Scott marker was located outside City Hall next to a bust of Frederick native Roger B. Taney, who was the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court at the time of the Dred Scott decision and he wrote the majority opinion.)

Marker Explaining Winston Churchill's Visit to Barbara Fritchie House, Frederick, Maryland
Marker Dedicated to Harriet and Dred Scott

What was really cool about walking through Historic Frederick is that you can encounter art in the most unlikely places, such as this statue of a calf.

Calf Statue, Frederick, Maryland
Calf Statue, Frederick, Maryland

Some of the local residents put their own artistic touches on their property, such as this cute statue of a mouse next to a recently used Christmas tree.

Mouse Statue, Historic Frederick, Marland

The best part about Historic Frederick is the outdoor murals of local artist William Cochran, who specializes in a style of painting known as trompe l’oeil. The art is a series of optical illustions featuring paintings of things that look real but isn’t, such as this very realistic painting of a gate surrounded by ivy.

Trompe L'Oeil Painting by William Cochran, Frederick, Maryland

The fountain under a recessed alcove is really a 2-D painting.

Trompe L'Oeil Painting by William Cochran, Frederick, Maryland

See the windows on the side of this building. Can you guess which windows are real and which are paintings?

Trompe L'Oeil Painting by William Cochran, Frederick, Maryland

The top four windows are real. The bottom windows are realistic looking paintings.

Trompe L'Oeil Painting by William Cochran, Frederick, Maryland

Another off-beat thing I saw on my walk was this angry snowman who stood outside the offices of the Frederick Gazette newspaper. He looked like a statue but he would move from time to time and startle passers-by in the process. I shot a short video of this angry snowman in action.

I can’t claim that this entry is entirely my idea. While I was in Phoenix for my mother-in-law’s recent funeral, USA Today had a story about 10 great works of art that’s perfect for April Fool’s Day. (For some reason the paper chose to publish that article on March 26 instead of April 1.)

All of the artwork reflect a style known as trompe l’oeil, a style of art that’s taken from the French that means "trick of the eye".

For more information about the artwork itself, you can read the original USA Today article online. You can also view the actual artwork mentioned in that article online at the following links:

The Mana Nalu Mural Project by John Pugh located in Honolulu.

Fresco with trompe l’oeil by Andrea Pozzo at the Jesuit Church in Vienna.

The Staircase Group by Charles Wilson Peale.

Various buildings in Portofino, Italy.

The Making of a Fresco Showing the Building of a City (Making a Fresco) by Diego Rivera at the San Francisco Art Institute.

Edward Collier’s trompe l’oeil painting at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

Richard Haas’ murals.

Various buildings in Lyon, France: Photo 1, Photo 2.

Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls, USA.

Study With Sphere & Water by John Pugh.

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