You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Washington’ tag.

Ramadan

On this particular Friday the 13th I wasn’t needed at work. (The boss had to be elsewhere that day.) So I decided to check out the cherry blossoms in Washington, DC on Friday the 13th at the National Arboretum.

The one big secret is that the National Arboretum has its share of cherry blossoms but this place gets far less tourists than the Tidal Basin. So it’s a good way to savor the cherry blossom trees in full bloom without dealing with the crowds.

This couple were formally dressed because a professional photographer was about to take some photos of them underneath the cherry blossoms.

The Visitors Center had this cherry blossom bouquet that came from the Embassy of Japan.

There were plenty of other things to photograph at the arboretum besides the cherry blossom trees.

Before I left for the arboretum I had packed my car because I was scheduled to participate at the Greenbelt Spring Maker Festival, which was taking place the next day. Among the things I had packed were two American Girl dolls and a stuffed animal I got last year from Build-A-Bear Workshop. I took a photo of the three of them near the columns.

After I took the above photo, I ended up using just the lion fairy for the other photos because trying to pose three large dolls/stuffed animals was a bit arduous and I found it easier to just use only one of them. The lion was wearing a rainbow fairy outfit that matched the cherry blossoms.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Advertisements

Last month I attended my first Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School session of 2018. There have been other Dr. Sketchy’s events in Baltimore and Washington since the New Year but, for a variety of reasons, I wasn’t able to make one until last month.

Even though it was April and the cherry blossom trees in the entire metropolitan area were starting to bloom, winter was still holding on. I remember it was around 40 degrees Fahrenheit so I wore my winter coat while going to downtown DC. When I arrived at the Greenbelt Metro station I saw a group of cosplayers in winter coats who were obviously going to the Tidal Basin (where many of the cherry blossom trees are located and it gets a huge share of the tourists this time of the year).

One of them had this clear backpack that had all kinds of Donald Duck charms, buttons, and pins.

I arrived at Dupont Circle where I noticed that the fountain had been turned on with the water coming in at at a trickle.

A pair of ducks were swimming in the fountain despite the winter-like cold weather.

I saw a group of people near the fountain who took off their coats and started swing dancing in public. I have no idea if they were a flash mob or if they were heavy swing dance enthusiasts. I shot a short video of these people in action.

I shot a few more photos of Dupont Circle.

Like I wrote earlier, many of the cherry blossom trees are further downtown at the Tidal Basin. However, I saw a couple of blooming cherry blossoms planted outside of a building at the intersection of Dupont Circle and New Hampshire Ave., NW so I was able to take a few cherry blossom pictures.

I went to Kramerbooks & Afterwords where I browsed through a few books while noticing all of the Donald Trump-related books that are now available for sale, many of which are less-than-flattering towards The Donald.

As I was walking down P Street, NW, I noticed something I hadn’t noticed before on previous trips. There is a restaurant called Tiki Taco, which serves a fusion of Mexican and Polynesian food. (Seriously!) If I wasn’t financially struggling I might have tried eating there. (I had just started a new day job and, at that point, I was only working around 15 hours per week.)

I made a brief stop at Fantom Comics where I took pictures of the various posters and wall murals.

I noticed this Batgirl costume on display, which reminded me of the costume that Batgirl wore in this graphic novel that I checked out of the library last year called Batgirl of Burnside (which I enjoyed, by the way). One of the employees told me that the Batgirl costume was on display because one of the writers of Batgirl of Burnside had stopped by the store the day before signing autographs. There were plenty of signed graphic novels that the person had written that were still available for sale that not only included Batgirl of Burnside but also other books he wrote, such as Black Canary and Gotham Academy. (I also checked out one of the Gotham Academy books out of the public library recently. I hadn’t read Black Canary mainly because it has yet to arrive at the library.) They were all laid out on the table. I felt tempted but if I had purchased one of those signed books, I would not have been able to afford to go to Dr. Sketchy’s, which was the main reason why I even commuted to Dupont Circle on a cold April Sunday afternoon. So I had to just content myself with taking a picture of the Batgirl costume.

I finally arrived at The Bier Baron, where I took a couple of colorful beer signs on display.

Here’s a shot of the stage where the model posed.

The model for this event was Sally Cinch, who is a sideshow performer and dancer. Since she’s not a burlesque performer, all of the drawings in this post are definitely safe to view unless you are someone who gets offended at seeing a bare midriff.

Sally Cinch’s big talent is the ability to squeeze herself into tight spaces. She did a brief performance where she squeezed herself into a couple of hangers, which inspired this contest: Incorporate Joan Crawford into that drawing. I remember when I read that notorious book Mommie Dearest as a teenager and I even saw the movie featuring Fay Dunaway as Joan Crawford.

As it turned out, I was one of only two people who actually took part in the contest. I think it was because the majority of the people who were there were either not born or were too young to remember Mommy Dearest. The two of us were declared the winners and our prize was a drink of our choice from the bar. (I chose a hard cider that I really liked. I’m sorry I didn’t write down the name of what I drank.)

I did another sketch of Sally showing why her last name is Cinch using a belt that was pulled very tight around her waist.

I drew one last sketch of Sally before the event ended.

The event was cut relatively short compared to previous Dr. Sketchy’s events because of some kind of a scheduling snafu with a comedy show that was following Dr. Sketchy’s. I managed to talk briefly with Sally Cinch and the emcee, Reverend Valentine. I found out that Sally Cinch has performed in my neck of the woods. Not only did she once performed at The New Deal Cafe in Greenbelt, Maryland but she’s also friends with two friends of mine, which was ironic and it goes to show that it’s a small world after all.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

I had just started a new day job with a therapist only to have Good Friday off along with Easter weekend and the following week because the therapist’s two children were off from school for Spring Break and the family decided to take an out-of-town trip. I had checked a book out of the Takoma Park public library that’s located on the Washington, DC side of Takoma Park and it was due on Good Friday. So I took the Metro to Takoma Park so I could return the book. Here’s a shot of the library.

Here’s a shot of inside of the library. Here’s a fun fact about this library: This library is actually a Carneige library, which was built as a result of the philanthropy of business magnate Andrew Carneige. Last summer I took more extensive photos of that library, which you can see right here.

After I returned that library book I decided to walk around the area. I had brought an old book of walking tours of Washington, DC with me so I decided to follow the walking tour of Takoma Park where I walked in both the Maryland and DC sides of the town. The weather was still very cold despite the upcoming Easter holiday weekend so I wore a winter coat with a hat that day. I saw this lovely mural.

Here’s a sign on the DC side of Takoma Park. (The flag is the Washington, DC flag.)

I saw plenty of yard signs on the front lawns of many private homes that are proclaiming tolerance and taking stand against the policies of the Trump Administration.

I saw the occasional hopscotch with the logo of a national organization known as Let’s Play America.

I saw a garden with signs that marked “Republic Voters Garden 1963” and “Democrat Voters Garden 1963.”

I saw a variety of houses on my walk.

Even though the houses in Takoma Park can be expensive, there are also a lot of apartment complexes in that area as well so the town is more mixed along race and economic classes than too many other parts of the United States. It’s possible to see an upper class family making a six-figure income living near a financially struggling immigrant family.

Takoma Park is full of Little Free Library boxes of all shapes and sizes.

It’s also common to see homeowners display works of art on their properties.

I walked past the historic Trinity Episcopal Church where I shot these pictures.

The Takoma Park Presbyterian Church has a bunch of signs proclaiming that they are welcoming to everyone.

I took some nature photos as well. Despite the very cold weather that day, the flowers were determined to bloom.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Early last month I went to Adams-Morgan in Washington, DC because I wanted to check out the special mass meeting of the Poor People’s Campaign. I arrived at the venue only to find out that it was cancelled at the last minute. Naturally I was disappointed even though I managed to enjoy myself as I walked around Adams-Morgan and took a bunch of pictures.

The Poor People’s Campaign mass meeting was rescheduled for Presidents’ Day at a different church (Shiloh Baptist Church). Even though, at the time, I still couldn’t drive my car due to the fact that I needed to raise some money for break repair, I had no problem with taking the Metrobus to the nearest Metrorail station when I attempted to go to the earlier event in Adams-Morgan. However, Presidents’ Day was one of those days where the Metro system tended to go on holiday mode, which meant reduced Metrobus and Metrorail service. While I would’ve had no problem with getting there, returning home would’ve been difficult because the buses run less frequently on a holiday night and I would’ve ended up not returning home until well after 11 p.m.

But then I learned that the event would be livestreamed, which would be better for me. However, I currently have one of those pay-as-you-go Internet plans where watching a livestream video would’ve used up my allowed data bits for the month. I decided to walk over to the Greenbelt Makerspace and try livestreaming there. The makerspace itself was closed but there were tables and chairs under the awning outside so I could take my laptop and login to the makerspace’s Wi-Fi.

There was one glitch where one of the streaming sites didn’t have the stream but I quickly learned that the Poor People’s Campaign Facebook page was streaming so I went there and I saw the event. I took a few screenshots of the livestream for posterity.

The Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II gave a speech that was livestreamed to the church in DC which, in turn, was livestreamed on Facebook. (It was a livestream of a livestream.)

The Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis was in Shiloh Baptist Church herself and she gave a pretty powerful speech on the plight of the poor in the U.S.

They had a section where average people testified about their struggles with poverty.

There was a pan of the audience where the people who stood up were members of the clergy of various faiths. As you can see, that church was full that night.

The event had a lovely choir singing gospel songs.

The livestream ended with a slide encouraging people to get on the Poor People’s Campaign list by texting MORAL to 90975.

I found the livestream to be very moving and I didn’t mind the fact that I was sitting outside in cold dank weather (it had been raining off and on for most of the day) wearing my winter coat watching it. Sure I wished I had been there in person but seeing it livestreamed was the next best thing to being there. (As I’m typing this, I’m reminded of the time eight years ago when my then-husband and I viewed the livestreaming of a wedding of two friends in Australia and how awed we were about watching it online.) At least with walking to the makerspace, I was able to arrive back at home by 10 p.m. instead of relying on the infrequent holiday Metro system while arriving much later at night.

Well, anyway, if you missed this livestream, you can view the archived video in its entirety right here.

Last week I decided to go to Adams-Morgan in Washington, DC because there was a mass meeting being held at All Souls Unitarian Church which is announcing the launch of a new nationwide campaign known as Poor People’s Campaign, which is an interfaith campaign that attempts to highlight the problem of income inequality. The initial campaign is being launched to coincide with both Lent (which started yesterday) and the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s original Poor People’s Campaign (which was cut short with his assassination that year). I learned about this meeting through flyers that were distributed in my own Unitarian Universalist church and I was definitely interested in attending. After spending the past few years worrying about finances and being able to support myself in the wake of my husband’s abrupt walkout and trying to find a new job in a poor economy, that is one cause I can really identify with.

I wasn’t going to let something like having car brake problems stop me from going to that meeting. So I took the Metrobus from my home (I’m glad I live in a neighborhood with a public transit option) then I took the Green Line Metro to Adams-Morgan. I found this really nice wall mural at the Columbia Heights Metro station.

I arrived at the All Souls Unitarian Church a bit early so I took a photo of the church while it was still daytime then walked around the area.

It’s been a few years since I last was in Adams-Morgan so I was eager to spend some time in that neighborhood. The Polish embassy had a photo display on its fence to celebrate the fact that this year is the 100th anniversary of Poland regaining its independence after World War I ended.

I saw some subtle signs of defiance against the Trump Administration, such as this sticker that I saw on the back of a metal road sign.

Local businesses, such as Potter’s House, have posted signs protesting the racism and Islamophobia of the Trump Administration.

Here’s a nice wall mural I found outside one of the local businesses.

Ever since Washington, DC decided to legalize marijuana a few years ago there have been more and more marijuana businesses opened. Adams-Morgan has two such businesses.

Adams-Morgan has long been a welcoming place for both artists and recent immigrants, which is why there are signs against the Trump Administration posted in many places.

The wall mural featuring the red-headed woman in the next photo is of the iconic Madam’s Organ Blues Bar. Here’s a fun fact about Madam’s Organ—it inhabits a space that once housed a store that was the forerunner of the Toys R Us chain.

When it got closer to the announced start of the meeting, I headed back towards All Souls Unitarian Church only to find this sign at the door.

I don’t know what happened or why it was cancelled. I was disappointed because I had been looking forward to that meeting for the past few weeks. 😦

January 20 was the one-year anniversary of the inauguration of Donald Trump while the following day would be the one-year anniversary of the Women’s March on Washington. (Ironically the Federal Government also shut down on that same day but it would reopen three days later.) The organizers decided to hold another Women’s March that would take place in cities throughout the United States. (There were other Women’s Marches that took place in other countries as well. One of my Facebook friends attended one in her hometown of Montreal.)

This year’s Women’s March on Washington was different in some ways. Last year the DC march was the main march and people from all over the U.S. and came to DC. It drew famous people to that march like Madonna, Ashley Judd, and Alicia Keys. This year the main focal point of the march was being held in Las Vegas, where the organizers spent Saturday (January 20) holding a conference with the theme of “Power to the Polls” (this year is the mid-term elections where plenty of Senate and House seats are up for grabs) while spending the following day (January 21) marching on the streets to commemorate the anniversary of the 2017 march. Las Vegas was chosen as the main march for this year because it is a swing state in the upcoming elections.

There was definitely a difference between this year’s march and last year’s march. Last year I remember going to a Metro station on the Sunday before that march so I could take advantage of the free parking on the weekends (Metro charges people to park during the week regardless of whether you actually ride the subway or not) and the usual light crowds to add more fare to my SmartTrip card so I wouldn’t have to stand in a very long line on the day of the march. This year I forgot to do this and I wasn’t willing to pay the $5.20 weekday parking fee just so I could increase my SmartTrip farecard. I took my chances and saw that the lines were pretty short this year and I had no problem with adding fare to my card on the day of the march itself.

Last year a group of women from my church decided to go and we agreed to meet very early in the morning in order to be able to beat the expected crowd. This year there were no organized effort from my church to march together. I had planned on getting there on my own by about 7 a.m. except I had a hard time getting to sleep that night due to the fact that I gorged myself with too much cake at this party that was held at my church the night before so I woke up later than I intended.

The one thing that remained the same is that I wore the same Grumpy Cat hat that I wore last year. Apparently there was some controversy about wearing those knitted pink pussycat hats last year on the grounds that they trivialize the serious issues regarding sexism and feminism. This year there’s controversy about the hats because the pussy hats are supposed to represent women’s pussies and the color pink is supposed to represent the color of the vagina. Except the hats could be offensive to transgender and non-binary women who may not have the usual pussy and it could also be offensive to women of color, whose vaginas tend to be more brown-colored than pink.

On top of it, I never got around to knitting my own pink pussycat hat mainly because I was more focused on knitting other hats in a variety of colors for my church’s annual mittens and hats sale late last year. So I wore Grumpy Cat on my head once again. In a way it’s appropriate because I’m grumpy about politics these days plus I’ve learned that the real life Grumpy Cat is actually female. (Which explains why actress Aubrey Plaza was hired to do the voice of Grumpy Cat in the movie Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever.) Here are a couple of selfies wearing that hat after I reached the rally in downtown DC.

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

The weather was even better this year. Last year it had rained in the area for the past few days prior to the march and it had even rained on Inauguration Day. Even though it didn’t rain on the day of the march, the sky was still very gloomy with the clouds out and the ground was incredibly wet. I remember it was cold as well so I wore my heavy winter coat. This year it was sunny and the latest below-freezing cold temperatures that had been plaguing our area for the past few days had finally left our area the day before. On the day of the march the temperature went up to the 50’s so I decided to wear a lighter jacket instead of my heavy winter coat.

Another difference I noticed between this year and last year is that I didn’t see any signs touting Hillary Clinton nor did I see anyone cart any life-sized Hillary Clinton standees. I think the march participants have moved on and decided to just focus on President Trump and the upcoming mid-term elections.

Like last year I took a bunch of pictures, which I’ve posted here. Unlike last year, I managed to shoot a short video of the event at various points of that march, which you can view right here.

The rest of this post has the still photos I shot that day along with my personal descriptions and opinions of that event.

So I woke up late that morning and I wasn’t finally out the door until 10 a.m. I was nervous about how crowded the Greenbelt Metro station would be until I arrived there and I found that I had no problem with finding a parking space. I also found that there were almost no lines to speak of. There was just one fellow protester stationed at the Metro entrance who was greeting people.

Women's March on Washington 2018

The Metro subway train wasn’t very crowded and I managed to find a seat. Since I heard that this year’s rally was being held further down the Mall at the Reflecting Pool next to the Lincoln Memorial, I got off at the Foggy Bottom Metro station. (I learned years ago that Foggy Bottom is the closest station to the Lincoln Memorial because you’ll end up doing less walking than getting off at the Smithsonian Metro and walking down the entire length of the Mall. I saw plenty of march participants get off at the Smithsonian station while I knew that they had a very long walk ahead of them. LOL!)  When I got out of that station the first thing I saw were the merchants outside the Foggy Bottom Metro station who were hawking Women’s March-related wares (including t-shirts, buttons, and even pink pussycat hats).

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Two men were playing chess while people were doing other things around them like vendors selling merchandise and protesters buying merchandise and walking towards the Lincoln Memorial.

Women's March on Washington 2018

I purchased three buttons from a vendor who was having a three buttons for $10 sale. I pinned them to the back of my Grumpy Cat hat.

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

While walking down 23rd Street, NW, I encountered a mix of protesters lining the street with their signs. I also saw more vendors selling their wares every block or so between the Foggy Bottom Metro station and the Lincoln Memorial.

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

I finally reached the Lincoln Memorial where I saw protesters with their signs.

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Anti-abortion protesters tried to stage a counter-protest but they were clearly outnumbered by the women’s marchers, many of them are pro-choice. (Many of the anti-abortion protesters were in town for the annual March for Life, which usually happens on the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade decision that legalized abortion.)

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

The last time I was at a protest by the Lincoln Memorial was when I checked out the Juggalo March last September. There were far more people at this protest than at the Juggalo one. Yet this protest was less crowded than last year’s Women’s March but that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. For one thing we weren’t packed tightly into a single area like sardines, which I definitely liked.

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

One guy managed to swipe an anti-abortion sign and alter it in order to turn it into a pro-Planned Parenthood sign.

Women's March on Washington 2018

Naturally there were more vendors there as well.

Women's March on Washington 2018

This next photo, where I set the camera on the highest telephoto setting, was the closest I could get to the stage or the giant jumbotron video screen itself. But I was able to hear many of the speeches unlike last year, when I was too far away to hear anything.

Women's March on Washington 2018

I brought my portable folding chair with me so once I found a decent place to sit where I could hear the rally, I sat in my chair and ate my lunch. I only moved once when I needed to use one of the portapotties. Most of the speakers I heard were Democratic congresspeople (such as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi) and DNC Chair Tom Perez.

I was really pissed when Debbie Wasserman Schultz took to the stage where she denounced Trump. I still remember when, during her time as DNC Chair in 2016, she helped in rigging the Democratic primaries that would allow Hillary Clinton to get the nomination. She disregarded the numerous polls that said that Bernie Sanders had a far better chance of defeating Donald Trump in the general election than Hillary Clinton. I’m not making this stuff up as a pro-Bernie sore loser. Former Interim-DNC Chair Donna Brazile wrote a book last year that basically confirmed this. As far as I’m concerned, Debbie Wasserman Schultz should not have been invited to go on stage giving her speech when she is one of the people who made Donald Trump’s election possible and I’ll never forgive her for this.

After sitting in my chair for a while I used the portapottie again. Afterwards I literally ran into a group of friends from my neighborhood, which thrilled me because I wouldn’t be protesting alone. The rally ran overtime like last year but it was bearable this time since we weren’t packed together like sardines. We walked around while I took a few pictures of a few people, such as this woman who played her violin while the protesters walked past her.

Women's March on Washington 2018

Even though the weather was mild on that day, the Reflecting Pool was frozen from all of those days of below-freezing temperatures that had been going on since Christmas. I saw people walking on the frozen Reflecting Pool despite a posted sign from the National Parks Service warning people not to do this. I didn’t see anyone fall through the ice but other people did because this news story had photos of people who crashed through the ice at the Women’s March. Fortunately the Reflecting Pool isn’t very deep but I still would never walk on the ice like that.

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

When the rally ended we started to march past the World War II Memorial.

Women's March 2018

Women's March 2018

Women's March 2018

We eventually reached Pennsylvania Avenue, NW where we marched down that street.

Women's March on Washington

Women's March on Washington

We walked past both the Secret Service and the DC Metropolitan Police.

Women's March on Washington

Women's March on Washington

We marched past the Renwick Gallery, which I recently visited on Christmas Eve.

Women's March on Washington

The march ended at the White House, where people gathered into both the closed-off area of Pennsylvania Avenue, NW and nearby Lafayette Square.

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

An impromptu dance party broke out in Lafayette Square while people took selfies and admired each other’s signs. Arriving at the White House gave all of us a chance to sit down. (At least I actually went on the march to the White House this year. Last year I was so tired and frazzled from being packed in the Mall that I didn’t even bother with marching.)

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The next two photos show an encampment that was originally set up by antiwar activists back in the early 1980s (when Ronald Reagan occupied the White House) and it still remains in Lafayette Square to this day despite the fact that the two original founders, William Thomas and Concepcion Picciotto, have since passed away.

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

As people left the White House area, many of them left their signs outside of the fence where I took a few more photos.

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

I saw yet another vendor by the White House.

The Women's March on Washington 2018

After a while we all left the White House since the protest tended to peter out once we all reached the destination. We parted ways since my friends took a car into DC while I took the Metro. I walked towards the Metro Center station so I could take the Metro back to Maryland. On my way there I encountered this really nice looking historic clock that I couldn’t resist photographing.

Women's March on Washington 2018

At one point during the march we ran into a photographer we knew who shot a group picture of us. That photo of us was published in the latest issue of The Greenbelt News Review. The link (which opens in a new window) goes to a .pdf document but the photo in question is on the front page located in the bottom right hand corner. You can clearly see me in my Grumpy Cat hat on the right.

It’s the second year in the row that I participated in a Women’s March in January. I have a feeling that I’ll be attending more such annual marches wearing my Grumpy Cat hat until the Trump Administration leaves the White House or I die—whichever comes first.

For a comparison between this year’s march and last year’s march, check out my post about the 2017 Women’s March on Washington.

It had been brutally cold in the Baltimore-Washington, DC area from a day or two after Christmas until January 9. During this time the weather dipped below freezing and I even directly encountered something called a bomb cyclone for the first time in my life. It was so cold that the downstairs of my townhouse was still cold even with having the heat turned way up and I spent more time in the upstairs bedroom because it was the warmest part of the house. There were news reports that the East Coast had experienced the coldest New Year’s ever.

The one thing about this bout of extreme cold weather I won’t forget soon was what happened on Monday (January 8, 2018). I had originally thought about attending Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School in Baltimore until the night before when I saw the weather reports calling for freezing rain. I decided to can that idea because I have too many memories of the times I left Dr. Sketch’s dealing with everything from pouring rain to fog as I tried to get out of the city and I just wasn’t up for yet another harrowing trip. (That event ended up being cancelled anyway due to the weather so it was all moot.)

I was dealing with washing machine problems where the water wouldn’t drain and I had to manually bail out the water. I decided to go to the nearby laundromat before the rain started. So I got the laundry done and I decided to go to the Target to do some web surfing since it was in the same mall as the laundromat. (I have a Karma wi-fi plan and I had used up my gigabyte allotment for the month and I decided against paying an extra $15 for some more gigabytes until the next month kicked in.)

So I went to Target and looked at my emails while coming up with ideas for future blog posts. I hung around longer than I intended so by the time I left, it was not only night but it had started to rain.

Fortunately it was a short drive home but there were times when I felt the wheels on my car attempting to slide because they drove over some ice patches. I made it to home when I found another obstacle.

In order to get inside of my townhouse, I have to walk across the sidewalk to a set of concrete steps leading downwards to another sidewalk that leads to one concrete step leading to the front porch which then leads to the front door of my house. I know this sentence sounds complicated but it’s really easier than it sounds.

So I arrived at my home only to find that the sidewalk was completely iced over and I even felt my feet slipping whenever I tried to step on it. (Yet the blacktop covering the parking lot wasn’t icy at all.) I stupidly forgot to bring my walking cane with me. This was potentially treacherous because I have a hip replacement and I still have memories of the time when I slipped on some ice in Annapolis in early 2011. The fall was enough to knock my hip replacement out of alignment and I needed hip revision surgery in order to snap that joint back into place.

It also didn’t help that I was literally the only person on my block who was even outside with everyone else staying inside. (I remember the street was cleared of cars that night.) So it was no use staying put in the hopes that a passerby will become a Good Samaritan and help me. (Besides, given the extreme cold, I would’ve turned into a human popsicle before a Good Samaritan would even show suddenly from out of the blue.)

So my choices were 1) walk on the icy sidewalk and risk falling and possibly injuring my hip replacement or 2) spend the night sleeping in my car despite the below-freezing temperature. But then I thought of a third way.

I knelt down on the sidewalk then got on my hands and knees. I proceeded to crawl across the icy sidewalk like a baby. When I got to the concrete steps, I scooted my legs to the front and sat on the first step. I began to scoot own one step at a time on my butt. After doing the first two steps like that, I realized that the steps weren’t icy at all. So I grabbed the railing and hoisted myself back on my feet and walked the rest of the way to the front door, which wasn’t icy at all.

As for the laundry, I left it in the trunk because I wasn’t about to deal with that icy sidewalk again. I retrieved it the next morning when the temperature went above freezing for the first time since Christmas.

I took a few photos that showed how cold it really got in my area. On January 6 I decided to brave the 18 degree Fahrenheit weather to check out the interactive version of the Nutcracker at Artechouse. Before I went inside the building I took a quick photo of the Southwest Waterfront, where one can see ice being formed along the shoreline.

Despite the cold weather there was a certain beauty about it even though I could only tolerate being out in the extreme cold for so long. I managed to shoot this glorious sunset before I had to go indoors from the cold.

As I was leaving Artechouse I saw how deserted the area was. There were very few cars around. I know the weekend is part of the reason but I also think it’s because most people just didn’t want to venture anywhere in the cold. I managed to shoot the skyline where one can see the U.S. Capitol building in its full nighttime glory on the horizon.

The next day (January 7) I had to go to Baltimore so I could pick up my art that I had on display at this art show that had just ended. Once again I brave the below freezing temperature (which was 20 degrees Fahrenheit—two degrees warmer than the day before but it wasn’t much of an improvement). Since the venue was in an area with scarce parking, I parked my car at the North Linthicum light rail station and took the light rail train into the city. As the train wound its way on its route I saw that the water was made up of ice sheets.

While the effects of the extreme cold made for some good picture taking, I’m glad that the extreme cold has left the area. The temperature is currently in the 60’s, which is relatively tropical compared to what I experienced recently.

I’d originally planned on not having any new entries about any of the winter holidays after January 6 (a.k.a. Little Christmas and the Feast of the Epiphany). But then I decided to check out one more Christmas-related event last Saturday. I couldn’t devote any time to this blog on the following day because I had to go to Baltimore to pick up some artwork I submitted to a recent show that had just closed and I ended up spending some time at the nearby Walters Art Museum then I went home and started to take down my Christmas decorations. So here it is, the last Christmas post until November (at the earliest).

There is a new art gallery that recently opened in Washington, DC called Artechouse, which is located just a couple of blocks away from the L’Enfant Plaza Metro station. It’s not your usual art gallery in that the exhibits are all interactive. When I found out that it was having a special interactive exhibit based on the classic Nutcracker Suite Christmas story, I knew I had to check it out. Except I was doing other things at the same time and I finally realized that this exhibit was going to close after January 7 so I had better get down there if I wanted to experience it.

It was fitting that I went on January 6 since it was Little Christmas. The only downer is that the weather was cold outside. (The entire East Coast was still smarting from that bomb cyclone that hit it just a few days earlier.) When I went downtown that day the temperature reached no higher than 18 degrees Fahrenheit. Yes, it was cold as hell walking from the Metro to Artechouse.

You enter the facility through the lobby then go down a flight of steps until you see a living room and you hear music from The Nutcracker Suite being played.

The living room included the shadow of the Mouse King, who reacts to your movements.

There was this 3D effect on this chandelier that kept on swinging back and forth, which looked way cooler in person than what this photo suggests.

If you stand in front of one of the framed mirrors, a nutcracker emerges who then starts to mirror your movements just like a real-life mirror reflection would.

If you stood in the right place along one of the walls, you could control a spotlight with your hand and shine it over the various paintings. What was cool was that some of the people in these paintings moved until you shined that spotlight over them then the people would freeze and they would look like normal paintings.

One of the side hallways had snowflakes on the floor, which moved in response to your own movements.

This particular hallway led to a formal dining room that was surrounded by lit Christmas trees.

Some of the place settings had signs saying “ACTIVATE ME.” If you had a smartphone or tablet with the special Artechouse app installed on it, you could point it at that sign and see things emerge. Sadly my smartphone camera refuses to work these days so I had to make do with looking over other people’s phones and tablets to see the virtual graphics pop up. I remember one plate suddenly filled with virtual pancakes while another filled with virtual cookies.

One of the side rooms had swirls on the floor that suggested a snowstorm and they responded to your movements.

There was a bar at one end of the room where you can order drinks.

The last photo shows the menu. The drinks were a bit on the pricey side. Some of the drinks had some kind of augmented reality where if you ordered it, you could aim that Artechouse app at it and some kind of virtual reality effect would emerge. Naturally those augmented reality drinks were the most expensive at a cost of $12 per person. There were regular drinks without the augmented reality but, after paying $15 to get in, I wasn’t really into shelling out more money.

Santa Claus

I wanted to enjoy myself this Christmas Eve. That morning I checked out the Christmas pageant at my church, which included a living nativity scene. After church I decided to go to downtown Washington, DC. I wanted to check out an exhibit at the Renwick Gallery that was on its final weeks.

It was a special exhibit called the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death, which uses dollhouse-sized dolls and furniture to create dioramas of real-life crime scenes. I first heard about this when I attended the Utopia Film Festival in Greenbelt, Maryland in 2012. One of the films shown, Of Dolls & Murder, was narrated by film director John Waters about this very topic and I found that documentary to be totally fascinating. When I heard that the Renwick Gallery was having a rare public exhibition of these dioramas, I knew that I had to check them out. I ended up going on Christmas Eve when I found that this exhibition was going to close in January. A lot of other people had that same idea, as you can see in the next photograph.

These dioramas were done by Frances Glessner Lee. The attention to detail she provided in these dioramas were astounding to see in that documentary I saw a few years ago and they are even more astounding to see in person. I heard many people debate about who could’ve been responsible for many of the crimes depicted. As for me, I was just content to marvel at the realistic scenes.

The rest of the museum was far less crowded than the Nutshell exhibition. Next to the dollhouses was this exhibition by Rick Araluce, who’s an artist and scenic designer.

The next photo shows the back of the structure that makes up that exhibit.

The back of that structure also have a couple of peepholes where, if you look in them, you can see a miniature scene of a subway stop.

But when you walk around to the front of the exhibit, you’ll see a life-sized reproduction of a subway stop that looks incredibly realistic down to the train tracks.

Another high point of being in the Renwick Gallery was seeing a digitized 3D printed version of Hiram Powers’ sculpture The Greek Slave.

At first glance you would never realize that this is actually a replica that was done on a 3D printer.

If you look really close in the next photograph, you could see a few of the lines that are common in 3D printed items.

I hung around the Renwick Gallery checking out the other exhibits until it was close to closing time.

Once I walked outside I decided to walk along Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House.

I was walking next to Lafayette Park when I was at the White House. There is an antiwar protest that has been ongoing since 1981 (when Ronald Reagan was in office). The last of the original founders of that protest, Concepcion Picciotto, passed away in 2016 and I was curious to see if that protest would still go on without any of the original founders still alive. I found that it’s still up as a presence against U.S. foreign military policy.

I didn’t stay too long in Lafayette Park because it was very cold that night. I walked along the area while taking a few pictures.

I eventually reached the historic Willard InterContinental Hotel, which was well-decorated for the holidays.

I needed to use the bathroom so I stepped inside. After I finished with the restroom I marveled at the lovely tasteful holiday decorations in the hotel lobby.

The coolest Christmas decoration was this gingerbread reproduction of Mount Vernon, which featured tiny figures of George and Martha Washington done in fondant. The details on this structure were amazing to see.

I was getting hungry (I hadn’t eaten dinner yet) so I decided to head for home. I took this photo of one of the doors to the Trump International Hotel when I was on my way to the Federal Triangle Metro station. I’ve only been inside of that hotel once and it was on the day before Donald Trump won the elections. I haven’t felt the desire to step inside of that hotel since.

Santa Claus Baby New Year

I went to Dupont Circle the day after a snowstorm hit the area. While there was some leftover snow in the suburbs, all of the snow was melted in the city. In any case, commuting to the city was no trouble at all. When I arrived at the Greenbelt Metro station I saw this panda bear advertising the Zoolights event that is held at the National Zoo each year.

I arrived at Dupont Circle, which had Christmas decorations displayed all over the area.

The next fountain shows the Dupont Circle fountain. You would never know that a major snowstorm that dumped around two inches of snow came through the area the day before. Although it was incredibly cold that day. (The temperature was in the low 30’s.)

The next photo shows the window of Second Story Books, which specializes in selling vintage used and rare books. Many of the books in that window were the various sequels to The Wizard of Oz that L. Frank Baum wrote. Note the prices of these books.

For those who prefer to celebrate Hanukkah instead, this sign announced the lighting of the National Menorah on the Ellipse.

 

I eventually made my way to The Bier Baron, where this month’s DC chapter of Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School was being held. Here’s a photo of the stage I took before the event began.

The bar was very festive with strings of Christmas lights along the railing.

 

The event’s emcee, Reverend Valentine, was up in the booth spinning the tunes. The weirdest song she played was this song called Dominick the Italian Christmas Donkey. I had never heard of it before although it supposed to be a very popular Christmas song among Italian Americans. (My mother’s side of the family is German/Irish/Czech while my father’s side is English/Scottish/Scotch-Irish/Welsh so that probably explains how I missed that one when I was growing up.)

Here are a couple more shots of the bar.

A burlesque performer named Delilah Dentata was the model for this event so some of the drawings in this post are definitely NSFW.

The event ended right at 6 p.m. and most people left immediately afterwards because they didn’t want to linger too much with the weather being that cold. (The temperature eventually dipped from a high of the low 30’s to the low 20’s.) I walked past The Fireplace where I briefly warmed my hands by pressing them against the glass where the outdoor fire was flaming.

I took some random shots of the Dupont Circle area.

 

I shot this next photo of a sticker that was on a trashcan. You can get an idea as to how popular President Donald Trump really is in Washington, DC. (LOL!)

I decided to make a stop at Kramerbooks & Afterwords Café where I took these photos.

I stopped by Krispy Kreme where I purchased one of the Christmas donuts for sale.

I decided to take the Red Line Metro to Union Station because I wanted to check out the decorations this year. What I never realized before is that the stores and eateries tend to close very early on Sundays. The lower level of Union Station looked very spooky with the majority of stores and fast food places closed. (The one silver lining is that I knew not to go to Union Station on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve since both days fall on a Sunday this year.)

I got a chance to see this year’s Christmas tree, which is usually put up as a joint project with the Norwegian embassy.

Here’s a closeup shot showing the U.S. and Norwegian flags that were strewn throughout the Christmas tree.

There is usually a Norwegian themed toy train layout. The toy trains had stopped running when I was there but I was still able to marvel at the realistic miniature replicas of a small Norwegian village.

I took a few more photos of Union Station before I left. With nearly all of the stores and restaurants closed, it wasn’t worth hanging around Union Station too long.

Previous Entries

Categories

Advertisements