So far in 2012, Hampden has been a pretty crazy place.
What I mean is, right before I sat down to write this column, I was outside trying to take a picture of a clown. No, I don't mean some goofball, I literally mean a clown. As in party clown.
I noticed one across the street, hanging out. So I thought I'd try to get a picture of her. But then she kept staring at me and I became frightened. Clowns can be scary – just ask any child.
So then, I'd go back inside and try to sneak back out, but she'd see me and keep staring at me and I'd get afraid all over again.
Meanwhile, the intersection of 36th Street and Falls Road was lit up by the flashing lights of several police cruisers as the officers tried to deal with the ever-increasing problems caused by students that attend the different schools at the Robert Poole complex.
Something about the flashing lights and the party clown made me think Hampden was a circus – and it felt kind of wacky for a few minutes. I guess it's all a matter of perspective.
Here are some other events in the carnival that is life in Hampden (and I mean that in a good way):
Gather up the kids Saturday, Jan. 21, at 10 a.m. for the debut of Atomic Storytime. Atomic Books, 3620 Falls Road, will be hosting a kids' hour story hour (recommended ages 3-7), with your host, Mr. Potatoes (which will be me in some kind of get-up trying to entertain children – but don't tell the kids it's me).
Accordionist Allyson Little will be playing some kid-friendly music. Children's author Kevin Sherry will be performing a puppet show and reading his book, "I'm The Scariest Thing In The Castle."
And I'll … er… Mr. Potatoes will be reading "Here Comes The Cat," "I Want My Hat Back," and "A Zeal of Zebras."
This event is free, and adults are welcome.
On Friday, Jan. 27, local Baltimore-related publication Smile, Hon, You're In Baltimore will be celebrating another new issue and "The Dark Side of Disney" author Leonard Kinsey will be discussing his new alternative travel/how-to book at Atomic Books at 7 p.m.
At the Golden West Café, 1105 W. 36th St., on Thursday, Jan. 19 is El Suprimo Ladies Night. It's part of a monthly series of vinyl-only DJ nights at The Golden West, with lots of drink specials and giveaways.
And then, on Thursday, Jan. 26, the Golden West wants you to get your game on. It's the Mortal Kombat Challenge, as video game night returns. It's Mortal Kombat 2011 on the Xbox 360. It costs $3 to sign up with prizes going to first and second place winners. Fight on the big screen and maybe win some scratch!