When I visited Atlanta (Coke Musuem Post, Six Flags Over Georgia Post) at the tail end of 2018 I purchased a Family Membership ($40) for the Jimmy Carter Museum (Carter Post). One because the reciprocity agreements allows patrons to visit any of the Presidential Libraries and because I was genuinely curious to learn more about our great leaders. Through this membership I had already visited several local Presidential Museums (Reagan Post, Nixon Post) and next up on my list was President Gerald Ford – the only President who was neither elected to Vice-President nor President. Aside from ascending the ranks without the people’s votes (he was appointed by Nixon, before he resigned) there were several things that were different about this President. One is that his Museum and Library are in two separate locations. The Museum is located in Grand Rapids and the Library is in Ann Arbor. I didn’t get a chance to see the library but from several reviews it appeared that the Museum was the main attraction. Second, Ford graduated from the University of Michigan and was recruited to play for the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers (!!!); however, he turned both down and decided to work as an Assistant Varsity Football Coach at Yale University and applied to their Law School – wow!
I spent several hours in this museum reading and learning about Ford’s legacy and I think his leadership in Operation Baby Lift – a mission that evacuated more than 3,000 orphans from North Vietnam in April 1975 spoke to me most. I live in an area that has the largest Vietnamese population outside of Vietnam and these immigrants work ethic and culture truly makes Southern California more rich and diverse. I can only imagine how grateful those children were and how had changed their lives.
What kind of legacy would you like to leave?
Gerald R Ford Presidential Museum
303 Pearl St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504
My investment in the Knott’s Berry FarmSeason Pass has been a worthwhile one as I’ve been a regular guest since the beginning of 2019. I’ve already visited several time for the Boysenberry Festival (Post Here), Peanut Celebration (Post Here), and even lost 12 lbs through my weekly walks (Post Here). Over Memorial Day weekend Knotts began their newest series – Ghost Town Alive, where guests can roam Ghost Town and see re-enactments before their eyes. I went during the opening weekend and had a blast! As you wander through the town you’ll pick up the paper with a “Founders Day” headline detailing the activities going on in town. There were several competitions including a pony race, bean bag toss, among others and guests can visit different shops to learn about the people who live there. I recommend you start your day at the Town Hall then check out the school-house next door for lessons. However, my absolute favorite part of the day was when they hosted the hoe-down! There was live music, a ringleader to lead us in the different routines and many adults and children alike participating.Ghost Town Alive runs daily from May 24th through to August 11th, then weekends only beginning on August 17th through September 1st. Gallop on over before it becomes a Ghost Town.
What role would you want to take? Sheriff? Teacher? Bank Teller? Comment below.
Over the weekend I had the pleasure of attending one of the fanciest ceremonies to date – The Academy of Magical Arts (AMA) Award Show. This black tie event was hosted by the Magic Castle and recognized the contributions of magicians from far and wide. For my readers who are hearing about the Magic Castle for the first time, the Magic Castle is a private club housing magic performances from both local and international guests. Invites are restricted to members, associate members, and their guests; however, tickets for the AMA Awards were sold to the public around February (about two – three weeks before the event) if this black tie event is something you’re interested in attending in the future.
Guests were dressed to the nines and started checking in at 5pm. We were all greeted with the evening’s program book and escorted down the property to the event. Hor D’oeuvres were passed around and guests were welcomed to the self-serve buffet table which featured steak, salmon, roasted veggies, butternut squash ravioli, among other things. The ceremony began around 7pm and announced nominees and winners for various categories. Some of the guests in attendance included and Paul Reubens (Pee Wee Herman) and actress Bai Ling (The Crow).
The ceremony concluded at 9pm and guests were invited to enjoy the after party inside the Magic Castle. There were special performances in the various showrooms, a photo-booth, and complimentary desserts passed around. It was dare I say a magical evening and one for the books!
Earlier this month I had the opportunity to spend the day learning about FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandise), a premiere institute of higher learning for the creatives. I began the day at their Orange County campus then took a charter bus with other educators to their main campus in Los Angeles. The day was a packed one and, everyone and I mean EVERYONE (students, staff, visitors) was very stylish and dressed to impress. I was eager to say the least on what lie ahead.
When we arrived at the LA location the FIDM staff gave us a personal tour of the facility and showcased a number of influential designers, including their own alumni Monique Lhillier, a prominent bridal designer based in LA. They also spoke about their eco-friendly fabric options and programs to help student gain real-life experiences. The main campus is also home to a rotating collection of garments and during my visit they had the original costumes from mainstream movies including: Crazy Rich Asians, Aquaman, Black Panther, Mary Poppins and Avengers: Infinity War.
There were a number of guest speakers highlighting different majors and resources available to students and at the end of the night we were invited to “Debut,” an annual runway showcase to highlight some of the student’s collections. I was beyond impressed and could envision a number of the pieces and collections and felt as if I was a guest for an official fashion line.
If you were to design a collection, what would be your theme? I’d probably do an avante garde evening gowns with superhero color palettes.
It’s no secret that Wondercon is my FAVORITE geek convention. I get to party with the pros (Batman’s 80th Bday Post), hear about the latest comic news, and cosplay. One highlight from this year’s convention was attending the Dark Phoenix panel where I got a new poster (photo below) and an opportunity to hear the producer speak about the latest Xmen movie, Dark Phoenix. However, the cherry on top (at that point) was seeing a 10 minute clip from the beginning of the movie!
After the clip, the entire cast of the movie came out including: Sophie Turner (Dark Phoenix), Nicholas Hoult (Beast), Tye Sheridan (Cyclops), Evan Peters (Quicksilver), Alexandra Shipp (Storm) and Kodi Smit-McPhee (Nightcrawler). The arena of guests were excited to see them and eager to hear about their experiences.
Afterwards the audience was teased with a SECOND 10 minute clip from the movie. This time an action sequence showcasing Dark Phoenix’s true power. It seems that many female heroines are showing a great presence in the spotlight. I’d love to see a live action movie about Psylocke in the future! I mean who wouldn’t want to see an asian ninja assassin kick butt?!
Which lady comic character would you want to see on the big screen?
Over the weekend I attended one of my all time favorite conventions – Wondercon, the baby brother of the World Famous San Diego Comic Con. (2018 SDCC Cosplay Post, 2017 SDCC Cosplay Post) The three day geek convention has a vivid cosplay scene and with Batman celebrating an enormous milestone attendees were ready to party with the Dark Knight and crew! I attended the event as Nightwing and geeked out with 500+ attendees at the official DC Comics Birthday Bash.
The packed room featured an all-star panel included Kevin Conroy – the voice of Batman: The Animated Series, Jim Lee (DC Publisher CCO), David Mazouz (Young Bruce in Gotham), Lee Meriwether (Catwoman in 1960s Batman Movie), Diedrich Bader (Batman in Batman: Brave and the Bold), and Roger Craig Smith (Batman in Batman: Arkham Origins video game) as they reflected and shared memories. A gigantic cake was rolled out later in the program and all participants were given a Batman decorated cupcake and a mini Bat-signal flashlight as party favors.
The event concluded with a montage of celebrities wishing the Cape Crusader a Happy Birthday and all the Batman cosplayers had a chance to take a group photo with the panelists. Attending this event was definitely a highlight of the convention and I’m still star struck that I got to be in a photo with the voice of Batman Kevin Conroy (!!!) who will forever be my Batman as I use to watch him everyday afterschool when I was an elementary and middle school student.
Earlier this month I had the opportunity to check out the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, CA as a part of my Presidential Library Membership perks. I purchased my membership through the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum when I visited Atlanta in Fall 2019 (Post here), and while many may automatically think Watergate scandal he had many notable accomplishment while in office particularly his role in ending the Vietnam War and re-establishing diplomatic relationships with China.
It’s been several years since I last visited the Nixon Library and while the facility remains the same, the layout and presentation has been updated. There are more touch-screen interactive exhibits and creative photo opportunities. They have a replica of of the oval office presented in the same style while he was in office as well collections of items from his campaign. After Nixon’s presidency he went on to write 10 books and continued to do speaking engagements around the world. I think as a person he’s lived quite an adventurous life and this museum documents indiscriminately his highs and lows.
When you feel down or defeated what do you do to keep going?
During my Atlanta Trip in 2018, I applied for an Annual Presidential Library Membership with the mindset of visiting several POTUS museums in 2019. I learned a lot about Jimmy Carter’s presidency (Jimmy Carter Post) when I was in the Peach State and now that I’m back in SoCal my friends and I took a short roadtrip to learn all about Ronald Reagan’s Presidency in Simi Valley, CA.
This museum is located on top of a mountain and overlooks the valley. The view is quite spectacular and while the setting is very picturesque, the museum facility is very interactive and engaging. There were tons of short movie clips, physical artifacts, and they even have an Air Force 1 and guests could step inside and see what it’s like to ride like a VIP.
Reagan is probably best known as the actor turned president; however, he was one of three presidents (at that time) to serve 2 terms and is best known for helping to end the Cold War with the Soviet Union! I don’t think I could ever do something as brave as that, but I’d want people to know me as the adventurer who shared the world’s best hidden gems.
Like most people I too wanted to diet and exercise more for my new year resolution, yet instead of solely going to the gym more frequently, I decided to purchase a season pass to Knotts Berry Farm as an incentive to increase my steps. At $200 for a Gold Membership, which includes admission to Buena Park theme park and water park, parking, and admission to other Cedar Point theme parks throughout the US it seemed like a no brainer and also a fun way to move more. There’s usually a theme each month and in January and February, Knott’s celebrates your favorite beagle with birthday decor and various photobooth backgrounds.
It’s been a while since I last visited Snoopy and his friends (at least 10 years), so when I bought this pass I found out that there were several new roller coasters added. Hangtime has a 90 degree drop and Accelerator (my favorite!) launches riders at 82 mph in less than 2.3 seconds. Sidewinder is a crowd favorite, and while it’s located in Camp Snoopy it spins while you peruse up and down the tracks.
Since I live relatively close my plan is to go at least once a week after work to put in my steps – one lap around the park then ride an attraction. If coasters aren’t your thing, Voyage to the Iron Reef is a really cool underwater shooting game. On my first visit I waited almost two hours and still felt that it was worth while.
What are some things you’re doing to live a healthier 2019?
One of my favorite things to do at conventions is attend panels especially voice actor ones as I love learning about the audition process, and inspiration for characters. While I had the opportunity to see both the creator, voice actor for Deku and All Might at SDCC in 2019 (Post Here), Anime Los Angeles brought the full star studded My Hero Academia cast (!!!) for the weekended and included an autograph session for all attendees. The weekend was far from short of My Hero Academia cosplays (post here) and the voice actors who brought their character’s voices to life including Justin Briner (Izuku Midoriya), Clifford Chapin (Katsuki Bakugo), David Matranga (Shoto Todoroki), Colleen Clinkenbeard (Momo Yaoyorozu) , Eric Vale (Tomura Shigaraki), Morgan Berry (Thirteen), and Christopher Wehkamp (Shota Aizawa) all participated in both individual and group panels. I was lucky to snag a front row seat in the group panel and got selfies with my two favorite voice actors Coleen Clinkenbeard (Momo) and David Matranga (Shot Todoroki)! I had a great time seeing these voice actors and loved that I got to converse with them in this more intimate convention. A few of the voice actors even complimented my spikes and were really impressed with my cosplay. I’m planning to continue working on it and who knows maybe at AX Momo will have even more refined details 🙂
Do you watch My Hero Academia? Who’s your favorite hero?