The Wizard World Comic Con Recalibration

We went to our second Wizard World Comic Convention in Sacramento in June. You could say we saw a bunch of celebrities…

   
    
 
You could say we even met a few of them…

   
   
It was pretty amazing to listen to panels featuring Alfonso Ribeiro, Manu Bennett (Death Stroke from CW’s Arrow), Katie Cassidy (Black Canary from CW’s Arrow), and Billie Piper (from Penny Dreadful on Showtime and ROSE FROM DOCTOR WHO). It was more amazing to take a picture with Henry Winkler and Billie Piper! I even got to meet and take a picture with Vlade Divak! 

Now we save up to attend these conventions. It’s a lot of people watching and meeting people who share your passion. It’s a lot of money too if you’re not careful. Wizard World Comic Convention is one of the biggest conventions here so there are bigger names and hence, more money to pay in terms of admission, photo ops, and autograph sessions. It is possible to find the smaller cons where all or most actors give free autographs and/or pose for pictures without charge. This was not one of them.

Katie Cassidy on the Magic Behind Her Character
Billie Piper on why David is HER Doctor
Manu Bennett on Spartacus
Do you go to comic conventions? If so, which do you recommend? Do you have any tips on attending these conventions?

The Whale Watching Reaction

Earlier this month we went to Southern California and packed a whole lot of fun in four days. 

We drove to the Hollywood Walk of Fame where I quickly realized that my husband T still has extreme anxiety in crowded areas. I can, at only 5’2″, zip around and in between hordes of people while R, who at nearly a foot taller, cannot avoid oncoming people without feeling like he’ll accidentally run into someone. Needless to say, we had to leave quickly. 

That I can do.

I can also plan ahead.

For some reason, Universal Studios was open two hours earlier than usual and we took advantage of that! We got onto the Studio Tour right away and got a sneak peek of the Fast and the Furious attraction. It was so cool! The Studio Tour has changed very little since I was little. Here is a clip I captured of my favorite part of the tour: Universal Studios Hollywood Studio Tour– Jaws Only

The following day we drove to Long Beach to check out the Aquarium. We went on our first whale watching cruise ever and had a blast! We were so excited to see this pod of dolphins and then couldn’t believe it when the dolphins followed and surfed next to us.

We saw a couple of whales  

   
and had even more fun in the aquarium.

   
    
   
We live a couple of hours from the ocean so it felt amazing to smell the salty air and see and touch the Pacific.  

   
I hope we can make our way down to SoCal again soon! 

The Freestyle Regeneration

I’m a child of the 80s and love going to concerts featuring artists from the 80s and 90s. There’s a mellow crowd and great music that just takes you back to simpler times. 

My friends and I went to the Freestyle Explosion in Stockton, CA where Stacy Q, Lisa Lisa, JJ Fad, and other artists performed their songs. 

  
JJ Fad was the first group from Ruthless Records to go platinum but we’re not included in the new movie “Straight Outta Compton”. Do you remember this song?

JJ Fad Performs Supersonic
Here are some clips I filmed at the concert. Do you recognize any of these songs? Or better yet, do you still remember the words to these songs?

Lisa Lisa Sings All Cried Out
Nu Shooz Performs Point of No Return

88 Days and Counting

It has been almost three months since my last post and while I’m slightly disappointed in myself in terms of not fully committing to the dream I had of becoming a writer, with this blog being part of this inspiration, I feel like I’m in a good place in my life.

Being a good place does not necessarily equate to good place for writing. In fact, it’s quite the opposite!

We saw the end of another school year for all of us. My husband R finished his first semester of art school and while he was extremely exhausted by the commute and the stress, he has produced amazing work and can hardly wait for the fall semester. The oldest M is halfway done with junior high. The transition from elementary school to junior high was difficult but he has started his first week with optimism and realism, if anything, in regards to friendship.

The girls started third and fifth grade with the biggest change of all of us– me!

  
The wait to hear about a full time position was killing me! With less than a week to go before the end of the school year, I turned down opportunities to interview for part time positions until my daughters’ principal called with an offer I couldn’t refuse… Teaching PE in three one-month long blocks for the same salary as last year’s position (essentially the same amount of time but in nice chunks of time).

So yes, I do have the best view from my office. 

Earlier this month we had a very small window of time when we were all off so we headed down to Southern California to Universal Studios in Hollywood. Lucky for us, we saw that the park opened at 7 am, a full two hours before the park normally opened and we were able to finish the whole park by 2 pm! 

   
    
 
The following day we drove out to Long Beach and enjoyed the Aquarium of the Pacific. We went on our first whale watching trip and saw dolphins and whales!  

    
   
No trip to SoCal is complete without beach photos…

   
    
 
Even though we have turned off the A/C and the kid has gone back to school, the girls and I still have three weeks left of summer vacation! (We are year-round so we have already started our school year and are on our first “break”.)

I wonder what we will do until then. Will we go to the Sacramento Zoo again since we renewed our membership for another year? Will we head to our favorite city in the world for the day? I hope it’s a YES to both!

 
One thing for sure is we are definitely hitting our local comic conventions! I’ll definitely be on the celebrity lookout!

(You might recognize some of these celebrities taken at the last Wizard World Comic Con in Sacramento in June 2015.)

   
    
    
    
    
 

No Memorial Day For Us

I never know how to act when Memorial Day rolls around. This is not a day that we celebrate nor do I try to talk about it with my husband R.

He’s known too many people who have died, far too many for people in other careers. I know that R misses his friends more than actual places where we have been stationed probably more now than ever. He’s made friends here in California but can sympathize that there’s just something about living near a base. There is a sense of community that binds us together if we fight against it. Unspoken bonds like living without our spouses for months at a time and married-single-parenting. Civilians can try and want to understand but there’s nothing like knowing that every single person around you is going through something similar.

R doesn’t stop watching the news and scanning news websites even after his time in the military. He has been to nearly every corner of the world and truly immersed himself with the people and cultures wherever he’s been. Why wouldn’t he want to know?

I would not. I stopped watching the news the first time R deplolyed. Perhaps in my naivete I believed that if I didn’t see anything bad happen on TV, nothing bad was happening to R. 

When quite the opposite was happening one deployment at a time. 

Whenever he came back, he was a little different like a tiny part of his soul was stolen. I didn’t notice it at the time but after his first deplolyment in many years, R came back in 2006 changed.

I couldn’t ignore his anxiety. He would involuntary shake when he heard a car drive over the speed bump near our house too fast. I feel very fortunate that his anxiety never manifested itself violently towards me, our children, or himself. But in that moment I knew he was different. So many other new behaviors have manifested, so different from before. 

Different in a way that Memorial Day is to our family. In many ways I find it difficult to acknowledge so I don’t. I don’t complain about how Memorial Day should be about the fallen, not veterans. I don’t complain that we shouldn’t put Memorial Day and “celebration” in the same sentence. I waited for R to talk about whether or not we wanted to make plans.

He didn’t. We didn’t.

It’s probably best that way. 

The Sugar Coma Corollary 

In an effort to save money and calories, we try to limit the number of times we eat out. When we do go out though, we go out

We went to Leatherby’s, a cute ice cream shop that also serves hot food. There was so much ice cream that we had to take it home! I have to admit that my coffee ice cream sundae with hot fudge was delicious later that night. 

Another place we tried was Vampire Penguin– shaved ice! They have several locations in Northern California so if you get a chance, definitely try it out. We had strawberry cheesecake and S’moreos (s’mores made with Oreo cookies). So delicious!