14 December 2016

So Cal trip post day 11: Now for the Home Work

There is the post trip process - sharing pictures and writing blog posts.  I do transfer images from camera memory card to computer on daily basis. Due to connection problems and lack of time and energy, sharing pictures and writing up blog posts usually has to wait until I get home and unpacked. So while doing laundry I posted some pictures to my Facebook account. I was asked to post all the Twilight related ones to an album in auction group and was able to do that as well.

I had not planned on writing blog posts on the trip, but the shared pictures generated some comments and so I started writing. I am OCD enough to write the whole trip, not just the Twilight part. Sharing pictures is totally different for me from sharing my words. Sharing my words is more personal. It is scary. I am more vulnerable with my writing. It takes a lot longer.

It was a wonderful birthday trip. So glad I took Jack Morrissey’s advice and went to the Twilight Live Auction event. I am glad that the visits with family and friends worked out around the event and the holiday weekend.

Thank you for reading and commenting on the pictures and the link to the blog posts, be it on my wall or in one of the groups. Just liking the FB post with the link to the blog post is wonderful. Thank you Jack and Lissy for approving the links to the group.

This is the last blog post about my Southern California trip. Now to write my Dear Santa letter and year in review letter. And then maybe my one shot fan fiction.

Acknowledgements and thanks to the following people for help with the blog posts: Karen Mah, for help in finding the Twilight Meadow and previewing that post
Adrienne Spykers and Lori Hurley Wright for previewing the auction post.
Christine Bentley Johnston for previewing most all the other ones and general encouragement.
Any errors after their preview are all mine. 

Merry Christmas! Happy New Year! Happy all the other Holidays during this time!

Take care.

So Cal trip day 11: Homeward bound via coast

Sunday, 27 November, started early about 0130hrs. It was raining when I woke up. Packed up overnight things. Pulled off bed sheets and along with towels were put in laundry room. Packed up cold items. When ready to load up car the rain had stopped. I was on the road about 0300hrs. Gave me two hours to get to other side of LA before hopefully most people getting up and started home after holiday weekend.

Happy Birthday to me! This introvert welcomed the quiet and alone time for the drive home. Enjoyed the time visiting with Twilight folks and family and friends, but time to get some serious quiet time to recharge. I tried playing some music and turned it off after a song or two. 

Traffic increased around Long Beach along with starting to rain again. I had checked weather at various points along the way, so it wasn’t unexpected. It rained off/on up to Morro Bay. Traffic decreased some after passing LAX and even less once on 101 Northbound. Stopped for breakfast in Ventura about 0700hrs. Sun was lighting the sky a bit too, so wouldn’t miss the pretty scenery on the rest of the trip. Debated stopping and doing coastal highway with fresh start on Monday. Debated keeping to 101 all the way home. Decided to go west at San Luis Obispo to see at least Morro Bay and make final decision from there.

Even before SLO the first stop was Pismo Beach. A high school classmate, Barry Anderson, use to live there most of the time. Visited the pier there. Looked a little familiar from all the pictures Barry had shared of his surfing in the area. There is a flag pole that honors the military with a unique ‘base’. 

The major rain band was between SLO and Morro Bay. Heavy downpour, could barely see for brief time, slowed way down along with others on the road. And then….clear as a bell, beautiful blue sky a few miles from Morro Bay. Looked clear rest of way up the coast, so onward we go. Stopped at some pull outs to take pictures. 

Stopped at Hearst Castle Visitors Center for lunch and a little shopping. The history is interesting. For some reason I’ve never really been interested in seeing the ‘castle’ itself. There was an elephant seal area a little further north. That was interesting – males only on land at this time. The females are at sea feeding and growing babies. They were just laying there sleeping all bunched together. The wind was really blowing, hard to stand up straight up. Continued on with frequent stops until twilight and time to keep moving. Stopped in Monterey for car gas and dinner. Decided worth it to drive on home. Arrived home about 2000hrs (8pm). 

the 'castle' up on hill

new favorite

other new favorite

Home! Unloaded cold items, computer, pillow. To bed after checked in with travel companions via computer. I had put on the new flannel sheet set before I left. It was wonderful to get into my bed with those new sheets!

13 December 2016

So Cal trip day 7-10: Family and Friends

Wednesday, 23 November, was day to travel to Oceanside to stay with aunt and uncle, Robert and Patti Rice, for a few days. Shower knob worked this morning. Used time for breakfast and loading car to make sure left after the morning commute or at least decrease traffic some. Pleasant drive south. Thought about stopping at San Juan Capistrano Mission and decided to skip that. Not much else to stop and see between Anaheim and Oceanside.

Wonderful to see aunt and uncle again. We sat and chatted after I unloaded cold stuff and suitcases need for the few days. Before leaving home there had been discussion on new diet and foods I could eat, I said that it would be easier if just bought some once there. Patti had bought a couple of things anyway. Sweet of her.

We went to see movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. I am not much into the Harry Potter world. I knew the movie was out and tied to HP and that was about all. It was enjoyable. Dinner at Sizzler after the movie. 

Thursday was Thanksgiving Day. Originally my Arizona nephew, his wife and mother-in-law were going to be with us, but there was a conflict and they couldn’t make it after all. It didn’t make sense to do big turkey dinner for just the three of us, so we went to Marie Calendar’s for our turkey dinner. We headed out to enjoy the nice weather with a stop at Oceanside Pier first. The dinner was good. There was a Sprouts store across the road, so I got some more gluten and diary free items there. We had dessert at home.

Friday was day to meet up with friend Dawn Rosencrance and her niece Peyton Hawkins visiting from home, which is just down the street from my home. Dawn had recovered enough from being sick to venture forth if simple. I had to borrow a TShirt because what I had put on was way too warm for the sunny weather we had. We fixed sandwiches and off on a little road trip. First stop was the San Diego Temple, then to Torrey Pines Beach. We spread out blankets and sat and talked and eventually ate our sandwiches and water. It was great! The tide was coming in and we decided it was time to leave before we got wet feet.

Dawn, Peyton, me
Saturday Robert, Patti and I were up early to go to San Diego Zoo. Robert and Patti are long time members. My feet were kind of tired from all walking done already on trip and there are some hills in the park, so we each got a scooter. First stop was the overhead tram ride to get an overview of the park. Then Kangaroo bus to the polar bears. They are more active first thing in morning. One was showing off while the other two were stretched out relaxing on rocks. Found out they feed them a low fat diet to help them tolerant the warmer weather. Moved on to watch them work with some maned wolf. Then to cats and panda bears. Fit lunch in there somewhere. The clouds had gotten heavier looking and we were getting tired so turned in the scooters and headed out via the stores at gate. It started to rain as we walked to the second store and everyone started leaving. It took some time to get out of parking lot. It was a good day!

maned wolf

relaxing polar bear

I was leaving early, 0300hrs, on Sunday to avoid any LA holiday going home traffic. So once we got back to their home, I started packing up. Stopped raining and loaded up car with everything but what need in overnight and in morning and food. Bed early. 

So Cal trip day 6: Disneyland and California Adventure

Tuesday, 22 November, Disneyland Day! Happy Birthday to me! Well a few days early. The whole trip is birthday present to me, but especially this day and the coastal drive home.

Not best start of the day when the knob you pull up on to get shower does not budge. Hard water deposit has it stuck. Called front desk and fortunately someone came within 10 minutes. The maintenance man even had trouble dislodging it.

There are shuttle bus routes that runs around the hotel area for Disneyland so one doesn’t have to travel by car to the park if staying close by. Started getting giddy and all as bus turned into the transport center. Busy as figured it would be. Security before getting tickets. Bought a one day park hopper ticket. 

First stop was the Soaring Around the World ride in California Adventure. I’d been on this in 2006 when just soaring over California and really neat ride. Looking forward to the around world experience. Chatted with family in front of me during the nearly hour wait to get in. They were from San Diego and both teachers, two children 8 and 11 or so. The ride was great and too short, ‘stops’ didn’t last long enough. I was in the front row, best place as not as far off the ground as the other rows. “We are not far off the floor.”was on replay in head. I am afraid of heights and it was nerve racking as it is really as if you were in a hang glider, but so worth it. My feet  moved out of the way on their own a couple of times.

After that ride around the world it was time for lunch and my very nice meal. Jack Morrissey had recommended the Carthay Circle in Cal Adventure. The menus were posted outside and there were a couple of GF possibilities. The restaurant in Cal Adventure is a recreation of theatre built in 1926 and where Disney’s Snow White and Seven Drawfs premiered in 1937. It was lovely inside. I came at a good time as there was no one waiting at the desk and only one other group seated waiting for a table. Checked in at desk and was asked about food allergies or diet restriction! Then asked if any special occasion! Replied that it was an early birthday meal. I was very impressed. More so when given the menu and the GF items pointed out! When the meal came it was literally flagged so that diet restrictions were met. The salad I ordered was missing the cheese it normal came with! The salmon and rice was delicious.

balcony where I ate at Carthay Circle
I walked around a little but was looking forward to Star Tours in Disneyland next. So hand stamped and show ticket across the plaza and in Disneyland. Checked out the shops on Main Street hoping to find some cards or at least postcards…not to be found. There was lots of candy, stuffed animals, souvenir clothing, etc. Finally got to Tomorrowland and Star Tours! Posted wait time was only 45 minutes and don’t think it was that long. The line broke in a way that I was free to choose which row I wanted to sit in. The back is the best for this ride, my feet barely touch the floor so feel the motion much more than if feet flat on floor. Very Happy! Cool and fun ride. Walked through the Space Trader shop. Nothing striking my fancy. On my way to the next stop saw an exhibit of Star Wars ships and costumes and droids. This was a surprise that I didn't know about. It was great to see the models kind of up close. The Path of Jedi movie was next on the list. I want that on DVD/Blu Ray! It is a mash up from all seven movies and fantastic!

By the time I came out of movie and got a bite to eat it was dark and cooler than what I was prepared for. Back to Space Trader and picked out a Rogue One sweatshirt. At a smaller shop found a couple of BB8 things that I also picked up. Cinderella’s castle was all lit up in blue and white for the holidays. Reflection in the moat was cool, but pictures didn’t turn out so good. Saw part of a parade as I was walking back to transportation center about 2000hrs (8pm). 

It was a wonderful day! On to Oceanside and San Diego tomorrow to visit family and friends.

11 December 2016

So Cal trip day 5: Elvis' Star and Tar Pits

Monday, 21 November, was day to move on after the Twilight Saga Auction. I invited my roommate, Sharon Lottes, to join me on my adventure to find Elvis’ star on Hollywood Walk of Fame and then to the La Brae Tar Pits and Los Angeles County Museum of Art and whatever other fun we could find. 

We woke and got ready, ie packed, with plenty of time to find Elvis’ star before checking out of hotel. We checked on line at HWF site for location, the address seemed far away if numbers went the usual way. Sharon did a google search and came up with different answer. Her answer was closer, so off we went. It wasn’t there. We asked a local merchant and was told that his star had been moved to the start of the HWF. So we walked in other direction and walked by the front of the Chinese Theater finding the slab with the Twilight Stars hand and foot prints. Walking further on we found Elvis’ star! Took pictures for a friend. Returning to the hotel to check out and load up car.

Sharon used her phone map app to give me directions to the Tar Pits. It was nice to have a navigator on board. She has been there before and really likes the museum and grounds. She has a reciprocating museum pass, so had free passes to get in. Thank you for sharing that! The parking however was not free and nearly full, we did luck out with a convenient spot. We had already driven around the block and street parking was all taken. It was interesting driving around it though. Kind of a preview of the grounds.

I remember reading about the tar pits when I was younger and reading a lot books about archaeology and archaeologists. My parents both grew up in Pasadena and on one visit to the area I wanted to go see the tar pits. We didn’t go. Found out why on this visit. 

The big tar lake has some sculptures around it showing animals trapped, one is of mother in the tar pit and her baby on stable ground. Sad to see even as sculptures. You can see the bubbles in the lake in several places. There were other spots in the parking lot area and around the grounds that are fenced off to protect people from getting stuck. There are some buildings around some active digs, well active in the summer when hot enough to soften the tar so they can work on it.

One fenced in area had nearly a couple dozen huge crates – Project 23. These were taken out of ground after the fossils were found when digging for a new parking structure. Nice way to compromise between the archaeology community and the building people. They now have 23 crates to work on year round and it takes about a year to go through a crate. There are informative signs all around the buildings and the big tar lake. One mentioned the Page museum being built in 1977. We had visited family in the area in the mid 1960’s, so there would not have been much to see around the tar pits if we had visited. 

As part of the grounds walk we included the area around the LA County Museum of Art. There is a sculpture garden, mainly Rodan’s work. Not my taste. A collection and display of old street lamp posts was outside. Interesting. Different sizes and shapes. Then there is this big boulder sitting across a trench in the back of the main art building. Have no idea what that is all about. We opted out of the special exhibit of Guillermo del Toro in the American Art building. Instead we headed to see inside the Page museum. 

The Page Museum is an interesting structure. Square and mostly underground. Open atrium in middle with just a grid over the roof area. There are stairs on one side to climb up to roof and down to front door. Inside was fascinating. The museum store is front and center just behind ticket area. First stop is a green screen picture opportunity. We said sure why not. Three different poses for $25, pick up at the end. Fun. 

Lots of skeletons, a few recreated scenes, one with mastodon moving and sound effects. My personal intense interests in archaeology had waned as I grew older, but still interested. There was a viewing room to watch technicians work. That day they were going through some debris looking for microfossils. Interesting. Not sure how they see the difference from sand or whatever and the microfossil. There was a film show to watch, we didn’t. Picked up the pictures and decided cool enough to keep. 

Checked out the museum store….had the cutest mastodon keychain, Himalayan salt lamps on sale, and slabs of agate that struck my fancy among all the items. I’ve been looking at getting a salt lamp and was able to find one I liked. The agate slab makes up for not getting the bookends during the auction. A lot less expensive and I got to choose shape and color, so a good deal.

Jack had texted about getting together for late lunch with some others that were still in area. Timing worked out when we were done with the fossils. Back to Hollywood and Highland complex for lunch with Jack and a few other fans. It was a nice way to finish off  the Twilight adventure. He also gave me a DVD copy of Mr Holmes film signed by Bill Condon. Sweet! Thank you to Jack and Mr Condon for that. 

Burbank airport was not much out of my way to Anaheim, so I took Sharon there for her late afternoon flight home to Arizona. After my map disaster at Glendale Forest Lawn, it was nice to remember how to get to Anaheim from Burbank without going through downtown LA and traffic at 1700hrs (5pm). Ok, so I pulled into a parking lot and double checked the maps before actually hitting the freeways. Got to my Disneyland motel about 1930hrs after turning the wrong way on the street with hotels. Turns out it is the same motel I stayed at when attended the WorldCon in Anaheim in 2006. Nice big room and bathroom, free breakfast in morning, empty refrig with a freezer compartment – all my ideas of luxury hotel room. Disneyland / California Adventure the next day!

10 December 2016

So Cal Trip day 3 & 4: Twilight Saga Live Auction event

This post requires a little background before get to those two days.

Lionsgate decided to auction off costumes and props from the Twilight Saga movies. The Prop Store was the auction house that was used. The announcement was made at San Diego ComiCon in July where they had some items, referred to as lots, on exhibit. Jack Morrissey had worked his magic and arranged for a selection of lots to be exhibited at Forever Twilight in Forks (FTF) this year; that exhibit was also announced at SDCC. The exhibit was wonderful. The Prop Store staff was informative in answering questions about the lots and about the auction process. There were 900 lots to choose from:  453 from the first three movies, 447 from the two Breaking Dawn movies. The auction was available on line with the live event scheduled over two days, 19 and 20 November where one could also bid via phone, at the Chinese Theater complex in Hollywood. There were two catalogs, one for each day. The catalogs are keepsakes themselves, full color pictures of each lot plus images from the movies of some of the items in use or costume being worn. The catalog provided the first close ups of some costume pieces. 
Catalog link:   http://www.twilightsagaauction.com/catalog.html

Once the announcement was made for the exhibit and auction, general questions were slowly being asked and answered about the auction within the closed FTF Facebook group. Jack was a great resource about the art of collecting movie memorabilia and auctions, as he has been doing so for a number of years.  Matt Truex, Prop Store project manager, was added to the closed FTF Facebook group and answered questions more about the auction process with online and live bidders. It was fascinating. The catalog wasn’t ready until after FTF, but they did tease us with sample pictures of items being brought to Forks. 

Once FTF was over an auction specific closed group on Facebook was set up. Questions became more specific. Anticipation for the catalog release in three formats, available as a PDF to download, interactive with more pictures, and hardcopy, grew. Jack advised on having an overall budget and specific item budget. Jack advised to do research on the item of interest – does it show up on screen, film shown or deleted scene, just background, worn by actor or stunt double. There were discussions about what to do if a ‘really want item’ had a high lot number but didn’t want to miss getting something earlier of interest. Excitement was building. There were some discussions about attending live or save that money to win something.

There were a couple of items I was interested in, practical items that could be used not just put in case for display: bookends and vertical bookcase, both from Edward’s room. And then there were the books that would be display only, movie specific copies of Romero and Juliet, Wuthering Heights, and Merchant of Venice and The Bible used for the wedding. Jack had planted the seed in me to attend in person. The timing worked out to go and do some other visits as well to family and friends. I asked Prop Store for permission to take pictures and that was granted, including a press badge! I’ve never had an official press badge before.  I was ready and eager to go.

My goals were to hang out with some Twilight fans at likely the last event in LA area, take pictures at event, make a serious bid on at least one item of interest. Winning an item would be nice but not necessary. If I had not received permission to take pictures, I likely would not have attended the event. Not only permission to take pictures but encouraged with a press badge! My goals were all met. Very happy with the experience.

Saturday, 19 November, was the first day of the live auction. The auction was scheduled to start at 1100hrs. The doors would open about 1000hrs, check in start about 0930hrs. There was a standing banner of Edward to welcome us at one entrance. There was a small exhibit of lots in the lobby.  

We checked in and got our bidder placard from Tami Garcia and Justin Miller. There was a big ‘wolf’ stand-in to greet us at the door. There was a small crowd of people waiting to get in. The only people I recognized were the FTF committee members.


The theater auditorium was set up with a stage that had Bella’s and Edward’s BD2 final battle costume on either side of podium. The screen had image of the lot currently being bid on and in upper right corner bid info. There were tables with computers in pit area for the Prop Store staff along with the camera for the internet streaming service. There was one row of couches with tables a couple of steps up from the pit area. Another step up had one row of regular theater seats with wheelchair gaps, then the regular seats ranged up from there. 

Brandon Alinger, COO Prop Store in LA, introduced the auctioneer, Richard Schur. He had us hold up our placards to make sure he could see them. He explained how the floor bidding would work with the on-line and phone bidders. We would have a 10 min break every 100 lots and continue until lot 453 on Saturday and lot 900 on Sunday completed bidding. And we were off and bidding. Realizing most of us were new to auctions he kept the pace even and maybe a little slow for the first couple hundred lots. He commented intelligently about the items. He was entertaining. He teased out extra bids from some attendees and knew when to stop. It was fascinating. The paced was picked up after the 200 lot break. 

My photography goal was to get some reaction shots when someone in room won. Some were kind of quiet about it. Some surprised they won after intense bidding war. Most of the bidding wars were between on-line bidders and maybe someone in the room. There were a few between in-room bidders. Interesting to watch the others looking between the two, especially when I was one of the bidders. It was clear that people had particular items they were after. Some items went for a lot more than the estimated price. Some hardly had any bids that I figured would be more popular. It was strange. Thinking about it now, that is more likely an indicator of personal meaning, rather than investment collecting. There were some costume lots that did not meet the reserve, so those lots were passed on. Figured out that most likely the reserve was the lowest of estimate price and some got to within $50 of that, but not to that price. 

Ryan Albertson, Sian Taylor, Matt Truex
Matt Truex was the main in-room person for the on-line bidders, raising his hand when an on-line bid came in. He became an unpopular person for that reason at least to those that were bidding in the room. People came and went as day progressed. Food and drinks were brought back. There was a lounge area upstairs to get away from the immediacy of the auction with some snacks and water and sodas. There were about four people that were noting down each winning bid. The first day ended about 2230hrs (10:30pm), I think.

Sunday started again at 1100hrs with lot 454, Volterra door panels. The excitement energy was a little higher than yesterday and grew as got to the battle costumes and near the end. The room excitement and auction fever overtook some of us. I did bid on the few items I was interested in and as got closer to end bid higher than I should have. I did not win any bids, eventually kept my head and heart grounded to reality of pocketbook. I got what I came for, the experience, taking pictures to share, and meet some more Twilight folks. Once all of my items were gone, I approached Ms Andros, FTF committee chair, to donate a portion of my budgeted money to her for lot(s) for Forks. It was the logical thing to do. Some items were missed by $50-$150. If my donation could help her get an item for Forks, that would be money well spent. It did come in useful for her to win a Renesmee costume. 

The last two lots were Bella's and Edward’s battle cuffs and both went to a phone bidder. Don Hill was the phone in-room person. The picture above is of the last bid. The auction ended about 2100hrs (9pm) on Sunday. People went up to stage to get pictures with the auctioneer and the two costumes on the stage. People relaxed and chatted as prepared to leave. It was a very interesting time. Educational. Fun. Intense. 

April Tinnes, Kelly Grable, Richard Schur, Adrienne Spykers, Lissy,Sarah George
No, I don’t know who all got what. A couple of items I was interested in did go to good homes. The final bid on the engagement ring was $14,000. Ms Andros did score final bid on a few lots. The FTF committee and Forks Chamber of Commerce are working on plans for a permanent exhibit. No matter when Twilight Fans visit, they will have a chance to view those items. Join the FTF Facebook group to keep up. Closed group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/forevertwilightinForks/?fref=ts

Thanks go to pre-readers Adrienne Spykers and Lori Hurley Wright to make sure I reported accurately and Christine Bentley Johnston for fresh eyes that didn’t attend the auction and encourage a more personal post.

Thank you to the Prop Store staff that came to Forks and stayed around to answer questions while guarding the exhibit – Matt Truex, Ryan Albertson, Brian Cordoba. They continued to answer question via the Facebook page and emails until the live event and after. Thank you for encouraging me to take pictures at the live auction with the press badge!

One last thank-you here to a most important person, Jack Morrissey. For all the work he has done for Forever Twilight in Forks, for arranging for the auction exhibit at FTF, for encouraging fans about the auction, answering their questions, admin for the Facebook groups, for being the generous and caring person that he is. I feel honored to know you and count you a friend.