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Vivien Limon's blog
A blog about everything...eclectic and a reflection of me...and hopefully interesting to others.
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May 2, 2023 at 1:40am
May 2, 2023 at 1:40am
Before I begin with another travel entry, I need to take the time to acknowledge someone who was special in my life. Although h didn’t know it at the time and I didn’t see it either Now, that he’s gone, I realize just how much he meant to me as a friend and mentor. I looked up to him. He gave me advice in all areas, especially writing. So for him I want to say, Greg you were, no, you are the best. Thank you for being a wonderful part of my life. I’m a better person because of you in my life.

Now the travels…today we’re visiting USC, the University of Southern California and the LA Times Festival of Books. The event is free. It’s over a weekend. If you want to attend a panel, it’s relatively inexpensive. A la carte tickets were $5.00 for each panel. You can also buy tickets that cover all the panels from 2 different tiers. My sister calls the Festival of Books as an event that is about anything and everything about the written word. I reminded her that it included the spoken word as there were spoken word poets.

If you just want to wander and explore, then I highly recommend that. It costs nothing unless you want to buy books and have them autographed. Bring a big bag or backpack if you like books. Some books were free. Some of the authors just ask for reviews There were publishers, societies, authors, and everything else you can think of. The festival is busy but so enjoyable. There is music as well. Food trucks are available. The official merchandise shops are always busy.

Obviously, the books I usually recommend here are not necessary. Good luck in your reading.
April 30, 2023 at 11:22pm
April 30, 2023 at 11:22pm
Now, back to our regular programming.

Today, we take you to the very secret Pasadena area historic jewel (no, it’s not related to the Tournament of Roses or even Greene & Greene), no, it’s JPL. It’s full name NASA/CalTech Jet Propulsion Laboratory. This place has been following otherworldly missions for a long time. You can tell because the buildings are dated but that doesn’t stop you from expressing wonder at Mission Control which lately has seen NASA’s Mars rovers and other spacecraft. You can also see the vehicle assembly plant. Count your lucky stars if you see a space vehicle being assembled at that time. In this case it was the Europa Clipper ready for it’s mission to the moon of Jupiter in search of micro bacterial life. We saw smaller robots, even full size replicas of the rovers currently on Mars. Things we missed but would have liked to go and visit included the solar system missions and several 3-D movies. It’s just amazing and I seriously doubt anyone but the strongest, fastest visitors would see everything. Just seeing and doing the activities, reading up on the missions, and visiting the JPL store for souvenirs would take several days.

Now for the practical stuff. The event is called Explore JPL and it requires tickets. Tickets were free. You signed up through JPL’s website clicking on a link on their events page. Unfortunately, it was only this weekend (April 29-30). However, this is their biggest public engagement event so look for it to return again next year. This event used to be called JPL open house and it was huge. Many, many people. Hence, the tickets. They were also timed entry. When you go make sure you get there fairly early for your time. Heck, try to get there early no matter what. The long line moves fast so don’t be too alarmed. Make sure you bring government identification that matches the name on the ticket and of course, belongs to that person. When you signed up you had to give the names of each member of your family—up to 5 members in your party.

JPL is not 100% ADA accessible so keep that in mind. Even then, there’s still much to see for a party with ADA considerations. There are ADA mobility vans to take you point to point and boy, there’s plenty of those. Make sure you pick up an ADA map when you first get in. Make use of the friendly JPL volunteers in red shirts for directions and to call the mobility vans.

There are quite a number of portable (trailers) and permanent restrooms, so don’t worry about that. Security were present in number including K9 units. Make sure you bring water and maybe snacks. If you want (and I strongly suggest it) bring money—and plenty of it. Not just for food and snacks (frozen lemonade sure looked good) but for the JPL store. I guarantee you’ll find something.

Book to read:

Rocket Boys by Homer Hickam
Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe
Failure is Not an Option by Gene Kranz
And I highly recommend perusing all of the NASA webpages, especially JPL’s. http://www.nasa.gov and http://jpl.nasa.gov

other fun books I enjoyed include books by Buzz Aldrin and Chris Hadfield

April 29, 2023 at 12:38am
April 29, 2023 at 12:38am
We interrupt this travel blog for several blog posts which are eating at me. Back to work. Or at least a semblance of work. I’m seriously down on it. Some of the people close to me even say that I hate it, one of my friends (who passed recently) even said I would never finish my book(s) while still at my job—tough love from all around me. How true is it? I’ve been thinking and analyzing since they said it. I finally decided with my best friend’s help that I resent my job, maybe hate it, because it keeps me from doing what I want—and that includes writing. I know many people are in the same boat. Maybe they even have tougher jobs or multiple jobs, but mine is tough because everyday is emotionally draining with interesting hours that have mean waking up at 5:00 am and finally hitting the hay at 10:30 or 11:00. I can’t find time to write. I also don’t have a place to write in the house. It sounds like excuses and maybe they are…to an extent. However, I also have to face the facts that I don’t like my job. Even, if it’s not writing and it’s watching webinars and documentaries on my favorite topics like archaeology and space, or trying to find time to learn to build robots or increase my knowledge of STEM topics, even get involved in rocketry. It’s just not happening with this job. I need more flexibility…I need to write.

July 26, 2022 at 11:37am
July 26, 2022 at 11:37am
I'm back with you talking about Disneyland. Let's pick up on giving you some tips. When you enter Disneyland, decide which attractions you want to visit most (this means first). If you choose Space Mountain. Ride that first because the lines will never get shorter during the day. Then make your way across Main Street to Adventureland and ride Indiana Jones, Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, and Splash Mountain.(Get to this before it closes down to be rebranded). If you are interested in Star Wars, make your way to Galaxies' Edge. If you love Star Wars, hit Rise of the Resistance first, before anything else, then make your way to Space Mountain and follow the plan. If you want to follow the first plan, spend the extra money and get a lighning lane reservation asap for Rise of the Resistance. In fact, I strongly recommend Genie+ because you can ride a lot of attractions during the day. You may not follow the plan I've laid out but you will get on as many attractions as you can.
July 25, 2022 at 11:06am
July 25, 2022 at 11:06am
I've decided to make a travel blog. Until I have this cool-looking travel blog set-up, I'm going to add travel entries here and there into this blog, then move them. My first entry to the travel blog is for a place I know really well...Disneyland. I have been to Disneyland so many times, I grew up there, literally. My Dad was a member of the Magic Kingdom Club, a group of human resource managers who pushed the park on unsuspecting people. Just kidding. We would go to Disneyland every year for his annual meeting at Fantasyland Theater and my Mom would take us on Dumbo while we waited.. Then we would get a family picture of us in front of the castle. You can see us growing up from these pictures.

Next came the annual passport years. I would buy an annual passport for me and my sister and my mom. We would go frequently and I knew the park by memory. I also had the perfect itinerary, that would get the most of your park visit. I'll get to that a little later.

Then I was hired to work there. Dream come true. I worked in costuming so I can't say much more than that. I can only say that my favorite places to work included the parades (especially the Main Street Electrical Parade) and Fantasmic! At this time, I just signed people in with my pass (which I understaned you can't do anymore), In fact, don't get me started that Disneyland cast members don't even have a cast party or Minnie's Moonlight Madness. Do they even have the canoe races, anymore? What's wrong, Disney? Against giving anyone too much fun?

Now, I'm back to annual passports, now called Magic Keys. I have the highest level of Magic Key--the Dream Key. I like it. You just have to get used to using the reservation system. I've never been able to get the day I want. Now, that's not what I can say for dining reservations, I've missed those at times I'm a big Blue Bayou fan so missing on that gets me a little down.

Here's the information I hope will help you with your visit. Always plan ahead. Reserve as far ahead as possible, especially dining reservations, but if you miss, don't worry too much, keep checking, everyday if you can.. If you really want it,l subscribe to a dining reservation watch, like Mousewatcher (works for me), or a website like that. For a merchandise location, like Savi's lightsabers in Galaxie's Edge, reserve anyway. Usually you can get in there at the park without a reservation on all but the busiest days.

No matter where you are in the park(s), always take your time to slow down and seek out little niches. For example, don't neglect Snow White's grotto at Disneyland right off the castle. It's so quiet and you can telll Walt Disney himself was there. Don't forget to listen either. You'll hear sounds you wouldn't expect piped in, showers, dogs barking, wookies in Galaxies' Edge. All kinds of things. If you can, just sit down and relax for a brief spell. You won't forget or regret it.

July 1, 2022 at 6:06pm
July 1, 2022 at 6:06pm
I need a vacation i have two choices that I”m looking at. One is a road trip through the Southwest. We’re planning to hit spots in Necada, Arizona, New Mexico, and possibly Utah and Texas. My other choice is a week at Walt Disney World.

It seems as if it is an easy decision. The open-air, beauty, nature, and history of the Southwest sounds amazing. Hold on, though. We love Disney. We haven’t een there in over a decade. We want to stayat Animal Kingdom Losge and see the relatively free roaming animas from the hotel room. Ee also love EPCOT and plan to spend seval days there.this is also WDW’s 50 th Anniversary.

In case you wonder the cost is approximtely the same, believe i or not, after we factor in souvenirs and gas to our road trip.

What would you do?

(Also some books to look at: Ancient Ruins of the Southwest: An Archaeological Guide by David Grant Noble and Birnbaums Walt Disney World, The Official Vacation Guide 2022). Have fun!

June 28, 2022 at 11:15am
June 28, 2022 at 11:15am
One of my new goals is to be accepted into the Magic Castle in Hollywood. For those who don't know, it is a private club that features magicians and magic aficionados. Many famous magicians have their visage immortalized here in caricature. Some of the magicians I can remember include Siegfried and Roy, David Copperfield, Harry Anderson, and many, many more. One of the resulting consequences is that I'm heavy into magic right now. I want to see it, breathe it, and learn it. I even want to write fiction and non-fiction about it. I've decided that I will specialize in card and coin sleight-of-hand. Because of this, I decided I wanted to see as many magicians I can. Combine this goal with a trip to arguably the magic capital of the world--Las Vegas (in August, though)—and it looked like a match made in heaven. I bought tickets to Criss Angel's two shows there and I was about to buy tickets to Mac King, David Copperfield, and Penn and Teller(I've already seen Lance Burton), and it looked awesome. But unfortunately, my luck did not hold as it often does not in Las Vegas. Criss Angel canceled his shows in August. I was very unhappy. Why do they always pick August? Anyway, I’m still going to try other magicians but I was really looking forward to Criss. Do you have a goal that you are intent on realizing? Do you have something you looked forward to but something happened? (By the way, if you’re interested in a book that marries magic and mystery, I recommend the Houdini mystery series by Daniel Stashower).
June 27, 2022 at 10:33am
June 27, 2022 at 10:33am
I keep coming back to writing but I get stuck after the first day. But then I read the first pages of a book by Randy Ingermanson called How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method and I began to feel better about things. Using Goldilocks and other characters he illustrates how some people may get stuck using various methods. He doesn't say his method will work for everyone, but to just give it a chance. I'm learning more from him. His method is neither the outline method or the "seat of the pants" method. So, I ask you, how do you write and how do you keep going?
June 20, 2022 at 12:13am
June 20, 2022 at 12:13am
3 things today…all of which deserve their own essay.

I really want to adopt this cat who seems to have adopted us. It seems so easy, right? Wrong. My cat hates this other cat, who I’ve named K’eylhr, (Yes, I named her after a Klingon in Star Trek). She really is friendly, even wanting to be friends with my cat. But alas, no. However, I can barely sleep anymore. I’m so worried about K’eylhr being outside all the time. As of now, she is an outside cat and I worry as we get closer to Independence Day, she might get hurt. I really need to come up with a solution, not just for K’eylhr’s sake but mine, also.

My mood has been bad lately. I mean, I’ve been depressed. I can barely drag myself out of bed. Work sucks. It’s so bad, I’m looking for something else to do, even if I have to retire. I keep coming back to writing but I feel I don’t have the discipline to do that. I have to turn it around.

A few weeks ago, I finally read my Facebook messages from the beginning of the year. (I swore off social media for awhile). I learned my best friend from college had passed. I was hit with a horrible feeling. I should have known. I should have at least spent a little bit of time talking to her before her time. Maybe, that’s why work sucks. It’s not shat I want to do. Still, the real question is what does God want me to do?
February 24, 2022 at 12:55am
February 24, 2022 at 12:55am
Today was a tug-of-war between emotions and the actions that come from them. I wanted to do some meditations before my bed time (which is non-negotiable). But the desire to write began to tug at me. I keep telling myself that writing is a strength of mine and so naturally I should write (or want to write) all the time. Unfortunately, if meditation is pushing out the writing, I’m not sure what to do. I like meditation…but do I like it better than writing? This is a frightening question. One that I will have to meditate on. :)

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