Xploration Studios

I’ve been experiencing a bit of tech problems recently and I’ve been busy, busy, busy reading! But, instead of telling you what I’ve been reading (that will come another day!) I’ll tell you what I’ve been doing.

We went on a trip to Baja to visit the seaside village of historic Rosarito Beach. We made a promise that we’d visit again and spend more time, but we had to move on our journey to the Xplorations Studios near Puerto Nuevo. This is a small movie studio complex located along the Pacific Ocean and was originally built for James Cameron’s film, TITANIC. Since that time other movies, television shows, and commercials have been filmed at this location.

We watched TITANIC (again) before our visit so our visit would have more meaning for us. We had a fabulous time visiting the sets and learning how visual and sound effects are made. It’s a small complex with great guided tours (in English or Spanish).

We had a terrific time, but I’ll offer you this advice: Eat before visiting. We should have, could have, would have had lunch before our visit if we had known that the only places to get lunch at the Studios was Dominos Pizza and Subway. Both are fine, but not nearly the same as enjoying a delicious Mexican lobster meal before the visit. If we had known . . . so I share my advice with you.

That’s all for now—I’ve read 60+ children’s books, but I’ll share the best-of-the-best later.


States of Mind

I met Brad Herzog (www.bradherzog.com) at the California Reading Association’s state conference last November and met up with him again at the Kern Reading Association’s Young Authors’ Fair. He’s the author of several sports alphabet books from Sleeping Bear Press (www.sleepingbearpress.com) and two travel books.

I was interested in reading his travel books and this weekend, that’s what I did. I read and savored STATES OF MIND. Brad and his wife Amy packed up their life and Winnebago and hit the road to visit 18 towns with virtuous names like Unity, Harmony, Freedom, and Faith. Brad’s journey is an insightful look at small town America and readers go along for the ride viewing a town’s history and seeing how well the town mirrors the meaning of its name.

I frequently read a book and think, “Why didn’t I think of that?” But, this book I also asked, Why didn’t [or don’t!] I go on that journey? I love traveling the backroads of San Diego and wonder how I would enjoy a similar journey across America. Makes me want to pack my bags and hit the road.

Happy Swiss National Day

August 1 is Swiss National Day. This date is equivalent to America’s Fourth of July.

To celebrate Swiss National Day, I’m featuring the Swiss flag. Did you know that the Swiss flag is the world’s only square-shaped national flag?

The Red Cross emblem is the reverse of the Swiss flag. It honors Switzerland, where the Red Cross was founded in 1863.

Ah. The joy of trivia.

Happy Swiss National Day!

Pageant of the Masters

Bob and I went to the Laguna Beach Pageant of the Masters last night. If you haven’t been, you really should try to attend. It’s an amazing celebration of art and music. Art comes alive as “living pictures” in this annual event with 75 years of history.

The setting is an outdoor amphitheater with a professional orchestra, original score, and live narration. Classical and contemporary works of art are recreated with real people who pose and look exactly like their counterparts in the original pieces of art.

One contemporary piece of artwork, “Olympic Spirit,” is on display at the Festival of Arts and we were able to take a close-up look at it before the Pageant. The bronze sculpture was created by Edward Eyth (www.edwardeyth.com) who was one of only eight Americans selected to exhibit in the 2008 Beijing Olympics Landscape Sculpture Design Exhibition.

This year’s theme was “All the World’s a Stage” and celebrates theater from its primitive origins to its many modern variations and includes work by Wedgwood, Toulouse-Lautrec, Leonardo da Vinci, and Edgar Degas.

The program had some wonderful quotes I’d like to share:

”Spend time every day listening to what your muse is trying to tell you.” —Saint Bartholomew

“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” —Edgar Degas

“Laughter is an instant vacation.” —Milton Berle