Sunday, October 14, 2012

You Know You're a History Nerd When...

You Know You're a History Nerd When:

-You have a favorite historical figure 
            -Mine being Queen Elizabeth I
- You name your car after a wise patriot  
              -My Toyota is named after Ben Franklin
-You have a favorite war  

-You equate moments/conversations in your life with historical events 
             -My friend said that hopefully one day, he and I would meet in the 
              middle on a certain issue. Right away I thought, "Oh ya, like Promontory Point."
             * Promontory Point is the site where the Union and Central Pacific Railroads joined 
their rails in 1869. One company started laying down tracks going east from 
Sacramento, Ca and the other, westward from Omaha, Nebraska.

- Your trainer at the gym encourages you to add "more weight," to what you're already lifting and those two simple words provide an instant thought of Giles Corey.

                        * Giles Corey was accused of witchcraft in the Salem Witch Hysteria. Instead of being 
                      hanged, he was pressed to death. Instead of confessing to witchcraft, Corey, with
         his last words requested more weight to be added.

-You think the very name of "The History Channel," is false advertising considering the sincere lack of shows with historical content on that station
                        * Ice Road Truckers is not historical. American Restoration and Counting Cars, is not historical. You're pushing it Pawn Stars.
-You challenge yourself to memorize things like the Gettysburg Address or the chronological order of the presidents
-You name your computer after one of your favorite English characters/monarchs
             - King Arthur

-You get upset that you can't crack the code to the puzzle in your Smithsonian Magazine
-You have a subscription to the Smithsonian Magazine
-Your favorite genre of literature is historical fiction

-If you were given a super power, you'd choose the ability to time travel, and you already have a short list of events you'd like to visit.
         - A taping of I Love Lucy, Boston Tea Party, Watch Leonardo DaVinci paint...
- You quote John Wilkes Booth's famous latin phrase of "Sic Semper Tyrannus,"  when you're upset with the higher ups at work. 
              - Better to repeat the phrase in your head as I do, than say it directly to a supervisor!
              * Sic Semper Tyrannis translates to "Thus always the tyrants."

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Side Note - Disney Exhibit

It doesn't take much to get me excited! A few days ago I noticed that my sister and I had our photo included on the D23 Disney fan club website. I had to share my joy and post a screen shot from the website.

Anyway, it's time to get back to my French lesson and then another session of genealogy digging on!

Happy Summer

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Disney Comes to the Reagan Library!

Yesterday, my sister and I had the privilege of attending a preview of the new Disney exhibit at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. I was so excited!!! I was slightly nervous that all my anticipation would lead me to be disappointed if the exhibit fell short. I'm happy to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives.
The Story Book from the Beginning of Sleeping Beauty
Mary Poppins Costume Sketch

As a member of the library, I was invited to the special preview event. There were numerous Disney fans in attendance too, sporting their Disney best and eager to explore the artifacts. I overheard a man  wearing a Hawaiian Mickey shirt, explaining how he'd driven down from San Francisco just for this event. He also expressed his disappointment that he wouldn't be able to return on Friday, July 6th for the official opening of the exhibit.

J.HistoryGirl posing with a model of the Black Pearl from Pirates of the Caribbean

Props and Costumes from National Treasure 1 & 2!!! 

J.History Girl's Sister posing with the Happy Haunts from the Haunted Mansion

Some Disney fans who have attended D23 conventions may have seen some of the items on display before. Despite being a Disney fan, I've never had the pleasure of attending such an event and as a result, every artifact here was new to me. There were quite a few gasps, grabbing of a sister's arm, stamping of feet and one single jump down the stairs upon seeing something that excited one or both of us. If you were near us in any part of the gallery you may have heard us delightfully asking ourselves, "Oh no, what is that?!" (That's how we prepare for something exciting.) I had a bit of a moment when I saw a small section devoted to two of my favorite movies of all time, National Treasures 1& 2.
A Multiplane Camera (used in the beginning of Pinocchio when soaring through the scenery and moving closer into town)

A Recreation of Walt's Office- complete with the views he had from his windows and the books on the bookshelves in the exact spot in which he had them 

I highly recommend paying a visit to the Reagan Library while the exhibit is open! Keep in mind when you're there, that photography is permitted but, be sure to turn the flash off. (As with many types of artifacts, the light from the flash degrades the piece.)

Our preview night included food and drinks in the Air Force One Pavillion!

The food was inspired by different rides and areas of Disneyland. This is the menu from the dessert table. Other tables included Big Thunder, Geppetto's Workshop, Pirates of the Caribbean and New Orleans Square

I look forward to going back in a week or two with my close friends, the Ross family and seeing the artifacts again through their eyes.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

"I Impressed Myself With The Heads on Pikes"

I was cleaning out files that primarily held school work and notes when I found this gem inside. This picture hails from my sophomore year in high school and my first history class that explored one of my now favorite subjects, The French Revolution.  I threw away almost everything in those files. But, not this one. I'm keeping this one!
I think it's a downright outrage that I received half credit on this assignment. I think this drawing of the storming of the Bastille is simply genius. My drawing skills alone should have given me at least 8 out of 10. I must admit I impressed myself with the heads on pikes. The picture is so well rounded. Not only does one get a visual history lesson but, my speech bubbles really add another layer of authenticity. It's like you're almost there. I especially love the cannon in the bottom right hand corner saying, "Ka Pow."

I still disagree with my teacher's comment. She didn't like that I had one of my revolutionaries saying he wanted bread.  That was "unrelated to the storming of the Bastille," she noted. .. Okay, perhaps that wasn't there primary concern on July 14, 1789. But, bread had been scarce.... And I'm sure we've all been around people on a no-carb diet and know how cranky they can get. I'm also sure that storming a bastille is hard work. Maybe Jacques here, worked up an appetite. I stand by my piece!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Cruise Tips and PROBABLE Facts

It has been roughly three weeks since our cruise that sailed up and down the California coast- a very exotic itinerary for a girl who lives in an L.A. suburb. After three weeks of being home, I'm about 93% unpacked. I guess I think that if I don't completely unpack, there's still a part of me that is still on vacation. This was my third cruise and it was also happily my third voyage with Princess Cruises. While I clearly don't have experience with other cruise companies, I'm happy to stick with Princess for any future cruises!

Tips and Probable Facts that I learned on my cruise:

1.Take the stairs when/if possible. Everyone uses the elevators which can slow a J.History Girl down when there's a Bingo or trivia game to get to!

        - I don't have any scientific proof to support my theories but, I'm pretty sure you burn extra calories when you take the stairs while the ship is moving. Your muscles surely have to work extra hard to steady yourself and climb at the same time.
        - Same thing with the scientific data on this one but, I'm also quite confident that you burn even more calories using the stairs while wearing flip flops. In this case your legs are not only steadying yourself with the rocking of the ship,  add in the climb or descent of the stairs, AND then they're making sure your feet hold onto the shoes with every step.
          *** This is very important data to remember when you've been eating as much creme brûlée as your stomach can hold, drinking a milk shake a day while lounging out at the pool, and indulging in those alcoholic beverages in the "Explorer's" or "Vista Lounge." Every calorie you can burn at the point is beneficial!
Feat. the Milky Way Martini at the "Crooner's Lounge," onboard

2. The shore excursion to Alcatraz isn't necessary. One of the benefits to shore excursions is that they include transportation to a site which subsequently eliminates taxi fare, getting lost and extra planning on your part. However, the Alcatraz Ferry depot/spot/locale is only a few yards from where you get off the ship so it is pretty impossible to get lost.
Alcatraz Prison Regulation

       - The shore excursion that we signed up for was a visit to Alcatraz and Sausalito. While I enjoyed the tours, I recommend simply going on your own. For me, there was a little too much time waiting around at the ferry depot (Not sure if "depot" is the correct terminology but, I like it.) All the waiting around made for less time that we were able to spend on The Rock. As soon as our audio tour was over, we had to get on the next ferry so we could make our bus for Sausalito. And while Sausalito was great, I still would have preferred having the option of spending extra time exploring Alcatraz.

3. Don't be the last people to arrive back at your bus when you're on a shore excursion.  :) No one wants to sit and wait while the driver and tour guide, count and recount passengers because you weren't conscientious of the time. Your fellow passengers will not be happy with you and I'm quite certain they will encourage the driver to leave you behind to figure it out for yourself.
     - (I'm speaking as someone who has sat on the bus waiting for others.)
Driving back from Sausalito

4. I learned this fact on my very first cruise with Princess... Princess Cruises is an absolute pleasure to sail with and the only company to choose when you want to "escape completely." I highly recommend Princess!!!!!

Lounging out by the pool, while they played one of my favorite movies, Midnight in Paris

We love Boudin Sourdough!!!!!! I'm also quite in love with their motto. I'm adopting it as an official J.History Girl catchprase. :) 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Reagan Library- Giddy with Historical Excitement!

Quote By George Washington
Me: "James Madison!... James Monroe!... John Quincy Adams!..."
My Sister:  (In a bored tone)"I forgot you like to play this game."
Me: "Bahahahahahahaha Andrew Jackson!"

That's what it sounded like inside our car as we drove up the road to the Reagan Presidential Library, passing each lamppost with a picture of each president. I love practicing my game of, "Can I list all the presidents in order?" Even the drive to the parking lot gets me positively giddy with historical excitement. (But, as we've previously established, I'm a bit of a nerd.)
One of My Favorite Ronald Reagan Quotes - At the Reagan Library

The Reagan Library is a high ranking destination on the J.HistoryGirl list of favorite places. The library is a hot spot of interactive presidential and historical exhibits. Visitors can have a Kodak moment while giving the inaugural address, record early Reagan broadcasts, tour the Oval Office and walk through Air Force One. On permanent display are a wide variety of Reagan artifacts ranging from belt buckles, to an x-ray from the assassination attempt to a section of the Berlin Wall.

George Washington Taking the Oath of Office

My sister and I were there last weekend to check out the special exhibit the library is currently featuring on George Washington. On display are three new statues of Washington that were created with painstaking efforts to properly reflect the real George Washington, not just the image we are accustomed to seeing in portraits. Existing sculptures, technology and Washington's life mask were all used to create a more modern, realistic image of the first president. Also on view are a pair of Washington's dentures, artifacts from his days as a surveyor and representations of Martha Washington's clothing.  The collection will remain on display until May 18th. I highly recommend checking it out!

When my sister and I were done looking around, we got ourselves a drink and some jelly beans (a Reagan favorite) at the Reagan Country Cafe and sat outside admiring the peaceful scenic view. Even on a smoggy day like last Saturday the hills are still pretty.
Sitting Outside at The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library

JHistoryGirl Posing With General George Washington

Sunday, April 15, 2012

"A Kind of Death..."

Saalfeld Perfume Vials

"' The one thing I'll remember about Titanic artifacts till the day I die is when the Saalfeld perfume vials came up. When you recover stuff from the Titanic, it's wet, it's rusty and it's rotten. And the smell that comes off it, is perfectly alien, perfectly fetid. You know its a kind of death you have never experienced. And so the lab is kind of unpleasant. And then all of a sudden somebody opens up this satchel, this leather satchel and out comes the fragrance of heaven. It's all these flowers and fruity flavors and it's delicious. It's the most wonderful thing you've ever had. Umm..  It was just a complete overwhelming experience. It was like all of a sudden the fragrance of heaven kinda moves though the room. So instead of being surrounded by all of these dead things- for those few minutes the ship was alive again.'" - Bill Sauder Historian, Director of Research, RMS Titanic, Inc.
Titanic's Grand Staircase

I was so taken by Sauder's words that I had to post them. As I listened to him tell this story, I was immediately struck by his emotion and connection to the historical objects he is charged with keeping safe. Although I haven't yet developed that same deep connection with any one piece or period in history, I completely understood the emotion behind his words. I imagine that not everyone would be so moved or taken with the temporary life that overwhelmed the smell of death that usually encompassed the room. But, as a lover of history I can appreciate the feeling of being apart of something from long ago, feeling as if you're apart of it in real time; especially in a case as this, with such a tragedy and then experiencing the other side of that horror. 

Bill Sauder's quote was taken from "Titanic: The Final Word with James Cameron," which aired on the National Geographic Channel
The only surviving deck chair from the ship

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Horrible, Little Man and A New Beginning

I've been on a quest to try and settle myself down (in this format, not in life) - and simply choose one or two subjects on which to focus my blog. .. I can't do that. I like too many things. I want to talk about too many things. I have too many interests. That's just who I am. (Please enjoy my various self-portraits as you continue reading.) :)

As I was thinking about this issue of being non-committal with my blog, I kept thinking about a meeting I had about two years ago. As I was applying for grad school, I met with the program's advisor. He was a horrible, little man and I should have known that this wouldn't be the most encouraging or uplifting moment of my life. (I'll skip over his sharp words and get to the meat of the story.) He asked me what my field of study would be. I hadn't quite figured that out yet. But, I grasped for an answer and told him that I'd like to focus on a favorite subject, the first world war. He asked me to be more specific. ...Umm.... I don't even know how or if I was able to answer that one. Then he asked why I wanted to join the program, in other words, what I planned on doing with my advanced degree. I honestly wasn't sure what I wanted to do with it. I had/have so many interests: teaching, television, museums etc. All I knew then was that I wanted to go to school and learn as much as possible. Who knew that wasn't good enough? I was promptly told that the Master's program was not the place to "find myself."  (I told you he was a horrible, little man.)

I don't need to find myself. I've don't think I've ever been in search of myself. I've always known that I'm slightly scattered and have eclectic interests. Surely, there's something out there that let's me celebrate all of that at once. And lo, here it is. From here on out, we'll be discussing a variety of topics under the broad umbrellas of art, history and travel. And every subject (if not explicitly historical itself) will be accompanied by a brief history on the topic at hand. Think of it as a magazine, specializing in the aforementioned topics and it all being tied together with a ribbon of history. So here we go on this creative, historical journey!

"History is a ribbon, always unfurling. History is a journey. As we continue our journey, we think of those who traveled before us, and we see and hear again the echoes of our past." - Ronald Reagan