Wednesday, January 16, 2019

HAMILTON DETROIT

I'm a history buff who read Ron Chernow’s biography of Alexander Hamilton for some leisurely reading and went out of my way during a New York City trip to visit the memorial in New Jersey marking the spot of the infamous duel where this Founding Father was killed by his political rival, who also happened to the Vice President of the United States at the time, Aaron Burr. So obviously, I've been wanting to see the musical HAMILTON which has become a theatrical sensation. Unfortunately, haven't had a chance to attend its New York City or Chicago engagements; but am hoping to go when Broadway in Detroit brings the national touring company performance of HAMILTON to the Motor City's Fisher Theatre from March 12 – April 21, 2019.

HAMILTON shares the story of America's Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, an immigrant from the Caribbean who became George Washington's right-hand man during the Revolutionary War and was the country's first Treasury Secretary. This musical features a score that blends hip-hop, jazz, blues, rap, R&B, and Broadway tunes. HAMILTON is the story of America then, as told by America now.



Knowing that seats for these Detroit performances will be a hot commodity, the producers of the show are using a new technology feature from Ticketmaster called Verified Fan that allows pre-registered fans to unlock access to tickets without competing against scalpers and bots. To utilize Verified Fan you need to register yourself online at verifiedfan.ticketmaster.com/hamiltondet before Wednesday, January 23 at 10:00 PM ET. Those who have registered will be notified by Ticketmaster via SMS text message on Thursday, January 24 if they have been selected to purchase tickets when they become available to buy online beginning Friday, January 25, 2019 at 10am. Verified Fan tickets can only be purchased online.

There is a maximum purchase limit of four (4) tickets per household for the engagement. Tickets range from $80 - $185, with a select number of $485 premium seats available. Ticket prices include facility fees and parking.

A limited number of tickets will also be available for purchase through a wristband lottery at the Fisher Theatre Box Office (3011 W Grand Blvd. in Detroit). From 7:30 AM – 9:30 AM on Friday, January 25, numbered wristbands will be distributed. Starting at 10:00 AM, groups of wristband numbers will randomly be called to purchase tickets at the box office windows.

Additionally, there will be a lottery for forty (40) $10 seats for all performances. Details will be announced closer to the actual show dates.



For more information on HAMILTON, visit:

Monday, January 14, 2019

REINVENTING THE DETROIT AUTO SHOW

Since 1965 the Detroit Auto Dealers Association (DADA) has hosted its annual auto show during the month of January at the Cobo Conference / Exhibition Center located along the city's downtown riverfront. Despite snow, ice, and frigid temperatures hundreds of thousands of people each year attend the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) to see what is new in amenities, designs, and technology from the automotive industry. The glitz and glamor of the auto show has brightened up grey dreary winter days for generations of Metro Detroiters and provided them an exciting event to start off the new year. Soon though there will be some changes to this iconic event that are aimed to make Detroit's auto show even more appealing to attend and take advantage of the reinvigoration of the city's downtown.

Beginning in 2020 the idea of using snowmobile treads like on the GMC Sierra Pickup Truck above or notion of wearing a heavy winter coat won't even come to mind when considering a trek to the North American International Auto Show. Detroit's auto show is saying good bye to cold weather and moving to the summer months! For 2020 the event will now take place from June 9 through the 20th.



“Detroit now has the opportunity to showcase our scenic riverfront and revitalized downtown during our beautiful summer months as well as creatively use the exterior of Cobo to launch new products that will transform the city into an exciting auto-centric environment,” touted Larry Alexander, president and CEO of the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau. "It’s envisioned that auto show activities and exhibits will be expanded beyond the convention center to locations throughout downtown Detroit, including at some of the city’s jewels such as Hart Plaza, Detroit RiverWalk, Campus Martius, Woodward Avenue and Grand Circus Park. The event might even extend beyond the downtown area to historic automotive locations or state parks such as Belle Isle."

The DADA is hoping that moving the dates of its auto show will create a more dynamic environment which allows for more cross-marketing of venues and events throughout the City of Detroit. With winter weather no longer constraining the event to within its traditional indoor floor space to goal is to attract not just journalists and industry executives from not just across the country and around the world but tourists as well who want to partake in a festival like atmosphere. Organizers want to create a "must be there" vibe similar to the annual SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas and CES event in Las Vegas that provide experiences attendees don't want to miss out on participating in.



Features being planned for the revamped NAIAS that will take advantage of being able expand outdoors in the warmer summer weather include staging more dynamic vehicle debuts, offering to actually ride or drive new car, truck and SUV models before the vehicles have been released to dealership, demonstrate new technology in action such as autonomous/automated driving, and incorporating aspects of extreme sports and auto racing into Detroit's auto show. Concerts and other entertaining activities will be mixed with the city's vibrant food scene to notch up the event's fun factor to another level. The reinventing NAIAS for 2020 and beyond will mesh together engineering, mobility and technology with dining, fashion, music, pop culture and sports making the Motor City the place to be.

“There is the potential with moving the dates that the North American International Auto Show takes place to create a month long automotive themed celebration in Detroit with the auto show sandwiched between  the Detroit Grand Prix at the beginning and the city's nationally-celebrated fireworks on the river at the end which would be unmatched festive experience," noted Rod Alberts, Executive Director of the Detroit Automobile Dealers Association. "Changes in 2020 and beyond to the auto show will ensure that Detroit continues into the future being a global stage for the automotive industry."


 I'm excited to see all the changes that are coming for Detroit's auto show. I have a lot of great memories attending NAIAS and am looking forward to making even more in future years. Of course the traditional show format is still going on in 2019.  This year the North American International Auto Show is taking place from January 14 -27 at Cobo Center.

Public hours for the show are:

Saturday, January 19 - Saturday, January 26, 2019
9 a.m. - 10 p.m. (no admittance after 9 p.m.) 

Sunday, January 27, 2019
9 a.m. - 7 p.m. (no admittance after 6 p.m.) 

Kia gave me a souvenir for the last winter time auto show in Detroit with an icicle themed "I survived NAIAS 2019" t-shirt they handed out  while I was at this year's Media Preview Days. Highlights of the 2019 Detroit Auto Show for me included a MOPAR tricked out concept car that is a modernized version of the classic 1968 Dodge Super Charger, a Chevrolet virtual reality experience that takes you for a spin in some of their cars, and the chance to go for a ride in the brand new Kia Telluride SUV around track that replicates outdoor off-roading inside the exhibit hall. I always enjoy checking out the race cars on display and there were a lot of impressive ones to see while there ranging from Alfa Romeo Formula One to Kia Red Bull World Rally cars. My favorite one to see though had to be the Ford GT Heritage which is based off of their '60s era GT40 car which won the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race four consecutive times from 1966 to 1969. Now that is one sweet ride!


Want to go to the auto show for yourself? Enter to win one of ten pairs of tickets to 2019 North American International Auto Show by completing the form below. Plus one lucky winner will receive a $100 gift card along with their tickets. So who wants to go the Detroit's Auto Show?!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Contest rules: Entries must be completed by midnight January 16, 2019. No purchase necessary; contest open only to US residents 18 and older and subject to the laws of Michigan. Winners will be notified by email by January 17, 2018. Winners MUST pick up tickets in person at the North American International Auto Show, Cobo Center, at 1 Washington Blvd. , Detroit, MI 48226 between January 19, 2018, and January 27, 2019. Winners may be asked to provide identification to receive their prize. Prize value $30 per prize, not exchangeable for cash or other items. Grand prize value is $130. A total of 10 pairs of tickets will be awarded and a total of 1 grand prize will be awarded.



For more information about the auto show, please go to naias.com. Thanks to Detroit Auto Dealers Association and A Girls Guide to Cars for hosting the NAIAS ticket giveaway and providing this Motor City gear head press credentials for the Detroit Auto Show media preview days.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

STAR WARS SCUM AND VILLAINY

epic ink
This movie geek is always fascinated to learn details from science fiction films that further bring these motion pictures to life beyond the silver screen. I love to read books that share background biographies about characters, blueprints of vehicles, maps of locations and other details that expand upon the scenes shown in films and provide a greater glimpse into these fantastic settings. So I am really geeked about a new book that The Quarto Group sent my way to peruse called STAR WARS: SCUM AND VILLAINY -- Case Files on the Galaxy's Most Notorious by Pablo Hidalgo.

This book is filled with law enforcement investigative files from three time periods in Star Wars canon: (1) Clone Wars and the fall of the Old Republic, (2) the Empire, and (3) the New Republic created after The Return of the Jedi. Star Wars: Scum and Villainy introduces readers to the Divo clan where they learn about the experiences of Tan Divo (an Old Republic Police Investigator on Coruscant whose assignments included looking into the assassination attempt on Senator Amidala in Star Wars Episode II), his daughter Andressa Divo (who served as an Imperial Security Bureau Agent whose caseload involved hunting for terrorist Saw Gerrera), and her son Exantor Divo (Police Commissioner on Hosnian Prime at the time of the planet's destruction in Star Wars: Episode VII).

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Hidalgo, a creative executive in the Lucasfilm Story Group that is responsible for the development of Star Wars storytelling across all mediums, including feature films, animated television, video games, novels, comic books, and more, is obviously the perfect author for this book that delves into the exploits of notorious criminals through out the saga. He has crafted case reports which make up the bulk of this book that engrain these three new characters into  Star Wars' canon of feature films,  television shows, comic books, and novels.

These case reports include written memos, surveillance images, artifacts, warrants and other evidence compiled during the Devos' criminal investigations of the likes of Doctor Aphra (Marvel Comics), Cornelius Evazan (Star Wars: Episode IV / Star Wars: Rogue One), Boba Fett (Star Wars: Episodes II, V, VI), Moloch of the White Worms Hold (Star Wars: A Solo Story) and the Guavian Death Gang mercenaries (Star Wars: Episode VII) that expand upon the back stories of these rogues and enhance the backdrop of the Star Wars galaxy where the space opera takes place.



Scum and Villainy expands beyond the military conflicts that are often the focus of Star Wars and delves into the seedy side of this galaxy that includes gangsters in the dank lower levels of Coruscant, smugglers making the Kessel Run, pirates preying upon vessels at hyperspace jump points, and organized crime syndicates taking advantage of the less civilized areas within the Outer Rim of the galaxy's explored space. I appreciated that this book wasn't adding more details about the Galactic Civil War between the Empire and Rebel Alliance but rather examined the Star Wars galaxy from another perspective.

Of all the characters in Star Wars, my favorite one isn't actually from a movie but rather from the Clone Wars cartoons. For years my kids and I shared an enjoyment of Star Wars watching a new episode of Clone Wars each week. It really was some special family time spent together during the years this show was on TV. My favorite character is a bounty hunter named Cad Bane from that show who presented himself with a wild west attitude and always seemed to get the best of anyone he encountered. No wonder Tan Divo describes Cad Bane as the "best bounty hunter in the business" in File 7956.901.3 in his case files on the Galaxy's Most Notorious.

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Other aspects of this book that I found really interesting was learning more about the red-clad Guavian Death Gang mercenaries that were chasing after Han Solo and Chewbacca in The Force Awakens, the doctor and his monstrous walrus looking friend that assaulted Luke Skywalker in the Mos Eisley cantina during A New Hope, and the Enfy's Nest Cloud Riders from Solo: A Star Wars Story. I also enjoyed how Hidalgo included elements from Marvel's publications into Scum and Villainy including a segment about the Megalox Beta prison pulled from a story arc in the Poe Dameron comic book and including Doctor Aphra within a Imperial Security Bureau dossier that is connected to a story in a Darth Vader series.

I've also always been a fan of the bounty hunters featured in The Empire Strikes back so really enjoyed reading through the case files in the book about Bossk, Boba Fett, Dengar, IG-88, Zuckuss and 4-LOM. In addition to hiring them, the Empire was also keeping close tabs on these bounty hunters as well. These bounty hunters are also some of my favorite characters from the Star Wars galaxy.

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As a kid, I had a book full of Star Wars artwork by the concept artist Ralph McQuarrie that I would flip through the pages over and over again examining all the details of his incredible illustrations and imagining exploring alien worlds in outer space. Having the chance to see some of McQuarrie's original Star Wars sketches during an exhibit at the Detroit Institute of Arts in 2018 was one of my personal highlights from that year. So have to say that my favorite aspect of Scum and Villainy is the book's artwork.

STAR WARS: SCUM AND VILLAINY -- Case Files on the Galaxy's Most Notorious has 120 original illustrations within it that were created just for this book. From an image of New Republic police officers on patrol to a reproduction of the view from a surveillance camera at Canto Bight, I found the art in this book captivating. Much of the artwork has a McQuarrie style to it that I especially found appealing being that his concept art really created the sense of place for the overall Star Wars galaxy.  There is also artwork though that has its own vibe in the book too including an energetic group shot of the Krayt's Claw gang and imagery of a cloud rider swoop that appears as if it is a photograph of a real version of this sci-fi vehicle. The artwork is what truly earned the book ageekdaddy.com nod of approval.

star wars art

star wars book

STAR WARS: SCUM AND VILLAINY -- Case Files on the Galaxy's Most Notorious is from EPIC INK, an imprint of the Quarto publishing company. Epic Ink is known for publishing deluxe, collectible books that celebrate entertainment and pop-culture brands through incredible artwork, in-depth information and original content. Scum and Villainy is a 128 page hardcover book that does just that and is sure to delight Star Wars fans. It will have you scouring through its pages from cover to cover garnering all sorts of interesting details about the most notorious criminals from a galaxy far, far away. The book also includes a sturdy plastic slip cover to protect the book and make its front cover stand out.

quartos knows

For more information about the book or to find out where you can buy it, head over to quartoknows.com.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

FIRST MAN

first man
When asking my son what he wants to do for a future career answers you will like get from him include veterinarian, race car driver, comic book artist and astronaut. He gets really excited about the topic of space exploration always wanting to go outside to observe celestial events through a telescope or take trips to science museums that have exhibits on astronomy and astronauts. So the boy was thrilled when a package from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment with the movie FIRST MAN inside happened to coincidently arrive at our house while he was in the midst of reading about Neil Armstrong in a National Geographic book.

FIRST MAN portrays the events of the first manned mission to the moon from the perspective of astronaut Neil Armstrong. Based upon the biography First Man: The Life of Neil A Armstrong written by author James R. Hansen who wrote it after conducting more than 50 hours of interviews with the first man to walk on the moon, this movie depicts the astronaut 's life for the decade leading up to the historic Apollo 11 flight. FIRST MAN shares the triumphs and tragedies that impacted Armstrong, his family, NASA colleagues, and the nation during this memorable occurrence in history.  It looks like we'll be traveling to the moon this weekend for a family movie night!



FIRST MAN is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) for some thematic content involving peril and brief strong language. Because that rating is primarily due to some limited profanity and is a historical bio pic on a topic of interest to my son, I felt this movie was fine for my 10 year old twins to watch with my wife and I for a family movie night. We aren't that stringent when it comes to my kids watching PG-13 movies as the Marvel superhero and Star Wars movies have earned that rating; but I am still a bit cautious when it comes to this rating based upon my kids age and there have been movies like Once Upon A Deadpool that I've said no to them about seeing. With that in mind, I checked out FIRST MAN with a number of family-friendly movie review sites including Common Sense MediaKids-In-Mind, and ScreenIt, and didn't come across anything that changed my mind about viewing this film for a family movie night.

FIRST MAN is available now on digital followed by a release on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and VOD on January 22, 2019. Thanks to Universal Pictures Home Entertainment we got our hands on the Blu-ray + DVD + Digital combo pack for ageekdaddy.com family movie night before the movie's official release date. Of course in addition to the motion picture, the home entertainment version includes bonus features:
  • Deleted Scenes 
  • Shooting for the Moon – Take an intimate look at the production of FIRST MAN and the collaborative relationship between Director Damien Chazelle and Ryan Gosling. 
  • Preparing to Launch – It’s difficult to believe that FIRST MAN is the first major feature film to tell the journey of Apollo 11. Hear from Director Damien Chazelle and his cast why now is the time to tell the story of this historic event. 
  • Giant Leap in One Small Step – A heroic character study, FIRST MAN sheds light on all the hard working individuals that got us to the moon and back. 
  • Mission Gone Wrong – Watch as Ryan Gosling reenacts a test piloting sequence gone terribly wrong. Go behind the scenes to see how he trained to nail the landing, performing the majority of his own stunts. 
  • Putting You In the Seat – Through the use of innovative technology, most of FIRST MAN was shot in-camera. Take an in-depth look behind the lens of this epic film. 
  • Recreating the Moon Landing – Filmed in IMAX to show the vastness of the moon, find out all that it took to recreate the most famous moment in NASA history. 
  • Shooting at NASA – Hear from Ryan Gosling and Director Damien Chazelle on how shooting at NASA brought unparalleled authenticity to FIRST MAN. 
  • Astronaut Training – Go behind the scenes of the three day boot camp each of the actors underwent prior to filming FIRST MAN. 
  • Feature Commentary with Director Damien Chazelle, Screenwriter Josh Singer and Editor Tom Cross.
neil armstrong

Oscar®-winning director Damien Chazelle and actor Ryan Gosling reteam for Universal Pictures’ FIRST MAN following the success of their six-time Academy Award®-winning smash, La La Land. As a fan of orchestral movie soundtracks, it caught my attention that FIRST MAN one a Golden Globe award for Best Original Score. I've also seen some rave reviews about the movie's cinematography.

My whole family is looking forward to watching this biopic about Neil Armstrong and his space flight to the moon.  For more information about FIRST MAN when it comes to having your own family movie night fly over to universalpictures.com/movies/first-man

home video release

Monday, January 7, 2019

A NEW YEAR OF DISNEY FILMS

Disney Movies Release Dates
It looks as if 2019 is going to be a fantastic year for enjoying Disney films! Walt Disney Studios has provided ageekdaddy.com with its slate of motion picture releases and I can tell from looking at it that I'm going to be visiting the movie theater a lot with my kids this year. Live action remakes of classic Disney animated films, the exciting culmination of the Marvel Cinematic Universes super hero showdown, and the final chapter of the Skywalker clans story in Star Wars are sure to generate a lot of box office excitement, and revenue, for Disney.

In addition to remakes and sequels, Disney is also releasing some interesting brand new stories too including an animal documentary on penguins, a super heroine called Captain Marvel leads a movie that looks to make her a central figure in the next phase of comic book inspired motion pictures, and Artemis Fowl will is a sci-fi fantasy adventure that will transport audiences into a high tech fairy world.  Recently went on a daddy-daughter night out to see the Broadway in Detroit showing of the Aladdin musical at the Detroit Opera House and she is really looking forward to seeing the new movie coming at in May. Of course, I'm geeked to see Avengers Endgame and Star Wars Episode IX. My wife is counting down the days until The Lion King arrives while my son seems most intrigued about Artemis Fowl though like is dad he is very excited about the Avengers and Star Wars movies as well.

After our Toy Story Land trip to Walt Disney World last June the whole family is enthused about seeing a new franchise sequel on the big screen this summer. Have to admit there is some Frozen fatigue with our family and wonder how many other families feel the same way as a sequel arrives at theaters for the holiday movie watching season. All in all it looks to be a blockbuster year for Walt Disney Studios. I really should consider buying some Disney stock this year!

Go ahead and check out the official Walt Disney Studios calendar of movie releases and film synopsis for yourself. Click on the images below to enlarge the view of each of these movie promo sheets. Here is to a year full of entertaining and exciting times at the movie theater in 2019! As the late great Stan Lee would have said → Excelsior!

Release Date
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So I've shared the movies my family is wanting to see ... which is just about all of them actually. What movies are you must looking forward to seeing this year for family outings to the movie theater?

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

STEVE JOBS A BIOGRAPHIC PORTRAIT

I am back into the full swing of things on the second day of this new year with a busy caseload. Four clients had sentencings in circuit court plus had some matters relating to an upcoming trial to take care of while there. So didn't have time to get away from the courthouse for lunch today.

Instead I spent a few moments of downtime in the courthouse reading a book the Quarto Group sent my way that I had tucked in my briefcase for occasions such as this.  STEVE JOBS: A BIOGRAPHIC PORTRAIT by Kevin Lynch provides a vibrant look into the up and downs in the life of one of history's great innovators. This 272 page hardback book immerses readers into the story of Steve Jobs life with vivid photography and colorful graphics that compliment a thoroughly researched biography filled with insights and trivia about a man that fundamentally changed technology's place in our world.

As co-founder of Apple Inc.,  Steve Jobs was a pioneer of the personal computer revolution of the 1970s and 1980s who was forced out of the company he helped create by its board of directors. He then went on to create a new business called NeXT that was successful at selling computers directly to businesses and colleges. Jobs used his personal profits from NeXT to partner with George Lucas of Star Wars fame to create a computer animated special effects division of Lucasfilm. He eventually bought out Lucas and spun off this division into an independent movie studio called PIXAR that produced the first fully computer animated motion picture called TOY STORY. Out of coincidence both Lucasfilm and PIXAR over time have both been purchased and become part of Walt Disney Studios.



While NeXT continued to be profitable, Apple Inc. had fallen on tough times and was on the verge of bankruptcy by the mid-1990s.  NeXT merged with Apple in 1996.  This reunited Steve Jobs with the company he originally founded with Steve Wozniak as the merged company kept the Apple name and made him CEO.

During his second stint at Apple, Steve Jobs initiated a second technological revolution as he steered the company away from producing PCs and into manufacturing mobile devices like the iPod and iPhone and providing Internet services like iTunes and the App Store. This led to a transformation which made Apple one of the most powerful businesses on Earth.  In fact, according to STEVE JOBS: A BIOGRAPHICAL PORTRAIT at one point Apple Inc. had more money in cash reserves than the United States Treasury. Think about that … a business had more cash than the country that was printing the currency. Wow!

With the sale of PIXAR, Steve Jobs became Disney's largest shareholder which combined with his stake in Apple Inc. gave him a net worth of approximately 7 billion dollars! He was at the pinnacle of a career that had made him one of the leading innovators and wealthiest men on the planet. Unfortunately, Jobs than encountered a problem that his ingenuity and money couldn't overcome … pancreatic cancer. He lost his fight with cancer in 2011 and passed away at the age of 56. A life cut short way too soon.

What I really liked about STEVE JOBS: A BIOGRAPHICAL PORTRAIT is that it is not a book geared just for people with an interest in computers and technology. It is a book about overcoming adversity, leadership, entrepreneurship and living your best life that all of us can take away something from. Kevin Lynch writes the book so that it really delves into the talent and genius of Steve Jobs without getting too bogged down looking into personality flaws and relationship troubles.


That being said, the book also doesn't just focus on the highlights of Steve Jobs life but also points out some of his rotten apples. For example there was the Apple Lisa that had ground-breaking features but was a flop because of its nearly $10,000 price tag; Pippin video game console that sold less than half the 100,000 units produced, and the iPod Hi-Fi speaker system that couldn't compete with other audio brands like Bose. It also points out mistakes like how Jobs sold all his initial shares of Apple, except one share so he would continue to receive an annual report, after he was ousted from the company he helped create.

If he held onto those shares instead of selling them their value alone after the company's turnaround during his second stint with it would have made him the 5th richest person in the world. Of course, if he did that may not have had the resources to start NeXT and PIXAR and history may have well been much different. So maybe his selling them was a good thing!

Another nice touch to STEVE JOBS: A BIOGRAPHICAL PORTRAIT is that it is laid out similar to a corporation's annual report with a look that mimics Apple's marketing style. It is not a bulky text book but rather is full of vibrant imagery which is pleasant to peruse through. Colorful photography, graphics and charts further draw your attention into the book's text making it very enjoyable to read.

Since I'm reading for leisure rather than as a school or work obligation its is nice the way the layout provides a relaxed tone for some weighty subject matter.  I've found STEVE JOBS: A BIOGRAPHICAL PORTRAIT to be both an educational and entertaining read keeping my interest throughout the book so glad to give it A Geek Daddy nod of approval. If you are looking to join me in doing some leisurely reading this year, make some time to flip through the pages of this great book compiled by Kevin Lynch.

Find out more about STEVE JOBS: A BIOGRAPHICAL PORTRAIT over at quartoknows.com

Monday, December 31, 2018

A GEEK DADDY 2018 RETROSPECTIVE

From racing around a motor speedway track in a Dodge Hellcat to embarking on a dinosaur expedition, 2018 was filled with ageekdaddy.com adventures. This blog is all about creating opportunities for my family to have fun experiences we might not otherwise have and last year was filled with good times. Here is a look back in retrospect at some of the best blogging adventures we had in 2018:

NEW MEMBER OF THE FAMILY



A Geek Daddy added a new member to the family with the addition of our new Boxer puppy that we named Penny. We caller her that because her brown coloring reminded us of the color of the coin. White fur on her front legs also make it look like she is wearing socks. I wanted to call her Sox after the White Sox but the kids vetoed that name idea saying it sounded to much like a cat's name.

She sure grew up fast! Penny went from 10 pounds when we brought her home to weighing 50 pounds by the end of the year. For the first few months we had her, Penny would sit on my lap while I would type up blog posts. She is a bit heavy for being a lap puppy now but still has been involved with the blog doing some reviews for a water fountain and dog toys from Petmate. We are looking forward to celebrating Penny's first birthday coming up in February.



GOLDEN EXPERIENCES AT GOLDFISH SWIM SCHOOL



My family served as brand ambassadors for Goldfish Swim School in 2018 and I have to say this has been one of the most wonderful experiences we've had related to ageekdaddy.com.  The twins have not only learned how to be safe in and around water but have also excelled at being able to utilize a variety of swimming strokes. Goldfish Swim School even hosted the girls soccer team I coach to visit for a special water safety presentation with their mascot Bubbles and to spend a day having fun playing in the pool. This was a great way to kick off their summer break!

My son is still making his way through the last level of Goldfish Swim School lessons, but my daughter graduated in 2018. What do you do when your child has passed all the classes at Goldfish Swim School? You have them join their Swim Force club which teaches kids about participating in swimming as an athletic sports and hosts competitive meets for them to race in. My daughter was so excited to participate in her first competitive swim meet in 2018. We also had some great times stopping by Goldfish Swim School during their open swim times when families can have fun together in the pool. My kids even went trick or treating with Bubbles last Halloween.



If you have a child between the ages of 6 months and twelve years old, you are missing out if not involved with Goldfish Swim School. Based upon the incredible experience my family has had, Goldfish Swim School absolutely has earned A Geek Daddy nod of approval. In fact, as you can see from this post a lot of dad's appreciate this place. Visit goldfishswimschool.com for more information and to locate a pool near you.

DOWNTOWN DETROIT STAR WARS ADVENTURE


We didn't have to travel to a galaxy far, far away to have a Star Wars adventure.  It just took a road trip to downtown Detroit's cultural center to have a spectacular time by visiting the Michigan Science Center and the DIA. Both were featuring Star Wars themed activities and exhibits during the summer.

The science center staged a "Science of Star Wars" show which had experiment styled skits with demonstrations on how sci-fi move special effects are created and how a real life light saber might work. The center's Spark!Lab also was featuring activities tied to the Star Wars movies like letting kids construct their own droids and space craft mock ups. The planetarium show at the Michigan Science Center even incorporated Star Wars references into it including imagery of one of Saturn's moons that looks like the Death Star.



After spending a morning over at the Michigan Science Center, we headed across the street to spend the afternoon at the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA).  The whole family was excited to see their special exhibition "Star Wars and the Power of Costume." This provided the chance to see more than 60 costumes and 150 sketches used in the producing the Star Wars movies.



Wow! This exhibit would make any Star Wars fan roar like a wookiee in excitement! It was amazing to get a close up look at an actual Chewbacca costume that appears in shots of the movies as well as an R2D2 prop Kenny Baker sat in and Princess Leia dress worn by Carrie Fisher while filming 1977's original Star Wars: A New Hope motion picture. I'm a big fan of Ralph McQuarrie's artwork and it was incredible to see some of his original concept art for the Star Wars movies on display at this DIA exhibit.



The Force with us during our downtown Detroit Star Wars adventure as it was really one of our most memorable days of 2018. While the Star Wars activities may be over now, there are always interesting things to see and do at the cultural center which in addition to the DIA and Michigan Science Center is also home to the Detroit Historical Museum, main branch of the Detroit Public Library, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, College for Creative Studies, the Scarab Club and Wayne State University.

DINOSAUR EXPEDITION



It was a father-son weekend on an expedition to Pittsburgh in search of dinosaurs.  We took a dinosaur trek through the Pittsburgh Zoo and strolled around one of the world's most prestigious fossil collections at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Spent some time at the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh making dinosaur crafts plus saw a Tyrannosaurus Rex made from LEGO bricks on display at an art exhibit hosted by Carnegie Science Center. We also saw Jurassic World 2 on an impressive screen 38 feet tall at the science center's Rangos Giant Cinema.

Our dinosaur road trip provided a great bonding experience. Our time in Pittsburgh searching for dinosaurs was an entertaining and educational opportunity for us to spend some quality time together. We discovered why the city has earned the nickname "Kidsburgh." It really is a great place for a family vacation with lots of interesting and fun things to do throughout the city ranging from going to the Kennywood Amusement Park filled with thrilling rides to taking in a baseball game at PNC Park. We are absolutely going to have to make a return trip soon bringing my wife and daughter along with us.



ROADKILL NIGHT



I was so geeked that Dodge invited me to participate in their Detroit area Roadkill Nights event that took place at the M1 Concourse in Pontiac, Michigan over the summer.  This is an event meant for gearheads! It includes a car show, vehicle demonstrations, and actual drag racing. Oh yeah!

It was time to buckle up because I jumped in a Dodge Challenger Demons and Charger Hellcats to swerve around a skid pad and speed around a race track. That was so much fun!

I also competed in a virtual reality racing simulator. Didn't do too bad either winning 2 out of 3 races. It took me a race to get down shifting the manual transmission than I dominated on the simulator. Hey, I won a t-shirt!



Then it was time to watch real drag racing taking place on historic Woodward Avenue. The smell of motor oil and burning rubber as a mix of hot rods, sports cars, and even a classic 1980s era station wagon raced down the street was intoxicated. That combined with a great meal and open bar with front row track side seating courtesy of Dodge made for a perfect evening.



TOY STORY LAND GRAND OPENING


Walt Disney World invited ageekdaddy.com to participate in the grand opening festivities of Toy Story Land at its Hollywood Studios amusement park. That was an invitation that we of course weren't going to turn down. So, my wife, I and the kids were off to Orlando, Florida!



The twins were some of the first kids to get a chance to ride the Slinky Dog Dash roller coaster before it opened to the public. What an amazing opportunity! That is now there favorite ride at Walt Disney World! It may be mine too … Slinky Dog Dash really is fun roller coaster that little kids as well as adults can equally enjoy riding.



We also rode the Alien Swirling Saucers ride over, and over and over again.



Disney Imagineers really did a fabulous job with this new addition to Walt Disney World. Kids and kids-at-heart are going to love stopping by to play with Woody and his gaggle of Toy Story friends. We can't wait for the chance to go back again!

TOP OF THE ARCH



Did you know you can go to the top of the famous St. Louis arch? There is a viewing deck 630 feet up in the air at the pinnacle of the Gateway Arch. Head up there for a birds eye view of St. Louis.

While walking the grounds around the Gateway Arch and visiting the museum underneath it are free there is an admission fee to go up to the viewing deck. Explore St. Louis provided us some complimentary tickets during our visit, but otherwise it would have cost us $40 for our family of four to go up to the top. That being said if we hadn't been offered a perk I would have paid for the tickets for the tram ride to the top of the Gateway Arch anyhow. It is just too unique of an experience not to do while you are there in my opinion.



We've been to the top of the Arch in St. Louis. A family vacation moment to remember forever. Another thing I can cross off my bucket list!

From our road trip to St. Louis, I learned that this city really is a great spot for a family getaway. Did you realize they have a number of attractions with free admission including an art museum, science center and zoo. I hadn't realized just how great a place it is to visit until we actually spent some time there this year.

HELLO 2019!


2018 was full of family fun that also included camping trips, some special events at LEGOLAND Discovery Center Michigan, and enjoying some theatrical shows among other neat things we did throughout the year. Looking forward to what blogging adventures are in store for us during the new year! Stay tuned to ageekdaddy.com and travelingdad.com to keep up with what we are doing in 2019.