Well, on November 16th this year, I hit the 35 year old mark. Sarah went all out to help make it a birthday to remember. We planned it all around a little vacation to California and the 35 Years of Terror convention which was celebrating 35 years since the first Halloween movie was released.
The festivities began, before we left, when Sarah treated me to a haircut and straight razor shave. It was quite the experience with the hot towels on my face and everything. Sweeny Todd jokes aside, the person who did it was great and did not cut me at all. I’d certainly do it again.
We flew to California on the 14th direct from Provo which was nice, so we didn’t have to take the time to drive. That day we went to the beach for a little bit, checked into our hotel, and ordered a nice Pizza from Papa Johns for dinner. We also got to see the Anaheim convention center which will be the place that Star Wars Celebration VII will be held in 2015, so it was kind of like getting a sneak peek.
The 15th was the day we went to Disneyland. Sarah got me my birthday button that I wore all day, so all the staff said, “Happy Birthday Shawn!”, to me everywhere we went. It was a really fun experience and the first time that I’d been there on my birthday. They had just gotten finished the prior week setting up all the decorations for the holidays, so it was all set up for Christmas and the Haunted Mansion ride redone with the Nightmare Before Christmas theme.
They also still had the Iron Man exhibit where you could see a bunch of the prop suits set up like in the most recent movie. As I understand it, this was supposed to be gone by now, but because it has been such a success, they’ve kept it around a lot longer.
Now that most know, we’re expecting our first child, so it meant that Sarah couldn’t ride a lot of the rides while we were there. She still insisted I ride some of our favorites though and enjoy them for her too. One of the most interesting was Space Mountain. We always do this one a couple of times while we are there and it just so happened the one time I rode it the ride stopped while I was in the middle of it. They turned on the lights while they were fixing whatever
happened and it looked nothing like how I thought it would. I was expecting something a little more roller coaster looking and instead it is all enclosed in various levels. It was long enough that I took my iPhone out and snapped a quick picture. They quickly fixed the problem, ran us through the end, and then let us ride it again normally, so in the end I got to ride it twice.
I also had planned on the photo near the end of the ride. I had hoped Sarah would see it on the monitor when I came out that I was thinking of her while I was on there.
One of the times I was off on a ride, Sarah was getting some food. I came back to meet her at the restaurant she was at and the waiter saw my birthday button and out of the blue brought me a cupcake. I was really surprised by that where I wasn’t even the customer, so Disney really knows how to go out of their way.
We stayed at the park most of the day and then left for a birthday dinner at Joe’s Crab Shack. I like my seafood, so it was an excellent choice. I had a combination of Lobster, Crab Legs, and Shrimp. I was definitely very full after a meal like that. They of course had to humiliate me with a bib, a game of trying to find a cherry in a bowl of whip cream with no hands, and sang to me. It was a fun time.
After the festivities we went back to Disneyland and downtown Disney for a little bit of shopping. I think I did Star Tours one more time for roughly 4 times throughout the day. We also picked up a few of our Star Wars vinylmation figures that have become a tradition when we visit the parks.
We did a lot for one day that day, but it will definitely be a memorable one.
On the 16th, my actual birthday, we went to Pasadena for the 35 Years of Terror convention. We purposely got a little early start as the original movie was filmed there and also quite a bit of the Rob Zombie reimagining. I planned on two locations to visit that I thought were iconic. The first, was the Meyers house at the beginning of the film where Michael kills his sister. Apparently the house was moved at some point, so it isn’t in the exact location it was in the film, but it is definitely the house. Abandoned at the time of filming, It is now being used as a Chiropractors office. They had a sign that photos were fine, but not to get up onto the balcony area. The other location we went to was an intersection that was used to establish Haddonfield Illinois in another opening shot. The trees have obviously gotten taller and the cars a little more modern, but it still looked a lot like the film. Even while driving around in that area the location felt very much like the streets that Laurie and her friends are walking on in the movie. The experience made me want to find some of the Salt Lake filming locations that were used in Halloween 4 and 5.
After that it was almost time for the actual convention to start. We got there, bought our tickets, and then had a little bit of time to relax while waiting for the general admission holders to be let in. One of the first places I wanted to go was the Mondo table. They had a limited edition poster that a collector wanted me to try and get for him, but I quickly found out they had sold out the first day and didn’t bring very much stock with them. They also had the Halloween soundtrack on vinyl in a limited cover which I had wanted, so I quickly picked that up.
The convention was very low key compared to SDCC or the Star Wars Celebrations that we have been to. For most of the actors that were there, it was simply just walk up to the table to get an autograph and the pricing was very good too. I’ve never been a huge autograph collector, but one I did want to get was Danielle Harris, who as a young girl starred in Halloween 4 and 5, then later on as an adult was in the two Rob Zombie reimaginings. She seemed very down to earth and was having fun. Sarah and I were a little starstruck, so the conversation was very light, but I picked up a nice autograph and got a quick picture with her. We also attended the Halloween 4 panel with a good portion of the original cast.
Like any convention, there were of course people dressed up and some good photo ops. Here’s one that Sarah and I did with a good looking Michael Myers. He did a great job in just wandering around and being a spooky. For example, you’d be sitting in a panel and just look across the room and there would be Michael just standing there.
Overall, it was an amazing time and a birthday I will never forget. Sarah really outdid herself and the bar is set high for me to try and do something just as nice for her.