Saturday, June 30, 2012

Things I Like: Up (2009 Film)

 I actually kinda missed out on the movie until my mom told me to go watch it. I don't know why I wasn't excited at first but maybe the plain title Up wasn't exactly grabbing.

My Favorite Memories: Gaga Glasses

This is my brother Zach and his then-girlfriend Maryanna posing with Lady Gaga-ish glasses. Very funny moment.

A Look Into Video Games: Cyndaquil

 Cyndaquil is the starting fire pokemon from the 2nd generation of pokemon. He's pretty cute, but I chose Totodile instead. My neighbor chose him though, and I got to battle him a few times during that stage.

Fact of the Day: Buff Primate

The Gorilla is the largest primate in the world. It's several times stronger than several of it's human counterparts when fully grown.

Friday, June 29, 2012

A Look Into History: John Jay

 John Jay was a founding father of the United States, and a member of the Federalist Party. Jay was born to a family of wealthy merchants in the New York area. His father was a staunch supporter of the Whig party in England (which later became the Liberal Party) , and before the American Revolution, young Jay took the same beliefs as his father. When the need for revolution arose, John joined the American cause.

My Favorite Memories: Watching Steven Graduate

This is me and brother Zach around 2000 watching our brother Steven get his bachelor's degree. A little boring wait, but it wasn't too bad. Real fun after it was over.

A Look Into Video Games: Spiritual Stones (Zelda Series)

 The Spirtual Stones were a trio set of gems from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. They didn't add nothing to your rupees, but were mandatory items in order to advance through the game. Before The Great Deku Tree passes away he gives you the Kokiri's Emerald in a very sad moment.

Fact of the Day: Zhongguo

China's name is derived from the Middle Persian Chini which itself was derived from the Sanskrit Cinah. The English word for China existed as far back as 1516. In China itself, it's name is 中国 (Zhongguo) which literally translates as "central nation".

Duke Nukem Forever (Xbox 360) Review

 Back in 2001 I remember opening up my issue of Nintendo Power and reading a list of upcoming games for my Nintendo Gamecube. One of those games was Duke Nukem Forever which was suppose to come out in the early 2000s for PC and all the major consoles. But something went wrong in development, and the game played hide-and-go-seek for a few years. Word of it's revival was almost like a joke, and in 2011 I was shocked to see it actually release. Since I made fun of it's existence for the past decade, I had to play the real deal sometime. 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

My Favorite Memories: Zoo Barnyard

This was back in 2010 at our trip to the zoo in Columbia, SC. This is near the goat pen, and those animals sure like people. Every time we got near, they would almost jump over the gate.

A Look Into Video Games: Original Fire Emblem

 Back around the release of Super Smash Bros. Melee, fans were wondering who just were Roy and Marth in the game. They certainly weren't in any game they've ever seen before. Well we all quickly found out that they had belonged to a Japanese-only series known as Fire Emblem.

Fact of the Day: Hovering Canada

Detriot, Michigan is the only major U.S. City to look directly south to Canada in at least one direction.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Things I Like: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002 Film)

 I actually never watched the movie until about a decade later when my girlfriend introduced me to the series. I read the book later on, but this was probably my least favorite of the films. Though they didn't cut much out of the book for the film version.
 I actually thought the car scene was more impressive when it came in to save Harry and Ron from the big spider.
It also was the point where the series matured a little. Harry learned how to duel, his first battle with Draco Malfoy is really tame compared to their bathroom battle in the Half-Blood Prince
 Oh Gilderoy Lockhart you lying goober. Famous this and famous that, can't believe he lasted a good year without being outed.
 I really liked the memory scenes of Tom Riddle's past. Dumbledore's still an old dude in the early 40's...
 My girlfriend spoiled that he was really Voldemort's past memory. I guess that was pretty shocking...
 I gotta admit, Harry survived unrealistically well for a 2nd year against a dinosaur-sized snake. Yet he couldn't do anything against Nagini in his last year.
 I love the scene where Dobby was "freed" from the Malfoy family. Except they do a bad job explaining the wizard-house elf loyalty thing. 
But they're all good films, and the books kept getting better.

A Look Into Video Games: Meganium

Meganium is Chikorita's final evolution in the 2nd generation of Pokemon. I actually don't remember Meganium as much as I remember it's previous form Bayleef. I faced my brother's Meganium a few times over a decade ago, and I think my computer rival only used it once against me. By that time I had a decent fire pokemon that took it out in a blaze.

My Favorite Memories: Phones Are Fun

 This is back in last October when my nephew Mr. C had his first birthday party. Unlike his brother, Mr. C never liked anyone holding him outside his parents and maternal grandparents since he saw everyone else as a stranger. But I let him play with a cellphone which caused him to pay attention to it, and he was pretty happy. My brother Zach's then-girlfriend Maryanna is holding him, and he's wearing the pink/white shirt.
"Uncle Zach, the phone is for you!"

Fact of the Day: Lake Country

The county of Chad gets its name from Lake Chad in Africa. Lake Chad's own name is derived from the Kanuri word tsade which means "lake".

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Look Into Video Games: Bayleef

Bayleef is a pokemon from the 2nd generation of pokemon games as the evolution of Chikorita. Never used Bayleef myself, but my brother used it against me for a brief period. And since I always chose Totodile, my computer rival would eventually get Bayleef. I always made sure to get a pokemon strong enough to face Bayleef since my water starter never stood a chance. 

My Favorite Memories: Don't Eat Easter Eggs Chip

This was back in Easter of 1990, with my 3 brothers and Aunt in the picture. Our loyal dog Chip is eating his bowl of food at the bottom. But he also tried to eat various Easter Eggs while they were being hidden. We have an old family video of old Chip being fussed at by my dad every time he tried to bite one. He actually stopped, and never got any of the Easter Bunny's eggs. I find it funny now.

Fact of the Day: Sharp Flower

The Gladiolus flower plant is often known as the "sword lily" as it is named after the Roman sword gladius.

Monday, June 25, 2012

A Look Into History: Mackenzie Bowell

Mackenzie Bowell became the 5th Prime Minster of Canada after the death of John Thompson. Since Thompson's death was sudden, Bowell was chosen as Prime Minister for his seniority by the Governor General. Bowell was actually serving in the Senate at the time, and became the 2nd Prime Minister not to serve in the House of Commons at the same time. Bowell's short time as Prime Minister was ruined by a crisis involving the public funding of catholic schools in Manitoba. He resigned, but remained in the Senate until his death at 94.

A Look Into Video Games: Chikorita

 Chikorita is the starting plant-type pokemon from the 2nd generation of pokemon. My brother picked Chikorita in his version of Pokemon Gold, and it would be too much for my Totodile in my Silver version. Since water pokemon need at least a 10 level advantage to put up a decent fight against plant-type pokemon. So I never really looked forward to our versus matches through the link cable.
I never cared much for Chikorita myself, I always had bias towards totodile and it's evolutions. I do like it as a pokeball item in the Super Smash Bros. series. It's not the best one to have, but I got a few KOs from it's attacks.

Random Photos: Spaceman And His Queen

 This is when I took Daisy to McDonald's for breakfast, right before she applied to work for a nearby fast-food place. I was like "just don't mention where you went out to eat".
 Also took her to the only video store left in town after Blockbuster bit the dust. I just wonder how long they'll stay afloat.
 We didn't get anything to watch but they have a decent snack section. Daisy really wanted her Code Red Mountain Dew, and some beef jerky.
 We also went to the party store to see if they had anything new. Not so much during summer time, but Daisy grabbed the mouse ears from the leftover Halloween section.
 Then she made me wear them...
 I'm more cut out to be a spaceman.
 But Daisy can feel like royalty if she wants to.
 I also tried some luck to get one of the Avengers toys they have in those crane machines. My brother's girlfriend Tiffany managed to snag an Iron Man one.
 Daisy tried some kind of racing spin wheel machine.
She spent a buck to get a little key chain add-on that probably took a penny to make.

Fact of the Day: Not Quite Tigers

While Lions and Tigers are a different species, they can successfully mate. If a male Lion mates with a female tiger, then their offspring is known as a Liger. They enjoy swimming (like tigers) but are sociable (like lions) among each other. It is also the largest known cat type in the world. Ligers only exist in captivity since the territory of lions and tigers no longer overlap.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Tetris Party Deluxe (DS) Review

I got into Tetris many years ago through a borrowed NES version. I used to sit in my chair for hours and play and play. I then got my own Gameboy version, and loved that almost as much. Then I really enjoyed Tetris DS and the original Tetris Party on Wiiware a few years ago. Since I no longer have a version in easy access (sold Tetris DS and my girlfriend has my Wii), I decided to get Tetris Party Deluxe on DS.
Tetris Party Deluxe manages to continue the tradition of including original Tetris gameplay with new modes. However since Nintendo created some fantastic modes in Tetris DS, they are omitted and replaced with new original modes here. Sadly I can't say any of them are really more than quick time-wasters. I did like bombliss mode and master mode, but everything else was rather iffy.
The main reason why I picked the game up was to play multiplayer online again. I was extremely disappointed that the game is no longer the same excellent multiplayer matches featured on Tetris DS. It's a long wait to play a match with no special rules, and the items featured in the first option are terrible. They're random, hard to keep track off, and easily abused and misused. My last multiplayer match was against a player with well over 8000 rank points (you start at 5000 and can lose them) and he ended the match in less than a minute. Either he was the best Tetris player in history (and I was really good at Tetris DS) or the game is filled with rampant cheaters. I'm going to assume it was the latter.
While Tetris Party Deluxe tries to spice up classic Tetris with new modes, that alone isn't enough to fully recommend. And the online multiplayer is not ruined, but I would say rather flawed. If you're a hardcore Tetris player I'd say skip this version. But if you're a Tetris newbie, this could be a decent option. 

Score: 7 out of 10

A Look Into History: Marco Polo

 Marco Polo was a Venetian explorer (now part of present-day Italy) who was one of the first Europeans to fully explore the far-east regions of Asia. His father Niccolo Polo was a merchant who traded with the Middle East, and his father's work led to the family's travels further and further into Asia.
 His most notable stay was in China, and he was one of the first Europeans that the Chinese Emperor Kublai Khan ever met. Khan was fascinated by their Western culture, and requested the Polos give him plenty of information and items from their culture. The Polo family became very close Khan, and Marco served under his wing for years.
When Marco Polo finally returned one last time to Europe, he was captured by the Republic of Genoa (who were at war with the Venetians), and imprisoned for a good bit as a political prisoner. During his stay under confinement, he told his stories of travel to a cellmate, and this was collected into the works that made him famous. Polo eventually married, and died at the age of sixty nine.

A Look Into Video Games: Zora Tunic

 The Zora Tunic is Link's blue outfit in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. It basically gives Link the ability to breathe underwater. Which is practically mandatory to get through the water temple.
 But you could also explore lakes and other bodies of water. Like finding a piece of heart, and that's pretty much it. But it was pretty fun to just walk underwater. Which is something never works well in real life. I kinda wished there was more than just Lake Hylia and some of the Zora areas to use it with.
I also liked the color of the suit. I always picked blue (given the option) in the Super Smash Bros. games and Soul Calibur II.