Wednesday, August 31, 2016

My Favorite Photos: Pigeon Forge Bubbles

 My niece Little K tried out this bubble making station in Pigeon Forge Tennessee at a place called Wonder Works. I think she had a little trouble from the looks of it.

Favorite Quotes: Half a Loaf

"Half a loaf is better than no bread."

-English proverb 

While this doesn't apply to every situation in the world, like those individuals who people think (who coincidentally aren't themselves) can "live" off of the pathetic minimum wage in America even in big cities like New York and Los Angeles. However being thankful for what you have is always a virtuous trait, especially as when greed over-takes us. 

Fact of the Day: Fitzroy

In many noble families all across the world, many illegitimate "bastard" children would be born either before a man's first marriage or during one of his marriages. While these children would very rarely ever inherit their father's titles or lands, they were often cared for. Many illegitimate children of English/British kings used the surname Fitzroy which is based on the French words "fils du roi" which means "son of the king".

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Random Photo: 10 Commandments in McDonalds

At our recent trip to McDonalds I noticed this near the drink machines. While McDonald's obviously is not part of the government, this does rather irk me. Mainly because it doesn't create a bias-free environment for their workers. I also find it funny they put this up with Commandment Number 4 about the Sabbath day and not to do any labor on that day. Unlike Chick-Fil-A, I do see this place open on Sundays. I thought these were "commandments" not a to-do list? I fully support the separation of church and french-fries. 

Question: Is Boba Fett Over-Rated?

 As far super-fans go, Star Wars has some of the oldest and most loyal followers. I wasn't born when the original trilogy was out, so when I finally saw Boba Fett, frankly I was unimpressed. I can see exactly why people liked him. He had a cool helmet and a mysterious past just like Darth Vader. You could say Boba was the Han Solo to Darth Vader. Well not really, as he was just a pawn of Jabba the Hutt and he'd just talk to Vader about his bounty on Han Solo. Calling them friends would be stretching it.

Fact of the Day: Gingerbread

While it's debated what counts as true gingerbread, the earliest forms came from outside of Europe. Gingerbread's origin in Europe is said to be the work of an Armenian monk named Gregory of Nicopolis who taught French Christians how to bake the gingerbread in the year 992.

Monday, August 29, 2016

My Favorite Photos: Post-Tennis McDonalds

After the tennis game, Daisy and I went to McDonalds as we had other places to go before we could go home and we had to eat. We went to one a little close to the park, it was the only McDonald's in the Boiling Springs area until they finally built one on the other side of the town. Daisy had two quarter-pounder sandwiches which is a little unusual for her as she usually gets Chicken McNuggets. I do like how she gets chicken over beef most of the time, red meat is not a very healthy option for anyone even if you're not at a fast-food place. 

Question: Do You Try To Always Recycle?

Garbage is just a fact of life for humans. I have a trash can so I know I can't recycle every single thing we ever get. I really wish we could all throw it into one machine that filters it all out with nothing going to waste but that would be living in a perfect world. But since I don't have city pick-up I take my stuff to the recycle/trash center (luckily it's all one place) and I usually have more recyclables than trash. I'll even go out of my way to make sure almost every piece of cardboard gets sent to the recyclables not the trash. Some may think it's silly but it saves you a ton of room and a lot less trash bags just throwing it away. 

Do you put a lot of effort into recycling? 

Fact of the Day: Laddie Boy

Laddie Boy was the dog of President Warren G. Harding and enjoyed quite a bit of fame with his master's time in office. Some say that he howled for three days before President Harding died, sensing his master's doom. Florence Harding was in poor health herself, so she gave Laddie Boy to her favorite secret service agent named Harry Barker. 

Sunday, August 28, 2016

My Favorite Photos: Princess in Tennessee

My niece Little K and her parents stopped here at some restaurant in Tennessee. I wonder if she asked to be treated like a royal? 

Coraline (2009 Film) Review

 I do remember a little bit about Coraline back in 2009 but I didn't know much to be honest. I had literally thought Tim Burton was behind this one, but not at all to my shock. It certainly reminds me of A Nightmare Before Christmas and it does has the same director who is Henry Selick. But the story is based on a 2002 book of the same name. Coraline had a few years to have a fan-base and it certainly can't rival A Nightmare Before Christmas as people still cherish that movie as if a deity crafted the film. It was a big hit with critics, and was nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated Feature but lost to Pixar's Up for the year of 2009. But how good is Coraline really?

Fact of the Day: French Revolutionary Wars

For almost a decade long period, many monarchies fought wars against France. One of the major reasons was because the French people had overthrown the monarchy and became the First French Republic. When the wars were over in 1802, the French Republic remained. 

Saturday, August 27, 2016

My Favorite Photos: Going to Tennessee

This was my niece Little K right before her mother and father took her to Pigeon Forge (home to Dollywood) in Tennessee. It takes about 3 hours to get there from Spartanburg, so I hope she had fun because I did not enjoy such long car-trips when I was her age. 

Man Up (2015 Film) Review

 Man Up is something I had no idea existed back in 2015 when it came out. Most British films come in rather low-key in America so that's not a shocker. But I love movies with Simon Pegg as he's usually pretty funny. Shaun of the Dead was pretty good (though I think it's a little over-rated), and Hot Fuzz is one of my favorite movies ever. Man Up is obviously a romantic-comedy, which is something I usually avoid. But the concept of meeting the wrong person on a blind date (especially with the person at fault is a woman) is interesting enough. Critics and the regular folk seemed to be pretty positive about the movie so I wasn't expecting a train-wreck. And thankfully it's not, but is it Simon Pegg's better movies or just decent enough?

Fact of the Day: Tolstoy Pacifism

During a later-part of his life, Russian author Leo Tolstoy (famous for War and Peace among others) had a spiritual crisis which eventually settled with him becoming a Christian anarchist and a strong believer in pacifism-with-resistance. His philosophy would later influence Martin Luther King Jr, and Mahatma Gandhi. 

Friday, August 26, 2016

My Favorite Photos: Tennis with Teresa

 I haven't played tennis in quite some time, so my co-worker Teresa mentioned she wanted to play so Daisy and I met her at a local park in Boiling Springs, South Carolina called Va-Du-Mar McMillan Park. I've never been on these tennis courts, but they're in decent shape. They're also blue instead of the traditional green but that doesn't matter. We mainly played for fun, didn't keep score, and ignored some of the stricter rules of the game. We called it a day after about two hours when Teresa hit the ball but dropped the racket and it went flying for a few feet. When the ball went in my court I missed because I was laughing.

Question: Do You Always Grab a Cart From Outside?

I typically always try even if it's slow and there's not many outside. It just makes one person's job easier. Some could argue it eliminates a person's job but some places have these things pile up like zombies in a horror movie. The only place I've ever seen eliminate this mess is Aldi and their quarter-locks. We can do this for twenty five cents, but not to help a person doing hard-labor? Humanity should be better than this. 

Do you try to grab a cart before you go in a place? 

Fact of the Day: Oscar Claude Monet

Claude Monet's parents called the future-artist Oscar in his childhood, and Monet used "O. Monet" on many of his works when he was young. He was baptized in the Catholic Church as Oscar-Claude Monet. Despite being born into Catholicism, Monet later became an atheist. 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Random Photo: The Goats

While they (especially the black goat on the right) are hard to see in the picture, these two goats "greeted" me and my dog on our walk around the neighborhood. I saw them like two days in a row but I haven't seen them in a few days. I wonder if they like people or dogs for that matter. 

The Ridiculous 6 (2015 Film) Review

 While Netflix is well-known for their original shows, they haven't really done much with original movies. Which I can understand to be honest, but they've cranked out more of them than I expected. I had heard of The Ridiculous 6 last year and I heard it was pretty bad. Adam Sandler movies usually get pretty ridiculed by critics so I was a little optimistic. But to be honest it did look fairly dumb (especially Taylor Lautner's character Lil' Pete), but curiosity got to my cat and I eventually sat down and saw it. Adam Sandler had past his prime shortly after he left Saturday Night Live, but he's made a decent movie or two since the 1990's. Is this one a decent comedy or is it one of his worst films he's ever done?

Fact of the Day: Vienna

The English name for the Austrian city Vienna most likely comes from either the Italian or French name for Vienna. The German (which Austrians speak) word for Vienna is Wien. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

My Favorite Photos: Barbie Car

My brother had found this barbie car thing for my niece Little K and the battery was dead but he got it for almost nothing. I had wondered if he ever got that fixed for her. Looks like it works to me. 

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009 Film) Review

 Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is a movie I remember coming out in 2009. But I wasn't interested at all in it nor in the sequel that followed a few years ago especially as I was rather clueless about the plot. I vaguely remember the book (though I don't think I read it) from which its loosely based and there wasn't any nostalgia from me for it. My wife Daisy heard of the movie and it was really her idea to see it. She was originally going to watch it alone, but I had enough interest in it now to see it with her. Sony Pictures Animation certainly doesn't have the same pedigree as Pixar or Dreamworks, so is Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs worth of rivaling their greatest works?

Fact of the Day: Presidential Socks

Socks was the Clinton family's cat during Bill Clinton's presidency. Socks and the president's dog Buddy did not get along. Socks did not remain with the Clintons when George W. Bush took office because of a smaller home and the hatred Socks had for Buddy. Socks was left with Clinton's secretary Betty Currie and stayed with her until his death in 2009. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

My Favorite Photos: Little Elsa

 Like almost any kid her age, my niece Little K loves Frozen. She apparently got a new Elsa dress she wore around the house.

13 Assassins (2010 Film) Review

 13 Assassins is something I was pondering about watching for at least a year or two. I had noticed it was a Japanese movie and all foreign movies can be a little hard to know if it's any good because they rarely (if ever) make a splash in America where everyone talks about it. I've always been fascinated by Japanese history and I love stories about samurai. 13 Assassins reminded me of the fan-favorite Seven Samurai (which inspired the American movie The Magnificent Seven) which I had seen quite a few years ago. Though it's not really a copy-cat, the plots are more like the difference between lemonade and tea rather than Coca-Cola and Pepsi. They're similar but there's an obvious difference and qualities between the two. Seven Samurai was one of the most critically-acclaimed films to ever emerge out of Japan, does 13 Assassins even hold a candle?

Fact of the Day: Super Java

The island of Java in Indonesia is the world most populous island with 139 million people which is more than Japan's Honshu island. 

Monday, August 22, 2016

My Favorite Photos: Coffee Birthday

During my birthday after we got done with Frankie's Fun Park, we went to the mall in Greenville, South Carolina. Unlike ours, they have a Starbucks in it. My love for coffee is non-existent but Daisy is always wanting some kind of frappe or whatever. 

Zathura (2005 Film) Review

Zathura is a movie I never heard about back in late 2005 when I was just a senior in high school. I do remember and loved the film Jumanji with Robin Williams back in the 1990's. I had heard this was a lot like Jumanji and that certainly is true. It's actually based on the book of the same name by Chris Van Allsburg who wrote Jumanji among several stories. So Zathura is really the sequel of Jumanji thought the film makes no real reference to it. I also noticed a very young Josh Hutcherson who would become far more famous in The Hunger Games movies. I also saw Kristen Stewart who wasn't as well known back then until she starred as Bella Swan in Twilight.  Zathura did decent with critics (actually much better than Jumanji) so it did have promise. Is Jumanji in Space exciting or is it just a big case of de ja vu?

Fact of the Day: Ivanka Politics

Ivanka Trump has a long-history of being politically independent. She supported Hillary Clinton in 2007-2008, endorsed Mitt Romney in 2012, and supported Democrat Cory Booker's campaign for Senate (representing New Jersey) in 2012 as well.  

Sunday, August 21, 2016

My Favorite Photos: Birthday at Strossner's

 This year I didn't get a real cake because I always seem to never eat much of it after the first couple of slices. There's a bakery in Greenville, South Carolina called Strossner's and they make really good stuff.

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014 Film) Review

 While I only watched the original Sin City earlier this year (in February) I do remember the hype around the original when it came out. But the first Sin City came out in 2005,  and it took almost a decade for a sequel to emerge which was a bit odd. I also heard the sequel wasn't nearly as good but I'd figure I'd give it a try anyway. Like the original, all the stories are based on Frank Miller's comics and Frank Miller himself also worked on the sequel movie like he did with the original. I also noted some actors not returning like Clive Owen being replaced Josh Brolin as the very important Dwight McCarthy, and Jamie Chung replacing Devon Aoki as the deadly ninja assassin Miho.

Fact of the Day: Wonder Lies

In DC comics Wonder Woman uses a lasso of truth to get anyone to tell her information free of lies. Her real-life creator William Moulton Marston actually contributed greatly to the invention of the polygraph, which is better known as the lie detector.  

Saturday, August 20, 2016

My Favorite Photos: Skee-Ball 2016

An arcade isn't complete without Skee-ball and Daisy loves this game. She says she's good but I don't consider anyone good at Skee-ball. As the game never seems to ever spit out many tickets. No matter who's doing it. 

Room (2015 Film) Review

 Like many films that are nominated by the Oscars, I've never heard of Room until the Oscars were out. The movie Room was based on a novel by author Emma Donoghue and from what I can tell the movie is true to the book for the most part. In the first ten minutes or so I thought this was a story about a single mother and child being impoverished but it's much more darker than that. Apparently the author was inspired to write this story after hearing about the horrible Fritzl case in Austria. And I heard about similar crimes that have taken place across the country here in the United States of America as well. So if you don't like depressing stories, this movie is certainly not for you.

Fact of the Day: Erwin Rommel

Erwin Rommel was a German general during World War II. Despite being one of the Axis powers' best military minds, he was praised for his skills by leadership in the Allied powers. He apparently (but this is disputed) had a some type of role in the failed 20 July plot (which was an internal struggle) to assassinate Adolf Hitler. It is believed that when Hitler found out, he gave the extremely popular Rommel the choice to face trial and lose everything or commit suicide to preserve his honor and protect his family. He chose the latter and was given a state funeral and an official day of mourning. The German public was initially told he died of a cerebral embolism. 

Friday, August 19, 2016

My Favorite Photos: The Wheel

Daisy likes arcades so while we were at the arcade at Frankie's Fun Park she always wants to play this little wheel game that reminds me of the Price is Right. 

Alice Through the Looking Glass (1998 Film) Review

 Alice in Wonderland is a tale most people at least know of. It's also been done more times than most people remember. When I heard of this movie, I thought it was based on Alice in Wonderland and forgot that this (by the title) is based on a sequel book. I was surprised I had never heard of it as it has the absolutely beautiful Kate Beckinsale, but this one was actually made just for TV. So I guess that does make a lot more sense. Disney made a new sequel to Alice in Wonderland that is loosely based on the novel and I heard someone say this TV film was far more true to the book (like almost identical) than the new movie could ever hope to be.

I'm Back Finally

Our special team (inventory) at work were given notice that it would be Monday through Friday and if everything went well, then we'd not have to come in Friday if things were done well by Thursday. So Monday was the easiest day as it was all prep work. Tuesday and Wednesday was mostly just pure counting. And part of Wednesday and all of yesterday was working on the "mistakes" and making sure everything was right. We had a good team (only one that was "slow") so I wasn't too shocked. But most days had us there at 5:45am then we'd leave anywhere from 5pm to 6pm. We were struggling to get everything done by 6pm and before 7 we were told everything was good. I would have stayed until midnight if that meant we'd didn't have to be there Friday. 

Fact of the Day: Old Berlin

Berlin has always been the most important city in present-day Germany. It was the capital of Margraviate of Brandenburg for centuries, until 1701 with the rise of Kingdom of Prussia which also took Berlin as the capital and it stayed the capital when Germany unified completely. 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

My Favorite Photos: Laser Tag

I took this picture after our game at Frankie's Fun Park. I LOVE laser tag and I've never lost a game here at Frankies though this is only our third time. I was number nine as part of the Yellow Team. Daisy was number ten on our team and she was the only one with the negative score. She's not very good at the game I'm afraid. 

Mr. Holmes (2015 Film) Review

 The very recent movie Mr. Holmes came out of nowhere to me. I had heard of it a few months ago and I knew I'd eventually see it. Sherlock Holmes was always a classic character but what really wowed me was the most recent TV series (not the American one) with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. Their Hobbit co-star (who famously plays Gandalf the Grey) Ian McKellen takes the role of Sherlock Holmes this time. Instead of a Sherlock set in the modern world, this one shows the Sherlock of his original time but at the end of his elderly days as an extremely old man. It's certainly not a Sherlock story I've ever heard before, but the big question is if it is any good or not?

Fact of the Day: Rabid Possum

While almost any mammal can get rabies, opossums are very resistant to the disease. Mainly because their low body-temperatures are not ideal for rabies to grow. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

My Favorite Photos: Birthday Claw Machine

Soon after we got done with most of Frankie's Fun Park, we had a little left on the card so we played a little in the arcade. I always like trying to win the claw machine as it's difficult. I only tried once to no luck at all. 

Sad Story: Boss Lisa

 At my first job at a grocery store, I quit one location worked for another and got transferred back to my old one. Once there I met a rather new-ish manager named Lisa. She has a bad reputation as she wanted to be the Queen Bee. I honestly had a much better relationship with her than I ever expected but I never had much respect for her. She had way too much of an ego, and she had a nasty habit of talking down to people. She became the store manager of one by my wife Daisy's old house and Daisy worked there for a little while due to my reputation of working under her. I've haven't gotten every job I ever was interviewed for, and honestly it's always their loss. Even though I was never treated like I was suppose to but almost every boss I ever worked for would eventually consider me one of their best.

Fact of the Day: Yuca What

Though debated, Hernan Cortes said the Yucatan Peninsula's name came from a word from the indigenous people had that meant "I don't understand what you're saying". 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

My Favorite Photos: Bumper Boats

 During our time at Frankie's Fun Park in Greenville, South Carolina I wanted to make sure we rode the bumper boats. We had one at a place in Spartanburg called International Pavilion when I was a kid. But shortly before we were going to ride it, some little girl fell out of the boat and nobody was able to save her. This happened shortly after the park opened and until it finally closed when I was high school, I never saw it running even though they didn't demolish it. I was a little concerned about the safety of this one though. I couldn't tell how deep the water is, there is no real life-guard, and the boats don't even have seat belts. Though it is highly unlikely that you can get knocked out of one of these. You really have to be stupid to get into trouble.

Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return (2013 Film) Review

 Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return was something I wasn't quite expecting I'd watch as soon as I did. The Wizard of Oz is one of the most iconic movies to ever exist. This one came shortly after Oz the Great and Powerful which I liked a lot but some fans and critics were not as pleased. I heard this one was not nearly as good and I had assumed it was a direct-to-video kind of thing, but no to my shock this one was a legitimate theatrical movie. And it did horrible at the box office and with critics. Can it really be that bad?

Fact of the Day: Bright First Daughter

Before her father was president, Chelsea Clinton was a bright student during his tenure as Governor of Arkansas. She went to public schools in Arkansas and she was considered smart enough to skip 3rd grade all-together.  

Monday, August 15, 2016

Question: Were You Ever Good at Jump-Rope?

I really liked jump rope when I was a kid. I was decent at it, but never could do anything fancy which mainly involved using two/three ropes or a group effort. 

Did you like jump rope?