Monday, October 31, 2016

My Favorite Photos: Daisy and Pikachu

On Saturday night, Daisy's work (pizza/arcade place) had their Halloween event. She dressed as Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games. And she got to meet Pikachu from Pokemon. 

Stranger Things (TV Series) Season 1 Review

 Before this summer, I don't think I even had a clue about Stranger Things. One of the many original Netflix series, it's sometimes hard to keep up. But Netflix seems like they are trying harder to make sure their own TV shows are amazing as they've had a few duds. Stranger Things is perfect for Halloween time as it's like an old-time horror movie with the spooky theme. Netflix tried a similar thing with Hemlock Grove which I thought was a pretty terrible show and I'm glad my wife kind of forgot about it so I didn't have to watch two more awful seasons. Unlike Hemlock Grove, Stranger Things did REALLY WELL with critics and normal folks alike. Now no matter how good something is, things can be over-rated or just not click with me. Horror is typically not my cup of tea, but what did I think of Stranger Things?

Fact of the Day: Siamese After-Math

Before entering politics, Dr. Ben Carson's claim to fame was his career as a neurosurgeon which made huge news in 1987 when he led a 70-member medical team to surgically-remove infant Siamese twins conjoined at the head named Patrick and Benjamin Binder. The surgery looked promising as the boys had separate brains and they were successfully removed. However the success ended shortly after, both boys ended up in a vegetative state in less than two years. Their mother lamented having the operation done.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Random Photo: Halloween Door Cover 2016

 For Halloween this year, we got this door cover. My wife Daisy put it up before I had the chance to. She let the light-up eyes stay on and they only lasted a good day. This is the door to our kitchen and the way the house is faced to the street, it's really our de-facto front-door.

The Burbs (1989 Film) Review

 Even though I just finished seeing it for the first time, I've known of The Burbs for almost forever. When I was younger my mother had a big entertainment center/cabinet, and I remember seeing so many of the VCR tapes we had all piled up. The Burbs was one of her (or my dad's) movies and while it's not a movie like Friday the 13th or Nightmare on Elm Street I certainly had no interest in it back then. But now almost 30 years after the movie came out, I decided it was about time to give it a shot. After-all Tom Hanks is in the movie and this was when he was still pretty early on in his career. This was after Big but a good bit before Forrest Gump. Now the better question is if the movie any good or not?

Fact of the Day: Many Christian Views

While it is the world's largest religion, Christianity has many different denominations and sects within itself and its major branches. There was an estimated 1,600 different ones in 1900 but by 2016 the number is about 40,000 world-wide.  

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Random Photo: Halloween 2016 Chair Cover

Among the small amount of Halloween decorations for my house is my trick-or-treat pumpkin/jack-o-lantern chair cover for the chair in the office. 

Mansfield Park (1999 Film) Review

 For many people, Jane Austen is one of the most beloved authors of all-time by far. I'm not one of those people I'm afraid. Though I will say it seems she has much larger female fan-base by far than a male one. You also have to take note that Jane Austen died in 1817 so she obviously lived in a different time, culture, country and era. Unlike your strict English teacher, I will say that time does make us feel disconnected to the fiction of old. But I knew I needed to know more about Jane Austen's work and felt 1999's take on Mansfield Park with Frances O'Connor would be good. Though before I started it, I heard fans of the book weren't exactly pleased with this movie. So perhaps maybe this wasn't my greatest idea?

Fact of the Day: Liberal Goldwater

Arguably one of the most conservative presidential candidates of the 20th century, Barry Goldwater had a bit more liberal views in the 1990's which was long after he lost his bid to be president. He alienated many of his Republican supporters during the last years of his life. He endorsed a Democrat for a Arizona congressional election. He also told Republicans to not attack Bill Clinton over the Whitewater controversy. He also thought the U.S. military's policy of not allowing LGBT members to serve was wrong. And he grew very highly-critical of how the religious-right was taking over the Republican Party. 

Friday, October 28, 2016

Random Photos: Halloween Lanterns 2016

 I don't do much decorating for any holiday but for Halloween I put up a few things. Like these lanterns. One is a classic pumpkin jack-o-lantern.

Funny Story: Sock Thief

When my late dog Zelda was just a puppy, she had a terrible time teething. Her favorite thing was socks and pantyhose. She was so quick and wily that she could almost always take them right from us and run away until she was bored. We got tired of it but I couldn't think of way to deter her. So I grabbed a sock from my gym locker and made it STINK in every-way possible I could think of. I put it under the kitchen table so she'd have to find it on her own. And I watched her as she went for it. She picked it up, and then spat it out. Then she picked it back up... I gave up after that. She eventually phased out of it.  

Fact of the Day: Earth on Texas

There is a town in northwest Texas called Earth. The little Earth is home to about a thousand people. 

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Random Photo: Brick Wreck

My brother found this outside his neighborhood which features a grand sign with a brick-backing. Some idiot ran into it. I can only imagine what awful shape that vehicle must be in now.  

Quiz Show (1994 Film) Review

 I honestly had no idea Quiz Show existed in 1994 and still had no clue until recently. The movie is mainly about a show called Twenty-One back in the 1950's. It was a trivia game-show back in the very early days of television. And to appeal to more audiences they did some things that they could never get away with today. Which got them in major trouble with U.S. Congress. I mainly wanted to see it because it was critically acclaimed and nominated for the Oscar for Best Picture for the year of 1994. I also noticed that Ralph Fiennes was in it, and he is best-known world-wide for playing the treacherous villain Lord Voldemort in the Harry Potter film series from Goblet of Fire on-wards. In this movie he's more of a protagonist which I don't get to see him much as.

Fact of the Day: Barney Bush

Barney was one of George W. Bush's dogs during his time at the White House. He wasn't exactly the nicest dog to ever live in the White House as he was known to have bitten at least two different people. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

My Favorite Photos: Great Dane and Little Iz

This was taken back in September of my brother Brandon's dog Blue and my niece Little Iz. Blue is older than Little Iz but she's done really well with her. Blue has a kinder heart that even my late dog Zelda. Like Zelda, Blue just loves people and I've never really seen her be aggressive or out of line. Which is good for a dog the size of a pony. 

Question: Chicago Cubs vs Cleveland Indians?

While I normally root for the Atlanta Braves in Major League Baseball, I've always had a soft-spot in my heart for the Chicago Cubs. They've been one of the most notable teams since forever, but their World Series wins have been rather pathetic. And most believed that the goat curse since the 1940's had prevented the Cubs from even making it to the World Series. But it's official, the Cubs are in the World Series against the Cleveland Indians. Both teams are rather under-dogs historically so both cities must be pretty hyped up right now. Right now the Cubs are down one game in the World Series but they could still win it.   

Who are you rooting for in the 2016 World Series? 

Fact of the Day: Seeing Stars

Out of all the stars we can see in the night's sky (without a telescope) they are just a small amount of of the stars in the Milky Way Galaxy. They don't even make up even remotely close to 1% of the stars in the whole galaxy. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

My Favorite Photos: Steak and Red Shrimp

I took Daisy to her favorite restaurant Longhorn Steakhouse earlier in October. While she got her typical renegade sirloin steak, she also got some redrock grilled shrimp to go along with it. 

Funny Story: Go-Kart Accident

My cousins Justin and Morgan lived next door to a family that were also our cousins but they were distant enough to us (for whatever reason) that I never considered them "family". Justin and Morgan knew them far better than I but one of the boys had a go-kart. It had two seats and he never offered to let me drive the thing. And it didn't have a seat belt. So he drove fast around the big yard around their houses and then I got thrown out before I knew it. It actually didn't hurt really, I remember being in the seat and then the next thing I knew I was laying on the ground. My older distant cousin was a little freaked out but I guess he got over it. 

Fact of the Day: Cat Pilgrims

The first pilgrims in America were highly-religious and obviously brought many superstitions with them from Europe. One was a distrust of black cats that many assumed were companions of witches and connected to the Devil and demons. One owning in a black cat in their community would be highly-punished and even killed for it. 

Monday, October 24, 2016

My Dog Zelda Passed Away Today

I learned about three weeks ago that my dog Zelda had some health issues that would lead her to live a half-life of sorts and after much thought we decided putting her to sleep was the wisest option. We put her down today before the health issues became a serious problem for her. I wished we could have delayed it longer but it was the best thing for her. My wife Daisy took this photo of me and my dog on a walk on the day of finding out the news. I've had her for about a decade and half since she was a puppy. I'm not emotionally okay right now so I will absent for a bit. You'll still see things from me like Facts of the Day which were pre-written. Neko Random doesn't stop even when I'm out of the picture. 

Superstar (1999 Film) Review

I sort of remember hearing about Superstar in the 2000's. I've always had an on-and-off relationship with Saturday Night Live which this movie spun-off of. So I don't really remember much about the character of Mary Katherine Gallagher played by Molly Shannon while watching the show. I'm a big fan of Will Ferrell but even I was a little skeptical about this one. Critics back in 1999 seemed to hate this one quite a bit. Now films based on Saturday Night Live have been promising before, Wayne's World arguably being the most successful. But how good was Superstar?

Fact of the Day: Millie Bush

Millie was George H.W. Bush's dog during his presidency, she was a English Springer Spaniel. Her master used the dog in his own presidential campaign saying that Millie had more knowledge in foreign affairs than Bill Clinton and Al Gore. 

Sunday, October 23, 2016

My Favorite Photos: Christmas Bears 2016

 Even though it isn't Halloween, Daisy just loves seeing the new Christmas stuff. She has a soft spot for stuffed animals so Christmas bears are her favorites as they always change a little every year. It didn't take her long to complain about not getting one this year. 

Yoshi's Woolly World (WiiU) Review

Yoshi's Woolly World is yet another sequel in the Yoshi Island sub-series of the Mario franchise. While I didn't get to play it, I remember Kirby's Epic Yarn which more than likely inspired the graphical style of Woolly World especailly as the same team is behind the new Yoshi game. Yoshi's Island was one of the best games on the Super Nintendo and easily one of the best of all-time. The original sequel, Yoshi's Story was terrible but the next one Yoshi's Island DS was a lot better. Yoshi's New Island on 3DS was decent but certainly not close to the original. Does Woolly World finally compete with the original or is like the two portable sequels? Or even worse is it like the N64 mistake from the 1990's?

Fact of the Day: California Black-Out

During 2000-2001 California faced a severe string of black-outs of power all over the state. One of the main reasons was that the industry was deregulated in hopes that competition among companies would make things better. Enron also had manipulated the market in their favor. The event caused Governor Gray Davis' popularity to drop so low that he was successfully recalled. 

Saturday, October 22, 2016

My Favorite Photos: Pumpkin Light

When I went to my mother's house, I saw her put out this pumpkin solar light. I thought it was some nice decor for Halloween time. Then she told me it doesn't work anymore...

Sad Story: Ladder on Head

At one point in my childhood, my brother Zach and I shared a bunk bed. Like all bunk beds it had a ladder. Like all pre-2000's things made for children, it wasn't exactly super-safe. As for one is that the ladder wasn't nailed, welded, or glued to the bunk bed. It just kind of rested there. And I remember Zach dropping it right on my head. The ladder hit me hard enough to miss school, and on school picture day too. So I wasn't in the yearbook because of him. 

Fact of the Day: Jewish Creation

While The Gregorian calendar is the most commonly used calendar system in the world, there does exist others. One of them is the Hebrew Calendar, and as of October 2016 it is the year 5777 in the Hebrew Calendar. The years are counted from the year of the religious "creation of the world" found in all three major Abrahamic religions .  

Friday, October 21, 2016

My Favorite Photos: Pokemon Pumpkins

I'm not sure who made them, but my local library had these pumpkins up on display. All three are from the Pokemon video games. While Pikachu is well known the other two are Jigglypuff and Igglybuff.

The Painted Veil (2006 Film) Review

 Back in 2006 I had no flipping clue what The Painted Veil even was. I only heard about it recently, but it's based on a 1925 book of the same name by British author William Somerset Maugham. Now granted this isn't the first movie based on the novel with two had been made before. But since the last one was in 1957, it's easy to say that it was time for a remake. I know very well of Edward Norton, who is one of the most talented actors I've ever seen especially for an American. Critics seemed to be in-love with this one so it seemed like a match made in heaven.  Was it or did this one let me down big time?

Fact of the Day: Venus Caesar

Julius Caesar had claimed that he was a descendant of the goddess Venus. 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

My Favorite Photos: Birthday Presents at Tonys Pizza

This was always what I looked forward to when I was little, getting presents at the party. My nephew Mr. C got a decent batch of presents from his sides of the family. I got him a Super Mario plush doll, and a whole bunch of little stuff in a bag. 

Favorite Quotes: All Individuals

"The United States Government has taken steps to make sure that the constitution of the United States applies to all individuals."

-Robert F. Kennedy

I strongly admire Bobby Kennedy and think it was a shame he was never president and it was tragic that he was assassinated just like his brother. While the U.S. government hasn't been perfect at this since 1789 (and honestly had a bad record of it until the 1960's), the running theme was the U.S. Constitution should apply to all persons with no favoritism. There are few folks out there who honestly think that the freedom of religion only applies to Christians. Or that the 14th amendment doesn't apply to children of Mexican and other Hispanic immigrants born in the United States which it certainly does. 

Fact of the Day: Gerald Ford Liberty

Gerald Ford got a new puppy the same year he became president in 1974. The dog was a female golden Labrador retriever and had a fairly large presence at the White House. She died in 1984 at the age of ten.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Funny Story: First Go-Kart Race

At a little fun-park called International Pavilion I spent many years of my childhood looking at the go-karts and being depressed as I was far too young to drive them. I rode in a 2-seater with my dad once but I didn't really get to drive until I was in middle school during a friend's birthday party. I was so excited but I didn't know what I was doing. I couldn't get the thing to start for awhile. Then when it got started one of the kids at the party bumped into my go-kart, it wasn't serious but it was enough for the people running it to get him to stop driving for the rest of the race. Then when I got to the finish line, the brakes didn't really work for me (most likely and probably my fault) and it was a very rough stop. I never got hurt but it made me realize why I was never allowed to drive the go-kart before I turned whatever age/height it was. 

Fact of the Day: Gorilla People

The English word gorilla is derived from an adventure of Hanno The Navigator who was a Carthaginian explorer. He explored the west African coast and apparently encountered what they described as an uncivilized but very hairy people. They were told by interpreters that these "people" were called Gorillae. Whether Hanno and his crew encountered humans, gorillas, or another type of primate is a debated subject. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

My Favorite Photos: Face Swapping

At the party my brother got out his phone and used Snapchat with the face-swap thing. These are always very funny and all the little ones were almost dying from laughter. 

Things I Like: Mayfield Whitehouse Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream

 When it comes to ice cream from the freezer section, not many can rival Mayfield in taste. I recently tried their Whitehouse Cherry Vanilla flavor which I had never heard of before.

Fact of the Day: Ohio Accident

The first automobile accident occurred in Ohio during 1891. They hit an unseen tree root and spun out of control. The injuries were minor. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

My Favorite Photos: Party Balloon

During my nephew Mr. C's birthday party he said he wanted to sit right by me and he did. I knew something had to be up. He just wanted to take the balloon and hit me with it. All in good fun of course. It was cute until my niece Little K thought it was the funniest thing ever and would not stop saying "do it again". 

Galavant (TV Series) Season 2 Review

 I remember looking forward to Galavant last year as it kind of filled in the gap between the fourth season of Once Upon a Time during its break and something had to fill the void. Some people can't tolerate musical shows or movies but I don't mind them. Especially if the songs are original. I enjoy the quirky humor of the first season and got upset it left us on a big cliff-hanger. Galavant wasn't the biggest success last year but gained enough support to garner an additional story. But did the second season prove itself strong enough? Or will all the medieval singing come to a bitter end once and for all?

Fact of the Day: Rex Reagan

Rex was a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dog that was owned by Ronald Reagan for part of his presidency. Rex was not a fan of the Lincoln Bedroom and would refuse to enter the room. Rex would also stand outside of it and bark. Leading many to think that he was seeing the ghost of Abraham Lincoln. 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

My Favorite Photos: Waiting For Pizza and Guests

 My nephew Mr C's birthday party was held at Tony's Pizza in Piedmont, South Carolina. I remember his first birthday party here but they painted the room since then. It was khaki from what I remember but now the walls were red and grey. We were the first ones there and had to wait on almost everyone to get there to eat.

Happy Feet (2006 Film) Review

 I don't really have good memory of Happy Feet coming out in 2006 and I certainly wasn't interested in seeing it. But my wife Daisy likes penguins and I wasn't too shocked this one popped up on her list of things to watch. Now don't get me wrong, I like animated movies but this one looks to be a movie that's not very clever. And by that I mean it seems like it can't entertain anyone outside of elementary school. During the Oscars for the year of 2006, Happy Feet won the award for Best Animated Picture which is an impressive feat. Could Happy Feet really be that good? Or is it just as bad as I had feared it was going to be?

Fact of the Day: Han Gas

The Han Dynasty ruled China from 206 BC to 220 AD. During this period China had drilled for natural gas which was used as a fuel for furnaces. The fuel was transported through pipes made of bamboo. 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

My Favorite Photos: Pumpkin Ball

 Before my nephew Mr C's birthday party started we played in the house. They had a big inflatable pumpkin we tossed around.

Reign (TV Series) Season 1 Review

 I had been pondering about watching Reign for a few years now. I knew it was about Mary. Queen of Scots a historical Queen with a notable legacy of people who hated her and loved her as well. She was the great-granddaughter of King Henry VII and was considered by Catholics to be the heir to the throne when King Henry VIII's daughter Mary eventually died. I'm a bit wary of watching shows/movies based on history as they make many "liberties" with it and end up screwing it all up. Does Reign hold up as a entertaining show and a show that is true to the history on which it is based upon? 
 The story begins right as Mary, Queen of Scotland is about to be a "woman" and moves out of her Catholic convent after an English plot to poison her fails. She returns to French court to fulfill a long-time engagement to Francis, Dauphin of France who is to be the future King upon his father's death. She is kept company by her handmaidens; Kenna, Lola, Aylee, and Greer who may be her only true friends in France. Her engagement to Francis was created for political reasons as Scotland need's France's aid to protect herself from the English. France will essentially control Scotland through the marriage as Francis will be King-consort of Scotland. Francis' father King Henry II is a very power-hungry man and would like nothing other than to rule about half of Europe.  
When Mary and Francis reunite (they knew each other as children) things go well and bad at times. She doesn't like how he's had romances with other women in the past, and can be quite controlling. Francis has a bastard half-brother named Bash (short for Sebastian) who is the King's favorite son personally but his lack of legitimacy means he'll never be King of France. Bash doesn't really want the crown, but he does want Mary's heart. Mary also has to look out for her future mother-in-law Catherine de' Medici who plots against her when Nostradamus tells her a vision that Mary will be in some part responsible for the death of Francis. Outside the castle, foreign threats are everywhere and so is a pagan cult that does dark and terrible things at night in the woods. 
Reign starts off rather slow (the 2nd half is five times better than the first) but I'd really started to like it a lot by the end of the season. Part of it dragging a bit is that it's a rather long season just like most shows on The CW. I'd rather have ten awesome episodes than 22 unbalanced ones. Historically it didn't do as bad as I had imagined, though Mary and Francis were much younger in real life when they got married. And the real Mary Queen of Scots was rather ugly compared to the beautiful Adelaide Kane. There are some notable inaccuracies but most of them fit as something you could say happened but just was never wrote down in history. I'll more than likely start the 2nd season, but not real soon as I need a break from it. 

Score: B