Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Photo: 29th Birthday Dinner

While it was a more last-minute choice, we ended up at Pizza Hut on Spartanburg's West Side for my birthday dinner. It had been the first time we've been there in almost forever, and actually three years since I've had Pizza Hut anywhere else. My wife and my mother split a hand-tossed pepperoni, while I got a medium cheese pizza in a pan style. That pan pizza was so darn delicious, I can't believe I've missed out on that for so long.  

We're Back From Vacation

I'm not a big fan of traveling (long car rides and sleeping on a bed that's not truly yours) but we had to go almost three hours in a car to see the NC State Zoo in Asheboro, NC. The biggest draw and only reason I'd consider going that far is to see the polar bear which is the only zoo close to us that has one. You'll learn of our adventures later, but yes Mr. Polar Bear was there and he was awesome. 

Fact of the Day: Catholic Country

Starting in 754, the Papal States existed until the unification of Italy in 1870. In their prime, the Papal States comprised of a good chunk of central Italy all of which was ruled directly by The Pope. Italy officially gave sovereign land (Vatican City) to The Pope in 1929 creating the quasi nation-state known officially as the Holy See. 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Photos: I Scream U Scream Ice Cream Spartanburg

 Ice Scream U Scream is a new ice cream place that opened up not long ago in my city of Spartanburg, SC. It's owned by the same guy who runs The Bargain Mill which is almost like Big Lots meets a flea-market almost. He converted a trolley-bus into an ice-cream shop. Apparently this thing can go on the road still, apparently to be a vendor at events. Imagine seeing that down the road eh?

Things I Hate: Craster (Game of Thrones)

Craster is a wildling (Free Folk) in Game of Thrones. While Game of Thrones have their notrorious villains, Craster often gave the big bad guys competition in the despicable department. Despite being a "friend" to the Night's Watch, Craster's main flaw is his love life. Most of his wives are really his daughters, and he keeps the practice up. He also is a very jealous man and doesn't let any of the Night's Watch talk to the women. Jon Snow sees him offer up one of his sons (as the rest had been done) to a White Walker which fans later found out became a new White Walker. For someone so pro-White Walker, why on Earth would he help out the team that protects the realm from them?

Fact of the Day: Peasant's Revolt

Due to issues revolving around the Black Death, high taxation (from war with France), and the corruption among the leadership in London, the royals faced a internal uprising not from a rival lord, pretender, or foreign king but the common people themselves. After murdering several nobles who served after the death of King Edward III, they demanded many things including the abolition of serfdom. The very young King Richard II seemed to appeal to their demands and took a lot of risk confronting the peasants in person at first. However Richard II was not true to his word and had the rebellion crushed.  

Monday, August 21, 2017

Photo: Solar Eclipse Library Poster

It's been Solar Eclipse fever here in South Carolina and probably in every area in its path. We happen to be in North Carolina today, so we won't get to see it. Even with those stupid glasses, I don't want to risk burning my eyes by accident. 

We Bare Bears (TV Series) Season 2 Review

 Last year I just happened to stumble across something that used the bear characters from the Cartoon Network show We Bare Bears and I was reminded on how much my wife likes cute animals, as one of her most favorite stuffed animals I ever got for her was a polar bear with a red bow tie. I thought she'd like the show, and I was actually really surprised by how good it is. The show reminds me a lot of classics from my childhood like Rocko's Modern Life, Ren and Stimpy, Johnny Bravo, and a few others. None of those shows scared children, but they were remarkably clever and had a lot of hidden dark humor in them.

We Are On Vacation For Two Days

My wife and I will be in North Carolina on vacation. We didn't want a super-long trip so we will be going to the NC State Zoo so my wife (and myself) can see a polar bear in real life for the first time. The next day we will be doing things in Charlotte, North Carolina. So I will be back on here on Wednesday. Though you will still see posts from me as Neko Random doesn't stop even when I do.  

Fact of the Day: Trump Pets

While not every U.S. President has owned a dog or a cat while in office, almost every president has had some type of pet while in the White House. James K. Polk and Donald Trump (as of August 2017) are the few that don't have an official pet. 

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Photo: Sparkle City Mini-Putt on Birthday

 Some might remember me talking about this place two years ago in August, and I honestly can't believe it had been that long. This is a 9-hole mini-golf course that the city had developed for anyone in Spartanburg to play. Or as the Republicans around here call it, socialized recreation. I used to play real golf (due to my brother) so I had my own putter and golf-balls.  

The Founder (2017 Film) Review

 Regardless of if you want to admit it or not, but deep-down we all love McDonalds in some way, shape, or form. Now to be fair, I was never a die-hard fan of McDonalds, as I remember us going to Burger King, Hardee's (Carl's Jr.), Wendys, and just about any other competitor you could name growing up to today. Even back as a kid I've heard of Ray Kroc, who at the time of my birth was already long since dead. But I always wondered why McDonald's was called McDonald's with a founder with the last name Kroc. Well this movie will certainly clear up the confusion on that one for those who don't know the full story.

Fact of the Day: Viking Feminism

For their time, women in the Viking-age Scandinavian countries typically had far greater liberties than almost any of their counterparts in the world. While they still lived in a male-dominated society, they could have a say in who they would marry, petition for a divorce (with extra rights), and own property. 

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Photos: Work Party Bowling

 At my work, every year the place is told hold a party to "give back" to the workers efforts. My mother works for the same company (different location) and hers was held in the back of the building where they played bingo for laughable prizes and had food. Our location however, rented out a lot of lanes at a local bowling place which is only a few miles away from my house. I won the first two games against Daisy 107 to 77 and then 144 to 63. She came back later and won 98 to 87 and then 90 to 74.

The Zookeeper's Wife (2017 Film) Review

 I heard about The Zookeeper's Wife a few months ago I suppose. I wasn't quite sure what the movie was about. It looked like it was about the art of zoo-keeping many decades ago, but...not quite. It's really based on the book of the same name, which is about the true events of the zookeepers Jan and Antonina Zabinski who used their zoo as a way to save hundreds of Jewish people who would have otherwise perished during the Holocaust along with working with the Polish Underground. I also really like Jessica Chastain who is the main star of the movie.

Fact of the Day: Janusz Korczak

Janusz Korczak was a Jewish-Polish children's author and educator. Quite famous in his day, he was offered help to escape the Holocaust from friends, colleagues, and a few admirers in the German army itself. He refused all offers and used his last moments to raise the spirits of Jewish children around him who met the same fate as him. 

Friday, August 18, 2017

Photo: Hornet's Nest

One day Daisy and I went to Domino's Pizza. We ordered inside as we wanted to take a look at the other places in the same center. While walking down the sidewalk, I saw this fairly notable hornet's nest. I really wish places would take care of these problems. You don't even need a exterminator, with a good can of inexpensive hornet spray this little nest could be eliminated with ease

Steve Bannon Out of White House

While not officially part of the Trump Cabinet, Steve Bannon was a controversial choice as he was given a special job that had never been made before as Chief Strategist. Many accused Bannon of antisemitism and white nationalism in the present and past, and that certainly got him a job advising Donald Trump. It's rather unclear what made him get fired per se, but that's one less toxic person out of the White House at least. Since his position was made-up, he probably won't be replaced either. 

Things I Like: Little Caesar's Hot-N-Ready Lunch Combo

 When I was a kid, I remember when Little Caesar's was really good pizza. They dropped in quality since becoming the "cheap" pizza many years back. Everyone once in awhile I'll get one, but they do get old fast. However I like their new deep dish pizza combo which comes with a drink.

Fact of the Day: Puyi's Color

While monarchs typically got better educations than their subjects, in the case of China's last emperor Puyi that was not exactly the case. When he was 13, he knew almost nothing of math, science, or even where Beijing was located the world. He reunited with one of his brothers but became angry after he saw him wearing yellow. Puyi believed only the Emperor could wear yellow, but had to be corrected because any member of the Qing family could also wear it. 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Photo: Nail in the Tire

Not long ago I thought I had all my tires in check, but Daisy said my tire was flat and..yep it was pretty much done. Turned out I ran over a nail thought I'm not sure where but it makes you really hate contractors who have stuff like that fall out of their trucks. I called AAA and the guy put the spare tire on instead of towing it. I drove to Firestone and got a new tire to replace it. 

The Assassin (2015 Film) Review

 The Assassin is a movie that originated in both Taiwan, China, and Hong Kong. I wasn't quite sure what the movie was about besides the obvious. I will admit, having a beautiful actress like Shu Qi in the lead role did make me interested. Some people really don't like reading subtitles, but I don't mind especially as it's easier than learning Mandarin Chinese. Foreign films are hard to estimate because critical opinion can vary depending on its country of origin vs American critics, But the movie seemed to have fairly positive reviews, so was it any good?

Fact of the Day: Mike Pence Youth

As a young man, Mike Pence associated with the political and religious views of his parents who were Catholic democrats. In college, he converted to born-again Protestantism and eventually became a ultra-conservative Republican. 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Photo: Daisy's Car Battery Issues

 In early August, my wife Daisy mentions that her car didn't want to start before going to work. Luckily her car did start and she made it there without being late. I told her to drive to her dad's after work, assuming she could get the car on again. Her dad said it was probably the battery, I thought it was the starter from the way Daisy started the conversation. But then Daisy's dad checked the battery and got a "good" reading. We took it to Advance Auto Parts and the clerk guy got a similar reading. He offered to charge the old battery for nothing but it would take about another forty minutes to charge. So we go somewhere in my car and come back.

Story: Pitting Cherries

When I worked in produce, we had a guy there named Bryan who was...strange. We had sampled out cherries for the people walking down the aisles, and one lady was so happy that we pitted them beforehand. Pitting cherries is a lot of manual work, and Bryan then got a huge idea in his head. He told me he was going to pit cherries and then take them down to the flea market or something like that. I told him that it wasn't a good idea because of all the work, the refrigeration you'd need, and the fact that once you broken the skin of a fruit/vegetable it doesn't have long until it starts to rot away. If a person really desires pitiless cherries, it'd be a whole lot easier, cheaper, and simpler to get them in a frozen bag at the supermarket. He called me an idiot because I wasn't jumping on his super-cherry bandwagon. Maybe he was right, and he's sitting in his cherry-shaped mansion laughing at me right now. 

Fact of the Day: North Korean Golf

North Korea has always come up with some pretty outrageous propaganda stories about their rulers, and Kim Jong-il's first round of golf is just as ludicrous. The late North Korean dictator claimed he scored 38 under par on his first try and was so happy with the results that he never bothered to golf again.  

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Photo: Strawberry Frappe

One of the supermarkets here has a Starbucks inside of it, and it's my wife Daisy's usual place to find coffee. This one was new for her, some kind of strawberry frappe, cappuccino or whatever the caffeine lingo is for it. 

Question: Do You Believe Trump on Charlottesville?

You might be living under a rock if you haven't heard about the events that went down in Charlottesville, Virginia. Far-right activists all of whom were mostly white supremacists and literal Nazis protested the removal of a Confederate statue. Counter-protesters were there to stand up to fascism and hatred, and it all got horrific when a neo-nazi drove his car into a crowd of people which killed a woman. Not long afterwards I saw Trump hold a press conference where he condemned the hatred but blamed it on people from "all-sides". There was only one side wrong there, and it was the far-right, the same far-right that is trying to pass bills that would let their kind run into left-wing protesters blocking streets. Trumpty Dumpty has been adovcating bigotry, hatred, and violence since the campaign trail, and I honestly don't believe he has any remorse for what happened to that young lady in Charlottesville.  

Do you believe Trump? 

Fact of the Day: Thomas Becket

Thomas Becket was an Englishman who was picked by King Henry II to become Archbishop of Canterbury. Henry II was not pleased on how much power the Catholic Church had in his country, and hoped Becket would change that. However Becket sided with the church which made him an enemy to Henry II. Eventually he was murdered by several men who worked for Henry II, and the majority of Europe was shocked and blamed Henry II as a result. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Photo: Craft Revival

My wife Daisy been wanting to try crafts again and now she is going all over the place with stuff. I told her to stick to trying to make paracord bracelets until she masters it, I'd rather her be good at one thing that be awful at everything to the point she quits again. 

Story: Laughing Crying Pizza

 When I was in fifth grade, we had more than one teacher at Woodland Heights Elementary in Spartanburg, SC. If I remember it right, I had one teacher Mrs. Phillips for Math/Science, and Mrs. King for English/Social Studies. I liked Mrs. King for most of the year, but near the end of it is what soured my relationship which still stings to this day, mainly because I thought something she did was unfair and stupid. I remember doing some kind of class projects that day where every person was suppose to speak to the rest of the class in turn. Well the guy next to me kept saying jokes or something like that, and granted it was never about the class or students, just jokes in general. I never asked for them, but they just made me laugh. Laughter in itself I think is a pure natural reaction, and like sleeping can be controlled but at extreme moments can't really be controlled at all. She gave us a warning, but the moron next to me wouldn't stop it. So naturally I couldn't stop laughing.

Fact of the Day: Scott DesJarlais

During the 2010 congressional elections, many new (Tea Party) Republicans were elected, one of them being Scott DesJarlais. Despite running on "family-values" and having a "pro-life" stance, DesJarlai was revealed to had many affairs with co-workers and patients during his career as a doctor (which is against the law), and he had pressured a mistress to get an abortion and his ex-wife had two abortions before. Despite all the scandals, voters in Tennessee's 4th district keep sending him back to Congress. 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Photo: Milkshake and Chicken Sandwich

Daisy has the Chick-fil-A calendar and their freebie for July was a milkshake. I told Daisy she could get it when I took her to the mall and she gave me the whole "since we're here, how about we eat here?" line. It always works on me. 

Things I Like: Oberyn Martell (Game of Thrones)

 Oberyn Martell was the younger brother of Doran Martell, the ruler of Dorne. As he was the 2nd son, he was given more of a warrior's life. I think most fans liked him as his fiery temper, skill with a spear, and his interactions with almost everyone in King's Landing never really was a dull affair. He even makes Tyrion Lannister lose most of his words, as we clearly see his passion to avenge his sister Elia and her Targaryen children live deeply over a decade later.

Fact of the Day: Astronaut Star Sailors

The word astroanut is derived from the Greek words "astron" (stars) and "nautes" (sailor). 

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Photo: New Future High School

While it's hard to see in this photo, I could see the site of the new Spartanburg High School in the parking lot of Lidl. I heard they were making it but they don't seem to be very far along. All I could see were big machines on a empty dirt landscape. But it reminded me of my old high school (across town) Dorman High School. They spent countless resources on a new campus even though they really didn't need it. Our campus was located more rural than the original, and there were a lot of trees and fields to maintain. You always here people complain about budgets for education and here's some of your waste. 

Question: Stand Up Airline Flights?

I recently saw a news story about some airline somewhere was considering making flights where everyone stood up instead of having seats to sit down. I'm not sure the reasoning, but the only way I'd do that is if it was a short and really inexpensive flight. 

Would you fly on such a plane? 

Fact of the Day: Irish Viking Cities

Many cities in Ireland such as Dublin and Limerick actually started out as viking colonies. 

Friday, August 11, 2017

Photo: 29th Birthday Cake

So yesterday was my 29th birthday, and while I will go into the details later, it actually was a very productive birthday. Probably the best birthday I've had since birthdays got "dull" when I "grew up" all those years ago. 

Favorite Quotes: Not Fit to be President

"Do they think that I am such a damned fool as to think myself fit for President of the United States? No, sir; I know what I am fit for. I can command a body of men in a rough way, but I am not fit to be President."

-Andrew Jackson

Andrew Jackson was certainly a very... unique president in his own right. His military career made him extremely popular in his time, but Jackson was certainly a horrible president when it came to rule of law and civil rights. He was partly responsible for the near-genocide of Native Americans, and that's what happens when people not fit to be president, become president. 

Fact of the Day: Big Georgia

In its early history the modern U.S. State of Georgia was much bigger. When it emerged as a British colony, it included most of modern day Alabama and Mississippi. 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Photo: Krispy Kreme After Car Stuff

It was that time of year to deal with my car's taxes. The county offices are next to our local Krispy Kreme so we just parked there and walked over and then came back. We have the calendar for the donut place, so we had two coupons for July that gave us two freebie plain donuts and a small coffee. I also got two extra donughts and some chocolate milk as we ate there. We were going other places and I don't leave anything edible in the car like that. 

Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection F (2015 Film) Review

 Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection 'F' came out in Japan in 2015, and I'm guessing 2016 for America. I just recently saw the movie Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods not that long ago, and I noticed that both of these films' stories got fused into the story of the new series Dragon Ball Super which I haven't seen but heard about. I actually liked Battle of Gods a lot, and while I'm a big Dragon Ball Z nerd, I was never such a big fan of the movies overall. A lot of them had stupid villains, unbalanced powers, and a plot that made no sense to the main time-line. For many fans though, Frieza was the most epic villain of the whole series, so a movie about his return is certainly something that would raise the eyebrows of anyone who remembered his battles against the mighty Super Saiyans Goku and Future Trunks.

Fact of the Day: Tasmanian Tiger

Thylacines, better known as Tasmanian Tigers were marsupials native to Tasmania, mainland Australia, and New Guinea. However they only made it to the 20th century before they went extinct. 

It's My 29th Birthday Today

Despite all the madness that's going on between the United States and North Korea right now (for those who thought Hillary Clinton was going to be a worse president, I hope you now regret your decision. This is not the time to have an unstable man-baby as president) a highlight for me right now is that it's my birthday. Sorry to sound so grim, but my birthday wish is for everyone here to see me talk about my 30th birthday next year. 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Photo: Danny and the Cat

Apparently my mother's cat Danny's favorite thing to do is to watch the outside for his own kind. I know these cats hate humans but they will give Danny some attention at least. 

Question: How Hot is Jennifer Aniston?

Like many people, I was a big fan of the TV show Friends, but back then and now I never quite understood how so many people thought Jennifer Aniston was one of the most attractive celebrities ever and she still has a solid fan-base so many years later. Now don't get me wrong, she's certainly attractive (as most famous people are) but I always favored Courteney Cox and especially Lisa Kudrow among the Friends cast, not to mention the much larger pool of celebrities.  

What do you think? 

Fact of the Day: Young Tyra Banks

Despite being one of the most successful supermodels ever, Tyra Banks was rejected by four modeling agencies when first starting out. 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Photo: Lego Girl

Apparently my niece Little K is obsessed with legos now. I foresee a vacation to Legoland in the future I imagine.

Midnight in Paris (2011 Film) Review

Midnight in Paris is a film I've heard about for several years but never knew much about it. I was even clueless that Owen Wilson was in it. Owen Wilson certainly doesn't seem like the guy you'd expect to see in a movie that would earn so many Oscar nominations. It lost Best Picture but won for Best Original Screenplay. I think the thing that pushed me to see it was that fact that Tom Hiddleston (famous for being Loki in Marvel's Thor/Avengers movies) had a minor role in the film. I also heard it involved time-travel, so there's that. So was Midnight in Paris the big awesome film that really was worthy of those Oscar nominations?