Thursday, November 30, 2017

Photo: Thanksgiving Kids Table

I don't remember if it happened like this last year, but my brother setup a kids table this year for Thanksgiving. I remember being their age and being sent to one myself. I always hated it, so I wasn't too shocked to see both my nephews attempt to convince their mother to let them sit on the couch like the grown-ups. 

My November 2017 Favorites

 November seemed like it lasted quite a long time. Here are my favorite things in entertainment.

Fact of the Day: Edgar Allen Poe Football

The Baltimore Ravens chose their mascot for two main reasons. Their MLB team the Baltimore Oriels use a bird as their mascot. But the main reason is that Edgar Allen Poe spent his early career in the city and is buried there as well. 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Photo: Little R on Thanksgiving

My baby niece Little R was probably the most popular person at our Thanksgiving event. Unlike my niece Little K, she seems to be pretty people-friendly. 

Hell or High Water (2016 Film) Review

2016's Hell or High Water kinda slipped passed my radar last year. I don't even remember it coming out though it had plenty of Oscar nominations when the Academy Awards happened earlier this year. Though its box office run was rather mild, some movies are born just to win Oscars it seems sometimes. I'm pretty sure the only reason I knew about it was because I have been trying to catch up on movies with Jeff Bridges, as I think he is the one of the most talented people in Hollywood. The movie lost the Oscar for Best Picture to Moonlight, but what did I think of it?

Fact of the Day: Prince Johns

While John is not an unfamiliar name in English/British royal history, it had never been a name that amounted to much luck. King John had a disastrous reign where he lost some of his rights as king along with a lot of family land in France. Also two princes named John (one son of Edward VII and one son of George V) died young. Princess Diana had wanted to name her first son after her father John Spencer, but she was discouraged by royal tradition, so the family chose William instead. 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Photo: Thanksgiving Cake 2017

Every year I get one of these cakes from Publix decorated in a Thanksgiving theme. They changed their plastic pilgrims to tiny versions. 

Things I Like: Green Gobbler Drain Opener

Over a year at our house, we haven't had many plumbing problems. My wife's fallen hair does make the bath tub fill with water when I take a shower. My bathroom sink also had collected quite a bit of sludge in the pipe. These little packs almost look like white sand but they work decently well but I wouldn't say they are that powerful. They seemed to "clean up" the sink and my tub is clear now so I'm happy at least. 

Fact of the Day: Free Ethiopia

Ethiopia was one of the rare few countries in Africa to never have been colonized by a European power. The closest it ever came to a conquering is when communists took over the country after a civil war and Ethiopia more-or-less was a puppet of the Soviet Union until the fall of Communism in the early 1990's. 

Monday, November 27, 2017

Photos: Painting the Trim in My Bedroom

 Back in August, I painted my bedroom. It took me some time to get around to painting the trim. When it's your bedroom, moving everything around does get old fast. I got a little blue paint on the window and on the trim back in August. But it was a good way to test to see how well the paint covered.

Around the World in 80 Days (2004 Film) Review

Around the World in 80 Days is not a movie I remember coming out around 2004. It's one of several (though as of 2017, the most recent) adaptations of the Jules Verne's novel of the same name. The only person in the cast I seemed to care about was Jackie Chan, though I later saw Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mark Addy (who later played Robert Baratheon on Game of Thrones) in the movie as well. 

Fact of the Day: Donald Trump's Hair

Donald Trump does claim his hair to be real, he also claims that he doesn't do much to it either. He also says the person who cuts his hair, is his wife Melania. 

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Photo: Giant Dum Dum Lollipop

We found this giant dum dum lollipop at Big Lots. I learned my lesson with giant candy, it's fun to see but not nearly as delicious as you'd imagine. 

Favorite Quotes: George Carlin on Libertarianism

"One of the more pretentious political self-descriptions is "Libertarian." People think it puts them above the fray. It sounds fashionable, and to the uninitiated, faintly dangerous. Actually, it's just one more bull$#% political philosophy."

-George Carlin 

Those who don't know politics very well, might of never heard of the Libertarians who are aren't so much about liberty (though they claim as much) as they are just anti-government. 99% of self-identified Libertarians don't believe you should have any rights in the private sector. They don't believe government does any good in any circumstance. While I am a progressive democrat, I don't believe all my views are 100% right all the time, some things in politics are never 100% right or 100% wrong as many choices have pros and cons to them. Libertarianism is almost like a cult, as very few members I've ever met actually will criticize any platform the Libertarian Party for its faults. I recently heard a atheist Libertarian admit its hard to find a like-minded partner because right-wingers are usually Christian and atheists tend to be more left-wing. I told him it's not really correct to say you're a Libertarian atheist when a political belief is your religion and Ron Paul is your Jesus.  

Fact of the Day: Diamond Rain

Thanks to hydrocarbon-rich "oceans" on Neptune, Uranus, and Saturn, it's very likely that it "rains" diamonds on these planets. 

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Photo: Giant Bear at Big Lots

Daisy always likes stuffed animals, and while she can't haul them all home I do let her pose with them. I will say this is the most economical big teddy bear I've ever seen. 

Lion (2016 Film) Review

 Lion is certainly not a movie I quite recall remember about hearing. I put it on my list for some reason, either it was the cast or perhaps was that it was nominated during the Oscars. I didn't realize that its star Dev Patel who isn't really well-known for Americans, he was actually the lead role in the Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire. Unlike his original film role, he was nominated for his acting in Lion but lost to Mahershala Ali for his role in the movie Moonlight. The movie did well at the box office and with critics, but what did I think?

Fact of the Day: Dark Matter

Dark matter is what many scientists believe makes up the majority of the universe, where regular matter only makes up about 15%. It is unknown what really makes up dark matter but its believed its not made up of any elements on the periodic table. 

Friday, November 24, 2017

Photo: Pikachu Jacket

This is my wife Daisy wearing a Pikachu jacket I had gotten her probably about a year ago but she didn't wear it until recently. Even though she likes Pokemon, she's never beaten one of the games even though they're not that difficult. 

Question: Tell Kids Truth About Santa?

We all celebrate (or don't if you're a Jehovah's witness) holidays and other traditions differently. For Christmas most people are debating on whether to tell their children the "truth" about Santa or not and what age to do so. I think when I have kids, I'll let them figure it out on their own. Knowing people lie is a trait they'll have to get used to in the real world. 

Where do you stand on the Santa politics? 

Fact of the Day: House of Lords

England's Parliament started and grew during the reign of the Plantagenets. During Edward III's reign, the House of Lords was established which officially separated the nobility from the "common" people in the government house.   

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Photo: Clemson Dog

At work they let dogs in (concrete floor, no real food there) and one of these puppies came in wearing a Clemson uniform. I actually don't like Clemson, but it was cute regardless. 

Meet The Robinsons (2007 Film) Review

I can't remember exactly when I recalled hearing about Disney's Meet the Robinsons for the first time. To be honest, 2007 was not a good year for me, and as such I never saw many movies during that time-frame. The movie is based on A Day With Wilbur Robinson, which was a early 1990's children book by author William Joyce. This was also one of the last 3D Disney animated films before what I consider a huge jump in quality with films like Big Hero 6, Wreck-it Ralph, Moana, and Frozen. So how does this one stack up to them?

Fact of the Day: Mexican Turkeys

The first domesticated turkeys were believed to have been raised by the Mayans. Pretty much all modern domesticated turkeys are descended from ones that were imported by Spain from central Mexico. 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Photo: Vampirina

Like I mentioned before my niece Little K thinks it's Halloween every day sometimes, this costume her mother made is based on Vampirina which is some show on Disney Jr. 

Story: Stupid People and Paint

Since I work in a paint department, I knew which ones were good, which ones were so-so, and which ones to avoid. We had this couple come in talking about getting a new paint and I showed them pictures of one I liked and had success with in the past. I showed them which one I was referring to and the lady gives me this big stare and told me that was the one they had, and it would not cover well. I got them something else but they had made a big fuss and they okay-ed them to return the paint they originally had gotten. 

I knew something had to be up, the color they had was Choice Cream (SW6357) which is kind of between off-white and beige. Neutral colors typically cover very well even in the low-par paints, deep vibrant colors (especially in the Red-Orange-Yellow family) don't cover well even in better paints. The label had been faded which meant they left it outside for who knows how long but I saw they got it originally in June, and it was September when they came back. I open the lid and found it had settled down (as you can see from the pink color) and some of the paint had gotten chunky (that's why you keep them at room temperature 24/7) as well. I heard almost every paint or paint company be praised and condemned by various people, but honestly when it comes to mid-grade paint on up, if you're having problems, it's most likely your idiocy, not the paint. 

Fact of the Day: Atacama Snow

Despite being the driest non-polar desert in the world and having average daily temperatures reach over 100 F (37.77C), in 2011 the Atacama desert in South America had snow when an extremely cold front from Antarctica went into their direction.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Photo: Daisy and Emma

My wife's childhood friend Emma from their days in Minnesota found this old picture of my wife Daisy when she was a little girl. Emma actually now lives in Kurayoshi, Japan, if I remember right I think she teaches English there. 

Super Mario Odyssey (Nintendo Switch) Review

 Personally, I don't think video game got really good until the NES days. Atari was cool for its time but when their primitive hardware and lousy games crashed the industry, it really showed their true colors. Mario had always been leading the way for great games, and is part of the childhood of many people these days. However since the mid-90's, we've only had a few true 3D Mario games; Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, Super Mario Galaxy, and Super Mario Galaxy 2. It has been seven years since our last true Mario game in 3D, so did it meet the hype? 

Fact of the Day: Quebec 1995 Vote

While the subject of Quebec staying or leaving Canada is still a major issue in the province, in 1995 Quebec voted on whether its citizens agreed on the issue or not. Quebec citizens were pretty much split on the issue. After a very large voter turnout, they had a "No" vote on whether to leave Canada pass by a just a small percentage. 

Monday, November 20, 2017

Photo: McDonald's Dinner on Lunch Break

Daisy stayed at her parents one day since I work right near their house. I picked her up that day and we went to McDonald's while I was on lunch break at work. 

Story: Wrong Japanese History

I've always been a fan of history, and I remember getting into an argument with a kid in high school about Japan's government. He told me that Japan was a communist country (China, Vietnam, Laos have been for many decades now) which wasn't even true and he wouldn't believe me. This was a bit before everyone had a smartphone (graduated high school a year before the first iPhone) to easily settle these debates. 

But since World War II, Japan's government has been more-or-less babysat by the United States government, and they would had never allowed a real communist government to form in the Cold War even if the people voted for it. Japan had a far-right political party called the Imperial Rule Assistance Association become the ruling party during its World War II era, and since Japan's defeat the country has been ruled (with brief exceptions in election losses) by a centre-right party, though Japan's policies on guns and health care are more "left-wing" than the active policies of the Democratic Party here in the United States. Japan (like almost every other country with free elections) does have a communist party but they have never been in power and only elected a small amount of politicians who could never have a chance of forming any real governments anyway. It always irks me when people get history so very very wrong. 

Fact of the Day: Joan of England

During the reign of King Edward III of England, the Black Death was a major problem. However like almost every kind of disease and disaster, it was not as serious on the royals and nobles. The only Plantagenet to die of Black Death during his reign was his daughter Joan.  

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Photo: Little Tinkerbell

It's almost Halloween all the time for my niece Little K. This costume is Tinkerbell from Peter Pan. 

The Way Back (2010 Film) Review

The Way Back had been on my list for quite awhile to watch but just never got around to it. I think the reason I heard of it was because Irish actress Saoirse Ronan was in it, as she is one of my favorite actresses. The movie is actually based on the supposed events of Polish army officer Slawomir Rawicz who was imprisoned by the Soviet Union after the invasion of Poland during the early days of World War II. They change things for the movie like the name of the characters, which I prefer to non-historical figures as I'd rather it based on history than claim it actually happened when it didn't. The story of Slawomir Rawicz also had been severely doubted by many and nobody was able to prove the story.

Fact of the Day: Communist Mongolia

While almost every communist nation (current or former) allied and/or was helped formed by the Soviet Union, Mongolia was one of the first. It operated as a Soviet puppet state from 1924 until it collapsed along with Eastern Europe in the early 1990's. 

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Photo: Longhorn Lunch Steak and Salad

My wife loves Longhorn steakhouse. This is her meal and a salad she had on a lunch in October. 

Things I Like: Pixel Pals Super Mario Bros. 3 Normal Mario

 I noticed these things at Gamestop, and they had many different versions of many different series. I wanted this regular Mario as it looks exactly like Mario does in Super Mario Bros. 3 on the NES. This otaku decor was really calling out to my inner nerd.

Fact of the Day: World's Oldest Restaurant

While contested, the world's oldest restaurant is probably Ma Yu Ching's Bucket Chicken House in Kaifeng, China. It opened in 1153 and survived many wars, invasions, and dynasty changes since then but did not continuously operate because of some of these conflicts. 

Friday, November 17, 2017

Photos: First Round of Christmas for the Little Ones

 It seems like yesterday when I had no nieces or nephews, now I got A LOT of them. So I got half of them their Christmas presents already, though they won't get them until Santa is ready anyway. My baby niece Little R is getting this bunny here.

Ask Me Anything Zwei Round Three

 Here are the final answers, all questions came from Samantha.

Fact of the Day: Philippine-American War

As a result of the Spanish-American War, Spain lost control over the Philippines. Native Filipinos tried to establish a new republic but America defeated them in the Philippine–American War. The Philippines would remain a territory of the United States until 1946. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Photo: Disney Board Game

Even though they really don't need to, my brother and his wife often go into Goodwill to find things for my niece to entertain herself with. She found some kind of board game with Disney, so she was happy. 

My (Not So) Favorite Quotes: We're Saying Merry Christmas Again

"We're saying 'Merry Christmas' again."

-Donald Trump

It's hard to say who is the bigger fool, Trump himself or his flock of sheep who honestly believe he's a deeply religious man. He certainly can play the religious-right like a fiddle, as when he said this all the conservatives started to applaud. It's not against federal or state law to wish someone Merry Christmas, he also can't force private companies to do so either. People say "Happy Holidays" mainly to show respect to those who don't celebrate Christmas. But respect for others is not something Trump or his deplorables really know well. 

Fact of the Day: Patton Reincarnation

Controversial WWII general George S. Patton wasn't exactly known well for his faith in the Bible but he was a devout Christian man in his personal life. Ironically Patton also believed in reincarnation, and believed he lived many different lives, but always as a soldier. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Photos: Boo at the Greenville Zoo

 The nearest zoo to us has a Halloween event every year but it's always right before Halloween not on the actual day. My niece Little K got to go this year to have fun. I think she was dressed up as Anna from Frozen, she had a jacket on so it was hard to tell.

Pitch Pefect 2 (2015 Film) Review

 Not long ago, my wife and I watched the original Pitch Perfect. I thought it was good, but certainly nothing amazing in my book. However my wife Daisy LOVED IT and of course it didn't take long for her to beg me to let her see the sequel so quickly. I did hear the sequel wasn't quite as good (as sequels often are) as the original, but how much did quality drop here. Was I still going to like the 2nd Pitch Perfect?

Fact of the Day: Young Arthur

When King Richard I ruled England he had no legitimate heirs. King John was his successor, but there was a problem with the young Arthur who was the son of Richard's and John's brother Geoffrey who was older than John. Following rules of succession, Arthur should of been crowned king instead of John. However King Richard I feared that Arthur was too young and under too much influence of the French king, so he made John his heir instead. King John eventually had Arthur imprisoned, and he vanished after a certain point. Most believe that he was murdered on King John's orders. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Photo: Little Meow

I've known this cat for about a year and half now, he's very anti-people. His name is Meow and he belongs to my neighbors Mike and Peggy. This day he got fairly close as if he warmed up to me. He started to meow non-stop, but eventually walked away. 

Ask Me Anything Zwei Round Two

 Here are the answers to your questions.