Saturday, December 31, 2011

Watched The Outsiders (1983 Film)

I read the book in middle school, and watched the film afterwards, but since I needed glasses at the time (my natural vision progressively got blurry) watching it now feels almost like a new movie. Especially after a decade or so since I've seen it.
The movie features a cast of nobodies who went out to be all-star actors or at least got decent work later on. It's hard to believe how many actors got their start just from this one film.
If you haven't read the book, the story is about a small city with an obvious class warfare difference. The pointless story of the Greasers vs the Socs is an interesting one especially when something major happens to the main character Ponyboy Curtis.
Even though the movie is really well-made, the book is of course much better. But for those who don't like reading, this a forgotten gem that deserves another look.

My Year Of 2011

For me 2011 was the year of car trouble. Early on my car got a flat out of the blue, and really set me back when I had to pay $120 for a new tire. About a month later, yet another one of them blew. The car died only a little while later.
So I ended up having to get a new one. It's alright I guess, but I hope to upgrade in 2012.
This was the first time I celebrated Valentine's Day with my girlfriend Daisy. She wanted this giant bear from Hallmark, but it's 200 dollars and would not fit in a regular sized car. She'll have to do without it.

I did manage to get her a teddy bear, and we (for once) gave each other equal valued gifts for a holiday.

My little nephew had a birthday in April. They had his party in the park. It was nice. It was the first year his little brother could come too.

My town had their little Spring Fling fair in April or May I can't really remember. It was decent, but there was too many people.
Daisy had a little fun out of the "beat the car up" event. I did one while I was in high school, never saw the point of it. Most of the ones you go to is like hitting the side of a wall. The car is dented in so many spots to begin with.

We had a cartoonist drawing during the fair too. He got Daisy spot-on, he had a little fun with mine though..... my neck and head...oh geeze...

I'm very active in politics, and I was contacted to start a young democrats group on our county. We had a pretty good showing at first, but once school started....everyone didn't show up. Stupid non-election years...

We live in South Carolina, and while some elected southern democrats are very conservative compared to others we were a very progressive group. We attended the local LGBT pride parade and marched together. It was really fun, and practically our whole group (at the time of the event) showed up that day.

Despite being in a very conservative part of the state, there wasn't much protest. It was like the 3rd or 4th year they've ran such a march, and the general population either supports it or ignores it. They did have some protesters at the march which were 3 church groups. The one pictured especially were some of the most hateful and bigoted people I've ever met.

Even though it was a slow first half of the year for politics, we did do a protest against our Republican representative Trey Gowdy for supporting a plan to end Medicare as we know it.

Summer was alright, just fun and ice cream.
Had my 23rd birthday in August, and I spent it at a local fun park. I got first in laser tag even though I have no pictures. It's a little hard to get those in a dark neon room.

We also played in the arcade, and some mini-golf. I did well.

Daisy is still learning.

Overall it was a good birthday.

We had an international festival in the fall. I tried some fencing.

Daisy had fun fencing as well.

We also played on the big chess set.

My youngest nephew had his 1st birthday in October. We had it a pizza place, we had a fun time.

We also had a Trick-or-Treat event at my store. I got to dress up as Luigi this year like I did the year before. Yet again I got swindled out of manning a station. I got to do it for maybe five minutes (after being promised otherwise months before) before a spoiled teenager got to run the whole thing for 3 hours just like she did last year.... I swear I should have stood up for myself in the middle of it.

Got to do another debate a little later. Herman Cain was big in the GOP race at the time, so I made sure to protest him.

And many others came to protest the corruption on wall street.

The local college managed to host a major GOP debate, and we protested on the sidewalk. We were facing a bunch of Ron Paul supporters on the other side of the street, so it was a bit weird.

A whole bunch of groups joined in and we did a big march up the sidewalk when night-time came.

 I also had a very good Christmas. That's basically my year in a nutshell.

My Best Of 2011 Awards

 Best (New) Video Game: Angry Birds Rio

I feel a little odd giving the award to a mobile game, but it was the only new game I played this year that was released in 2011. It's a great game don't get me wrong, but I could have tapped into so much more.

 Best (Old) Video Game: Batman: Arkham Asylum

Out of all the video games I've played this year, I don't think I've had a better time than with Batman's biggest adventure yet. Most of the older Batman games were a joke, but Arkham Asylum is the first Batman game that is truly pure quality, and really makes you feel like Batman himself.

 Worst Video Game: Dragon's Lair (NES)

Despite coming straight in and hoping for the best, I've never encountered something so unplayable. The SNES version is an awful game, but the NES version is literally broken. This bridge here is as far as most people will get, and that's the start of your adventure. Everything in this game leads to doom, even a door....

Best TV Series: Bamboo Blade

I don't watch much TV anymore, but I had watched this via DVD. It's a very good (and short) anime about kendo, high school, and random stuff. Very funny and charming. 

Best Book: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

While my girlfriend got me into the movies last year, I read practically the whole series this year.  I saw every movie except Part 2 of Deathly Hallows, so it was a rather magical book especially not knowing exactly what's going to happen.

Best (New) Film: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
While it wasn't as true to the book as Part 1 was, I thought it was the best movie I saw that came out in 2011. I gladly paid a high-ticket price to watch it in the theater, and couldn't wait to finish it.

 Best (Old) Film: Escape From New York

It was really hard to pick an older movie since I had some many favorites, but Escape barely edges out among the pack for the top spot. I loved it since it has a thrilling story, interesting plot, epic characters, and one fantastic journey.

 Worst Film: Rachel Getting Married

 Even though it's not a terrible movie, this is the one I liked the least out of the whole year. It's basically stupid unnecessary drama at your sister's wedding, and will most likely leave you depressed at the end.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Look Into History: U.S. Presidential Election of 1820

Despite a depression in 1819, and disagreement over slavery, James Monroe was not challenged by any of his party members nor by a real opponent as well.

Fact of the Day: Great Literacy Rate

Despite having thousands of Kanji (Chinese characters) to learn, plus the letters for Hiragana, Katakana, and Romaji; most of Japan knows how to read and write. The literacy rate is well over 99% which is similar to any Western nation that uses a much simpler alphabet and writing system. Got to admire hard work.

My Castlevania: Lords of Shadow (360) Impressions

My mom asked me what I wanted for Christmas this year, and I wanted an actual gift. So in order to be more surprised I wrote down a whole list of stuff that I would be happy with. I never expected to actually get Lords of Shadow since it was rather lower on the list (not a ranking, just whichever game triggered my memory first), and there's a lot of the games in the series to confuse my mom while shopping. Nevertheless it is the gift I received on Christmas day, and it's pretty good.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Fact of the Day: Grāpples Are Fake

In many grocery stores you might see this multi-pack of apples named Grāpples which targets itself as an apple that taste like a grape. They are in-fact Gala or Fuji apples artificially flavored to taste like a concord grape. It is no hybrid fruit, but the idea sounds fun. I'd bet if they could do it, that it would turn out like a plum.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Fact of the Day: First State To Leave The Union

South Carolina was the first state to secede from the United States. 

Watched Thor (2011 Film)

Since The Avengers movie is hitting theaters next year, I'm trying to catch up on all the prequel movies already made. I liked both Iron Man movies and Captain America very much so I was looking forward to watching Thor.

My Final Fantasy XIII (360) Impressions

While I like most video game series, I've never gotten into the Final Fantasy series that much. I started with VI and got stuck, then with V and hated that one. I tried the DS remake of III and loathed it, and kinda enjoyed IV on SNES. XIII however is my first "modern" Final Fantasy with 3D graphics, beautiful cut-scenes, and whatnot.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Beautiful Katamari Review

While this may have been the first game in the series that I personally played, I do remember when the series hit the PS2. All the video game media outlets were like "this game is too weird to sell, PLEASE BUY IT" and it managed to make the game sell enough copies to be profitable. Now they're churning out sequels like clockwork, and I'm playing the latest. 

My Day Yesterday: Christmas 2011

Yesterday my brother wakes us all up early. I look like I just woke up, and I guess that's justified because I was only awake for maybe 5 minutes before this photo was taken. My mom got me a bunch of shirts. 
Candy to match my shirt? Why on earth did I wear that one on Christmas?
Despite the series' stupid name of all the Japanese books at Barnes and Noble this is the one I wanted the most. Seemed very beginner friendly, and spelled words out like how they sound. Plus an audio CD. 
My brother got me Toy Story 3 on Xbox 360. 
My mom got me Castlevania: Lords of Shadow.
Picked up my girlfriend later, and I got her the deluxe bingo game she wanted. 
Plus Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of a New World. 
She got me The Legendary Starfy. 
I got her a big white polar bear that she was asking for, and some Pez candy for her stocking. 
I had plenty of candy in my stocking. Overall I had a pretty good Christmas.