Thursday, May 31, 2012

My Favorite Memories: 2005 JROTC Awards

This is after the ceremony was over. I had actually gotten an award from the Marine Corps even though our school was an Army JROTC. So I got a frame and a ribbon (the square colorful things to the right of the tie) nobody had received before. Pretty sweet.

Prince of Persia (Xbox 360) Review

I actually never really heard of the original Prince of Persia until Ubisoft rebooted the series with the Sands of Time games. While I never got into them, they were a decent success both critically and commercially. So in 2008, it was rather shocking to see Ubisoft attempt to reboot the series once again with the plainly titled Prince of Persia
 The game is not connected to either the original story or the one featured in the Sands of Time games. The game struts a brand new Prince of Persia, though he's more like a wise cracking bandit. The true royal character is his side-kick Elika, a beautiful Persian princess with mystical powers. The game is heavily based around the ancient religion of Zoroastrianism, and it gives the theme a really neat feel to it. However the plot is ruined by artificial injections of low-brow American humor mainly by the Prince himself.
But hey! Plots aren't everything right? Well video-games can get by with it, and Prince of Persia's story was never special anyway. Fans come to fight and jump on walls, and there's a whole lot of that. The game has a bit of an opened world, and you can choose various paths while re-exploring areas that you "cleansed". Since the game is not a Level 1-Level 2-Level 3 setup, when you fall off into a pit you're actually caught by Elika before anything bad happens. You literally can't die in the game, and Elika will be saving your sorry self multiple times every 10 minutes.
Since Elika hovers around the Prince all the time, she also fights with you in battles as well. She's isn't artificially controlled either, you control both characters at once. The Prince has all the melee moves, while Elika can only magically attack monsters who get close enough to the Prince. I kinda wished Elika sat on the sidelines, because being invisibly tied together in combat restricts you more than it adds with fighting as a team.
While it sports gorgeous visuals, and inventive ideas; the whole game just don't quite cut it in the end. The "trial and error" platforming is more than annoying than it is "easy to the player", and the combat is as dull as a rusty sword. While it might seem like a glorious paradise in the middle of the desert, but in the end it was just a disappointing mirage.

Score: 5 out of 10

Fact of the Day: New Zeeland

New Zealand get it's name from the Dutch renaming of the land they called Nova Zeelandia. They named it after the Dutch province Zeeland.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Look Into History: Theodore Sedgwick

Theodore Sedgwick was an American politician serving as a Federalist. After studying law, Sedgwick joined the Revolutionary War serving most notably in the failed American invasion of Canada. After the war he went back to law, and represented a pair of African-Americans in a legal bid for their freedom against their master. The Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled in favor of Sedgwick's clients, and the case eventually led to slavery's abolishment in the state. He later got into politics serving in the Supreme Court and both sides of Congress. He became the 5th Speaker of the House in 1799 for one term, and lived the rest of his life as a justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Court.

A Look Into Video Games: Eevee

 Eevee is a pokemon from the original 150, and one of the most interesting believe it or not. Eevee is a worthless pokemon in battle, but is worth the catch. Why? Because Eevee is one of the few pokemon that has multiple evolutions. They all involve special conditions (like an elemental stone) and some of the newer evolutions for Eevee has led to some very powerful pokemon. Just hope you choose wisely.

Eevee's Japanese name is イーブイ (Iibui) which is the Japanese pronunciation of "EV" the first two letters in "evolution".

My Favorite Memories: My Cho Chang

This was taken last year at Halloween Express in October. Daisy and I are big fans of Harry Potter, so she tried on the Ravenclaw robes. For those not familiar with the series, Cho Chang was Harry Potter's girlfriend in Order of the Phoenix and her Hogwarts house was Ravenclaw. She looked cute in it.

Fact of the Day: Smokey Smell

The word perfume originates from the Latin per fumum which means "by means of smoke".

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Look Into Video Games: Fire Arrow

The Fire Arrow is a item in The Legend of Zelda series. It basically gives your plain arrows a bit of a flame.

I'd like how you got it was to shoot at the sun when told in Ocarina of Time

However in both Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask, the fire arrow did no extra damage. It really just burned web and melted ice. 

That did change in The Wind Waker though.

Things I Like: Yu-Gi-Oh (TV Series)

Yu-Gi-Oh came out shortly before I left middle school. While Pokemon as a whole faded a bit in popularity, Yugi and his duel monsters were the big new fad. Wonder why there's two Yugis? Well ones a spirit inside his golden box who can take over the real Yugi's body to become slightly taller and much better at a children's card game.
They made a real trading card game based on the show. However the cool holograms were never made available.
 Looking back, the show was pretty dumb. Seto Kaiba spent a whole lot of time and money over a card game. And Grandpa Muto went to the hospital over losing a match to Kaiba...
Joey and Tristan were okay when it came to humor, but they both sucked at the game. Especially Tristan, if lost to him you might as well quit.
Then there's Téa, the chirpy and happy girl of the group. Also Yugi's sorta girlfriend. She was kinda lame.
Some of the evil players were pretty funny unintentionally. Like Weevil Underwood and his bug monsters. His voice still haunts my dreams.
And let's not forget Bandit Keith. Who obviously is American, which makes me wonder if the creators of the show think that all Americans are tough blonde jocks with big noses?
The first major villain was Maximillion Pegasus who started the Duelist Kingdom tournament. He steals everyone's soul so he can use it to barter for ancient artifacts he hopes to use to talk to his dead wife. I don't think she'd be too proud of his Toon World either. Despite his silly back-story, he was probably one of the most intimidating villains in anime to me.
Then we had Marik and the Rare Hunters in the Battle City tournament saga. They had some really cool battles with the Egyptian god cards, but after that story I kinda lost interest in the show. Two long sagas were enough.
I ironically never finished the show or watched the spin-offs, but I had my fun with it.

My Favorite Memories: Nephew Sees Old Family Photos

This was taken a few years ago when my nephew Mr. K was about 1. My mom was showing him old pictures of my brother (his dad) to see if her understood. He kinda didn't, but he probably would now.

Fact of the Day: Our Land

The Nunavut territory in Canada means "our land" in Inuktitut.

Monday, May 28, 2012

A Look Into Video Games: Ditto

Ditto is a pokemon from the original 150, and probably the most unique since in it's original form Ditto is practically useless. His special ability is to morph into the pokemon it faces. To normal players he's more a novelty, but more experienced players can use Ditto as a strategic (but risky) pokemon to take on tougher teams in the later parts of the games. I also remember Ditto having a pretty cute episode in the anime.

Ditto's Japanese name is メタモン(Metamon) which is based on the English words "metamorph" (Shape-shifting) and "monster".

A Look Into History: Theodosia Burr Alston

 Theodosia Burr Alston was the daughter of the famous and controversial Vice President Aaron Burr. She was raised in New York, and due to her father's view of equality among genders; Theodosia received a 1st class education. She was one of the few girls of her age to have received education in things like French, Greek, Latin, dance, and music. When her father faced treason charges, she provided him comfort and protection. When Burr had to leave America, Theodosia remained in the United States to fight for his reputation. She also married South Carolina Governor Joesph Alston, which help the Burrs in financial issues and gained them respect in the south.
In 1812, Theodosia boarded the schooner boat Patriot in a trip from South Carolina to New York. However the Patriot failed to reach New York, and nobody on the boat were ever seen or heard from again. There have been many rumors of what happened to Theodosia, but most historians have pinned it on two probable causes. The first is that the ship might of been attacked by murderous pirates. The 2nd and final prediction is that the ship was shipwrecked during a powerful storm. I'd like to believe the latter since a storm would have left almost no trail of a lost boat (back then anyway) versus a pirate attack.

Fact of the Day: Zanzibar Gives Up Too Fast

In 1896, Great Britain declared war on the Zanzibar Sultanate after the new Sultan was not approved by the British government. So when British forces called for him to step down, the sultan hid in his palace with his own military as protection. The Anglo-Zanzibar war lasted only about 40 minutes, making it the shortest war in history.

My Favorite Memories: Pizza Face

As a kid I watched a lot of the Nickelodeon show All That. There was a character on the show called Pizza Face in a few skits who literally had a pizza face. Here's me and my brother Zach's terrible impression.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

A Look Into Video Games: Lapras

 Lapras is a pokemon from the original 150, and one of the few pokemon I've never been able to catch. I've wanted to get one since it's a decent dragon pokemon, but it's eluded me many times.

It's original Japanese name is ラプラス (Rapurasu) which may be derived from Pierre-Simon Laplace, a mathematician who wrote about the mathematical properties of the sea and the tides.

Things I Like: My Dog Skip (2000 Film)

 I remember seeing this movie back in 2000 when it came out in theaters. My memories are a bit faded, but since the dog Skip was similar to my then-dog Chip in name and appearance I wanted to go see it.
 Funny enough Skip was a Jack Russell terrier which is the same breed as my current dog Zelda. I loved the scene where Skip is "driving" the car in public.
I don't remember much else due to faded memories, but I liked the 1940s setting.

My Favorite Memories: Faux Pirate Ship

I forgot exactly where this is in Charleston, SC, but it's at a historical site. It's a replica of some kind of ship, can't remember if it was a real pirate ship or a merchant one. Either way, ahoy mateys!

Fact of the Day: Great River Land

The Canadian territory of Yukon is named after the Yukon river. Yukon is a Gwich’in word for "great river".

Saturday, May 26, 2012

A Look Into Video Games: Mirror Shield

The Mirror Shield is a iconic item (that will always change visually) in the Zelda series. One of my personal favorites of course, though I admit there's not many foes to test it out on.
My first mirror shield was in Ocarina of Time in the Spirit Temple. They had a couple great puzzles revolved around it.
The boss battle against Twinrova was beyond awesome. I always like a shield that can reflect fire and ice and send it right back to it's caster.
I liked the one in Majora's Mask as well, though the memories were a tad less thrilling. Spooky face on this mirror shield. 
The mirror shield in Wind Waker was a bit forgettable, though I did like the visuals of reflecting light due to it's cel-shaded graphics.

Watched The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 (2011 Film)

My girlfriend Daisy is a big fan of the Twilight films/books after her friend told her about them. She got into it late in the game, but I promised to watch every movie with her as long as she read the book. I never read the books myself, but I was happy to have her reading at least something. She finished all the books in a long marathon last year, so I saw this coming months ahead of time. Even though I like to poke fun of the movies, I don't think it's as bad as some claim, but on the other hand it's not the masterpiece fan-girls rave about. 
The movie picks up right after Eclipse with Edward Cullen and Bella Swan getting married. Since they didn't want to let-down fans by cramming one large book into a 2-hour movie, Part 1 is mostly about their martial problems. Which come off like a really bad paranormal-romance reality show.
Things get really awkward when the new Mrs. Cullen finds out that she's carrying a half-vampire baby and nobody knows for sure how it will affect everyone's lives or safety especially Bella's frail human body. So Bella, Edward, the other Cullens, Jacob Black, and the other shape-shifting wolves take different views of what should happen to the new Baby Cullen.
So since the movie ends about (I assume) halfway in the book, there's really no major villain. The big drama is caused when Jacob's wolf friends decide to kill Bella's baby before it's born (against his wishes) knowing that it will result in Bella's death, ironically the very human they previously risked their lives to protect.
Ironically as the movie progressed, it kinda reversed what I liked and hated about the series. I actually begun to the believe in Edward's and Bella's "love" for one another when faced with burden and doubt. Sadly the action parts (I admit that I do really like vampire lore and powers in the series) are a bit lackluster since it lacks real antagonists. It will please most Twilight fans, but I'd bet Part 1 will further corrupt your opinion if the series hadn't hooked you yet. For those who've seen the previous 3, but not Part 1 I'd advise to wait until Part 2 comes out. For as mixed as I feel about the film, the cliffhanger won't feel so harsh if you can go to the movie theater when you get done with the DVD.