Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Road to Avonlea (TV Series) Season 7 Review

 In October of last year, my fiancee Daisy introduced me to Road To Avonlea, which is a spin-off of the Anne of Green Gables mini-series. Now finally we have both reached the final season. Looking back it's hard to believe of how much of the story has changed.

Fact of the Day: Roosevelt Hobby

In his spare time, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was an avid stamp collector. He showed great pride in his collection, with many from all over the world. 

Monday, December 30, 2013

Dark Shadows (2012 Film) Review

 I remember seeing the trailer for Dark Shadows back in 2011 or 2012. I thought it was rather humorous, but I later heard that it wasn't really a comedy at all. Which would make sense as Dark Shadows isn't an original story, it's based on a gothic soap opera from the 1960s.

Fact of the Day: Easter Island

The Polynesian island called Christmas Island gets its name for one special reason. The first European explorer Jacob Roggeveen found the island on Easter Sunday in 1722. 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

My Favorite Photos: Christmas At Zach's House

 The day after Christmas we were suppose to visit my brother Steven and have the family gathering at his house, but his wife Amber was sick and nobody wanted to risk becoming ill. So my brother Zach had a sorta-Christmas party at his house.

Fact of the Day: Red Baron

While the German World War I pilot known as the Red Baron might seem more like a legend than a man, he was in-fact a real person. His real name was Manfred von Richthofen, and despite his legacy he did not see the end of World War I and died at the age of 25 while flying in France.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Princess Zelda Confirmed For Super Smash Bros. 4 (3DS/WiiU)

 While it's no real surprise that one of Nintendo's most famous princesses would be yet again in the newest Super Smash Bros. game, it's interesting to see her appearance in the fourth. She's is yet again based on her appearance in Twilight Princess. Though it seems that is may be likely that she won't be able to turn into her Sheik persona. A move that may be unpopular for some, but I don't think I'll mind.

My Favorite Photos: Little Iz and Her Ernie

My mom took this photo on Christmas when she went over my brother's house to visit. My niece Little Iz got a Ernie doll from my mom. Brings back memories as I also had one when I was a toddler. 

Fact of the Day: Telescope

The earliest telescope was made by eyeglass craftsmen in the Netherlands. Galileo Galilei heard of these, then improved the design and used them for scientific research. 

Friday, December 27, 2013

My Favorite Photos: Christmas 2013

 While I already talked about Christmas morning at Daisy's, this was during Christmas afternoon at my house. It wasn't terribly special as there were only a few presents for Daisy, my mom, and I and almost no surprises.

Fact of the Day: Jurassic Mountains

The Jurassic time period synonymous with dinosaurs gets its name from the Jura Mountain range. The mountains are located in France, Switzerland, and Germany.  

Thursday, December 26, 2013

My Favorite Photos: Christmas at Daisy's House

 While we didn't spend a terrible whole lot of time there, the start of my Christmas morning was at Daisy's house. Her parents were only half-awake due to them staying up after the Christmas Eve gathering.

Christmas Vacation (1989 Film) Review

 I had seen the original Vacation movie and Vegas Vacation many years ago, but I had never seen the Christmas sequel. I thought the other two movies were really funny, but for some reason I never saw this Christmas classic until now.

Fact of the Day: Animal Garden

The word Zoo is short for Zoological Garden. The word Zoological is derived from the Greek word for "animal". 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Polar Express (2004 Film) Review

 When I was in elementary school in the early to mid-1990s, I do fondly remember reading the 1985 book The Polar Express. I do also recall when the movie came out in 2004, but at the time I wasn't terribly interested. The book was fairly short, and a real film seemed like a terrible idea. But years later I heard some praise, and since it's Christmas I decided it was about time.

What Christmas Means to Me

 Looking back now at many Christmases ago, times sure do change. My first couple of Christmases were so magical and some of the best memories. They were better than birthdays, and it was the best time of the year. Though after middle school is when they change for the most part.

Fact of the Day: Secular Christmas

While Christmas is celebrated by Christians as the birthday for Jesus Christ, many of the traditions such as Christmas trees and presents (which were borrowed from pre-Christian European festivals) is also celebrated by non-Christians. Because of this (in America anyway) Christmas can be celebrated in public schools without violating the separation of church and state.   

My Favorite Photos: Christmas Eve 2013

I took this photo awhile ago while at my fiancee Daisy's house. Daisy isn't a fan of wearing hats, but it's a holiday. Have a Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Iron Man: Rise of Technovore (2013 Film) Review

 Unlike in earlier years, there have been quite a few excellent animated films based on comic book heroes. While I believe DC has gotten pretty awesome at it lately, Marvel can still make a decent movie. Though Iron Man: Rise of the Technovore is a little unique. The animation was actually done by a Japanese studio, which technically makes it an anime film.

Fact of the Day: Brazil Christmas Cactus

Schlumbergera is a genus of cacti known better as the Christmas cactus. They originated in the mountains of Brazil. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

My Favorite Photos: 2013 Christmas Tree

Though I personally didn't get a chance to decorate the tree this year, we did have mostly new decorations on the tree. I think it looks pretty good though the colorful lights we got this year weren't as good as last year. 

Fact of the Day: Christmas Flower

The Christmas flower poinsettia gets its name from Joel Roberts Poinsett. He was the first U.S. Ambassador to Mexico (though in his day he was officially a Minister instead of Ambassador), and introduced the flower to the United States in 1825. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Nintendo Unveils Hyrule Warriors (WiiU)

 While Mario has had plenty of strange spin-offs, The Zelda series hasn't had much outside the awful Philips CD-i games and Link's Crossbow Training. But now Nintendo along with Tecmo-Koei are making Hyrule Warriors, a spin-off of the Zelda series with gameplay similar to Dynasty Warriors.

Random Photo: My Christmas Poinsettias

I had gotten four poinsettias this year which is the first time I've had the Christmas flowers. I gave two to Daisy's parents for their house. My favorite though is the blue poinsettia. 

Fact of the Day: Jimmy Buffet Christmas

Musician Jimmy Buffet, best known for his song "Margaritaville" was born on Christmas day in 1946. 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

My Favorite Photos: Santa Door Cover 2013

While I don't really have any outdoor Christmas decorations this year, I do have this Santa one for the front door. It's hard to believe Christmas is almost here. 

Utah Approves Marriage Equality

While New Mexico's progressive ruling on equal rights for same-gender couples was a nice surprise, I never expected to see another state do the same in less than a week. What's even more shocking is that this state is Utah where the Mormon majority population usually vote for Republican politicians. A judicial decision found a previous Utah law against marriage equality unconstitutional due to the 14th amendment's equal protection clause.  With this Utah has become the 18th state to do so, and hopefully we'll see more join them. 

Fact of the Day: Christmas Penguin

Despite often being in Christmas artwork with Santa Claus and polar bears, penguins are on the other side of the world. Many species of penguins live in Antarctica and nearby regions.  

Friday, December 20, 2013

My Top Ten Nintendo Wii Games #1: Zelda: Skyward Sword

For those who don't know, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time has been my favorite game since I first played it back in 2000. While all the 3D sequels have been excellent, they all had their faults. Though none of them (except Majora's Mask) really innovated the series. While Skyward Sword follows a similar formula, the new Wii MotionPlus controls (which weren't around at the time of Twilight Princess) took the series to a whole new level.

New Mexico Approves Marriage Equality

Out of all the 50 States, New Mexico had been rather unique in the marriage equality debate. It was the only state with no laws against marriages of couples of the same gender, but no laws in favor of it either. The unclear issue was settled by the Supreme Court of New Mexico, and I'm proud of them. 

Fact of the Day: Presidential Christmas

The first official Christmas tree of the United States (known as the national Christmas tree) originated back in 1923. The tree was given light personally by President Calvin Coolidge. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Fact of the Day: Newton Christmas

Due to the use of the Julian calendar system at the time of his birth, Issac Newton was born on Christmas day in 1642. Though in our modern Gregorian calendar, he was really born on January 4th 1643. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

My Top Ten Nintendo Wii Games #2: Super Smash Bros. Brawl

 Super Smash Bros. Melee is one of my favorite games of all time, and when the sequel Brawl came out on the Wii I was more than excited. It had been a good number of years since Melee and there was plenty of new features and characters. Including the first non-Nintendo ones being Metal Gear Solid's Snake and Sega's Sonic.

Fact of the Day: Odin Christmas

The origin of Christmas stockings may go all the way back to Norse mythology. Children would often fill boots or shoes with food for the Norse god Odin's horse Sleipnir. Odin would apparently return some kindness by filling the now empty boots with gifts or candy. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

My Top Ten Nintendo Wii Games #3: Super Mario Galaxy

 While Super Mario 64 is considered one of the best Nintendo games of all time, the sequel Super Mario Sunshine was not as adored as it's predecessor. I loved Sunshine, and I will even say I liked it more than Super Mario 64. Though the FLUDD water jetpack did make it a lot different than it's predecessor. I was ironically happy to see Super Mario Galaxy be a little more traditional.

Fact of the Day: French Noel

The song The First Noel from the 18th century is one of the most famous Christmas carols. The word "Noel" actually means "Christmas" in French. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

My Top Ten Nintendo Wii Games #4: Zelda: Twilight Princess

While it was originally suppose to be one of the last great Gamecube games (though it was still on the Gamecube) most knew it better on the Wii. The two were pretty much the same except the controls were different and the Wii version was mirrored to have Link being right-handed as he's traditionally left-handed.

Fact of the Day: Weihnachten

While Yule or Yuletide is generally synonymous with Christmas, it was originally a separate religious winter festival celebrated by people of the Germanic regions. The traditions of Yuletide was absorbed into Christmas after Christianity became the most common faith in the area. 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

My Top Ten Nintendo Wii Games #5: New Super Mario Bros. Wii

 The original New Super Mario Bros. on DS was a good platformer and a great revival of the classic 2D games. Though it was too easy, a little bland, and there was a lot they could have improved upon. I was surprised to see the first sequel appear on Wii instead of the DS (or the eventual 3DS), but I thought it would be about the same quality as the first. I was thankfully wrong about that.

Random Photo: Evolve Necklace

Being agnostic I can't exactly wear a cross around my neck, though I did see this evolve pendant which is one of the many parodies of the Ichthys symbol commonly known as the "Jesus Fish". The most common parody is one with four legs (a reference to first land animals coming from out of the sea) with the words "Darwin". But this one is a tad different with "Evolve" and while it's a tad difficult to see but it's holding a wrench giving a nod to our species being smart enough to make and use tools. 

Fact of the Day: Old America

After gaining independence from Great Britain, the United States of America's first Constitution was the Articles of Confederation. Under it each individual state was nearly sovereign, and there was no real President of the nation. With a weak federal government, it proved to be a failure and was later replaced by the U.S. Constitution in 1789.   

Saturday, December 14, 2013

My Top Ten Nintendo Wii Games #6: No More Heroes 2

 While I liked the original No More Heroes, there were many little things like boring mini-games or a lifeless city that held the game back. The sequel fixed most of these little annoyances and the "beam katana" laser-sword combat improved greatly.

Fact of the Day: Compass Origin

The compass was originally invented in China during the Han dynasty between the 1st and 2nd century. The first ones were made of lodestone, which is a naturally magnetic stone. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

My Top Ten Nintendo Wii Games #7: Okami

 While it was originally on PS2, the version I know Okami for was on the Wii. When Okami was praised on PS2, many noted that the paint-brush combat system would make sense on Wii or DS. While I hear the PS2 version ironically controlled better, I still loved Okami on Wii.

Fact of the Day: Dunlop Bicycle

The first air-filled tire was invented by John Dunlop in 1887. He tested his invention by placing the new tire on his son's tricycle.  

Thursday, December 12, 2013

My Top Ten Nintendo Wii Games #8: Mario Kart Wii

 I thought it's predecessor Mario Kart DS was the best game in the series except for the original. I was really excited for Mario Kart Wii, though while I did like it the only thing it added to the series was the ability to ride a motorcycle.

Fact of the Day: Acadia

While Maine is a U.S. state, the land was once ruled by the French. Along with parts of modern day Canada, it was a colony of New France called Acadia. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

My Top Ten Nintendo Wii Games #9: No More Heroes

 Like the Gamecube, the Wii managed to get a few games that went a good bit beyond the family-friendly tone of the system. No More Heroes featured Travis Touchdown, a lovable loser with a laser sword. He is challenged to defeat the game's ten bosses, all very memorable and strange.

Fact of the Day: Vice President Nixon

During the 1960 Presidential elections, someone asked President Eisenhower what Vice President Richard Nixon had contributed to his presidency but couldn't think of anything. His response was "Well, if you give me a week I might think of one." Nixon would later lose to John F. Kennedy in the general election. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

My Top Ten Nintendo Wii Games #10: Zack and Wiki

Realizing that the WiiU is now over a year old, I figured now would be a good chance to reminisce about my favorite games for the original Wii. The worst of the best is Zack and Wiki:  Quest for Barbaros' Treasure which is one of the system's lesser known games.