Thursday, October 31, 2013

My Favorite Photos: Nephew's Halloween 2013

My brother took this photo of my nephews this morning before they went to pre-school. Mr. K is a firefighter, and Mr. C is Mike Wazowski from Monsters Inc/Monsters University. I think it's cool that their pre-school celebrates Halloween. My old elementary school considered Halloween a distraction to school-work. 

Fact of the Day: Halloween Honor

In the original Halloween film from 1978, the villain Micheal Myers' mask was in reality an inside-out one of Star Trek's Captain Kirk. William Shatner (Kirk's actor) apparently had no idea at the time, but considered it an honor when he found out. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

My Favorite Photos: Halloween Tree

The other day I got some pizza from our favorite place, and every year they bring out their Christmas tree super-early. But they do at least make it fit the other holidays. Next month I'm sure they'll do their Thanksgiving Tree again, but this month they had their Halloween Tree. 

Fact of the Day: Atlanta

The captial of Georgia, Atlanta was named by John Edgar Thomson, Chief Engineer of the Georgia Railroad. He suggested that a town be called Atlantica-Pacifica (after the oceans) which was later shortened to Atlanta. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A Look Into Video Games: Mario's Time Machine

 Despite being a video game nerd, I missed out of lot of games during the 90's. It wasn't until about 2000 where I made sure most of Christmas and Birthday presents would go directly towards video games. Before Gamestop we had a place called Funcoland, and it had not only the newest consoles but all the retro ones. I remember seeing Mario's Time Machine in the SNES (there was also a NES and PC version) section, and though it was like a lost gem. I never got it, but thankfully learned why it wasn't as well known as Super Mario World or Super Mario 64.

Fact of the Day: Evolution Before Darwin

While Charles Darwin is known for his theory of evolution, he was not the first person to discover evolution's basic principles. French biologist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck developed the first coherent theory of evolution as early as 1800. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Fantastic Four (2005 Film) Review

 When Fantastic Four came out in 2005, I wasn't terribly interested. I also had very little nostalgia for the team as I don't remember them having a cartoon in the 90's either. I heard some negative things about the movie, but I was rather curious to see it. Especially since Chris Evans (who's currently Captain America) is in it as Johnny Storm.

Random Photo: Strossner's Bakery

Last week my mother took my fiancee Daisy and I to a place called Strossner's Bakery when we were visiting Greenville, South Carolina. Even though she was super-excited to revisit the bakery of her old home-town, I was honestly surprised to see how busy it was and all the desserts they had. Since we had other places to be that day I just got one of their cupcakes. And it was the best one I've ever tasted in my life. 

Fact of the Day: Ancient Light

Since the speed of light can only travel at 671 million miles per hour means that the lights in the universe we see are not recent at all. The nearest spiral galaxy Andromeda is about 2.5 million light years from Earth. Which means that the Andromeda we see is not the Andromeda of today, but rather the way it was 2.5 million years ago. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Anna Karenina (2012 Film) Review

As I love history, Anna Karenina caught my eye though I was wondering if Anna Karenina was real or fictional. Turns out the movie is based on a novel of the same name set about 40 years before the fall of the Russian Empire. The author of the book was Leo Tolstoy, the same man who wrote War and Peace.

Fact of the Day: Dinosaurs Are Cooler

The beloved purple dinosaur Barney from the TV series Barney & Friends, was originally suppose to be a teddy-bear. When the show's creator Sheryl Leach's toddler showed a interest in dinosaurs, she decided to make Barney a T-Rex. 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

My Favorite Photos: Captain America's Shield

Next to Spider-Man, Captain America is my favorite Marvel super-hero. While looking for Daisy's new costume, I found his shield. I always wanted to be Captain America for Halloween but getting both the shield and the costume is a bit much. 

Fact of the Day: Texas Ocelot

The Ocelot (also known as the dwarf leopard) is found all over South America. However some ocelots can be found as far north as Texas. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Three Stooges (2012 Film) Review

 By the time I was born, The Three Stooges' original comedy routines were already pretty old. I do vaguely remember watching The Three Stooges as a kid. I also recall when The Three Stooges film hit theaters last year, and a friend told me that he thought it was hilarious.

Fact of the Day: The Books

The English word for the Christian Holy Book "Bible" is ultimately derived from the Greek words (ancient Koine dialect) ta biblia which literally means "the books". 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Random Photo: Daisy's Unitarian Universalist Shirt

As I mentioned before Daisy and I go to a Unitarian Universalist Church. So one Sunday, Daisy got a shirt from the kindness of their hearts. 

Fact of the Day: Mother Lincoln

President Abraham Lincoln's family knew tragedy far too well, and the future-president lost his mother at the age of nine. The cause of her death is debated among historians. But the most likely one is from a condition called milk sickness.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Metal Gear Solid 4 (PS3) Review

 Back in 1998 I was almost unaware of Metal Gear Solid on the original PlayStation. It wasn't until Metal Gear Solid 2 was announced that I was aware of how popular the series really was. I played the remake of the original called Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes on the Nintendo Gamecube and loved it. I also loved the 2nd and (especially) the 3rd game on PS2. However it took me until just recently to get a PS3, and I made sure Metal Gear Solid 4 would be my first adventure on the console.

Fact of the Day: Royal House

In many monarchies, there are royal houses which typically represent a line of family members closely related. When the British Queen Anne died, the House of Stuart changed to the House of Hanover because her distant cousin George I obtained the throne. The House lasted until Queen Victoria's death, even though her son became King. Edward VII's father's royal house of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha replaced the House of Hanover. Edward VII's house's name would change again one generation later to the House of Windsor after tense British-German relations during World War I. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

My Favorite Photos: Pizza House

Last week I had visited my brother and my nephews for a family visit. For lunch my brother took us to a restaurant called Pizza House. My nephews spent most of time before the food arrived arguing on who got to play a game on their mom's smartphone. Though my mom tried to keep them entertained until the food got to the table. Daisy and I split a pizza, and it was quite good. 

Fact of the Day: First to Equality

In 2001, the Netherlands became the first nation in the world to approve marriage equality. The Netherlands is now joined today by 16 other countries and 15 American states. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Things I Like: Gilligan's Island (TV Series)

Even though it started roughly 20 years before I was born, I loved Gilligan's Island. With the countless re-runs and great episodes it's hard to believe it only had three seasons. With the first season in black and white.

Fact of the Day: Columbia

The capital of South Carolina, Columbia is named after Columbia which was a female personification of America that pre-dated Uncle Sam and the Statue of Liberty.  

Sunday, October 20, 2013

My Favorite Photos: Baby Robin

This is my brother Zach as Batman, and his daughter Little K as Robin. Her middle name is Robyn which was inspired by her grandfather (my dad) Robert who went by Robin. I always figured Zach wouldn't take long to get her a Robin costume, but I never expected it on her first Halloween. Some park in our neighboring city had some costume party yesterday and they went to it.  

Fact of the Day: Volleyball

Volleyball was invented by William G. Morgan of New York. He actually was inspired by James Naismith who created basketball. While working at the YMCA, he invented volleyball (then called Mintonette) for older members of the YMCA who found basketball too physically challenging. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Green Lantern (2011 Film) Review

 Outside of Batman and Superman, my favorite lesser-known superhero of the Justice League had always been the Green Lantern. However back in 2011 I didn't pay much attention to the Green Lantern film when it arrived in theaters. I later heard it wasn't that great, but I thought I would eventually give it a try.

New Jersey Supreme Court Approves Marriage Equality

Back in 2012, both New Jersey's House and Senate passed a bill making marriage equality a reality in the state. Except the bill was vetoed by Republican Governor Chris Christie. Now the New Jersey Supreme Court has ruled in favor for equal marriage rights. This is the first state to do so by a state judicial decision since Connecticut in 2008.  Now New Jersey can live up to it's motto Liberty and Prosperity.

Fact of the Day: Hubble Universe

While he wasn't the first person to form the idea, but astronomer Edwin Hubble was the first person to discover that was more to the universe than the Milky Way Galaxy. Many galaxies were known at the time, though were thought to be something else. The Andromeda Galaxy for example was originally thought to be a nebula. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

My Favorite Photos: Blue's Pillow

My sister-in-law took this photo of my niece Little Iz and their dog Blue. I originally thought this was a sweet photo of Blue taking a nap next to her "sister". Instead I hear it was instead a bitter struggle on who got to use the comfy pillow. The result? Blue lost. 

Fact of the Day: Shanghai

China's city Shanghai has the highest population of any city in the world at over twenty-five million people. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

My Favorite Photos: UFO Pilots

My sister-in-law took this photo of my two nephews at some small fair near where they live. Luckily their spaceship stayed very close to Earth. 

Fact of the Day: Solitary Venus

The planet Venus has no moons in its orbit. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Transformers (2007 Film) Review

 As a kid I do remember the Transformers show and the action-figures. Though my interest in Transformers was dwarfed by the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I do remember when the 2007 Transformers film hit theaters, but I was never motivated to watch it. I heard its director Micheal Bay was making a film based on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, so I was curious to see how well he handled Transformers.

Fact of the Day: Utah Lake

Utah's Great Salt Lake may be landlocked away from the ocean, but has water with higher salt levels than sea-water. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

My 2013 Halloween Decorations

 With another year here, I decided to make my home feel a bit more like Halloween.

Fact of the Day: Raleigh

The captial of North Carolina, Raleigh is named after Sir Walter Raleigh. Sir Walter Raleigh established the Roanoke Colony which is now part of present-day North Carolina. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012 Film) Review

I remember hearing about Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter in the winter of 2011. I thought the concept was genius, and learned it was based on a book of the same name from 2010. I had wanted to see it last year, but waited after hearing some negative opinions.

Fact of the Day: October Fest

The German festival Oktoberfest dates back to 1810 before the unification of Germany. The first Oktoberfest was to celebrate the marriage between Prince Ludwig of Bavaria and his bride Therese. Ludwig would later become King Ludwig I of Bavaria. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

My Favorite Photos: Daisy Holding Niece

During our family trip to the park, my fiancee Daisy got to hold my youngest niece Little K for the first time. 

Fact of the Day: Elderly Fish

The Red Snapper fish can live over 50 years old. The oldest known member of the species was 57. 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (360) Review

I remember when Modern Warfare not only innovated the Call of Duty series, but was the first FPS to rival Halo. I loved the first two games, but it took me some time to get the final game in the trilogy. While it may not be as revolutionary as the original, it's every bit as excellent.

Fact of the Day: Evolutionary Family

Charles Darwin's grandfather Erasmus Darwin was not only a doctor, but a poet who often wrote about science. His most notable work Zoonomia included ideas such as common ancestry of animals. While his ideas at the time could of been dismissed as philosophy, his grandson would later expand on these ideas in the theory of evolution with scientific evidence.  

Friday, October 11, 2013

My Favorite Photos: Swing-Set Adventure

During our family trip to the park, my nephews were deeply disappointed to learn that there was no playground. So to make it up to them, my brother Brandon and I took turns pushing them on the swing-set. It didn't keep them entertained forever, but they did have a lot of fun. 

Fact of the Day: Papal Disagreement

When his wife Catherine of Aragon did not produce a male heir for King Henry VIII, the King wanted a divorce. When the Pope refused to grant him a divorce, King Henry VIII decided to break from the Catholic Church forever and divorced anyway.  

Thursday, October 10, 2013

From Up on Poppy Hill (2011 Film) Review

 Being a pretty huge fan of anime and Japan, I guess it's no wonder that many of the films from Hayao Miyazaki are some of my favorite stories. My favorite would probably be Spirited Away if I had to choose. Though From Up on Poppy Hill is one of the few films that he had written but not directed.  

Fact of the Day: Japan's Manchuria

During World War II, Japan's victory in the Manchuria region in China allowed them to install their own government there. They even made it an actual nation with former (and last) Chinese Emperor Puyi as its monarch. Though Puyi was merely a puppet ruler and the nation known as Manchukuo dissolved after World War II. After Soviet occupation, the land eventually went back to China. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

My Favorite Photos: Camera Shy

My mother took this photo of her two grandsons (and their mom) and her grand-daughter (and my brother) while most of the family took a trip to the park. Even though Mr. C was camera-shy (which in a way is adorable), it came out pretty good. 

Fact of the Day: Political Direction

In politics liberal-leaning parties (such as the U.S. Democratic Party) are considered on the "left" and conservative-leaning parties (such as the U.S. Republican Party) are considered on the "right". However the term predates many modern political movements. It originated during the French Revolution in the French National Assembly as supporters of the King were seated on the right while those who opposed the monarchy were seated on the left. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Road to Avonlea (TV Series) Season 6 Review

 A good while back, Daisy had introduced me to the Road to Avonlea series which is a spin-off of the 1985 film Anne of Green Gables. While Anne Shirley never made an appearance, many others like Marilla Cuthbert, Rachel Lynde, and Gilbert Blythe do show up in the lives of the King family. By the sixth season though, the story has drifted away from the works of   L. M. Montgomery with original story-lines.

Fact of the Day: Fastest Fish

The fastest fish in the world very well may be the Sailfish, a member of the Marlin family. Their top speeds while swimming have reached 68 mph (110 kph) so far.