Thursday, December 31, 2015

My Favorite Photos: My Christmas 2015

 I sometimes think we get up too early to open presents. Every year I look too terribly sleepy. I should have known as I could barely open my eyes enough to put my contact lenses in. My mother had gotten me a nice Star Wars cup from the Force Awakens. She also got me a Darth Vader Christmas tree ornament for next year.

My December 2015 Favorites

 December is one of my favorite months as it's Christmas time, and the end of the "old" year. I had a good December personally as well.

Fact of the Day: Orca Names

Orcas are commonly known as killer whales. Though they also have the nick-names blackfish and grampus. 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

My Favorite Photos: Daisy's 2015 Christmas

 Daisy (like always) gets a good bit for her Christmas. She got shirts from my mother, and I also got her some small things. Like this tin of popcorn, and some meats/cheese from Hickory Farms. But she also had to get more than that obviously.

Orange is the New Black (TV Series) Season 2 Review

 My wife and I finished the first season of Orange is the New Black a few months ago. I try not to watch seasons back-to-back to prevent me from getting sick of the story. I felt like enough time had passed, and I didn't want to be even more seasons behind when the fourth comes out next year. Now the question is if the 2nd season is better than the original?

Fact of the Day: Draft Equality

Many countries in the world require their citizens to join the military for some period of time. Though historically, this has only been limited to men. However in countries such as Chad, Bolivia, North Korea, Mozambique, and Israel, women are expected to join the military unless they have a good reason like pregnancy or religious objection.   

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

My Favorite Photos: 2015 Christmas Stockings

 As a kid, we never did the Christmas stocking thing. We do it now I guess in a way to make up for that last part of my childhood. We didn't have a place to hang the stockings, so we just had put them on the couch Christmas night.

Funny Story: Work Love

For many years I worked as a produce clerk at a supermarket. Near the end of it, we had a guy working there named Jun. He was a bit weird to put it nicely. He was a young college guy who never had a girlfriend (at the time) from what I understood. We had a person quit, so Jun basically said that the new person should be a girl. I didn't want to say anything but our manager said what I was thinking. He told Jun that if we get a woman in the produce department, that doesn't mean she's going to want to date him.  

Fact of the Day: Water Animals

Just as the Earth is more water than land, the vast majority of life on Earth is aquatic. 

Monday, December 28, 2015

My Favorite Photos: Christmas Eve Service

 Daisy and I attend a Unitarian-Universalist Church (which welcomes many different religious and non-religious viewpoints) and they held a Christmas Eve service. They've had years before but we never thought about going. They had music, and a had a few people act out parts of the How The Grinch Stole Christmas story. They also had a singer who was a friend of the new pastor come by and use a method of music that involved sign language.

Question: Are You Color-Blind?

I do not suffer from color-blindness, but I knew a few people that were. I suffer from amblyopia so my vision is far from perfect, but I can see every color on the rainbow. But I do feel bad for those who are color-blind. It must be a dull world they see out there. 

Are you color-blind? 

Fact of the Day: Lady Sarah Lennox

Lady Sarah Lennox was a British noble who a young King George III had fallen in-love with. Many had thought she'd become Queen, but the King's advisers had eventually destroyed any chance of marriage between the two. Lady Sarah Lennox wasn't too bitter about it "Luckily for me, I did not love him, and only liked him".

Sunday, December 27, 2015

My Favorite Photos: Christmas Game 2015

 I've heard this game called many things over the years, but it basically works like this; each person gets one present. They wrap it up and put it on the table. Everyone goes in some order and picks one present off the table, or they can take a present that is "known" from somebody and that person picks another for the one they "lost".

Funny Story: No Nap Time

Like our beloved cats and dogs, people often nap even if they have a full night's sleep. I am not one of those people. I have never really taken a nap on purpose. My mom even says I never really took naps when I was a baby/toddler. I hated nap-time in kindergarten. They'd get out these little foam mats and they'd turn off the lights. I don't recall ever falling asleep. I'd just close my eyes or just look around until nap time was over. 

Fact of the Day: Lone Star

Texas is called The Lone Star state to symbolize its former status as a independent republic (before it joined the United States) which struggled to stay independent from Mexico. 

Saturday, December 26, 2015

My Favorite Photos: Kids Christmas 2015

 The best part of our Christmas gathering was to see my nieces and nephews get to open up all their Christmas presents. Daisy and I got my nephews a pair magnetic dart boards. They were both about the same except one got one with the Ninja Turtles and the other got one with Marvel's Avengers.

Question: Can You Surf?

Surfing has always been one of the coolest sports to watch. Though I've never set any of my feet on a surfboard. I could never master a skateboard, so the water counterpart did not seem my style either. Especially as I'm a weak swimmer who doesn't swim at all in the ocean. 

Have you ever tried to surf? 

Fact of the Day: Benjamin Disraeli

Benjamin Disraeli was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom first in the year 1868 and again from 1874-1880. As of 2015 he is the only British Prime minister born to parents of the Jewish faith. He converted to Anglicanism (Church of England) at an early age. 

Friday, December 25, 2015

My Favorite Photos: Family Christmas Gathering 2015

With so many people in our family, it's hard to believe almost everyone got the same day off on the Sunday before Christmas. The only people who didn't get to go was my Aunt Debbie, and my cousins Justin and Morgan. But we had a good time there. 

Song of the Sea (2014 Film) Review

 I can't exactly recall the first time I've heard of Song of the Sea, but I eventually learned it was not only pretty good but enough to rival a Pixar film. It was nominated for the Oscar for Best Animated Feature (losing to Big Hero 6), so it's certainly not one of those animated movies people just say is "just for the kids". But how excellent is it?

Fact of the Day: Happy Holidays

While many conservative Christians have been upset about the phrase "Happy Holidays" the saying also includes traditional American holidays like Thanksgiving, and New Years. Other holidays include Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and the Winter Solstice. Most of the world's major religions have at least one holiday somewhere between November and January. 

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Random Photo: Christmas Doughnuts

Before our family Christmas gathering, I forgot to bring a "dish" until a few hours before it started. So I decided to get Dunkin' Donuts as a dessert option. They were delicious. 

Vikings (TV Series) Season 1 Review

 I had heard of Vikings ever since it came out in 2013. But I didn't ever watch it or knew much about it until now. I found out through a genetics test that I was 8% Scandinavian, so I figured that some of my ancient ancestors could have been vikings. Since I can't really recall watching anything with vikings in it, I figured this would be a good start. They base the story and some of the characters off the legends of the (probably) mythical viking Ragnar Lodbrok.

Fact of the Day: Noel

The French word for Christmas, Noel comes from Latin words that mean "birthday of the Lord" in English. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

My Favorite Photos: Getting Along

For awhile my oldest niece Little Iz did not like my other niece Little K mainly about jealousy over their grandma Donna. Now they have been consistently on good terms. Which is good as if Little Iz stays an only child, Little K will be the closest thing she'll have to a sibling. 

Christmas with the Kranks (2004 Film) Review

 I sorta remember Christmas with the Kranks when it came out in 2004. I never watched it then, but I certainly wasn't interested. I wanted to see more Christmas movies this year, so I decided to watch this one. Anyway I really liked Tim Allen in Home Improvment and The Santa Clause. However back in 2004 critics were far from impressed, but did I like it?

Fact of the Day: Giraffe Monster

The Ming dynasty had originally gotten a giraffe from Africa. Many believed the animal to be the mythical animal known as the Qilin.  

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

My Favorite Photos: Jedi Fans

My mother took this photo of my wife Daisy and I after we got done seeing the new Star Wars movie. My mother is far from a "nerd" so I was surprised she wanted to go with us. She said the first half was "boring" but she's also told me a few years ago "they should bring Darth Vader back and say the one that died was an impostor". Daisy liked the movie a lot from what I can tell because she had like a million questions she asked me.  

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015 Film) Review

 While Star Wars became one of the biggest movie series well before I was born, I remember wishing for a sequel trilogy, and I only could imagine what it would be like. The prequel films were disappointing yes, but when it was announced that J.J. Abrams would direct (instead of George Lucas)  I was relieved as he did an excellent job with the new Star Trek movies. Fans have literally waited decades for this movie, but does it live up to the hype?

Fact of the Day: Bison Numbers

In pre-historic times, American bison were found in large numbers all across North America. By the year 1900, human hunters had them dwindled them down to near-extinction with a population of about 300 bison. It took nearly a century to see the bison population recover. 

Monday, December 21, 2015

My Favorite Photos: Popcorn Mess

My brother went to the movies with us not long ago and brought home a big bucket of popcorn that wasn't eaten yet. My niece Little K got hold of it and she dumped it all in the floor. To be fair, that theater's popcorn is pretty mediocre. 

The Legend of Frosty the Snowman (2004 Film) Review

 The Legend of Frosty the Snowman is a sequel to the original that I had not really heard of until recently. The first was one of my favorite Christmas specials and even though I heard not-so-good things I had to see it. Perhaps it wouldn't be as bad as I expected?

Steve Harvey Crowns Wrong Miss Universe

While I don't watch beauty pageants, I did hear what Steve Harvey did last night as host of the Miss Universe pageant. He declared Miss Columbia the winner who took her tiara and flowers long before Steve Harvey told everyone he made a mistake and that Miss Philippines was the real Miss Universe. While he did apologize afterwards, I saw the event after-the-fact and I really didn't think Steve Harvey sounded too sorry when he broke the news. I really do hope it was an honest mistake, I know Miss Columbia and the majority of her country (many smaller countries take far more interest than we do in America) are heartbroken. 

Fact of the Day: Western Samurai

William Adams was a English sailor who was the first of his nation to reach Japan. When he arrived in Japan, most of his crew had perished on the long trip. After a little trouble, he became friends with the Shogun Ieyasu Tokugawa, and became his trusted adviser in matters concerning Europe. The Shogun liked him so much that he said that William Adams the sailor was dead and that Anjin Miura, a samurai was born. His wife in England was considered a widow when the shogun wouldn't let Adams leave Japan, and he eventually married a Japanese woman. 

Sunday, December 20, 2015

My Favorite Photos: Zach's First Birthday

This was my brother's first birthday in March of 1988. I would come into this world a few months later. 

Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987 Film) Review

 Since it came out a year before I was born, I never got to know Planes, Trains and Automobiles when it was new. While Steven Martin's prime was not during my generation, I do know who he is, and John Candy too. I heard it was a pretty good movie, and I knew I'd eventually get around to watching it.

Fact of the Day: Sea Lake

While Lake Superior is a true lake, its waters behave more like an in-land sea than a typical lake. 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

My Favorite Photos: Good Cat

My brother-in-law's cat has been a lot better lately. He's still a young cat, but he seems to mind when you let him know he's being irritating. He's also not like their old cat Furball as he isn't afraid of water. They used to make Furball listen by showing him a spray bottle filled with water. 

Question: Do You Often Lose Your Keys?

I have to say that I'm a little bad about forgetting about where I put my keys. I sometimes search the whole house often in a hurry as I can't find them ten minutes before I have to leave for work. Though I've never been late because I didn't find them in time. My wife Daisy is much better than I am about it though. 

Do you often forget where you put your keys? 

Fact of the Day: Jianwen Emperor

Zhu Yunwen was the 2nd Chinese Emperor from the Ming Dynasty, He did not keep his throne for very long. After four years, his uncle ousted him from power and he presumably killed the Jianwen Emperor. His uncle became known as the Yongle Emperor. 

Friday, December 18, 2015

My Favorite Photos: December 2015 Lunch

About a week ago I took my wife Daisy on a surprise trip to her favorite restaurant Longhorn Steakhouse. She was very happy to be there. Our waitress brought us two drinks to the table and I thought to myself that we hadn't told her what we wanted yet. But they were exactly what we had gotten last time, a sweet tea for Daisy and Dr. Pepper for me. She was our waitress back in November, and she remembered what we had last time.  

A Very Murray Christmas (2015 Film) Review

 I had heard of A Very Murray Christmas just recently as it's one of the newest Netflix-original movies. Even though he's in his mid-60's now, I think many people still remember Bill Murray from decades ago like it was yesterday. I wasn't quite sure if I was going to like this or not, as I knew there'd be a lot of singing in it.

Fact of the Day: Happy Christmas

While the phrase "Merry Christmas" dates back to at least the 1500s, it was very common to hear "Happy Christmas" until the 20th century where "Merry Christmas" became far more common. 

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Random Photo: Baby Honeydew

My mother grew a lot of tomatoes and some vegetables this year in her backyard. She thought her honeydew melon plant died, but someone noticed it was on the other side of the fence. It was about the size of a softball. Though I don't think she ever got to eat it. I think she mentioned that some animal got to it first. 

Sad Story: Salvation Temper

On one Sunday afternoon, Daisy and I were getting groceries when a man got right behind me and asked me a question. I was little spooked because he appeared out of nowhere, he spoke like he was a little drunk, and his teeth were yellow as a crayon. He claimed to be a pastor and mumbled about if we were "saved". I'm Agnostic and my wife is Buddhist and I can't stand dogma being shoved right in either of our faces. Religion should be a personal issue, and I told Daisy to to walk away with me as if that man never existed. I'm a nice guy even when I get mad, but I really had the urge to tell him to ask Jesus to save his dental hygiene. 

Fact of the Day: Buddhist Khan

Kublai Khan was the first Chinese Emperor of the Yuan dynasty. During his reign, religions from the west like Christianity and especially Islam had grown popular in parts of China. While many of his counterparts out west converted to Islam, Kublai Khan embraced Tibetan Buddhism. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Random Photo: Pizza Inn December 2015

On a Sunday in December Daisy and I tried to visit a new restaurant we've never been to. Except they were closed on Sundays. So I drove a little down the road to Pizza Inn. It was alright, I had to ask them to make a cheese pizza on the buffet as there were none out yet. I had to wait about ten minutes with a empty stomach, but at least the pizza slices were very fresh. 

The Aviator (2004 film) Review

 I remember hearing about The Aviator back in 2004, but especially back then I've never really liked Leonardo DiCaprio. Over a decade later, I will say I do recognize that he is a very talented actor and I'm surprised he's never gotten a single Oscar. The movie is about the life of Howard Hughes, who I vaguely knew about as he became famous for his movies, and his interests in airplanes.

Fact of the Day: Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart was known as the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean. She did this first in 1928, but only as a passenger. In 1932 she flew by herself across the Atlantic Ocean and made it safely. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

My Favorite Photos: Spartanburg Christmas Parade 2015

 Like practically every city and town in America, my home-town of Spartanburg, SC has their own. I don't think I've ever been, even as a kid. Luckily I had time to go after work, and Daisy wasn't working that day at all. So we went downtown to see the parade.