Sunday, July 31, 2016

My Favorite Photos: Little Jedi

While at the Disney parks, my nephew Mr. K got to be a Jedi for a day. He wears sports goggles now so at least he didn't have to worry about broken glasses. 

Story: Dental Work

 Unwisely I decided to not to go to the dentist last year. I kept forgetting about it and having something else come up. I don't really like the dentist but I knew I needed to go this year. I go to a new place and it's rather small. I got my teeth cleaned, and they informed me on a few cavities that needed to be filled.

Fact of the Day: Baby Chickens

Chicken hens do not need a rooster to lay eggs. Their bodies produce them regardless if there is a rooster or not. However a rooster is needed to fertilize the egg which is the only way to hatch a baby chicken. Both eggs are still edible regardless.  

Saturday, July 30, 2016

My Favorite Photos: Nemo Shark

At Disney World my nephews Mr. K and Mr. C found the fish-friendly shark from Finding Nemo. This reminds me of a T-Rex display I saw as a child. Though that one scared me. 

Looney Toons: Back in Action (2003 Film) Review

I don't think I even remember Looney Toons: Back in Action when it came out in 2003. Of course I remember Bugs Bunny and his friends through many re-runs. To be honest, Looney Toons was never quite my favorite show though it had its classic best moments. Though I do remember Space Jam was a big success and I really liked it back in the 1990s. I guess they were hoping for a similar thing with this one. Except everyone loves Michael Jordan, however Brendan Fraiser doesn't quite have the same kind of appeal. Unless you consider basketball skill and awkwardness on the same level of talent. Then they are both amazing at what they do.

Fact of the Day: Robert Bat Man

While Batman fans obviously know the character's real name is Bruce Wayne, many don't know why he was named Bruce. The name comes from Robert the Bruce (officially Robert I) who was King of Scotland. He was a popular warrior-king who successfully led Scotland to defeat England in its War of Independence. 

Friday, July 29, 2016

My Favorite Photos: Mr. Mouse

This is my nephew Mr. C at Disneyworld recently. He seems to found himself a pair of mouse ears. 

Joy (2015 Film) Review

 Four years ago, Jennifer Lawrence starred as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games movie series. While it's not nearly the start of her career, it's certainly was when she became one of the actresses that everyone knows about. In a short span of time, she's done a lot of notable movies, even getting herself a Oscar for Best Actress. Joy seemed like it was going to be the greatest movie of 2015 as it had her and was directed by David O. Russell who's never really had much bad luck when it comes to movies. I was shocked to learn that critics were not that happy with one. Though Jennifer Lawrence was nominated for Best Actress but lost to Brie Larson for her role in Room who ironically played a character named Joy as well.

Fact of the Day: Queen Boudica

Boudica was Queen of a Celtic tribe in Great Britain when the Roman Empire was present there. Her husband kept a stable peace and independence between himself and the Roman Empire. When he died, the Romans ignored his wishes and annexed his lands. Boudica was beaten, and her daughters were abused by Roman soldiers. Afterwards she led a revolt and caused massive havoc for the Roman Empire. She almost caused Rome to leave Great Britain but that was lost when she was defeated (and killed) with her forces at the Battle of Watling Street

Thursday, July 28, 2016

My Favorite Photos: Cinderella World

My nephews Mr. K and Mr. C recently got to visit Disney World. They've been before but I heard about the meal where the Disney princesses are around to greet the guests. Mr. C was apparently really shy before but he seems pretty cool with it now. 

Pokemon Origins (TV Series) Review

When I was in elementary school, I remember the original season of the Pokemon anime cartoon. I loved it as a kid, I even remember getting a few issues of the Pokemon manga comic book as well. But the Pokemon anime is and has always been fairly cheesy and very simple. And somewhere in the early 2000's I stopped caring to keep up with it. I noticed Pokemon Origins the other day which is more faithful to the original game. But I thought it was strange to have this one as a TV show as the Pokemon anime with Ash Ketchum still exists. It's not really a TV show, in Japan it was a made-for-TV movie made in 2013 to get people hyped up for Pokemon X/Y for the Nintendo 3DS. The American version separates it into four episodes. I had initially only wanted to see a little of it out of mere curiosity but after such a rush of nostalgia I figured I'd stay for the whole thing. 
The story is pretty much the whole events of Pokemon Red and Blue. Instead of Ash Ketchum, the hero is Red whom Ash Ketchum was originally based on. Just like Ash and Red, Gary Oak is really Blue Oak in this one. And thankfully Jesse and James of Team Rocket are non-existent in this one. Just like the game itself Red gets to pick one Pokemon (not a Pikachu) from Professor Oak and he picks Charmander. Blue picks Squirtle merely because he's a jerk and wants the advantage over Red. Professor Oak tells them to go out and complete the Pokedex and find all 150 Pokemon out there in the world. You later realize how dumb everyone in Kanto is about Pokemon. The extremely nearby Johto has another 150 that nobody ever knew about mere miles away.   
But just like the game Ash Ketchum... I mean Red has to go around all over the Kanto region to find every single Pokemon. And Red also has to visit every gym leader and get all the badges by the time he's done. But first he'll have to learn what it means to be a Pokemon trainer. It doesn't mean they are tools, it's not about glory, but rather about friendship. And Red will have to remind some other trainers along the way about that as well. But he'll have to face the notorious Team Rocket and its leader Giovanni who wish to do very evil things to the world and they don't mind using Pokemon to do so. 
Pokemon Origins was about as I had expected. A decent tale about the adventure millions played in the late 1990's. The game had a lot of plot to cover so a lot of the gym encounters are told like they were just quick flashbacks in this TV show/movie. It was interesting to see a Pokemon anime a lot more faithful to the game than the actual anime series ever was. While it won't wow anyone from the original generation of real-life Pokemon trainers, now that a good chunk of them have their own kids it's a good way to show them the original generation of Pokemon. While I still enjoy the sequels, the original 150 (plus Mew of course) were always the best. 

Score: B-

Fact of the Day: Hipster Jesus

In an effort to appeal to younger people, the branch of the Catholic church in Brooklyn campaigned heavily that Jesus was the original "hipster". 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Random Photo: Construction at Aldi

At our local Aldi we went the other day to get some groceries and I notice this giant mess. I almost thought it was something new but there are totally remodeling the exterior of the place. The place was still open and surprisingly quiet. I hope it all looks good when it's done. 

Funny Story: Green Company

My first job was at a supermarket and after a few years I got a place at another one which meant I had to quit the other. Once I gave them my notice I got a talk from the store manager Bryan. We sat in his office and he tried to convince me to stay. This was during the start of the Great Recession so he "apparently" couldn't do much to match what I'd be making over there. So he resorted to the line of the lawn on the other side is not always greener and basically said that management over there could be even worse than where we were at. I told him I'd take the chance. 

Fact of the Day: Mongol Empire

Founded by Genghis Khan, the Mongol Empire was the largest empire (as a single land-mass) that ever existed. It reached most of the orient, much of the Middle East, and even crossed into Eastern Europe. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

My Favorite Photos: DC Road Trip

While I stayed in South Carolina, my niece Little K got to take a road trip to Washington D.C. Her mother has family in Maryland, so most of her family went up there recently. Little K's father (my brother) Zach had to say in South Carolina due to work. It wasn't such a lucky trip from what I hear. The car broke down in Virginia but they were rescued fast and their car was back in working order. I often think my car is bad, but her Buick is rather "old" to put it nicely. Here's a fact of life for you though, never take a lemon into another state.  

Mozart in the Jungle (TV Series) Season 1 Review

 I think I'm sure I heard of Mozart in the Jungle back when it debuted in 2014. I was a little interested, but I literally had no idea what the show as even about. Was it really about the life of the actual Wolfgang Mozart? Or his life based in a more modern setting of alternate reality? Well it's not really about Mozart at all except with people who respect the legend. It's based on a book about the career Blair Tindall who spent many years as a classical musician. I never read the book but it apparently talked about the dark side of the sophisticated world of classical music. Frankly I don't know much about and don't really care for classical music. Mozart in the Jungle won a few awards so I figured it had to be more than what it appeared on the surface.

Fact of the Day: Poke Bugs

The video game series Pokemon was heavily inspired by insect collecting. Its creator Satoshi Tajiri loved insect collecting when he was younger. 

Monday, July 25, 2016

My Favorite Photos: Happy Minnie

My brother took this photo the other day of my niece Little K. She apparently got a Minnie Mouse in the mail. Do you think she likes it? 

Question: Did You Live With Dial-Up?

From the 1960's to the early 2000's, technology was laughable compared to what we have today. While high-speed internet is pretty much de-facto now, I remember the days of dial-up. And they were horrible. Having stuff go through phone cables is neat in a sense but when it came to anything other than words, it was a slow journey. We lived with it until 2005 until we demanded our mother switch to cable internet. I really wanted to play Mario Kart DS online, and thankfully our mother had enough sense to do so. I also remember the horrible sound it'd make when starting, and do you remember someone saying "Get off the internet! I have to use the phone!"? There weren't many pros when it came to it, but a mountain list of cons. 

Did you ever have to suffer with dial-up?

Fact of the Day: Swim Suits

Swimming outdoors had once been something highly discouraged in the Western World. As such the use of a "swim-suit" slowly evolved between the 18th and early 20th century for both men and women. Even the popular bikini swimsuits took quite some time to be adopted by most women. The Catholic church even went to formally say that the bikini was sinful around that time. It was partly-due to Hollywood actresses that made the bikini popular.  

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Debbie Wasserman Schultz to Resign From DNC

The Democratic National Committee is basically the governing body of the Democratic Party. It's Chair (leader) Debbie Wasserman Schultz has announced she will resign after the Democratic National Convention is over with. This is after news broke that proved that she and her pawns sought to make sure Bernie Sanders would not win the primary. I can understand the logic of party leadership on the matter, but that's just a line you can't cross. Hopefully the new Chair will help abolish the practice of super-delegates. We don't have super-voters in the general, so we don't need super-delegates that are not influenced by democracy. 

My Favorite Photos: Feline BFF

One of the reasons why I've never been much of a cat person is that most cats usually ignore or HATE new people. When the in-laws cat Johann was a kitten I made sure to spend plenty of time with him. My wife Daisy is really bad when it comes to pets, even my dog Zelda realized early on that she very seldom gave her any attention. Daisy says its because she doesn't like "fur". Irregardless Johann knows who his buddy is.  

Story: Birthday at Camp

When I was younger we were at a week-long "summer" camp called Junalaska that we went to because our Methodist church always went every year. We only went one year, and it was a better experience than one other camp we went to. I actually had my birthday during one of the days and during one of the meals they called me and some girl up because it was our birthdays. After some kind of "celebration" that lasted less than three minutes I got a plate with a birthday brownie on it. I never really liked brownies (I like fudge much better) but I ate it anyway. I didn't know quite what to do with the plate as it wasn't paper or styrofoam like the rest we used. I was too shy to ask and nobody ever told me nothing about it. So I just left it somewhere near the cafeteria outside as that's where we were when I was done. I figured if they wanted it back, they'd find it. 

Fact of the Day: Ivan the Terrible at Chess

Russian Tsar Ivan the Terrible had quite a notable reign and a rather strange death as well. He was playing chess and had a stroke that killed him. 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

My Favorite Photos: Kat Kouch

Over at my in-laws house I came by to pick something up for my wife Daisy, and like always the cat Johann was there to greet me. He likes the top of the couch just like his predecessor Furball. Same exact spot and everything. 

The Good Dinosaur (2015 Film) Review

 I remember hearing about The Good Dinosaur sometime last year or maybe in 2014. Anything by Pixar always gets my attention. But I waited to see it when it was in theaters. I was optimistic but not that excited as only really go to the movie for stuff that I really really want to see. And ones that my wife Daisy wants to see as well. It did well with critics but not as fanastic as they usually do. Pixar has dropped the ball a few times, most especially with the Cars movies. It also had the worst reception at the box office than any other Pixar film. Now the question is if it really is about as as disspaotinting as the Cars movies or does it stack up to the Pixar greats like Toy Story and Finding Nemo?

Hillary Clinton Picks Tim Kaine as Her Running Mate

With all the craziness from the RNC going around, many were wondering who'd be Hillary Clinton's running-mate as the DNC is to take place soon. Clinton has chosen Tim Kaine who is a Senator from Virginia to be her choice for Vice President. I've known a little about Kaine and he seems to be a decent guy, but many aren't very thrilled with her choice. Kaine was certainly somewhere close to center, and I really think Clinton needed someone really progressive to bring in disgruntled Bernie Sanders supporters. He's certainly not a negative choice, but the Clinton camp does lack a lot of excitement and energy that was behind President Obama's two campaign's. 

Fact of the Day: Dinosaur Reign

While many know that dinosaurs had once "ruled" the Earth in a similar way that humans do today, it was a rather slow climb to the throne. Dinosaurs first emerged during the Triassic but didn't become what they were until the Jurassic which is roughly 50 million years later. 

Friday, July 22, 2016

My Favorite Photos: Longhorn July

In very early July I took Daisy to her favorite restaurant Longhorn steakhouse again. She heard about a new drink (or maybe not?) that was either some kind of tea or lemonade with fruit flavors. So that's what she chose for her beverage. 

Funny Story: Pokemon Demons

Around 1998 on our school bus there was a girl named Kiki (her name is kind of obvious that her parents did not give her great genes to begin with) and she stated that her church (and she wasn't even in middle school yet) told all the children to stop playing Pokemon because Pokemon were Satan's demons. Since more kids on the bus were Poketrainers than super-religious she was basically booed in a sense to sit down and be quiet. I thought it was something silly she made up but the Christian-right has had a bit of hatred towards Pokemon. Later in life I've heard some weird pastor guy called them "oriental demons" and another case just like it with some church leader saying pretty much the same thing with the super-popularity of Pokemon Go. What did Pokemon ever do to them? 

Fact of the Day: Jacobite Rising of 1745

When the House of Stuart's Catholic members lost the throne of Great Britain to their Protestant cousins in the House of Hanover, they were attempts to reclaim the crown. Charles Edward Stuart, a grandson of James II (the last Catholic king of Great Britain) sailed to Scotland and raised a rebellion of Catholic forces. Most of the British military was off fighting the War of Austrian Succession leaving British forces weakened at home. The last battle known as Battle of Culloden had about pretty even odds (though British soldiers slightly outnumbered Jacobites) but was a major British victory. Mainly due to the failed leadership of The Young Pretender of the House Stuart, his forces were crushed with thousands dead. British forces only lost about 50 men. 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Random Photos: Frosting My French Door Windows

 At my new house, we have a french door in the living room. I like my living room as it gives a lot of natural light which means I don't have to turn on a single light-bulb until the sun goes down. My mother-in-law was pestering us to put something on it to cover up the french door so nobody could see in at night. She was talking about a curtain but I don't really like curtains. So I chose to make the windows frosted instead.

George W. Bush Concerned He May Be Last Republican President

George W. Bush is apparently very concerned he may be the last Republican to ever be president. Donald Trump is nothing more than a joke, with a scary platform and an attitude that will make us the laughing-stock of the world. The 2016 Republican National Convention has given us already a lot to laugh about, but these people are seriously just too right-wing for their own good. Take Mitt Romney in 2012 when he ran for president. He was a "moderate" as the Republican governor of the blue state of Massachusetts, but when he ran for president he basically embraced the ideals of the Tea Party which doesn't really appeal to many voters except the ones who are both Caucasian and Christian. The party in opposition usually is full of bull-crap though the GOP let talk-radio hosts and TV pundits turn their party into a bunch of un-electable lunatics. 

Terminator Genisys (2015 Film) Review

 The very recent Terminator Genisys is something I never quite wanted to watch. But since my wife became a recent fan of the series, she wanted to see this one too. The only reason (besides my love for the series) I wanted to see it was because of the leading-actress Emilia Clarke. Better known for being the absolutely gorgeous silver-blonde Queen Daenerys Targaryen on Game of Thrones, she's now Sarah Connor in Emilia's Clarke natural brunette hair color. I heard the movie was pretty atrocious and I had very little doubt about it. But curiosity eventually got the cat and I knew I'd eventually watch it anyway. Since my expectations were extremely low, was I awfully surprised or did critics get this one right?

Fact of the Day: Ancient Japanese Conquest

While Japan had long kept an isolationist policy, it had periods where that wasn't quite true. Imperial Regent Hideyoshi Toyotomi decided to conquer Korea and China. In 1592 Japan had invaded Korea and occupied a good chunk of its lands. Korea was allied with China and with help from the Ming dynasty they were able to deter Japanese forces from taking either country. Hideyoshi Toyotomi died in 1598 and his conquest withered away shortly afterwards. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

My Favorite Photos: Little Doctor K

My niece Little K got a little stethosocpe the other day and the first thing she wanted to do was to "check" her mother's ears. 

Terminator Salvation (2009 Film) Review

 The original Terminator film is one of my favorite movies ever. The 2nd movie was really good but I still prefer the original though a lot of other fans disagree with me. The third was a disappointment but it was at least better than I had expected. I had heard of Salvation back in 2009 but was rather skeptical. Arnold Schwarzenegger was still Governor of California at the time and couldn't appear in the film so there was a lot of talk about that. My wife recently watched the series for the first time and really liked it, even though she calls it "scary". So I decided to watch this one with her as she wanted to see it and I never had before. The movie is about what we all kind of figured would eventually happen with a story based on the bleak future of mankind in the war against the machines out to destroy society as we know it.

Fact of the Day: Mermaid Reality

Little Mermaid author Hans Christian Andersen may very well have based the main character of the story on himself. The author had a friend named Edvard Collin who was recently engaged to a woman. Andersen wrote to him expressing his love for Collin, and was rejected. Many think Collin was the basis for the Prince that never had a chance to love the Mermaid, and just like the original tale (not the Disney version) his relationship did not end on a happy note. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Random Photo: Strawberry Parfait

When I was a produce clerk, our little fruit bar had parfaits which were mostly yogurt, strawberries, and blueberries. So I decided to make some for my wife Daisy but with just strawberries and a big container of vanilla yogurt. She really likes them as she keeps pestering me every night to make her another one. 

Question: Do You Like Chess?

I'm not much of a fan though I do play a game of chess from time to time. I just hate when many games ends up in draws. Especially as those games end up being a endless match of chase the king. And then you have people who are too good at the game. I couldn't tell you any difference between all the strategy/styles people come up with. 

Do you like chess? 

Fact of the Day: Common Krait

The common krait is one of the biggest snakes in India. It also is the most frequent snakes to bite humans in India though you rarely see them during daylight as they're nocturnal. Their bite have little to even no pain, but their venom is deadly. It's acts fairly slow but will eventually lead (most of the time) into respiratory failure if the person does not get medical treatment.

Monday, July 18, 2016

My Favorite Photos: McDonalds After Errands

Daisy and I had errands that ate most of my free time after work one day and by the time we were done I was hungry. There's one McDonalds near our new house that we've never been in before. The interior was nice but nothing I've never seen before. There weren't many people there either. Daisy and I don't mind that though. 

Favorite Quotes: The Tao

"There is a thing inherent and natural, which existed before heaven and earth. Motionless and fathomless, It stands alone and never changes; It pervades everywhere and never becomes exhausted. It may be regarded as the Mother of the Universe. I do not know its name. If I am forced to give it a name, I call it Tao, and I name it as supreme."

-Lao Zi

The Tao is a philosophical idea that's hard to describes in words by Lao Zi who was the founder of the philosophy/religion of Taoism. But the idea is rather close to natural order of the universe itself. And much different in idea than most religions have with one creator-deity that simply created the sun, the moon, and our little blue marble but apparently forgot to tell us about the rest of the universe. 

Fact of the Day: Bush vs Richards

During the 1994 Texas Gubernatorial election, future-president George W. Bush faced incumbent Democratic Governor Ann Richards who was fairly popular especially as Texas had a strong economy during her tenure. Bush campaigned heavily on faith and cultural values, and it turned ugly when homophobia was used to slander Richards. Many had even questioned Richard's own orientation despite her being married before and being a mother to four children. Much of the ugliness was blamed at Bush's friend Karl Rove but he denied being behind the rumors. 

Sunday, July 17, 2016

My Favorite Photos: Twisty's Summer

In our city of Spartanburg we have a little frozen-yogurt place called Twisty's. We were actually planning on going to another ice-cream place that day, but Daisy really wanted to go back to Twisty's. Luckily it's right near our new house, so it wasn't like it was any extra drive to get there. Daisy likes hers in almost any flavor and she always gets plenty of gummy bears for her toppings. 

The Starving Games (2013 Film) Review

 I remember awhile back in the early 2000's when the first Scary Movie first came out. It was a decent parody of Scream and many others in the horror genre. But the sequels that followed weren't nearly what anyone would call "good" and they were more annoying as time went by. I remember hearing of The Starving Games awhile back but I actually had never planned to see it. Daisy was watching it (she's a big fan of the actual The Hunger Games) before I went to work one day and I saw enough of it to know a good bit of the plot. I always hate not knowing how something ends, so I had to see the whole thing. Critics loathed this one and it did really bad in theaters. Can everyone be right or is this one parody movie actually decent?