Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Photo: Zoo Atlanta Tank

 In the reptile exhibit there is a huge tank of water. It look really neat and pretty clear. 
Not much to look at in it though besides some fish though.  
But I liked this turtle chilling out on the log above the water. 

Things I Hate: Pennies From Heaven (Belief)

I suppose Pennies From Heaven is not a mere Christian belief (I'm sure many Christians don't believe in it), but certainly a possible-belief of anyone who believes in angels, especially guardian angels. It would be one thing if this was just a common phrase that had no literal meaning, but many people actually believe angels drop pennies (and dimes) to give them "signs" that they are watching over them. Sure it doesn't "hurt anyone" but it does make it cringe people are that dumb and gullible to believe such non-sense.

Ever seen somebody drop a penny? Many don't even bother to pick it up, making it extremely likely you'll encounter a few if you look hard enough. And to be honest, if angels weren't so darn stingy they could solve a lot of economic troubles if they shelled out some Benjamins in the sky. Go to a foreign country that attracts almost no American tourists, go to a rural area, pray hard to your angels, and tell me how many American pennies you find while looking around.  

Fact of the Day: Henry VIII Religious Defense

After it became clear that his wife Catherine of Aragon would not produce a male heir, King Henry VIII infamously sought to divorce her. Many years prior, Catherine had married his older brother Arthur but the prince died shortly after marriage. The brothers' father King Henry VII wanted to keep the alliance he had with Spain and agreed to marry Catherine to Henry. Henry VIII pleaded with the Catholic Church as the Bible forbids marrying your brother's wife, and he claimed that while he loved Catherine he no longer wanted to "live in sin". All of this of course was just words as Henry VIII never cared about being that pious, as he was known for many affairs and at least one known illegitimate child.  

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Photo: Sleepy Lions

I kind of expected this but the lions (and the tiger) at Zoo Atanta were out cold from sleeping. Cats (felines) are mostly nocturnal and since they live in comfortable areas where they don't have to hunt, well do you blame them taking a cat nap? 

Story: Lao Engagement

My wife is (we assume) 100% Laotian in genetics so most of her family members consider themselves Laotian. Lao culture can be very conservative by nature as women are treated as if they're the property of their parents, and there is the use of dowries which is not something we ever see in American culture in modern times anyway. Most things in these customs aren't very progressive and I personally disagree with a lot of it. But some things about Lao culture I've encountered just make me scratch my head.

One of Daisy's cousins in California got engaged for sometime later this year to be married. Both Daisy and her mother claim that that her cousin and the groom will get married and engaged on the same day. Which makes NO SENSE to me unless of course maybe the groom doesn't know and it will be a surprise and they hope he'll go along with it. Does it make sense to anyone else out there? 

Fact of the Day: Jackson Justice

Andrew Jackson was not exactly a man who followed the rule of law. During the War of 1812, he imposed martial law for New Orleans. When a judge demanded he give a man he arrested the right to a trial, he simply arrested the judge. 

Monday, May 29, 2017

Photo: Zoo Atlanta

 The 2nd day in Atlanta went better than the first in terms of planning. I didn't feel rushed as we had plenty of time, and the 2nd day was the only time we had the hotel room for the whole day instead of post-noon or pre-noon. We had the Ramada hotel shuttle driver take us down to Zoo Atlanta which is Georgia's best zoo from what I hear. I haven't been to the others, but I hear they are just one of the few in the whole country that have panda bears. My mother asked Daisy to take at least one photo of me as she saw the photos from day one and noticed how I was not really in any of them. Daisy is not really a photographer by any means, even by regular person-with-a-smartphone standards.

Story: Kaitlyn and the Bathroom

At my work, there is a one person bathroom (unisex/family restroom) and I often use it because it's cleaner and there's more peace and privacy. Well that peace and privacy came pretty close to a halt. A girl named Kaitlyn thought she locked the door to the bathroom and wanted it unlocked again. I was only in there maybe ten minutes tops, but I heard her ask a manager for the key to open it up. He said "and what if somebody is in there?" and then there was a knock on the door. I said "occupied" but I couldn't tell if they heard me or not. I quickly got my self ready to get out of there. I got out of there quickly enough for her to realize...that someone was in there. 

Fact of the Day: Papa John Peppers

In Papa Johns pizzas, almost every pizza box has a pepperoncini pepper (known as friggitello peppers outside the U.S.) in the box. Most of these peppers are imported from Turkey, and Papa Johns had once created a shortage of peppers as Turkey couldn't keep up with the demand. 

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Photo: Rockfish Grille Atlanta

After the CNN tours, we walked around downtown and eventually got back to our hotel before it got dark. On our path back, I didn't see any restaurants I wanted to visit. I planned to go to the Rockfish Grille which is right next to the lobby at our hotel later but figured we might as well made it that night.

The place was a huge disappointment to me. I imagined it was going to be "classier" I guess. Our server was nice and friendly, but the food had no flavor and even the soda was flat and I made our waiter change my drink choice and the problem was still there. Daisy had shrimp which she liked but Daisy is not hard to please when it comes to food. The french fries we had ordered for example tasted like they came out of a bargain-brand bag from the supermarket's freezer section. If we choose to stay at the Ramada in Atlanta again in the future, I certainly won't be giving this place a second chance. 

Question: Was The Alamo Drafthouse Right to Have a Women-Only Screening?

The new Wonder Woman movie is about to come out and a movie theater called the Alamo Drafthouse decided to schedule a special "women-only" screening of the film and a lot of men in Texas went crazy over the news. While the critics of the event do have some weight as it is a little ironic when it comes to gender equality, Wonder Woman is the one movie where this kind of screening is understandable. While the character Wonder Woman has had male love-interests in the comics and other media, she's an Amazon who's from an all-female island. They're just being a little true to the comics here, and honestly I'm a little ashamed on the behalf of my fellow men that this spun into the controversy it did. Also if you think about it, every comic book film with a female lead has been considered a failure on some level. I'm excited that we may finally have the film that breaks the mold. 

What do you think? 

Fact of the Day: Rusty Metal Paint

The original version of the anti-rust paint Rust-Oleum was invented by a sea-captain named Robert Fergusson. He saw how fish oil prevented rust from spreading after an accidental spill. 

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Photo: CNN Center Atlanta

 The CNN Center is literally the headquarters for the news station CNN as it was founded in Atlanta by Ted Turner. Normally I wouldn't know if we could go in the place or not, but the tours are a part of Atlanta's Citypass system so we had the tickets to go.

Serendipity (2001 Film) Review

 Serendipity is a movie I never knew existed back in 2001. But to be honest, when I was 13 the whole romantic comedy genre was not something I usually watched or cared for. Even as a 28 year old now, it's still not really one of my favorite genres. I heard mixed things about Serendipity as a lot of critics (including Roger Ebert) didn't really like the movie, though it's done better with regular people who go to the movies. The only reason I gave it any consideration was the lead role with Kate Beckinsale. I saw her first in Underworld, and have loved her ever since. She's English and I've seen at least one movie I can recall where she has an American accent. She luckily got to keep her British accent for her character in this movie set in America. 

Fact of the Day: Son of Heaven

Like many monarchs, Emperors of China claimed a supernatural right to the throne. Most called themselves the Son of Heaven and nominally claimed the right to not only rule the whole world but the entire universe as well. 

Friday, May 26, 2017

Photo: Daisy Found Nemo

Minutes before we left the Georgia Aquarium, my wife Daisy got herself a little clown-fish to take home with her. 

Favorite Quotes: Bigger Than One Person

"Democracy can only endure when it’s bigger than just one person."

-President Barack Obama 

While Obama's haters called him many nasty things, he was a man willing to compromise in the hopes of unity. It really does concern me to see how many Republicans follow Donald Trump on blind faith. Trump could vomit in their cereal and they'd call it milk. Liberals were very critical during the Obama years especially when it came to foreign policy on wars. Excitement among liberals increased when Obama backed marriage equality right before the 2012 election. Trump apparently cannot do wrong in the eyes of deplorables. This is a cult of personality we see in the third world countries. Most of his supporters would gladly see him have sole power if the U.S. Constitution allowed it. That's not democracy, and neither is letting the person with millions of less votes be president either. 

Fact of the Day: Martin Luther King Jr and South Carolina

South Carolina was the last state to declare Martin Luther King Jr. a public holiday in the year 2000. To add salt to the wound, conservatives didn't agree to support the motion unless Confederate Memorial Day was added as well. 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Photo: Dolphin Mascot

Shortly before leaving the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, I saw a sign that said what time the mascot would be coming out. It was like 2 minutes before the said time, so I told my wife Daisy to get ready. The Dolphin guy here isn't quite as cool as The Coca-Cola bear but I still wanted Daisy's picture with him. 

Things I Hate: Confederate Statues

While the South has produced many sons (and daughters) that cling on to racism, false history, and right-wing ideology, I was never among them. New Orleans got in the news recently after the city tore down all the statues that were homages to Confederate soldiers. I was appalled by how many people who commented on news stories that were very upset by the news, and claimed it was "erasing history". For one, if you have to learn history from a statue, you might be an idiot. And number two, statues are meant to honor something or someone. While Robert E. Lee had admirable traits in his personal life, he still was a traitor to his country, and the rest of his men fought so rich men could keep slaves. Imagine if we had statues to the Nazis or Soviets? They're part of American history too. 

Ben Carson Calls Poverty A State of Mind

Donald Trump's new HUD Secretary Ben Carson recently called poverty a "state of mind". You know I've had times in my life post-high school like many others where I literally worried about if I was going to be able to take care of my bills and was extremely depressed over it. It wasn't because I didn't want to work, it's because I wasn't making what I should have. Overcoming poverty is not like going to the gym to get fit. There's no machine to do it, and there's plenty of things in society like employers who only offer extremely low wages that keep people behind from where they should be. We've done the trickle-down economics for almost forty years, these polices really are not working. 

Fact of the Day: Barbara Bush vs The Simpsons

When The Simpsons made their rise to fame in the early 1990's, then-First Lady Barbara Bush commented publicly saying “It was the dumbest thing I had ever seen, but it’s a family thing, and I guess it’s clean.” on the matter. Show-writers responded by sending her a letter "written" by Marge Simpson. Barbara Bush responded back and apologized. 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Photo: Bottlenose Dolphin

One of the things that disappointed me about the Georgia Aquarium is really how tiny the place is in comparison to how it looks on the outside. A good chunk of it's space is the dolphin area which is a huge hallways that eventually leads up to a big dolphin tank and a gift area. The exhibit isn't nearly as cool as you'd expect. 

Story: Way Too Much Makeup

Though I've forgotten her name, we had a girl in my old middle school who wore A LOT of makeup. Middle school is a frustrating time for kids growing up because they're still kids but they desperately want to be older. Many girls use make-up to bridge the gap and make themselves feel better. She actually looked fairly okay but it was obvious how she was over-doing it. One of the guys mocked her in class and said "do you take that off at night with an ice pick?". 

Fact of the Day: Fresno

The city of Fresno, California gets its name from Spanish word for ash tree. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Photo: Beluga Whales

One of the most impressive sites at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta is the beluga whale tank. The pictures really don't do it justice. There quite a few of them and you can really admire their beauty from where you stand. 

Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods (2013 Film) Review

 During most of my childhood, Dragon Ball Z was a big part of it. I even remember the original Harmony Gold English dub (which was pretty bad in today's anime English dub standards) and of course the original Toonami days of Dragon Ball Z. Dragon Ball Z still holds a lot of weight in Japan even though the series ended in the 1990's over there. Battle of the Gods came out in Japan in 2013 and made its way over here not that long ago. Unlike Dragon Ball GT, this one was written by Akira Toriyama, which I prefer. When other authors write another one's work, it often feels like cheap generic fan-fiction. That's why I hated Dragon Ball GT, and why the rest of the other Dragon Ball Z movies (at the time Toriyama had almost zero free-time to help out) weren't that great except a few of them.

Fact of the Day: Civil War Sickness

One of the leading causes of death in the American Civil War was not just combat, but rather a disease called dysentery which is an infection of the intestines which results in severe diarrhea and loss of blood. The diseases had spread rapidly through both armies mainly because of bad sanitation practices and the use of unclean water. 

Monday, May 22, 2017

Photo: Aquarium Tunnel

One of the most notable things about the Georgia Aquarium is the giant tunnel. It wasn't quite as intimidating as I'd imagined. When I first saw pictures many moons ago, I'd imagine something out of a Jaws movie with the glass breaking and utter doom coming about. The much older me sure realized that that glass is stronger than most things and paranoia is dumb.

The Three Musketeers (2011 Film) Review

 When it comes to the works of classic literature from the country of France, very few titles are as well known as The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas . That being said, I've never read the books or seen anything significant based on it either. I'm not sure why to be honest, and to be even more frank I had no idea this movie even came out in 2011. I heard mixed things about it before I watched it, but I figured it would be at least worth seeing just to be familiar with the characters even if I was skeptical on how true it was to its own roots. But it has a impressive cast with personal favorites of mine like Christoph Waltz and Milla Jovovich.  So did this movie based on the classic French novel impress me or let me down?

Fact of the Day: Robert Todd Lincoln Coincidence

Abraham Lincoln's son Robert Todd Lincoln was either nearby or at the scene of three presidential assassinations including his father's, McKinley's, and Garfield's. After awhile Robert Todd Lincoln believed himself to be cursed on the matter and refused a presidential event by saying "No, I'm not going, and they'd better not ask me, because there is a certain fatality about presidential functions when I am present." on the matter. 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Photo: Many Piranhas

One of the clearest tanks at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta was the piranhas. I certainly would not want to be on the other side of that glass. 

Bill Nye Saves The World (TV Series) Season 1 Review

 For a millennial like me, one of the coolest things we ever watched in the classroom was Bill Nye The Science Guy. But sometime after the year 2000, most millennials didn't know what happened to Bill Nye as the show ended after a decent run of a few years. Bill Nye Saves the World isn't exactly his first "return" as he tried The Eyes of Nye with a similar concept but it didn't take off especially as it was only on public television or something. Bill Nye in recent years became the ire to right-wingers by advocating science. Right-wingers who believe the world is only 6000 years old and that climate change is a hoax, have undergone a big attack to demonize Bill Nye to the point where they call him a "fake" scientist. Like how anything negative against Donald Trump in the news is "fake news". Bill Nye chose the title for his series as he wants to save the world from stupid people by proving that science is more important than stupid beliefs. 
 The season is thirteen episodes long with a single topic being the focus for each episode. The first episode is about climate change which to many on both sides of the aisle, does get talked about a lot mainly because deniers make scientists have say things over again. Bill Nye also tackles things like "alternate medicine" like using magnets or pure sound to "heal" a person when in fact they do nothing to the body. He also informs us of the positives of GMOs and why they are not the scary end-of-the-world thing that it appears to be from the words of the people at the farmer's market. Other topics get into stuff like vaccines, human overpopulation, and even the positive effects of video games to advancing actual science.   
 Unlike Bill Nye's previous two shows, he is not even close to being alone here. A live audience is used, and a big team of correspondents do "work" for Nye and report back to him. Such correspondents are the Victoria's Secret model Karlie Kloss, media maker Derek Muller, comedian Nazeem Hussain, and science advocate Emily Calandrelli. Besides them there many guest stars which include celebrities like Zach Braff and Tim Gunn. Every episode there is a guest panel of experts and they discuss the main topic with Bill Nye. 
Overall Bill Nye Saves The World is not the perfect show. The new format almost feels like a strange mixture between a late-night talk show and his old show. Besides some rather cheesy jokes, Nye is still the awesome guy we know and love as he teaches things we never knew about science and debunks myths. However his helpers take the spotlight away from him and do more harm than good to the show. The expert panel discussions were more boring to me as they didn't really teach, just discussed the topic. The show reminds me of the guy who just picks around trail mix for M&Ms and one other thing and leaves the rest alone. Not even halfway through, I often fast-forwarded the boring segments to get to the real core of the show. What Bill Nye should have done was made something more to his roots and if he needed a "helper" it should have been his friend Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Score: B-

Favorite Quotes: Setbacks in Life

"You know, everybody has setbacks in their life, and everybody falls short of whatever goals they might set for themselves. That's part of living and coming to terms with who you are as a person."

-Hillary Clinton 

Hillary Clinton actually said this back in 1992 shortly before becoming First Lady of the United States. I'm a Democrat, and while she was not even to close to being the perfect candidate by any means, I have to give her some respect for how she handled the loss of the 2016 Presidential election. She showed a lot of grace and class showing up for Donald Trump's inauguration especially after all the ugliness. I don't think I would have given that orange monster the same respect if I was in her shoes. 

Fact of the Day: Charles Manson and the Beach Boys

The song Never Learn Not To Love by the Beach Boys was originally composed as a song called Cease to Exist and it was written by the infamous criminal Charles Manson. 

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Photo: Albino Crocodile

This is one of the first creatures we saw at the Georgia Aquarium that caught my eye. I think I've seen albino alligators/crocodiles before, but they sure are always neat to look at. Much like the white tigers at the zoo I used to visit when I was little.

Things I Like: Syrio Forel (Game of Thrones)

 Syrio Forel is Arya Stark's "dancing master" in the first season of Game of Thrones. Syrio Forel was apparently the best sword in Braavos at one time. He is hired by Eddard Stark to give his tom-boyish daughter Arya Stark classes in swordsmanship.

Fact of the Day: Church of England Children

While the Church of England was created because King Henry VIII was forced to break from the Catholic Church, other faiths broke away from the Church of England. The most notable spin-offs include English dissenters, Brethren, Puritans, Free Church of England, Episcopal Church, Quakers, and Methodists. 

Friday, May 19, 2017

Photos: Getting to the Georgia Aquarium

The 2nd big stop on our Atlanta list was the Georgia Aquarium. It's literally like right next to the World of Coca-Cola, so that made things really convenient. I heard many good things over the years but this was my first time going to it.

Tropic Thunder (2008 Film) Review

To be honest and personal, 2008 was not a good year for me personally as my first years into being "grown-up" were very rough. So I guess that's a reason I missed Tropic Thunder while it was still new. Almost ten years later, I finally sat down and watched it. 2008 was also the year the original MCU movie Iron Man came out which also starred Robert Downey Jr. While Ben Stiller is the lead role, the cast is impressive with the likes of Jack Black, Matthew McConaughey, and even Tom Cruise showed up. I didn't know much about the movie except it appeared to be a movie based on the Vietnam War. I was sorta right and sorta wrong on that one. 
The film has a movie-within-a-movie with the characters being actors. They are to film a movie based on the Vietnam War based on the book by (the fictional) Staff Sergeant John "Four Leaf" Tayback called Tropic Thunder. The film's star Tugg Speedman is aging and getting washed out and needs a big hit. His co-star Kirk Lazarus goes to extreme lengths to morph into character. Besides them the film also stars a fart-comic named Jeff Portnoy, a rapper named Alpa Chino, and a rookie actor named Kevin Sandusky who often is the voice of reason among them. The chaos among the stars personal issues becomes a nightmare for the film's director who takes the initiative to have them stranded in the jungle and they can't go home until they do the acting right and finish the movie. But the director steps on an old land-mine and leaves them literally stuck in the middle of nowhere. Which is not quite good for any of them. 
The film's set is literally in nature and there is nobody around to help them. Their helicopter ride pilots are clueless, and the actors can barely work a compass. However real guerrilla fighters spot them in the woods, and they don't exactly like American soldiers, even if they are actors. Things go even worse when Tugg Speedman has a bitter argument with Kirk Lazarus and ends up splitting from the group. With a bunch of morons stuck in the middle of Southeast Asia, will they ever finish the movie and go back home? 
Overall I liked Tropic Thunder but not quite as much as I had expected. The first third of the film is a little rough and not very appealing to me. It gets better especially as some surprising character development goes along. I'm not much of a Tom Cruise fan but he's pretty awesome in this movie. And Robert Downey Jr. really does stand out as Kirk Lazarus and was quite a move to take in an age of social justice warriors. While Oscars usually snub comedies like this, Robert Downey Jr. was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his role here and eventually lost to Heath Ledger for his role as The Joker in The Dark Knight. With all that being said, I would consider it to be one of Ben Stiller's better (but certainly not best) movies.

Score: B

Fact of the Day: Liqian China Rome

Even in modern times, in the county of Liqian in China, many of its residents have blonde hair and blue or green eyes. Historians mostly believe they are descended from Roman soldiers who were taken prisoner by the Parthian (Persian) Empire after the Battle of Carrhae and eventually intermixed with the local population. 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Photos: World of Coca-Cola Gifts

 At the end of the tour is the World of Coca Cola gift shop. I think they had the best that we saw in Atlanta, and there was a lot of stuff you just don't see anywhere else.