Sunday, September 30, 2018

Violet Evergarden (TV Series) Season 1 Review

 Despite being an "otaku", I haven't been as keen on watching anime and reading manga like I used to. Netflix however is stepping up their game with getting quality anime shows, instead of letting it fall into the hands of Funimation or someone else. I heard Violet Evergarden was good when it came out earlier this year, but since I was watching Shameless for most of that time, it was put on the "later" list. I will say Netflix wasted no time getting this one in English as it also came out in Japan this year as well, which is rare for anime.

Photos: Spirit Halloween Spartanburg in Old Toys R Us Building

 I kept making jokes to Daisy that we should go to Toys R Us after the company shut all of its American doors for good. I was a bit shocked to see people around the building until I realized Spirit Halloween took over the spot for the Halloween season.

Fact of the Day: Jesse Owens Vs Jimmy Carter

Jesse Owens tried to convince Jimmy Carter not to boycott the Soviet Olympics in 1980. Jesse Owens cited that the Olympics were above politics. 

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Things I Hate: Jenos (Paladins)

This monk turned demi-god seems like he would be an amazing champion in the game, but I usually hate having to play as him.

Photo: Birthday Mango Dragonfruit Lemonade Spartanburg Starbucks

Daisy is a big fan of Starbucks, so she went to get a freebie drink for her birthday at Starbucks. Ever since they started to serve this mango dragonfruit lemonade, I've never seen Daisy get a regular coffee-based drink. 

Fact of the Day: Alberta Rats

Alberta, Canada is the largest area in the world (without constant sub-zero temperatures like Antarctica) without rats. This was the result of decades of aggressive government campaigns to exterminate the vermin. 

Friday, September 28, 2018

Fiddler on the Roof (1971 Film) Review

 Fiddler on the Roof is certainly a much older film than what I usually review. I've heard about it for years, but the only thing I knew about it was that it was based on the lives of Jewish people. I was expecting something set during the Holocaust, but this one is actually set during the Russian Empire before the rise of Communism and the Soviet Union. I actually have a small amount of Jewish ancestry, so these movies mean more to me now after my genetics test. 

Photos: Daisy's 32nd Birthday Dinner at Longhorn Steakhouse Spartanburg

 Daisy's favorite restaurant is Longhorn Steakhouse, so obviously we ate dinner there for her birthday. My mother, my brother Zach, his wife Tiffany, and my niece Little K also got to go.

Fact of the Day: Secular Turkey

When the Ottoman Empire fell, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk led the country as its first president. He made sure Turkey was a secular and a modern-state nation, which was a rare exception in Muslim-majority countries. 

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Octopath Traveler (Nintendo Switch) Review

 Unlike most Nintendo consoles after the SNES, the Nintendo Switch has a amazingly solid 3rd party support so far. Squaresoft (now Square Enix) and Nintendo had a huge falling out during the N64 days and it's taken many years for the wounds to heal. Ocotopath Traveler is a new RPG for the Nintendo Switch, and despite running on Unreal Engine 4, it was made to look and act like a JRPG from the 16-bit days like Final Fantasy VI and Chrono Trigger.

Photo: Daisy's Birthday Lunch Before Movie at Westgate Mall Food Court

We woke up rather late on Daisy's birthday, but we barely had time to eat lunch before I took her to the movie Christopher Robin. She had Chick-fil-A, which is often her usual at the Spartanburg mall's food court. 

Fact of the Day: Closely Amish

Since virtually all the Amish descend from most founders of the faith from centuries back, they suffer from different diseases more often than other people due to the lack of variety in the gene-pool. Such diseases include Angelman syndrome, dwarism, and several different metabolic disorders. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Things I Like: Louis Conde (Reign)

Probably the biggest change in a character in real life to his character on CW's Reign, Prince Louis of Conde is still a likable character. We first see him help Francis out greatly, he is a "distant cousin" of Francis from King Louis IX of France. However, he is a direct descendant through the male-line, his family the Bourbons are the next in line to the throne if the House of Valois goes extinct. 

Photo: Spartanburg Main Library Water Fountains

Since we were near the main library in Spartanburg, I took my Little Brother (through the Big Brother Big Sisters program) Mr. B to see the water fountains near the front of the building. He asked me if I had any coins to toss in to make a wish. I didn't really, but I told him that foreign objects can harm fountains and it would be best, not to do so. 

Fact of the Day: Hanover Rat

The common brown rat was known in 18th century English-speaking world as the "Hanover rat" as many wished to tie England's problems with the ruling House of Hanover. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Things I Like: Ying (Paladins)

 One of the champions in the game Paladins, Ying is certainly one of the most beautiful in the roster. This Asian genie certainly is a unique character.

Photo: Strawberry Milkshake Abbotts Frozen Custard Spartanburg

After a hot summer day, I took my Little Brother (through the Big Brothers Big Sisters program) for some ice cream. He had a cone of chocolate, while I had a strawberry milkshake. It was still so hot that he said "After this, can we go get a soda?" 

Fact of the Day: German Freethinkers League

Founded in 1881, the German Freekthinkers League was founded to upset the power of the state church and to lay the foundation of the rise of irreligion/atheism in Germany. When the Nazis took power, they had shut down all atheist/free-thinking groups. One of the league's leaders was executed by a guillotine.   

Monday, September 24, 2018

Things I Like: Nostradamus (Reign)

 One of the few notable historical figures in Reign outside of any royal family, Nostradamus is seen in the show as the "servant" of Queen Catherine de Medici. Despite her high-standing with the Catholic Church, nobody seems bothered that his "powers" could be considered demonic.  He does predict that Francis would die and it would be Mary's "fault".

Photos: Touch of South Gaffney South Carolina

 After my niece's birthday party in August, we toured the Gaffney Outlet Mall. Daisy really liked this place called Touch of South.  They had pretty cool t-shirts.

Fact of the Day: The Final Last Meal in Texas

Like most states, Texas honored the last food requests of death-row inmates by providing them with a last meal of almost anything they wanted. In 2011 Lawrence Russell Brewer requested a large and complicated meal. When the meal was served, he claimed he wasn't hungry and didn't eat any of it. This led to Texas abolishing last meals.  

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Things I Like; Evie (Paladins)

While Paladins doesn't have much of a plot, the champion Evie is dubbed "The Winter Witch". Her ice powers and sci-fi "broomstick" make that obvious. 

Photo: Spartanburg Police Taxi

While walking around downtown, I easily spotted this "police taxi" which is a clever way for the city to deter DUIs. Though anyone with sense to notice it probably wouldn't drink and drive anyway. 

Fact of the Day: Author

The English word author comes from the Latin word augere which means "to originate". 

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Things I Like: Lady Kenna (Reign)

During the first season, Kenna is arguably the most notable of Mary's close friends. While she is a Lady for Mary, she ends up being in a unofficial relationship with Mary's soon-to-be father-in-law King Henry II of France. Kenna really likes the king but when he starts to go mad, they have a falling out. 

Photo: Social Relevance Light Bulb Spartanburg

My city of Spartanburg has these light bulbs everywhere as a large art project. This one I hadn't seen before, it was downtown near the library and the ice cream places. It's called Social Relevance by a local artist named Page Davis. I don't get the point of the colors, but they are pretty. 

Fact of the Day: Taoism Birth

According to some factions of Taoism, its founder Laozi was conceived when his mother gazed upon a falling star.  Even more odd is that he was supposed to have remained in the womb for 62 years. If Laozi was actually historical in any shape or form, he would have lived in the 6th or 4th century B.C.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Things I Like: Cassie (Paladins)

 One of the starting champions for new players, Cassie is actually my personal favorite of the whole game's roster.

Photo: Airport Park Spartanburg South Carolina

During one of my Sundays volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters, I took my Little Brother Mr. B here so he could enjoy something outdoors. The first time we came, the place was littered with people all over the place. This particular Sunday, there was nobody but us. He likes to play tag on this playground, but he doesn't do it fairly. He will tell me to wait at the bottom while he's on the top level before I can "go". Making it nearly impossible for him to lose. The big blue slide of the left that you can see (there's another one behind it but you can't really see it) Mr. B discovered that some kid barfed in it and it dried out. And nobody from the park system came to clean that one up...gross. 

Fact of the Day: Frank Hayes

In 1923, a jockey named Frank Hayes won the last race of his life. People discovered that he actually died mid-race of a heart attack but his body stayed on the saddle of his horse until the end. 

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Things I Like: King Henry II of France (Reign)

 Based on the actual King Henry II of France, Reign's incarnation of the Valois king is more antagonistic overall than he probably was in real life. As the most powerful person in France, he hopes to see his son marry Mary, Queen of Scots so that France can have an edge over the Tudors in England. 

Photo: Old Spartanburg Peach Monument

Saw this next to my local library. I'm guessing they were either tearing it down or restoring it as they had barriers around it. It's pretty darn old, it's from back in 1947. While California makes the most peaches, the peach is an important crop to South Carolina (and Georgia) and its history. While the words are a little hard to read in person, this is what it says. 

This monument is erected out of respect for the peach. Delectable fruit of a friendly soil and beneficent Sun. Upon a pedestal we place it as a symbol of God's Bounty and man's enterprise. Spartanburg County has the honor of the richest peach harvest in the nation, and we are grateful for this favor. 

Fact of the Day: Lenin's Brother

Like his younger brother Vladimir Lenin, Aleksandr Ulyanov was also a revolutionary in the Russian Empire. He attempted and failed to assassinate Tsar Alexander III, for which he was hanged. While his brother was deeply into the communist cause at the time, his brother's death enraged him and he vowed to get revenge.  

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Rime (Nintendo Switch) Review

Rime was one of the games I knew of, but didn't know much about it. I remember seeing this cover quite a few times, but I'd basically just glance over at something else. My local library lends out Nintendo Switch games, so while I would have never probably gotten the game on my own, I was willing to give it a try now.

Photos: Spartanburg Glendale Shoals Park Tadpoles and RC Cars

 As I've said before, I volunteer with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. I've been a Big Brother for almost a year now. I took my Little Brother Mr. B to the park near my house as he had never been before and it was good-ish weather that day. He wanted to get near the water and look for salamanders.

Fact of the Day: Battle of Flodden

While King Henry VII made peace with Scotland with marriage of his daughter Margaret Tudor to King James IV, eventually English-Scottish relations would turn sour again especially with reign of the second Tudor king Henry VIII. Henry VIII angered King James IV and most Scots by claiming (as many English kings did) that he was their overlord. King James IV tried to take advantage by invading England with his brother-in-law absent fighting another battle. However at the Battle of Flodden, Scotland suffered one of its worst defeats in its history. Not only did they lose so many men and suffered deep political consequences, but their popular and capable king was killed in battle as well. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Things I Like: Lord Fredrik (Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze)

 Lord Fredrick, King of the Snowmads was the mastermind behind the takeover of Donkey Kong's island. You face him at the very end as he's obviously the final boss of the game.

Photos: Breakfast at Hardees in Cedar Springs Spartanburg

To my friends on the west coast, you may know this restaurant better as Carl's Jr. They used to be separate, but they're one in the same now. I heard they had some Fruit Loop mini-donuts and I wanted to give them a try. They were out which really ticks me off. 

Fact of the Day: Barnum and Congress

P.T. Barnum did more than create his own circus, he also ran for Congress. Ironically he lost the general election against his own 3rd cousin William Henry Barnum. 

Monday, September 17, 2018

Things I Like: Bashmaster the Unbreakable (Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze)

 One of the few bosses to actually be an arctic animal, this mean polar bear was one of my favorites.

Photo: September 2018 Bingo at Spartanburg Main Library

Daisy was tickled that they were doing bingo again at the main library and that we both had the day off. That being said, neither us got a bingo. I blame the massive amounts of old people. 

Fact of the Day: Microwave Food Nutrients

The belief that microwave ovens deplete or eliminate all nutrients is a bit of a half-truth. Virtually all cooking methods can harm nutrients in food (typically by heat), and it all depends on what you're cooking and how long it's being cooked for. In most cases, microwave or more traditional cooking, the good majority of vitamins in food remain when ready to eat. 

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Paladins (Nintendo Switch) Review

 When I first heard of Paladins not long ago, Nintendo recommended it to me and I noticed like Fortnite, it's a digital game that doesn't take a penny to enjoy. Usually I'm pretty darn skeptical, but Fortnite proved that games like that, actually can be good or even great. So did Paladins hold its own weight?

Photos: New Starbucks and ICEEs at Spartanburg Target

 Our local Target went through a remodel which meant they turned their little cafe area into a Starbucks. Daisy really liked their popcorn and sodas, so she was a bit mad that she can no longer get them.

Favorite Quotes: Obama Calling Out Trump's Love For Far-Right Extremists

"We are Americans. We're supposed to stand up to bullies. Not follow them. We're supposed to stand up to discrimination, and we're sure as heck supposed to stand up clearly and unequivocally to Nazi sympathizers. How hard can that be, to say that Nazis are bad?"

-Barack Obama

Former President Obama said these words not long ago ahead of the mid-term elections, calling Donald Trump out on his refusal to condemn far-right lunatics who committed violence and intimidation in Charlottesville, Virginia. Trump campaigned on racism, and constantly does racist things as President. Trump supporters shouldn't exactly be shocked on Trump's consistency of being a bigot. But it sure says a lot of about their own character when they can support such a man each and every day.  

Fact of the Day: Elizabethan California

While most of the middle to western part of the present-day United States belonged eventually to Spain as New Spain, present-day California was also claimed by Sir Francis Drake for Queen Elizabeth I of England, though no real control ever came of it.   

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Things I Hate: Fugu the Frightening (Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze)

 Looking a lot like Flounder from The Little Mermaid, Fugu is really a pufferfish. Fugu is the Japanese word for pufferfish.

Photos: Doomed Temple Mini-Golf Big E Gaffney South Carolina

After my niece's birthday party was pretty much over, we played mini-golf outside. Their course is based obviously on Indiana Jones, especially the second movie The Temple of Doom. 

Ourselves and The Mighty Hurricane Florence

Being 3 hours away from the beach, hurricanes rarely do much here in the Upstate (Northwest) of South Carolina. Today, there was no rain here, Sunday is our expected storm day of rain and wind. I'm not sure how rainy it's suppose to be, but winds will reach a high of 30mph (48.2kph) which is quite nothing compared to what Myrtle Beach, SC and Wilmington, North Carolina got earlier yesterday. It's now downgraded as a tropical storm, and will be further weakened by the time it gets here. So to answer anyone's question, we're alright.  

Fact of the Day: Helene Mayer

Helene Mayer was a German woman who had a Jewish father and a Lutheran mother. She was an Olympic fencer who won the gold medal in the 1928 Summer Games in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Due to the anti-semitic laws in Germany during the 1930's, she left Germany and settled in the United States. She oddly accepted Germany's request to compete on behalf of her birth-nation in the 1936 Berlin games as long as she appeared to be "German" and her half-Jewish ancestry was kept a "secret". She won silver that year, and claimed that she did so to protect family that remained in Germany. After World War II, she moved to West Germany and kept pretty quiet on the matter until her death in 1953.