Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Photo: Little K Arcade Racer

This is my niece Little K at probably Chuck E. Cheese playing a racing game. This looks far easier than the ones I remember in my youth where you constantly failed so they could force you to insert more quarters into the machine. And arcade game makers scratched their heads back in the 1990's when they all started dying outside of pizza places. 

Warcraft (2016 Film) Review

Warcraft is a movie I knew I'd eventually see. The movie is based on the Warcraft series, best known for the MMORPG game from 2005 World of Warcraft. I was never a PC gamer so I actually never played Warcraft. The real reason I was interested in it was because of its star Travis Fimmel who most people would probably know him best for as Ragnar Lothbrok in the TV series Vikings. Warcraft was not much of a hit with critics, but fans seemed to have liked it enough. What did this non-fan of the game series think of it? 

Fact of the Day: Don King Dark Side

In a span of 13 years Boxing Bigwig Don King had killed two different people. One person in 1954 for trying to rob one of his establishments which was ruled as a "justifiable homicide" and in 1967 he stomped one of his employees to death over a small debt. For the 2nd, he served a few years in prison before being pardoned by Ohio Governor Jim Rhodes.  

Monday, October 30, 2017

Photos: Hobby Lobby Glass Animal Figurines

 Daisy might not be the most crafty person ever, but I decided to take her recently to Hobby Lobby to look at least. I really liked looking at these glass animals there. There was a stand at the mall during Christmas time that had many like these, but they haven't shown up in a few years. One of my favorites here were the mallard ducks.

Splatoon 2 (Nintendo Switch) Review

Splatoon 2 is something I knew I'd eventually play and it didn't take me long after its release for me to get it. I remember playing a demo at Target of the original game on WiiU and not quite getting the point but I was only there a few minutes so I wasn't sure if that was really the main core of the game or not. It's extremely popular and really worked out for Nintendo and at least they have made fans a real sequel instead of a re-release of a WiiU game like they did for Mario Kart 8 and Pokken Tournament. However a mere demo is really only there for you to get used to the controls, the true meat of the game actually lies within the frantic online multiplayer the Splatoon 2 offers to gamers.

Fact of the Day: Trump's German Grandfather

Donald Trump's grandfather Friedrich Trump (his name anglicized as Fredrick Trump) was from the Kingdom of Bavaria (modern-day Germany) and he moved to the United States as a young man. Making a fortune through the gold rush, restaurants, and boarding houses, Friedrich Trump moved back to Bavaria and married. However he had to move back to America after the Bavarian government figured out the only reason he emigrated to the United States originally was to avoid his mandatory military service. 

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Photos: Gold Panning with Little K

My brother took my niece Little K to one of those gold panning places. I don't ever recall doing it myself, but I remember doing something similar with pretty rocks that had no significant value like gold and silver does. 

Ultraviolet (2006 Film) Review

 Ultraviolet is a movie I noticed back when it first came out over a decade ago now. The only reason I took notice was because of its lead star Milla Jovovich. She's been quite a few things now, but I suppose her most famous role is that of Leeloo de Sabat in The Fifth Element and of Alice in the Resident Evil (based on the video game series) movies though those movies were almost critically panned and even fans of the games weren't too thrilled with them especially as the series went on. Ultraviolet was a movie that critics hated with a passion, regular folks didn't like it much either, and at the box office it only made slightly more than its budget which doesn't make it a success at all. Could it have been really that bad?

Fact of the Day: Prince Carlos of Spain

Carlos, Prince of Asturias was the heir apparent of King Phillip II of Spain. As a member of the House of Habsburg, Carlos's parents King Phillip II and Maria Manuela of Portugal were so closely related cousins that they were about the same genetically as literal half-siblings. Thus Carlos suffered from physical and mental problems from being so badly inbred. He was found to be ugly, unlikable, and also apparently enjoyed inflicting harm on others like making a shoemaker eat a pair of shoes that he found unsatisfactory. Even King Phillip II had lost toleration for his son and had him imprisoned due to his mental instability. Carlos died not long afterwards which made many suspect that King Phillip had his own son murdered. 

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Photos: Beach Time in August

My brother and his wife and daughter went to Charleston, South Carolina back in August. Good thing they went when they did. Charleston was flooded unexpectedly by Hurricane Irma as the storm curved way westward but still mucked up Charleston about a month later. 

So I Found Out I'm Distantly Related to a President of the USA

When you research family history, at first it sucks because you have very little clues to go by. However while researching my paternal grandmother Dorothy's family line, I came across my ancestors John Jacob and Anne Cheney who lived so far back that many of their descendants made a very accurate page of their family tree which listed their most famous descendant. They lived and had children in the 17th century and that's where our lines split. I came from their daughter Charity's line while he came from her sister Elizabeth's line. Charity married into the Duckett family which changed (through marriage) surnames to White and then to my surname. Elizabeth married a Duvall through marriage changed to Overall then Clark then Armour then Dunham. So who is it?    

Fact of the Day: Olga of Kiev

Olga of Kiev was wife of Igor of Kiev and ruled as regent until her son reached maturity. A tribe of Drevlians were responsible for her husband's death. The tribe tried to their best to get Olga to marry someone from the Drevlians so they could control Kievan Rus (part of modern day Belarus, Ukraine, Russia, other Slavic nations) through marriage. She apparently got revenge on multiple occasions as she buried Drevlians alive and locked some in a bathhouse and set it on fire. She is a saint in the Orthodox and Catholic church for spreading Christianity in her country. 

Friday, October 27, 2017

Photos: Little K's 4th Birthday Party

 My niece Little K had her 4th birthday party back in August, they always have it on the Sunday I work so I end up missing it every time. My wife Daisy did get to go. Beauty and the Beast was the theme here, that was her favorite movie of the moment.

Penelope (2008 Film) Review

 To be honest, I'm not sure how I originally heard of Penelope. It was probably because of James McAvoy being in it as I think he is one of the most talented actors ever. But the cast is really strong here, you have Christina Ricci (who many remember first as Wednesday Addams in the remake Addams Family movies), Peter Dinklage, Nick Frost, and quite a few others bringing their talents. Funny thing is that this movie is really a Independent Film making it first showing back in 2006 Toronto International Film Festival and being put "on hold" for about two years until regular folks got a chance to see it.

Fact of the Day: Plague of Justinian

Plague of Justinian was a outbreak of bubonic plague that affected the Eastern Roman Empire and most of the coast cities in the Mediterranean Sea during the years 541-542 which was long before The Black Death in Europe's middle ages. While not as severe as the Black Death, millions did die, and even the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I had the plague but he was treated and survived it. 

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Photos: Bubble Guns

This was taken months ago of my mother playing bubble guns with my niece Little Iz. 

Favorite Quotes: A Ship in Harbor is Safe

"A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for."

-John A. Shedd

This quote does remind me of how we often acquire things and rarely use them. I always thought many collectors of many things had very little use out of their stuff. My wife Daisy for example would often want a video game console but rarely ever play anything on it. While I'm guilty to an extent, when I get something I hope to use it for its full purpose. But then you have the people who have nice things and refuse to use them because they're afraid of ruining them. 

Fact of the Day: Khan Obliteration

Genghis Khan wasn't exactly an unforgiving man as he would accept the surrender of his enemies with good terms. However all those who utterly opposed him were crushed and that extended to the civilian populations as well where not many were spared from his wrath. While the exact number killed is unknown it does fall within the millions. 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Photo: Niece Capri Sun

This is my niece a few months back in her parent's car drinking a capri sun. I always liked them when I was her age, except getting the yellow plastic straw in without ruining the pouch. Or losing the straw and trying to problem-solve. 

Pitch Perfect (2012 Film) Review

I've heard of Pitch Perfect for quite a few years now. I frankly ignored it when it first came out and for Universal Pictures, I don't think any of them ever expected this movie to be the box office sleeper hit that it was. Now granted, some box office hits cater to certain demographics and Pitch Perfect does seem to hold an appeal to women mostly, but I heard of the people who liked it and saw a few memes based on the films. I try to watch anything culturally relevant (especially if I'm sure my wife would like it) and a lot of times I am surprised by what I see. Was that true for Pitch Perfect? 

Fact of the Day: Albert Fish

Albert Fish was an American serial killer who would often target children, he also was a cannibal. He was only proven to have killed three people but his claim was as large as 100. He was killed by the electric chair after being found guilty. 

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Photos: Mr. C's 7th Birthday Party


 My nephew Mr. C recently turned seven, and he had his birthday again at a little local place called Tony's Pizza. They have a party room, so my brother says it's one of the few places they can really do it at. He had a Mario Kart cake as both brothers are big fans of the game Mario Kart 8 on WiiU. Daisy and I got him two Minion presents. One is plastic and has some of kind of music to it. Another is just a stuffed-animal version of the Minion Bob.

Story: Butcher Riddle

This is one of my favorite riddles because its simple and logic really does dictate it, let's see if you can figure it out? A butcher is 5 ft. 11 inches tall (180 cm) and is 35 years old, what does he weigh?

Fact of the Day: Beagle Origins

Dogs similar to beagles have been around since at least since Ancient Greece, however the modern breed didn't start until about the 19th century. Those dogs however were descended from a breed brought over by William the Conqueror when he became King of England. 

Monday, October 23, 2017

Photo: Other Things at Spartanburg International Festival 2017

Since we've been many times, it does seem a bit like deja vu at times, but I don't mind really. Daisy had to work and it started to lightly rain about the time we wanted to leave so we didn't stay that long.

The Matrix Reloaded (2003 Film) Review

To be honest, I wasn't the biggest fan of the original Matrix which I finally saw earlier this summer. I liked it, but not to the point where I remember everyone calling it the greatest thing that ever existed in the early 2000's. While most fans loved the original, critics and fans alike liked the sequels less but I hear Reloaded was the much better movie of the two sequels at least. I honestly hate starting a series and not knowing how it ends, regardless of how good or bad it is, unless it's really bad. So I honestly walked into it expecting utter disappointment, but was I surprised or were my fears correct on this Matrix sequel? 

Fact of the Day: Prince Edward and Joan of Kent

Edward, the Black Prince (name derived from the color of his armor) despite being heir apparent of King Edward III, did not have a very traditional marriage. Instead of marrying a foreign princess (to establish a political alliance) he married his cousin Joan of Kent who not only was older (two years) but she was married twice with one husband still alive. The Catholic Church and King Edward III approved the marriage despite the conditions and Joan only produced one child for Prince Edward when she was almost forty. Their son took the throne as Richard II after the death of his grandfather as Prince Edward had died before Edward III.  

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Photo: Lunch at the Spartanburg International Festival

I ate before I went (cheaper that way) but Daisy always wants to try some food there. She ended up going to the Laos (Hmong) vendor where she got some chicken on the stick and a sandwich and she drank a bottle of coca-cola. 

Story: Pledge of Allegiance in Schools Post-NFL Debate

Unless you're living under a rock, a hot topic debate is on whether or not NFL players should kneel for the national anthem or not. This has spread to public schools where many students especially African-American children who understand why players are kneeling (to protest racial injustice and police brutality) and wish to do the same. Now I've been seeing stories of certain school districts requiring students to stand for the pledge of allegiance with some even claiming it is "the law" when it's actually their right to protest which has been protected by the Supreme Court long before most of us we were even born. It pains me to see this faux-patriotism by right-wingers who are angry for a different reason. Like someone said before, Rosa Park wasn't protesting public transportation, she was protesting racism. But I will say, a country that doesn't respect constitutional and human rights (and hopefully we will remain a free country, but under President Cheeto, who knows?) is not a country that is worth giving any allegiance to. 

Fact of the Day: Saved by the Bell

The phrase saved by the bell is believed to have originated during a paranoia that a person may be buried alive. Coffins were created where they would be attached to a bell in case a person found themselves to buried alive. These coffin devices weren't very practical as its difficult to say if they actually saved one life at all. 

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Photo: Games at Spartanburg International Festival

Every year me and Daisy play this big chess game. She got destroyed, I am not going to lie. The thing about the games is that they all get picked up fairly quickly and it's hard to get a chance to do anything.

Aeon Flux (2005 Film) Review

 Aeon Flux is a movie I've know of for quite some time, but just never was quite motivated to see until the other day. That being said, I really like Charlize Theron so I guess it was inevitable I'd see it. I actually had no idea that the movie was based on an animated series of the same name that ran originally on MTV from 1991 to 1995. I was too young to have enjoyed the original show which I hear now was actually pretty good. However was there a reason I rarely ever hear anyone talk about the major film version over a decade later?

Fact of the Day: Berlin Wall Denial

Before the Berlin Wall was built, East Germany's leader Walter Ulbricht claimed that they were not building any such wall. Less than 90 days later the wall was starting to be built. 

Friday, October 20, 2017

Photos: Spartanburg International Festival Trivia Game 2017

Every year they have this little trivia hunt. You're given a piece of paper, and you're suppose to find the answers. I'm good at trivia, but there are things you can't know off the top of your head. I had one that was "How many volcanoes does Guatemala have?", unless the answer is zero (it's 29) it's almost un-guessable. I got through the game very easy since you can just ask the people in the booth. I spun the wheel hoping to win a t-shirt again like I did last year.

Story: Afraid of Change

 My oldest brother Steven is planning on building a new house. So eventually my nephews Mr. K and Mr. C will have to leave the house they pretty much have known since they were just really little. Mr. K took it alright, but my nephew Mr. C started to cry about it. Mr. K didn't know why he was upset and his mother told him that his brother is afraid of change. 

Fact of the Day: Service Games

While Sega became well-known in the 1990's as a Japanese company that made the Sega Genesis console (Mega-Drive outside the USA) and the Sonic the Hedgehog series, Sega originated as an American company called Standard Games based first in Hawaii in 1940. Their first games were really slot machines for the U.S. military which eventually moved to being based in Japan and the name changed to Service Games which Sega get its name from. .   

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Photos: Spartanburg International Festival 2017

 Every year our city has an International Festival, and this year the honored country was Finland. The Finnish people at the festival decorated the statue in Santa gear (they mentioned that Santa doesn't live in the North Pole in Finnish tradition) holding the flag of Finland.

Story: Airhead Haley

 Working at home improvement place one year, we had a co-worker named Haley who was a seasonal cashier up-front. She was mildly cute, but she was dumb as rocks, I'm not even lying. She would barely understand basic things and it would be up the point everyone would be either laughing about it or doing a face-palm. She went up to me one day and said "How do you make the paint?" She let me know she thought all the cans were empty and that the paint came straight out of the machine. In reality the majority of the paint is in the can and we just use a bit or a lot of tint to change it into the color the person wants. I explained that to her but still she didn't really understand. A few months later she quit and left for whatever else.

Fact of the Day: Denver Miles

Denver, Colorado is known as the Mile-High city because its elevation above sea-level is exactly one-mile. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Photo: The Beanbag Queen

Daisy found this "throne" in a local Walmart. I had one a long time ago when I was in high school. This one however is set up to be more of a proper chair instead of a just a big bag shape. 

Favorite Quotes: Lie Traveling Across the Globe

"A lie travels around the globe while the truth is putting on its shoes."

-Author disputed

In the digital age of information, something can happen from the other side of the world and we know within minutes if not seconds of it happening. However it's very common (especially at first) for the first wave of information to be inaccurate. Then you have the total liars who distort the truth to further a purpose, often political. Fake news was rampant during the 2016 election season, but it's one thing for trolls to do such a thing on social media. It's another thing when the President of the United States lies constantly and has the audacity to call the media fake.    

Fact of the Day: Oregon Trail Generation

The Oregon Trail generation or Xennials, is a micro generation that serves as gap between Generation X and Millennials (Gen Y) as many members who were born between the late 70's and early 80's don't generally meet the qualifications of either of the two main generations. The Oregon Trail name is because many in this micro-generation played Oregon Trail in school computer labs and grew up before the internet and social media changed society forever.  

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Photo: Snowman Tree

I saw this artificial tree at Walmart. I thought it was cute that not only it is a white "snowy" tree but the top is a Snowman. 

Things I Like: Margaery Tyrell (Game of Thrones)

One of my favorite characters on Game of Thrones was Margaery Tyrell. Being the daughter of the one of the most powerful lords in Westeros, she gets married to King Renly Bartheon after he declares Cersei's children bastards and ignores that the fact that Stannis has more right to the Iron Throne. She would have been Queen then if Renly didn't play games and got assassinated by a weird shadow ghost.

Fact of the Day: Habsburg Castle

One of Europe's most powerful royal families in history (now extinct), the House of Habsburg had obtained its name from Habsburg Castle which is located in Switzerland and built for Count Radbot. His grandson Otto II adopted the name more formally for the family. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Photo: McDonald's Lunch Break With Daisy

My wife's parents live right next to my work. Her mom was off on the same day I was working, so Daisy spent the day over there. So I picked her up and we went to McDonalds, since that day my work began at 5:30 am, it was still breakfast by the time I had to eat. Daisy loves their big breakfast meal. 

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017 Film) Review

 While Marvel had done really well with most of the films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I was curious to see if Guardians of the Galaxy would do well with fans considering that most normal people never read those comics in comparison to Spider-Man, X-Men, Avengers, etc. But luckily the movie was pretty good (though I did think people over-rated it) and fans loved it so it did amazing at the box office. Fast-forward now a few years, and we have the first sequel. I originally wanted to see it in theaters, but like the original I ended up waiting for the movie to come out on Blu-Ray. Was it better or worse than the original? 

Fact of the Day: Victorian Baby Shower

In Victorian England, it wasn't very common for mothers to have a traditional baby shower. In truth, most pregnancies were kept secret for as long as possible, even if the mother was married to the father of the baby. 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Photo: Great Clips Haircut for Daisy

Daisy gets her haircut about twice a year. She seems to be a fan of the Great Clips hair salons. She wanted to go by the one near the local mall, but there's one next to the house that I assumed that would be slower and with a lot less people and it was. We didn't even have to wait. 

Favorite Quotes: Enemy Prayers

"America prays for God to destroy our enemies. Our enemies pray for God to destroy us. Somebody’s gonna be disappointed! Somebody’s wasting their time! Could it be… everyone?"

-George Carlin 

George Carlin truly knew what was the truth about things people did. Praying for war is like praying for football games, if both sides believe in God, who wins? The ones who pray the most? Like the Crusades, it seemed God didn't have a favorite as the next victory was passed around like a hot potato between opposing sides. You can't show me one country on Earth that has been 100% victorious in war. In the Vietnam War, the communists (who were mostly atheist or at least non-Christian) won that war. Where was God then for the Christians that fought there?