Monday, July 31, 2017

Photo: Game and Pizza

A few months ago we all had lunch with my brother's family at a restaurant called Pizza House. My nephews love playing hangman on my phone and they're pretty bad at coming up with words. My youngest nephew Mr. C only got me because he can't spell the word right. 

My July 2017 Favorites

 With July already over, it's hard to imagine that are already well past midway in 2017. But anyway here are my favorites for the month.

Fact of the Day: The Lion The Witch and The Lamppost

C.S. Lewis put a lamppost in his Chronicles of Narnia series simply because his friend J.R.R. Tolkien said no good fantasy novel would have something as random as a lamppost. 

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Photos: New Spartanburg Lidl

 Like I mentioned about a month ago, our side of the country has gotten the first Lidl supermarkets. The one on my side of town got finished last, and I gave it about a week for the grand opening craziness to be over with. I woke up early enough to beat the crowds. Like Aldi (which Lidl would remind you of) it's pretty popular and those aisles can be chaotic when you got a bunch of people all over the place. I prefer to have time to breathe and think.

Things I Like: Renly Baratheon (Game of Thrones)

 Renly Baratheon is the youngest of both of King Robert's brothers. He is Master of Laws on Robert's Small Council. What most fans of the TV series don't know is that Renly is much younger than both Robert and Stannis and due to Stannis' failure of capturing the young Targaryen heirs, Renly is made Lord of the Stormlands instead of Stannis. Stannis got Dragonstone, but he never wanted it. In the books it's made clear that Renly is the great-grandson of Aegon V (through his paternal grandmother) which gives him a right to the throne just as Robert though the Baratheon really got the throne through conquest. However being the youngest brother, he is still behind Stannis even with Cersei's children discounted.

Fact of the Day: Penguin Water

Like all birds, fresh-water is better for a penguin's biological system however access to fresh water is limited for penguins. They do have a special gland that filters out salt-water before it reaches the rest of their system. 

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Photo: Fidget Spinner

 I'm sure most of you have noticed the newest fad that hit American culture about a few months ago. I had seen one for the first time as some kid had made the metal detector at the CNN tours in Atlanta go off because of it. My wife Daisy wanted one, so I waited a bit to find the most inexpensive one I could. Luckily they're really simple gadgets so they're not exactly luxurious items.

Story: Adam Adam and The Yard

 When I was in middle school, I was best friends with another guy named Adam. One day I rode the bus stop to his house as we had already planned it with parental approval to hang out at his house. Well for some reason, his stop was apparently a good walk from his house. He says "lets just jump over the fence and cut through the neighbors yard" which was across the street from his house and he made it clear that we weren't suppose to do it. I'm not a lazy person and I tried to convince him to walk the extra steps. But he made the jump and I was dumbly obligated to follow especially considering I didn't know how to get to his house from where we were. So we crawled on our bellies like I imagined they did in the army with our backpacks on. I was usually pretty scared when it came to "getting into trouble" but I thought we did a good job and we were almost in the clear.

Reince Priebus Ousted as White House Chief of Staff

To be honest, I'm surprised Reince Preibus took the job, especially as when he was RNC chair that he kind of made it clear that he wanted someone else as the presidential nominee. RNC chair was also a safer job for him, but it goes to show how much of state of chaos the White House is in when Mango Mussolini's cabinet members are falling like dominoes. Chief of Staff guides the president more or less, and after a horrendous half-year, I can say that whatever Preibus was doing, it wasn't working.  

Fact of the Day: Princess Mary of Great Britain

Princess Mary was the daughter of King George II, but her life wasn't very happy despite being a princess. She was married to Fredrick II of Hesse which was a Germanic state loyal to the Holy Roman Empire. Her husband was said to be a boorish brute and subjected her to spousal abuse. Things didn't get much better when he converted to Roman Catholicism, but she was supported by her father-in-law when the marriage became estranged. 

Friday, July 28, 2017

Photos: Painting My Mailbox

 While it was in fairly decent shape, I just didn't like the look of our mailbox. The color doesn't look too bad in the picture, but up close the sun started to get into some spots on the finish. I also disliked how pink the "red" flag was. Most people don't realize that red will fade faster than almost any other color though yellow and orange aren't far behind. So the night before I took some Simple Green and cleaned off any dirt and whatnot on it.

Kong: Skull Island (2017 Film) Review

 To be perfectly frank, I've never been a big fan of ol' King Kong except I did really like Peter Jackson's King Kong movie back in 2005. When I was a kid, Godzilla was always number one in my heart when it came to "giant monster" movies. This movie is now the first King Kong in about twelve years and it's part of Warner Bros.' MonsterVerse which is an attempt to create a big universe like Marvel/Disney had done with their superhero movies. The first movie in this universe was Godzilla back in 2014, but now it's King Kong's turn to shine. I heard pretty decent reviews for Skull Island but did it impress me?

Fact of the Day: Edwin Aldrin

While Buzz Aldrin is one of the most famous astronauts in U.S. history, his name is really a nick-name before he had it legally changed in 1988. His birth name is Edwin Eugene Aldrin, and the name Buzz came about as his sister had called him "buzzer" as she (at the time) couldn't pronounce "brother" correctly. 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Photo: Black Cat on Deck

This is my brother's back deck when I visited a few months ago. Neighbor's cat apparently likes to hang out there. 

Things I Like: Rodrik Cassel (Game of Thrones)

 Rodrik Cassel might of not be the most memorable character in the first two seasons, but he was one of the most important non-Starks at Winterfell. He was the master-at-arms at Winterfell and he trained two generations of Stark children how to fight including non-Starks like Jon Snow and Theon Greyjoy. Like the rest of his family, he was very loyal to the Starks.

Fact of the Day: Furman vs Georgia

In 1972 the Supreme Court decided on the case of Furman v. Georgia which decided that capital punishment was unconstitutional in its current forms. The ruling didn't last forever as states made changes to satisfy the Eight Amendment. The United States is the only Western nation to still enforce the death penalty. 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Photo: 2017 Fireworks

This is Daisy as we went to Abbott Farms to get fireworks. Funny enough there was too much rain around the fourth of July so we never got to use the small amount we got. I figured we could save it for New Years. 

Question: Your First Crush?

I actually had my first crush in elementary school in Kindergarten I believe. Her name was Raine and she remained in our school for a few years before moving off to wherever. She is on the top row at the very far left in this photo, and I'm on the bottom right row just one before the last person on the right. Some people think we don't know these kind of feelings before puberty but they were true feelings for me. Like the rest of my school crushes, I was very shy and never really tried anything. I do find it a little funny that she was Asian, because when you're a kid you often don't understand the concept of race. But I've always had a preference for Asian women, and I even carried that trait when I was little. With a very low population of Asian people in our area (especially in the early 90's), Raine could of very well been the first person of Asian descent I've ever met and I thought she was beautiful.  

Who was your first crush?  

Donald Trump Says Transgender People Can't Serve in the Military

Draft Dodger Don recently confirmed that the U.S. military will no longer allow transgender people to serve in the armed forces in any way, shape, form. While I would not recommend a transgender person to serve in the military (too many homophobic and hateful soldiers in the ranks I'm afraid), I do respect their desire to join the military if they wished to do so. I really do think right-wingers can't sleep at night until they are oppressing another minority group. 

Fact of the Day: Moose Orcas

While it's not common, orca whales have eaten moose who unluckily been swimming at the wrong place at the wrong time. 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Photo: Longhorn Lunch Before Bowling

I took Daisy to her favorite restaurant Longhorn Steakhouse before going to out to bowl. She had salad, steak, and mash potatoes. 

The Matrix (1999 Film) Review

 Now I wasn't living under a rock between 1999 and the early 2000's, I was fully aware of The Matrix and how many people were talking about it. I can't say why it took me almost twenty years to see the darn thing. I guess it was people calling this thing the greatest thing ever made when it didn't look like the greatest thing ever made to me. It certainly was culturally relevant, but I did hear a lot of people didn't like the sequels. I actually remember a video game called Enter the Matrix which was made to "connect the movies" and it was one of the worst games of that console generation. So what did I think of this "classic"?

Fact of the Day: Ninja Floors

In medieval Japan, it wasn't uncommon for Japanese lords to have floors that would intentionally make a lot of noise when walked on. This would help prevent assassins like ninjas from being successful. 

Monday, July 24, 2017

Photo: Chiller and Donuts

This is my wife Daisy after going to Krispy Kreme to get her a chiller that was promised in their little calendar that we got in December of last year. We chose strawberry, and I tasted it. Like I figured, it was okay but it's just not my cup of tea. My wife Daisy wanted to get one again so she liked it a lot.

Things I Like: Silicone Baking Mats

 I got one for my house last year and loved it. It's a lot like parchment paper but much easier to use. Things bake and rarely ever get burnt on the sides.

Fact of the Day: Graveyard Cemetery

While graveyards and cemeteries seems like the same word for most people, the key difference is that graveyards are attached to churches while a cemetery stands alone. 

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Photo: Popcorn Machine at Work

At my work, they had rented a popcorn machine for the Independence Day weekend. It was neat I guess, but the 2nd day someone burnt the popcorn so it ended up not being very good. 

Question: Do You Think Anyone Wants to Be Royal?

I read a recent interview done by Great Britain's Prince Harry where he says nobody in the British royal family actually wants to be royal. My first thought goes back into history with things like the War of the Roses and the Tudor days where cousins were literally murdering each other over the throne. I can sympathize a little for Prince Harry as he never knew what it was like to be normal. But he also never knew what it's like to be poor either. 

Do you think most royals take their jobs out of regret? 

Fact of the Day: Fast Bamboo

Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants in the world. It can even grow three feet in a twenty-four hour period. 

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Photos: Smartphone Battery Solution

 Like many of us, I really do depend on my smartphone. However my Samsung Galaxy GrandPrime had an issue with it's charger port, where the cable would have to be "just right" to charge which was a headache beyond belief. So I decided to fix the problem by getting this external wall charger and a spare battery.

The Lego Batman Movie (2017 Film) Review

 I remember a few years ago watching The Lego Movie after hearing a lot of good critical opinions and I was fairly impressed myself. It was cute, funny, and had a decent story. I'm not terribly shocked we now have The Lego Batman movie. I pondered about seeing it back in the winter, but decided to skip it until the Blu-ray came out. Unlike the original Lego movie, it's pretty much all Batman and DC with just a little bit more of pop culture mixed in. How was Lego Batman's movie in comparison to "real" movies based on Gotham's Dark Knight? 

Fact of the Day: Bully Irony

Donald Trump has been heavily criticized for his harsh and extremely negative comments on social media to groups and individuals even after coming into the Oval Office. Ironically Melania Trump wants to decrease cyber-bullying as one of her goals as First Lady. 

Friday, July 21, 2017

Photo: Water Bottle Out of the Blue

On the exterior of one building near our local Target, I saw this water bottle stuck in a hole that had never been fixed and someone decided to be funny. It worked because I laughed about it. 

Sean Spicer Resigns

Pretty much half-a-year in, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has resigned after being absent a lot and filled in often by his now-replacement Sarah Huckabee Sanders. It might be hard for some people to say if Sean Spicer was just a bad apple or just a perfect mirroring of the horrible shape of the Trump administration. It's very rare to see someone of any trade fail miserably at their job literally minutes into it. Press Secretaries should be calm and collective, they shouldn't get extremely angry and blame the free-press as the enemy of the American people. I've seen Sarah Hucakbee Sanders at her post, and she ain't that much better. 

Favorite Quotes: Madison Purity

"Religion and government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together."

-James Madison

Even when I considered myself a religious person and a Christian, I've always understood the importance of the freedom of religion. I think it's downright scary how some right-wingers believe that the 1st amendment guarantees the right to be a Christian, but not the right to be anyone else. I remember an anti-atheist fellow who wrote the local paper who said you had to believe in something even if it's a pine tree. You know what pine trees and your god have in common? No legal right to influence law and government in the United States of America.  

Fact of the Day: Old King James Bible

In the English-speaking world, the use of the King James Bible is debated among Christians even though a lot of churches use it like a standard. Opponents cite its age as a reason to update it into modern English. It takes about 60,000 changes to make it into modern English. 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Photo: Empty Place

A supermarket near my work (and Daisy's parents house) named Bi-Lo closed down recently. I had worked with the company as my first job for a few years, and got Daisy a job at this very location many moons ago. Bi-Lo as a company had never been the greatest, and recent moves has caused closures like these to happen. When Daisy used to work there, there was a manager named Teena (pretty sure that was her name) that did not treat her right and caused Daisy to find another job after giving her almost no hours. While others lost their jobs now, I was one of the few happy over the whole thing. I do not forgive and forget so easily. But at least long-term, the workers will find better things.

Spawn (1997 Film) Review

 When I was about nine, I remember Spawn when it came out in the theaters. I was too young to see it but I do strangely remember the movie poster in the theater lobby very well. After my father's death, my mom got us into some kind of charity program where we got to see movies with groups of other kids of a similar situation and I remember a few of them talking about Spawn. The character Spawn is a comic book super-hero who is not part of DC or Marvel but rather in the independent branch under the umbrella of Image Comics. I hear its creator Todd McFarlane had some hand in helping the film come to life. But 2000's X-Men is considered the start of the true age of comic book movies, so was this a failure?

Fact of the Day: Ancient Snakes

Snakes as a biological order first appeared during the late Cretaceous period where they co-existed for a few million years with the dinosaurs. 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Photo: Chick-fil-A Ice Cream

Daisy has one of their calendar cards and last month's freebie treat was some ice cream. 

Favorite Quotes: Citizen of the World

"I am not an Athenian or a Greek, but a citizen of the world."

-Socrates 

More or less, nationalism has torn our world apart more times than we can count. The French vs the English, the Americans vs the Germans, the Chinese vs the Japanese, the Iranians vs the Iraqis, and where does it end? No matter where you were born on this blue marble, we were all born here. We are all Earthlings, lets act like it.  

Fact of the Day: Flat Earth in China

Before astronomers discovered and later proved the Earth was round, virtually most societies believed the Earth was flat. Even in a country known for early breakthroughs like China, the belief of a Flat Earth existed even as late as the Ming dynasty. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Photo: Egyptian Stuff

One of the hall kiosks at the mall has a whole bunch of stuff that looks like it came out of ancient Egypt. While I didn't actually want them enough to take them home, I thought they were fairly neat.  

Question: How Excited Are You Seeing Dogs in Public?

Personally I think man's best friend is one of the most accurate terms ever. I love dogs of any age, not just puppies. I appreciate them more now that my dog Zelda had passed away and I still haven't gotten another dog to be my new pet. I do try to mask my excitement, and find a casual way to have the dog's owner let me pet the dog. 

Do you like seeing dogs? 

Fact of the Day: William the Bastard

While William the Conqueror won the throne of England by war, he was a bastard by birth. His mother was a meager daughter of a tanner. When a town in modern-day France (he controlled Normandy as Duke) mocked his maternal line, he cut off their hands and feet in revenge.  

Monday, July 17, 2017

Photos: Abbott's Frozen Custard Spartanburg

 About the time I started dating Daisy (which was in the recovering days of the Great Recession) a lot of local ice cream places folded like Baskin Robbins and Marble Slab Creamery especially when a few Frozen Yogurt places started to appear. Spartanburg is starting to come back with more ice cream places and we heard about Abott's Frozen Custard which just opened this previous Friday I think. I don't know what makes custard so different from regular ice cream but hey whatever.

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (2009 Film) Review

 Not that long ago I started the Underworld film series which began in the early 2000's. The story and action wasn't the greatest, but I really liked Kate Beckinsale and her vampire character Selene. However Kate Beckinsale isn't really in this prequel movie (besides narrating) as the story takes place before her life/transformation or something like that. Instead it goes into the depths of how the war between vampires and lycans (werewolves) really began.

Fact of the Day: Hispanic

While most people who are considered Hispanic are also considered Latino, there is a difference. Depending on who you ask, Hispanic includes people from countries that speak Spanish or from countries that were once owned by Spain. The notable exception in the Americas is Brazil which was conquered by Portugal and Portuguese is the dominant language there. The name comes from Hispania which was a Roman-controlled group of provinces that covered all of modern day Spain and Portugal. 

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Photo: Clemson John Deere

I saw this lawnmower (even though I didn't bother to throw my name in the hat) at the local mall. I always find it funny to see a John Deere custom made to not be green and yellow. They made this one to appeal to Clemson fans and at least they didn't go for the ugly purple and orange but white and orange instead. 

Things I Like: Yoren (Game of Thrones)

 I think many fans probably forgot about ol' Yoren here. You almost don't notice him much at first. He's a recruiter for the Night's Watch and good friends with Benjen Stark.