Thursday, November 23, 2017

Meet The Robinsons (2007 Film) Review

I can't remember exactly when I recalled hearing about Disney's Meet the Robinsons for the first time. To be honest, 2007 was not a good year for me, and as such I never saw many movies during that time-frame. The movie is based on A Day With Wilbur Robinson, which was a early 1990's children book by author William Joyce. This was also one of the last 3D Disney animated films before what I consider a huge jump in quality with films like Big Hero 6, Wreck-it Ralph, Moana, and Frozen. So how does this one stack up to them?

Fact of the Day: Mexican Turkeys

The first domesticated turkeys were believed to have been raised by the Mayans. Pretty much all modern domesticated turkeys are descended from ones that were imported by Spain from central Mexico. 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Photo: Vampirina

Like I mentioned before my niece Little K thinks it's Halloween every day sometimes, this costume her mother made is based on Vampirina which is some show on Disney Jr. 

Story: Stupid People and Paint

Since I work in a paint department, I knew which ones were good, which ones were so-so, and which ones to avoid. We had this couple come in talking about getting a new paint and I showed them pictures of one I liked and had success with in the past. I showed them which one I was referring to and the lady gives me this big stare and told me that was the one they had, and it would not cover well. I got them something else but they had made a big fuss and they okay-ed them to return the paint they originally had gotten. 

I knew something had to be up, the color they had was Choice Cream (SW6357) which is kind of between off-white and beige. Neutral colors typically cover very well even in the low-par paints, deep vibrant colors (especially in the Red-Orange-Yellow family) don't cover well even in better paints. The label had been faded which meant they left it outside for who knows how long but I saw they got it originally in June, and it was September when they came back. I open the lid and found it had settled down (as you can see from the pink color) and some of the paint had gotten chunky (that's why you keep them at room temperature 24/7) as well. I heard almost every paint or paint company be praised and condemned by various people, but honestly when it comes to mid-grade paint on up, if you're having problems, it's most likely your idiocy, not the paint. 

Fact of the Day: Atacama Snow

Despite being the driest non-polar desert in the world and having average daily temperatures reach over 100 F (37.77C), in 2011 the Atacama desert in South America had snow when an extremely cold front from Antarctica went into their direction.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Photo: Daisy and Emma

My wife's childhood friend Emma from their days in Minnesota found this old picture of my wife Daisy when she was a little girl. Emma actually now lives in Kurayoshi, Japan, if I remember right I think she teaches English there. 

Super Mario Odyssey (Nintendo Switch) Review

 Personally, I don't think video game got really good until the NES days. Atari was cool for its time but when their primitive hardware and lousy games crashed the industry, it really showed their true colors. Mario had always been leading the way for great games, and is part of the childhood of many people these days. However since the mid-90's, we've only had a few true 3D Mario games; Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, Super Mario Galaxy, and Super Mario Galaxy 2. It has been seven years since our last true Mario game in 3D, so did it meet the hype? 

Fact of the Day: Quebec 1995 Vote

While the subject of Quebec staying or leaving Canada is still a major issue in the province, in 1995 Quebec voted on whether its citizens agreed on the issue or not. Quebec citizens were pretty much split on the issue. After a very large voter turnout, they had a "No" vote on whether to leave Canada pass by a just a small percentage. 

Monday, November 20, 2017

Photo: McDonald's Dinner on Lunch Break

Daisy stayed at her parents one day since I work right near their house. I picked her up that day and we went to McDonald's while I was on lunch break at work. 

Story: Wrong Japanese History

I've always been a fan of history, and I remember getting into an argument with a kid in high school about Japan's government. He told me that Japan was a communist country (China, Vietnam, Laos have been for many decades now) which wasn't even true and he wouldn't believe me. This was a bit before everyone had a smartphone (graduated high school a year before the first iPhone) to easily settle these debates. 

But since World War II, Japan's government has been more-or-less babysat by the United States government, and they would had never allowed a real communist government to form in the Cold War even if the people voted for it. Japan had a far-right political party called the Imperial Rule Assistance Association become the ruling party during its World War II era, and since Japan's defeat the country has been ruled (with brief exceptions in election losses) by a centre-right party, though Japan's policies on guns and health care are more "left-wing" than the active policies of the Democratic Party here in the United States. Japan (like almost every other country with free elections) does have a communist party but they have never been in power and only elected a small amount of politicians who could never have a chance of forming any real governments anyway. It always irks me when people get history so very very wrong. 

Fact of the Day: Joan of England

During the reign of King Edward III of England, the Black Death was a major problem. However like almost every kind of disease and disaster, it was not as serious on the royals and nobles. The only Plantagenet to die of Black Death during his reign was his daughter Joan.  

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Photo: Little Tinkerbell

It's almost Halloween all the time for my niece Little K. This costume is Tinkerbell from Peter Pan. 

The Way Back (2010 Film) Review

The Way Back had been on my list for quite awhile to watch but just never got around to it. I think the reason I heard of it was because Irish actress Saoirse Ronan was in it, as she is one of my favorite actresses. The movie is actually based on the supposed events of Polish army officer Slawomir Rawicz who was imprisoned by the Soviet Union after the invasion of Poland during the early days of World War II. They change things for the movie like the name of the characters, which I prefer to non-historical figures as I'd rather it based on history than claim it actually happened when it didn't. The story of Slawomir Rawicz also had been severely doubted by many and nobody was able to prove the story.

Fact of the Day: Communist Mongolia

While almost every communist nation (current or former) allied and/or was helped formed by the Soviet Union, Mongolia was one of the first. It operated as a Soviet puppet state from 1924 until it collapsed along with Eastern Europe in the early 1990's. 

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Photo: Longhorn Lunch Steak and Salad

My wife loves Longhorn steakhouse. This is her meal and a salad she had on a lunch in October. 

Things I Like: Pixel Pals Super Mario Bros. 3 Normal Mario

 I noticed these things at Gamestop, and they had many different versions of many different series. I wanted this regular Mario as it looks exactly like Mario does in Super Mario Bros. 3 on the NES. This otaku decor was really calling out to my inner nerd.

Fact of the Day: World's Oldest Restaurant

While contested, the world's oldest restaurant is probably Ma Yu Ching's Bucket Chicken House in Kaifeng, China. It opened in 1153 and survived many wars, invasions, and dynasty changes since then but did not continuously operate because of some of these conflicts. 

Friday, November 17, 2017

Photos: First Round of Christmas for the Little Ones

 It seems like yesterday when I had no nieces or nephews, now I got A LOT of them. So I got half of them their Christmas presents already, though they won't get them until Santa is ready anyway. My baby niece Little R is getting this bunny here.

Ask Me Anything Zwei Round Three

 Here are the final answers, all questions came from Samantha.

Fact of the Day: Philippine-American War

As a result of the Spanish-American War, Spain lost control over the Philippines. Native Filipinos tried to establish a new republic but America defeated them in the Philippine–American War. The Philippines would remain a territory of the United States until 1946. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Photo: Disney Board Game

Even though they really don't need to, my brother and his wife often go into Goodwill to find things for my niece to entertain herself with. She found some kind of board game with Disney, so she was happy. 

My (Not So) Favorite Quotes: We're Saying Merry Christmas Again

"We're saying 'Merry Christmas' again."

-Donald Trump

It's hard to say who is the bigger fool, Trump himself or his flock of sheep who honestly believe he's a deeply religious man. He certainly can play the religious-right like a fiddle, as when he said this all the conservatives started to applaud. It's not against federal or state law to wish someone Merry Christmas, he also can't force private companies to do so either. People say "Happy Holidays" mainly to show respect to those who don't celebrate Christmas. But respect for others is not something Trump or his deplorables really know well. 

Fact of the Day: Patton Reincarnation

Controversial WWII general George S. Patton wasn't exactly known well for his faith in the Bible but he was a devout Christian man in his personal life. Ironically Patton also believed in reincarnation, and believed he lived many different lives, but always as a soldier. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Photos: Boo at the Greenville Zoo

 The nearest zoo to us has a Halloween event every year but it's always right before Halloween not on the actual day. My niece Little K got to go this year to have fun. I think she was dressed up as Anna from Frozen, she had a jacket on so it was hard to tell.

Pitch Pefect 2 (2015 Film) Review

 Not long ago, my wife and I watched the original Pitch Perfect. I thought it was good, but certainly nothing amazing in my book. However my wife Daisy LOVED IT and of course it didn't take long for her to beg me to let her see the sequel so quickly. I did hear the sequel wasn't quite as good (as sequels often are) as the original, but how much did quality drop here. Was I still going to like the 2nd Pitch Perfect?

Fact of the Day: Young Arthur

When King Richard I ruled England he had no legitimate heirs. King John was his successor, but there was a problem with the young Arthur who was the son of Richard's and John's brother Geoffrey who was older than John. Following rules of succession, Arthur should of been crowned king instead of John. However King Richard I feared that Arthur was too young and under too much influence of the French king, so he made John his heir instead. King John eventually had Arthur imprisoned, and he vanished after a certain point. Most believe that he was murdered on King John's orders. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Photo: Little Meow

I've known this cat for about a year and half now, he's very anti-people. His name is Meow and he belongs to my neighbors Mike and Peggy. This day he got fairly close as if he warmed up to me. He started to meow non-stop, but eventually walked away. 

Ask Me Anything Zwei Round Two

 Here are the answers to your questions.

Fact of the Day: United States of America Greenland

After World War II, America wanted Denmark to sell them Greenland. They wanted to use the huge landmass as a way to counter Soviets in the arctic with military bases and operations.  Denmark turned them down, however a NATO agreement allowed the U.S. to do what they originally wanted to anyway. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Photo: Big E Playground

This is my niece Little K at the playground at the Big E entertainment place in Gaffney, SC. These were one of my favorite things when I was her age. 

My Top Five Movie Sequels Better Than the Original

Many movies that are the first are usually the best. However some sequels ended up far surpassing or were at least a little better than the original. This is my list so it obviously only includes movies I've seen and ones that I think were better than the original. However I do disagree with some folks, for example I thought the original Terminator and the original Godfather were slightly better than their first sequels. This list is more about how much more the sequel impressed me than the original versus a ranking of the movies against each other.

Fact of the Day: Stalin Cult

While certainly not the first person in history to use the tactic, but the Soviet Union created a cult of personality for Joseph Stalin to increase his popularity and make his rule stronger. The Soviet propaganda had Stalin be "all knowing" and "all powerful" and virtually god-like.   

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Photos: Christmas Bears and Other Stuff

Daisy still loves stuffed animals but she already has this Christmas bear from a good number of years ago. But she always likes seeing the new versions of them.

Fact of the Day: Tesla Electron

While Nikola Tesla is a considered one of the greatest minds to ever live, he did get some things wrong about science. One of his biggest blunders is that he believed there was no such thing such as subatomic particles such as an electron for example. 

Things I Like: Calamity Ganon (The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild)

 Calamity Ganon is a the final boss of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and it's very obvious from the start of the game. You wake up to realize Ganon won 100 years ago and you got preserved to one day fight him again. All he does in "victory" is hover over Hyrule lame for a goal plan there. Certainly the most monstrous and inhuman Ganon in the series and obviously inspired by Demise from Skyward Sword on Wii.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Photo: Santa Yeti

This is an abominable snowman santa I saw on a trip to Kohl's. I can imagine this thing scares children more than it makes them smile. 

Pan's Labyrinth (2006 Film) Review

 Pan's Labyrinth is a movie I heard of for quite some time now, but honestly I didn't know it very well. I almost thought it was referring to Labyrinth from 1986 with David Bowie and Jennifer Connelly. Instead it was made over a decade ago by Mexican director Guillermo del Toro, and unlike his Hellboy films and Pacific Rim, this movie was shot with Spanish actors in Spain and yes, they all speak Spanish and not English in the film. I've seen many movies (especially Japanese) in a foreign language and it doesn't bother me.

Fact of the Day: Muhammad XII of Granada

Not long before the discovery of the New World, most of present-day Spain and Portugal had been ruled by Muslims who had conquered the area for almost eight hundred years. The last ruler there was Muhammad XII who ruled the city of Granada. He eventually had to accept the rule of the new Catholic monarchs, however they soon forced him into exile until his death in Morocco. 

Friday, November 10, 2017

Photo: Hobby Lobby Santas

These were the Santa statues I spotted at Hobby Lobby. The largest one (despite being a bit short) does almost look real himself. 

Ask Me Anything Zwei Answers Round One

 Not long ago I asked you guys to ask me anything you wanted. You can still do so here if you desire. For now, here are a few of the current questions.

Fact of the Day: Trump Racism

In 1927, the New York Times had written an article about a Ku Klux Klan rally that had their members "protest" against the "Catholic Police" of New York City. Many of their members were arrested in the event, and one of the names listed was Fred Trump. His son Donald Trump is the 45th President of the United States of America.  

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Photo: Niece and the Lightsaber

 My niece Little Iz loved the lightsaber that went along with my costume. She hasn't seen the Star Wars movies yet, but what's not to like about glowing laser sword?

Story: You Only Have One Match Riddle

I like this riddle a lot, I've heard it for many years and I can still recall it quite well. Let's see if you can figure it out? You're in a dark room and you must need light to survive the night. There is an oil lamp to your left, a furnace to your center, and a stove to your right. You only have one match, what do you light first? 

Fact of the Day: Lavrentiy Beria

Lavrentiy Beria was one of Joseph Stalin's top subordinates during his rule as his lead the security of the Soviet Union and the NKVD. Stalin introduced him to FDR and referred to him as "Our Himmler"  to the president. If fate had been a little different, Beria could have been the most powerful man in the Soviet Union after Stalin's death. However Nikita Khrushchev opposed him and had Beria executed for treason once he took power. 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Photos: Kids Trick-or-Treat 2017

 My brother's neighborhood is rather weak on Halloween, but people still do it there. Not too bad for my nieces who are still too little to go out and about for long on Halloween night asking for candy.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017 Film) Review

 It's hard to believe it's been so many years since the original film back in 2003. I remember sitting in theaters and watching Curse of the Black Pearl and being amazed by how good it was. Unlike The Haunted Mansion, this movie based on a Disneyland ride actually was amazing and was good enough to have sequels. I thought the first sequel was good but unworthy of the original. I thought the third film was an embarrassment, but unlike some people I actually liked the fourth one quite a bit. Critics have always been rather unkind to the series while regular folks have liked them much better. Critics panned this one like most of the series (except the original) but was it that bad?

Paul Ryan Thinks Prayer Will Stop More Massacres

When a gun massacre takes place in a "gun-free zone" like a school or a mall, right-wingers will say it was the policy of the zone at fault, not the laws of our country. However when recently a domestic terrorist (who may or may not have been mentally ill) walked into a small Baptist church in Texas, the right wing came into an awkward position. House Speaker Paul Ryan insists that prayer "works" but does it really? I know prayer is an important part of life for Christians, but being extremely non-religious myself, I see it as a spiritual placebo of sorts. But let's bring up logic instead of faith, why didn't God stop this from happening? If prayer doesn't work to protect churches, then maybe it's time to fix our gun laws. Too bad the NRA has Congress in their back pocket and we will continue to lose more of our citizens because they lobby for the gun makers. 

Fact of the Day: King of England and France

King Henry VI of England was made King of France by the will of his grandfather Charles VI of France. King Henry VI inherited both thrones at a very young age (before he turned one) however there was more than one of those issues that conflicted where the Throne of France wasn't all his. The biggest issue was that Charles VI's son Charles the Dauphin was still alive and he was taken out of the royal line by his father. The French prince claimed that the agreement was null and void as his father was mentally unstable and was forced by King Henry V of England to do so. When England started to lose their side of the Hundred Years War, peace was established when Henry VI gave up the throne to France and married Charles' niece. Losing thrones would become another running theme for Henry VI as he lost his crown twice during England's War of the Roses.     

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Photos: Sith Lord Vs. Red Power Ranger

 Since we all don't dress in the same theme on Halloween, I think it's fun to "cross" series and have our characters "fight". Who would win against a Sith Lord and a Power Ranger? Probably the sith lord, force lightning does kind of ruin things.

My Super Mario Odyssey Impressions

 The WiiU never got a real 3D Mario game like the N64's Super Mario 64, Gamecube's Super Mario Sunshine, or the Wii's two Super Mario Galaxy games. It's been seven years since Super Mario Galaxy 2, so was Super Mario Odyssey the game we were all hoping for?