Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Teams of Our Lady

My wife and I are part of a group called "Teams of Our Lady". It's basically a Catholic marriage support group. We have five couples, and every month we have dinner together. We talk about our highs and our lows from the previous month, followed by some prayer and reflection. It's nice, and after the last meeting, everyone gave us a surprise baby shower! That was a very nice surprise!

There are some ancillary things that Teams members are expected to do, like a monthly sitdown. Each month, Katie and I put an hour aside so we can talk about us, our relationship, how things are going, what's happening with the kids, and so on. It's been very useful and helpful, and besides, sometimes it's nice to get an hour alone with my wife without Mary or the puppy bothering us.

From reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, I can tell Harry and his wife do not have a monthly sitdown. In fact, it's clear that they almost never talk about their problems. It was kind of awkward and painful, for me to read Harry and Ginny talk about Harry's problems with his son. Like, this is a conversation they should have had YEARS AGO.

And that's part of the idea behind Teams of Our Lady. They have regular discussions, because it's too easy for something to slip through the cracks and get ignored for months, causing huge problems down the line. Hopefully, unlike Harry Potter, the problem doesn't end up being "our son stole a time machine and tried to change reality forever."

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Top Ten Videos This Year

On my blot post last week, someone asked, "Which videos are getting you views? Is Miss Clue filling the ND gap?"

Let's see! My top ten videos this year, in terms of views, are Everything Wrong With Nancy Drew (all six videos in the playlist, minus the one that went up last week), 2014 Nancy Drew Mega Marathon (For Secrets Can Kill and Danger by Design), Agatha Christie: And Then There Were None and Miss Clue: Peril in Pemberley Part 1.

So, 8 of the top 10 videos are Nancy Drew videos. She's still pretty dominant! But it looks like one out of the four Miss Clue games slipped in somewhere. The next Agatha Christie game is going to be finished this week, and I wouldn't be surprised if that ended up replacing Miss Clue on the top ten list, by the end of the year.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Presidential Debate

Tonight is the big Presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump! My wife says she's not going to bother to watch it, since it'll be nothing but the two of them insulting each other, instead of going over policy details. That prompted me to write this tweet:

Political analysts agree that the debate will not be very interesting, because the standards are ridiculously low. Hillary needs to be energetic, to combat the rumors of her dying of a mysterious illness. Trump needs to be calm and collected, to combat the rumors that he's too emotionally unstable to be President. So the focus is all going to be on how they act, not what they say.

I'll probably watch the debate, but I'm not expecting much out of it. That's because in 2012, the Obama/Romney debates weren't very interesting, and they didn't seem to make a difference in the election. With my circle of friends, all the debates did was provide fodder for "binders full of women" jokes, because we all decided who we're voting for, months ago.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Miss Clue Cruise Most Deadly

Miss Clue: Cruise Most Deadly finishes today! If previous weeks are any indication, the final chapter goes live at 6 PM PST.

I will probably upload the video of the final chapter tomorrow. I've got a hockey game I'm going to, tonight.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Games to Record

Here's my current list of games to record. I have all of these games already, and once I finish them all, I'll probably buy more.

Star Trek Deep Space Nine: Harbinger
Detective Barbie 3
Captain Warlock
Love Chronicles 2
Agatha Christie Mysteries
Maestro: Dark Talent
Spirit of Revenge: Cursed Castle
Spirit of Revenge: Elizabeth's Secret
Spirit of Revenge: Florry's Well
Dark Parables: Swan Princess
Christmas Eve: Midnight's Call
Miles Edgeworth 2, Case 3.
DOS games. Seriously, I have over a gigabyte of files in my DOS folder.

Let's do the same thing we did yesterday! If there are any games you want to see, leave a comment here, and I'll adjust the list accordingly. That way, the more popular games are recorded first.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Unposted Walkthroughs

Here is the chronological list of video walkthroughs which I have recorded, but not posted yet:

Paper Mario N64 (42 videos)
Awakening 7 (13 videos)
Spy Fox 3: Operation Ozone (10 videos)
Animorphs GCN (2 videos)
Grammar Games (2 videos)
Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective (74 videos)
Royal Trouble: Honeymoon Havoc
Fire Emblem Path of Radiance Nuzlocke
Campfire Legends 2: The Babysitter
Campfire Legends 3: The Last Act
The Hardy Boys: The Hidden Theft
Phoenix Wright: Spirit of Justice - Case 2

Recently, I've been letting Twitter decide which walkthrough I should post next. That is, I have a poll, with the first four games on the list. People vote on which one they want to see. Poor Awakening 7 has been on there since January.

I feel like you blog readers get neglected with the Twitter poll setup, so leave comments on this blog, saying which games you like. I'll adjust the list accordingly. For example, if you're all big fans of The Hardy Boys: The Hidden Theft, I can bump it up to the top. There's no need to let a popular game sit at the bottom of the posting schedule, just because I recorded it later than the others!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Three Things Thursday

1. A random story idea I had is that someone relives every other day. Like, they go through every second day twice. There's no apparent reason; it's been like that their whole life. I feel like that would be an interesting twist on "someone relives a day over and over again" story, because there are multiple days being relived, not just the one.

2. I am so glad that the current election will be over in less than two months. I'm sick of politics now, and I wish we could go one day without one or both sides saying, "Your candidate is Literal Hitler".

3. My wife thinks that her real due date is December 24th, and the people at the women's health center said the due date was Christmas, just because. She could be right! Either way, that means the third trimester starts this week!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Time Travel in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

I know I talked about time travel yesterday, but let me talk about it some more! There was some neat time travel in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I'll try not to spoil the story.

Part 1 has a Time Turner, which lets you travel to any point in time within the past 50 years or so. The play isn't specific about how far back it can take you. But the play is specific about the five minute time limit. You can spent 5 minutes in the past, at maximum, before getting sent back to the time you left from.

That's a really neat idea! You can only visit the past for a brief period of time. So if you're trying to do something specific, you have to move quickly! I don't think I've seen that before. Sure, Back to the Future has something similar, where Marty has to do something before he disappears, but that's more of a general time limit, not a specific five minute limit. I could imagine someone building a good story around this.

Sadly, the play doesn't have much use for the five minute time limit. Both times our heroes time travel, their mission is very specific: cast one or two spells, without being seen. So really, they're in and out of time in under a half-minute anyway. They never even come close to reaching the five minute danger zone.

Of course, both times they time travel, they end up making a big mistake that drastically changes the future and sends them into bad, alternate timelines, like Back to the Future Part 2. In the first bad timeline, Harry and his friends all kinda hate each other. In the second bad timeline, Harry failed, and Voldemort conquered the world.

There is a final time travel episode, one where Harry and friends get in on the time travel fun, but I'm not sure how to describe it without spoiling things.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Star Trek Voyager

My family finished watching Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, so now we're moving on to Voyager. The pilot episode was pretty good, and it did a nice job of introducing the various new characters. I like the premise that our heroes are lost in space, trying to get home, even if that premise was already used on Josie and the Pussycats in Outer Space. I also like the premise that our heroes are forced to join forces with pirates, in order to survive.

If I could make a comment on Star Trek in general, though, their strategy seems to be "throw a bunch of characters and things together, and see what sticks". They don't seem to get the characters nailed down, until Season Three. At that point, they figure out what they want the characters to be like, which characters are best for which situations, and which actors have chemistry with each other. (Examples: Wesley Crusher leaving the series, Beverly Crusher returning, Quark changing from main villain to nice guy, Dr. Bashir and O'Brien going from office enemies to best friends.)

The second episode was not very good. It felt like a rehash of the cool time loop episode from Next Generation. The premise is that our heroes are trying to save a ship that's being sucked into a collapsing star. But it turns out the other ship is THEM, from the future! They're caught in a time loop. This particular time loop is one-time-only, so they have to escape from the star before they die.

I think I mainly disliked this episode, because at one point, Paris asks what started the time loop. The loop has a specific end, so why doesn't it have a specific beginning? Captain Janeway handwaves the time loop's creation, by saying that effects happen before causes, with the result that effects BECOME causes. What? That's not how "cause and effect" works! That's when the episode lost me.

The best part of the episode was the B plot, which is the two captains trying to figure out who should be the ship's main engineer, after the two engineers get into a fistfight.

The third episode is also a time travel episode. Two in a row? This one was better, because they were sent back in time (not forward in time), to prevent a planet's destruction. It was neat, seeing them try to figure out what causes the planet's destruction, then seeing them trying to stop the disaster.

Still, the episode has the same illogical explanation that their time travel caused their time travel. Argh!

I did like the ending, where Janeway realizes that the crazy time travel is the catalyst for the planet's destruction. So instead of travelling through time, she sits back and does nothing. That completely erases the timeline. I don't think I've seen a time travel story before use the solution of "sit and do nothing" to change a timeline.

Monday, September 19, 2016

My Channel Views

We're coming up on the end of the year, kind of, so I figured I'd do some math with my YouTube channel. I had 352,8797 views from January to August. Divide that by eight, multiply by twelve, and that means I'll have an estimated 5,293,196 views this year, provided things remain steady.

This is super-good news, because last year I had 5,173,034 views. I could have more views this year than I had last year! The last time that happened was 2011. My channel peaked that year, and every single year, the view count has gone down. (That's bad timing for me, because YouTube didn't allow monetization on my channel until 2012.)

I'm kind of amazed that THIS is the year I'm getting more views, because there wasn't a Nancy Drew game released, outside of Codes and Clues. And while that's a fine game, it got about a tenth of the views that I got for Sea of Darkness, the last Nancy Drew game.

Sadly, the 2% increase in views isn't leading to an increased paycheck. It looks like I'll be making 96% of what I got last year.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Indian in the Cupboard

We watched "Indian in the Cupboard" the other day. It's an okay movie, although I don't think it has a cohesive plot. It's more like a series of smaller stories about Omri and the Indian, loosely put together.

The actors playing the Indian and the Cowboy were both very good, and the special effects for them were great. I'm impressed at how realistic it is! The scenes of Omri picking up the Indian were much better than, say, the scene where Grawp picked up Hermione in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. You don't always need CGI for fancy special effects! It looks just as good if you greenscreen two things together!

Sadly, the worst part of the movie is Omri, the main character. He's not a very good actor. My wife kept making fun of how it looked he wanted to eat the Indian. It's true! His "I'm amazed" face involves having his mouth open wide enough to show all his teeth. He also does a large amount of nostril flaring.

(It should be noted that these shots are all done from below, so the camera is looking up at Omri's face. It's a nice visual which lets us see Omri from the Indian's perspective.)

Overall, I'd say the movie is okay. When I was a kid, my favorite part of the book series was imagining what I'd do, if I had a magic cupboard like that. I'd definitely use it for something other than playing with an Indian, that's for sure. And now that 3D printing is a possibility? Wow! The options are pretty much limitless!

Nerdy possibility: I'd use the cupboard to get the complete works of Julius Caesar. He wrote dozens of books, but only two have survived to this day. Imagine all the lost historical documents we could get with the cupboard!

I'd also use it to get myself some winning lottery numbers. I might be a large rapscallion and get 300 winning tickets for the "set for life" lotteries and send one to every Catholic Bishop in the United States, just to see what would happen next. Of course, it'd probably be impossible to win 300 lotteries without getting arrested.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Scarlet Hand Speedrun Planning 3

Joanna's start-of-game conversation may be a pain to navigate, but the start-of-game conversation with Alejandro del Rio is a snap. He will say the same thing, no matter which conversation options Nancy picks. So, to get through the conversation quickly, just pick the shortest conversation topics.

Taylor's conversation is mostly the same, except occasionally, you have to avoid the conversation options that lead to tangents, like the one about the Board of Directors and the one about the monolith agreement.

Henrik's opening conversation was easy to figure out, because you only have two conversation topics with him. I just recorded all four possible conversations. It turns out that 1-2 is about 0.2 seconds faster than 1-1, so that's the one I'll pick.


That's going to be it for my speedrun, for now. Maybe I'll resume the project sometime in the future, when I'm done with the "Everything Wrong With" series.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Trump's Maternity Leave Plan

In the news this week, Donald Trump announced his maternity leave plan. Hillary Clinton's maternity leave plan is here. I'm glad to see both Presidential candidates support paid maternity leave, but is there any chance we could get this legislation enacted before my child is born?

The main difference between the two plans is that Trump offers six weeks of paid maternal leave, whereas Clinton offers twelve weeks of paid family leave. Obviously, Clinton has a better offer, but since Trump's plan is less expensive, it's more likely to get through Congress.

Both candidates have plans for childcare, which is a whole 'nother beast. Clinton wants to cap childcare costs at 10%, while Trump's plan seems to give a 15% tax deduction for childcare. Obviously, childcare costs vary from place to place. Personally, I'd like to see a childcare plan which covers stay at home parents, like me. Sure, I'm not hiring a professional to watch my stepchild, but it's not like watching the kid is 100% free for me.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Scarlet Hand Speedrun Planning 2

The game begins with a cutscene with Joanna, followed by a long conversation with Joanna, which has 6-8 points where you pick from 2-3 dialogue options. There are over 100 ways the conversation can go.

A lot of the same options reappear, so by replaying this part of the game a lot, I was able to get a sense of how to go through it quickly. For example, it's faster to talk about Henrik than it is to talk about glyphs, and it's faster to talk about the monolith directly, as opposed to talking about Alejandro or buying the monolith, which are both conversations which circle back to the monolith.

Joanna has TWO conversations about the monolith, actually. The shorter one is "It's a massive pillar of stone, nearly 1500 years old..." while the other one talks about the excavation team, and it's usually paired with Joanna's "in addition to our permanent collection..." line.

If you start with Option 1, Joanna will always say "Anyway" as a transition to the end of the conversation. That doesn't happen if you start with Option 2, about Nancy's father.


I think the fastest way through the Joanna conversation is to pick options 2-1-1-3-1-1.