Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Soap Operas

One actor (Wally Kurth) is on General Hospital and Days of our Lives, and it is super freaky when he appears on both soaps, on the exact same day. The two shows have different filming schedules, which is how that's possible, but it still weirds me out.

He's a background character on both soaps. On Days, he plays Justin Kiriakis, the father of Sonny. Sonny is one of the characters who was in the first gay marriage in soap opera history. His marriage to Will is pretty much over now, sadly. Will cheated on him, with his ex-boyfriend. Will's defense is, "I didn't know he was your ex!", which is a pretty weak argument.

On GH, he plays Ned Ashton, the son of Tracey. He normally showed up as a side character, in her storylines. Now, after more than a year, he's finally got a own storyline that doesn't involve his mother! Namely, he's pretending that he is the father of Olivia's baby. The real father is going to be pretty mad, when he finds out the truth. (And since this is a soap opera, the baby will most likely be born in three months.)

Monday, March 2, 2015

Cooking Measurements

I'm one recipe away from finishing The Nancy Drew Cookbook. The last recipe I cooked was Crooked Bannister Cornbread, and it was not very good. It's a traditional cornbread recipe from the 50's, or something like that, so it only contains a tablespoon of sugar. The current recipe, printed on the corn meal box, calls for a cup of sugar.

Needless to say, Nancy's recipe is nowhere near as sweet-tasting as the modern one.

The cornbread recipe calls for a cup of flour. When I prepared it, Katie cried aloud and stopped me. I was using this measuring cup:

But apparently, that's wrong! I need to use this completely different, and much smaller measuring cup:

Even though they are nowhere near the same size, both measurements are called a cup. It has something to do with the difference between solids and liquids. Still, this was news to me! I've always used the liquid-sized cup for baking.

...This might explain why all my attempts at baking have been huge disasters.

Sunday, March 1, 2015


Here's how cooking works for me, right now. There are some meals that I can usually cook, without big problems.
  • Burritos
  • Burgers
  • Mac and Cheese
  • Orange Chicken
  • Mashed Potatoes (but they take way too long to cook, so forget it.)
  • Pork Roast or Pork Tenderloin (I'm told there's a huge difference between the two)
Basically, I can cook food which has instructions on the food wrapper.

Every week, I try to do one or two new recipes, from a cookbook. The idea is that, if I find a recipe that's good, I'll add it to the list of meals I can cook. So far, I get about one good recipe, for every four or five I try. Or at least, that's my success rate with Internet recipes and The Nancy Drew Cookbook. I'm still three recipes away from finishing the book! Hopefully I'll get it done, and have my video review uploaded, soon.

The next cookbook I'm trying is 25 Minute Meals. Oh, and Katie did three recipes from Irish Pub Cooking, but they all bombed.

I should note that little Mary refuses to eat anything with onions in it, or anything spicy. This includes foods that look spicy. She hasn't learned that foods can look spicy, without tasting spicy.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Of Man

There's a small difference between 1960's Star Trek and 1980's Star Trek. They changed the slogan from "to boldly go where no man has gone before" to "to boldly go where no one has gone before".

I find this interesting, because the Catholic Church introduced a new English translation of the mass in 2011. Everyone expected them to replace "man" in this sentence: "For us men and for our salvation, [Jesus] came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man". But no, they decided to keep the word "man" as it is, instead of switching to a gender-neutral word like "human".

Obviously, they are using the word "man", in the sense of "humanity in general", and not "man, as opposed to woman". In English, those two definitions go with the same word. In Latin and Greek, they are separate words, so there's no confusion between the two. That's a downside of translating into English, I guess! Personally, when I'm doing translations, I try to avoid all man/man confusion by translating "homo" and "ἄνθρωπος" as "people", not "men". That wouldn't really work in this case, because it sounds a tad awkward to say "for us people and for all salvation". It's even worse to say "Jesus became people".

The only non-Catholic I've mentioned this to was a woman, who didn't think it was offense to use the word "man" in the general sense of "humanity in general". She thought it was outdated, but not offensive. What do you readers think? Should the Church imitate Star Trek and update its language? I'm sure people will bring up the topic, the next time the Church decides to re-translate the mass.

Friday, February 27, 2015

French Nancy Drew

This week, Katie and I have been playing Nancy Drew in French! It's Dernier Train Pour Blue Moon Canyon!

The entire playlist is here. I have a few other Nancy Drew games in other languages, but I might try recording them without commentary. That would make them a lot easier to record!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Wedding Reception Stuff

To repeat my question from yesterday, do we really need an MC for a post-wedding dinner? Mom insists we need someone to act as MC, but it's a dinner! Like...what is there to announce, at a dinner? "Hey, everyone, they're having seconds on the pasta salad, so if you want more, just head on to the chef's table!"

I dunno, this is probably a situation where I'm oblivious to what happens at wedding receptions.

Here's some backstory. Katie and I met with the wedding reception planner, in December. She gave us the schedule of events, for a typical wedding reception. It was something like this:

Hour 0: Everyone mingles around, outside or in the hallway.
Hour 1: Beverages and hors d'oeuvres get served.
Hour 2: The doors to the dining room open up, and everyone goes inside. They start eating dinner.
Hour 2.5: Katie and I arrive.

So, everyone has to wait an hour, before they get drinks. And they have to wait another hour before they're allowed inside. And Katie and I have to wait two and a half hours, before we arrive! As our six-year-old daughter can tell you, that's too much waiting! I instantly pulled out my revision pen and went to work.

Hour 0: Beverages and hors d'oeuvres are served, while everyone mingles around outside or in the hallway.
Hour 0: Katie and I arrive, as soon as we can. Our arrival time will depend on how many pictures people will force us to take after the wedding.
Hour 1: The doors open up, and everyone goes inside.

Yes, my ideal schedule involves food as soon as possible. Food is delicious.

I'm told that the bride and groom are supposed to arrive late, so they can make "a grand entrance". But to be honest, that seems kind of shallow. Katie and I don't need to have a big crowd, watching us walk inside. We're confident enough in ourselves, that we don't need to be the center of attention at all times. (Plus, I get really shy and nervous around big crowds.) So we're going to go in like normal people, and if the guests make a big deal out of it, well, they'll make a big deal out of it. But forcing everyone to make a big deal out of us is pretty self-centered.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Wedding Reception - DJ

Right now, Mom is super gung-ho about having a dance floor and a DJ at the wedding reception. To be honest, I'm not very interested in that. I'm really terrible when it comes to dancing! Really, the only type of dance I'm halfway decent at is Irish step dancing, probably because it's very structured. As for dances where you don't count all the steps in your head...I look like this:

My younger sister has volunteered to be the DJ at the wedding reception. Her friend has also volunteered. I'm hesitant to accept the offer, because my sister and I have totally different tastes in music.

For the past several months, I've been listening to the radio on my phone. When a good song comes on, I take a screenshot of the radio app, so I know the song name and the singer. I have something like thirty songs at this point. Eventually, my fiancée Katie and I will go through the song list, and make a semi-official list of songs for the wedding reception. No matter who the DJ is, they can't screw up if all the songs are picked in advance, right?

On a secondary note, Mom says a DJ is super-important, because they introduce the wedding party. Does she have DJ confused with MC? Do we really need an MC for a post-wedding dinner?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Nancy Drew Diaries

I'm a little harsh on the current Nancy Drew Diaries series, because it's double-spaced. That seems like a cheap way to make the books twice as long. I would honestly prefer reading a 90 page, single-spaced book than a 180 page double-spaced book.

Upon inspection, though, the 2004 Girl Detective series is half-spaced. Those books are 140 pages long. So...the two series have books that are about the same length. It's just that the current series is way more obvious in the way it inflates page numbers.

To be completely honest, I see no difference at all between the 2004 series and the 2013 series. They are 90% the same; all they did was remove Deirdre Shannon and some other secondary characters. I find it interesting that the 2013 reboot changed the name of the series, and pretty much nothing else. And when you consider that diaries are not at all a part of the Nancy Drew Diaries series...why did they change the name of the series? There must be a reason to do a total series reboot, only to change as little as possible.

The last Diaries book came out in January, and I still haven't gotten around to reading it. I'll get to it! Eventually. Those reviews are more popular than my reviews for older Nancy Drew books, so I should probably do it sooner, rather than later.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Girl Detective Year 3

I read three Nancy Drew: Girl Detective books over the weekend (17-19), and I think I can safely say that Year 3 of the series is my favorite year so far! (I'm pretending the bad Book 16 doesn't count as part of Year 3.)

Years 1 and 2 were okay, but they were very inconsistent. The characters change their personalities far too often for my liking. The books that were originally written for a different Nancy Drew series stand out as odd, and it feels like at least four books were rushed through production, to be published in time for the Nancy Drew 75th Anniversary.

Year Three is a distinct improvement over the two previous years. The humongous continuity errors start to disappear, and the characters are more consistent! I'm guessing that this happened, because they rehired authors from earlier books. Or maybe they hired new authors, who were smart and read other books in the series, before writing.

Year Four is when they made the decision to reboot Girl Detective into a trilogy series. And judging from the way that the publishing schedule gets messed up, the strategy was to get rid of all remaining books as soon as possible, to make room for the trilogies. Of course, it's possible that I'm wrong, and the writers were just extra productive that year, but I won't know until I get there, with Book 22.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Wedding Invitations

Here's an update on the wedding invitations. I sent a message about the invitations, to the designer person.

I know a little bit about typesetting, because I did book editing a few years back. I was able to tell that the proposed invitations weren't really capitalized. They were lowercase letters, in an all-caps font! (I knew this, because the numbers were about a third larger than the letters. Numbers are always the size of capital letters, since there are no lowercase numbers.)

So I was able to prove to the designer person that I know what I'm talking about, as opposed to me being a crazy person. Things went smoothly after that, and the designer put out three revised designs, based on my comments. In the end, we decided to go with the "EVERYTHING IS IN BIG, BULKY CAPITAL LETTERS" scheme. That way, the invitations would be easier to read. Because in case you don't know, wedding invitations are tiny and hard to read, in general.

As for the RSVPs, it turns out that the generic wedding RSVP has a line that says, "M_________". The idea is that you write your name with something that begins with the letter "M", such as "Mr.", "Mrs." or "Monkey Island Superfan". That's not ideal, because I'm inviting some people with titles that don't start with "M". Priests and doctors, for example. But we decided to go with the generic RSVP anyway. The wedding website is listed on the invitations, and people can always RSVP there. Or, you know, they could Facebook me. :)

Saturday, February 21, 2015

McKenzie and Co

I've been playing McKenzie and Company this week. It's kind of a shame that this game has been relegated to the trash heap of history. Sure, it's not the best game ever, but it's interesting enough.

The game was made in Flash, so it should be possible to get it working on modern machines. If I was in charge at Her Interactive or Digital Leisure (whoever owns the rights to the game now), I'd give that as a side project for one of the programmers. You know, patch up the game for a month or so, then sell it online. Even if the programmer had to work entirely from scratch, it wouldn't be a daunting task, since the most complicated programming is a Space Invaders minigame.

Alternately, you could get rid of all the minigames, and release the game as a basic dating sim. That'd be simple enough to do in Ren'py, since all the videos are all in the modern .avi format. In fact, I'd volunteer for that project! Someone please pay me to work on the 20th Anniversary Edition of McKenzie & Co.!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Wedding Invitation Etiquette

Katie and I tried to order wedding invitations the other day. The designer person got back to us, and completely changed everything on the invitation. Their reasoning? We did things which "are not customary in stationery etiquette". Here's a list of all the rules the designer wants to enforce.

1. No abbreviations. I can kind of understand this, but is it honestly a big deal if we put "St." instead of "Street"?

2. No upper-case letters. I DO NOT UNDERSTAND THIS AT ALL. It might look "stylish" to have an invitation in all caps or no caps, but I am not E. E. Cummings, nor am I shouting at invitees. I demand to have capital letters in my invitation!

3. No numerals. That is, we can't write something like "February 23". It must be "February Twenty-Third". I can kind of understand this, but it seems like a large waste of space.

4. No ending punctuation. Um, no. Sentences have punctuation, good designer. I don't believe that "it's customary in stationery
etiquette for each line to be read as a separate statement." If everything line is separate, why is it customary for stationery to have paragraph breaks? Why can you split up something, like an address, over multiple lines? And why do YOU use periods at the end of your sentences, if you believe they are unnecessary?

5. No year. It's presumed that the wedding is happening this year, not next year. Well...we never sent out "save the date" cards, so it might be a good idea to keep the year. Just in case.

6. Website link cannot contain "http://". Okay, that's not etiquette. That's just the designer trying to make the website address a little shorter.

7. No zip code in addresses. Um...doesn't seem like a smart move to me.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Games I Want To Make

I would love to make videogames for a living, if it wasn't so much work! I'd settle for "if I didn't have to do all the art myself", but I'm told that's setting the bar too high. Anyway, here are some games I want to make.

1. A Greek mythology game. It'd be great to have an adventure game, where you play as the Greek gods. In addition to traditional actions like "pick up item", you could have godly actions like "hurl thunderbolt at mortals". I'd play a game like that!
Alternately, I could go the educational route, and make a game that tells the basic Greek myths, which occasional, simple puzzles. Something like The Adventures of Hercules, where you play through all twelve of his big adventures.

2. Pluto's Quest to Be a Planet. I thought up this title, but I have no idea what it'd be like.

3. A fantasy football game, done in the style of Sakura Wars. I think this may be one of those ideas that sounds great in my head, but wouldn't be very great in real life.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


I want to get some fancy video equipment to record my 3DS screen, but it costs about 500 bucks. Which means I'd probably have to have to get a second job, working part-time while Mary is at school. So...five hours a weekday, from 9 to 2.

Minimum wage in Oregon is $9.25. That amounts to about $40 a day, if I work a full five hours. (Money is subtracted for taxes and transportation). At that rate, it takes a bit under three weeks to get $500.

The only place in town that's hiring right now is Round Table Pizza. But they open at 11 AM. So that means I can work three hours per day, maximum. This gives me $25 per day, and at that rate, it takes a full month to get $500.

Um...maybe I'll get a tax refund this year? (Spoiler alert: I won't.)