Friday, October 28, 2016

President of US Bishops Elections

Blogger is telling me that last week's blog about the new Catholic Cardinals was unexpectedly popular! As in, twice as many views as the other blog entries. I guess I can follow it up with a similar blog, about the U.S. Bishops!

They're electing a President and Vice-President this year. The position lasts for three years. The ten candidates are...

  • Cardinal DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, the current Vice-President.
  • Archbishop Chaput, OFM Cap., of Philadelphia
  • Archbishop Gomez of Los Angeles
  • Archbishop Lori of Baltimore
  • Archbishop Vigneron of Detroit
  • Archbishop Aymond of New Orleans
  • Archbishop Coakley of Oklahoma City
  • Archbishop Wenski of Miami
  • Archbishop Wester of Santa Fe
  • Bishop Flores of Brownsville

I have heard of the four Archbishops who I put first on the list. I haven't heard of any of the other candidates before.

The way the election works is that they have a vote. If nobody gets over 50%, they have a second vote. If nobody gets over 50%, everyone drops out, except for the top two candidates. Then, they have a third vote. I don't know what they'd do, if the third vote tied.

There are five other elections, for various committees. I looked at the ballot, and again, it's mostly people I haven't heard of before. The exception is the Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis, which is a vote between Bishop Robert Barron and Bishop Frank Caggiano. They're both good people, who I follow on Facebook. I imagine they were nominated, in part because they're good at using things like Facebook and Twitter to communicate with the modern world at large.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Maternity Leave Job

I got the maternity leave job! Orientation starts on the 14th, so that leaves me about two weeks to make as many videos as possible, before the full-time job kicks in. Fun? Fun!

We're guessing that, once the job starts, I'll get all the details as to when and how long it lasts. Hopefully, we can wrangle it so we don't have to pay full-time childcare for Mary. As in, I'll leave for work after her school starts, and we save lots of money by only having after-school care for her. Maybe?

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Misleading Game Advertisements

I downloaded Mobile Strike and Game of War on my phone, because they had these cool playable ads. Mobile Strike had one where you fight off attacking tanks, while Game of War had a similar one where you put buildings in strategic places to fend off an attacking army.

As it turns out, the ads have absolutely nothing to do with the actual games themselves. They're both city creation games, like Simpsons Tapped Out. Like, occasionally you fend off attackers, but not in the way you do it, in the advertisements. It would be cool if they kept the ad gameplay for, like, a minigame or something.

I kind of want to slip in a parody of this into my next game. Something like...

Main Character: Oh, yeah! Today the new Trojan War game comes out!
Main Character: I've been waiting for this! The demo was so cool! It was this awesome fighting sim!
*Game plays. It has ultra-realistic graphics.*
Menelaus: I shall defeat you in single combat, Paris!
Paris: Nay, the gods favor me today!
*Paris has attacked! Do you counterattack or defend?*
*Smash! Clang! Clash!*
Main Character: Yeah, I've been looking forward to this.
Main Character: Oh, great, the game is done downloaded. Let's check it out!
*Game plays. It has cheap-looking graphics.*
Scantily-clad woman: I'm the goddess Athena! Tee hee! Welcome to Troy!
Main Character: What.
Athena: Uh oh! The Trojan army looks big and scary! We'd better defeat them!
Athena: But first, we need to build a farm to help feed our army!
Athena: Tap here to build a farm.
Main Character: What? Where's the fighting?
Athena: As you can see, there are three types of farms.
Athena: This one takes ten minutes to build, and this one takes twenty minutes.
Athena: But the Special Farm only takes four seconds to build! It costs $5, and it produces over 100 times as much food!
Athena: (At least until Level 4, at which point it falls so far behind, you'll need to pay an extra $5 to upgrade it.)
Athena: Want to buy the Special Farm for $5?
*Game has a yes button and a no button. The yes button is huge and takes up most of the screen. The no button is small.*
Main Character: Ugh! This is nothing at all like I thought it would be!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Third Party Candidates

According to news reports, there are only five states which could potentially select a third-party candidate in the election this year. The first two are Alaska and Colorado, which apparently are big on third parties. The other three are the home states of Gary Johnson, Jill Stein and Evan McMullin.

  • Alaska (3 votes)
  • Colorado (9 votes)
  • Utah (6 votes)
  • New Mexico (5 votes)
  • Massachusetts (10 votes)

It is mathematically possible for one of those states to go third party and bring the election to a stalemate, where nobody gets over 50% of the electoral college votes. Obviously, the odds of a stalemate increase, if more than one state goes third party.

What about the other 45 states? Well, any state where Clinton and Trump are near-even provides a good chance for a third party candidate to step in and take the lead. In that scenario, Clinton and Trump split the vote, as it were. Realistically speaking, though, that probably won't happen because Clinton and Trump are campaigning like mad in those battleground states.

Some people say it's possible that Bernie Sanders will win Vermont (3 votes) with a write-in campaign. He won my state of Oregon by a huge margin, but Oregon's "sore loser law" prevents him from winning Oregon in the general election. So there's no write-in campaign for him going on here.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Job Situation

Here's an update on my job situation! Like I said early last month, I gave up on getting the IRS call center job, since they put me into the secondary quality group. But it's still ideal for me to get a tax job, since they tend to be from January to April, and December through March is the maternity leave period. (More or less. It'll depend on my job situation.)

So I decided to go for a job in preparing tax returns. To do that, you need official certification. That is, more thorough than the certification I got which allowed me to write Basic Tax Law Starring Barky Budget. My best shot is to take a tax class through H&R Block or Jackson Hewitt. But,'s a little late for that. Most of the courses start in July or August. I had no idea they started that early!

Given those circumstances, my best bet is to take the Jackson Hewitt online course and put a huge amount of crunch time into it. I've got two months, thereabouts. I can do it! So I worked with the people there to get me signed up as a late addition to the course, paid the course fee, and...

Then the IRS sent me a tentative job offer for the call center job. Like, right after I mailed the check to Jackson Hewitt. Argh! The timing couldn't be crazier!

Last week, I did all of the required "next steps" for the IRS job, which was mostly filling out forms, but also involved a trip downtown to get fingerprinted by the Department of Justice. Also, all the books for the Jackson Hewitt course were mailed to my house.

So right now, I'm waiting to hear back from the IRS, as to what happens next. If it turns out they don't give me a firm job offer for whatever reason, I've still got the Jackson Hewitt course in my back pocket as a possible job. My wife says it's illegal to work for the IRS and work as a paid tax preparer at the same time, so I can't do both.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Current Projects

I'm currently in the middle of recording a playthrough for Agatha Christie: Evil Under the Sun. I like the game, and it's got a great hint system to prevent players from getting stuck. The game takes a remarkably long time to get to the murder mystery, though. As in, about five hours. The murder is in Chapter 5 of 7.

I'm also in the middle of recording Case 3 of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Spirit of Justice. The investigation section was fairly long, but I'm not complaining, because it was super-easy to edit. With the trial segments, I have to keep switching between the DS screens. That's a hassle. With the investigation, I just keep the camera on the top screen the whole time, no need to ever adjust it. Nice and smooth!

From those projects alone, I have about 40 videos to watch and make descriptions for. So that's...6+ hours of footage to go through. Yuck.

Other projects are book reviews, and I can't wait to get back to my normal book review schedule, since it's been a mess this whole month. I read the wrong book, I read the Hardy Boys graphic novels for some reason, and Baby-Sitters Club #30 showed up in my reading pile, even though that's four books away on my schedule.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

New Cardinals

Pope Francis announced the next group of men who will be Cardinals. The list contains seven men from countries that don't currently have Cardinals, including three countries (Bangladesh, Central African Republic and Papua New Guinea) that have never had Cardinals before, ever.

Three Cardinals are from the United States. One is Archbishop Cupich of Chicago, who is often called a Pope Francis Bishop. Cupich has been on the fast track for promotion since 2014; he got to go to the 2015 Synod of Bishops, and he's now on Congregation of Bishops (i.e. he's one of the top dogs who helps pick out new Bishops).

One is Archbishop Tobin of Indianapolis. I don't know much about him. He spent ten years as the Superior General of the Redemptorists, and worked in the Roman Curia for two years.

The third Bishop Farrell of Dallas. Since August, he's been working in the Roman Curia, as prefect of one of the new offices that Pope Francis opened (the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life).

Traditionally, Cardinals are tied to the biggest, most important cities in the United States, like New York and Washington, DC. Chicago has normally had a Cardinal, but Dallas and Indianapolis have not. The two main cities in the United States which have traditionally had Cardinals, but currently don't, are Philadelphia and Los Angeles. The retired Cardinals attached to those cities are still alive, although they're too old to vote in the next Papal Election.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Baby Boomer Candidates

I'm told this will be the first election ever, where Millennial voters outnumber Baby Boomer voters. Will that have an effect on the election? Maybe! I think the generation gap would be more pronounced, if we had a Millennial candidate.

There has never been a Presidential candidate more recent than the Baby Boomer generation. (All the non-Boomers lost in the primaries this cycle.)

It's possible we'll see the first Generation X candidate will run in 2020, against the reelection of Trump or Clinton. On the other hand, Clinton and Trump are on the older end of their generation. Someone on the younger end of their generation, like President Obama, would be in their early 60's and still make a formidable candidate. So it's possible 2020 will also be Boomer-dominated.

Ronald Reagan was the oldest US President, being age 77 when he left office. If we consider that to be the absolute cutoff age, then 2040 is the last possible election with a Boomer candidate. Then again, life expectancy has increased four years, since Reagan's death, so a President who is in their 80's wouldn't be too far out of the realm of possibility...

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Final Debate

The third and final Presidential debate was yesterday. Thank goodness it's over. Here are all my general thoughts!
  • Both candidates seem to think the election is rigged against them. Trump says outright that he thinks the election is rigged, while Hillary says that Russia is trying to rig the election by hacking her emails and releasing them.
  • Both candidates criticized Russia, although Trump prefers to criticize China. Someone needs to tell them that the Cold War ended decades ago. No, but seriously, I dislike how both candidates are so cavalier when it comes to international conflicts. The news reports about how the situation in Syria right now could lead to World War 3 are terrifying, and I'd like both candidates to be firmly opposed to it.
  • Trump refused to say if he would honor the final results, if he lost the election. If you remember, he said the same thing in the primaries, multiple times. It's a business negotiation tactic. I don't think it's a good one, but it certainly gets him lots of headline news articles.
  • The moderators need some way to force a candidate to answer a "yes or no" question. Currently, the moderator does this by repeating the question over and over again, and it's kind of painful to see the candidates deliberately not answer a direct question, multiple times in a row.
  • On Facebook, the debate seems to have started a battle of the sexes, which reminds me of the kerfuffle over the all-female Ghostbusters movie, only worse. Last I saw, both sides are unintentionally competing, to see who can say the most offensive, sexist things. I'm staying out of it.
Nancy Drew for President, 2016.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Nancy Drew Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake Speedrun

Since I played Nancy Drew: Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake recently, I figured I might as well look into speedrunning it. Let's see what the current world record run is like...

Hey, it looks like it's based on those speedrun notes I talked about yesterday! Neat.

This game is very linear and straightforward. There are no real tricks or timesavers in the game, besides for skipping the optional "test water in the well / Roman numerals" puzzle. Other than that, the speedrun is mainly doing all the puzzles in order.

You start by setting up all the Red Knott stuff at the start of the game, before you use the boat for the first time. So that means you switch to daytime and check the boat to learn you need a sparkplug. Then you switch to night and meet Red. After the ghost dogs scene, you ask Red for the sparkplug. He gives you the task of getting bird pictures. You have to switch to daytime, fail to get a bird's picture, then switch back to nighttime and tell Red that you scared some birds. He will tell you to get cameo gear from Emily. That's all the Red Knott stuff at the start.

So then you go to Emily. You ask her for cameo gear, and she forces you to do the dozen little critters scavenger hunt. You do that for the gear, then you use the gear to take all the bird pictures. Switch to night and talk to Red, and he tells you about the hawk tree. Switch to daytime and take the hawk picture, and get through the ensuing "woodshed on fire" death trap. Finally, you're done with the chores that Red gave you, in exchange for the sparkplug!

While you're doing the big chore run, you'll want to get the three floorboards from the outside area, as well as the sandpaper from Red. You use them to get into the basement, where you find a picture of Vivian Whitmore. Bring the picture to Ranger Akers, so he can identify her. Call her, and she agrees to send you the key to the speakeasy, in exchange for the picture. Ranger Akers will later give you the key.

When you get the key, you can access the speakeasy and the endgame challenges. I'm going to guess that speakeasy key doesn't show up at the ranger station, unless you've gotten all the bird photos, otherwise you could skip a big chunk of the game.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Nancy Drew Speedrun Notes

When I did the 2014 Nancy Drew Games Mega Marathon, I prepared by making notes of how to get through the games and solve the puzzles.

Occasionally, I went back to the notes afterwards and turned them into basic speedrun outlines. Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake is a good example; all I did was sort the list of things to do in semi-ideal order. (More on that tomorrow!) My plan was to eventually go back to the notes later and shore them up into a solid speedrun strategy.

In August 2015, I put all those notes online, at the request of gavinscousin. Gavinscousin is one of the three moderators of the Nancy Drew series at Since then, some of my notes have been used for speedruns and developed into more complete outlines. I'm glad that I was able to help in some way!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Nancy Drew: Midnight In Salem - Update

Her Interactive released a letter recently, giving us a status update on their next Nancy Drew game. They say that they are "not in a position to confirm a launch date for Nancy Drew: Midnight in Salem" yet, since they have not made as much progress as they originally expected.

Obviously, as soon as they can announce a launch date, they will. There wouldn't be much reason for them to keep the launch of the game a secret.

The website for the game has been updated as well, with this story description:

After Frances Tuttle, the last direct descendant of infamous Salem witch trial judge John Hathorne, passes away at age 102, his home, the Hathorne House, becomes city property. The mayor is currently in the process of deciding which candidate among our suspects is fit to manage the estate as a new tourist attraction, protected as a National Historic Place and has named Steven Danforth as the judge. On the night of October 21st, Steven’s young son Jason is found locked inside the upstairs library of the Hathorne House, with the room engulfed in flames. The child is rescued by the police, who discover upon entering, that the room is totally locked from the inside! Not only that, but the boy has no memory of who brought him to the room, or how he got in there – only reporting terrible visions of a “vile ghostly woman” with glowing eyes who spoke to him from within the fireplace flames. Earlier that evening, the police were tipped off by locals, who witnessed the boy dancing through the streets as though he was “bewitched.” As a result of her unique appearance and the town’s allegations, Mei Parris finds herself accused of witchcraft.

Sounds like a locked room murder mystery to me!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Everything Wrong With Nancy Drew: Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake

I'm currently working on Everything Wrong With Nancy Drew: Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake! Please leave me your suggestions.

If you need to jog your memory about this game, Mary and I did a livestream of it on Wednesday. It was interesting to see how Mary was scared of the game's environment. I've played the game so many times at this point that walking around the creepy old cabin doesn't bother me anymore. (That and I know that nothing scary happens with the ghost dogs after the first ten minutes.)

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Three Things Thursday

1. The Ancient Greek word for "spit out" is "eptousa". It contains the same "ptoo" sound that our English word, "ptooey" does. I think that's neat.

2. YouTube work has been pretty spordaic recently, because Phoenix Wright takes so long to edit and upload and get set up. There are two reasons why it takes so long. First, they are big files, about 1.5 GB per video. That's because my iPad automatically records at 1080P, the highest resolution it can get. Second, the 3DS screen doesn't match the iPad screen, so I have to crop every single video separately. Both of those things double the amount of time I have to put into the editing process.

3. The pizza delivery job has been crazy lately, mainly because over half the employees left when school started up again. I'm one of the few people who can work during the daytime, so the boss has assigned me pretty much every weekday. I could probably use a day or two off, just to get caught up with YouTube work. It'd be nice if I could, you know, actually start the next Everything Wrong With video!