Sunday, April 20, 2014

Worst of Blackmoor Manor, Chapter 27

Here is Chapter 27 of my parody story, Nancy Drew: Worst of Blackmoor Manor. Today, Nancy talks with Linda for the final time.

---

Nancy dropped the Penvellyn meteorite on the bed. "Here."

"What is that?" Linda asked.

"The Penvellyn Family Treasure," Nancy said. "The source of all their evil powers, which has been protected for centuries."

"...It's a rock," Linda said.

"Exactly!" Nancy said. "I've been running around for three days, solving a ridiculous series of British puzzles, just to get a rock! So if you don't get out of bed this instant, I am going to scream."

"I can't be seen, Nancy. I've been cursed!"

"There's no curse, Linda! The Penvellyns don't have magic powers! All they have is a rock! And if you don't leave your bed right now, I'm throwing it at you."

"Okay, okay! I'm leaving!" Linda said. She pulled back the curtains and got out of bed.

"Thank you," Nancy said. "Oh, and by the way, Jane confessed to everything."

"What?"

"The weird feelings you've been having? It's because Jane's been slipping Mrs. Drake's allergy pills into your food. I don't know how she did that, seeing as all the food here is made and delivered by the Boar's Head Pub, but whatever. She's lucky you didn't die from what you did."

"I've been getting allergy pills?" Linda asked. "I guess that would explain why my body feels off, but what about all the hair growing on my arms?"

"Jane put hair restorer in your hand lotion. She also put that curse in your room," Nancy said.

"Why?" Linda asked. "Why would Jane go to such great lengths to harm me?"

"She thinks you're a bad stepmother, and she wants to be with her real mom," Nancy said. "Also, I suspect that anyone who lives in the manor for a long period of time goes a little crazy. You should have seen some of the stuff they set up to protect their treasure."

Nigel poked his head through the door. "Did I hear someone mention treasure? Have you discovered the Penvellyn Family Secret? You must tell me, so I can put it in my book!"

"Sorry, Nigel," Nancy said. "It turns out that the Penvellyns are just puzzle-loving recluses. There's no such thing as magic."

Nancy then picked up her purse, which holds over 500 different items, and left the room.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Worst of Blackmoor Manor, Chapter 26

Here is Chapter 26 of my parody story, Nancy Drew: Worst of Blackmoor Manor. Today, Nancy solves the final puzzle.

---

Nancy tried pulling the box handles again, but to no use. She wasn't strong enough to lift a heavy metal box.

"There's no air in here! I can't breathe!" Jane pleaded.

"I'm trying!" Nancy grunted. She dumped her purse upside-down on the ground, in hopes that it would have something useful. She had two keys, the pillar pieces, a slice of butter, a glowing rock, a paper from Nigel and a container of hot pink nail polish. There was nothing that would help save Jane.

Nancy tried using her phone to call for help, but there was no reception. She kicked the box and received a stubbed toe as a result.

"I can't lift it! This thing is too heavy!" Nancy said, almost crying with frustration. "Stupid, stupid Penvellyns! Why did they set up so many death traps in their puzzle manor?"

Nancy's grip on reality started to slacken, as she began ranting about the Penvellyns. "Do the Penvellyns all hate their grandchildren? Is that why they built this torture manor? Half the puzzles depend on nothing in the manor being changed or moved, while the other half depend on dumb coincidences! ARRRGH! Loulou the Parrot has more personality and charm than all 200 of the Penvellyns put together, and she can't even move her mouth when she talks!

"Hugh says he's in Rome on a business trip, but I know the truth! He took the first excuse possible to get the heck out of here! Why would anyone want to live with the world's most boring historian and a creepy old woman who talks to plants more often than she talks to people?! I'd run away, but I can't because there's a cloaked figure and a werewolf, waiting to kill anyone who sets foot outside the manor!"

"That was me, actually," Jane said. "I dressed up in the cloak, so I would look like Elinor. I thought it would scare Linda. And those glowing eyes you saw work on a remote switch."

"Why would you set up glowing eyes to scare someone you don't know?!" Nancy yelled.

"It seemed like a good idea at the time," Jane said.

"That's what I mean!" Nancy said. "All the Penvellyns are not-so-secretly crazy! It's probably because they've been taught by the weirdo Bossiny Family for the past 400 years! Ethel is the worst, creepiest tutor I've ever met, and I'm not talking about her out-of-proportion body parts!"

The door to the room opened, revealing an angry Ethel Bossiny. "What did you say?!" she asked.

A wave of relief washed over Nancy. Ethel's creepy ability to appear out of nowhere had finally become useful for once!"

"Ethel!" Nancy said. "I need your help! Jane is in danger!"

Together, Ethel and Nancy lifted the metal box off the ground about an inch, to let fresh air inside. Ethel ran to get Mrs. Drake, and all three women were able to tip the box over and save Jane.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Worst of Blackmoor Manor, Chapter 25

Here is Chapter 25 of my parody story, Nancy Drew: Worst of Blackmoor Manor. Today, Nancy discovers who the culprit is.

---

Nancy's long string of curses was interrupted by the appearance of Jane. "Whatever you just found, it's mine!" Jane said. "I'm the Penvellyn, not you, and besides, I would have found it first if I didn't have to learn all that other garbage!"

"Uh, what?" Nancy asked. The twelve-year-old was the culprit?

"Our family treasure is a rock? No way!" Jane said. "There must be something under it."

Jane grabbed the rock, which was connected to a trip wire. Nancy dived out of the way, as a large iron box fell down from the ceiling and trapped Jane.

"Nancy! Help! Get me out of here!" Jane cried. "I'm sorry for what I did! I'm sorry for everything!"

"You should apologize for making me do all those games," Nancy said.

"No, I mean, I'm sorry for what I did to Linda! She's not really turning into a werewolf! I just fed her pills and hair restorer to make her sleepy and hairy! I want her to go away, so it can be just me and Mummy! My real mummy!"

"Another mystery solved!" Nancy complimented herself.

Nancy figured she could rescue Jane, by using the large Aelous statue. She pressed the buttons to make it move, but it stayed in place.

"Huh? Why isn't this working? It was fine just a few minutes ago!" Nancy said.

The statue looked down at her. "I'm not going to help you, Nancy," it said.

"WHAT?" Nancy cried.

"You've been cheating your way through all of the puzzles here!" the statue reprimanded. "You broke the Mercury statue, you got water all over the conservatory, and you lied to Ethel. Why, I don't think you did one puzzle legitimately!"

"Hey, it's not my fault!" Nancy said. "These puzzles are really hard!"

"Well, I'm not going to let you cheat on the final puzzle," the statue said. "You have to figure out a way to free Jane, without my help."

"But I'm not smart enough to do that!"

"Then I guess Jane is going to die," the statue said. "She only has five minutes of air left. Can you solve the puzzle in time?"

"NOOOOO!" Nancy cried. "SECOND CHANCE! SECOND CHANCE! WHERE'S THE SECOND CHANCE BUTTON?"

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Vacation

I'm going on vacation from blog writing, for Easter. You can enjoy the ending to my Blackmoor Manor fanfic in the meantime, which I'll set up to be posted automatically. See you readers later!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Nancy Drew #30 - Trailer

They have released the trailer for Nancy Drew #30! Pre-orders are available now!



I have made my response to the video.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Mystery at Tornado Alley

The Nancy Drew Mega Marathon videos are having audio issues again. Silly Mega Marathon...

Anyway, this week I'll be playing Trail of the Twister and Shadow at the Water's Edge, with my girlfriend, Katie. Why don't you prepare by watching my review of the tornado Nancy Drew book?


Monday, April 14, 2014

Nancy Drew Play

Apparently, there have been some Nancy Drew plays made over the years. Here's one they held in Chicago two years ago, and here's an upcoming play in North Carolina.

And now that I've mentioned it, here are the pictures of the Chicago play. You can find bigger versions of the pictures on the website I linked to:





Sunday, April 13, 2014

Letter of Peter to James

My latest Greek translation project was The Letter of Peter to James, which starts off the Clementine Homilies. The letter itself is a forgery; it's basically a religious fanfiction of what Saint Peter might have written to Saint James at one point.

Paragraph 2 (of 3) was the most interesting one. Peter complains that certain people are purposely twisting his words, to make it seem like he's trying to destroy church laws. It reminded me of Pope Francis, actually. A lot of people have been purposely misrepresenting the things he says, to make it seem like he supports their specific agendas. Here is my translation:

If it is not done in this way, our word of truth will be divided among many opinions. I know this, not because I am a prophet, but because I already see the beginning of this evil. For some of the Gentiles rejected the ordinances proclaimed by me, clinging to some lawless and foolish teaching of the enemy of man. And some attempt to do this while I am still around; with subtle changes they transform my words to destroy the law, as if I intended to erase laws but was not free to say so. I wish whoever does this would give up! For such a thing is contrary to the eternal and everlasting law of God, proclaimed to Moses and confirmed by our Lord, who says "Heaven and Earth will pass away, but not a single stroke or dot from the law will pass away." (This is a combination of Matthew 24:35 and Matthew 5:17-18). And he said this "in order that all things may come into being".
I do not know how, but these men falsely proclaim my thoughts, which they heard from my words; when I say something, they attempt to interpret it in a more positive fashion, saying to their catechumens that I believe something which I was not conscious of. And if they have the boldness to tell such lies against me, while I am still alive, indeed, how much more will they attack my successors, after I die?

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Worst of Blackmoor Manor, Chapter 24

Here is Chapter 24 of my parody story, Nancy Drew: Worst of Blackmoor Manor. Today, Nancy finds the treasure!

---

Nancy went all the way through the hidden passageways, including the dreaded maze puzzle, for what she hoped was the last time. The pipes were in place and the forge was lit. Now all she had to do was forge something.

It didn't take too long for Nancy to realize she made a mistake somewhere. The forge was lit, but there was no air going to it.

"ARGH!" Nancy cried. "Who builds a huge metal forge underneath their house, anyway? Didn't anyone realize this is a fire hazard?!"

Fortunately, getting air to the forge would not require Nancy to go very far. In one of the corners of the room was a raised area with a puzzle. The puzzle allowed Nancy to move an Aelous character in various directions, in order to capture winds.

The puzzle was directly connected to a real-life statue of Aelous, inside the forge. Nancy thought this was unnecessarily complicated. The puzzle was a bit complicated, too; whenever Nancy moved Aelous, the winds changed positions, making it hard for her to capture them. In order to get around this, she pressed the wind tiles against the board, so they couldn't move. She quickly got all the winds in place after that.

"Okay, now the forge is working," Nancy said. She took a final look at the book, which told her that she had to make a key with the forge, in order to unlock the area with the Penvellyn family treasure. The key had to be made in a very special formation, which was based on the book and Jane's room and the various Penvellyn coats of arms.

Instead of doing the puzzle properly, Nancy scoffed. "The goal of all these puzzles was to make a key? What a waste! I'm a master lockpicker!"

Nancy took out her lockpicking kit and fiddled with the lock on the wall. The lock sprung open, and Nancy was able to look inside the small alcove to see the famous Penvellyn treasure. This was it! She had been working for days, trying to get this treasure, so she could sell it online and make enough money to afford a plane ticket back home. The treasure, protected for over 600 years, was finally going to be revealed!

...It was a rock.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Nancy Drew Book Reviews

On the docket for Nancy Drew book reviews, I have these books:

Nancy Drew 155: The Mystery In Tornado Alley
Nancy Drew 2: The Hidden Staircase (1930)
Nancy Drew 143: Mystery on Maui
Nancy Drew Notebooks 23: Alien in the Classroom


There will be a special bonus video, after The Hidden Staircase. I know I promised to review that book a few months ago, but it took me a while to get around to it. Why? It's the racist Nancy Drew book, and I've been reluctant to describe its treatment of blacks and Jews.

Books 155 and 143 are the original versions of Trail of the Twister and Creature of Kapu Cave, respectively. To be honest, Mystery on Maui has almost nothing in common with Creature of Kapu Cave. They both take place in Hawaii, and they both have surfers in them. Those are all the similarities they have with each other.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Three Things Thursday

1. Bowling has ended for the year. My team ended up in third place (of six) overall, which is pretty good considering we only had two members for the majority of the season.

2. Here's an old article by author Kekla Magoon, on how it is unrealistic for authors to write a book a year (or more). This is hilarious ironic, because she became the Nancy Drew author, not long after this. Good luck writing four books a year, Kekla!

3. I looked into Passionfruit Games, the company made up of employees that got fired from Her Interactive when the Nancy Drew Dossier series got cancelled. They made two romance games, and they were purchased by a different company in 2011. The last time anyone heard from them was 2012, when their games were ported to the iPad.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Worst of Blackmoor Manor, Chapter 23

Here is Chapter 23 of my parody story, Nancy Drew: Worst of Blackmoor Manor. Today, Nancy lights the forge.

---

Nancy put the crank in Penny's machine and wound it up. Before the game started, Nancy had the opportunity to select symbols.

"Hey, those are the symbols I saw on the wall in Brigitte's room!" Nancy said. "That puzzle wasn't a huge waste of time after all!"

Nancy pressed the symbols in the proper order. A small patch on the top of the machine flipped over, revealing a key.

"Ah, I know what this is," Nancy said. "I need to win this game of Go Fish, in order to get the key from her!"

The machine moved rather slowly, to the point that it would probably take three minutes, minimum, to play a complete game. Nancy decided that was too long for her, so she reached over and grabbed the key.

"That's the last one!" she said. "Now for the pillars."

The six keys opened up the six pillars in the Great Hall. Each pillar had a movable pipe inside. Nancy correctly guessed that she needed to rotate the pipes, so they all connected. The book said that this would allow the passage of oil to the forge.

Really, couldn't I have taken some oil down to the forge myself? That would have been SOOO much simpler than this, Nancy thought.

But of course, getting the pipes in place wasn't the end of the puzzle. Corbin Penvellyn set up a puzzle, which decreed that you had to tap all three gargoyles on the forehead with Mercury's wand, then tap the forge to light it.

Nancy had to search for the three gargoyles. One was downstairs, near the hidden slide. Another one was inside the room with the burping dragon. The final gargoyle was guarding the entrance to the secret passageway by Linda's room. Whenever Nancy tapped the wand to a gargoyle, its eyes glowed. She tapped all three gargoyles, and nothing happened.

"Shoot. It's a timed challenge," Nancy said.

She then started sprinting all over the manor, in hopes of touching all three gargoyles within the ten second limit. Seeing as the route required her to run up a flight of stairs and down again, this was basically impossible. She collapsed with exhaustion after the twelfth attempt. "Curse...you...Corbin...Penvellyn..."

It never occurred to Nancy that she should try going to the gargoyles by another route.

Eventually, when she was all rested, Nancy went down to the Great Hall and stopped at the pipe in the floor. She lit a match and dropped it down the pipe.

"There, now the forge is lit," she said.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Testing Testing 1-2-3

This week's episode of My Little Pony was called Testing Testing 1-2-3, and it was awful.

The premise is that Rainbow Dash has a big test she needs to pass. Her friends volunteer to help her study. Rainbow ends up being a horrible student, who goofs around instead of paying attention. She doesn't even try to learn anything. Just the opposite; she deliberately goes out of her way to avoid learning. The entire time, she blames her friends for being teachers.

I wanted to slap Rainbow Dash, for most of the episode. I know a lot of students blame the teacher (or the material) for their inability to learn, but this was clearly a case of Rainbow being a self-centered jerk who fails classes because she can't care less. Hey, Rainbow, your friends don't have to help you study, you know! Stop blaming them for your problems.

Realistically, Rainbow should have failed her exam, and then lost the job she was applying for. That would have been a good ending, albeit a bit harsh. Rainbow could learn that her actions have consequences; she could learn how destructive her refusal to pay attention in school is.

But no. Rainbow's friends came up with an overly-complicated gimmick, which tricks her into learning material without knowing it. She passes with 100%, and we got a moral about how some students need alternate learning techniques, but that doesn't mean they are stupid.

I can certainly appreciate how the show attempted to teach a lesson about students with legitimate learning disorders, but the entire thing was a failure, because Rainbow's learning disorder is "lazy and selfish". She did not deserve to be rewarded for her refusal to learn anything. I also question the episode's implied moral, which is "learning is boring, so the only way to teach students is through trickery".

The transitions and animation were good, though, so overall I'm giving this episode a 2 out of 10.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Worst of Blackmoor Manor, Chapter 22

Here is Chapter 23 of my parody story, Nancy Drew: Worst of Blackmoor Manor. Today, Nancy solves Mrs. Drake's plant puzzle.

---

Nancy only had one more pillar key to find! The book said that Penny hid it inside her machine. The book failed to mention where this machine was, though, which made the clue extremely unhelpful.

"What if they got rid of it, years ago? That would make the entire puzzle impossible to solve!" Nancy said.

After a lot of wandering around and wondering why she came to England but never went outside, Nancy found a creepy crank-operated machine in the corner of the Great Hall. The machine featured a mechanical woman who flipped cards. There was a label which said "Penny", so Nancy guessed this was the machine she needed.

Nancy tried to start it, but the mechanical woman started randomly wigging out. Nancy groaned, then went to Mrs. Drake.

"Hey, Ms. Old British Lady," Nancy said, "the mechanical card game in the Great Hall is broken."

"It's not broken. I removed its crank, as it was proving to be too much of a distraction for Jane," Mrs. Drake said. "How did you know I had it?"

"When I think of 'crank', I think of you," Nancy said. "Can you let me borrow it?"

"Tell you what. I have a series of seedlings that need to go into the box there. While you put them into place, I will go up to my room and retrieve the crank. That way, we will both be happy, if you get my meaning."

Nancy blanched. She disliked "put a bunch of items into a small spot" puzzles almost as much as doing other people's chores. Putting plants in a box seemed very much like doing Mrs. Drake's chores, now that Nancy thought about it, but before she could protest, Mrs. Drake left the room, saying "Remember, they must all fit into that box!"

Nancy tried her hand at the puzzle. She could get most of the seedlings into place, but the two final ones refused to fit. Nancy thought long and hard about what to do, then she grabbed the seedlings and threw them into the giant monster plant by the side of the table.

"Now there aren't any seedlings left over," Nancy said confidently. But just in case, she took the crank away from Mrs. Drake before the older woman got a chance to look at the plants.