Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Baby-Sitters Little Sister

I have eleven books for the Baby-Sitters Little Sister series. My plan is to review them, at the same time I review the Baby-Sitters Club books.

If the series picks up traction, then I'll get more books. But if it's obvious that people watch Baby-Sitters Club without watching Little Sister, then I'll end my review series there. Maybe I'll review some of the Little Sister books my library has, because I can get them without paying money.

Right now, I've been putting the Little Sister books in the same playlist as the Baby-Sitters Club books. At what point should they become their own separate playlist? I'm thinking Book 5.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Posting Order

I'm trying to do my book reviews in chronological order, but I don't know what to do when there are multiple books in the same month. Like, Nancy Drew Files 38 and Nancy Drew Hardy Boys Supermystery 4 both came out in August 1989. Which book do I review first? Do I try to review them both at the same time, or what? Should I prioritize the Hardy Boys spinoff, just because there are fewer of those books?

As I said yesterday, I'm getting close to the River Heights series. And it looks like there are some triple dipper months! That is, months where there is a new Nancy Drew Files book, a new Nancy Drew Hardy Boys Supermystery book and a River Heights book. How do I handle that? Which series gets priority in that situation?

Same question goes for the Baby-Sitters Club books and the Little Sister spinoff series. Starting with Book 47, they also get a mystery spinoff series, because of course they do.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Book Reviews

My book reviews this month were for Nancy Drew Files #33 and #34.





We are getting close to an interesting part of the series! #38 is The Final Scene, which became Game #5. #39 is The Suspect Next Door, which launches the Right Heights spinoff series.

Meanwhile, the Baby-Sitters Club is inching closer and closer to the point where it officially goes into franchise mode. As in, the TV series launches, the spinoff series gets regularized and ghostwriters take over. This is also the point where I have to decide if I'll buy more books or if I'll just skip over the books that I don't have. I didn't have Book #20, but luckily, my local library had it, so I was able to read it without buying it.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Trump Speech

Yeah, I know I said I was sick of politics last Friday, but I'm gonna talk about them again!

I saw Donald Trump's big speech at the Republican National Convention. Well, I saw part of it. It was 45 minutes long. I'm not going to watch the whole thing. What impressed me about the speech was how non-Republican it was. Like, all you have to do is change one or two things, and it's the same speech Hillary Clinton could give next week when she becomes the Democrat's nominee.

In case you missed it, he endorsed gay marriage and transgender bathroom rights, as well as equal pay for women and paid maternal leave. He avoided popular Republican topics, like abortion and religion. In other words, he doesn't care about fighting the culture wars. He's either going to avoid them entirely, or side with the Democrats on them.

He briefly pandered to the Republican base, by talking about expanding the military. At the same time, he wants to remove our military from other countries, like Japan or the NATO bloc, who can afford to protect themselves, instead of piggybacking on our military, with little cost to them and great cost to us. So he's more or less a military isolationist, with no interest in fighting other countries' wars for them. Or at least, he won't fight other countries' wars without being well compensated for it.

With economics, he said a lot of the same things that Bernie Sanders has been saying. He wants businesses to pay their fair share of taxes. He thinks international trade deals have been bad for the United States. He railed against businesses who fire a bunch of Americans and send their jobs overseas, just to save money. He thinks student debt is crippling the younger generation, and we need to fix that. That's mostly the same as the Democrats, with some differences. He didn't mention increasing the minimum wage, and he still supports tax cuts for big businesses. He also denounced businesses who hire illegal immigrants and pay them criminally low wages, which sounded more like his anti-illegal immigrant spiel than a legitimate part of his economics spiel.

So...yeah. I was surprised at how Trump's speech fits the Democratic party much better than the Republican party. I mean, I know he's been a lifelong Democrat, but still. He's not even pretending to be on the same side as the Republicans. And for the most part, the Republicans seem totally fine with him revamping the party's agenda.

My question now would be how his policies are different from Hillary Clinton's, seeing as he's a liberal Republican and she's a conservative Democrat. They're only going to get more and more similar in the upcoming months, since both candidates start leaning to the middle, post-nomination. Sadly, I don't think the Clinton/Trump debates will contain ANY substantive policy discussion. It'll mostly be them attacking each other, nonstop.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Ad Orientem Mass

In Catholic circles, there has been a lot of talk about Cardinal Sarah, who said that all priests should start celebrating mass ad orientem, "facing east". He thinks they should try it out, starting on Advent, with a view towards possibly doing it full-time.

The basic idea of ad orientem is that the priest faces the altar, during certain parts of the mass, like the Eucharistic prayer. That way the priest and the congregation are all facing the same direction. Some people love it, and they say it gives the sense of everyone being together, focusing on God. Some people hate it, and they say it looks like the priest is turning his back on everyone.

I've never been to an ad orientem mass myself, so I can't say which type of mass I prefer. I've certainly been to masses where everyone zones out during the Eucharistic prayer, to the point where I'm sure they couldn't care less if the priest is facing the altar or not.

Predictably, I suppose, people turned this into a political issue. The conservatives like it, while the liberals don't. In general, the liberals have responded by explaining how the Cardinal's remarks are just suggestions, not mandatory orders. They also referred to General Instructions of the Roman Missal paragraph 299, which has something to say about altars. The conservatives have responded by saying that paragraph was mistranslated into English, probably on purpose. They also note that the Missal contains the instruction "the priest, facing the people," in several places. That indicates he was previously facing the altar, and now turns around at that point.

So...I dunno. It looks like both sides can read the instructional manual and find support for their position.

Me, I'm just happy that Cardinal Sarah is doing something as part of his job as Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (Boy, is that job title a mouthful!). The last time I heard anything from this group, it was when they studied the Sign of Peace at mass, with a view towards improving it and moving it to a different part of mass. Their study took nine years, and the result was...nothing. They recommended doing nothing at all, and sticking with the status quo. Did they REALLY need nine years to conclude that everything is fine? That seems like a ridiculous waste of time to me. It's longer than a US Presidency! So I'm just glad that the new guy in charge is moving at a rate faster than "one thing per decade". (He's "the new guy", because Pope Francis put him in charge of that department two years ago.)

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Oregon Trail Genres

Another idea I had for my Oregon Trail game is to put it in different genres. Like, each pathway is a different genre! One is a mystery, one is science fiction...

...That's as far as I thought things out. What are other genres that could work, in the context of "people on the Oregon Trail?"? Let me check fanfiction.net...

Okay, adventure could work! Maybe horror. I really don't know what the definitions are for the spiritual and supernatural genres. Suspense could be a neat challenge? As for all the other genres, like "tragedy" and "friendship", those seem to normally fall under the general category of "romance".

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Oregon Trail Romance

I kind of want to write a game called Love on the Oregon Trail. For research purposes, I reserved the Oregon Trail Romance books at my local library.

...Those are an actual thing. The library had two of them, and they were both short story collections.

Let me read the summaries. It seems the stories have these plotlines...
  1. Lady marries a man she barely knows.
  2. Nurse falls in love with a patient
  3. Murder or Matrimony is a detective who is trying to find out the secrets of a woman's past. He falls in love with her along the way.
  4. Our hero is forced to work for a mean guy with an even meaner (and flirty) daughter. Can he escape them and marry the nice girl?
  5. Evil uncle wants to force our heroine to marry his business partner. Can she escape him and marry the nice guy?
  6. Our heroine's family wants her to move to Oregon with them, when she wants to move east.
  7. Man with amnesia is adopted by all-female family. Scandalous!
  8. Heroine needs to find her missing father in Oregon, so she teams up with a guy who's trying to save kids from evil adopted parents.
  9. Heroine has to cross-dress to help protect her friend and daughter.
  10. A tornado kills almost everyone except our heroine and several little girls.
  11. A woman looking for her lost son enlists the help of a woman-hater who slowly falls in love with her.
  12. A tragic death splits a family in half, and our heroine must decide which half to follow. Also, two hot guys want to marry her.
  13. Poor widow falls for a man who plans to do one last tour before retiring.
Okay! That's a lot of stories and ideas. Can I appropriate some of them for my videogame? Like, the mystery storyline. I wouldn't mind trying a mystery story. And the amnesia person is cliche, but it could be neat.

Obviously, I'd have to change the stories a little, otherwise that'd be plagiarism.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

BSC Super Specials

Next on my reading list is Baby-Sitters Club Super Special #2. I didn't like the first one or the BSC prequel book, because I don't like the format.

The format is that the characters switch narration, every single chapter. Every girl gets a chance to narrate, and they each get their own subplot.

The problem is that there are seven baby-sitters. So each girl gets three chapters to narrate. And three chapters is not long enough to fully introduce and resolve a subplot. Plus, you have to wait six chapters in between every iteration of a subplot, making it hard to remember what's going on.

The most common subplot seems to be the Vacation Boyfriend subplot.

Chapter 1: Girl meets boy. She thinks he's cute.
Chapter 2: Girl talks to boy. Oh my gosh, he likes her, too!
Chapter 3: Girl and boy go out on date. This ends in tragedy or romance.

There's not a lot of wiggle room there, because there's only room for three chapters, and one of them HAS to introduce the romantic interest. I'd prefer it if we had more developed stories.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Alice Through the Looking Glass

After "Finding Dory", the drive-in theater showed "Alice Through the Looking Glass". My thoughts on it are the same as my thoughts on "Finding Dory": I liked it better than the original movie, which I didn't like so much.

This movie is sort of a genre shift, into an action film. My wife and I like dumb action films way more than you'd expect, from people like us. For example, we both liked "Terminator Genisys". Everyone else hated the movie, but we liked it! We're sad it won't get a sequel. Both "Alice" and "Terminator" have crazy CGI everywhere, which is cool to look at.

So the story is that Alice keeps travelling through time, in order to save the Mad Hatter's family. She is being relentlessly pursued by Time, a quasi-villain who wants to stop her before the entire universe turns into rust. Alice tries and fails to save the family a few times, before she realizes that you can't change the past. You can only learn from it.

The best part of the movie was the tea party, where the Mad Hatter and other characters had a philosophical conversation with Time. He asked Time to define when "soon" is. I thought that was an interesting question. Then they transitioned into make a lot of time puns. So that scene amused me on multiple levels.

The acting is good, as you'd expect, because there are so many famous actors in the film. Alan Rickman, who plays the caterpillar, died before the movie's release, and I'm wondering if they changed the movie because of his death. The caterpillar makes a brief appearance towards the start of the movie, when Alice first enters Wonderland. Then he completely disappears for the rest of the film, and no one mentions him at all. Perhaps they originally intended to do more with that character.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Finding Dory

I got to see Finding Dory at a drive-thru! Mary was super-excited to watch it, while Katie slept through the whole thing. I was half-asleep myself.

I liked the movie, and I thought it was way better than the original Finding Nemo. That's not saying much, though, because I kind of hated Finding Nemo. Sorry, but I didn't like any of the main characters. Marlin and Nemo were too whiny for my taste, and Dory's humor sort of fell flat.

Well, the second movie is better! Dory's humor still kind of falls flat for me. There's only so many times you can do the "ha ha, she forgot something" joke, before it stops being funny, you know? But the movie develops her character, beyond quirky comic relief, which was a welcome change. I also liked Dory's parents, although the movie kind of made it impossible not to like her parents. They're set up to be the most wonderful parents ever, through the use of copious flashbacks.

Dory's new friend Hank was interesting, too, simply because you weren't sure if he was a good guy or a bad guy. Her other friends were mostly nice and funny. I liked the sea lions who were possessive of their rock, even if that was just a variation of the seagull joke from the first movie. It worked better here, since they sounded more like real-life sea lions than the seagulls sounded like real-life seagulls. I should know! There are some sea lions in the Willamette Valley. They're fun to look at, until boating season starts, and they wisely get as far away as possible.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Time

It feels like I've been ignoring this blog lately, because I don't have enough time to write. I'm running out of time a lot, it seems. I also haven't been able to keep up with studying non-English languages and videogame work.

Maybe it's because it's summer, and I have to spend more time watching Mary. Maybe it's just bad time management on my part. Maybe it's because I keep screwing up whenever I do have free time, and I waste it on random stuff instead of work.

My current big timewaster is recording those games on the Wii. I really should stop trying to play games that are well over ten hours long. So I'm making an executive decision to NOT do a walkthrough for Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. First of all, because it's too darn long. Second of all, because there was a huge lack of interest in my Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess walkthrough. And third of all, Nintendo/YouTube's copyright detection system is pretty good at finding Zelda games, so I probably wouldn't make any money off of it.

Another big timesaver would be not doing speedruns for a while, because those are not very profitable, in terms of the time I put in VS the reasonable return I can expect. This puts me in kind of an awkward spot, because I had plans to do a speedrun year. Like, I was going to speedrun every new game I got this year. I've done three speedruns I haven't posted yet! Shadow Wolf Mysteries: Curse of Wolfhill, Whispered Secrets: Everburning Candle and Mystery Tales: Her Own Eyes Meaning the two I need to finish are Living Legends: Bound By Wishes and Spirits of Mystery: Family Lies. Maybe I should just post the three speedruns I have done, and not bother with the other two.

Speedrunning Agatha Christie: And Then There Were None would be interesting, especially with how you can solve a lot of puzzles in any order. It'd also be infuriating, with its strange triggers and its copious "talk to everyone about everything in order to proceed" puzzles.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Politics

I am really depressed today, and I'm having trouble getting up the energy to do video work like I usually do.

There was a big terrorist attack in France yesterday. The seventh one this year, by some accounts. Over 70 people died.

That's bad enough as it is, but I was following the story online, and I was disgusted at how people immediately politicized the issue. That is, everyone instantly started to ignore what happened, and they turned it into another Republicans VS Democrats fight. I was also disgusted at how both sides purposely twisted statements, facts and circumstances to fit their own beliefs and agendas, while accusing the other side of doing the exact same thing.

I'm sick of how this keeps happening. It feels like it happens with every single issue, and there's never any resolution.

I think disgust with the media and politics is what helped lead to the rise of Donald Trump, actually. He's a non-politician, who made other politicians look ridiculous and eat their own words. Plus, the media dislikes Trump, and they constantly ran attack pieces against him. For anyone who doesn't like media and politics, those are two big points in Trump's favor.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

How to Proceed

In case it's not obvious, I'm trying to do a review, an Everything Wrong With video and a speedrun for all the Nancy Drew games. I've been going through the games in chronological order.

But this is kind of slow. Do people want me to do something else?

Like, just do "Everything Wrong With" videos, until I've done the whole series, then go back and do reviews, then go back and do speedruns. Or just do speedruns and "Everything Wrong With", then go back and do reviews. I'm pretty sure I could get the videos done faster, if I wasn't trying three series simultaneously.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Treasure in the Royal Tower Extra Phone Call - Followup

Here's a followup to an earlier post about a third phone call in Nancy Drew: Treasure in the Royal Tower.

The way to trigger the phone call is to start a fight between Lisa and Nancy, so Lisa will refuse to talk to Nancy anymore. I have no idea HOW you make this fight happen. The Her Interactive boards indicate it happens during your conversation with Lisa about the library. And, um...I've never had a conversation with Lisa about the library.

Any ideas how to do that? Someone else said you can talk to Lisa about exploring Hotchkiss' room, and that's another conversation I've never had with her.

Anyway, since Lisa won't talk to you, the trigger for the "medallion in shed puzzle" gets changed to Lisa leaving you a voicemail, as opposed to the normal way, of Lisa telling you directly.