Saturday, January 30, 2010

Orthodontist, Josie and the Pussycats

Recently, while making a writing a Rock Band joke article for GameCola, I realized something.

I am a fan of Josie and the Pussycats. </updates his Facebook>

I used to read the Archie comics in the waiting room at the orthodontist's when I was younger. As a general rule, the people at Dr. E----'s make you wait twenty to thirty minutes, call you into your seat, make you wait another five minutes, then they look at your teeth for two minutes and the appointment is over.

I haven't been to the orthodontist's in years, even though I really should go back and see if they'll finally let me stop wearing a retainer every night. But I really don't feel like paying $100 to wait for a half-hour, so I don't go.

The long wait is made extra-painful because you have to listen to the women at the office babble about the most inane things. Last time, I heard a five-minute debate on "how it's difficult to know what day it is by looking at a calendar". Actually, that's WHY the wait is so long. Instead of working on patients, the orthodontist women babble all day long. If they could stop talking and start working, they could easily triple their productivity.

So, yes, I spent a lot of time reading the Archie comics at the orthodontist's. Archie comics are pretty good. I like the normal Archie series, I don't like the Sabrina series so much, and I like the Josie and the Pussycats series. It's got a pretty good character lineup.

[Side note: Jughead's my favorite Archie character. Jughead Double Digests all the way!]

I know they had a Josie and the Pussycats TV show back in the 60's/70's, but all I knew about it was the theme song. I watched a bit of the show on Youtube, and basically, they changed the characters and everything so the show works just like Scooby Doo (which was made by the same company). It's still kind of an entertaining show, but I prefer the way the characters are in the comics. Their original personalities are the more interesting ones, you know? Seeing Alex become a Shaggy clone is kind of a shock.

At least Alexandra, Josie and Melody made it through the Scooby Doo personality transfer relatively intact. I always thought they were the most interesting characters, anyway. I would have given Melody a different voice, though, because she has rather unique dialogue in the comics.

Sample Melody dialogue: "Isn't it a wonderful day? ♫"

It's fun to try to figure out how to say Melody's lines. How do you speak the musical notes? I always figured it meant she's using a sing-song voice. Alas, they completely avoid this issue in the TV show and give Melody a normal voice, which is much less fun.

While looking up the TV show, I found out something really surprising. They made a spin-off TV series called "Josie and the Pussycats in Outer Space", which could possibly be the greatest spin-off concept ever. The theme song has now been firmly implanted in my mind.

Theme Song #1:



Theme Song #2:



The second theme song is better, because it shows how they all got lost in outer space to begin with. Plus, seeing Melody and Alexandra rock out to the theme song at 0:18 is entertaining. I always like it when the characters of a TV show dance to the theme song.

The Archie Comics people haven't made any new Josie comics in years, unfortunately. I'm guessing it's because they're still lost in space. Maybe they're hanging out with my space clones? That'd be cool.

For now, the best way to see Josie and the Pussycats is to buy an Archie double digest and hope to find a few Josie stories inside. They sometimes put a Josie or Sabrina insert in the double digests. I tend to thumb through a double digest before buying it to see what the insert is, because if it ends up being a 50-page Li'l Archie insert, I am NOT buying that double digest.

[Side note about Li'l Archie deleted because this blog entry is far too long as it is]

Oh well. Even if we haven't seen much of them lately, I'm sure Josie and Pussycats are probably still out there, somewhere, rocking out like they always do.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Nancy Drew: The Final Scene: Press Conference

Here's a fun little video I made that most people don't know about, because Youtube insists on associating it with the deaths video for Nancy Drew: The Haunted Carousel, instead of with the videos for Nancy Drew: The Final Scene. Youtube, you're strange somtimes.

It's the press conference in Nancy Drew: The Final Scene. If you remember correctly, on Day 2 of the game, Simone holds a press conference for Brady Armstrong. Conveniently, Nancy can snoop around in their things while they're outside at the press conference.

You can hear snippets of the press conference when you walk around the lobby. It's not too interesting or exciting, because you're not supposed to be paying attention to it; you're supposed to be investigating.

HOWEVER, if you take the time to stop and listen to the entire thing, you'll notice that at the end, it goes into ridiculous territory, where the people start asking questions about things like chicken suits. I think they were having fun with the press conference, because they didn't expect players to listen to the whole thing.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Various Videogames

I have various videogames I want to do video walkthroughs for, or just talk about in general.

  • Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time - I decided to do the "find all 100 Gold Skulltulas challenge", which ended up taking more time than it should have. As in, a LOT more time. As in, three or so hours. About 90% of that will be cut out of the finished video. So if you're one of the people who has been wondering why I've been taking so long with the next set of videos, that's why.
  • Samantha Swift and the Hidden Roses of Athena is a hidden object casual game I played recently, and I enjoyed it a lot. I'm starting to wonder if casual games are more entertaining than normal games. Sure, casual games set the bar low, but that just means they have an easier time with being loads more fun than originally expected.
  • Oregon Trail was fun to do a video walkthrough for, and I think I'm going to do a SECOND video walkthrough for it, because I can.
  • Tales of Monkey Island: Launch of the Screaming Narwhal is a game I'm told that I have to play because it is super fun and super funny. It's a point-and-click adventure starring Guybrush Threepwood, Mighty Pirate, who is in fact kind of a screwup when it comes to being a pirate. I want to try to do a blind playthrough of this game, just to see if my point-and-click adventure game skills are really all they're cracked up to be, but I'm worried that might end up with several videos of me walking around, confused.
  • Nancy Drew Dossier: Resorting to Danger is the second Dossier game, and I've played it through. The minigames in this one are not as fun as in the first one--in fact, playing some of the minigames is more of a hassle than an enjoyable experience.

    My favorite part about the game, hands down, is the part where Nancy gets to name one of the six suspects as the game's culprit. Since Nancy is an awesome detective who is never wrong about anything, the person you choose ends up being guilty. So this game actually has six different endings--one for each suspect. Being the completist that I am, I want to see all six endings, so I'm probably going to be playing this game for quite some time before I'm finished.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

High School Musical 4

People seem to be confused as to whether or not Disney is going to make a High School Musical 4. Well, do not worry, folks! I'm here to set the record straight: High School Musical 4 has been in pre-production for over six months. For those of you who don't know, pre-production involves writing a script, casting the characters and storyboarding the entire movie.

All we've heard so far are basic details, like "the plot might focus on the rivalry between West High and East High" and "the actor who plays Coach says he would be willing to be in this film".

In the interest of helping Disney get this movie out of pre-production, I decided to make a list of pros and cons about High School Musical 4.

Why HSM4 will be bad: It will star none of the characters from the first three movies.

Why HSM4 will be good: It will star none of the characters from the first three movies.

Yes, I know we all love Gabriella and Troy and the rest of their friends, but seriously, if I have to watch Troy go through ANOTHER self-identity crisis that results in a confusing breakup, badly-choreographed angsty song and predictable reunion, I'm going to be bored out of my mind. It'll be good to see something else for a change.

Side Note: I still don't understand why Gabriella got back together with Troy at the end of the second movie. If I was her, he would stay dumped.

Second Side Note: Likewise, in Grease, there was no reason for Sandy to take Danny back. He's a jerk who cares more about his car/hair/friends than her. She could do so much better than him.

So maybe it's kind of ridiculous to make a High School Musical 4 movie. But the High School Musical movies are ridiculous, so the idea fits perfectly. Plus, the fourth installment in a series is always the best, just like Monkey Island 4. There's no way this movie can fail! I'll watch it on opening night, for sure!

[When/if this movie comes out, expect a long blog post on how the movie is a total failure]

Monday, January 25, 2010

My Room Was Redecorated

College students agree: the best way to tell how much your family loves you is by what happens to your room when you're gone. It's always a fun surprise to come home for Thanksgiving and see what your family has done to your room when you were gone.

Here are some typical scenarios, and what they mean:

Room is Just Like You Left It: Your family wants you to know that nothing has changed since you left, and you're free to come home whenever you want.
Room Has Been Cleaned Up: Mom/Dad got tired of seeing your room dirty.
Your Little Sister Christina Moved Into Your Room: Tough luck! Looks like Christina is now the family favorite!
All Your Stuff Was Sold, and Now You Have to Sleep on the Couch: They don't want you to move back after college is over.

Well, imagine MY surprise when I came home today for a surprise visit and found...

The Blankets On Your Bed Have Been Replaced With Purple Hannah Montana Blankets: ???????

I leave for one day, and mom converts my room into a Hannah Montana sanctuary? This is NOT the best of both worlds, people! Twenty-four year-old grown men do NOT have Hannah Montana blankets in their rooms!

...They have stuffed animals in their rooms. I still haven't given Mr. Monkey away yet.

My sister says she had to move the blankets because her back was hurting. But still. Why MY room? Why not pack them away or something? Now everyone that visits our house is going to think I like Hannah Montana, when my favorite Disney Channel show is THE JONAS BROTHERS ARE SO AWESOME THAT THE NAME OF THEIR SHOW IS IN ALL CAPS.

Speaking of which, when is High School Musical 4 coming out? I've been waiting for a while now, Disney!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Spirit Temple as an Adult

The next round of Zelda videos has been finished! We get to see Link finish the Spirit Temple as an adult, and there's a super-exciting cutscene with Zelda making her long-awaited appearance!

Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (Part 54): Giant Frogs


Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (Part 55): Link's Bunny Slippers


Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (Part 56): SHINY!!!



Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (Part 57): Twinrova Boss Battle



Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (Part 58): The Three Triforce Pieces



The cutscene with Zelda is really well-done and has some excellent plot advancement, but I'm afraid the effect might be lost on some first-time Zelda players, because Super Smash Brothers basically spoils the cutscene/plot for anyone who hasn't played Ocarina of Time before.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Days of our Lives

As I have mentioned a few times in my videos, I am a fan of Days of our Lives. I'm actually mad at my schedule for this semester, because I have class during my soap opera for two days in a row. Rrrrgh!

Recently, the show has had a couple of major unexpected plot twists, like Anna being the person who kidnapped EJ and Sami's baby (Anna hasn't been on the show in at least six months, which is why this was a big surprise), then the fact that EJ is paying Anna to kidnap his baby, and the big reveal that Carly's daughter is Melanie, not Mia. I'm impressed. When you're working with month-long plotlines, it's rather tough to keep things fresh, but they're doing it successfully. Major kudos to the entire Days of our Lives crew.

[Side note: One of my favorite new characters is Mia McCormick. When she first came on the show, I decided to become a Mia fanboy, mostly because I love Mia Fey from the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney series, and the two of them have the exact same name. The only downside to her is the fact that the girl who plays Mia isn't a very good actress. But Mia is currently dating Will Horton, who is ALSO a pretty bad actor, so it works pretty well.]

[Side note #2: Speaking of bad actresses, Anna is really bad at acting, but she's just so darn enthusiastic that she pretty much steals every scene she's in. Seeing her return to the show was basically my best Christmas present last year.]

I just noticed that Days is currently on Season #44. Awesome! It kinda bugs me that The Simpsons brag so much about making it to Season #20 and being "the longest running show ever". I mean, Days of our Lives has been on the air much longer! You shouldn't just ignore it because it's a soap opera! In the same way, you shouldn't ignore Sesame Street just because it's a children's show. Please try to be a little bit more considerate, Simpsons.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My DNA Is In Outer Space

I recently remembered that I have a movie from 2008 to upload/edit, but I haven't done any work on it since I got the video off my camera and onto my computer. Since I'm probably not going to get around to finishing the video soon, I might as well describe the premise here.

Back in 2008, my friend Paul let me know that the website "Pwn or Die" was holding a video contest. They're a videogame-based website, and they wanted people to send them some videogame videos. So they held a contest where each video submitted equaled one ticket in their prize drawing.

The big prize? To have your DNA sent into outer space.

It was part of a promotion for an online game that I don't think exists anymore. They got DNA from a few minor celebrities like Stephen Hawking and Stephen Colbert and Probably Someone Else Named Stephen. All the DNA was sent--digitally--to the International Space Station. That way, if everyone on Earth dies from global warming or something like that, the DNA will remain in outer space. And that way, aliens can come and use the DNA to make human clones.

That was probably the most ridiculous premise I've ever heard (have your DNA sent into outer space so alien clones can be made of you in case everyone on the planet dies!), so I decided I had to enter the contest. I submitted a few of my Nancy Drew walkthroughs into the contest, and because each video counted as one entry, I basically stuffed the ballot box.

I ended up winning the contest, I provided them with a small cell culture, and my DNA is now in outer space. I haven't heard if there any alien clones of me, yet, though.

And, basically, the video I've been too lazy to edit/upload is all about this ridiculous story of how I used Nancy Drew walkthroughs to help me get my DNA sent into outer space so aliens could clone me. November 2008 was a CRAZY month for me.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Three Books I Edited While On Retreat

So...where was I before I was confronted with "The Mystery of the Coffee Maker from Ellen", again?

Right, I was on that silent retreat. Well, I'm not a fan of retreats because I like to do things, so what I did on the retreat was spend some time editing/transcribing books. Here are the three books I finished with on the retreat:

1. Eternal Life, by Henry Drummond is a 20-page tract by a professor who compares the idea of eternal life in Herbert Spencer's biology (ie. Darwinism) to a Bible verse that has the words "eternal life" in it. His conclusion is that Science and Religion should become BFFs, because they both agree on what eternal life is. Not the most interesting of books, but I like the conclusion.

2. Pope Adrian IV, by Richard Raby is a biography of the only British pope, who lived in some pretty rough times during the 1100's. Today, the Romans are fond of the Pope, but back then, the people of Rome wanted to give up on Christianity and go back to having Caesars and the Glorious Roman Republic. Over the course of their rebellion, the Romans stoned one pope to death, and the next pope was run out of town by an angry mob and force to flee to France.

...Yeah, no one wants to become Pope when things like that are going on.

Pope Adrian IV had a hard time getting things back in working order again, with the dubious help of the German King Frederic Barbarossa. King Freddy not-so-secretly wanted to take over Italy, so most of the time, he was looking for an excuse to declare war on Pope Adrian, instead of helping the Pope settle his problems.

Take into consideration some of the real-life soap operas that were going on in European countries at the time (example: Prince Charles of Sweden/Gothland seduced and married the fiancee of King Nicholas of Denmark, then he tried doing the same thing with his brother's wife AND her sister), and I think we have the grounds for a fairly dramatic movie.

3. The Life of Blessed John B. Marie Vianney, Curé of Ars is a brief autobiography about Saint John Vianney. He's the patron saint of parish priests, and he is probably best known for being one of the greatest confessors ever. People came from all over the world to have him hear their confessions, and as a consequence, he often spent over 12 hours a day hearing confessions. He was such a good priest that the people of Ars refused to let him retire, and they foiled all four of his attempts to escape from town.

It's the Year for Priests this year, so it seemed like an appropriate time to work on this book.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Mystery Solved!

Greetings, detectives!

Well, I'm glad that everyone's detective skills seem to be in order, because I also came to the conclusion that Ellen dropped off a birthday package for a Michael, and it was somebody else who mistakenly thought it was me.

I successfully proved my theory by combing the school directory until I found something very interesting: A Michael B. has a birthday exactly one day after mine. That would explain why the gift was left outside of my room the day AFTER my birthday. I asked Michael B. about it, and Ellen is the name of his cousin, so case closed!

...Okay, not really. To be honest, talking to Michael B. was actually part of my initial investigation, and he doesn't know anyone named Ellen. HOWEVER! I can't figure out how to continue the investigation, and it probably IS just a case of mistaken identity as six Michaels live in this building. Nobody wants the truth to get in the way of a good mystery solved, so we're all just going to pretend that's how everything happened. Okay?

Cool, so that means we just solved a mystery! E-cookies for everyone! They're from Oaxaca!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Handwriting Analysis

Today, I performed a handwriting analysis on the mysterious present I received from Ellen on the day after my birthday. I'd put pictures up here, but I don't have a camera. There were three handwriting samples in all:

Sample 1: Message on the card. Written in pen. Written in precise strokes.

Sample 2: The "To Michael From Ellen" written in a blue Sharpee on the side of the plastic bag. Written in precise strokes, and it is rather faded.

Sample 3: The M. GRAY written in black Sharpee on top of the plastic bag after it was taped together. Very sloppy, with several smudge marks, with the letters traced over several times.

Sample #1 matches Sample #2. Sample #3 doesn't match--the letters are too loopy. That is, the "M" in "Michael" is spelled with straight lines in #1 and #2, but in #3, "M" is spelled like two upside-down "U"'s. Same thing with some of the other letters.

Conclusion: There were two different authors. Ellen wrote the card, and wrote "To Michael From Ellen". Somebody else later designated it as specifically for M. GRAY Michael. Aha!

---

This turned out to be the clue that broke the case. But before I explain everything, I think I'll give you readers a chance to solve the mystery. Can you figure out what happened? What conclusions can be drawn from the fact that two people wrote labels on the gift? Can you pull a Sherlock Holmes construct a reasonable chain of events that accounts for everything that happened?

The Mystery Continues

My investigation today turned up no results. Nobody named Ellen signed the Guest Book at the front desk, which she would have seen if she dropped off the present for me at the front desk. So now I'm back to Square One.

I don't have any leads, so I decided to ask Professor Snaglefoompus for help. He used to be a detective before he became a professor, you know.

Me: Do you have any ideas who Ellen could be, Professor?
Professor Snaglefoompus: Well, I have studied the available evidence, and I have come to two conclusions.
Me: What are they?
Professor Snaglefoompus: Ellen left a present outside of your room at school. Conclusion 1: Ellen must be someone who knows a lot about you.
Me: That makes sense. What's conclusion two?
Professor Snaglefoompus: She gave you a coffee maker, but you don't drink coffee. Therefore, she doesn't know about your eating habits. Conclusion 2: Ellen must be someone who doesn't know a lot about you.
Me: So...she's someone who knows a lot about me, and someone who doesn't know about me.
Professor Snaglefoompus: Correct.
Me: ......
Professor Snaglefoompus: Say, if you're not going to use that coffee maker, can I have it?

Okay, so maybe asking the professor wasn't such a good idea. Tomorrow, I'll let you know the confusing results of my handwriting analysis.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Mystery Continues

If you haven't read my last blog entry, I recently received a coffeemaker as a birthday gift from an unknown person named Ellen. This is slightly odd, because I don't know anyone named Ellen. Today, I did some investigation and questioned the various people who might know something.

Here are my results:

) There is no one named Ellen who is connected to the school.
) Joe P, whose birthday is today, did NOT get any packages. It's just me.
) It was not sent by someone from my "boss", the San Jose Chancery Offices.
) Enchiladas are delicious.

Mom thinks it might be a gift that was delivered to the wrong person. But the card is clearly addressed to me, and the plastic bag has two labels: M. GRAY and "To Michael From Ellen". Plus, it was left ouside my room. I can only conclude that I am the intended recipient.

Hmmm...now that I think about it...why would the bag need to be labelled twice if Ellen dropped it off outside my room?

Possible conclusion: Ellen left the gift at the main office. Someone else later dropped it off at my room. This would make sense, as outsiders don't have keys to the building.

It looks like the next stop in my investigation is the main office!

Monday, January 11, 2010

A Mysterious Present

When I left my room today, I found a big surprise birthday present waiting outside my door. Someone must have delivered it overnight. It turned out to be a coffee maker from Ellen, complete with a nice card about how she hopes I like the gift and that she hopes everything goes well on my brithday.

There's one slight problem, however.

I don't know anybody named Ellen.

There are no Ellens in the school directory. And this is a closed campus--only students and faculty have the keys to get in. I asked around, but nobody else knows who Ellen is either.

So that means someone named Ellen broke into the school last night in order to give me a coffee maker.

...I am so confused right now, and the whole situation reminds me of a comic strip I once read. If I get any more informationi about this mystery, I'll be sure to let you all know about it.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Birthday With Unfortunate Presents

So it's my birthday today. I am officially 24 years old now. Woo hoo! Now I can do...24 year-old stuff.

Things did not go so well for my birthday, however. I sprained my ankle in basketball practice, so now it's pretty swollen. I won't be able to play basketball again for a week or two.

So of course, the first birthday gift I got was a special basketball for making the San Jose Sems Basketball Team. D'oh!

Mom's gift, too, was rather unfortunate. For Christmas, Mom got me a four-pack of Nancy Drew games. For my birthday, she decided to get me a two different two-packs of Nancy Drew games...only she got me the exact same games as she did on Christmas.

My other gifts were some Wii Points cards so I can get the Wii-Ware Phoenix Wright game that comes out this week, a Latin book, and a Golden Snitch. Cool! Plus, the cake was yummy. So, injuries and unfortunate gifts aside, it was a pretty good birthday.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Back!

Hey, I'm back from the retreat! It was a silent retreat, which drove me crazy. On the second day, I got the strong desire to jump on top of the tables at dinner and sing Copa Cabana at the top of my lungs.

Fortunately, I don't know the words to the song, so everyone was spared from seeing me do a dance routine.

I wanted to do another hour of Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, but I'm still having audio/video sync issues, by jingo, so I did a walkthrough for another game: The Oregon Trail, one of my all time favorite games.

Oregon Trail (Part 1): Let's go Hunting!


Oregon Trail (Part 2): Everyone Gets Bitten By a Snake


Oregon Trail (Part 3): Nancy Drew Got Sick and Died


Personally, I am astounded I am the first one to make a video walkthrough for this game. It is a staple of my generation. When I talk to '90's kids, no matter which part of the country they're from, they all remember playing this game for hours on end.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Shadow Temple

All right, so here's my latest batch of Zelda videos, where Link goes to the Shadow Temple. It is very dark in the Shadow Temple, so I couldn't see what I was doing half of the time. Even in these videos, which are significantly brighter than the TV screen I was playing on, it's sometimes hard to see what's going on.

In other words, try not to laugh too hard when I waste time walking into wallks and getting stuck in corners.

Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (Part 44): Sheik's Last Name Is Chicka-Chicka-Boom-Boom


Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (Part 45): Bottom of the Well



Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (Part 46): Hover Boots



Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (Part 47): Giant Stone Crusher Thingies...Now with Spikes!


Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (Part 48): Shadow! Shadooow!


Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (Part 49): Bongo-Bongo


In all of these videos (except the first), I shout, "Shadow! Shadooooooow!". That's my imitation of Chance towards the end of Homeward Bound. Have people seen that movie? I think my referencing it is going to confuse everyone.

I'm going on retreat next week, so you won't hear from me until Friday! Gee, I wonder what kind of a retreat it is. I sure hope it's not a silent retreat. I don't know if I can stop talking for five whole days.