Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Back to the Future 4

Here's a bit of random news, everyone.

Recently, rumors cropped up about a Back to the Future 4 movie being in production, starring Justin Bieber. I don't know where the rumors came from, but because of them, "Back to the Future 4" is being Googled like crazy.

If you Google the term yourself, you'll notice that the third website listed is an old joke article I wrote about the movie for a column called "Fabricated News".

So now my old article is getting a hundred plus views a day, thanks to Justin Bieber. I'd like to think this is his way of thanking me for writing a "Fabricated News" column about him two weeks ago. Thanks, Justin!

Monday, August 30, 2010

School

School officially started today, although I had to move in early to meet with the academic dean. See, my schedule is kind of strange this year, because I already have credits for two of the courses (Ethics and Augustine). The dean and I decided that in their place, I will take Spanish 2 and an independent study on the writings of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (AKA Pope Benedict the Sixteenth).

It's not a perfect solution to my scheduling weirdness--for example, I have no classes whatsoever on Fridays--but it's probably the best solution we could come up with, besides for having me skip a grade.

There are a lot of new guys this year, which is delightful, but it strains my poor memory to learn all the names of the 34 new people. I think I know about...three of them.

Much to my dismay, it seems that the person who moved in next door to me likes to play loud techno music. Either that, or the person two rooms away likes to play extremely loud techno music. Either way, I have to deal with someone else's music at times. If this becomes a problem, I'll probably spend all my study time in the library, and not in my room.

The only class I've had so far is Philosophy of Evil, which seems like it will be interesting. It'll basically involve going through various philosophers and what they have to say about evil. We start off with Kant, which should be interesting, because his ethical system doesn't seem to allow for the existence of good and evil as positive/negative forces in the world. Then we move onto Neitzsche, and I can only guess at what nonsense he had to say on the subject. It'd be a good opportunity to show some systematic consistency for once and relate it to his ubermensch theory, but I'm guessing he's going to rant against Christians and Jews again.

I have three classes tomorrow, including the only class I have the books for. I wonder what they'll be like.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Final Nancy Drew: Secrets Can Kill Remastered Videos

All right, so here are the last two videos for Nancy Drew: Secrets Can Kill Remastered. I was expecting to put both videos up at the same time, but they actually ended up being several hours apart. That's kind of unfortunate, because the first video ends at the very moment before the culprit's identity is revealed.

Q: How did people handle this cliffhanger?
A: Not well.





I also made a video of the different death sequences in the game. I think it's kind of morbid that people like to see Nancy die over and over and over again.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Two More Videos

I have two more Nancy Drew: Secrets Can Kill Remastered videos today. Only two more, and I'm finished with the game!





I moved back to school today, and I'll talk about that more once I stop with these video posts and get back to text-based posts.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

More Videos

I've got more videos for Nancy Drew: Secrets Can Kill. Now, some people have wondered, "Michael, are you more quiet in these videos?", and the answer is YES. Thanks to audio editing, the audio now plays at 80% sound levels, instead of the speaker-breaking 100% volume. At parts where the sound is super-loud, I lower it to 60%.

See, I can't see the sound levels while recording. So, oftentimes, I break the sound levels (ie. go over 100%), which sounds really bad because it always involves the crackling sound of my speakers being attacked. Thanks to lowering the volume in editing, I'm able to avoid this problem all together.

As I said about music recently, sometimes quieter is better.



Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Two Videos

Okay, so I finished the first two videos for Nancy Drew: Secrets Can Kill Remastered.





Today was kind of busy. It was move-out of my summer place and move-in to school day. A lot of packing was involved. Somehow, I managed to acquire ten or so books over the summer, and I have no idea where I'm going to put them all.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Greatest Blog Post Of All Time!!!!!! (Ever)

Fifteen awesomeness points to "anonymous" who commented on my last blog post and told me to change the frame rates. That fixed the problem!

All righty, so, my friend Nathaniel tells me that the movie AVATAR (slogan: the greatest adventure of all time) is going back into the movie theaters, and wait, what? The greatest adventure of all time? Really? And why is the movie title in ALL CAPS? Are they imitating the TV show, JONAS?

No, wait, I'm sorry, I'm told that's not the name of the show. I meant to say Disney Channel show JONAS.

No, wait, I'm sorry again. I meant Disney Channel Original show.

No, wait, I'm sorry again, by jingo. I mean the Disney Channel Original Hit Show, which is now the Disney Channel Original Sensation, JONAS. It's so awesome that Season Two of the show is not called JONAS Season Two, because that would be lame. Instead, it needs MORE CAPITAL LETTERS to signify the awesomeness that is the Jonas Brothers Show. That's right, it needs to be called JONAS L.A.

Stay tuned for Season Three--I mean, Season Three of the WORLD-WIDE, BLOCKBUSTER EXPERIENCE--which will probably contain even more capital letters. Rumor has it that it will be called OMG LOL JONAS L.A. Ph.D BBQ.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah. I've noticed that a lot of shows today over-promote themselves to ridiculous degrees. Particularly AVATAR: The Greatest Adventure of All Time. I have not seen this movie, nor do I want to see it. I do not like being told that there is nothing more meaningful I can do with my life than watching a movie over and over again. That is an out-and-out lie.

From what I'm told, this movie has very extensive special effects. The computer effects are so realistic that--

*Yawn*

I'm tired of special effects. They're not really that special anymore. Practically every movie boasts having great special effects, especially with the 3D Movie Attack that has been going on what feels like forever. I think all these movies whose main selling point is fancy special effects will disappear into obscurity ten years from now, when there are NEW fancy special effects.

In conclusion, I would like it if movies and TV stopped puffing themselves up so much. Thank you.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Question

You know how sometimes you spend an hour recording a video walkthrough, and the final video is perfectly fine, but when you upload it to Youtube, the audio and video magically de-sync? And then you spend the entire day trying different things to make the video to appear properly, but nothing works, so you'll just have to re-record the whole thing?

I don't like it when that happens.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Car Repairs

I went to my parents' house yesterday, and Dad demanded to look at my car's tires. I don't know why. You know how some people wake up in the morning, and the first thing they want to do is have a cup of coffee? My dad wakes up in the morning, and the first thing he wants to do is check his son's tires. He's strange like that.

It's apparently a good thing he did so, because three of the tires are very thin. In fact, they are ready for retirement. The back/left tire is clearly a slacker who has not been doing his job, because that tire was almost brand new, even though it was put on at the same time as the other tires. I have no idea how this is the case.

So, first thing this morning, I had to take the car into Wheel Works to have them replace the tires, which are still under the 50,000 mile warantee. It should have been simple, but the man at the counter insisted that the car was NOT under warantee, because the tires have not been rotated for maximum efficiency.

I was confused, because my car tires rotate all the time. In fact, it's kind of impossible to drive a car if the tires don't rotate. The car repairman said that "rotating the tires" means "switching the back and front tires every 5,000 miles". He says this reduces wear and tear on the tires, because they don't get used as often, although I clearly use all four tires at the same time, no matter what tire is on what wheel. However, as previously stated, the tire in the back/left position is a slacker that doesn't do any work at all, so I guess where the tires are does make a difference after all.

Anyway, I told the man with the fake British accent to give me new tires, and I said I'd be back at noon. I left my car there, and carpooled to work. When noon rolled around, the car guys said they fixed the tires, but whuh-oh-oh, there's a new problem! Some obscure car part which I think they made up on the spot--it sounds like "spooder"--is off! They'll have to replace that for $400. Come back at six o'clock.

I showed up at six o'clock, and wouldn't you know it, another car piece isn't working, by jingo! This time, it's the brake cable. That'll be another $400 and could I please pay them right now, even though the car isn't fixed yet?

Dad is very mad right now, because he insisted on handling the whole transaction despite the fact that he wasn't actually there. We had to phone him to let him know what was happening. It probably would have been easier to put Dad on the phone with the car repairmen.

So right now, I'm scheduled to pick up the car tomorrow, and I have to pay them $1300, provided they don't find anything else wrong with the car, like a non-rotating spleeder or a distinct lack of Justin Bieber CDs, in which case, I'll have to sign a contract giving them my first-born child.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Three Nancy Drew Things

1. There's a new Nancy Drew newsletter with a release date for the next game. Read read read read!

2. There's a new video interview with staff members from the first Nancy Drew: Secrets Can Kill. Watch watch watch watch!

3. I'm not making this up, but the newest Nancy Drew comic book is going to be called Nancy Drew: Vampire Slayer. They have a picture of Nancy with a crossbow on the cover, and I'm pretty sure this is either a prank, or the greatest Nancy Drew/Buffy crossover story ever.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

!!!

Here's my favorite part of Nancy Drew: Secrets Can Kill Remastered. In the room with Connie, you can zoom in on a bulletin board and see this:



That's me in September. Winning contests is awesome!

Music

I don't really listen to music anymore.

My college had an on-campus late night hangout where you could get food until 2:00 AM. I went there every night to get a chicken quesadilla, and about 70% of the time, there was a band or DJ playing onstage. Most of it hurt my ears, and I often wished the people could go away and take their bad music elsewhere, so I could eat my food in peace.

I suffered through the music almost every night for a several months, and after analyzing the results, I think I determined the problem.

Loud music does not equal good music.

Yes, that's the root of the problem. The bands and DJs all played with the speaker system on maximum. Some prankster must have told them that everyone loves it when the music is so loud that you can't actually hear the singer(s). Instead, all you can hear is BAM BAM BOOM BAM CHI-CHOW WOW WINGALING WOOOM!

It's kind of bad when I can see the singing screaming into the microphone, but I can't actually hear the singer. Although, if the singer is screaming instead of singing, not being able to hear him might be a good thing.

I think that must be why I don't like hip hop music very much. People like to play their hip hop music so loudly that it can stun a buffalo. I prefer soft music to loud music. In fact, now that I think about it, I usually play my TV at less than a fourth of maximum volume. I guess I just don't like loud things.

Anyway, that's why I don't really listen to music anymore. On the whole, it's too loud. Also, a lot of so-called "musicians" don't actually play instruments, which confuses me.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Nancy Drew: Secrets Can Kill

I finished playing Nancy Drew: Secrets Can Kill today. It was okay; I kinda got stuck for an hour because I missed something in the Teacher's Lounge, so I didn't have as much fun as I could have had. I'll probably enjoy it more when I replay it.

I'm guessing that the main complaint about this game will be, "It's too short". The original game was short; I'm told that you can speedrun Secrets Can Kill in under a half-hour. So naturally, the remake is short as well. Even though there are new things in the remake, like a new character and new puzzles, there isn't anything which magically adds a half-hour to the overall game length.

I want to go through the credits and check out the voice actors, to see if any of the original voice actors reprised their roles for the remakes. Hal Tanaka sounds exactly the way I remember him, and I suspect that they purposely didn't change a single one of Hal's lines so they could copy/paste the original audio files for Hal.

I'm not sure when I'll have time to record a video walkthrough. For the next three days, I'm working on cleanup duty at a house in the city. I haven't been to the house yet, so I'm not sure how it got so dirty that it'll take three days for me and ten other guys to clean it up. I guess it'll be a surprise.

Nancy Drew Rap

All right! I officially decided to put up both copies of the Nancy Drew rap. That way, the people who don't want the villains' identities spoiled can still enjoy the song. Thanks for all your help, everyone!

Now, onto playing Secrets Can Kill Remastered. I have seen my picture in the game, and it looks great! I still haven't beaten the game, though.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Nancy Drew Rap: Music Video

Okay, I made two music videos for the Nancy Drew rap.

Video #1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-g-q3UK4BYg
Video #2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ecjZcQkXcME

Video #1 has scenes from Secrets Can Kill, whereas Video #2 has scenes from all the Nancy Drew games. Which video do you guys think I should go with? I'll let you decide, and delete the one that isn't chosen.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Nancy Drew Rap

Hey, everyone! I've got a special blog-exclusive video.

On my last blog post, Cat asked me to look around in the sound files for Secrets Can Kill, in hopes of finding some kind of rap song.

Long story short...

I found it.

Of course, such an awesome song requires an awesome music video, with clips from the different Nancy Drew games. Please, share your suggestions as to which video clips I should use.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Three Things

1. I read Artemis Fowl: The Atlantis Complex twice after it came out this month. It's a good book, but my initial reaction was "there's not enough Artemis in it". He's pretty much absent in Chapters 2 through 5, because he's unconscious for one chapter, Orion Fowl takes over Artemis role for another, and the other two chapters are Butler and Juliet having adventures on the other side of the world.

Yes, Juliet is back. I liked the chapters starring Butler and Juliet, mainly because they let us see the big brother side of Butler that we rarely get to see. For a big scary guy, Butler's just an old softie.

I liked the book better the second time around, though, when I knew what was going to happen.

2. Nancy Drew: Secrets Can Kill Remastered starts being delivered this week, according to the last Nancy Drew newsletter. I'm looking forward to my copy!

I checked out a copy of the original game from the library, just in case. Maybe I should make my own video that compares the original game to the re-release. That could be interesting!

3. I went to the teen meeting last Sunday. One of the girls there is named Capella, but she says I'm the first person to ever shout, "Do it, Rockapella!" at her.

For those of you who don't know, at the end of every episode of Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?, the studio audience would shout, "Do it, Rockapella!". At that point, the band would sing the theme song while the ending credits played. Sort of like this:



I still have Rockapella's "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?" tape.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Mini-Vacation

My mini-vacation is over now. I got to do a lot of things.

  1. I gave a speech on vocations to the YLI. I didn't finish writing the second half of the speech, but I knew what I wanted to say, so it came out pretty well. Everyone liked it, anyway.
  2. My sisters and I met up with our aunt, who just returned from Singapore. This is the first time we've seen her all year.
  3. I took Snickers (the dog) for a lot of walks. I now have dog hair all over my clothes.
  4. I watched many episodes of Big Time Rush, which is now my favorite show on Nickelodeon. If you haven't seen it, it's a funny/random show about a band that's trying to produce their first album. I really like it, but I tend to mute the show when they start singing.
  5. See all the people at home for the first time in two months.
  6. I read a book from start to finish.
  7. I came really close to finishing Super Mario Galaxy 2.

However, there are also things I didn't get to do, such as...

  1. Play piano.
  2. Draw a picture. I have Rough Draft #1 of the picture done, so I need to hurry up and finish Rough Draft #2.
  3. Record something with my friend Paul, due to technical difficulties (ie. no sound).
  4. Get in contact with my friend who is near-impossible to get in contact with.
And tomorrow, I go back to work. I get to start off with all the work that piled up in my absence. Before I left for vacation, I called seven people and asked them to deliver their reports to my office; hopefully, they've all done so.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Movies

I am told that Selena Gomez cannot play the role of Ramona in Beezus and Ramona, because Ramona is about six years old in that book, and Selena is eighteen. This strikes me as a very good reason.

I am still kind of upset that Judy Garland played Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, because she was 17, and therefore way too old to play a twelve-year-old. I probably would have given the role to Shirley Temple, who was 11 at the time. Plus, Shirley did a good job co-starring with Frank Morgan (who played the Wizard) in Dimples, three years earlier.



(Mom made me watch Dimples, which is how I know about it.)

The Wizard of Oz is still a great movie, though. I just wonder what it'd be like if the best child actress of all time had the leading role in the best movie of all time.

Even if The Wizard of Oz is the best movie of all time like the critics say, it's not even close to being my favorite kids movie. That's because, when I was a kid, my sister and I only watched animated Disney movies. Mom says our favorite was Lady and the Tramp, and we watched it at least once a week for a few years.

Today, I couldn't even tell you the names of the various characters in that movie, besides Lady and Tramp. Either Mom is exaggerating, or my memory is horrible.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Beezus and Ramona

I heard through the grapevine that there's a Beezus and Ramona movie starring Selena Gomez. My first reaction was, "Great! She's perfect for that role!"

...Then I got told at Selena is playing Beezus, and I decided not to see the movie.

I'm not a big fan of Selena Gomez, but from what I've seen of her, she generally plays a sneaky character who insults the other characters while the studio audience laughs. Therefore, I think it's time to bring out the type-casting chart to determine which role Selena should have.


 BeezusRamonaSelena Gomez
Responsible older sisterYesNo?
TroublemakerNoYesYes


Clearly, Selena should play Ramona. Their names are really similar, even!

Beezus and Ramona is my favorite book of the Ramona series, kind of because it doesn't have a lot of Ramona in it. Don't get me wrong; I like Ramona, but I like Beezus better. Reading that book made me want to be best friends with Beezus. I'm pretty sure that even if Beezus and Ramona is the worst movie ever, I'd still like if they got Beezus right.

Only I'm not going to see it now, because I think Selena Gomez is all wrong for Beezus.

Actually, I know one girl who I want to call "Beezus" because she basically looks exactly the way I always thought Beezus looked. She even has the perfect Beezus hairdo, which is pretty tough to pull off, because I imagine Beezus' hairdo is rather similiar to the hairdo that Edgar Martin used when drawing the teenage version of Pug (the character I used in Pug's Adventures).



Actually, speaking of Pug's Adventures...did all of my Pug's Adventures comic strips magically disappear recently, or is my computer just being strange?

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Mini-Vacation, Mario

I'm taking a mini-vacation this week. Mom and Dad are going out of state, so they need someone to stay at our house and take care of Snickers (the dog). That means I have to drop whatever I'm doing and start watching the dog. Boy, it sure is nice to feel wanted at my house!



I also need to keep an eye on my little sister, the one who just got her driver's license. I need to make sure she's fed, and take her out for walks three times a day so she gets enough exercise, and--no wait, that's Snickers. For my sister, I just need to make sure she's fed, even though I'm pretty sure she knows how to get food by herself by now.

I said earlier that my sister wants a new car. Well, scratch that. She has a new car: a 2007 Jeep. That's right; Dad got a car for my sister after she got her license.

Dad did not get me a new car when I got my license; I got grandma's old 1992 Honda. When my other sister got a license, she got a hand-me-down car, too. But somehow Miss Baby of the Family gets a new car without having to work for it. Totally unfair!

Harrumph.

Anyway, I reached the end of Super Mario Galaxy 2! It's about a fifteen-minute level, with a boss battle against Bowser.



And here's the ending which follows:



There are about fifteen more stars, including the Super Difficult Special Stars. I tried getting a few of them, and it was quite a challenge. I think I might want to stop playing the game here, instead of chasing after the tough special stars.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Secrets Can Kill

More information on Nancy Drew: Secrets Can Kill Remastered. Her Interactive has written all about the process of choosing a cover. It's pretty interesting to see the different changes that the cover went through.

Unfortunately, it looks like I'm wrong about Lucas from Days of Our Lives being on the cover. The person who's holding the football on the cover is Hector, the football player. Who knew?

Oh, and there's a new trailer that shows off the differences between the original version and the newer game:

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Of GameStop and Shrink Wrap

I had to go to GameStop to trade in some old games recently. The woman at the counter, after telling the other employee to run some old games through the shrink wrap machine they have in the back, took my stack of games and started scanning them to see how much they were worth.

She stopped when she got to a copy of James Pond: Robocod (DS) that I got as a gift, but never got around to playing.

“We can’t accept this,” she said.

“Why not?” I asked.

“We don’t accept any games that are shrink-wrapped,” she explained.

“Why not?” I asked again.

The lady gave me a very serious look, like she somehow suspected me of robbing the local Best Buy and trying to fence my stolen goods for 53 cents of trade-in credit at GameStop. “It’s company policy,” she said. “We can’t tell if a game is new or not, just based off the shrink wrap. We’ve had incidents in the past where people ran a used game through shrink wrap, and they tried to sell it to us as a new game, so they could get more credit for it.”

“But…you have a shrink wrap machine here in the store,” I said. “You just told that guy to run some games through it.”

“So?” she asked.

“…Isn’t that the same thing?” I asked. “You’re running old games through shrink wrap to make them look new.”

She blinked, not understanding my point. “Right, company policy dictates that we can’t accept trade-ins on shrink-wrapped games. Sorry.”

“OK,” I said.

There was a pause.

“Hey, wait a second!” I said, smiling. “I just remembered that I have a second copy of this game! One that’s not shrink-wrapped! Let me go get it.”

I took the offensive, shrink-wrapped James Pond game behind a shelf where the lady couldn’t see me rip off the shrink wrap. Twenty seconds later, I emerged with a non-offensive, not shrink-wrapped copy of the game. She accepted it right away and gave me my precious 53 cents of trade-in credit.

After I had traded in all my old games and purchased a new DSi, I started to leave the store. Then I turned around and looked at the lady.

“By the way, I noticed that there’s some shrink wrap on the floor behind that shelf there,” I said, pointing. “You might want to clean that up.”

“I’ll get Josh on it right after he finishes with the new Madden games,” she said.

“Great,” I smiled.

---

The above story is about 80% true; I changed the ending to make it funnier. In reality, she acted like she was doing me the biggest favor in the world by accepting the game as trade-in credit. But still. GameStop, your company policies about shrink-wrapping games are completely bogus.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

3D

I get the feeling I've talked about this before, but I'll say it again: I'm one of the people who doesn't see 3D movies. It's mainly because I think the idea of fake 3D is kind of stupid, but also because it costs extra money and hurts your eyes. My eyes are kind of sensitive to stuff like that, just from all the reading I've done in Greek. Squiggly letters in small print aren't friendly on the eyes.

Another problem with 3D is that movie theaters--at least, the ones around here--are really behind the times, technology-wise. Maybe 3D and HD and WhateverD looks good on an all-digital twenty-foot plasma screen, but we don't have those. We still have the exact same screens that they used when the theater opened decades ago. They're old and dusty and not going to be replaced anytime soon.

Also, the theater still uses a projector that takes film. Film projectors. That is seriously outdated technology, by jingo. And of course, the projector makes little scratches and things on the film, which is why when you're watching a movie, occassionally you see a little blob of nothing in the upper/right, even though the movie reel is brand new.

To be honest, though, even if I saw a 3D movie on a top-of-the-line Blu-Ray quality screen, I probably still wouldn't think of it as anything other than a gimmick. I just...can't think of a situation that calls for fake 3D. I could understand wanting to colorize the old Shirley Temple movies, for example, but I couldn't understand wanting to put them in 3D.

Which brings me to videogames. Nintendo is coming out with a new system called the 3DS, which is in...dun dun dun...3D! All the reviews so far say that the 3D works great/perfectly/better than the US economy. But...they can't show us any pictures of it.

The 3DS comes with a slider that controls the 3D effect. You can turn it on full or you can turn it off completely. The way I see it, there are two ways this is possible.

1. Each game will come with a 3D version and a 2D version. That seems like it could be a lot of work for programmers.

2. The slider controls the depth of the 3D projection. Say, the full 3D effect is four inches. Turning the slider to halfway makes it project two inches. Turning it off will make it project a really short distance, like a milimeter, so it looks like the effect is off, even though it's not.

Either way, the fact that you can play the 3D games in non-3D brings up a question: how important is it to have the 3D effect? It can't be absolutely necessary to the gameplay, because you can play the games without it. So...if it's not absolutely necessary, why is it there? Is it just a gimmick, or is it really important?

I'm trying to think of a situation where 3D effects would be absolutely necessary, but I can't think of any so far. Oh well.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Nancy Drew: Secrets Can Kill

Two new bits of information about Nancy Drew: Secrets Can Kill Remastered. On Wednesday, we were shown three pieces of concept art. Well, it looks like the one that was chosen is...drumroll please...Number Two!

Here's a pretty big picture of the cover. It makes me think of three things right off the bat.

1. The football player looks like Lucas from Days of Our Lives.
2. I do not recognize the other characters on the cover. Presumably, they are just people on the cover who are not in the actual game.
3. Did I mention the football player looks like Lucas?

Feel free to comment on who you think the characters are (hint: one of them is Lucas), on the cover itself, or anything like that. Is this the game that is going to have my picture in it? I sure hope so!

The second thing about this game is that it's available for pre-order now on the Nancy Drew website. Woo hoo!