Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Video #1000

As some people have noticed, I'm on video #990 on Youtube.  I should probably do something special for video #1000?  Any ideas?  Maybe a clip show video?  Or another vlog?  Or something else?  Let me know!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Impaired Closed Captioning

Here's an interesting article. You know how Youtube offers closed captioning for some of its videos--closed captioning that almost never gets anything right?

Well, my friend Nathaniel Hoover went through our playthrough of Super Mario Bros. 2, and he came up with pictures of some of the ridiculous closed captioning screens.

The weirdest closed captioning mistake, in my opinion, is this one here. I was singing a Christmas song--Leroy Anderson's Sleigh Ride--but Youtube I was talking about enslaving other people:



Youtube, why do your closed captions make me sound like a horrible person?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Snickers Reappears!

Long-time fans of my videos will remember my dog Snickers, who occasionally appeared in my videos a few years ago because he likes to bark randomly when I do video commentary.  When I moved out of the house, Snickers stopped showing up in the videos.

Well, I just thought I'd do a little commentary for Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask while I was at home for the Thanksgiving holiday, and guess who started barking at 4:44?



Snickers missed being on the Internet, apparently.

Snickers is a pretty big dog.  He is a 105 pound Rhodesian Ridgeback, and not a lot of animals try to mess with him.  But during the break, Snickers was randomly attacked by a St. Bernard, who bit the back of his neck. You can still see the wound, and Snickers is now really sad.  He spends a lot of time hiding, and he doesn't eat as much. Poor Snicks.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Black Friday Sales

I'm not the shopping type, but I couldn't help but all the "super great sales" this week are not, in fact, "super great".

For example, the Apple iPod Touch is being sold at the low, low price of $295, instead of its normal price, $299.  Four dollars off?  It still costs more than two of my monthly paychecks.  And the stores only have four of them available for purchase, because otherwise, they'd could go broke from selling their merchandise for pratically nothing.

So, yeah, those are all the big deals this year.  Two dollars off on the $300 items, like TVs. Nothing else is on sale. The big news story around here is that people are paying for their items in cash, not credit card.  That's because everyone is still in massive debt because no one has had a job since they were fired in 2008.  (Thanks again for fixing the economy like you promised, President Obama!)

Now, maybe it's just me, but when you're worried about avoiding debt, perhaps buying a $300 TV is not the right way to go.

In videogame shopping news, which is really the only shopping news I paid attention to, the big game deals are...none.  There were no big deals.  The ads just promised certain games would be in stock, at full price.  Wahoo!

Only about five games were on sale this year, and they're all on the list of the top ten bestselling games. It's kind of funny to see the companies brag, "This game is selling well because it's a great game!" when the truth is, "This game is selling well because nothing else is on sale!"

I've never liked videogame shopping, to be honest.  Prices are too high, and Nintendo's we never lower our prices policy is not exactly what I call "customer-friendly.  Plus, GameStop has the nasty policy of shrink-wrapping used games and selling them as new, which sounds like fraud to me.  (GameStop, of course, is having a big "give us your used games" sale)

But even if games aren't on sale, the systems are.  This year, there are a lot of bundles, such as Buy a Wii and get two free games or Buy an Xbox 360 and get the Kinect Half-Off.  Those are good deals, I guess, if you don't own those systems already. But what about the loyal customers who have already purchased gaming systems?  They get nothing, which seems unfair.  Why are the videogame companies targeting people who don't play videogames, as opposed to people who do?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving was a little different this year.  Generally, Thanksgiving is a big gathering of all our relatives, but four of the families couldn't make it.  So we had three non-family families come this year.  It was okay, but it still feels weird to not have the cousins there at Thanksgiving.

It was actually kind of a problem that Uncle J---- wasn't there.  He's the only one who knows how to use the weird turkey-cooker they have.  So Dad and R---- spent fifteen minutes outside, trying to figure out the weird thing.  Everyone came to the window to watch them fumble around.  Some people watch football during Thanksgiving; we watch our relatives try to follow a cooking manual.

Then we had fireworks for the halftime entertainment.




Yes, we had fireworks for Thanksgiving. We didn't have them in time for Fourth of July, okay? Besides, they were cool.

Because the food took so long to cook, we watched three episodes of Man VS Food on the TV.  That's a TV show where a guy enters all sorts of crazy eating competitions, like "eat a six pound burger in a half-hour".  One of thte little kids, Cousin Marcus, loves that show.  His parents have trouble getting him to eat sometimes, so they often have to play Marcus VS Food in order to get him to eat everything that's on his plate.

When I was younger, I used to have a Thanksgiving eating competition against my big Cousin J----.  He always won by getting in extra turkey, whereas my strategy was to get in as many bread rolls as possible.  I figured, this year, it was time for me to win my own Thanksgiving eating contest, with the epic showdown of Michael VS Marcus VS Food.  Marcus agreed at first, but then he totally backed out of the competition.  I guess that means I win by default. All right!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

November Newsletter

The Nancy Drew newsletter for November has been released.  It's all about how they made the scary scenes in Nancy Drew: Shadow at the Water's Edge.

The newsletter also highlights the various deals they have going on during the holiday season. Some games are half-off, and other games are $10 off, and they're all more fun than a barrel of monkeys!

The deals all start today, and they last until Monday. Personally, I think the Curse of Blackmoor Manor DVD game is looking pretty good.  A potential walkthrough, perhaps?

Speaking of potential walkthroughs, I'm sure some of you blog readers remember that in July, I was experimenting with making a new walkthrough for Nancy Drew: Legend of the Crystal Skull.  Good news!  I'm told that the necessary computer programs (for the fancy new recording style I want to try out) are finally working!  I'll definitely have to try it out next week to see if it works.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Chatting with Abe Lincoln

There's a website that lets you do an AIM chat with Abraham Lincoln.  Obviously, you don't talk with the real Abraham Lincoln, because he died in the 1860's.  Instead, you talk with a computer program that thinks it's Abraham Lincoln.

I thought this would be somewhat amusing, so I decided to interview Abe for my blog.

Abraham Lincoln: Hello my friend and how are you this fine day?
Michael: I am doing well, Mr. Lincoln. Thank you very much for agreeing to speak with me.
Abraham Lincoln: I am buried in "Lincoln's Tomb" in Oak Ridge Cemetery, Springfield, Illinois. It is the final resting place for me, my wife (Mary Todd Lincoln), and three of our four sons. The monument is owned and administered by the State of Illinois as Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site. you are welcome.
Michael: First off, I think the people here want to know one thing: What is your favorite Nancy Drew game?
Abraham Lincoln: My favorite Nancy Drew game is the best thing since the invention of the electric kettle. Does that surprise you?
Michael: I'm not surprised, but could you be more specific?
Abraham Lincoln: I certainly hope I don't bore you. Tell me about your day.
Michael: I'm the one asking the questions here, Abe. Now please, can you tell us what your favorite game in the Nancy Drew series is?
Abraham Lincoln: You are indeed! You'll meet people who say you aren't, but don't let them intimidate you. Stand up to them and they'll run away.
Michael: ......
Abraham Lincoln:



Michael: Do you like the Curse of Blackmoor Manor?
Abraham Lincoln: I don't know if I like the Curse of Blackmoor Manor. What about you?
Michael: I like it a lot.
Abraham Lincoln: Obama is a gifted and inspirational figure. I have confidence that positive changes will come from his administration.
Michael: What did you think of the newest game, Shadow at the Water's Edge? It's pretty scary, right?
Abraham Lincoln: According to my laptop, I thought of a high mountain with a ruined castle on the top. But is it not likely that there's a bug in the computer?
Michael: So...you didn't get to play Shadow at the Water's Edge?
Abraham Lincoln: Good. I was enjoying the play, at least the first act.
Michael: But you were disappointed by the ending?
Abraham Lincoln: I was enjoying the play, at least the first act.
Michael: Okay, let's talk about the opposite topic. What do you think the WORST game in the Nancy Drew series is?
Abraham Lincoln: Search me. You should hire a private detective to find out what does me.
Michael: But..Nancy Drew IS a detective, Abe!
Abraham Lincoln: But what? Fancy that, mine too.
Michael: What do you think about Bess and George?
Abraham Lincoln: I'm afraid I don't know what my opinion of Bess and George is, but I'll find out.
Michael: What do you think about Nancy's boyfriend, Ned Nickerson?
Abraham Lincoln: I am uniquely able to understand the pressures of the presidency. I respect his public service, that he is a man of strong convictions and that he seems devoted to his family. Clearly, mistakes have been made. That is not a personal judgement but a fact based upon the economic downturn, national security issues and his low approval ratings nationwide. However, I don't judge him, I'm sure he has done what he felt was in the best interests of the country. Furthermore, I don't know him personally, so I cannot say if I like him or not.
Michael: But Ned isn't the President!
Abraham Lincoln: I was the first President to be photographed. Ominously, John Wilkes Booth can be seen standing close to me in the picture.
Michael: Well, that's almost all the time we have for today. Is there anything you'd like to say to our readers?
Abraham Lincoln: Many have suggested that my mother was born out of wedlock. The common consensus among historians today is that my mother's parents were very likely not married at the time of her birth. My formal education consisted of about 18 months of schooling, but I was largely self-educated and an avid reader. I was also a talented local wrestler and skilled with an axe. I avoided hunting and fishing because I did not like killing animals, even for food. At 6 foot 4 inches (1.93m), I was unusually tall, as well as strong.
Michael: Thank you very much, Mr. President.
Abraham Lincoln: hello Citizen.

Well, that's Abe Lincoln, everyone. He says Nancy Drew is the best thing since the invention of the electric kettle, thinks Ned Nickerson is the President, and he ends conversations with "hello". Clearly, he was a  great President.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Giving Blood

Like I said yesterday, I went to the Bloodmobile to give blood. And unlike last time, I actually made a successful donation!  Last time, the lady thought I was too scared, so she sent me away.

I signed up for an 11:30 AM time slot, so I could get out of class a little early.  They made me fill out a questionnaire, which had a lot of questions about HIV and other blood-related diseases that I don't have. Then, they made me read the two-page disclaimer, which looked like this:

Side effects of giving blood usually last for fifteen minutes, but you must keep your donor information on hand for the next three weeks.  Common side effects include light-headedness, fainting, a sudden desire to play the tuba, and lack of blood.  Drink plenty of fluids, and avoid strenous activities like sports, tap-dancing, and looking up something on Wikipedia.

The doctor leaves you alone while you read the two-page disclaimer, and of course, when I was waiting for the doctor to come back, I was having horrible visions of myself fainting in the middle of dinner, and then getting mashed potatoes all over my face. Having to avoid stairs for the rest of the day seemed like a challenge, too, seeing as I live on the third floor.

Then the doctor came back in to check my blood pressure and temperature and stuff, and he pricked my finger to get a drop of blood, so he could check my hemoglobin.  I believe his exact words were, "Yep, that's hemoglobin, all right.".  The finger-prick isn't all that bad, because it barely cuts into the skin; they only need one drop of blood, so it's a very light prick. I've done this for doctors three times in the past, and it's no big deal.

Well, that was the easy part. Then came the tough part: giving a pint of blood.

Mr. Doctor found the vein in my right arm, and he drew on the vein with blue marker. I've never had anyone draw on my arm before, and let me tell you: it's not the greatest confidence booster in the world when your doctor marks you up with a Sharpee.  He then cleaned up my arm, which erased all of his artwork, and I was wondering why he drew on my arm in the first place when he put the needle in.

My reaction was not, "Ow!", it was more of an annoyed, "Hey, you didn't warn me first!"

The needle doesn't hurt. Instead of feeling painful, it feels more...weird, because you have this needle sticking out of your arm for ten minutes. And the good news is that you feel less than you normally would, because there's not as much blood going through your arm at the moment.

The whole time, the doctor had me squeeze a stress ball, to make sure the blood was pumping. Maybe having a stress ball helped, too.

Eventually, the doctor said I was done, and he removed all the equipment. Then he made me sit in the rest area, which had free food and stickers, which I got to impress all the kids at the local elementary school (they weren't impressed).  After fifteen minutes, I left the bus, and that's basically it, except for me being more light-headed and thirsty for the rest of the day.

In conclusion, giving blood totally doesn't hurt, and you should do it, because it's a great way to help other people and save lives.

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Cool Video

Happy Monday, everyone!  I'm scheduled to give blood today, like I tried to do earlier this year.  I'll let you know tomorrow if I was successful this time around.  Hopefully, I can still give blood even though I was sick last week.

But while I'm in the Bloodmobile, you can enjoy watching this video.  It's a shot-for-shot recreation of the first song in A Goofy Movie.  I watched that movie a lot when I was younger, and it's pretty amazing that people had enough free time to make something like this.



Now just imagine what it'd be like if everyone gave up their Youtube video free time, and instead, they volunteered at a local charity!  Hopefully a soup kitchen, because they're working overtime with food donations during Thanksgiving week--our local group had to do 200 home visits last Saturday.  And St. Vincent de Paul is working overtime with getting jackets for all the homeless people during the winter, too, so they could use a lot of help, too.

Yeah, I know. People aren't going to give up video time to help others. Imagine what it'd be like if they did, though.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Nancy Drew: Secrets Can Kill Speedrun!

Here's my speedrun for Nancy Drew: Secrets Can Kill.  It took me exactly sixteen minutes to beat the game from start to finish.  That's a half-minute improvement over my first attempt at the run



Who knew you could start and end this game in only sixteen minutes?

Planned Parenthood Rosary Rally

Yesterday, I went to Planned Parenthood (the place where they do abortions). We sent a group of seminarians there to pray the rosary outside their building.  We didn't pray outside the entrance to the building; we prayed on the side along the street.

It was interesting.  Some people who were driving by stared at us, and one driver shouted something very mean at us.  But other than that, nothing happened.  We just prayed the rosary and went back home.

I kind of liked it.  I'm not a fan of the protestors who scream in megaphones and carry signs with catchy slogans and/or disgusting pictures.  We weren't there to bug anyone or cause a hassle. We were just there to pray, and that's what we did.  End of story.

Some of the other people are really intense about fighting abortion. Me, I don't have strong feelings on the topic, mainly because when I was younger, everyone said I'm not allowed to have an opinion about abortion because I'm not a woman.  That seems completely unfair to me (not to mention illogical), but that's what people say.

In any case, my opinion about abortion isn't too complicated.  Like I said at the relay for life earlier this year, I'm alive, so I kind of have to be pro-life. Besides, killing another person is intrinsically evil.  Why should it matter if the person you kill is old, young, or going to be born in three days?  It still counts as killing someone.

But even though pro-life ministry isn't my major calling--I'm much better at youth/young adult ministry--I decided to go anyway, because I love the rosary and because I wanted to support my brothers.  I was worried no one else would show up (and some people did bail out), so I made it a specific point to go. I'm pretty sure the first-years who organized the whole thing thought it was a success, so mission accomplished!

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Weird World of Weather

I'm back!  Kind of! My temperature is a little high, but at least I can leave my room and do something besides lie in bed all day long and watch my 6teen DVDs.

The weather here in California is still being weird. Earlier this week, we had a warm front which threw the temperatures up into the high 70's.  A warm front in November? I'm pretty sure this will kill our chances of getting snow this year...for the 200th year in a row.

Thanks a lot, global warming.

Anyway, I know that the weather here is really warm compared to somewhere like Minnesota (which is 35 degrees right now), but it feels really cold now that the warm front is moving out.  It's in the 70's right now, so everyone has large afros and they listen to disco music and...wait, wrong '70's.  What I meant to say is that the weather is dropping back down towards the '50's for the first time this year, so everyone's cold, and no one is having fun.

Plus, it looks like it'll rain soon. I hear that in other places, it rains year-round, but here it only rains during the winter. So, to make up for not raining in spring, summer or fall, it rains four times as hard.  Ugh.  The worst part about the rain is that it freaks out all the people who live here, and it causes huge traffic jams everwhere, guaranteed. Then all the local news stations show footage of people trying to drive through the floods.  When you flip through the channels, it feels like you're watching the flood edition of America's Funniest Home Videos.

Hopefully, the rain will be lighter this year, because it was raining during the summer, which is just plain weird. In any case, I'm pretty sure the weird weather is going to continue until further notice.

...Wait, did I just write a whole blog post about the weather?  I must not be 100% over my fever yet.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Wednesday Blog Post

It's confirmed: I have a fever. Now I'm sort of confined to my room, and I have nothing to do besides watch TV, and that's boring.

But before I got sick, I made the another Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask video. I know a lot of people aren't interested in the Zelda games, but the Zelda fans are really, really excited about it. I'm kind of surprised, actually. I knew Zelda was really popular, but I didn't know that Zelda fans were so intense about the Zelda game that came out ten years ago (which is often accused of being the worst game in the series, even though it's totally not).

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Secrets Can Kill - Speedrun

Does anyone remember six months ago, when I was thinking about doing a speedrun of a Nancy Drew game? I'm curious to see how quickly one of the games can be solved, and what tricks you can use to cut down on time.

I originally wanted to try Nancy Drew: Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon, but that's kind of a long game.  Nancy Drew: Secrets Can Kill Remastered is shorter, so I decided to try that instead.

Fortunately, Nancy is a good detective and she keeps track of everything in her notebook.  I went through the game and the to-do list several times, in order to figure out what's necessary.  It turns out that there are a lot of things on Nancy's to-do list that you can skip.  For example, you don't need to find the password to Aunt Eloise's computer.  You also don't need to look at everything in Jake's locker. You can get away with only talking to Daryl once. And I know it sounds mean, but you don't have to talk to Detective Beech at all.

So that's the first time saving technique: skipping as much as possible. The other big time saving technique is doing things out of order.  For example, I did things totally backwards and finished all of Connie's plotlines (breaking the soda machine, reading about her kanji medallion) before meeting Connie.  Same thing with Hal's plotline (the plagiarized essay).  By doing things out of order, I managed to save three or so minutes of playing.

I couldn't think of a way to do Hulk's plotlines (learning about his injury and the break-in at the pharmacy) before meeting him, though. That resulted in about half a minute of backtracking, because I had to talk to Hulk twice. Darn.


All in all, my final time was about 16:25.  I beat the game, from beginning to end, in sixteen and a half minutes. Not bad for a game that taks about an hour and a half to beat normally!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Three Things

1. It's the Total Drama World Tour finale tonight, and I am intereseted in seeing who wins!  Will it be Heather, the queen of mean? Alejandro, the series' biggest evil manipulator?  Or will it be Cody, the likeable underdog who has no chance of winning?

Edit: I'm rooting for Heather. She's been the main character this season.
I'm guessing that there are multiple endings to the finale, just like in the last two seasons.  Plus, there's a mystery video called Alternate Ending floating around on the Cartoon Network video webpage. So if I don't like the ending they show on TV, I'll pretend that the alternate ending (with a different winner) is the real one.

2. Is it just me, or is it crazy hot right now? I feel like I have heat stroke, just like I did in February.

The weird thing is that it's about 75 degrees here, so everyone else is wearing long sleeved shirts and sweaters because they're cold.  But I feel like I've been having hot flashes all morning.  I want to lie down with a wet rag on my forehead for a while, but I can't because I have class.

I sure hope I'm not sick.

3. Question time! I was talking to people at breakfast, and they think meal time is family time. In my house, we generally hang out with each other all the time.  But in other houses, the family members only see each other during meals.  Which schema is more common for you--seeing your family members all the time, or seeing them only at meals?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Video Statistics

I was kind of bored today, so I thought I'd check out the Youtube statistics for my video page.  Here's what it says:
  • 80% of viewers are female, 20% are male.
  • The countries that like my videos the most, based on the number of subscribers, are the United States, Canada, the UK, Australia, the Philippines, Romania, Malaysia, Russia, Singapore, and Mexico.  Mexico is in last place?
  • 47% of viewers are ages 12 to 17. 15% are 45-54.  Only 11% is the coveted 18-24 range.
  • My most popular videos are all "Part 1" of their respective walkthroughs, except for Part 3 of Nancy Drew: Ransom of the Seven Ships (the treasure finding puzzle) and Part 4 of Warnings at Waverly Academy (the DNA puzzle).
  • The most popular walkthroughs, as determined by total view counts, are Haunting of Castle Malloy, Ransom of the Seven Ships, Warnings at Waverly Academy, Legend of the Crystal Skull, Curse of Blackmoor Manor, Secret of the Old Clock, and Trail of the Twister.  That's in order of most popular to least popular.
Kind of a random blog entry, but kind of interesting, too.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Random Story Time!

Random story time! I found a random story that is an alternate ending to Nancy Drew: Danger on Deception Island.  In this story, Andy Jason has a crush on Nancy, Joe Hardy is obsessed with cheeseburgers, and Hilda Swenson is a character.

I also found an alternate ending to Nancy Drew: Message in a Haunted Mansion. At the end of that game, Nancy captures the culprit underneath a chandelier. In this story, Nancy stops the culprit by using a different item. It's kind of violent, but it's definitely an original use of the inventory item which showed up in every adventure game during those days.

Those are the only random Nancy Drew stories I have for you today.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day

Happy Veteran's Day! Or, as we used to call it, Armistice Day. I always think of a 1946 Little Orphan Annie strip when I think of Armistice Day.


(Click for full size.)

For those of you who don't know, Armistice Day was a holiday invented to celebrate the end of World War One.  A holiday to celebrate peace, and the end of all wars! That's certainly worth celebrating.

But it turned out that war wasn't over, because many wars happened after World War One.  So they had to change the holiday.  Now it celebrates people who have fought in wars, instead of celebrating peace.  I kind of liked celebrating peace more.

I find it interesting that Annie says that the way to peace is to not try to force other people to think like you...because that's sort of what America did following World War 2, with McCarthyism and such.  Oh well.  I guess Mr. McCarthy didn't read a lot of Little Orphan Annie.

Shadow at the Water's Edge - Bonus Videos

Here are the easter egg and death videos for Nancy Drew: Shadow at the Water's Edge.





I only recorded a few of the death scenes of Nancy being hit by a board, because it takes about five minutes of waiting before the timer runs out.

Thanks to all 500 people who told me I forgot to include the drowning death.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Thanksgiving

Like I said last week, cultural celebrations are very popular here at St. Patrick's.  Next week is a big Vietnamese celebration, but this week, it's America Week!  Not only do we have Veteran's Day tomorrow, but we also have Thanksgiving on Friday.

Okay, so Thanksgiving isn't really this Friday, but we're celebrating it on Friday anyway, because no one is around during Thanksgiving Break.

For Thanksgiving, we decorate the cafeteria, invite other people over, and we have a big meal.  Here's a picture from last year's Thanksgiving celebration, to show you what I mean.


(click picture for larger version)

To celebrate Thanksgiving this year, I set up an American table in one of the hallways here.  For ten years, my family held a Fourth of July parade in our neighborhood, so we still have a lot of America-based decorations.  I covered the table with flags, an Uncle Sam hat, and the ten-year photo album. I also made a poster that shows all the American saints--that's right, both of them are on the poster.  People seemed to like the display, or at least, they liked going through the various pictures, so I'm going to call it a success.

Speaking of pictures, here's the angel picture I used to decorate my Irish table last week.  I drew it myself:


(click picture for larger version)

It's not bad, but I forget why the two wings don't match.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

School Work

Is it the end of the year yet? It feels like it, because my end-of-year presentations are coming up soon.  Normally, classes have the final presentation/paper after Thanksgiving, so you can work on them over the break.  But for some reason, my end-of-year presentations this year all happen before Thanksgiving, i.e. right now.

The presentation for Spanish is about a city of my own choice.  I don't know what city I'll pick yet.  The paper/presentation for Spirituality class is on Celtic Spirituality, which is a fancy way of saying that it's about religion in Ireland during the 300's to the 800's.  The 300's is when Saint Patrick came to Ireland and made religion very interesting there, and the 800's (or whereabouts) is when Britain conquered Ireland.

The presentation for epistemology is comparing and contrasting Plato and Descartes. Plato and Descartes agree--just because you see something on TV, that doesn't mean it's real.  The same thing goes for movies and Wikipedia.  Most other philosophers agree with them.

The paper for Philosophy of Evil class is about evil, which I've been writing about every now and then on this blog.  I'm going to put my blog entries together and hope they make a good paper.

And finally, the paper for my independent study is on a book that I kind of haven't read yet. Or not. We're supposed to read four books for the independent study, but I've only read one, and two chapters of another. I don't know what the paper is going to be like yet.

Anyway, I'm going to get back to my homework now. Bye!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Who Done It - Revisited

Remember two weeks ago, when I asked people to guess who the culprit of Nancy Drew: Shadow at the Water's Edge is?  There were 48 responses.

Well, now that we know who the culprit really is, it's kind of fun to go back and see who was right. Some of the creative theories turned out to be wrong.

Personally, I was amused at the shadow puppets clue.  In the game, Nancy finds a book about shadow puppets, which is a major clue, because the culprit can do shadow puppets.  But...it turns out that it's Rentaro's book, given to Yumi by Miwako at the request of Takae.  So the major clue ends up being not very helpful at all.  I thought that was funny.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Playlist Fun

Good news, everyone! I managed to get Youtube to organize all my Nancy Drew: Shadow at the Water's Edge videos into a convenient playlist.  Now they're not randomly spread out over the Internet.  They're gathered together in one place.

The forty-eight videos I have done fall into these handy categories:
I think I'll make an easter eggs video, a bloopers video and a deaths video sometime in the future. In the meantime, Happy Daylight Savings Time Day!!!  ...Is that a holiday?  I don't think it is.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Blog-Exclusive Video

Hey, blog-reading people! I've got another blog-exclusive video for you--a music video for "The Robot Cat".



The video will be made public whenever I finish my walkthrough for Nancy Drew: Shadow at the Water's Edge--a few days or so--but until then, only the blog-readers will get to see it. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Techno Music Videos

Last night, I tried to record a new video for my Nancy Drew walkthrough, but it wasn't working very well, so I stopped and did some cop-out music videos instead.





It was interesting to go through the various sound files for Nancy Drew: Shadow at the Water's Edge, actually.  Did you know there are five different versions of Nancy saying, "Would you like a phone charm?"?  There are also two different versions of Miwako's mini-speech that goes, "Help?  You want to help?  Look around you, Nancy. This place is beyond help.  Why do you think Yumi left here as soon as she could?  People come here to be scared, and even they can't take it."  I kind of like the version that didn't make it into the game, which is slightly faster.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

It's a Great Day for the Irish

Yesterday, we had a big multicultural celebration for All Souls Day.  Cultural celebrations are very popular here, and there's normally a big cultural celebration for every holiday. Is it the Chinese New Year? Then the Asians do a special thing.  Is it Mexican Independence day?  Then the Hispanics do a special thing.  Is it Veteran's Day?  Then the Americans do...absolutely nothing to celebrate, because we're lazy, and besides, it's a holiday.

Yeah, sometimes it feels like the Americans don't get to join in the cool cultural celebrations.  So when they announced that it was time for a multicultural celebration, I took the initiative and volunteered to set up a display table!

The topic was "how your culture deals with death" because it's for All Souls Day.  I wrote up a short, educational piece on Irish funeral wakes, which are big parties that get thrown whenever someone dies. Other people think it's weird that Irish people throw parties when someone dies, but hey, parties are fun!  Besides, if the entire family has come together in one place, why shouldn't you throw a party?

So I put the piece of paper on my table, and put my Irish cross on top of it.  An Irish cross is just like a normal cross, except it has a circle in the middle. And I said, "Okay, this looks awesome!" I mean, a description and a visual aid? Not bad for a two minute display table.

Then, I saw what the other people did.

The Koreans had a big Korean flag and matching table cloth, with lots of framed photos and fruit.  And the Hispanics decorated the entire wall, with masks and flowers and over thirty candles.  The Vietnamese people brought in a mini-casket, complete with a special flag-sized banner hanging on the wall  Suddenly, my display made up of one piece of paper isn't looking so impressive any more.

So I went to my room and grabbed anything I could find that was Irishy.  The blanket on my bed?  It's kind of green.  That works!  The picture I drew six months ago?  It doesn't have anything to do with Ireland, but it takes up space, so it's going in the display!

In the end, my display was a display table, covered with a blanket, a small cross, the half-page of education information, and three random drawings. The other tables looked like floats in the Rose Bowl parade, and mine looked like it was done by a couple of first graders.  People had amused smiles on their faces when they saw my display, and not just because of the joke on the sheet of paper.

And I'm totally keeping my display up for the rest of the week, because it's awesome.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Are Priests Necessary for Confession?

Recently, Pope Benedict XVI wrote a letter to all seminarians, and in that letter, he discussed many things, including the sacrament of confession. I have received some questions about confession, both in my summary of the Holy Father's letter, and in a brief explanation about confession that I gave later, for the sake of people unfamiliar with that sacrament/sacraments in general.

In particular, people seem to wonder if it is necessary to have a priest for confession.

I haven't taken any sacramental theology courses yet, but I hope I understand why a priest is necessary for confession.  Otherwise, I will certainly do a poor job of hearing confessions, if, by the grace of God, I become a priest.  Therefore, I pray for the guidance of the Holy Virgin Mary, Queen of Confessors, as I try to determine...

Are Priests Necessary for Confession?

Argument 1: It would seem that priests are not necessary for confession, because a person can repent of his or her sins and pray to God, without the aid of a priest. This is sufficient enough to attain God's grace.

Argument 2: Further, the Catholics claim that in the sacrament of confession, a person's sins are forgiven by the priest. But we know that only God can remove sins. A priest is not God, therefore, a priest cannot remove sins. So a priest is not needed for the forgiveness of sins.

Argument 3: In his first letter, Saint John says that, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). He speaks of the necessity of confession, but he does not mention priests. Therefore, priests are unnecessary for confession.

To these arguments, I respond...


On the contrary, Saint Augustine says, "Let no one say to himself, 'I do penance to God in private. I do it before God.' Is it then in vain that Christ has said: 'Whatever you loosen on earth shall be loosened in heaven'? Is it in vain that the keys have been given to the Church? Do we make void the Gospel? Void the words of Christ?"

That the priest is necessary for confession can be reasonably shown from various sources, such as the testimony of the past several thousand years. Primarily, though, we can see it flows directly from the nature of the priest. For we understand that it is only the priest, by virtue of his ordination, who is able to validate the sacraments. Confession is a sacrament; therefore, it must be administered by a priest in order to be valid.

The Lord Jesus himself appointed priests to administer confession, when he commissioned his apostles to go forth and to forgive people's sins in his name. For it is written: "As the Father has sent me, so I send you. Receive the Holy Spirit. Whoever's sins you forgive shall be forgiven, and whoever's sins you retain shall be retained." (John 20:23). And again, Jesus says, "Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loosen on earth will be loosened in heaven" (Matt. 18:18). This power to forgive sins is given to none but the church and its priests. Therefore, it would be folly to think that the forgiveness of sins takes place outside the church, without the aid of priests.

Response, Argument 1: Repentance for sins and the forgiveness of sins are two entirely different things. While true repentance can and does occur without a priest, true forgiveness cannot.

Response, Argument 2: The priest does not forgive sins by his own power, but by God's power working in him. "The confessor is not the master of God's forgiveness, but its servant" (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1466)

Response, Argument 3: In this passage, Saint John argues for the necessity of confession, but he does not explicitly state what form this confession must take, whether it be private prayer, public recitation, or the sacrament of reconciliation. Therefore, his statements cannot be taken as a means to discount or approve any particular form of confession.