Saturday, April 30, 2011

Marriages and Civil Unions

There was a big wedding in Britain this week.  Judging from the reaction of the press, I can only assume that it was Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet who finally got married.  In any case, due to the huge wedding and all the press attention it has received, I have been asked to talk about marriages and civil unions, and the difference between the two.

Marriage is one of the seven sacraments, which are outward signs of God's grace.  Marriages are instituted by the church.  A civil union is a contract between two people.  Civil unions are instituted by the government.  That's the easiest way to tell the difference between the two, although it's a bit harder to see this in a place like Britain, where the government runs the church.

Brace yourselves. I'm about to show a picture from a 1949 catechism.


(click on the picture to see a larger version)

In #1, we see a Catholic wedding between Joseph Goodman and his wife, Mary.  Joseph and Mary are both fully initiated Catholics.  They have, of course, undergone seven months of marriage preparation.  (Note that this is marriage preparation, not wedding preparation.  Some people mistakenly think the wedding ceremony is more impotant than the marriage.)  Their marriage is celebrated during a mass, inside a church, before a validly ordained minister and at least two witnesses.  Jesus and the angels smile upon their wedding.

In #2, we see Paul Agan contracting a civil union before a Justice of the Peace.  Maybe he thinks marriage is just a piece of paper with the words "Mr. and Mrs. P. Agan" on it.  Maybe he hasn't been to church in years, because it cuts in on his football-watching time.  Maybe he doesn't care about marriages at all, and he's being forced into it.  Whatever the reason, he isn't getting married in a church, before a validly ordained minister.  Instead, he's letting the United States Government do the job.  Note that Paul's guardian angel hides her face in shame, and Jesus is decidedly looking the other way.

In the eyes of the Catholic Church, marriage must be performed in front of a validly ordained minister and two witnesses.  That's a general standard, obviously.  There are more requirements, such as "neither the bride or the groom can be married to somebody else", but I won't go into them here.
According to these standards, most civil unions (or "government-appointed marriages", whichever term you prefer) are invalid, at least in the eyes of the church.  A good deal of marriages performed in non-Catholic churches don't count as valid, either.
People may question the Catholic Church's stance on government-appointed marriages, but let us remember that here in the United States, the church and state are separate.  The government, therefore, does not have the right to exert religious authority, especially in matters like marriage. This is why a government-approved marriage is called a "civil union", not a marriage.  The authority the government exerts is merely civil authority, not a religious one.

One final word on the government and marriage.  Catholics should obey the state's laws on marriage, as long as these laws do not contradict the laws of God or the church.  There are some state laws which do contradict the laws of the church, such as the laws on civil divorce.  Citizens are recommended to work to get these laws changed, so our legal system may be more just.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Doctor Appointment

I went to the hospital on a Thursday two weeks ago, for a doctor's appointment.  I just came from class, and I didn't have time to change out of my clerics.
Surprisingly, all the doctors were really interested in my priestly studies.

I get different reactions from people when I wear my clerics in public.  Some people deliberately avoid me, some people are excited to see me, and some people stop and stare. I remember once, at a gas station, one person was pulling out of the pump when he saw me, and he slammed on the brakes, and everyone in the car gathered at the window to stare at me with looks of amusement and unbelief.

They made me feel like an animal in the zoo, to be honest.

The doctors didn't seem to know much about seminaries, which is why I thought it was odd they were so interested in the subject.  Eventually, from the direction of their questions, I figured out why they were so interested: studying to become a priest is a lot like studying to become a doctor.  You have at least six years of specialized schooling, with extensive review processes and the internship year.

Of course, it should come as no surprise that priests and doctors are similar--the priest is a doctor of souls--but I never realized how similar the education process for both professions were until I talked about it with the doctors.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Adventures of Willy Beamish

The video walkthrough for The Adventures of Willy Beamish is complete! Paul and I spent four whole videos, trying to solve the hardest puzzle of the game.

In this final set of videos, we figure out the solution to the puzzle! It turned out that we had the right solution all along. It's just that this game is quite old, so there were technical issues with running it on a new computer.







Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Recording Failures

I've had a few video recording failures recently.  People never get to see these bad videos, but I thought it might be interesting if I described them.

#1.  I started a video walkthrough for Zack and Wiki: The Curse of Barbaros' Treasure.  This is a game that got great reviews from everyone, but only two people bought copies.  I got to the final world of the game a few years ago, but for some reason, I stopped there.  I figured it'd be interesting to play through it again.

I stopped playing about four levels in, because the motion controls were horrible.  I mean, they are really, really bad.  Maybe they were tolerable three years ago, but now they're not worth fighting.

The four videos I made have since been deleted.  It's not a huge loss.

#2. I tried to go through the frighteningly difficult last stage of Super Mario Galaxy 2 recently.  People have told me that the secret to getting through this stage is by having a second player.  Player 2 will be able to defeat all the enemies, so you don't have to worry about them!

That sounds like a great plan, so I worked extra-hard to get my hands on a second controller. I got to the end of the stage, the part with all the enemies.  Then, I turned the second controller loose on them.

...Nothing.

Attacking enemies as Player 2 doesn't kill them!  At best, it distracts them for only two seconds.  And I was really hoping to kill the enemies as Player 2, to make the challenge easier.

I played the stage for about half an hour, but I didn't win, mostly due to the fact that the secret "Player 2" trick failed. I'll try again, but I'm not sure when.  I need to build up some enthusiasm for another attempt.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The San Jose Sharks Win Round One

My hockey team, the San Jose Sharks, are in the playoffs against the Los Angeles Kings this year.  It's been a crazy series so far, with several games going into overtime.

The good news is that in two games, the Sharks have scored six goals.  The bad news is that they made up for this by not scoring anything in two of the other games.  In Saturday's game, they had fifty-two shots, but only one goal.

Ugh.  Not good, guys!


Yesterday's game was back-and-forth.  No side had a clear lead, and whenever one team scored, the other team seemed to tie it up quickly.  At the end of the game, we got a penalty for charging.  The referee decided it was a really bad charge, even worse than the ones on his credit card bill, so he made it a five minute penalty, instead of the normal two minutes.


The game went into overtime, and shortly after the penalty was over, the team captain scored.  All right!  Now the team will advance to Round Two, where they'll go up against [opponent unknown].  My playoff beard lives to see another week!  Hopefully in this round, they'll be more consistent about their level of play, instead of fluctuating from game to game.

Monday, April 25, 2011

April Newsletter

We just got the Nancy Drew newsletter for April!  It looks like they're promoting their digital store, a demo of the Nancy Drew iPhone game, and their latest contest.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Videogame Review: Jumble Madness (DS)

I recently purchased Jumble Madness, because of Brain Age 2.  You know how one of the brain-testing games is basically an anagram challenge?  I really liked that game, for about five minutes, until I realized that every time I wrote an "e", the game thought I wrote a "y".  Or a "o".  Or possibly a "ë".  The game never thought I wrote an "e", and that's why Brain Age is horrible.

Brain Age has the same problem with the microphone challenges. Here's a live transcript of me playing the game.

Brain Age: Speak the color of the word into the microphone.
Michael: Red.
Brain Age: Good. Now the next color.
Michael: Blue.
Brain Age: Incorrect. Try again.
Michael: Blue.
Brain Age: Incorrect. Try again.
Michael: BLUE!
Brain Age: Incorrect. Try again.
Michael: Blue blue blue blue blue!
Brain Age: Incorrect. Try again.
Michael: This is the worst game ever!  Whoever made this game, forget YOU!
Brain Age: Correct!  The answer is "Blue".

For some reason, the game picked up on the "oo" sound of "you", but not the "oo" sound of "blue".

--===--

Wait a minute, which game am I reviewing again?  Right, Jumble Madness.  Thanks to my experiences with Brain Age 2, I knew that Jumble Madness had the potential to be a great game, only if it didn't have a horrible interface.

Have no fear, everyone!  The interface when solving puzzles is great.  Just click and drag letters to the answer box, and you can easily change letters around.  The only possible downside is that it's way too easy to abuse the hint button, but other than that, it's the interface I was dreaming of when I played Brain Age 2.

Here's the problem with the game, though.  Solving puzzles is great, and the interface works perfectly.  But the puzzle selection screen?  ...Not so much.  It is, without a doubt, the stupidest puzzle selection interface I've ever seen.

It's...a giant calendar.

Instead of playing Puzzle #1, then Puzzle #2, and so on until Puzzle #500, you play Puzzle January 1, 2008, then Puzzle January 2, 2008 and so on until Puzzle December 31, 2010, where I'm guessing the whole cycle repeats.  It's a really clunky interface, and it takes forever to find a specific puzzle.

Is it wrong of me to hate this game because of the calendar interface?  It's not that bad, but it ruined the game for me, and now I never want to play the game again.  If only it had a normal puzzle selection interface, I would give it a high rating as a decent casual game.  But the interface is a real game-breaker for me, and it stops my casual gaming fun.

--===--

The game has two other modes.  There's Jumble Crosswords, which is a crossword puzzle made up of eight Jumbled words.  It's an interesting concept, and it'd be a lot of fun, but it has the same "write your answer on the touch screen" interface as Brain Age 2.  The writing interface which never recognizes it when you write the letter "e", so it's pretty much useless.  Combine that with the calendar interface, and you get a mode I never play.


The other mode is Jumble Jong.  Jumble Jong is Scrabble meets Mahjong.  Basically, you pick letter tiles off the board to spell words, but the tiles are arranged like Mahjong tiles, so you can only get a few at a time.  It's kind of weird, and it doesn't really have anything at all to do with Jumbles. I'm not sure why they put it in the game.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

This Week's News

In the news this week, many bad things have happened.
  • Gas prices continue to be at crazy levels.  Now it's at least $4, in pretty much every state.  All tourist locations have seen a 30 to 40% drop in the number of tourists, and that number is expected to increase when summer begins.
  • President Obama is setting up a special task force to investigate the oil market and make sure everything is A-OK there, because those gas prices are ridiculous.
  • It'd be really great if President Obama could, I dunno, impose Super Taxes or something on the oil/gas people, because they're making record profits and that would certainly help out the US Budget Crisis.  Just a suggestion.
  • Fast food companies, in a group, decided to raise their prices, due to the bad economy.  By my count, this is the second time they've done this.  I'm not an economist by any means, but I'm going to take a wild guess and say that fast food company profits are down, because due to the high gas prices, no one can afford to use a drive-thru.
  • In tech news, Apple is in a bit of a tough spot.  Their iPhones and iPads all have tracking devices in them, and people just discovered the file that keeps a record of every single location the phone has been, as well as when the phone was there.  It's a pretty well-encrypted file, but still, people don't like the idea of Apple keeping track of everywhere they go.

So that's the news. It wasn't a very good week, apparently.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Ocarina of Time: 3D

Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D comes out on July 12th.  I'm kind of excited for the game, but so far, none of the advance previews look very good.

I've read three or so articles that preview the game, and they all rave about the new graphics.  The reviewers rant and rave about how the graphics are new and totally different from the original, but to be honest, I don't see it.  I've seen the pictures of the game, and from what I can tell, it's an exact remake of the original game, just like Super Mario 64 DS or Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition.  The graphics are updated, to be sure, but the game is still exactly the same as the original.  There have been no screenshots released of any new scenes or characters or enemies; it all looks just like the original game, with newer graphics.

This brings up the question, "What is new about this game?  Is it just the original game with nicer graphics?"  So far, we have learned that there are three new things:

  1. Ocarina of Time: Master Quest.  This is an alternate version of the game that was released on the GameCube. Basically, it's the same game with slightly modified dungeons.
  2. Boss Battle Mode, where you can refight any boss or fight all the bosses at once.
  3. The Super Guide, from New Super Mario Bros. Wii and Super Mario Galaxy 2, where the game basically plays itself for you, in case you're totally stuck and don't know what to do next.

Of course, no matter what the game is like, everyone is going to give Ocarina of Time 3D a 10 out of 10 rating.  I wouldn't mind playing the game myself, but since I don't own a 3DS, and I'm not going to purchase one at any time in the foreseeable future, I guess I'll sit this game out for now.


Those of you who are interested in the original Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time should check out my surprisingly popular video walkthrough for this game.  I say "surprisingly popular" because there at least fifty walkthroughs for this game in existence.  I never thought my walkthrough would get a lot of playtime in the face of so much "competition".

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Soap Operas

Two soap operas that have been on the air for over forty years--All My Children and One Life to Live--have just been cancelled. 

Now ABC has only one soap opera left: General Hospital.  This brings the number of soap operas on TV down to four.

Why are all the soap operas dying?  And more importantly, is my soap opera next?  Clearly, Days of our Lives can't use the "we've been on the air for 45 years" as a defense against cancellation.

ABC is replacing its soap operas with talk shows.  NBC, who runs Days, tried the daytime talk show thing for a while, but it must not have done so well, because the new talk shows were all cancelled.  (As the whole Tonight Show fiasco last year proved, NBC has no idea what they're doing when it comes to talk shows).  So it's unlikely that Days will get the boot just so the network can try out a new talk show.

Some people say no one watches soap operas anymore, due to the Feminist Revolution of the 1970's.  I might not have a PhD in Gender Studies, but unless I'm mistaken...that was 40 years ago.  Why did the 70's wait before cancelling TV shows?

Other people have blamed Facebook or the Internet.  Facebook, so help me, if you get my favorite soap opera kicked off the air, I'll never use you again.

The good news about the other soap operas being cancelled, I guess, is that now more people will watch Days of our Lives, so its ratings will improve, and they won't have to cancel the show. Also, Days can hire some actors from the cancelled soap operas, which actually happens somewhat often in Soap Opera Land. Actors will switch from one soap opera to another, if their contracts don't get renewed.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Super Mario Galaxy 2 - Outtakes

Super Mario Galaxy 2 is a fun game, but the last level is pretty tough. It requires you to do about ten minutes of gaming without any mistakes at all.

I went to the level with 60 lives, figuring that would be enough to get me through to the end.

...I was wrong.



The outtakes video is a full hour of me playing through the galaxy, and failing every single time. The commentary is live, and I ran out of things to talk about after ten minutes, so I talk about all sorts of random topics like Mario Teaches Typing and why I didn't like the Classic NES Games series for the GBA.

The ending to the video, which couldn't have gone better if I had planned it, is me finally making it to the very end of the level, and standing in the safe spot so I can catch my breath for a moment and then kill the final three enemies.

...And somehow, the game cheated, and I got killed. This is in the safe spot where you're not supposed to get killed, ever.

So that's me coming as close as possible to the end of the galaxy, on my second-to-last life, and losing.  It was a fitting end to a video of failure.

I'm going to play this galaxy again, next week, with a surprise strategy which (I hope) will let me actually win without losing.  If not, this will be the final video in the video walkthrough.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Three Things

1.  Recently, there have been rumors of a third Bill and Ted movie, which is pretty bodacious.  That's a ridiculous movie series from twenty years ago, and a third movie would probably be more ridiculous than the other two, just because it's been so long.

2. Easter Break has started, and I'm excited. My Super Mario Galaxy 2 walkthrough is finally going to be finished this week!  (More on that tomorrow--I've got some video outtakes which I think people are really going to enjoy.)

3. I'm using the new version of Internet Explorer...and now I want the old version back. They changed it to make it more like Google Chrome, which I guess is getting popular.  Microsoft did the same thing, when iTunes became popular; they came out with a new Windows Media Player that's just like iTunes. And Windows 7 is far too similar to a Mac for my tastes.

Microsoft, stop trying to copy other people!  You can be awesome, by doing your own thing! There's no need to imitate other companies. The best way to defeat competitors is by making products superior to theirs, not products that are similar to theirs!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Football

Confession time: I don't really like football.  It's sort of a boring sport, where nothing happens.  Half of the game is commercials, and the other half is watching the players get into position while the clock runs out.

Plus, football teams only play once a week.  I much prefer sports like baseball or basketball, where the teams play 3 to 5 times a week.  Football players seem kind of lazy in comparison.

Some of the guys I know like to play Fantasy Football, which is basically pretending the NFL is an RPG, where you have less control over the members of your party.  These guys practically live and breathe NFL, but the weird part is that they don't care who wins or loses a game in real life.  They only care how the game will affect their fantasy team.  It's strange.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Playoffs, Round One

Just like last year, the San Jose Sharks have made the playoffs.  For the first time ever, they're going up against the Los Angeles Kings.

Go Sharks!

I went to the game on Saturday, and it was exciting for the first three minutes or so. Everyone did the "BEAT L.A." chant that they do when the San Francisco Giants play their rivals, the L.A. Dodgers.

But then the Sharks played really badly and lost, 4 to 0.



They handed out cheering towels at the game.  You're supposed to wave the towel around and cheer on the team.  At my house, we call them "crying towels", because we use them to wipe away our tears after the team loses.  Our family has quite a collection of crying towels from over the years; we save all of them, because they make great cleaning rags.

Now the series is tied at one game apiece, in a "best out of seven" competition.  Let's see if the Sharks can turn things around and actually play well in the next game.

In other playoff news, I've grown a playoff beard again this year.  It's a hockey tradition to grow a beard during playoffs, because it brings good luck for your team.  Once your team loses, though, you have to shave.  My playoff beard last year wasn't so good, because it was kind of small and patchy.  This year, I grew my beard a few weeks early, so now I'm at Official Beard Status, instead of "Did Michael forget to shave this morning?" status.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Back to the Future 3

I just remembered that I didn't talk about Back to the Future: The Videogame: Episode 3: Marty McFly and the Prisoner of Azkaban.  I'd like to write a review of this game, but I'm not sure I could do that without writing for several pages.

Therefore, I am limiting myself to bullet points.  Here are all the various things that caught my interest in this game.
  • It has a more integrated plot structure than the other two games.
  • Marty rubs the back of his neck at least nine times in this game.
  • There is a Guitar Hero challenge for no apparent reason.
  • Marty is an idiot, and he could have bypassed all the challenges in this game by simply talking to Edna.
  • It is physically impossible for the end-of-game sequence to take place where it did.
  • Jennifer gets more screen time here than she did in the first movie.
  • There is no way they are going to be able to resolve the end-of-game cliffhanger which--possible spoiler alert--may or may not involve somebody forcibly injecting mind-control drugs into Doc's bushy eyebrows.
  • My score for the game is 8 out of 10.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Thoughts on Chrono Trigger

I recently got the opportunity to play Chrono Trigger DS for an hour.

For those of you who don't know, Chrono Trigger is one of the games that people say is "the best game ever".  Why?  It's Final Fantasy Meets DragonBall Z.

It's really obvious that the DragonBall Z guy was involved in this game.  It has all sorts of DBZ characters, like the guy with ridiculously large hair, the girl who overreacts to everything, and the female scientist who loves showing off how smart she is.  The game also has a DragonBall Z plotline: time travel gone wild, in order to prevent the apocalyptic future.

Like I said, I only played the game for an hour, but what I saw of the plot was pretty interesting. One of the plot twists was pretty obvious, but other than that, it was well-done.

From what I saw, this is a better-than-average RPG, but I haven't seen anything special enough to make me call it "the best RPG ever".  Maybe if I get more free time in the future, I'll come back to it and play some more.
I really only have two complaints about the game:

1. The battle system is a real-time combat system, and I prefer turn-based battles, because enemies don't attack you when you're trying to remember which combo is which.

EDIT: People have suggested that I set the game on "wait" mode, so enemies don't attack when you're on the combo/item screen.  That's good, but it only applies to the combo/item screen.  Enemies still attack when you're on the attack screen, which is bogus.

2. I played for an hour, and I didn't get to see any of the fancy movies that were drawn by the DBZ studio. You'd think the game would want to show off at least one of the animations that were drawn by the DragonBall Z studio, instead of saving them for later on in the game.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Garfield Minus Garfield and 3eanuts

I've got two comics strips for you to enjoy. The first is Garfield Minus Garfield, which is the Garfield comic strip, with Garfield edited out. Sometimes, the crazy things that Jon does are even funnier without Garfield there to add a punchline to the strip:





And other times, it is horribly depressing.



The other comic strip I've found out about it 3eanuts, which is the Peanuts comic strip with the last panel removed. Without the jokes, it is pretty much the most depressing comic strip ever.

Basically, this confirms what I said about Peanuts and "The Depressing Comic", back when I was drawing Pug's Adventures.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Abraham Lincoln and George Washingon Chat

I'm sure some of you readers remember a few months ago, when I talked with the AIM version of Abraham Lincoln.

Well, it turns out that there is now a George Washington AIM, in addition to the Abraham Lincoln one. I decided to run both of them at the same time, and I copy/pasted Lincoln's responses in Washington's AIM.  That way, the two of them could chat with each other. Here's what happened.

George Washington: Ahhh and what brings you to my part of the internet... perhaps I can engage you in a chat about the birth of our young country.
Abraham Lincoln: Hello my friend and how are you this fine day?
George Washington: It's nice of you to ask about me. I am doing really well.
Abraham Lincoln: Nice to see you too. That's nice to hear
George Washington: Nice meeting you too Friend. Nice meeting you too Friend.
Abraham Lincoln: Joshua Speed was my best friend. I have many friends who I enjoy spending time with.
George Washington: I can't say. I can tell you that many friends have borrowed money, but I don't suppose that's much help.
Abraham Lincoln: Sure. I can keep a secret. I was paid $200 for the speech at Cooper Union. Accounting for inflation, that would only be about $4,000 today.
George Washington: In summer, you certainly can. In winter it's considerably less likely.
Abraham Lincoln: Quite right, it is. But then, so is the world's leading philatelist. Or so I was told.
George Washington: If it is, I'll never forgive it.
Abraham Lincoln: Quite right, it is. But then, so is a certain famous acrobat. Or so I was told.
George Washington: Quite right, it is. But then, so is the foreign minister.
Abraham Lincoln: I'll say it again: As you can see, I have a prominent mole located on the right side of my face, just below my cheek. I think it is imperative that America leaves the lines of communication open to all countries. It is through dialogue that we gain a better understanding of our global neighbors' positions.
George Washington: A prominent mole must have located the television aerial on our roof and the ducks in the garden.
Abraham Lincoln: I think you are being a little, er, how shall I put it, less than generous with the true facts. I won't say any more.
George Washington: Quite right, I am. But then, so is the gorilla in the Berlin zoo.
Abraham Lincoln: Man is fallible. I am resting in my grave called Lincoln's Tomb at Oakridge Cemetary.
George Washington: 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.
Abraham Lincoln: mucho awesome. I didn't die until the next day.

...Did Abe just end that conversation with "mucho awesome"?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Question

Question time, everyone!  What do you think of my choice of topics for this blog?  Do I write about videogames too much?  Too little?  Should I write about something else?  Let me know what you think!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Kingdom Hearts

As I mentioned recently, I made a one-hour video playthrough for Kingdom Hearts: Re: Chain of Memories.  I was planning on putting it on YouTube, but several people warned me that the lawyers at Disney really dislike Kingdom Hearts videos.

Therefore, I decided to post the Kingdom Hearts videos on the semi-obscure Shirley Temple / Doug channel that I inherited. I haven't logged on to that channel since 2009, so it won't be a huge loss if the Disney lawers do get mad, remove my videos, and block the channel.

So, quick! Watch the Kingdom Hearts videos before they (possibly) get removed!



Sunday, April 10, 2011

Nancy Drew: Resorting to Danger Music

I recently finished my video walkthrough for Nancy Drew Dossier: Resorting to Danger.

In addition to the video walkthrough, I made seventeen videos, showing off the different pieces of music you hear throughout the game. Click here to have all seventeen songs play in sequence. (The sequence is alphabetical order.)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Government Shutdown

The big news this week was the looming threat of a Government Shutdown. Remember when I talked about the US Budget two months ago?  Apparently, in all the time since then, the people in Congress still haven't figured out what the budget should be, and they argued about it all week.

The budget deadline is today (Saturday). If they didn't come up with a budget plan by the deadline, there would be a Government Shutdown, which means the IRS would stop working, and the Congress wouldn't get paid.

No taxes and no lawmakers?  I'm still not sure what the downside is to a shutdown.

The budget story was all over the news this week.  Eventually, President Obama decided Congress wasn't getting anything done, so he held a bunch of private meetings with the Senate Majority Leader and the House Speaker.  Together, the three of them came up with the final plan, only a few hours before the deadline.

The plan cuts down spending by $38 billion. None of the news reports I've seen actually explain what has been cut, because they're focusing on the shutdown.

One of the important parts of the budget negotiation was Planned Parenthood, the non-profit organization that performs abortions, among other things.  Apparently, the government gives $70 million to them each year.  Needless to say, most people who are against abortion don't think the government should give any money to Planned Parenthood.

I want to say more about abortion-related legislation from a Catholic perspective, but to be honest, after seeing what the politicians said during this debate, I don't think it's worth discussing.  The reasons the politicians gave for keeping Planned Parenthood are wrong.  The reasons that politicians gave for not keeping Planned Parenthood are also wrong. Basically, people were giving bad arguments on both sides of the debate, and they both sort of side-stepped the real issue of abortion, while accusing each other of side-stepping the issue.

Oh, well.  Congress. What are you going to do with those guys?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Friday

So, have you guys heard this "Friday" song by Jessica Black? You've heard about this song. It's gotten 80 million views on Youtube, and everyone agrees it is the worst song ever.



But even though everyone agrees the song is horrible, people keep on singing it. Schools are starting to call it "The Black Plague".

I didn't listen to the entire song, until they performed a ridiculous version of it on a late night show:



Now, I know what the song is like, without having seen the original music video.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Legend of Zelda - A Familiar Name

Here's a video of what happened the first time I played Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. I thought the main character was called Zelda, because that's the name in the title of the game.

...I was wrong.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Nancy Drew: The Captive Curse

Here's the preview for Nancy Drew: The Captive Curse, as seen at the end of Nancy Drew: Shadow at the Water's Edge.



The tentative release date is June 2011.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

President Obama Seeks Re-election

In news which surprised absolutely no one, President Obama announced that he is going to run for President a second time.  He urges his supports to help "protect the change" he has instituted over the past three years.

I'm not exactly sure what changes he's talking about, because everyone I know is still out of work, but that's just me being cynical. Here are a list of new things that have come about since Obama became President:
  • Health care reform
  • 3D movies
  • The war in Libya
  • Justin Bieber
  • The Justin Bieber movie, in 3D
Meanwhile, the Republicans have responded, saying that they will definitely come up with a good politician to run against Obama in the 2012 election.  They have no idea who this person is, but they will find him or her, by jingo.  Don't be surprised if it ends up being Justin Bieber.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Kingdom Hearts: Re:Chain of Memories

Like I said yesterday, I'm playing Kingdom Hearts!  Or at least, I tried to play Kingdom Hearts.

Kingdom Hearts is the super-popular videogame series where you explore all sorts of animated Disney movies and deal with the characters.  And Final Fantasy is somehow involved.  I don't know much about it, but it's a Disney RPG, and everyone loves it, and many people say I should play it because I'll love it.

So I went to the library and picked up the only Kingdom Hearts game they had: Kingdom Hearts: [Insert Stupid Name That Makes No Sense]I mean, Kingdom Hearts: Re:Chain of Memories. I had an hour of free time, so I played the game for an hour.

I had no idea what was going on at any point of the game, and I couldn't stop laughing the whole time.  It wasn't very enjoyable, gameplay-wise, but I had a lot of fun nonetheless.  Here are some highlights:
  1. The part where I guessed wrong about the main character's gender.
  2. The part where I fail the tutorial.
  3. The part where our hero meets Leon, and I do all sorts of stupid voices for the dialogue.
I recorded the whole hour of gameplay, with my commentary, and that's going to show up on YouTube sometime soon (i.e. once my current video walkthroughs are finished).

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Library's Videogames

I went to the library this past weekend to return my copy of Kingdom Hearts--more on that tomorrow--when I noticed the library's videogame section has expanded.

The library used to get videogames when they first came out. For example, the library got 50 copies of Super Smash Brothers Brawl when it was released.  But when the economy died in 2008, they stopped getting new videogames all together.

Therefore, I was completely surprised to find out that the videogame program has restarted. Now I can check out all the recent videogames that I was interested in playing, but not interested enough to buy, such as New Super Mario Bros. Wii.

But that's not all!  The videogame section expanded to DS games.  So now they have the entire Professor Layton series and Chrono Trigger and other games like that.

Now, I have come to an official decision.  I am no longer going to sell my old videogames to a store like GameStop for store credit.  Instead, I will donate them to the library.  And I think it's donation time right now!  I'm sure the library will get more use out of some of these games than I would.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The 3DS Recap

The Nintendo 3DS has been out for a week now.  Personally, I haven't purchased a 3DS yet, because it's too expensive, gimmicky, and I don't want to play any of the 3DS games they've made.  But I'm still interested in seeing what's been going on with the 3DS, so I looked up the latest news stories about the system.

1. Nintendo says that it is their best-selling handheld system EVER. But when asked how many copies they sold, Nintendo refused to comment.

2. The 3DS has some hardware problems, and Nintendo is already recommending that people install their latest software update.  According to IGN's official poll, about a third of the people who own a 3DS have had it crash unexpectedly.

3. The 3DS is comes with a lot of fancy applications, like a Mii creator and a pedometer. Unfortunately, it looks like they weren't able to finish two of the applications in time: the Internet browser, and the Virtual Console.  I'm not sure if this is a big deal or not, but it seems kind of unfair.

4. By this time, I was hoping to find some positive news.  Well, there is some good news.  We have new pictures of Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3DS.  There was a huge hoopla made about how the remake is completely different than the original, but to be honest, they kind of look exactly the same.  The new version just has updated graphics, that's all.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Rewriting The Crooked Bannister

Time for some April Fools Day fun! Remember Nancy Drew: The Crooked Bannister?  That's Book #48 in the Nancy Drew series.  I haven't exactly read the whole book, but I did manage to find the pictures from the book.  Let's see if I can write out what happens in the book, based off of the pictures.



In the kitchen, Nancy met a strange metallic beast called "The Hug Bot 2000".  "What you need is a hug!" the robot said. It wrapped its arms around Nancy.

"Help!" Nancy screamed. "Help!"

The robot pulled her tighter. "My programming says that hugging makes everything better."

"Ew, NO!" Nancy said. "I have a boyfriend! Leave me alone, you creepy robot!"

"Hugs! Hugs! Huuuuuuuugs!" the robot cried, as its programming started to malfunction.  Fortunately, Nancy's friend George was able to reprogram the robot before it killed Nancy.



Nancy was five feet above the river of burning water. The only thing that stood between her and death was her grip on Ned's shoe.

"Ned!" Nancy cried. "Don't move an inch!  I could fall at any moment!"

"Uh oh," Ned said.

"Uh oh what?" Nancy asked.

"I forgot to tie my shoes today," Ned said sheepishly.

"NOOOOOOOOO!" Nancy screamed as she fell towards the flames.  But then, she remembered that she had a jetpack.  She quickly turned it on and flew to safety.