Friday, August 31, 2012
#1. Nancy Drew: Weirdness at Waverly Academy. Due to popular demand, I'm making a video series where I read my story aloud. I managed to get a very important compromise on this project, though; namely, I do not have to do girl voices.
Basically, the choice was between "should it sound like the game?" or "should it sound like its own story?". I decided to settle for something which sounds decent, rather than going for something which sounds perfect.
So the voices are nothing more than vague impressions, and I don't wory too much about consistency. The only character I don't do an impression/voice for is the main character, Nancy Drew. This is because the entire story would sound horrible if I constantly tried to sound like Nancy. But even though I don't try to be perfect, I think the voices come across very nice, and I hope everyone likes hearing the story.
#2. Nancy Drew Mobile Mysteries: Shadow Ranch for the iPad. I'm making a video walkthrough for it, and since this game is mostly a book, I read the text aloud. It's funny. I can imitate Bess' voice, I can kind of imitate George's voice, but imitating Nancy's voice is still way far beyond me.
September 8th is when my video walkthrough is going to appear on Youtube. I'm not even halfway through the game yet, and I'm on video...30 or so. Interestingly enough, I think my video walkthrough for Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was about the same length.
Thursday, August 30, 2012
"Argh!" Nancy said. The doors to the room were sealed, and it looked like she was trapped. A loud metallic sound came from above, and she looked up.
"Oh, no," Nancy said. "No no no no no no no no no!"
From the top of the room, Death's scythe descended. It swung back and forth, as if on a pendulum. On each swing, it fell lower and lower. Half an inch, an inch, maybe more? Nancy could do naught but watch in horror as the unstoppable instrument of her inevitable demise came closer and closer and CLOSER!
There was only one thing Nancy could think of doing at this point. She pulled out her cell phone and called her boyfriend.
"Hey, Ned," Nancy said. "How's it going?"
"It's fine," Ned said. "How's the mystery coming along?"
"I'm almost done, but I need another clue about Edgar Allen Poe," Nancy said. "You're the English expert, so I thought I'd ask you. Did Mr. Poe ever write a story about, I dunno, a giant axe falling from the ceiling?"
"An axe?" Ned asked.
"Yeah, an axe which is swinging back and forth and getting lower and lower," Nancy said, noticing that the axe was now only about two feet above her head. "And I need this information really quickly."
"Sounds like The Pit and the Pendulum," Ned said. "That's a story where—"
"How did the person in the story escape?" Nancy interrupted.
"He didn't," Ned said. "He got some rats to—what's going on there, Nan? I can barely hear you."
The swinging of the axe was loud to begin with, and now that it was much closer, the noise was so great that it made phone conversation impossible.
"Hold on a second, Ned," Nancy said. She walked over to the other side of the altar, which was as far away from the path of the pendulum as possible.
"Sorry about that," Nancy said. "Something's making a lot of noise here. Anyway, how did he escape?"
"He got some rats to chew the ropes that had him tied down," Ned said. "That let him escape the pendulum, but he was still stuck in a torture pit. It wasn't a good situation."
"Poor fellow," Nancy said. "Why was he being tortured?"
"The story doesn't say," Ned said. "It starts with him being sentenced to death by torture, but we never learn why."
"Well, thanks for the information," Nancy said. "That really helps."
"You're welcome," Ned said. "But what does The Pit and the Pendulum have to do with your mystery?"
"Let's just say that I may have found a lost book written by Edgar Allen Poe," Nancy said. "I'll be back home soon. I'll tell you about it then."
"Sounds great!" Ned said. "See ya!"
"Goodbye," Nancy said, before hanging up the phone. She stretched out her arms and said, "Okay, sounds like I need to find some rats and—huh?"
The pendulum axe reached the ground, then retracted back up to the top of the ceiling. Both exits to the room opened up again.
"Oh," Nancy said. "All I had to do to avoid the axe was step out of its pathway. That was simple."
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
- The upcoming Nancy Drew: The Deadly Device now has a release date! It will come out towards the end of October. Preorders begin in the middle of September.
- There is also cover art for Nancy Drew: The Deadly Device, as well as an offical product page for it.
- And of course, the official Nancy Drew Kickstarter is still underway. As of my writing this, the project has 267 backers, who have pledged about 4% of the total goal of a quarter of a million dollars. There are less than two weeks left before the fundraiser ends.
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Becca Sawyer left the cellar, so Nancy returned to the mystery. The hidden passageway which was part of the school furnace was now opened, so Nancy crawled through the dirty grate in order to reach the hidden room.
Nancy's heart flooded with anticipation, because she knew this was the end of her adventure. At the other end of the short tunnel, Nancy would find the Black Cat, the culprit who had been attacking all the girls at Waverly. Nancy pushed and pulled herself out of the end of the tunnel, then stood up.
In front of Nancy was something that looked like a stone altar. A rough-looking book was on top of the altar, and standing behind it was Corine Meyers, Nancy's roommate.
"Becca!" Corine said, jumping backwards a bit. "What are you doing here?"
"Catching you red-handed," Nancy said. "The entire Black Cat scheme was just a distraction, so you could get your hands on—what is that, anyway?"
"What do you think?" Corine asked. "It's Rita Hallowell's treasure: a collection of Edgar Allen Poe's unpublished manuscripts. Before he died, he gave all his unfinished works to her. I've been looking for this for two months now."
"How did you know it was here?" Nancy asked. "I'm the one with Rita Hallowell's journal."
"She had a journal?" Corine asked.
"Yeah, it's filled with clues and puzzles that led me to this room," Nancy said.
Corine looked upset. "Darn," she said. "If I knew there was a journal from the beginning, that would have made things simpler. All I knew was that Rita Hallowell hid her treasure somewhere in the building."
"So you stole the blueprints and searched the dorm room by room," Nancy guessed. "That's how you found out about Rachel's twin sister in the attic."
"Oh, you're good," Corine said. "You've been in school for three days, and in that time, you've found out what took me months to learn."
"There's a reason I'm a valedictorian candidate," Nancy said. "It's not just because I'm an undercover detective."
"You're a detective?" Corine asked.
"Oops," Nancy said.
"They hired a detective to catch me?" Corine asked, sounding impressed. "I didn't think the headmistress took me that seriously. But if that's true, Becca, I guess we have a standoff here. You can't let me get away, and I can't let you get away."
"It's over, Corine," Nancy said. "Just give up quietly."
"Too bad for you, I've got an ace up my sleeve," Corine said. "I've had plenty of time to examine this room and find the deadly trap that Rita left behind."
"The...deadly trap?" Nancy asked.
"Yoink!" Corine said, as she grabbed the book, accidentally-on-purpose set off the trip-stone, then escaped through the back entrance before it shut.
Monday, August 27, 2012
The only thing that really became obvious to me during the campaign was the fact that I really don't have a handle on stats. Keeping track of stats is confusing, because there are a lot of them, and I don't know what they mean. For example, there is an attack stat. Also, a base attack stat. And a base attack bonus. These are all different, somehow. I swear, this game needs a manual.
Well, okay, there is a manual, but it's about 600 pages. I'd prefer a 20-page manual.
There are also a lot of dice involved in D&D. They're all used for different things, I think. Most of the time, I had to roll the 20-sided die. I also had to roll the 6-sided die once or twice. There's a 12-sided die and a 4-sided die and I think a 10-sided die. They looked kind of cool, but we never really used them.
Anyway, I think that's all I have to say about Dungeons and Dragons. There are dungeons, and there are dragons. And stat lists, which are more terrifying than the dungeons and dragons put together.
Sunday, August 26, 2012
"Yes, that's right," Becca said. "I'm Becca Sawyer. The real Becca Sawyer."
Nancy's jaw dropped. "Impossible!" she said. "Becca Sawyer isn't a real person! That's just a fake name I've been using!"
"Fake? More like, give me a break," Becca said. "You didn't even bother to check if I existed before you stole my identity, did you?"
"No, because you're not real!" Nancy said. "Rebecca Sawyer is just a dumb name I made up, by putting together two names from Tom Sawyer!"
"Tom Sawyer? More like, call a lawyer," Becca said. "Because I'm suing you for identity theft, Nancy Drew!"
"I don't believe it," Nancy said, slumping back against the wall.
"As soon as I heard some bumbling American detective was pretending to be me, I came here from France as fast as I could," Becca said. "Do you know what sort of damage you've done to my reputation? Everything thinks I'm a bumbling weirdo!"
"Huh? No way!" Nancy said. "Everyone likes me as Becca Sawyer! I've been working really hard on fitting in!"
"Tu dis des absurdités," Becca said. "I know you're unpopular here. I saw all the tweets and text messages. Texts? More like, wrecks! Because you've wrecked your only chance at fitting in here at Waverly."
"That's not true!" Nancy said. "I might not be the most popular girl, but I've made a lot of friends! Mel and Rachel and Paige and Leela and—"
"Stuffed animals don't count," Becca said.
"Did you come all the way from France to be mean to me?" Nancy asked. "Look, I'm sorry for borrowing your name without permission, but you don't have to be rude about it!"
"Here's what you're going to do," Becca said. "You are going to tell everyone—right now—that you are not Becca Sawyer. Then you're going to publicly apologize for making me look ridiculous."
"I can't do that!" Nancy said. "I'm an undercover detective! I can't tell people my real identity! It'll hurt my case if I do!"
"And it'll hurt my reputation if you don't!" Becca said.
"Look, I'm about five minutes away from solving the mystery, finding the lost treasure and stopping the Black Cat," Nancy said. "Can't this wait until after that?"
Becca Sawyer hesitated for a second. "Finding the lost treasure?" she asked. "What lost treasure?"
"Rita Hallowell's treasure," Nancy said. "I think it has something to do with Edgar Poe."
"I don't know who those people are," Becca Sawyer said. "But...if word got out that Becca Sawyer solved a mystery and found a treasure..."
"Yes?" Nancy asked.
Becca thought it over. "Okay, Nancé," she said. "I'll give you one more day. Solve this mystery by then, and let Becca Sawyer get all the credit. If you don't, confess everything."
"It's a deal!" Nancy said, giving Becca a hug. "Yay! New friends!"
"Augh! I am not your—ah, whatever," Becca Sawyer said. "Good luck with the mystery, American Becca."
Saturday, August 25, 2012
Love is considered to be one of the great mysteries of the universe, which no person can comprehend. The idea is that love, at its core, is irrational, and so people spend little time trying to thoughtfully analyze it, determining what makes love "love".
Love is not irrational.
The things in this universe follow rules. For example, a chair has four legs, a seat and a back. If you try to change this set "chair pattern", you end up with something that is not a chair. A chair with only four legs and a seat is a stool, not a chair. A chair with three legs and a seat is a tripod, not a chair. And a chair with only two legs and a seat is likely to fall down the moment you sit on it.
Love likewise has its own rules. People try to change the rules of love, or come up with their own rules. This results in a half-formed love, a strange mess which vaguely resembles the way love is supposed to be. Just like a chair with only two legs, is likely to fall apart at any moment.
More often than not, however, when people try to break the rules of love, they find that love breaks them.
That's all I've written so far, and I have no idea what to write next. I'm not sure where I got the urge to write that little blurb.
Friday, August 24, 2012
"Now that I know about the Blackwood Society, can I become a member?" Nancy asked.
"No," Izzy said.
"But I really want to join! It sounds cool!" Nancy pleaded.
"No, and that is final!" Izzy said. "I'm the leader, so I get to choose who joins! And I will NEVER choose a girl I don't like!"
"What about Mel?" Nancy asked. "She's in the club, and you don't like her."
"She was invited before I become the leader," Izzy said. "Now beat it, Becca. I've got work to do."
Seeing as she wasn't going to get any more information out of Izzy, Nancy decided to return to her room. She was somewhat surprised when she entered. For the first time since Nancy had arrived sixty chapters ago, Corine was not in the room.
Nancy took this opportunity to snoop through Corine's things. There wasn't much of interest, besides some graph paper and a note which read "CELLAR".
"Corine is in the cellar?" Nancy asked. "What a coincidence! I was just about to go there myself!"
Nancy returned to the cellar, now that she had all the information needed to get Rita Hallowell's treasure. Corine wasn't in the cellar, but there was a set of blueprints there.
Nancy compared these new blueprints to the ones Rita Hallowell had left behind. The blueprints showed that the valves on the Dupin furnace were numbered. So far, it looked like everything matched Rita's notes.
"Do I match the blueprint numbers with the Blackwood Society's numbers?" Nancy asked. She pulled the six numbers in order, and the grate to the furnace opened up.
Nancy peeked at the opening, which was big enough to crawl through, when a commanding voice said, "Stop!"
Nancy turned around. Standing in front of Nancy was a girl she had never seen before. She had heavy eyeshadow, and she looked furious. A black beret was dangling on the side of her fire-red hair.
"Becca Sawyer!" Nancy gasped.
Thursday, August 23, 2012
1. Phoenix interviews Nancy Drew! The ultimate interview!
2. Phoenix interviews Lani Minella, voice of Nancy Drew! Okay, maybe this is the ultimate interview!
3. And Phoenix's career as an intern ends, as she moves back to her native timezone once the summer is over.
Bye bye, Phoenix! Thanks for the cool videos.
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Nancy was going to leave the room, when she saw something on the ground. Picking it up, she saw that it was another Black Cat note.
"A second Black Cat note!" Nancy said. "Something bad happens to anyone who gets two of them, right?"
"Right," Corine said. "You'd better be careful from now on."
"It could be for you," Nancy pointed out. "It's not like there's a name on it."
She showed Corine the note, which read You were WARNED. Now you'll PAY.
"Uh...in that case, we should both be careful," Corine said. "Come back with my food, okay?"
"Sure," Nancy said. She left the room, then went downstairs to the Snack Shack. Getting snacks for the various students wasn't too interesting, but at least Nancy got to overhear some interesting gossip.
"Did you know Izzy once got her huge earrings stuck on a doorknob? How embarrassing!"
"I heard that Mel hopes to work at Disneyland for a living!"
"Corine stole the school blueprints for some unknown reason."
"Leela hasn't left the Rec Room in over a week! I'm really starting to get worried about her."
"Did you see Rachel and Izzy's rap battle last week? Rachel's rhyming skills are the BEST!"
"You know that new girl? Becca Something? The one from France? I heard that she talks to herself."
"That's it!" Nancy shouted. "Snack Shop is closed!"
The various people in line complained, but Nancy closed up shop and went back to her room. She traded a sack of food for a flash drive containing Corine's essay.
Nancy went to the library next. She got on the school computer and uploaded Corine's essay for Rachel's project. The essay was about Edgar Allen Poe's mysterious death. It seemed that Mr. Poe died while surrounded by malevolent forces: a corrupt doctor, an executor who was Poe's rival, and perhaps worst of all, Nurse Rita Hallowell. Knowing Ms. Hallowell, she probably forced her patients to undergo a series of puzzles before they could check into the hospital.
Izzy was in the library, as usual, so Nancy decided to talk to her. "Hey, Izzy," she said.
"Hello, Becca," Izzy said, turning from her laptop to talk to Nancy. "What's up?"
"I've got a...request," Nancy said. "I need to know what the Blackwood Society's chant is. You're the leader, right?"
"All right, who blabbed?" Izzy asked.
"Uh...I'm not at liberty to say," Nancy said. "But since you are the leader, you can tell me the chant."
"Why should I do it?" Izzy asked, looking suspicious.
"Because we're friends, and you're a really nice person?" Nancy guessed.
"I'm the Student Body President," Izzy said. "I rule this school, Becca. No one's going to force me into doing something, especially not an uppity transfer student like you."
Nancy decided it was time to put Izzy in her place, by using another one of Becca Sawyer's sassy comebacks.
"Transfer student? More like...uh...transform student," Nancy said. "Because I will transform Waverly Academy! If you don't tell me the chant, that is."
"Ugh, whatever," Izzy said. "It's not like it even makes sense, anyway. 'Three is fine, but five is more. Even nineteen defeats four. Should just seven become lore, at least two will find the door.'"
"Thank you," Nancy said.
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
So today, I think I'll talk about clone movies, which are basically two near-identical movies that get released around the same time. Like a few years back, when there was an animated movie about surfing penguins (Surf's Up), which came out at the same time as an animated movie about dancing penguins (Happy Feet).
I think the first time I noticed this was in 1998, when A Bug's Life and Antz both came out. They were the 2nd and 3rd computer-animated movies, and they both were about ants. I thought it was weird then, and I think it's weird now. Why release such similar movies so close together?
And this year we had two Snow White movies--Snow White and the Huntsman and Mirror, Mirror. When it comes to computer animation, it looks like we've got three monster-themed movies coming up (Paranorman, Hotel Transylvania, Frankenweenie). I guess Halloween is going to be big this year.
I don't have a point to make, other than I am confused as to why movie studios sometimes copy each other simultaneously. You'd think that would be a bad business strategy, which cuts into the profits for both films.
Monday, August 20, 2012
Nancy left Rachel's room. Rachel made a good point. Nancy really hadn't done much investigation into the identity of the Black Cat. That was mainly because Nancy was distracted, trying to find Rita Hallowell's treasure.
Nancy decided to resume her investigation, and she pulled out her...
1. Mel Corbalis, pink-loving goth cellist. She is in a club that meets a midnight, wearing cloaks.
2. Izzy Romero, student body president. She runs the club that meets at midnight, wearing cloaks.
3. Rachel Hubbard. She is secretly two people. Call me crazy, but I think most students are one person.
4. Leela Yadav, sports superstar. Seems incapable of doing anything unrelated to air hockey.
5. Corine Meyers, my roommate. Socially isolated, with subconscious desires to get back at her peers.
6. Becca S., French transfer student. I keep getting text messages about this girl. Who is she?
"Really, it could be any one of these students," Nancy said. "But I haven't talked with Corine for a while. I should see what's up with her."
Nancy went back to her room and started a conversation with Corine.
"Hey, Corine, how are things going with the library?" Nancy asked.
"Horrible," Corine said. "Somebody destroyed three Special Collections cabinets, and we had to pay to get them replaced. It used up our entire budget!"
"What a shame," Nancy said. "Hey, I heard that something you wrote won an award! Congrats!"
"Yes, it was a short story I wrote about a lonely girl who goes to a school where everyone ignores her," Corine said. "It slowly causes her to become filled with rage at her classmates, and she attacks them all, one by one, disguising her actions as the work of a criminal called the White Dog."
"Er...that's great," Nancy said. "But I was talking about your essay."
"Oh, that," Corine said. "Yeah, I didn't think my paper was that great, but for some reason, the entire faculty went gaga over it. I'll copy it onto a flash drive for you. But could you do me a favor first?"
"Sure," Nancy said.
"I'm absolutely starving," Corine said. "And since you're snack shop boss, why don't you get me something to eat? Soon as you do that, I'll get you the essay."
Sunday, August 19, 2012
Here's what I recorded, and why you won't see it.
- Nancy Drew: Secret of Shadow Ranch. There were a few problems with this recording. For one, my hardware crashed twice. For another, it was overly long (a half hour in, and I still hadn't finished Chapter 1). But the worst part is that I got a bad case of the hiccups, which lasted for twenty minutes and destroyed the commentary I was doing.
- Nightmare Adventures: The Witch's Prison. I played the PC version of this game, but I kept the iPad version, so I could unlock the achievements. Long story short, I played for forty minutes and unlocked two of the eight achievements I have yet to obtain--and the game didn't register them. What a waste of time!
- Jetpack Joyride. This came out fine! I think. It's a fast-moving game, and I'm fearful that the video footage will be jumpy. But if it's not, you can expect to see my 20 minute demo of the game.
- Professor Garfield's Fact or Opinion. This is an educational game, which teaches kids that Wikipedia is a hotbed of lies and should never be trusted. Fie on you, Garfield! Since this game is mainly just comic strips, it was easy to record. I'll touch up my commentary a bit, and then release it sometime this week.
Saturday, August 18, 2012
Our heroine, Nancy Drew, was rather upset. Rita Hallowell's fabulous treasure was nothing more than an old photograph.
"This doesn't make sense!" Nancy said, flipping through Rita Hallowell's journal to make sure there were no mistakes. "I thought the treasure was something fabulous, like an unpublished book by Edgar Allen Poe! And besides, this doesn't explain what Rita wrote about the Dupin grate and the black wood's chant!
"Wait a second...black wood's chant..." Nancy thought. "Does that refer to the Blackwood Society? Hmmm..."
Nancy wasn't sure, but maybe, just maybe, there were a few more puzzles left to find before she got the real treasure.
"Yeah, that makes sense," Nancy told herself. "Rita left a fake treasure, just to trick people! The real treasure is still out there, and I'm going to find it, or my name's not Becca Sawyer!"
Nancy paused for a second. "Well, my name's not Becca Sawyer. That's just a fake name I'm using so no one knows who I am, and—oh, who cares? I'm going to catch the Black Cat and find the real treasure! That's what matters!"
Finding the photograph of Rita wasn't a total loss. That was one of the pictures Rachel needed for her web design project. Figuring it was best to wrap up that little assignment, Nancy took a picture of the photograph. Then Nancy went to the library and uploaded all the photos to Rachel's website.
Immediately afterwards, Nancy went upstairs to Rachel's room, to confirm that the web project was finally done.
"Becca, hey, you got all the pictures uploaded!" Rachel said. "You even found the picture of Hallowell and her cat, great job! There's only one thing we need before we're done."
"You want some fashion tips, right?" Nancy asked. "Good, 'cause I've been wondering why you're wearing a turtleneck and a suitcoat jacket at the same time. Those two types of clothing do not go together."
"No!" Rachel said. "Corine wrote an essay that won some kind of fancy award. The English Department wants it on the school website, so I need a copy of it."
"Oh," Nancy said. "I guess I can do that, too."
"Any idea who the real Black Cat is yet?" Rachel asked.
"Well, I haven't seen any students with pets here, but have you considered the possibility that it's actually a real cat?" Nancy asked.
"No," Rachel said. "She keeps sending me emails, remember? Every time, it's from a different address, so I can't track it."
"Shoot," Nancy said.
Friday, August 17, 2012
They have different award levels, like a lot of fundraisers do. Donate a certain amount and get a poster. Donate a certain amount, and get a Youtube shoutout. Donate a certain amount, and you get an amazingly fun Nancy Drew party! You can also choose to donate, without getting a reward for it, if that's your style.
I gave my contribution of $300, because I liked the idea of getting an official Nancy Drew magnifying glass. I was surprised at how easy it was to contribute, actually. I thought I'd have to register an account and things like that, which usually take too much time. But instead, Kickstarter was all, "Oh, you have a Facebook? We'll just use that, then." It was pretty nice.
In conclusion, donating money is relatively painless, and you get cool Nancy Drew swag for it. I approve. If you haven't donated already, I'd recommend doing so. Also, if you've got friends who would be interested in donating, you should let them know about this Kickstarter project.
Thursday, August 16, 2012
Nancy Drew was ready and prepared to finally, finally solve the mystery. According to Rita Hallowell's journal, Nancy had all the clues. She had the four starburst tokens and The Black Cat and Other Poe Stories. All Nancy had to do was put these clues together.
"Well..." Nancy said, taking a closer look at the book. "There are four tokens, and each token represents a certain story. The token of the cat represents The Black Cat, the bug token must be The Golden Bug, and the raven token is probably...The Fall of the House of Usher."
That was as far as Nancy got. Was there some place to use the tokens? Why were there dates hand-written next to the story titles in the book's table of contents? And what time did they serve meals at Waverly Academy? Nancy was starving after two days of not eating a full meal!
I've got to figure this out! Nancy thought. My flight out of New York leaves tomorrow! If I don't solve the mystery by the end of today, it might never be solved!
Nancy decided to take a walk outside and clear her head. There was more snow than the previous day, and Nancy was starting to think it'd be nicer inside when she noticed doors on the ground.
Waverly has a basement? Nancy wondered.
Wiping away the snow, Nancy found that the doors were locked. Fortunately, Nancy had the right key for the lock. It was the same key that someone threw at Nancy, the first time she worked at the Snack Shack. Perhaps the anonymous rude person had been trying to help her.
Nancy opened the lock and went into the basement. Turning on the lights, she saw that it was a rather dank room, dominated by an old-fashioned furnace which had probably been there when the school was built. Boxes of old books were in a corner, and in another corner, the brick wall was loose.
Nancy looked closer. No, there were no bricks here. There were wooden planks. Planks with starburst-shaped indentations in them!
Jackpot! Nancy thought. There are seventeen starbursts here, and seventeen stories in the book! I guess I have to arrange all the stories according to the dates in the book, number the starburst holes from left to right, put the tokens in the appropriate starburst holes and...
No, wait. I've got a better idea.
Nancy picked up a nearby brick and used it to smash the wooden planks in half. The wood was about 150 years old, so it crumbled easily.
Behind the wood was a little hidey hole, containing an old box. Nancy grinned. Rita Hallowell's treasure! This had to be it! Nancy opened the box and pulled out some blueprints.
"Blueprints? Weird," Nancy said. They appeared to be blueprints for the room she was standing in.
Underneath the blueprints was a photograph of Rita Hallowell and her cat, Usher. Besides for that, the box was empty.
"Oh, NO WAY!" Nancy exclaimed. "That's the treasure? A picture from Rita's photo album? I've been solving puzzles for the past two days, just so I could get an old photo?"
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
I have no idea why.
I did a five-hour shift last Wednesday, and it went well, I guess. I kept my nose to the grindstone and did my job like I was supposed to. It was kind of boring, to be honest, because the first half of the shift was a training program, and during the second half of the shift, there weren't any customers.
Then, yesterday, I got a message saying that my services would no longer be needed, and they sent my paycheck via FedEx. Weird. Did they hire too many people or something? It seems weird that they'd put me through training, then fire me before I officially started work.
Anyway, back to unemployment.
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Nancy wanted to spend more time talking to Rachel Hubbard and her twin sister Kim, but the two girls convinced her to leave the hidden attic area.
"You should go," Rachel ordered. "No one cares if one of us is missing, but if the new girl suddenly disappears...?"
"I understand," Nancy said. "It's late, anyway. See you tomorrow."
The twins waved goodbye as Nancy left their room. Nancy went straight to her own room and fell asleep almost immediately. She didn't wake up until very late the next morning, when her phone beeped.
I have got to stop wandering around at night, Nancy thought. It's wreaking havoc on my sleep cycle. Now who's messaging me?
Nancy opened up the list of messages she had received. The most recent one had come from Mel.
I heard that the missing Edgar Allen Poe book is inside Izzy's room. Why don't you use your detective skills to check her room, then bust her? I'm sure the headmistress would love to learn about the student body president stealing library books.
Nancy yawned, then got out of bed. She changed into her spare set of clothes, then tried brushing her hair for a bit. Then she made a beeline for Izzy and Leela's room. The door was locked, but at this point, Nancy had broken into so many rooms that it didn't even phase her anymore. She quickly pulled out the ID card and used it to get into the room.
Well, at least I know how the Black Cat manages to sneak around so much, Nancy thought. As long as you have a student ID, you can get anywhere in this school.
The room was clearly separated in half, with Leela's things on the left and Izzy's things on the right. Leela's possessions included sports trophies and sports equipment. Izzy's side had her campaign poster and a lot of purple things.
Nancy made her way to the workdesk, which had two framed photos on it. The photo on the right was of Jacob, the boy who dated both Izzy and Leela. The photo on the left side of the desk was of Izzy, looking rather smug. It wasn't a flattering picture.
Wait...why is the photo of Izzy on Leela's side of the room? Nancy wondered. And if Izzy has a work desk in her room, why does she use the one in the library?
Nancy picked up the photo, planning to remove it from the frame and draw a mustache on Izzy's face. There was a key taped to the back of the frame. Nancy took the key and used it to open the trunk by the base of Izzy's bed. Inside the trunk was a familiar-looking blue cloak.
"Izzy's the leader of the Blackwood Society!" Nancy gasped. "Either that, or she's a walking fashion disaster."
Nancy also explored the area in front of Leela's bed. Buried under some sports equipment was the copy of The Black Cat and Other Poe Stories that had gone missing from the school library.
Monday, August 13, 2012
But how can I find a potential date candidate? I don't have a little red book with girls' phone numbers, and there's no way I'm going to set up an eHarmony profile.
Oh, yeah! Facebook has a list of every girl I know! All I have to do is check my friends list, and analyze the results!
|The Girls Michael Knows (According to Facebook)|
|People Who Aren't Real||30|
|People Who Are Already in a Relationship||25|
|People I Have Not Met in Real Life||37|
|People It Would Be Unwise to Date||17|
The non-real people are cartoon characters and other profiles like that. Apparently, fictional characters make up a great number of my acquaintances.
I think this chart actually shows some maturity, on my part. I have acknowledged that there are girls whom I should not date. College Michael had no idea that this category of females existed. He didn't get any dates, either, but he wasn't as quick as I am to rule someone out as a potential girlfriend.
Anyway, now that I'm doing the math...it seems that only 6% of my Facebook friends are eligible bachelorettes? Really? Ugh, forget dating, then. I think I'll go back to playing videogames.
Sunday, August 12, 2012
Caught red-handed, the Hubbard twins tried their best to explain everything to Nancy.
"Our mother is dead, and our father is absolutely useless when it comes to raising two girls," one Rachel said. "We thought if we didn't get accepted into a boarding school, we'd end up in foster homes."
"We applied everywhere, and Waverly agreed to give one of us a scholarship," the other Rachel said. "So...we decided to share it."
"The two of you have been here for four years, pretending to be the same person," Nancy summarized.
"Besides for taking a few leftovers"—one of the Rachels gestured towards the plate of food on the desk—"we haven't done anything wrong. You have to believe us. If we were doing something wrong, we would have been found out by now."
Nancy thought about it, as she considered her previous interactions with Rachel. "The two of you must switch places every now and then," she concluded.
"Exactly," one Rachel said.
"That's why the second time I went to your room, you didn't recognize me," Nancy said. "And that's also why you said you didn't like Mel, but then later you said you liked her. Those were two different Rachels!"
"Technically, only I'm Rachel," the Rachel on the left said.
"I'm Kim," the Rachel on the right said.
Nancy looked back and forth between Rachel and Kim. The two were identical twins, so there was no way to tell them apart. The only difference Nancy could see was that Kim had tucked her hair behind her ear.
"Nice to meet you," Nancy said. "Have you two really been doing this for four years?"
"Yes," Rachel said. "And we've only got one more semester to go! We're so close! You can't tell anyone, Becca!"
"Please!" Kim begged. "If you tell, we'll get kicked out of school! That's why the Black Cat—"
"Kim!" Rachel said.
"Oops," Kim said.
"Woah, what?" Nancy asked. "What's this about the Black Cat?"
"Well...you know how I told you I haven't gotten any Black Cat notes?" Kim said. "That's because she knows about us."
"Huh?" Nancy asked. Now she was completely confused.
"The Black Cat somehow found out that there's two of us," Rachel explained. "She's been blackmailing us ever since, forcing us to do her dirty work."
"So you locked Danielle in the closet!" Nancy accused.
"No!" Rachel said. "All we've done is make the Black Cat notes and deliver them, I swear!"
"Whoever the Black Cat is, she's obviously setting us up to take the fall," Kim said. "If she gets caught, she'll frame us for everything while she goes scot free! You've got to do something!"
"Why me?" Nancy asked.
"Yeah," Rachel said. "Why are you telling her all of this?"
"If she tells, we'll be kicked out anyway!" Kim said. "But Becca can help us! She can figure out who the Black Cat is—and then we can blackmail the blackmailer!"
"A stalemate! Yes!" Rachel said. She high-fived Kim.
"Heh heh," Nancy said. This was an interesting situation. "Well, I could play detective and try to figure out what's going on. I've always wanted to try my hand at detective work."
Saturday, August 11, 2012
Two months ago, I finished both walkthroughs. I think enough time has passed, and now the statistics can tell us which walkthrough is more popular. So, time to check the number of views in the past 30 days, just like I did two months ago with other games.
|Real Walkthrough||Blind Walkthrough|
Hey, the real walkthrough is winning! Huzzah!
Friday, August 10, 2012
Nancy was about to go back to her room, when she noticed someone in the hall. Peering through the glass windows on the door, Nancy could clearly see Rachel Hubbard, sneaking around. Rachel carried a tray of food, and she was looking around a corner to make sure no one was there to see her.
*BEEP BEEP!* chimed Nancy's cell phone. Nancy took out her phone, and she saw that the sound had come from one of the fancy, specialized programs that Nancy's friend George had created. This particular program was called "The Rachel Hubbard Activity Tracker".
"I knew downloading this app would come in handy!" Nancy said. She opened the application to learn that the readings for Rachel's activities had gone from "normal" to "super suspicious".
Nancy scratched her head, wondering what to do next. Her instincts told her to chase after Rachel and see where Rachel went. But then again, the last time Nancy tried to trail a suspect, it hadn't gone well. Nancy was supposed to be following an international jewel smuggler, but she accidentally ended up following the wife of Police Chief McGinnis. Needless to say, Nancy had spent the night in the holding cell at the River Heights jail.
This time, I won't screw up, Nancy thought to herself. Besides, there's nothing wrong with following another person in the middle of the night...right?
Nancy slowly followed after Rachel Hubbard. Rachel didn't go far; she went straight to her room.
Nancy quietly tried the doorknob. It was locked, but the lights in the room were on. Nancy decided not to knock on the door, in case that would wake up people in the nearby rooms. Instead, Nancy took out Amber Sullivan's ID card and used it to open the lock on the door.
Nancy stepped into the room, just in time to see the wall slide in. The room was completely empty.
What? Nancy wondered. She went straight to the wall and examined it. There were star designs, as well as a circular piece that moved. Nancy experimented a bit, and she could move the circular piece from star to star. The stars lit up, once the moveable piece landed on them.
I guess I have to try to light up all the stars, Nancy thought. She played around with the wall for a while, making liberal use of the reset button, until she found the solution.
Once all the stars were lit up, the door slid open, revealing a staircase that went up. Nancy followed the staircase, where she saw something shocking. Rachel Hubbard was sitting on a bed...and Rachel Hubbard was sitting at a desk, eating from the tray of food.
"Oh my gosh!" Nancy said. "There's two of you?"
"Oh no!" one of the Rachels said.
Thursday, August 9, 2012
2. People seemed really confused by my recent post about Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone. It's not that complicated. I met him once, he seemed cool, and I'm wishing him luck on his new assignment. That was the gist of the post.
3. Actually, speaking of Catholic Church, I saw a bit of Law & Order the other day. They were doing the old storyline of "a criminal went to confession in a Catholic Church, so the police decide they have to bully the priest into revealing what he said".
It kind of bugs me when TV shows do a storyline about confession, because they always get it wrong. Catholic Law dictates says that a priest can never reveal anything that was said during a confession. There are no exceptions, end of story. I'm tired of seeing TV shows make up fake exceptions to an ironclad rule.
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Once Paige was gone, Nancy snuck out of her room and went downstairs. The double doors leading to the classroom with the map of the United States was locked.
"Ugh, why'd I leave my lock-picking kit at home?" Nancy said to no one in particular. She took a closer look at the lock, which was an extremely simple one. In fact, it was so simple that...
Hope this works, Nancy thought. She pulled out Amber Sullivan's student ID and slid it through the space between the two doors. The door on the right then opened.
"Yes!" Nancy said. "If this detective thing doesn't work out, a life of crime could be in my future!"
Nancy strolled into the classroom and put the state of Oklahoma on the US map. Remembering Rachel's orders, Nancy took a picture of the map.
"That was a simple challenge," Nancy said. She turned to leave, and stopped dead. One of the pillars had a picture of a raven on it. It looked exactly like the raven in Rita Hallowell's journal. Nancy quickly opened up the journal and read it. The journal mentioned four body parts that ravens have, complete with a diagram.
Reaching a hand out to the picture on the pillar, Nancy touched it. The various wooden pieces could be pushed in—a little bit, anyway. She pushed the four body parts that were mentioned in the journal.
The wooden plate with the raven on it spun around in a circle. Nancy barely had time to wonder what was happening, when she heard a large crash behind her. Turning around, she saw that the map of the United States was completely ruined. Every single state, except for Washington, was now lying on the floor.
"Oh no! I killed America!" Nancy Drew exclaimed.
There was nothing else for Nancy to do, but trying to fix the country. Her knowledge of geography wasn't the greatest—in her defense, River Heights High doesn't have a US geography class—but she had a picture of the completed US map on her phone. It took ten minutes for her to complete the huge jigsaw puzzle.
When the last state was in place, there was a loud clicking sound. She turned to see the pillar with the raven picture on it. The pillar was once again rotating, and this time, it rotated to the point where a starburst token was in sight.
Nancy took a moment to marvel at the absolutely amazing technology on display here. Did Rita Hallowell invent some kind of wireless transceiver which sent information from the US map to the pillar? Or were there wooden gears and pulleys, running through the floor, which connected the two devices?
Nancy shrugged while she grabbed the fourth—and final—starburst token. She didn't know what the tokens were for yet, but she felt satisfaction for a job well done. She had single-handedly fixed the United States of America, something all the politicians in Washington DC were unable to do.
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
One of them might be reading this, so let me start off by saying they are all nice, wonderful people. That said, if the world really was in danger, I would not bring any of them along with me. We are the least efficient group of adventures, of all time. During the six hour session, I think we actually played for less than two hours.
So, it took us three six hour sessions to get through the three-to-four hour campaign.
The first session involved setting up the characters, like I said. And that was it. We didn't actually start the game that day. I think the videogame equivalent of this is starting a Nancy Drew game with a bunch of your friends, and taking all day to decide whether you'll play on Amateur Sleuth mode or Master Sleuth mode.
Mountain Dew may have been involved. Did you know they have blue-flavored Mountain Dew? It is the most delicious soda drink I've ever tasted, but I have been unable to find it in any stores near my house.
Monday, August 6, 2012
The downside to this method is that I tend to forget I wanted to see a certain movie, until it's too late. But then again, I can always wait another six months and pick it up at my local library.
Just recently, one of my friends pointed out another downside to this method: people seem to think there's an expiration date on fun. You can only talk about a certain movie during the three weeks that it's topical, but if you talk about it after that, everyone will look at you funny because ugh, that's old.
I guess that would explain why people want to see a movie on opening day. If they can only enjoy or talk about a movie for a certain time frame, then it makes some sense to want to see the movie at the start of the time frame, for maximum enjoyment. But it still strikes me as strange. I mean, I read books that are years old, all the time. But when I see movies that are weeks old, suddenly, people act like I'm a behind-the-times loser.
Sunday, August 5, 2012
I'll probably write a multiple-post series on Dungeons and Dragons, but I thought I'd start today by talking about stats. That's the thing which causes DND to remind me of videogames. There are lots of videogames with stats, like Castlevania and Fire Emblem. I think stats are mostly in RPGs.
Okay, so here's the thing about stats: I don't know what they are.
No, seriously. I understand "attack", which is how much damage you do to enemies. I understand "defense", which is how much damage enemies do to you. But other stats? I have no idea how they affect gameplay. Why is there an intelligence stat in Castlevania? What does "res" in Fire Emblem mean? How do you BEXP a level-up?
I'm not exaggerating here. I'm sure you can look up what various stats mean and what they do, but whenever I try, I still get kind of confused and forget it quickly. I just focus on attack and defense, as if they're the only stats in existence. This majorly changes the way I play RPGs--for example, you'll rarely see me use spells--but it works for me.
Dungeons and Dragons has about ten or so stats that you're supposed to keep track of. I only understand "strength", which is attack. Other ones are dex, int, init, cha, cmd, bab, wis, and others I'm forgetting. Sounds like a foreign language, right? I wouldn't be surprised if they were taken from Popular Three-Letter Words: French Edition.
It turns out that a lot of these stats are, like, double stats. For example, the DND guys tell me that I have a dex of 13, which means I have a dex modifier of 1. I'm wondering if they're talking about Dexter's Laboratory when this is going on, but they assure me it makes sense.
Yesterday, after everyone levelled up, I brought my character sheet to the person in charge of the game, and I asked him how levelling-up works. And he got confused when he saw my stats sheet, because my stats were all wrong. I put my cha where my dex should be, and things like that. But he had mercy on me because I'm a first-timer, and he let me re-roll for stats and set them up for me.
Good News: My stats are actually good now!
Bad News: I still have no idea what they are.
Anyway, that's it for today. I'm just confirming that DND uses stats, which are the things which confuse me in other videogames. They continue to confuse me in DND.
Saturday, August 4, 2012
Nancy looked at her to-do list again. She had been a busy detective lately, so most of the items on the list were crossed off already.
The To-Do List
1. Put Oklahoma back on the map of the United States
2. Get a picture of the map of the United States
3. Find a way into the locked classroom with the map of the United States
4. DO THE UNITED STATES MAP PUZZLE ALREADY!
"I get the sense that I'm supposed to do the United States map puzzle now," Nancy commented. "But wait...there's a disclaimer here!"
In small print, the notebook stated United States Map Puzzle must be completed after curfew.
"No problem!" Nancy said, pulling out her phone. "Time Travel Powers, activate!"
Nancy set her phone to 11:00 PM, and instantly, she travelled through time to later that night. It was one of the more useful features of her cell phone.
When Nancy returned, she found herself sitting in one of the chairs on the top floor. Standing in front of her was Paige Griffen, the angry building monitor.
"Miss Sawyer, where have you been all day?" Paige asked. "You forgot to do Snack Shop duty! That's one demerit!"
"Oops," Nancy said.
"Now all the girls are starving!" Paige said. "What do you have to say for yourself?"
"I...uh...I got your term paper!" Nancy said.
"Your term paper," Nancy said, pulling it out of her bag. "You know, the one that Casper the Squirrel stole! I spent the day finding it and getting it back for you!"
Paige's eyes went wide as she saw the long-missing term paper whose disappearance caused her to flunk out of biology class. "I...this..." she said.
It was the nicest thing one of the valedictorian candidates had ever done for Paige, considering that she was always yelling at them and giving them demerits.
"Yes...well...it's still curfew time!" Paige said. "If you don't go to your room, you'll get demerits."
"Okay, I'm going," Nancy said, heading back to her room.
"And Becca? ...Thanks," Paige said.
"Anything for a friend," Nancy smiled.
Friday, August 3, 2012
I remember Bishop Sal from two years ago. He came to St. Patrick's Seminary to oversee the institution of lectors or some other such seminarian-based liturgy, and I was assigned as one of the lead sacristans. He seemed like a pretty nice person, and I can remember him teaching Jose how to remove the Bishop's miter in the right way, without disturbing the skull cap.
In layman's terms, he taught Jose how to take off the big Bishop's hat. It was funny watching them practice that. And of course, that's all I remember about the Bishop. I can't remember his homily at all; I can only remember Jose accidentally knocking off his hat during practice.
Now Bishop Sal is going to be Archbishop, which basically means that he's the Bishop of San Francisco, but in case of any emergencies, he has power over other dioceses in the province. For example, if the Bishop of Fresno dies suddenly, without any successor, the Archbishop becomes the temporary Bishop by default.
I'm sure there are other aspects to being Archbishop, as opposed to just being Bishop, but I only learned about his powers in emergency situations which rarely occur.
I wish Bishop Sal luck in his new assignment as Archbishop.
Thursday, August 2, 2012
2. It strikes me as a little unfair that the Olympics focus so much on gymnastics and swimming. If you're a swimmer, great! You can be in ten different competitions! If you play a team sport like basketball, sorry, you can only compete in one competition.
3. I think I'll make a series of webcam videos again, so I made a video where I babble for about five minutes, asking people to please tell me what to talk about because I don't know how to do anything besides babble.
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Oh, those crazy girls. I'll have to buy them cookies or something like that, next time they're in my area. Or maybe I'll give them those free dance lesson tickets that I won last week. Clearly, I don't need dance lessons, myself.