Saturday, March 31, 2012

WWA, Chapter 25

Here's Chapter 25 of Weirdness at Waverly Academy. Today, Nancy gets a phone call from her boyfriend, Ned. This call is automatically triggered after you solve the cornerstone puzzle, if you haven't called Ned yet.

---

Our hero Nancy just found Rita Hallowell's journal, which was filled with obscure clues on how to find some kind of treasure. Nancy had no idea what the treasure was, but hopefully it would be worth the effort.

"I have a feeling that finding this is going to be difficult," Nancy said. "But it's a lucky thing no one besides me has solved the cornerstone puzzle in the past 150 years! That means I'm the only one who knows about the existence of this journal!"

Nancy headed back inside the school, when her cell phone rang. Caller ID said it was her boyfriend, Ned Nickerson. Nancy decided to take the call.

"Ned, hi!" Nancy said.

"Hey, Nance," Ned said. "I hadn't heard from you in a while, so I thought I'd call. Did you get to New York okay?"

"Yeah, the flight was fine," Nancy said. "I arrived here at Waverly Academy about an hour ago, and since then, I've just been exploring the area and meeting everyone."

"So how's the case going?" Ned asked.

"Great!" Nancy said. "All the girls here seem really smart, and they all like me! Becca Sawyer is going to be the most popular girl in school!"

"Becca Sawyer?" Ned asked. "Who's Becca—oh, right, that's the fake name you're using."

"Fake name?" Nancy asked. "Becca is more than just a fake name! She has her own personality and backstory! She's spent the last seven years in France, where she lived in a moulin, learned martial arts and fought villains in masks!"

"Uh..."

"I even darkened my hair so it looks more like Minette's," Nancy said, referring to her adventures in Paris. "Now it's more vibrant than ever! Becca's hair is so good that Heather McKay offered her a modeling job!"

"Nancy, are you sure you're not taking this undercover thing a little too far?" Ned asked. "I mean, whenever you're acting, you have a tendency to go...overboard."

"What?" Nancy said. "I do not!"

"Remember when you were in that Shakespeare play last semester?" Ned asked. "For five weeks, you spoke nothing but Victorian English. I had no idea what you were saying half the time."

"I was getting into character!" Nancy said.

"It still made our dates kind of awkward," Ned said. "So just...don't worry too much about your cover persona. Try to focus on the mystery."

"I'll be fine, Ned," Nancy said. "But it's really sweet of you to be worried about me."

"Worrying about you is what I do best," Ned said. "Speaking of, you're not in any danger from this saboteur, are you?"

"Nope," Nancy said. "She only attacks valedictorian students, and I'm not a valedictorian because I just transferred here. So I should be totally safe for once."

"Good," Ned said, in a relieved voice.

"Yeah, the most dangerous thing I've done so far is play air hockey," Nancy said. "This mystery is going to be a walk in the park."

Friday, March 30, 2012

No More Pennies in Canada

In the news this week, Canada has officially decided to stop supporting pennies.  Later this year, they will stop making pennies.  Some people from Ottawa, speaking for all of Canda, said there are two main reasons for this decision.

#1. It'll save them money.  It costs 1.6 cents to make a 1 cent penny, so really, the government is losing money by making pennies.

#2. Pennies aren't very useful anymore. They're more of a nuisance than anything else.

There are currently 30 billion Canadian pennies in existence, and as time goes on, they will eventually disappear from active currency.  In the meantime, as the penny gets phased out of existence, prices are expected to be rounded up or down to the nearest nickel, rather than the nearest cent.

What do you guys think?  Is Canada making a good decision here?  Should the United States follow in their footsteps?  Or will this destroy the Candian economy?  Basically, a penny for your thoughts here.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Three Things

1. I'm slightly upset about the fourth season of the Total Drama series. Canada aired all the episodes in French, and they're wrapping up with the episodes in English (as of today, there's only one episode left). When are they going to start showing these episodes in my country? I've tried to watch the videos online, but they all seem to be blocked for people outside of Canada.

2. As far as I know, there are two basic acting styles. One is method acting, where you lose yourself in the role and sort of "become" the character you're playing. The other style is to not to lose yourself, but to find yourself in the role. I don't know the name for this style of acting.

When I did acting, I favored the first style. Which one do you think is better?

3. They made a new Carmen Sandiego game!  The Carmen Sandiego series is an educational game series that teaches people about geography.  The last game in the series was the weird 2004 platformer, and the game before that was the pretty decent 2001 title, Treasures of Knowledge.

So this new game, which I understand is being released episodically, has a good chance of being the best new Carmen Sandiego game in over ten years.  I'll have to remember to get my Wii back and purchase this game to see what it's like.

For now, I'm told that it is...a math game?  What?  But Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? is a geography series!  Why is she doing math?  Is she trying to calculate the number of frequent flyer miles she's earned from travelling all over the globe, or what?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Nancy Drew Swag

The Nancy Drew store has been updated, to contain all sorts of new swag. We have slick shirts, magic mugs, fantastic folios, cool cases, terrific tiles and, uh, purposeful pillowcases. I had some fun, looking at all the various designs.

And here's a video where Little Jackalope, Her Interactive's main blogger, tests out one of the magic mugs.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

WWA, Chapter 24

Here's Chapter 24 of Weirdness at Waverly Academy.

---

Nancy's phone beeped, with a text message that said Goth girl gets 2nd bc'd.

"The Goth girl got a second Black Cat note?" Nancy asked. "I'm guessing that's Mel, the girl with unhelpful ancestors."

Nancy just went through all the trouble of following the trail of clues left by Mel's great-great grandmother. The trail led to a picture of all four of Waverly Academy's founders, standing by a cornerstone plaque.

Nancy sighed. "It's not much of a lead, but I guess I'll follow it," Nancy said. She left the library and the building, going to the cornerstone. As you might expect, this stone was on the corner of Ramsey Hall. The cornerstone was basically a plaque which had the date of Waverly's founding, along with the names of the founders.

"Hey, this thing is kind of cool," Nancy said, tapping it.

Suddenly, one of the cornerstone pieces fell off.

"Augh!" Nancy said. She picked up the fallen piece and tried to jam it into place, but that only caused another piece to fall off.

"AUGH!" Nancy cried. "I gotta fix this, before I get suspended!"

Nancy scrambled with the four fallen pieces of the plaque, trying to jam them together in the square-shaped hole. Eventually, she got it right.

"Hooray!" Nancy said.

The amazing technology built into the plaque from 1866 registered the fact that someone put the four pieces into place, for the first time in over a hundred years. This caused the front of the cornerstone to slowly slide down, revealing a hidden treasure inside.

"Double hooray!" Nancy said.

Then, a white squirrel appeared and jumped into the cornerstone. It picked up a shiny gold thing, then ran off.

"Not hooray!" Nancy said. "You get back here, you crazy squirrel!"

It was too late, however. The squirrel took the shiny gold thing up to its nest at the very top of the large oak tree.

"That evil, evil squirrel!" Nancy said. "I bet he's the Black Cat!"

Nancy reached into the still-open cornerstone and pulled out the only thing left inside: an old journal. It reminded Nancy of Trapper Dan's journal from White Wolf of Icicle Creek, or Josiah Crowley's journal from Secret of the Old Clock, or even Bruno Bolet's journal from Legend of the Crystal Skull.

"Why do I find so many journals?" Nancy wondered. Either way, she knew what to do by now. Just follow all the clues in the journal, until she found the hidden treasure. No problem.

Rita Hallowell was written on the cover of the journal. Rita was one of the founders of Waverly Academy. She was the one who worked as a nurse for Edgar Allen Poe, shortly before he died. She was also the one who was rumored to have gone crazy, which led to the story of the Black Cat that Izzy told in Chapter Fifteen.

"Okay, let's hope that Rita was really a smart person, not a crazy person," Nancy said, opening the journal. "Otherwise, this journal will be almost impossible to decode."

The first page of the journal talked about how to calm Rita's cat down, by playing the music on the lamps. The second page had something to do with a raven (or was it a crow?). The third page talked about a celebratory dinner, made up of nine courses, eaten with perfect etiquette. The final page said something about a group to protect the treasure behind the Dupin gate. This came with a picture of Other Poe Stories.

"...Yep, she went crazy," Nancy said. "Oh, boy. Lucky me."

Monday, March 26, 2012

Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva

I finally saw the 2009 movie, Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva.  The movie was released in Japan shortly after the fourth game.  Here's the weird thing, though: the movie was released in English, shortly before the third game.  That's right; even though it took a year to translate, the movie was still released in English way ahead of schedule.

I like continuity, so I was one of the few Layton fans who actually waited an extra year and a half before watching the movie.  I wanted to see it after playing the fourth game, just like it was originally intended to be experienced.

...Now I kind of wish I hadn't waited so long.



The first thing you'll probably notice is that half the characters have different voice actors in the movie.  That's one of the unfortunate consequences of releasing the movie before the games; they couldn't use the same voice actors as the games did, because the games weren't finished then.  So Emmy suddenly sounds thirty years older, and her accent is a lot thicker.  The main villain, whose voice is supposed to be recognized immediately, ends up being a complete surprise because we've never heard him talk in that voice before.

On the bright side, though, the movie has a lot of new characters, and they all sound wonderful.  I really liked the minor characters in this film.  They have actual personalities and backstories.  It's a refreshing change from the game series, where the characters are mainly just props, who have no reason for existence, apart from giving the player some brainteasers to solve.

The plot of the movie is good, I guess.  I'll be honest.  I didn't really like the main plot all that much.  The main plot was about an opera singer, whose deceased best friend is now haunting the body of a little girl.  And while that sounds interesting, I didn't really like it.  In particular, I found the opera scenes to be rather tiresome.  These scenes were not translated at all, so it's just a few minutes of people singing in Japanese.


Fans of Japanese opera will probably like this scene.

But my favorite part of the movie is the twenty-minute block which occurs after the opera scene.  That's when the villain holds the entire opera house hostage, and he forces the audience members to play his twisted little game.  The rules are simple: solve the puzzles.  If you get the right answer, you continue with the game.  If you get the wrong answer, you die.  The last person alive gets the Elixir of Eternal Life.

...It's more dramatic when you don't know that the villain could only think up four puzzles.

The tension really mounts as more and more people are killed, and I liked the suspense during those scenes.  It was really my favorite part of the whole movie.  But eventually, the tension and suspense came to an end, when the characters escaped from the giant explosion and landed on a calm desert island.

After that, the movie sort of returned to the main plot about the opera singer, and things got less exciting.  Of course, things got exciting again towards the end of the movie, when the main villain was unmasked.  Then, the villain started playing dramatic music on the the pipe organ, and he turned the pipe organ into a giant robot.  The robot went on a rampage, Professor Layton had a swordfight on top of the robot, and there was more singing in Japanese.  Basically, what you'd expect from a Layton movie, seeing as the past two games involved giant robot rampages.


The sword fight on top of the giant robot/pipe organ. See, I wasn't making it up; that's actually in the movie.

All in all, I'd say that the movie is probably at the same level as the fourth game: good, but not as good as the third one. People who haven't played any of the games seem to rate the movie somewhat highly.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Cooking

My latest cooking adventure was cooking pigs in a blanket this week.

Cooking Pro Tip: Don't use an actual blanket. You might accidentally start a fire.

Once the fire department left, I was ready to start cooking! I got myself an oven pan, some of those oven roll things, cheese slices and hot dogs. The way to make pigs in a blanket is to wrap the hot dog in the oven roll, then cook it in the oven until the bread looks edible.  It's sort of like a hot dog in a bun, except the hot dog is inside a bread roll.

I decided to take a risk and add cheese slices to two of the four pigs.  That gave me two hot dogs, wrapped in melted cheese, wrapped in bread.  I only put cheese in half of them, in case the cheese turned out to be a bad idea.

Spoiler alert: The cheese was a bad idea.

Right, so when you add cheese to the pigs in a blanket recipe, you need to cook the food for an additional fifteen minutes.  Otherwise, the food will look like it's done, but as soon as you try eating it, it morphs into this half-melted cheese-and-roll goo that tastes bad.  Fortunately, when I cooked them some more, they turned into normal food.

My other big mistake of the night was not using the magic "no stick" spray on the pan, before I put it in the oven.  The rolls ended up being stuck to the pan, and I had to pry them off with a spatula.  It didn't work very well, and there were small chunks of bread that remained on the pan.

All in all, the food was sort of a mess, and it didn't taste that good.  Actually, the best tasting part were the hot dogs, because I don't think I've tasted oven-roasted hot dogs before.  Oh, well, live and learn, I guess.  Next week, I'm trying chicken parmesan, which I hope is easier to cook than it is to spell.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Videogame Artwork

Hey, this is some fun news.  I'm helping make a videogame!

My friend Paul has been doing a lot of videogame work recently.  From what I can tell, he's been hired to work with at least four different independent games.  He mostly works with editing and writing, but he recently decided to play around a little bit with programming and coding.

Right now, he's making an adventure game prototype.  It's going to be a short demo, only three screens long, and hopefully the higher-ups will like the demo so much that they'll agree to produce the full game.  Since I was a cartoonist for six months, I volunteered to help with the artwork.

Paul asked if I wanted to work the items, characters or background art.  I decided to start with the items, because I haven't drawn in months, so I didn't to start with anything too difficult.  Paul got back to me with a list of items to draw, including:

  • A red pen
  • A bottle of white-out
  • A thick black marker
  • A thin marker
  • A box of chalk

...Apparently, it's a game about writing utensils.

I started out by drawing five or so different versions of each item, then I sent it to Paul and had him picked the ones he liked.  We went back and forth with about three rounds of pictures, until we got a set we were happy with. Then I drew them, scanned them, and edited them in Photoshop.





The pictures will probably be much smaller in the actual game, because they're just inventory icons.

So now I'm an official artist for a videogame! Sure, it's just a demo that hasn't been completed yet, but I'm still looking forward to seeing the demo when it's released.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Fast Food News

The news I saw this week was that the finance reports for 2011 are in.  McDonald's 34.2 billion dollars, while Burger King made 8.4 billion and Wendy's made 8.5.  This means Wendy's is now the second-biggest burger chain in the world.
Burger King, what happened?

The report said that Burger King has recently undergone a company-wide renovation, after a new company purchased it in 2010.  The changes they made include getting rid of the creepy King mascot, new chicken tenders and new fries, unless I'm mistaken.  So, either these new changes aren't doing so well, or Wendy's is having a really great year.

I'm surprised I haven't heard about the King being retired.  Everyone I know hates the creepy King mascot.  You'd think the news would have been all over Facebook.

Subway and Starbucks were #2 and #3 on the fast food places with the highest profits list, coming in after McDonald's but before Wendy's.  So, I guess that means people prefer to eat at places that start with the letter "S".

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Three Things

1.  I do not understand the people who lick their fingers, whenever they have to turn a page in a book.  What does having wet fingers have to do with page turning?  If anything, I would think having wet fingers would make it more difficult to get a grip on something, not less difficult.

I get a little uneasy about germs, when I see people who lick their fingers before touching book pages.  It's like every page of the book has been contaminated by their mouth germs.  I hope they spray library books with disinfectant, just in case.

2.  According to Jude Blume's Facebook account, they're making a movie out of her book Tiger Eyes.  Those of you who have been reading this blog for a long time will remember that I reviewed this book in July, 2009.  At that time, I stopped reading the book five chapters in, because it was "depressing as hell".  This does not make me excited for seeing the movie.

3. Does anybody know what these punctuation marks are: « » ?  I think they might be French quotation marks, but I'm not sure.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Snickers

Do you guys remember my dog Snickers?  You can sometimes hear him barking in the background of my older Nancy Drew videos, because he thought the sound effects were real.

Snickers died on February 28th, at the age of eleven years and three months.

In an odd coincidence, I was reading a British book earlier that day, and the author started talking about how animals are not rational creatures.  Animals don't have intelligence, at least, not in the same way that humans do.  When we say, "good dog" or "bad dog", we don't mean that the dog has somehow learned about morality.  We mean that the dog has been trained to act the way we want it to, which is basic animal psychology.

I really liked that argument, which came complete with the funny story of an old lady who croons over her precious little darling, even though the dog is clearly one of the most annoying creatures alive.  People seem to have a blind spot when their pets are involved.  I think Hagrid said that in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

In any case, Snickers is dead now, so there are no more pets for me, except my boss' cat Julie, who has recently started sleeping on my bed all day long.  She must think the bed belongs to her, because she doesn't like it when I try to use it.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Videogame Music Radio

Someone tipped me off to a website called Videogame Music Radio.  It's basically an online radio station, which plays songs from videogames.

There are no DJs or advertisements; just a program that automatically selects songs from the list of 419 videogame songs.  I thought it was interesting, although there are definitely some songs I'd like to see them add to the list of rotating songs.

Anyway, I just thought I'd share it with you.  I'll have to start listening to it when I'm at the office.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

March Newsletter

The March Nancy Drew Newsletter has been released.  Let's see what fun stuff is happening this month.

  • They have a new, extensive merchandise store.  Now there are all sorts of t-shirts and things you can buy, which are based off the games.
  • The upcoming Nancy Drew: Tomb of the Lost Queen features a new interface.  It looks pretty fancy, and it gets rid of the black border which sometimes appears around the game, depending on which mode you're playing the game in (and your computer monitor).  The inventory is going to be at the bottom of the screen, rather than in an inventory menu.  I wonder what changes will be made to the text boxes.
  • The price of many of the older Nancy Drew games has dropped.  The price drop is more apparent if you download the games, rather than purchase the CD versions.
  • Her Interactive worked with the Make a Wish Foundation to put one of their fans into the upcoming game. Rachel died recently, but we'll make sure to keep a lookout for her when playing the game.
  • Bonus news: the cover art for the upcoming game has been released.

That's a lot of Nancy Drew news this month.  Next month, pre-orders start for Nancy Drew: Tomb of the Lost Queen so charge up your credit cards!  Or save up your allowances, if you don't have credit cards.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Book of the Three Dwelling-Places, Chapter 6

The Book of Three Dwelling-Places
By Saint Patrick

Chapter Six.
The knowledge of the blessed. Of the threefold vision: physical, spiritual and intellectual.


Therefore, the society of the angels and the saints, and the presence of God himself, in hand and in sight, as we said earlier, incomparably excels the kingdom of the whole world, even if this world were to last forever.

In the vision of God, three types of knowledge are born: that is, the human who discerns, and God who is discerned, and all the others who will see and will understand everything. For it is just like how a threefold vision is brought to us through a glass mirror, because we see us ourselves, and the mirror itself, and whatever is present. Thus, through the mirror of divine clarity, we will see God himself--as much as this is possible for a creature--and we will see us ourselves, and we will know the other truths and certain knowledge.

At that time, by seeing God, we will see the hidden things of creation and Hell itself. Then, it will be manifest to the just ones how God is invisible, unequalled, without beginning and without end, before all things and after all things. They shall understand the Trinity, whatever is different about God being born, which pertains to the Son, and whatever is different about his procession, which pertains to the Holy Spirit, who is one from a single nature, while proceeding from two other persons. And it will be clear how the Father does not come before the Son or the Holy Spirit in time, but in origin; and how all things of God are one in God, receiving that which pertains to the relation of the Trinity. For the wisdom and truth and eternity of God are not spread out among him, but they are one in all respects: for the wisdom of God is not greater than the truth is, and the truth is not greater than the wisdom, the eternity, or all the other things of God; for they are one in God, and not only these things are the same in God, but they are nothing other than God himself. And it will be revealed how goodness was in God, before it existed in itself, not good, but God; and how God is everywhere without location, how God is great without quantity, and how God is good without quality; and how God penetrates everything that is clean and unclean, without becoming polluted. For if light which is visible can illumine all places and even penetrate manure without smell or without being polluted, then how much more God, who is invisible and unchangeable light, can penetrate all things without any change or pollution? God penetrates all things, rules all things, sustains all things, surrounds all things and illumines all things, not only the things of Heaven and of Earth, but of Hell, as well.

Then, there will be a threefold vision of God for the elect, that is: 1) a physical vision, which will be seen by bodies, some of which will have brilliancy like the sun, some like the moon, and others like the stars. 2) And a spiritual vision, in the spirit, which resembles the physical vision and which will not see false ideas. And further, the spirits of the just take delight in this vision today, from behind the barrier of the body. 3) And an intellectual vision, in the spirit, through which the pure eye of the mind sees God, and God's souls, and the most profound virtues, and angelic spirits. Then, they will give double thanks to God, namely, thanks for their liberation from perpetual damnation and thanks for their reward of ineffable good. Then, all the public criminals and the devil's hosts will be damned in the sight of the elect of God; their damnation and intolerable punishment will stand out as a delectable spectacle to the elect. Then, with the most ardent love, they will love the giver of their liberation and of all good things, and without end and without pride, through the cry of the heart, they will praise God the omnipotent, the benign, and the merciful: to whom are the honor and the glory, both now and through all ages. Amen.

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Book of the Three Dwelling-Places, Chapter 5

Book of the Three Dwelling-Places
By Saint Patrick

Chapter Five.
All things are present to God, without any prejudgment against human freedom. The discourse and praise of God. His existence before time. True evil is worse than false evil. The vision of God which is conferred upon the blessed. The eternity of God. The knowledge of God.


From this, we know that God does not see the day of judgment, and he does not see the first day of the ages, but he sees both. God's foreknowledge does not lead anyone towards sinning, as many mistaken people say. For if, they say, God knew ahead of time that Adam would become a sinner, it would have been impossible for Adam to avoid sinning. From this error is born the idea that God is the cause of sin, which is monstrous to say. And those people who say these things are tripped up by their own words. For if the things God has foreknowledge of have to occur, out of necessity, then man sinned by means of his own free will, and not out of any necessity, because in the foreknowledge of God man sinned by a free and voluntary decision, not led by necessity. Therefore, if the foreknowledge of God is unable to avoided, humans are unable to sin through anything other than free will; they are led by no other power, because God foreknows they will sin in this way. Therefore, if the decision to sin is voluntary, it is not forced. For if mankind is not forced to sin, then without a doubt, humans are able to avoid sin if they wish; and for that reason--because they willingly chose to sin--humans have deserved punishment for their sins. Otherwise, the punishment of death would not have been taken up by God.

God's discourse is hidden inspiration, which is how he invisibly shows his will and his love to minds; perceiving this discourse, the Angels obey God through everything. God's praise will be extolled by the elect, and the manifestation by his elect will show forth goodness to all people; therefore, perpetual praise by the elect will honor him; everlasting is his marvelousness. His wonderful measures do not come before the world and time, because there was no space of hours before the world, and in this way, God will always be without beginning. For there was no time before time existed, but rather, time was co-created with the world. If time began to run at the same time as the world, then time was not made before the world. And therefore, as we said earlier, there was no time before time that God existed, and there was no time before the world that God existed, because time and his world are of the same age, for it was through God's motion that they both began to run. Whatever is moved exists before its own motion. And God existed before the world in infallible eternity, not in time. God's time was not before the world.

God's light dispels the darkness of ignorance, and it is through His light that we know that some portion of all these things which we say is true and certain. Through the same light, we see that truth is better than falsehood; and further, we see that evil discourse or true sin is worse than false evil or false sin, not on account of its truth, but on account of the fact that it is evil and sin. For something else cannot be evil or sin, unless it is true evil or sin; for false evil is not evil, just like how false silver is not silver. Some people say that evil or sin comes from truth, and it is done in truth; in this way, they make evil out to be the work of truth, which is entirely false. For all that is true rises from the truth, and all that is true is also good, to the extent that it is true. Consequently, a true thing comes from truth, so that if evil or sin exists, it does not exist in and of itself; in order to exist, that evil depends on another thing, a thing which is good and true. So, whatever is evil is not itself good, but nonetheless, it is true and good, in that it exists. For evil does not exist by itself, without the existence of good; in no way would God allow that to be done. Of course, the All-Powerful One makes many good things out of bad things, such as when he forms good from the adultery of men, and he makes them human again. This and all other things which we know about God are known through some portion of God's light, poured forth as if into a narrow crack in the ground; and if we know these things to be true, how much and what sort of knowledge and wisdom will be brought to light in Heaven, where we will see that sun of truth face to face, that is, where we will know true and certain wisdom? God's presence makes the people who are near him become more like him; God's absence makes the people who are apart from him become less like him in every way. For true wisdom, true beauty and true eternity are close to God; therefore, the person who is also close to God will assuredly be wise and beautiful and eternal.

God's eternity is without beginning and without end (for if there was time when time didn't exist, who created it?); because he himself is the only God, and before him, there was no other god, there is no other god and there will be none other. Not by chance did he create himself, and with nothing, he created himself; for by what power could he have made himself, when all powers besides himself were entirely non-existent? Therefore, the only option left is to say that everything which is made is not God. Therefore, God was made without any means, without beginning, before all things were. For whatever is made has a beginning, and whatever has a beginning, without a doubt, is made, not made by someone other than God, but rather, God makes all things.

God's knowledge is without any variety of thought, and his mind does not wander here and there, as he contemplates the innumerable truth of all creatures: angels, humans, stars (Hebrews 11:12), sands (Genesis 13:16), hair (Matthew 10:30), words (Psalm 139:4), thoughts, all moments. He perceives and understands them all at the same time and at once. Therefore, God is the fount and origin of knowledge; how much a person thirsts for this fountain will be how much he drinks from it (John 4:13-14).

---

1) In this chapter, there is a sentence which discusses the fact that true sin is bad, not because it is true (as opposed to false), but because it is sin. The sentence reads:

"Through the same light, we see that truth is better than falsehood; and further, we see that evil discourse or true sin is worse than false evil or false sin, not on account of its truth, but on account of the fact that it is evil and sin."

Some manuscripts add "but then, it is evil and sin, because it is true evil and sin" at the end of this sentence.

2) The section on God's knowledge starts with the sentence "God's knowledge is without any variety of thought." One manuscript does not include the Latin word for "of thought".

3) There are four variations of the sentence which explains that, unlike humans, whose minds tend to wander here and there when thinking about something, God's mind does not wander. The original texts have four variations on that sentence.

1. et sine ullo cursu huc et illuc...
2. et sine usu cursu huc et illuc...
3. et sine visu cursu huc et illuc...
4. et sine nisu cursu huc et illuc...

The literal translation is "and without ____ wandering here and there". In English, the four variants look like this:

1. And without any wandering here and there...
2. And without having to wander here and there...
3. And without sight, wandering here and there...
4. And without effort, wandering here and there...

I translated "cursu" as "wandering", because in English, we say that minds wander. However, in Latin, "cursu" is a more generic term for movement, which can mean wandering, wander, course, path, journey, etc.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Book of the Three Dwelling-Places, Chapter 4

Book of the Three Dwelling-Places
By Saint Patrick

Chapter Four.
To depart from the broad way to the narrow path. The happiness of the Blessed, their knowledge, the condition of their love. Of the ineffable sweetness of the vision of God.


Therefore, it is braver to resist fleshly desires, and it is better to fight against the deceitful enticements of this world, and to be vigilant against the countless suggestions of Satan. For broad is the way of all those with a fondness for living, and this is the way which leads to death (Matthew 7:13). And truly, the desire of the whole heart is the narrow way that leads to life, which should be longed for and followed. This narrow way is the way of abstinence, and chastity, and humility, and all morality; Christ has set out this way before us, by this way he travelled to his kingdom. Let us also follow in his footsteps, until we arrive after him, into the royal city which he rules. Whatever man has said about this city is like a drop of the ocean, or like a spark in a fireplace. Anyone can see that the just shine forth from this city like the sun (Matthew 13:43), as the Lord said.

In that place, there will be the highest peace, the greatest ease, no work, no sadness, no poverty, and no old age, no death, and no night at all, no desire for food and no burning thirst; but the food and drink of all will be the vision of Christ and the holy Trinity, and the contemplation of that Divinity by the pure eye of the heart, and, let me say it, the perpetual reading of the Book of Life, that is, of eternal truth and highest wisdom, and the Word of God, which is the vision of Jesus Christ. Whereas now, He is hidden from us, there He will be shown most clearly; there, many other things will be made clear: the reason why this man is an elect, and that man is a reprobate; why this man is assumed into the kingdom and that man is reduced to slavery; why one child died in the womb, another in infancy, another in youth and another in old age; why one man is poor and another is rich; why a child born out of adultery is baptized, if another child, born from a legitimate marriage, dies before baptism; why he who starts his life well would ever end his life badly; and why he who starts life badly often finishes well. All these things, and many other things like them, will be made plain and apparent in the Book of Life.

In that city, the reward of a single person becomes the reward of all; and the reward of all, through charity, will become the reward of one. There, every good thing will be open to all. There, all people will know each other's thoughts. There, no proud man will be superior, and no envious man will be inferior. For how can someone be envious of anyone, when he esteems everyone else just as much as he esteems himself? Such a man would be jealous of no one. In Heaven, no one will desire to be better or superior than he already is, for it would be improper for the citizens of heaven to be in any way different from the way they already are. They are how they are, because they deserved to become that way. Therefore, the person who is in heaven will not desire to be something other than what he is, but instead, he will desire to be what he deserves to be; that is to say, he will be excellent, not only by himself alone, but also in the universal body of the Heavenly Church. For in a body, if any part is set higher or lower than where it is by nature, the body becomes monstrous and hideous; doubtless, in the same way, if anyone in the kingdom of God is placed higher than where morality and the will of the all-powerful creator demand he should be placed, it creates hideousness, not only on himself, but on the whole congregation. Further, he who is the least in Heaven, without a doubt, will have greater glory than he who owns the entire Earth, even if he could live forever. For it is very cheap and worthless is to take delight in simple things, to be delighted both by visible and physical things, in comparison to taking delight in and rejoicing in God himself. For such is the beauty of justice, such is the joy of eternal life (which is unchanging truth and wisdom), that even if we were not allowed to remain in Heaven for more than one day, we would scorn a life on Earth, a life full of delights and countless years, and we would scorn in having continual bodily goods and favors. For not with false or with little love was it written: One day within your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere (Psalm 83:11).

Nothing is to be compared to the delight and rejoicing that is born from invisible and incorporeal things, and from the society of the angels and all the just, and from the sound knowledge and contemplation of that divine nature, and the face-to-face vision from God himself. God, whose beauty the angels admire, by whose power the dead are lifted up, whose wisdom is not to be numbered (Psalm 146:5), whose kingdom knows no end, whose glory cannot be told; whose light obscures the sun so much that, in comparison to Him, the sun has no light; whose sweetness so transcends honey that, being compared with Him, honey tastes like the bitterest wormwood. If all those imprisoned in the jail of Hell saw God's face, they would feel no punishment, no grief, and no sadness; if his presence, with the holy ones, appeared in Hell, it would immediately be converted into a pleasant paradise.

God, without whose approval, not even a leaf falls from a tree; whose eyes penetrate the fiery depth of hell; whose ears hear the silent voice of the heart, that is, the thoughts of the heart; whose eyes hear as well as see, and whose ears see as well as hear, because they are not physical body parts, but they are the highest knowledge and certain thought. God, whose delights satisfy the hungry without any distaste: the blessed are found with God's delights, but they still always long for them; God's delights create hunger and thirst without pain, and they always satisfy the burning desire. Seeing God's wonderful secrets, they are always new and marvelous, creating amazement in their discerners, no more than when they start to be seen than after a thousand years, or after a thousand times a thousand years. And with the angels who have been accustomed to see them even from the beginning of the world, they still admire them today no less than they did on the first day; otherwise, the knowledge of the angels seeing God just now would seem cheap, compared to the hearts of the angels who have constantly been seeing God. God, whose knowledge of past and future things, is not in the past and in the future, but is in the present.

---

1) There are three different variations of one sentence in this chapter.

1. Ibi omnium bonum omnibus patebit.
2. Ibi omnium bonorum copia omnibus patebit.
3. Ibi omne bonum omnibus patebit.

In English, the three variations mean this:

1. There, all the good will be open to all.
2. There, the abundance of all good things will be open to all.
3. There, every good thing will be open to all.

Sentence #1 is generally agreed to be the correct one, but in the translation, I used sentence #3, because it sounds more natural to English speakers.

2) One sentence near the end of the first paragraph--"For it is very cheap and worthless is to take delight in simple things, in comparison to taking delight in and rejoicing in God himself..."--is taken, almost word-for-word, from St. Augustine's 44th sermon. Some manuscripts do not have this sentence.

3) The final sentence, in Latin, is "Cujus cognitionis præterita et futura, (non præterita et futura, sed) præsentia sunt." Some manuscripts omit the five words in parenthesis. In English, this is equal to "God, whose knowledge of past and future things, (is not in the past and in the future, but) is in the present."

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Book of the Three Dwelling-Places, Chapter 3

Book of the Three Dwelling-Places
By Saint Patrick

Chapter Three.
About those whose love of the world is not deterred by the eternal punishments. The double punishment of Hell. 100 years is no part of eternity.


Therefore, woe to those who deserve to enter under all these unceasing evils, without end, because of one sweet hour of sleep! For truly, all the glory of this world is but a dream, compared to eternal glory. It is better for those people to not have been born, as is said of unhappy Judas (Matthew 26:24), than to suffer the evil afflictions of Hell, due to their merits. What is more foolish, what is more absurd and childish than being ensnared and overcome by the shadow and image and likeness of true glory, instead of seeking and desiring true delight, true beauty, true elegance, true honor? Who would prefer to neglect his own gold, in favor of chasing after a twinkle of gold in water? Wouldn't that man be easily convinced by foolish and silly things? Or who, seeing a copy of the sun, would esteem the shape and materials of the copy more than the sun itself? Wouldn't that man be mocked by everyone? Thus there is laughing, which is lower than crying, at whoever esteems the fragile things of this world, which are prone to fall. This man prizes the useless love of flesh, he seeks it and he strives after it, contemptuous of eternal glory and ignoring the ineffable joys of the kingdom of heaven. This is the business of exceedingly stupid men, of pitiable men, of men who do not possess healthy hearts, even if they have not sought the misfortunes of Hell, which cannot be spoken of or imagined.

Truly, this is a double misfortune: to be apart from the Kingdom of God and to always be in Hell, that is, with the devil; to miss the presence of the angels and to always suffer the terrible presence of demons: no one can adequately describe how much this should be shunned, avoided and feared.

Who, being of sound mind, would choose a hundred years of punishment for the delights of one day? But nevertheless, the pitiable men without any wisdom, following the love of flesh, do no avoid or escape intolerable punishments. These punishments do not last for a hundred years, nor for a thousand years, not even for a thousand times a thousand years, but for all ages without end, and yet people willingly accept these punishments, for the sake of the delights of forty or sixty years, or whatever perishable delight they choose. How much difference is there between one day and hundred years? Obviously, it is less than the difference between eternity and forty or sixty or a hundred years, whether the future is in good places or in bad. For one day is just another part in the space of a hundred years, an exceedingly tiny measure: and truly the space of a hundred years is no part in that eternity. For, to speak freely, if a hundred or a thousand years were part of eternity, we could talk about the extent of eternity, in terms of how many hundredfold or thousandfold years it is. It would then cease to be eternity, because reason does not set an end to eternity, which, if it could be limited by any time or measure, would not be eternity at all.

---

Textual variants:

Two mss have voluntatem in place of voluptatem, in the sentence which reads "But nevertheless, the pitiable men without any wisdom, following the love of flesh, do no avoid or escape intolerable punishments". If you use voluntatem, the phrase reads "following the will of the flesh"; if you use voluptatem, the phrase reads "following the love of the flesh".

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Book of the Three Dwelling-Places, Chapter 2

The Book of the Three Dwelling-Places
 By Saint Patrick

Chapter Two.
About the infernal punishments.

There are two principal torments in Hell: unbearable cold and the heat of inextinguishable fire. For this reason, it is said in the Gospel, "In that place, there will be wailing and grinding of teeth" (Matthew 13:51, 22:13 and 25:50). For wailing and melting of the eyes comes from heat, and surely grinding of teeth comes from cold. Hence, also the blessed Job says, "They will pass from the waters of snows into extreme heat" (Job 24:19). Numberless punishments are exacted through these two torments, as you can see: intolerable thirst, the punishment of hunger, the punishment of stench, the punishment of horror, the punishment of fear, the punishment of anguish, the punishment of darkness, the severity of the torturers, the presence of demons, the ferocity of beasts, the barbarity of the rulers, being torn apart by immortal vermin, the worms of conscience, the fire of tears, the sighs, the misery, the grief without a remedy, the unbroken chains, eternal death, punishment without end, the absence of Christ after the vision of him (which is called the greatest thing above all others), and all the other intolerable punishments.

---

Textual variants:

Concerning the absence of Christ as a punishment in Hell, some manuscripts have quoad ("inasmuch as", "with respect to") where the word post ("after") appears. In both variants, the punishment is the same: the absence of Christ in general, and the Beatific Vision in particular.

The use of the word "after" indicates that the people in Hell have seen Christ, and they were afterwards thrown into Hell. This could be applied to humans who have seen Christ during his second coming in glory (which is a precursor to the Beatific Vision). Saint Augustine specifically applies this to Satan and his demons, who had the fullness of the Beatific Vision, but still denied God. The author's point is clear: Because the Beatific Vision is the greatest of all things, the loss of the Beatific Vision causes more regret than losing any other thing. However, because humans are more inclined to regret the loss of good things than demons are--demons tend to rejoice at the loss of good things--this punishment has a greater impact on the humans in Hell.

As the author discusses in later chapters, the absence of Christ is a double punishment. It is not the case that the people in Hell have only one regret: having Christ, then losing him. They also regret the fact that--right now--they are separated from Christ. In other words, they regret both their past separation from Christ and their present separation from Christ. Doubtlessly, if they ever think about the future, they regret their future separation from Christ. But they are probably more inclined to regret their past, not their future, because it was in the past that they became separated from God through their sins. Sin separates us from God and God's transforming love; let us never foolishly choose to follow after sin instead of God.

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Book of the Three Dwelling-Places, Chapter 1

In honor of Saint Patrick's Day this year, I thought I would post a short book by Saint Patrick, which I translated from Latin into English.

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The Book of the Three Dwelling-Places

Or

The Joy of the Elect and Punishment of the Damned

By Saint Patrick

Chapter One.
About the three dwelling-places: the Kingdom of God, Earth, and Hell. The Kingdom of God is good and Hell is bad.

There are three dwelling-places under the power of God: the highest, the lowest, and the middle. Of them, the highest is called the kingdom of God or the kingdom of heaven, the lowest is named hell, and the middle is said to be the present world or the planet earth. The two extremes are completely contrary to each other, and they have nothing in common. For what partnership can light have with darkness, or how can Christ and the Devil agree (2 Corinthians 6:14, 15)? However, the middle has many similarities with both extremes. This is where light and darkness live, cold and warmth, sickness and health, rejoicing and grieving, hate and love, good and bad, just and unjust, masters and slaves, king and subject, famine and abundance, life and death, and countless others of this sort. In all of them, one side bears the likeness of Heaven, and the other side has the image of Hell. For in this world there is a mixture of bad people and good people; however, in Heaven, there are no bad people, but all are good, and in Hell, no one is good, but all are bad. For both places are filled with people from this world; some are raised to Heaven and others are dragged down to Hell. Of course, the like are joined to the like, that is, the good with the good and the bad with the bad; just men are joined to just angels, and transgressor men to transgressor angels, the servants of God are joined to God, and the servants of the devil are joined to the devil. The blessed are called to the kingdom that has been prepared for them from the start of the world, and the wicked are cast into the eternal fire, which has been prepared for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:34, 41).

However good the kingdom of Heaven is said to be, no one clothed in flesh is able to know or understand what it is like, for the things there are much better and greater than what is thought of or understood. For this reason, Scripture says, "Eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, nor has it what on the heart of man, what God has prepared for those who love him" (1 Corinthians 2:9). Therefore, the kingdom of God is greater than all the reports, better than all praise, more immense than all knowledge, and more excellent than the glory which is believed. And likewise, no one is able to know or understand the evils of Hell, what they are like; surely they are exceedingly worse than what is thought. And so, the kingdom of God is full of light, and peace, and charity, and wisdom, and glory, and honesty, and sweetness, and love, and melodies, and joy, and eternal blessedness, and all the ineffable good, which no one is able to say or to think. And the place of Hell is full of darkness, disorder, hate, foolishness, misery, foulness, bitterness, offenses, grief, burning, thirst, inextinguishable fire, sadness, eternal punishment, and all the ineffable bad, which no one is able to say or to think. The citizens of heaven are the just men and angels; the all-powerful God is their king. And oppositely, the citizens of Hell are wicked men and demons; the devil is their leader. The sight of all the saints and angels satisfies the just, and the vision of God satisfies above all these. The sight of all the damned men and demons torments the impious and sinners, and the sight of the devil torments them above all these. In the kingdom of God, nothing that is desired goes unfound; and in Hell, nothing that is found is desired. In the kingdom of God, nothing is found unless it pleases, and delights, and satisfies; on the other hand, in the pit, nothing is seen but eternal misery, and nothing is felt unless it displeases, unless it offends, and unless it causes pain. (In the eternal kingdom there will be life without death, truth without error, happiness without disturbance). All good, and no evil, abounds in the kingdom of God; all bad, and no good, abounds in the prison of the devil. No unworthy person is taken up into the kingdom of God; no truly worthy person, no just man, is dragged down to Hell.

---

Textual Notes:

This work is sometimes attributed to Saint Augustine, in addition to Saint Patrick. Some people believe it was written by a different Irish Bishop, who was also named Patrick, although he lived some 600 years after the more famous Saint Patrick.

1) In the list of the attributes of Hell, some manuscripts have the word fetoris ("stench" or "foul smell") where the word adustionis ("burning") appears. It is uncertain which word was in the original, and an argument can be made for either one. "Burning", of course, fits perfectly well into a list of the attributes of Hell. The image of fire to represent Hell appears multiple times in the Bible, such as in the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man (Luke 16:19-31), or the parable of the weeds and the wheat (Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43), or the description of Satan's punishment (Revelation 20:10). This work goes on to describe the fires of Hell in greater detail.

However, you could also argue that the author clearly intends to contrast Heaven and Hell. This is why there are many direct opposites on the list of Heaven's attributes and the list of Hell's attributes. Heaven has "light, and peace, and love, and wisdom", whereas Hell has "darkness, and discord, and hate, and foolishness". It seems out of place to use the word "burning" in a list of direct opposites, because "burning" has no clear opposite. "Stench" fits better in this list, because the stenches of Hell can be contrasted with the sweet-smelling incense of Heaven. Revelation 8:3-5 tells of the angels in Heaven burning incense before the altar of God.

2) The sentence "In the eternal kingdom there will be life without death, truth without error, happiness without disturbance", which is set in parenthesis, is possibly a later addition. It does not fit in well with the other sentences in this section, and it is missing in the manuscripts that say Saint Augustine is the author of this work.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Update from Oregon

Hey, everyone. I'm back from my retreat up in Oregon this week. I hope you enjoyed the Nancy Drew stories this week, while I was gone. By complete coincidence, next week is going to be the exact same thing: nothing but stories.

I brought my swimsuit along with me to Oregon--there's a swimming pond in the place where I stayed--and it ended up snowing. Snow. It never snows where I live in California, so I didn't know what to do. The snow was wet and cold, and I couldn't swim because the pond froze over.  I didn't want to take the risk of driving into town--I think you need special snow wheels for that--so I stayed inside.

On a positive note, I now know where the name snow cones comes from.  The shaved ice kind of resembles snow!  I guess that should be obvious, but I never saw snow which looked like snow cones before.

There were some deer who came to the property, in order to eat from the bird feeders.  They can't fit their mouths inside the feeders, but they eat up the spilled birdseed which is left on the feeders.  One deer started smacking the bird feeder with its head, trying to get it to spill more seeds.  I didn't know deer did things like that.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

WWA, Chapter 23

Here's Chapter 23 of Weirdness at Waverly Academy. Today, Nancy checks her notebook and reads The Book of Four.

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"Okay," Nancy said. "I've met everyone who lives in the dorm here. Let's see if I can solve the mystery now."

Nancy pulled out her notebook, and read the crime dossier.

Waverly Academy—Sabotage

One of the valedictorian candidates at Waverly Academy is attacking the other candidates. She is disguising her identity under the name of "The Black Cat", and she sends notes before attacking her victims. Two girls have been sent home so far.

Possible Motives

1. The Black Cat is hoping to find Dirk Valentine's long-lost treasure, by following the clues left at Shadow Ranch.
2. She wants Bruno Bolet's crystal skull, because she thinks it will help her live forever.
3. She wants to improve her reputation, so she's taking the last train to Blue Moon Canyon so she can find letters written by Abraham Lincoln.
4. She wants to find Marie Antoinette's treasure in the royal tower, so she can sell it.
5. She's not really haunting Castle Malloy; she is just very, very confused right now. Also, she has a jetpack.

Some of those motives sounded oddly familiar to Nancy, but she shrugged it off. The Black Cat was looking for revenge or a hidden treasure. That was the important thing. The other important things were listed on...

The To-Do List

1. Work at the Snack Shack
2. Get pictures of all the valedictorian candidates (only Corine and Leela so far)
3. Read The Book of Four

"I should probably start working on the last two items," Nancy said. "You know, because I'm at the library and all."

Nancy opened the door to the library and ran inside. She pulled out her cell phone, then ran to the cubicle that Izzy Romero was working at.

"Izzy, say cheese!" Nancy said.

Izzy turned to look at Nancy. "What are you—?" she began to say.

*CLICK* went Nancy's cell phone.

"Awesome, thanks!" Nancy said, running away from Izzy and going to the Special Collections Cabinet.

"Weirdo!" Izzy shouted. Nancy paused for a moment, to wonder who Izzy could possibly be talking to, then shrugged. She opened the Special Collections Cabinet with the key from Corine, she picked up The Book of Four and read it.

Okay, well, Nancy didn't really read the book. She just flipped open to the two pages with pictures on them. One was a picture of all four of Waverly's founders, by the cornerstone of the building.

...And that was basically the only interesting thing Nancy could find in the book.

"I went through all that trouble, just to see an old picture?" Nancy asked. "What a rip-off!"

Friday, March 9, 2012

WWA, Chapter 22

Here's Chapter 22 of Weirdness at Waverly Academy. Today, Nancy plays air hockey with Leela and fails horribly at it.

---

Leela handed the list of names back to Nancy. "It looks like you need my picture," she said.

"Yeah," Nancy said, taking out her cell phone. "Can I get one now?"

"Of course," Leela said. "If you beat me at a game of air hockey, that is."

"Air hockey?" Nancy asked.

"Playing the games in here keeps my reflexes sharp," Leela said. "People think I'm just saying that, but it's true. So come on, let's play!"

"Sure!" Nancy said. "Becca Sawyer never backs down from a challenge!"

The friendly game of air hockey started out well enough. Leela hit the puck towards Nancy. Nancy tried to hit the puck with her mallet, but she accidentally let go of the mallet, and it slid to the other side of the table.

While Nancy went to retrieve it, the puck slowly slid into the goal.

On the next turn, Nancy hit the puck in the wrong direction and scored on her own net. Same with the next two turns. Leela scored on the next two shots.

"I don't like this game!" Nancy said.

"Try to block my shots," Leela suggested.

"That's what I'm trying to do!" Nancy said, hitting the puck into her own goal again. "ARGH! Stupid thing!"

"Relax. It's just a game," Leela said.

"Game? More like lame!" Nancy said. "This is why we don't have air hockey in France! Take...that!"

Nancy tried to smash the puck with her mallet. She lost her grip, and both the puck and mallet went flying. The mallet flew through the air, right at Leela's head. Leela ducked in order to avoid it. The puck, of course, flew right into Nancy's goal.

"Stupid [bad word] game!" Nancy shouted. "I [bad word] hate it!"

"Becca, chill out!" Leela said.

"Whoops," Nancy said. "Pardon my French. Heh heh..."

"Let's...let's not play any more air hockey for a while, okay?" Leela said. "You can take my picture now, if you want."

"Great," Nancy said. She pulled out her cell phone and took a picture of Leela. "Thanks."

Nancy put her phone away. "Sorry to run out on you," Nancy said, "but I should get this picture uploaded now."

"That's okay. I'm kind of waiting for my boyfriend to call," Leela said. "He goes to Oxborough, the boys school down the road. Talking to you helped kill the time. I'll see ya!"

Nancy waved goodbye, then walked to the library. When she reached her destination, she got another text message that was sent out to all the students.

Confirmed. New girl Becca S. is totally a spaz. She threw a fit in the downstairs longue just now when she lost a game.

"Wow, this Becca S. girl sounds crazy!" Nancy said. "I must have just missed her at the longue just now. Too bad."

Thursday, March 8, 2012

WWA, Chapter 21

Here's Chapter 21 of Weirdness at Waverly Academy. Today, Nancy meets Leela Yadav for the first time.

---

I'm twenty chapters into this story, and I still haven't met all of the main characters yet? Nancy wondered. Boy, this author needs to start moving the plot forward, pronto!

Eager to get the story going, Nancy sprinted downstairs and went to the longue area, where she met the final character of the game: Leela Yadav. Leela was busy playing with a soccer ball, next to an air hockey table.

"You must be the girl who moved here from France, with just the clothes on her back," Leela said. "Becca something."

"Becca Sawyer," Nancy said. "You must be Leela, the sports superstar."

"That me!" Leela said in a friendly voice. "Welcome to Waverly!"

"Thanks!" Nancy said. "How come you're not working on papers or studying like everyone else here?"

"I'm working on two papers, actually," Leela said. "But they're both under control, so I'm taking a break."

"I hear you," Nancy said. "I need a break myself. I've been working really hard on my investigation, and—"

Leela looked confused. "Investigation?" she asked.

Uh oh, Nancy thought. Once again, she had forgotten that she was working undercover, so she accidentally slipped up. Time to go back into Becca Sawyer mode.

"Is that the wrong word?" Nancy asked. "Sorry, it's been a while since I last spoke English. Rachel asked me to find these girls and get their pictures. In French, we call that investigation. What's the English word?"

Nancy pulled out the list of valedictorian candidates and handed it to Leela.

"I think the word you're looking for is exploration," Leela said. "But no big deal. The two words are close enough, and your English sounds fine to me."

"Thanks," Nancy said. "I grew up as a kid in the United States before we moved to France."

"So..." Leela said, reading the paper. "Rachel's making you work for her? That's too bad."

"Why is it too bad?" Nancy asked.

"Rachel's got this bizarre schizoid thing going," Leela said. "She'll say something one minute, then deny it the next. Or she'll forget something you told her five minutes ago. It's weird. You'll see. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if she's the Black Cat. You heard about the Black Cat, right?"

"Oh, yeah, I heard," Nancy said. "So Rachel's odd behavior puts her at the top of your suspect list, huh?"

"Suspect list?" Leela asked.

"Uh, I mean, to-do list!" Nancy said. "Sorry, I used the wrong word again."

"Oh, yeah, you're right!" Leela said. She pulled out her to-do list, and made a big check mark next to the top item, which was Provide foreshadowing for Rachel's plotline. Nancy was pleased to see that Leela also checked off the second item, which was Make friends with the sassy new French student.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

WWA, Chapter Twenty

Here's Chapter Twenty of Weirdness at Waverly Academy. Today, Nancy calls Megan Vargas.

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Nancy left her room, and she pulled out her cell phone. It was time to call Megan Vargas, the girl who was sent home after being poisoned by the Black Cat.

"Hello?" a girl answered the phone.

"Hello, is this Megan Vargas?" Nancy asked.

"Yes, this is she," Megan said. "Who is this?"

"This is Becca Sawyer," Nancy said. "I just moved into the valedictorian hall here at Waverly Academy. I was wondering if I could ask you a few questions."

Megan gasped loudly. "Are you...are you an undercover detective who was sent to investigate the Black Cat?" she asked.

"What? How did you—I mean, no!" Nancy said.

"Don't lie!" Megan said. "You real name is Nancy Drew, isn't it?"

Nancy's jaw dropped. She could practically feel her title of "world's best female teenage detective" slip away. "How did you know that?" Nancy asked. "I haven't said more than five sentences to you!"

"Caller ID," Megan said. "It says you're calling form Nancy Drew's cellphone."

"...Oh," Nancy said.

"Don't worry," Megan said. "I won't blow your cover. What do you want to know?"

"I need to know who, how and why you were poisoned," Nancy said.

"I can tell you how," Megan said. "I have a really bad peanut allergy. Whenever I eat one, I end up in the hospital. It's happened a couple of times before, so I'm usually really careful about what I eat. As far as I can figure, either someone in the kitchens messed up, or someone purposely slipped peanuts in my food when I wasn't looking."

"Someone like...the Black Cat," Nancy said, taking a dramatic pause in the middle of her sentence to make the conversation more exciting.

"Yes, I got a second Black Cat note the day I was poisoned," Megan said. "It said 'Say goodbye!' on it. I didn't think someone would actually poison me to get rid of me."

"Who knew about your peanut allergy?" Nancy asked.

"Everyone did," Megan said. "For health reasons, everyone in school was informed about it. And everyone has access to the school cafeteria. There's no way to narrow down the field of suspects."

"Who do you think it was?" Nancy asked.

"Honestly, I thought it was Danielle Hayes," Megan said. "But I heard she was attacked by the Black Cat last week."

"She's still in the psych ward," Nancy said. "Her parents are thinking of suing the school. That's why the headmistress asked me to investigate."

"Well, I'm sorry I can't be of more help," Megan said. "But I've been wracking my brains, trying to figure out who the culprit could be. The sooner I figure out who it is, the sooner I'll be able to return to Waverly."

Great, even the valedictorian can't figure it out, Nancy thought. Her chances of solving this mystery were looking slim.

"Don't give up hope yet," Nancy said. "I've got a lot of experience solving mysteries. Once I finish meeting everyone, I'll review the suspect list and see if anything jumps out at me."

"Let me know if you have any big leads," Megan said. "I've been living with these girls for over three years, so I know a lot about them."

"I'll keep that in mind," Nancy said. "Talk to you later, Megan."

"See you," Megan said. "Good luck with the mystery!"

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

WWA, Chapter Nineteen

Here's Chapter Nineteen of my story about Nancy Drew: Warnings at Waverly Academy.  Today, Nancy gets the special collections cabinet key from Corine.

---

Nancy went back to her room to drop off the piece of paper that Rachel gave her. Corine was still inside the room, working on her English essay.

"Hey," Nancy said.

"Hey, Roomy," Corine said. "How come I couldn't find anything about you online, like on Facebook?"

"You...looked me up online?" Nancy said.

"Well, sure," Corine said. "It's the 21st century. Once you meet someone, the first thing you do is look them up online. Anyone who doesn't have a Facebook account has either a) been living on Mars, or b) is seriously weird. And since it doesn't look like either of those applies to you, what gives?"

"Oh, um..." Nancy said. Once again, she was in a tricky situation where her cover might be blown. It was time to turn things around with another trademark Becca Sawyer sassy comment!

"Facebook? More like waste-book!" Nancy said. "I mean, it's not even a book, am I right?"

"Uh..." Corine said.

"Look, I just flew in today from France," Nancy said. "Over there, they call Facebook...um...Fâcéboòk. Once my laptop comes in, I'll set up an account on the US version."

"That makes sense," Corine said, nodding.

"Actually..." Nancy said, getting an idea. She took out the blue piece of paper from Rachel and gave it to Corine. "Do all these girls have Facebook accounts?"

Corine read the list. "I think so," she said. "I sent friend requests to most of them."

"Great," Nancy said. "I need pictures of all of them for Rachel's project. Can you get their profile pics for me?"

"Sorry," Corine said. "None of them have added me yet. It's probably because they're really busy with studying."

Uh...sure...that's why no one has friended you on Facebook, Nancy thought. They're "busy".

"Then I guess I'll have to take pictures of them with my phone," Nancy said, taking out her cell phone. "I'll start with you, okay? Smile!"

Corine smiled for the camera, and put her arm out in a pose. Nancy took the picture.

"Perfect," Nancy said. "Just one more thing. I noticed you're the assistant librarian here. Any chance you could help me get a book from the Special Collections cabinet?"

"Sure, I have the key right here," Corine said. "How bad do you want it?"

"Uh...pretty bad," Nancy said. "I really need that key."

"Okay, tell you what," Corine said. "You finish some orthographic views for me, and I'll give you the key."

"Ortho-what?" Nancy asked.

Corine handed Nancy a folder. "Orthographic views," she said. "You need to match the different perspectives to the different pictures. There's a sample page in there for you to get started."

Nancy looked at the pages. They looked like a three-dimensional puzzle.

"Ah, come on, you're making me do your homework?" Nancy said. "Can't you just give me the key? We're roommates! We're supposed to be friends!"

"No orthographic views, no key," Corine said, smiling sadistically. "I'm the only librarian on campus this week, so you don't have a choice."

"If you give me the key right now, I'll friend you on Facebook..." Nancy said.

Corine quickly ripped the folder out of Nancy's hands and replaced it with a key.

"Here you go, Roomy!" Corine said.

Nancy smiled.

Monday, March 5, 2012

WWA, Chapter Eighteen

Here's Chapter Eighteen of my story about Nancy Drew: Warnings at Waverly Academy.  Today, Nancy talks with Paige, the floor monitor. One of the people who commented on the story pointed out that Her Interactive reused George's character model for Paige; I thought it'd be fun if Nancy figured this out.

---

Nancy now had a job to do: get pictures of all the valedictorian candidates. That would be the perfect cover for secretly investigating them.

One of these girls is sabotaging the others... Nancy thought. One girl was sent to the hospital, and one girl was sent to the psych ward. I have to stop the Black Cat before anyone else gets...scratched out.

Nancy immediately turned to the right and knocked on the door of the floor monitor, Paige Griffen.

"Go away, please," Paige said angrily.

"Hey, Paige! It's me, Becca!" Nancy said.

"I don't want to talk right now," Paige said angrily.

"That's great," Nancy said. "Look, can I come in?"

"Leave me alone," Paige said angrily.

"See, I kinda need to take your picture, and—"

The door to Paige's room opened, and Paige stepped out. "Can't you take a hint?" she asked. "Leave me alone!"

"Oh, wow!" Nancy said. In this lighting, Nancy could see Paige's face perfectly. She looked just like Nancy's friend, George Fayne, only with longer hair.

"Bother me again, and you'll get demerits!" Paige said.

"Okay, say CHEESE!" Nancy said. She took out her cell phone and took a picture of Paige.

"Augh!" Paige said.

"Great!" Nancy said. "That's all I need from you right now. Say, do you know a George—"

*Slam* went Paige's door.

"Hmmph," Nancy said. "That was kind of rude."

Nancy sent the picture to George's cell phone, adding the words This is Paige, the floor monitor at Waverly. Look familiar?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

WWA, Chapter Seventeen

I'm on retreat this week, so I won't have time to write blog entries. Therefore, this week is going to be nothing but chapters from my story, Nancy Drew: Weirdness Waverly Academy.  Today, Nancy meets Rachel.  It's not too interesting, I'm afraid, but then again, that's what some people say about Rachel.
---

Nancy wasn't sure what to do next, so she decided to check her journal.

The To-Do List

1. Meet Rachel and learn about the web project she's working on.
2. Call Megan Vargas and learn more about how the Black Cat attacked her.
3. Meet Izzy's roommate, Leela Yadav.
4. Work at the Snack Shack.
5. Since my roommate is the student librarian, see if she can get me into the locked Special Collections cabinet, so I can look at the Moore book that was referenced in the sampler in the corner of Mel's room.

The last item on the task list is kind of long... Nancy noted. Well, better get started! Corine said Rachel is in the room at the end of the hall.

Nancy went back upstairs and down the hall. There were three rooms here. One belonged to Paige Griffen, the angry floor monitor who looked suspiciously like Nancy's friend George Fayne. Another belonged to Izzy Romero and her roommate, Leela Yadav. The final room belonged to Rachel.

Nancy knocked on Rachel's door.

"You can come in," a girl's voice said. Nancy opened the door and entered. Inside, a girl in a scarlet suitcoat was working on her computer, while sitting on her bed.

"You must be Becca Sawyer," the girl said. "Did you get my note?"

"I did if you're Rachel Hubbard," Nancy said.

"That's me!" Rachel said. "And boy, am I glad you're here. See, I have this web design project I have to get finished by the end of the week, but I have two papers I need to get done by then, too. Because you're new here, and you don't have any assignments yet, I thought maybe you could help me."

"Well...sure, I can help," Nancy said, emphasizing the word "help". She wasn't planning on doing Rachel's homework for her.

"Great," Rachel said. "The webpages I'm designing are going to be part on the school website."

"Yeah, I noticed some of the pages are under construction," Nancy said. "Your project is to fix them?"

"Exactly," Rachel said. "I figure that since you're a valedictorian, you can help with the valedictorian page. I'll take care of all the other ones."

"Right," Nancy said. That made some sense. "So what is it I need to do, exactly?"

"It's really simple," Rachel said, taking out a blue piece of paper. "I need you to get pictures of all the valedictorian candidates, then upload them to the school website. Here's a list of everyone."

Nancy picked up the piece of paper, which was basically a list of names. "Well, I need to meet everyone anyway, so I might as well get their pictures," she said.

"Fab," Rachel said, closing her computer. "I really appreciate this, Becca. In the meantime, I'm running late for a meeting with my faculty advisor, so if you'll excuse me?"

"Oh, sure," Nancy said. She left the room with Rachel.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Time Hollow

A video walkthrough for Time Hollow is in progress. Instead of splitting it into 30 or so videos, I thought I'd try making one video per chapter.

















Friday, March 2, 2012

Nancy Drew: Tomb of the Lost Queen

The release date for the next Nancy Drew game, Nancy Drew: Tomb of the Lost Queen, has been confirmed as May 8, 2012. Pre-orders start on April 3.



Nancy's going to Egypt this May, everyone!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Three Things - 3D Youtube

1. I was watching a Youtube video the other day, and I noticed a 3D button. Apparently, you can now watch certain Youtube videos in 3D. Here's an example of this:



2. Whatever happened to the plans to have Tangled on the 3DS? Now that I think about it, I'm pretty sure that none of the 3D movies which were promised to come to the 3DS have actually arrived.

It's not that I really want to watch 3D movies on the 3DS. The game's screen is pretty tiny for movies. But it's the only 3D-capable device I own; I might as well use it for watching 3D material at some point.

3. Apparently, there is a way to use the two 3DS cameras and Youtube's 3D function together to watch 3D Youtube videos. I tried it out, and it doesn't really work. Phooey.