Monday, April 30, 2012

WWA, Chapter 30

Here's Chapter 30 of Weirdness at Waverly Academy. Today, Nancy gets the menu for the Victorian Dining puzzle.

---

Nancy flipped through the book on Victorian dining. It had a section on the various types of silverware.

Didn't I see a display case here with a bunch of forks and knives? Nancy thought as she flipped a few pages. A student ID belonging to an Amber Sullivan fell out of the book. Nancy pocketed the ID card as she headed downstairs, looking for the display case.

The display case was near the doors to the library. It was locked, and half of the display was missing. A sign which read "checked out to L. Yadav" was in the place of the missing display.

So Nancy returned to the rec room, where Leela Yadav was busy playing with a soccer ball. "Hey!" Nancy said.

"Becca, hi," Leela said. "What's up?"

"Not much," Nancy said. "I'm just wandering around, getting a sense of where everything is."

"That's cool," Leela said. "Have you checked out any of the other buildings on campus?"

"Not really," Nancy said. "I tried to leave Ramsey Hall earlier, but when I got too far away, I ended up running into an invisible wall. It was kind of weird. So I decided to go back here and check out the display cases instead. I notice you took something from one of them?"

Poor Leela looked a little confused at Nancy's invisible wall comment, but she eventually shrugged. "Yeah, I borrowed an old menu," Leela said. "I needed it for this lame nutrition paper I had to write. I keep forgetting to put it back."

"Can I see it?" Nancy asked.

"Sure," Leela said. "As a matter of fact, I've got it right here. But before I give it to you, you have to beat me at a game."

"What, again?" Nancy asked.

Leela nodded. "What'll it be, air hockey or scram?"

Nancy wasn't sure what scram was. "Scram" was the word she usually used whenever someone tried to force her to do chores for them, but it didn't seem appropriate in this situation. So she picked air hockey.

Leela got the first shot. Nancy tried to hit the puck, but she missed it entirely, and the puck went in. On the next shot, Nancy missed the puck again. The puck bounced off the boards and back to Leela's side of the table. Leela shot it in Nancy's goal.

"Two nothing," Leela said. She took another shot, and this time, Nancy managed to hit the puck with her mallet.

"Yay, I hit the puck!" Nancy said.

Then the puck bounced right off Nancy's mallet and into her own goal.

"Darn!" Nancy said.

Leela decided to give Nancy the next shot. Nancy hit the puck into the corner of the board, where it stopped. Nancy jammed her mallet next to the puck, making sure it couldn't get loose.

"Oh no, it's stuck!" she said. "Well, looks like we can't play any more! What a shame!"

"It's not stuck," Leela said. "You can pick it up and—"

"Looks like we can't play any more," Nancy repeated, growling.

"Uh...sure," Leela said. "Let's...call it a tie, then. Here's that menu you wanted."

Leela gave Nancy the menu.

"Great, thanks," Nancy said.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

WWA, Chapter 29

Here's Chapter 29 of Weirdness at Waverly Academy. Today, Nancy gets Rachel's math notebook.

---

There was only one more thing that Nancy had to talk to Mel Corbalis about.

"I need to get Rachel's math notebook from you," Nancy said.

"Sure," Mel said. "Soon as I remember where I put it." Mel thought for a moment. "Nuts, I left it in the library."

"That's okay," Nancy said. "I can go get it."

"Why do you want her math notebook?" Mel asked. "You haven't even started taking classes yet."

"Well...actually...um..." Nancy said, trying to think of a good excuse.

"I...like collecting notebooks?" Nancy guessed.

Mel used her valedictorian-worthy brains to come up with an explanation. "Rachel sent you to get it for her, because she didn't want to talk to me in person," Mel said.

"You're right," Nancy said. "Is she mad at you or something?"

"I don't treat her any differently than I treat anybody else here," Mel said. "In other words, for the most part, I totally ignore her. I don't know what her problem is."

"Maybe she's allergic to cellos," Nancy said.

"I don't think so," Mel said.

"Well, I can ask her when I give her back her notebook," Nancy said. "See ya!"

Nancy waved goodbye to Mel and returned to the school library. The library was rather big, and Nancy had no idea where exactly Rachel's notebook was.

"I'll look it up in the library catalog!" Nancy said. She went to the computer and searched for "Rachel's math notebook", but no results came up.

"Aw..." Nancy said.

Nancy wandered around the library for a while, until she eventually found the lost and found drawer. The drawer was locked with a four digit combination lock. On the bottom of the drawer were some Roman numerals.

"Let's see...that's 2-6-4-1," Nancy said, reading the number. "That can't be the combination to the lock, though, right? No one would be stupid enough to write the combination two inches below the lock. That's the least secure lock system ever."

Nancy tried out the combination 2-6-4-1, and it worked. Inside the drawer were some lawn gnomes and Rachel's math notebook.

"No way," Nancy said. "If only all my mysteries were this easy to solve."

Prize in hand, Nancy went upstairs to Rachel's room and knocked on the door.

"You can come in," Rachel said.

Nancy went inside. As usual, Rachel was on her bed, typing on a computer.

"You've got my math notebook," Rachel said. "Fab. I'll take that."

Nancy gave the notebook to Rachel. "Mel left it in the library," she said. "What do you have against Mel, anyway?"

"Huh?" Rachel asked. "Nothing. Mel's the closest friend I have here."

"But...earlier, you said didn't want to deal with her," Nancy said.

"Oh, no, I said I was too busy to deal with her," Rachel said. "Leaving my room and going down the hall is a major hassle, you know? Anyway, here's the Victorian book."

Rachel thrust the book in Nancy's hands.

"I gotta get back to studying," Rachel said. "See you."

Nancy left the room, suspicious that Rachel had just given her the brush-off. What could Rachel be hiding? Were Rachel and Mel secret best friends or something?

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Weirdness at Waverly Academy (Part 2)

Based off the reactions to my questions, people would like to see me turn my Weirdness at Waverly Academy story into a video somehow.  Presumably, I'd read the story and the video footage would be from the actual game.

Problem: All the characters in Warnings at Waverly Academy are girls.

It might be funny to have me do the voices for seven girl characters, and it could also be horrendous.  For some reason, I have more qualms about doing Nancy's voice than doing the voice for any of the other girl characters.

So here's the plan!  Call me crazy, but I think I should actually write the story before turning it into a movie.  Once the story is finished, I'll revisit this topic. In the meantime, enjoy a week's worth of chapters, starting tomorrow.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Alibi in Ashes Bloopers

Time for another edition of Friday news.  Let me just check the news sources and see the latest news is.

...Another contestant has been dismissed from American Idol?  That's the news?

Okay, forget reporting on the real news this week.  Instead, let's talk about fake news. Did you hear about the pig who can ski? It's mentioned in the bloopers for Nancy Drew: Alibi in Ashes:



I thought the game didn't have any bloopers, so I never tried to unlock them by getting all the in-game achievements.  This is the first time I've heard them.  They seem to focus exclusively on Brenda Carlton's news reporting.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Three Things - Views of Man

Earlier in this blog, I've discussed the philosophical question, "What is man?"  Today on Three Things Thursday, I'm going to discuss three answers to the question, in chronological order.

1. Man is the center of the creation.  The ancients thought humans were the most important part of creation, except maybe the gods.  They had a very high view of human beings and an overinflated view of our importance.  That's part of the reason why they built such huge monuments that endure to this day.

2. Man is just an animal.  This view was popularized by in the late 1800's, due to advances in biology, psychology and sociology.  If the ancients had an overly high view of the importance of human beings, this would be an overly low view.  It reduces the role of human intelligence to almost nothing, and the moral consequences were horrendous.

3. Man is a machine.  This view has been popularized today, by advances in computer technology and robotics.  As machines get more complex, it seems more and more possible to make a machine that is near identical to a human.  It seems to me that it can be dangerous when people take this view too far, and they start thinking of people in terms of their functions or the actions they can perform.  For example, people will let their lives and the entire self-identity be defined by their job or "what they do".  It's fine to talk about machines like that; it's not fine to reduce humans to that level.  It especially unnerves me when companies talk about their employees as "human resources", with an emphasis on the "resources" part, while ignoring the "human" part.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Unfabulous

Speaking of older things (kinda), I remember in 2006, my family liked watching the show Unfabulous on Nickelodeon.

Does anyone remember that show?  It starred the Emma Roberts girl, who went on to play Nancy Drew in the Nancy Drew movie.  She hasn't done any TV work since then, presumably because there is absolutely no way you can top playing Nancy Drew.  That's the role of a lifetime; you might as well retire once you've starred as Nancy Drew, because there's no way you'll ever get a better role.

My family and I used to watch the show every Saturday.  And honestly, I can't remember anything about the show except that the main character played guitar in every episode. I also remember the final song on the CD, which was borderline ridiculous:



Somehow, this song did not make #1 on the charts.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Question

The High School Musical craze is over now, right?  Nobody cares about High School Musical anymore?  It's no longer amusing if I randomly break into a song from that movie series?

I made a HSM joke in my video walkthrough for Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.  And now nobody will understand the joke anymore.  Oh well.  Hopefully the video will still be amusing to people in the future, even if no one understands the references I make.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Important News

Hey, folks.  Important news today.

As some of you probably know, I'm currently working as a seminarian for the Roman Catholic Church.  Once my current assignment is over (May 27), I'm going to stop being a seminarian.  I've decided to take a 1-2 year break from my priestly studies.

It seems like this is a good time to take a break, because if I continued, I would start studying theology in the fall.  So, I'm sort of at a halfway point in my studies.  That's a pretty good time to take a break.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Nancy Drew Newsletter

There's a new Nancy Drew newsletter out!  As you would expect, it focuses on the new Nancy Drew game being released next month.

http://www.herinteractive.com/newsletter-view.php?id=0412_newsletter3.html

Other things that get discussed are a caption contest and that pinterest thing I keep hearing about. There's also a brief sample from one of the official Nancy Drew strategy guides.  Interesting!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Weirdness at Waverly Academy

The backlog for my Weirdness at Waverly Academy story is getting kind of big.  I guess I'll have to do another week, where every day is a different chapter of the story.  Let's make that next week.

I've been wondering if I could make the story into a video for my Youtube channel, but I have some questions.

  • Would people be interested in that?
  • How would it work?  Five chapters per video or something like that?
  • What would the actual video footage be?  Footage from the game?
  • What would the audio be?  Me reading the story out loud? Kind of boring.

Friday, April 20, 2012

WWA, Chapter 28

Here's Chapter 28 of Weirdness at Waverly Academy. Today, Nancy talks with Mel again.

---

Nancy knocked on Mel's door.

"C'mon in," Mel called.

Nancy walked inside and flinched slightly when she saw all the pink in Mel's room. As usual, Mel was playing the cello instead of studying.

"Becca the new girl, what's going on?" Mel asked.

"Not much," Nancy said. "I was just talking to Rachel and she's...interesting. How well do you know her?"

"Not well," Mel said. "We don't hang out."

"How come?" Nancy asked.

"We have nothing in common," Mel said. "Plus, there's something about her that's a little...off."

"Yeah," Nancy said. "When I talked to her just now, she acted like she had never seen me before. It was weird."

"She's always been a little strange," Mel said. "I'm surprised her forgetfulness hasn't impacted her grades. In fact, when it comes to being valedictorian, it's a mystery how she ever made it this far."

"Mystery?" Nancy asked. "I love mysteries! I've always dreamed about being a detective!"

"That's cool," Mel said. "Maybe you can start by solving the mystery of the Black Cat. Although that's not really a mystery, 'cause it's so obvious it's Izzy."

"Ah, yes, Izzy," Nancy said, rubbing her chin in what she hoped was a detective-like fashion. "Does anyone else think she's the culprit?"

"Megan, my missing roommate?" Mel said. "She thinks it's Izzy, too, although that's because she hates Izzy for stealing her boyfriend."

"Izzy's a boyfriend-stealer?" Nancy gasped. "WHAT? How did she become the most popular girl in school?"

"Beats me," Mel said. "I don't really follow the whole popular scene."

"Ah, but soon, Becca Sawyer is going to catch the Black Cat, and then I'll be the most popular girl in school!" Nancy said. "Everyone will be like, 'Izzy Romero? More like Frizzy Romero!' 'Cause my hair is way awesomer than hers!"

"Uh...sure, Becca," Mel said. "Whatever you say. You know you're starting to sound like your roommate, right?"

"Huh?" Nancy asked. "I sound like Corine?"

"Yeah, you sound like you're obsessed with being popular and fitting in," Mel said. "I know it's your first day here, but just relax. It's not like making friends is a race or anything."

"Uh...right," Nancy said. Her plane back home to River Heights left in five days, when the winter study break ended, but nobody else knew that. "Anyway, I came here because I need to take your picture. It's for a page on the school website that I'm helping with."

"The school wants my picture on its website?" Mel asked. "Groovy. Blast away."

Nancy took out her cell phone, then took a picture of Mel smiling. "Perfect," Nancy said. "I need a photo of your roommate, too. Do you have one?"

"Sure don't," Mel said. "But Leela Yadav might. She and Megan have been palling around a lot downstairs lately. Try checking the rec room."

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sequels in Vancouver

According to Vancouver's movie-going folk, there are three sequel movies being filmed in Vancouver this month: A Christmas Story 2, Percy Jackson 2 and The Fairly Oddparents 2.

1. A Christmas Story is the 1983 movie about a boy's Christmas adventures in 1939; TBS usually does an all-day marathon of this movie every Christmas.  It's a decent enough movie, although it's more like a series of vignettes than a movie with a cohesive plot.

My only question is why are they even bothering to make a sequel to this movie?  The actors have long since grown up, so chances are that none of the original cast will be able to return.  I dunno, it seems weird to me that they'd wait 29 years to make a sequel.

2.  Percy Jackson 2 is the movie my family has been waiting for for a long time.  We all loved the first movie, but no one was sure if they would make a second one.  In general, fans of the book series disliked the movie adaptation.  That's partially because they changed a lot of things for the movie.  Oh, and they left out a lot of important things, such as the main villain of the series.

But at least the special effects were nice?

Well, forget what all the naysayers have to say!  My family and I are totally going to see this when it is released.

3.  The Fairly Oddparents 2 is...well, huh.  The first one looked like the worst movie ever, based off the trailer.  Some of my friend posted the trailer to Facebook, saying that it was proof the world is a horrible place.  I watched the movie, and it okay.  Not very good, but not very bad; I'd say it was sort of average.  Highlights included the villain they made up for the movie, and the actor playing Dad (the same person who voices him in the animated series).

This second one is apparently a Christmas special.  I'll probably watch it, but I'm not getting my hopes up for it being very good.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Fourth Graders

It's getting somewhat close to the end of the school year, so I made a final exam for my fourth grade students.  I brought the exams to class this week, so I could show them what the exam would be like, and we could decide when the exam would be.

I expected to make it a take-home final exam, so they could have their parents help with some of the answers, or they could look up the answers online.  But the children insisted on taking the exam right then and there, without any preparation whatsoever.  I tried to get them to have a study session first, but no luck.

I guess the grades were about as good as you'd expect, considering that they were unprepared to take a final exam that week.  The middle grade on the curve was 77 out of 100, and I'm wondering what to do with the students who got low grades.  Make them retake the exam?  That'd be unfair to the students who haven't taken the exam yet.  Give them a second exam?  Give them some kind of extra credit opportunity?

I think part of the problem is that the students who failed the final exam were the students who goofed off the whole time.  They failed, simply because they didn't write anything down at all on the exam paper.  I warned them multiple times to stop talking and work on the exam, but they ignored me.  I don't really want to reward their bad behavior by letting them pass without any effort.

The oddest part of the whole class, I think, is that we had a visiting student named Joshua that day.  He's never been to the class before.  Joshua decided to take the final exam, and he got a higher score than some of the other students.  In fact, if Joshua hadn't skipped the last page, he would have easily beaten the curve.

I think that says something when someone who has never attended one of your classes can pass the final exam.  And that really reflects poorly on the students who failed.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Arglefumph Bingo

Okay, everyone. Here's the card for Arglefumph Bingo. Watch any of my videos and see if you can get five in the same row, column or diagonal.


ARGLEFUMPH BINGO

B

I

N

G

O

Michael sings
Michael compliments the main character
Michael insults the main character
Michael shows a clip from a completely different video
Michael makes a pun
Michael makes up a random voice
Michael talks about a game other than the one he is currently playing
Michael apologizes to the viewers
Michael laughs
Michael cries
Michael says the same word three times in a row
Michael questions the plot
FREE

Michael talks with an accent
Michael explains a puzzle
Michael is distracted by something unimportant
Michael imitates one of the characters' voices
Michael becomes confused
Michael makes up backstory for the characters
Michael says, "Aw..."
Michael sarcastically compliments something
Michael says, "Oh no!"
Michael completely ignores the game for over half a minute
Michael screams or yells
Michael makes a mistake, then complains about the game

Saturday, April 14, 2012

WWA, Chapter 27

Here's Chapter 27 of Weirdness at Waverly Academy. Today, Nancy has her second conversation with Rachel.

---

Nancy was in Rachel Hubbard's room. It looked like Rachel had a suitcoat and a faulty memory.

"So, Becca, you get all the pictures uploaded yet?" Rachel asked.

"Not yet," Nancy said. "For one thing, I still need a picture of you."

"That's okay," Rachel said, tucking her hair behind her ear. "I already have a picture of myself that I can use."

"You...you do?" Nancy asked.

"Yeah, didn't I mention it earlier?" Rachel said.

"No..." Nancy said.

"Huh, weird," Rachel said. She tucked her hair behind her ear again. "Look, I can't remember, did I tell you not to bother with Danielle Hayes' picture?"

"No, but her name's been scratched off the list, so I figured that's what you meant," Nancy said.

"Fab," Rachel said. "Listen, be sure to let me know when you get them all uploaded, okay? I want to move on to the next phase of the project."

In that case, you should get the pictures yourself, Nancy thought grumpily. But of course, she didn't say that out loud. Antagonizing Rachel wasn't a good idea right now, because Nancy needed something from her.

"So..." Nancy said. "Did I mention I'm a big fan of Victorian stuff?"

"You are?" Rachel asked.

"Yeah, Victor's a great guy, and I love all his stuff," Nancy said. "But what I'd really like is a book on Victorian dining. His eating habits are fascinating to me."

"Oh," Rachel said. She looked confused again. "Well, I just got a book on Victorian dining from the school library. I'd let you borrow it, but I need it for this paper I'm working on."

"Can't you switch projects for a while?" Nancy asked. "I really want to read that book."

"Okay, tell you what," Rachel said. "I'm about two pages away from finishing the paper on the Victorian stuff, then I'm going to start on my math homework. Only...I gave my math notebook to Mel two days ago, and she still hasn't given it back yet. So, if you can go get my math notebook from Mel, then come back in, I dunno, ten minutes, I can get the Victorian book for you."

Nancy scratched her head. "I'm confused," she said. "What does Mel have to do with anything? Can't I just wait ten minutes for you to finish with the Victorian paper?"

Rachel looked bashful. "Please, Becca," she said. "I know Mel's just down the hall, but...I really don't want to deal with her right now."

"Um...okay..." Nancy said. Rachel didn't like Mel? That was new information.

"I guess I can get the math notebook from her," Nancy said.

"Fab," Rachel said, tucking her hair behind her ear. "Thanks, Becca. See you later, 'kay?"

"Oh, one more thing first," Nancy said. "Who do you think the Black Cat is?"

Rachel didn't look up from her computer. "I haven't gotten any notes, so I don't know, and I don't really care," she said simply. "See ya."

Friday, April 13, 2012

Arglefumph Bingo

My friend Paul suggested making a Bingo card for my videos.  That way, people could play Bingo by watching a video and crossing a square off whenever I do something.  Some basic suggestions for Arglefumph Bingo include...

  • Michael sings for a little bit
  • Michael makes up a random voice
  • Michael compliments the main character
  • Michael insults the main character
  • Michael becomes confused
  • Michael goes off-topic for at least twenty seconds

But we'll need eighteen more things in order to get a full bingo card.  Blog readers, what else should go on the Arglefumph Bingo Cards?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

iOS Arcade Games

Continuing from yesterday, the iOS games that my little cousins were playing all seemed rather...similar.

They were all arcade games, in which you collect coins and dodge enemies.  The layout of the levels are randomized, but if you play them enough, you'll start to recognize the six or so patterns they follow.  Each playthrough lasts about a minute or so, depending on how good you are.

I never went to arcades as a kid.  The closest I got to an arcade game was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Arcade Game for the NES.  But from what I can tell, arcade games tend to be blatant money-eaters.  The gameplay is purposely super-hard, so the people playing the game will die constantly, and have to pay more money to keep playing.

The iOS games I saw (Temple Run, Jetpack Joyride) were similar to the old arcade games.  There's constant death, and a slew of near-identical levels that go on forever.  Your goal is to get a high score that you can show off to your friends.  And of course, the goal of the game is to get the gamer to spend as much money as possible.

The difference, I would say, is how the money is spent.  In the old arcade games, you spend the money to continue playing the game.  In the iOS games, you can spend money to buy continues, but you can also buy other things, like an item that let you start on level 20, or an item which changes the character's shirt from brown to pink.  As many of these items as possible are one-time items, meaning you'll have to purchase them over and over again if you want to keep using them.  It's technically possible to get the items without paying real money by collecting a lot of coins/points, but insanely high prices ensure that you'll either have to pay money or play for dozens of hours on end.

Anyway, that's it for today's blog post.  I didn't have any big insights about the iOS games my cousins were playing, beyond, "Wow, these really remind me of old arcade games!".

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

My Gamer Cousins

All of the relatives came over for our Easter party.  Usually, it's fun to see the little kids and note how much they've grown over the past year.  For example, Baby Jason can walk and talk on his own now.  But all the other kids looked and acted exactly the same, and with the amount of screaming they do, that's not really a good thing.

So this year, I let the fourth grader play with my iPad and the second grader play with my iPod Touch.  Some of the kids at school must have Apple equipment, because they were instantly able to pick them up and start playing.  It made me feel like I'm suffering from a bad case of Old Person Who Can't Use Technology Syndrome, becaue it took me two weeks to figure out how to work my first iThingy.  In my defense, the device had no manual and only two buttons, which makes using it extremely non-obvious.

Anyway, there are about six or so games on my iPad that I haven't gotten around to playing yet.  I took them from the "most downloaded free games" section of iTunes.  Either these are incredibly popular games I haven't heard of, or the kids are strapped for cash, because they already knew the games and how to play them.

It actually ended up being kind of nice.  Instead of running around and screaming, the children were sitting on the couch, playing the iDevices and screaming.  Plus, they unlocked a decent amount of achievements.  Sure, Marcus isn't good enough at Jetpack Joyride to get past section two, but when he replays the first two sections over and over again for a full hour, suddenly my coin total jumps from 3 to 3,000.  Thank you, Cousin Marcus!  Just make sure to return the iPod before going back home.

Monday, April 9, 2012

WWA, Chapter 26

Here's Chapter 26 of Weirdness at Waverly Academy. Today, Nancy starts with the puzzle of getting the Victorian dining book.

---

Rita Hallowell's journal contained obscure clues for about six different puzzles. Poor Nancy Drew was completely confused, and she didn't understand any of the clues at all. To be honest, Nancy was still kind of stuck on the fact that Rita bought an entire journal, just to write on three pages of it.

Fortunately, Nancy didn't need to understand the clues, because her to-do list interpreted most of them for her. Rita wrote something about silverware for a nine-course dinner, and the to-do list translated it as "learn more about what people considered to be perfect etiquette in Rita Hallowell's day (the Victorian Age)".

So Nancy went to the school library and asked Izzy Romero for help.

"Hey, Izzy!" Nancy said. "Do you know what people considered to be perfect etiquette in Rita Hallowell's day (the Victorian Age)?"

Izzy Romero was not impressed by Nancy's ability to use parentheses while speaking. "They thought it was rude to interrupt people while they're studying," she said.

"Thanks!" Nancy said. She slapped Izzy on the back, then walked off, checking that off her to-do list.

Unfortunately, the item refused to be checked off the list. "Darn," Nancy said.

Nancy was near the school computer, so she logged on and started a search on the library catalog. She searched for "please tell me the solution to this puzzle, so I don't actually have to figure it out myself".

Since Nancy used the word "the", one of the search results was Formal Victorian Dining: The Right Spoon for the Menu.

"Yes!" Nancy said. She was ready to check out the book from the library—even though she didn't have a library card—when she noticed the book had already been checked out by Rachel K. Hubbard.

So Nancy went to Rachel's room and knocked on the door.

"Come in," Rachel said.

Nancy opened the door and walked in. Rachel looked up from her computer, and a confused look came over her face. Rachel arched her eyebrows and tilted her head slightly as she stared at Nancy.

"Hi..." Rachel said. After a pause, she added, "Who...who are you?"

"I'm Becca Sawyer, remember?" Nancy said. "The new French exchange student."

"Oh...oh, right!" Rachel said. Her face went back to normal. "Sorry, I totally blanked on your name!"

Leela was right, Nancy realized. Rachel does have a bizarre memory problem.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter

Happy Easter, everyone!  Let the fifty days of Easter begin!

The fifty days of Easter start with Easter Sunday, just like how the twelve days of Christmas start with Christmas.  Everyone thinks the twelve days of Christmas come before Christmas, but they're wrong.  The twelve days of Christmas last all the way to the Feast of the Baptism of Jesus, and the fifty days of Easter last all the way to Pentecost.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Etiquette

A friend and I got into an etiquette debate the other day.  Here's the question: Is it still good manners to pull out a chair for a woman, so she can sit down at a table?  Or is that an outdated and mildly sexist practice?

Also, standing whenever a woman enters the room.  I've never seen this happen, but I know that it used to be part of good etiquette.

I think it's still good manners to hold the door open for someone, if someone is right behind you when you're entering a building.  I'll even hold the door open for someone who is five seconds away from the door.  But I do this for both men and women, even though the old etiquette books say to distinguish between the two.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Youtube Partnership?

For today's Friday news, I have an update on the Youtube Partner situation.  You might remember that Youtube rejected my application two years ago, and once before that, although I didn't blog about it.

People have been telling me for years that I should become a Youtube Partner.  I'm not sure what a Youtube Partner is, but apparently it involves getting a logo on your page.  And they give you a digital thumbs-up or something like that.

In any case, I decided to try for the Youtube Partner thing again, because "apply once every two years" is the arbitrary standard I chose.  It seems the Youtube Partner Program has changed again, and now you have to submit certain videos for partnership, rather than getting a blanket partnership for all your videos.  I guess too many people abused the blanket partnership.

I decided to take things slow, by submitting the videos for my first-ever video walkthrough, Nancy Drew: Legend of the Crystal Skull.  That way, even if the videos were all rejected and deleted by Youtube, I would still have a different video walkthrough for that game, and no one would have to worry.

I'm not sure what criterea Youtube is using.  It accepted eight of the videos as partnerable, and it rejected nine of the videos as "unable to ever be made partner videos" (i.e. there's no chance for me to resubmit them).  I guess that makes me...a half partner?  Kind of.  I'm not sure, but in any case, that's the latest news on me getting a Youtube partnership.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Three Things

It's another Three Things Thursday, where I list the three eBooks I've worked on most recently.  Once again, they're rather short eBooks, because short books are easier to edit.
  • The First Easter, which is the story of Jesus' death and resurrection.  The pictures are nice, but I'm not very fond of the writing style.  The author favors long sentences.
  • Charta S. Patricii, or The Charter of Saint Patrick.  It's a short (four paragraph) letter, written in Latin.  Most people think it was written by a Welsh monk, not St. Patrick.
  • The Manifestation of the Miraculous Medal is the story of how Saint Catherine Laboure was visited three times by the Blessed Virgin Mary and was instructed to make the miraculous medal.  People still wear the miraculous medal today.
Enjoy Holy Thursday, everyone.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Nancy Drew Trailer

Sorry for posting about Nancy Drew three days in a row, but we just got the new trailer for Nancy Drew: Tomb of the Lost Queen.



The game is now available for preorder.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Nancy Drew: The Deadly Secret of Olde World Park

I just finished work on my next video walkthrough: Nancy Drew: The Deadly Secret of Olde World Park for the Nintendo DS.  I'll probably upload it mid-April, once the Layton walkthrough has been posted.

I was warned that this game is really terrible, so I thought I would play it as a joke.  You know, "Ha ha, look, I'm playing the really bad Nancy Drew game!"

News Flash: I loved it.

I'll probably write a review for the game later, but there is a lot to like about this game.  True, the game is mostly just cutscenes, and the actual gameplay consists of walking from room to room and playing the same six minigames over and over.  But the minigames aren't that bad, and the cutscenes are rather good.  Best cutscenes ever?  No.  Good enough that I was interesting in seeing how the mystery ended?  Yes.

Really, my only complaint is that the script really needs a proofreader.  Whoever edited it clearly has no idea what quotation marks are.  They disappear and reappear randomly, throughout the scenes.  You'll see double quotes within single quotes, and there's even one point where they use triple quotes.  Triple quotes!  There's no such thing as triple quotation marks.

Also, there's one throwaway line that drove me crazy.  Someone tells Nancy "your sorority egged the dean's car after finals, eight years ago".  Not only is that out-of-character for the law-abiding Nancy Drew, but Nancy would have been eight or nine years old, eight years ago.  Do you really think that's old enough to be in a college sorority?

These problems aside, it's a fun game, and I'm sure everyone will enjoy the video walkthrough.

Monday, April 2, 2012

New Nancy Drew Newsletter

The latest Nancy Drew newsletter has been released.  It mainly focuses on the upcoming Nancy Drew game, Tomb of the Lost Queen.  Some of the things that have been released for this game include:

As you would expect, because this game takes place in Egypt, we will see at least one puzzle that includes hieroglyphics.  Hopefully, my sixth-grade Egyptian education won't fail me now.

Pre-orders for the game start on April 3rd, or as I like to call it, "Tuesday".

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Kick the Brick

Back in 2006, I did a lot of research on old 1940's comic strips.  One of them--I think it was Muggs and Skeeter--did an April Fools Day strip about a soccer ball.  The joke was that somebody opened the soccer ball, then put a brick inside.  Then, they sewed the soccer ball back up, so it looked like a normal soccer ball.  Then the person left the soccer ball out in the open, waiting for a unsuspecting victim to come up and try to kick the soccer ball.

It was sort of a complicated and oddly-specific prank, which is why it stuck in my memory.

Recently, I got the 1943-5 collection of Ernie Bushmiller's Nancy comic strip.  And for April 1st, 1944, Sluggo plays the exact same trick on Nancy, except he puts the brick inside a top hat, not a soccer ball.  (She kicks the brick, and it goes flying in the air, landing on Sluggo's head.)

I figured it wasn't a coincidence that two different comic strips used the same, oddly-specific prank, so I decided to search the Internet.  It turns out that hiding a brick under a hat was a rather common April Fools Day prank.

I'm surprised, to be honest.  That seems like a rather cruel and extremely painful trick to play on someone.  And it doesn't seem like it would be very successful, unless the person you're pranking has a habit of kicking random hats on the street.