Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Bookstore Job

Hey, minor update on the job search.  I managed to get hired at the San Jose State University Bookstore, for the start of year rush.

I did this at Stanford in 2008.  Basically, the bookstore hires about fifteen extra people for the 2-3 weeks where all the students rush to the store and buy the books they need.  After that, students ignore the campus bookstore like usual, and the fifteen extra helpers go home.

I need a real job, as in, one that lasts for more than two weeks.  Oh, and one that pays medical insurance, because my current medical plan is "don't get sick".  I probably won't get sick, because I'm in better physical condition now than I've been in for a while.  All the free time I have from being unemployed has resulted in me taking daily trips to the gym and doing multiple 5Ks a week.  I'm like Mr. Fitness now.

Either way, looks like I have a temporary job for August or September, whenever school starts at SJSU.  I'll be working downstairs, in the textbook department.  That means I'll be the guy who helps people find the books they need, instead of being the guy who works at the cashier.  I can handle a job like this!

Monday, July 30, 2012

July Newsletter

Hey, we have the July newsletter from Her Interactive! It's got information about Phoenix's videos, the video testimonial contest, the Facebook caption contest, and more!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

WWA, Chapter 53

It seems that people want to read Weirdness at Waverly Academy, chapter by chapter.  It's a different experience than reading it all at once, I guess. That's the whole point of a drabble series, right?  You only get a bit at a time?  Anyway, today, Corine confronts Nancy over something she heard a few chapters ago.

---

"You can't join the Blackwood Society," Mel said. "Only real students can be members."

Nancy wanted to argue, but Mel had a point. Nancy would be long gone, by the time the next month's meeting occurred.

"Anyway, that's all you'll get me to say on the matter," Mel said. "I'm not going to tell you anything else."

Nancy scowled. "Impeding my investigation will get you added to my suspect list," Nancy said, pulling out a pen. "I'll write this down in my notebook, and...where's my notebook?"

Mel shrugged. "How would I know?"

"I must have left it in my room," Nancy said. "Be right back."

Nancy left Mel's room, and she went back to the room she was sharing with Corine. "Hey, Corine," Nancy said. "Did I leave my notebook in here?"

Corine glared at Nancy.

"What?" Nancy asked.

"I overheard Mel shouting at you a few minutes ago," Corine said. "You've got a fake name?"

"You were spying on me?" Nancy asked. "That's not nice!"

"Neither is lying about your true identity," Corine said, narrowing her eyes. "So dish."

"Fine," Nancy said. "You're right. My name isn't really Becca Sawyer."

"So that's why I couldn't find you online!" Corine said. "So what's your real name, Little Miss Liar?"

"My real name," Nancy began. She took a deep breath. "Is Rebecca Saywer."

"Oh," Corine said.

"Becca is just a nickname," Nancy explained.

"I know what nicknames are," Corine said. She sighed a little bit. "Darn, and I was hoping for the gossip of the century."

Nancy smiled to herself as she picked up her notebook, then left the room.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Nancy Drew: Weirdness at Waverly Academy

I finished my story, Nancy Drew: Weirdness at Waverly Academy.  To be honest, I do not think I'll make a Youtube video of myself, reading the story.  I tried that for just the first two chapters, and syncing the audio with video is really difficult to do, without the video becoming super-distracting.

So here's my question.  Do you want me to keep posting the story here, chapter by chapter, until I reach the end?  This would last for about 15 chapters.  Or should I just forget that, and you can all just read the story yourselves?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Paper Mario: Humorous Antics

I'm rather proud of the ending to one of my latest Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door videos. So proud, in fact, that I'm going to show it off here.

If you haven't been watching the other videos in the series, here's the context. Lord Bowser (the big guy) is fighting with Lord Crump (the small guy). Both of them are joke villains that serve as comedy relief, and the two of them are having a showdown to see who is a better villain.

Start watching at 14:54. Newcomers, enjoy hearing my awesome Bowser voice.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Three Things Thursday

1. I finished writing my story, Nancy Drew: Weirdness at Waverly Academy.  Now all I have to do is go back and clean up the earlier chapters, to make they're consistent with the rest of the story.  I'll keep posting the story here, though, until you've seen all the chapters.

2. No, Dad, I don't want to spend fifteen minutes looking at your spam mail.  Just delete and forget about it.

3. It's been a year since they started showing The 90's Are All That on Teen Nick.  So far, it's been less than impressive.  I mean, midnight to 2:00 AM isn't a good time slot.  Being on a spin-off channel doesn't help.  But the worst part is that they only have five shows in total, two of which (All That, Kenan and Kel) are on every single night.  Everyone's sick of the lineup by now.

Maybe worst of all, whenever you watch The 90's Are All That, they run commercials with tons of clips from different 90's shows.  But they never air any of these shows. It's like they're taunting their viewers, by giving them a look at all the shows they will never see.  Not nice.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Nancy Drew Kickstarter

Yesterday, we got a minor follow-up on the Nancy Drew Kickstarter project, in the form of a video from Phoenix. They mention the Kickstarter, along with other cool things from the CEOs.

It sounds like the Kickstarter is going to involve porting the Nancy Drew PC games to tablets and phones. Interesting! Are there any games in particular you readers would like to see? I'm thinking...I dunno...ALL OF THEM???

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Job Searching

Yes, I'm still searching for a job.  None of the places I've applied to have contacted me back.  For all I know, they shredded my resume and used it to line a chincilla cage.

I don't know about you, but it annoys me when people ask, "So what kind of job are you looking for?"  I'm looking for a job.  I'm not in a situation where I can be picky and say, "Oh, well, I'm only going to apply for sales positions."  In my experience, limiting yourself to just one field only results in slightly faster rejection.

I also get upset when I apply for a job, and two weeks later, the job reappears in the want ads.  To me, that's a clear sign that they didn't like any of the applications--including mine--so they're trying again.  Why else would they have the exact same position available?  Unless they hired someone and then fired them within two weeks.  Or they're hiring year-round.

Either way, they didn't bother to tell me that I didn't get the job.  I had to find out second-hand.  That's another problem.  No company ever tells applicants when the job position is closed.  Only a handful of places send automatic email responses, which go like this:

Dear Mr. Gray,

Thank you for your interest in [position].  We have received your application, and we will review it soon.  We will then contact you shortly.

But then they don't.  And every day, you check your phone messages and email, hoping that they contacted you, like they promised.  And the days just pass by, until you realize they're never going to call.  I've reached the point where I hope that I get a email that says, "Hey, Michael!  We're not giving the job to you, because you're a total loser!"  If that happened, I would be incredibly happy that at least someone has contacted me back.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Artemis Fowl: The Last Guardian

Well, Artemis Fowl: The Last Guardian has been released.  It's the last book in the Artemis Fowl series, and it's certainly much better than the previous book.  In fact, I think I'll pretend that Book #7 didn't happen.  That book had Artemis acting out-of-character the whole time, the one-chapter adventure in Mexico which lasted for three chapters, and a fairly inconsequential villain.

Book #8 starts things off right, with Artemis being calm and cool and, you know, acting in-character.  It's like they hit the reset button with him, and everyone is happy that he's back to normal.

It's convenient that he gets cured of his psychological trauma at this point in time, because about five minutes later, there's a humongous crisis which could destroy the entire world.  Artemis helps avert some of the damage, but it's merely Step 1 in Opal Koboi's plan for global domination.

Opal's plan is...well, less complicated than her previous endeavors.  The plan consists of setting off a magical bomb, which will instantly kill all humans on Earth.  She spends 90% of the book, picking the lock to the safe which holds the bomb.  It's actually kind of boring, really.  I mean, she stays in one place the whole time, picking a lock.  Don't get me wrong, the scenes she's in are hilarious, but she is definitely not living up to her potential as an evil villainess.

This all takes place at Fowl Manor.  Artemis, Holly and Butler are forced to break out of Haven, then break into Fowl Manor to stop Opal.  Unfortunately for them, Opal has summoned an army of undead warriors to assist her.  (Summoning an army is much easier than picking a lock, apparently).  Our heroes have to contend with the warriors for a good deal of time, in their quest to stop Opal before time runs out.

All in all, it's a good book, on par with the rest of the series.  It's funny and filled with action, and it feels like all the main characters of the series got their own special scene, so everyone had a chance to shine.  I didn't notice any flaws until after I finished reading the book, and I really got caught up with the exciting story.  Fans of the series should love this book, and they'll probably be disappointed it means the series is over now.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

High Security McDonalds

You know, the McDonalds in Menlo Park is probably the most uptight McDonald's I've ever seen.  They have three plaques on the wall.  The first one explains that they have the right to kick you out the building whenever they want.  The other two explain what actions result in getting kicked out.

#1. Customers are allowed only ONE refill per visit.

Maybe there was trouble in the past, where someone would buy a small drink, then spend the next six hours in the building, occasionally refilling the drink as an excuse to stay?  I don't know.  I can't think of a refill-related situation which was so serious that they had to custom-make a plaque to ensure it never happened again.

Personally, the "one refill per visit" rule bugs me.  I don't drink soda at home, so going to a place with soda dispensers is sort of a novel experience for me.  I like to try out all the different sodas--or at least the ones I like--by filling up my cup halfway, drinking it, then filling it with another type of soda.  This rule ruins my ability to try multiple sodas!  It forces me to pick one and stick with it.

#2. Customers may not use the same cup on more than one trip.

In other words, I can't save my plastic cup from last week and use it to get refills this week.  Yes, that makes sense, but how did it become such a serious problem that this McDonalds decided they needed to make a plaque, addressing the issue?  Was there a customer who has been living on the same plastic McDonalds cup for the past five years or something?  There must have been a dastardly criminal called the Serial Refiller, better known as "The Soda Jerk".  He burst into the store, filled up with soda, then dashed away before security could check the expiration date on the cup.  After he had robbed McDonalds of $54 billion in profits, they decided to take action against him.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

WWA, Chapter 52

I couldn't think of anything to write about today--it's too hot--so here's Chapter 52 of Weirdness at Waverly Academy instead of a blog post. Today, Nancy learns about the Blackwood Society.

---

"So, tell me," Nancy said. "Why were you with a bunch of other girls last night, wearing cloaks and chanting?"

Mel scowled. "None of your business," she said.

"Do you want me to tell the headmistress about it?" Nancy asked.

"Fine," Mel sighed. "You don't tell anyone about this, and I won't tell anyone you're really an undercover detective."

"Deal," Nancy said. "Unless, you know, you are the Black Cat, and this has something to do with it."

"It has nothing to do with the Black Cat," Mel promised. "What you saw was a meeting of the Blackwood Society. It's a secret club that someone at Waverly founded, shortly after the school started. Only seven girls a year get to be members."

"It's...a club?" Nancy asked.

"Yeah, we meet about once a month," Mel said. "Everyone wears a black cloak, except the leader. Hers is light blue. We meet by the oak tree and chant for twenty minutes. That's it."

"That's it?" Nancy asked.

"Yes," Mel said. "There's no talking or socializing, and everyone whispers, so you can't tell who they are. We literally just stand in a circle and chant about numbers for a while. Nothing else."

Nancy thought about this for a moment. Either Mel was telling the truth, or she was telling the weirdest cover story ever.

"It's the truth!" Mel said. "I know it seems strange, but personally, I like all the secrecy and anonymity. The unknown is something I've always felt...drawn to."

Nancy shook her head. "Let me get this straight," she said. "The Blackwood Society is a top-secret club at Waverly Academy."

"That's right," Mel said. "Not even the teachers know about it."

"You meet once a month, under the oak tree, at midnight," Nancy said. "Why meet so late, at such an out-of-the-way location?"

"We do it for privacy," Mel said. "That way, nobody outside the club will accidentally see or overhear a meeting."

"I found out about the club on my first day here, so you guys might want to rethink your privacy policy," Nancy pointed out. "So at these top secret midnight meetings, everyone wears a cloak to hide their identities."

"Actually, we wear cloaks because it gets cold at night during the winter," Mel said.

"Oh," Nancy said. That made a lot of sense. "And during these meetings...the only thing you do is chant about numbers."

"Yes," Mel said.

"...For twenty minutes," Nancy said.

"I know it sounds suspicious, but I swear it's true," Mel said.

"I believe you," Nancy said. "However, I've got one more question."

Mel cringed. "Yes, Detective Drew?" she asked.

Nancy gave a huge grin. "How do I join this club?" she asked enthusiastically. "This sounds like the coolest club ever!"

Friday, July 20, 2012

WWA, Chapter 51

Here's Chapter 51 of Weirdness at Waverly Academy. Today, Nancy confronts Mel.

---

Nancy opened the door to her room, and she noticed a piece of paper on the floor. It had a cat pawprint on it, complete with a note reading Go back to France.

"Hey, guess who just got a note from the Black Cat?" Nancy asked.

"Congratulations," Corine said. "Just don't go all Danielle on me, okay? Stay away from food closets."

Nancy laughed weakly. Making jokes about someone who was sent to a psychiatric ward seemed rather cruel. After all, Nancy figured that if she was locked overnight in the Safety Hazard Supply Closet, she'd come out with mental issues, too.

Nancy made her way outside of the building, going to the large oak tree. She was hoping to find some evidence about the mysterious group that met by the tree at midnight. Sadly, the lightly falling snow covered up all the evidence that could have been there.

Wait a minute... Nancy thought.

Reaching into the snow, Nancy pulled out a purple-and-black barrette. There was only one person in Waverly Academy who would wear that much black and purple.

Nancy made a beeline straight for Mel Corbalis' pink-flavored room.

"Hey, Pinkie Pie!" Nancy said. "Look, I—"

"Well, if it isn't the girl with the fake name," Mel said loudly.

"Shhhh!" Nancy said, checking to make sure the door was shut. "Don't...don't say that out loud!"

Mel scowled at Nancy. "You don't want people to find out the truth, do you?" she asked.

"That's not it!" Nancy said. "The whole Nancy Drew thing...that was just a joke!"

"So you're not really an undercover detective?" Mel asked.

"Guh..." Nancy said.

"You can't fool me," Mel said. "I looked you up online. You're quite the detective, aren't you? You've solved mysteries all over the world."

"Yeah..." Nancy admitted. "The headmistress wanted me to come here to find the Black Cat."

"I see," Mel said. "And what have you found so far, Little Miss Sleuth?"

"I found this," Nancy said dramatically, taking out Mel's barrette.

"My barrette?" Mel asked. "What's so important about that?"

Nancy went into her Genius Detective Mode.

"I found it in the snow, next to the oak tree," Nancy said. "Judging from the amount of snow left on it, and based off the meteorological patterns of this area, I can safely determine that it was dropped around midnight. Meaning you were at the oak tree at midnight.

"It took me a while to analyze the footprints," Nancy continued. "As far as I can tell, there were probably six people there. But most of the prints were wiped away by some kind of heavy fabric. They matched with the fibers on the barrette, which leads me to conclude that they were part of the same outfit.

"Cloaks, in fact. You were wearing heavy cloaks, which dragged on the ground, partially erasing the footprints. And you must have been wearing them with the hoods up, because it knocked your barrette off when you took the hood off."

"That...that's amazing," Mel said, impressed. "Wow! You've been playing dumb this whole time, when you can analyze everything like a pro!"

"Not really," Nancy said. "You guys were making noise last night, so I looked out the window and saw you."

"Oh," Mel said. "That makes more sense."

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Three Things Thursday

1.  I cannot confirm or deny the rumor that Mitt Romney has asked me to serve as his Vice-President.  Please stop asking me to make an official statement on this.
2. My latest social endeavors including joining a Dungeon and Dragons group and a bowling league.  I am completely unprepared for either; I've never played DND before, and my average is around 50.

3. Did I mention I'm getting really proud of my Nancy Drew: Weirdness at Waverly Academy story, now that I'm getting close to the end?  I've had the ending planned, since Chapter 20 or so.  It's just a lot of fun seeing all my crazy plotlines and jokes come together, for what I hope is going to be an exciting ending.

For example, the jokes I made about Nancy's literary aspirations?  That's not just a throwaway joke.  She's going to try writing a book about her adventures at Waverly.  I hope it will amuse.

The part of the story I hate the most is the beginning, which moves really slowly.  You can tell I wrote it, before I got into the swing of things and figured out what sort of pacing I wanted to have.  I'll probably go back and mash together the earlier chapters, once I'm done with the whole thing.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Nancy Drew Kickstarter

According to Facebook, Her Interactive is going to start a Kickstarter campaign on August 7.  Kickstarter is basically a fundraiser website that videogame companies have been using recently.  The idea is that Kickstarter helps companies get funding for games which are hard to fund.

For example, let's say someone at Disney wanted to make another game in the Duck Tales series.  Well, I don't think Disney would be willing to pay money for Duck Tales 3.  They'd see the project as a risky venture which is likely to lose money, seeing as the last game in the series and the TV show it's based on have been dead for over 15 years.

So the Nancy Drew company is going to have a Kickstarter now. Presumably, it's for a game that is hard to fund because it has a risk of being unsuccessful.  My guesses are these:
  • Nancy Drew Dossier: Ship of Shadows.  This game was cancelled at one point, and maybe they want to see if there's enough interest in the game before they resume progress on making it.
  • Nancy Drew: Stay Tuned for Danger: Remastered.  Someone on Facebook suggested it, and I guess that's possible.
  • Nancy Drew: [Insert Any Game Here] for a non-computer platform, like the iPad or the Wii.  The last few attempts to port Nancy Drew games to other systems (Message in a Haunted Mansion GBA, Curse of Blackmoor Manor DVD, White Wolf of Icicle Creek Wii) don't seem to have been hugely successful, so I could see the company being reluctant to try another port.
  • Some Game Not Starring Nancy Drew At All.  Are people interested in seeing them make a game without Nancy Drew in it?
What game(s) do you think they could be Kickstarting?  Or, could it be possible that they're not Kickstarting a game at all?  Maybe they want to make a movie or start a band or something.  I would buy their CD, if they made a Nancy Drew band!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Brave (Part 2)

Right, I saw Brave, the latest Pixar movie!  I thought it was pretty entertaining.  The script was well-done, in that it touched on all the important details of the movie.  I liked it better than the last Pixar movie I saw, Toy Story 3, which went into some strange prison-themed territory that I didn't understand.

The reviews of the movie say that the conflict in the movie comes from Princess Merida rebelling against the oppressive patriarchy.  That's partly true.  She has an unfortunate arranged marriage law that she has to struggle against, because her dad is the king.  But the real conflict is between Princess Merida and her mother.

The Queen is an overbearing mother, who puts too much pressure on her daughter.  She has spent years, forcing Merida to do things in the "proper" princess fashion.  The King is more easygoing.  Actually, you know what?  Best character of the movie.  King (I Didn't Catch His Name) was my favorite character, and I liked all the scenes he was in, even the ones where he was deadly serious.  My dad felt the same way, for a different reason--Dad liked seeing him because he was an ugly cuss with a big nose.

Dad has weird tastes in movies.

Anyhoo, the rock-climbing, horse-riding princess who also happens to be perfect at archery decides she doesn't want to get married to any of the three candidates.  She takes out her frustration on her mother, then she runs away.  Wouldn't you know it, she runs straight into a helpful witch and asks for a potion "to change my fate".

Note to People Dealing with Magic: Be more specific when asking witches for potions.  Seriously.  The witch could have given her poison, and that would technically fulfill the terms of the bargain.

Yeah, I'm not sure why Merida wanted a potion "to change my fate".  Why didn't she ask for a potion that specifically fixes the bad situation she is in?  Instead, she just goes for the extremely vague option.  Has she never heard fairy tales before?

Merida feeds the "change my fate" potion--hidden in a cupcake--to her mother.  I'm not sure why Merida does that.  Apparently, Merida wanted to change her mother's fate, instead of her own.  The mother starts to get woozy, and not too much later, she turns into a bear.

Yep, "change my fate" potion is "turn someone into a bear" potion.  Who knew?  I'd like to say it reminds me of the Disney movie Brother Bear, but I never saw that film.

The rest of the movie involves Merida and her mother bonding, as they try to sneak Mom out of the castle and find a way to turn Mom back into a human before she becomes 100% bear.  Fortunately, the witch must be used to dissatisfied customers, so her spell has a two-day warranty.  "Repair the bond that has been broken", and all bear-people turn back to normal.

The spell clearly refers to the mother-daughter bond of love, although Merida figures it clearly refers to a tapestry which has been ripped.  It's already been established that Merida is kind of stupid when it comes to magic spells, though, so I guess it makes sense that she has the wrong idea of how to end the spell.

So Merida and her mother have to go back inside their heavily-guarded castle, in order to get the tapestry and sew it back up.  Personally, if I was Merida, I would have made the mother wait outside while I got the tapestry, because trying to sneak a bear into a castle full of angry hunters is what I like to call "incredibly dangerous and stupid".  Predictably, the warriors see the bear and decide to start a bear hunt.

Now Merida needs to escape from her room, repair the tapestry, save her bear-mother from being killed, and defeat a real monster bear, before the sun comes up in an hour or so.  And because she's awesome, she manages to do all that.  Everyone is relieved, Merida no longer has to be forced into marrying someone, and they all live happily ever after.  The end.

Well, that's my plot synopsis.  Like I said, it's a good, entertaining movie.  My favorite part were the humorous antics of the King and his fellow Scotsmen.   Merida is a likeable main character, much more than certain other main characters in Pixar movies.  I know I poked a little fun at her inability to really think things over, whenever spells are concerned, but you can't expect someone who's new to magic to understand everything from the beginning, so I'll cut her some slack.  All in all, I'll give this movie an 8.5 out of 10.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Brave (Part 1)

I finally got around to seeing Brave, the latest Pixar movie.

I've been a bit hesitant to see the movie, based on the reviews.  Every review I saw spent at least two paragraphs, insulting every Disney princess in existence.  This led to the conclusion that Brave is a must-see film, because Princess Merida is a new, better kind of princess.  She's a majestic feminist role model who rebels against the oppressive patriarchy, by using her unique talents to achieve her goals!

These reviews made me feel offended, on behalf of all the previous Disney princesses.  Personally, I always thought that Sleeping Beauty was a great feminist role model who uses her unique talents to achieve her goals.  It's just that she doesn't have any talents besides sleeping.  It's not her fault.  Blame the fairies who gave her a bad set of talents at the start of the movie.

Okay, I'll admit that some Disney princesses are two-dimensional characters, whose only purpose is to look pretty and be saved by the prince.  But on the other hand, I don't think it's an intentional attempt put down women, because the Disney princes are equally two-dimensional.  They're mostly just pretty boys whose only purpose in life is to find the perfect girl to fall in love with.  Occasionally, they fight witches to relieve the boredom of constantly styling their hair, but all in all, they're a boring lot.

In any case, the movie reviews for Brave made me hesitant about seeing the movie, because they painted Princess Merida as a reactionary feminist figure, taken to the extreme of "she must be a perfect role model for little girls in every way, shape and form".  I'm all for good role models, but from a storytelling standpoint, characters without any flaws at all are just plain boring.  Audiences don't relate to those characters, except from the position of wish-fulfilment.

As for me, I try not to judge characters, solely from a feminist perspective.  Take Nancy Drew, for example.  I happen to like her, in case that's not obvious.  It doesn't bother me whether or not Nancy does something that's stereotypically girly, like making clothes in Danger by Design, or if she's doing something that's stereotypically boyish, like useing a lathe in The Haunted Carousel.  I like Nancy for more reasons than just her ability (or lack thereof) to stand as a suitable role model.

So, all the review for Brave had me worried, because they almost exclusively focus on feminism.  I'd prefer it if they focused more on the movie.

Not that I'm doing a good job of focusing on the movie.  I'm what, eight paragraphs into my review?  And I haven't even started talking about the movie yet?  Jeez, talk about bad role models.  Instead of reviewing the movie, I've reviewed the reviews of the movie.

Eh...I'll try writing a review of the movie tomorrow, then.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

More Cleaning

I finally took another step in cleaning my room. Today, I tackled the closet, which technically hasn't been cleaned since the room's last owner (my sister) moved out.

Items found in the closet include:
  • A handbell
  • A medal from 2000
  • An unopened pack of underwear from 2009
  • An old video camera, from before videocameras could connect to computers
  • A stuffed doll which looks like the boss from Dilbert
I also fixed up the shelf where I keep my DVDs.  The shelf used to be dominated by DVDs of the show 6teen.  They released about ten DVDs for the show, with each DVD containing only three episodes.  Then, they released "season-long" DVDs, containing thirteen episodes each.  So I was able to save money (and space on my shelf) by buying the season-long DVDs.

I'm a little miffed that they only made DVDs up to Season 3, Volume 1 before stopping.  The show made it all the way to a fourth season, so there are 26 episodes that have never made it to DVD.  I want to see them!  Especially the episodes which never aired in the United States.

As for the rest of my entertainment shelf, I found two copies of Nancy Drew: Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon and Nancy Drew: Curse of Blackmoor Manor (DVD).  Maybe I'll sell the extra copies on eBay.  I'm not going to bother trying to sell the 6teen DVDs on eBay, though, because those are from seven years ago.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

WWA, Chapter 50

Here's Chapter 50 of Weirdness at Waverly Academy. Today, Nancy starts the second day of the game.

---

Nancy climbed back down the tree and went back to sleep. This time, her dreams weren't filled with strange poems and nightmares, so she slept peacefully until her alarm rang.

"Time to get up already?" Nancy asked sleepily. She reached out a hand to turn off her alarm, but she only succeeded in knocking her phone to the ground.

"Nuts, there goes my phone," Nancy said. She rolled out of bed and crawled under the desk, where her phone was. Nancy was surprised to see two other items there.

One was a Black Cat note which read Time's up.

Looks like Danielle did get a second note from the Black Cat, Nancy realized. Why was it hidden under a desk, though?

The other item was a small piece of wood, carved to look like the state of Oklahoma.

"Uh...what is Oklahoma doing here?" Nancy asked.

"Oklahoma?" Corine asked.

Nancy backed away from the desk and showed the piece of wood to Corine. "Yeah, I found this thing that looks like Oklahoma."

"That's probably from the US map," Corine said.

"What?" Nancy asked.

"You know, the one downstairs?" Corine said. "Just leave the rec room and it's on your right. They've got it locked up due to midterms study break, though."

Nancy remembered that she had to get a picture of the US map for Rachel's project. "Hey, thanks!" Nancy said.

This left Nancy with a big question, though. Why would Danielle steal a state from the US map, then hide it under her desk? Nancy tried to think up a good explanation.


Three weeks earlier...

"Stupid Oklahoma!" Danielle Hayes screamed. "Rejecting my application to Canute College! I'll show you! I'll hide you under my desk, where no one will ever see you again!"

Laughing maniacally, Danielle removed the state of Oklahoma from the map.

"NOW MY REVENGE IS COMPLETE!" Danielle shouted.


Nancy blinked in confusion, then considered putting Danielle at the top of her suspect list.

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Indiana Jones Christmas Game

It's the wrong time of year for me to be playing this, but I had a fun time anyway.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Share It, Maybe

Sesame Street made a parody of a popular song I've heard of, but which I haven't actually heard.



That is all.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Kingdom Hearts and Disney Movies

Ha, I got a lot of comments on yesterday's post about Kingdom Hearts 3DS. I guess that means either Kingdom Hearts or Disney movies are popular with my readers.

Anyway, here are my responses to various comments!
  • I have never seen The Nightmare Before Christmas, and I don't really want to because it looks weird/creepy.  I say that about every Tim Burton movie.
  • You know, I think it's just plain cruddy that you have to play every Kingdom Hearts game, in order to understand the series.  I don't have time to find last-gen games and play them all the way through!  I much prefer Nancy Drew, where you can pick up any game in the series and start playing it, even if you haven't played the others.
  • Yes, my 10-year-old self didn't like The Hunchback of Notre Dame because the main character was ugly.  It's funny how that completely goes against the moral to the story.  But that's the truth, and I'm not going to lie to make myself look better.  I honestly disliked the movie because the main character was unpleasant to look at.  Plus, I didn't understand the plotlines about gypsies and sanctuaries and the villain with a weird hat.  Maybe that movie is too deep for little kids.
  • Oh, and the narrator guy who sings the opening song!  The Internet tells me that his name is Clopin, and he is the gypsy leader.  Am I the only person who thought he was scarier than the villain of the movie?  Seriously, when he teamed up with Quasimodo to explore tombs or whatever, my young self cringed.  If I was watching the movie at home, not at the theaters, I would have turned it off at that point.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Kingdom Hearts 3DS

I've been thinking about buying Kingdom Hearts 3DS: Dream Drop Distance.  I'm a fan of Disney movies, so I'll probably like it. On the other hand, my last experience with Kingdom Hearts was a disaster.  So, being a cautious fellow, I went online and looked up which Disney movies are in this game.
  • Fantasia
  • The Three Musketeers
  • Tron Legacy
  • Hunchback of Notre Dame
  • Pinocchio
Um...wow, that's sort of a bad lineup.  They must have used up all the popular movies in the other games.

I haven't seen Fantasia in over fifteen years, because it's more like a classical music CD than it is a movie.  I didn't see The Three Musketeers because it was a direct-to-video release, but I'm sure I can pretend it's The Prince and the Pauper and thereby enjoy it.

I didn't see Tron Legacy; I don't think it belongs with all the other animated Disney movies.  I haven't seen Hunchback since I saw it in theaters in the 90's; it was okay, but Quasimodo was so ugly that it was hard for little Michael to support him as the main character.  Plus, the gargoyle characters' role as comedic relief came off as a little forced.  Maybe it could be an interesting game?  I dunno, because 70% of the movie takes place in a bell tower, which does not sound like it easily translates into fun gameplay and exploration.

Pinocchio is my favorite movie on the list, because it's a really high-quality movie.  I'm not sure which scenes from the movie will make it into the videogame, because...there aren't a lot of scenes.  There's Gepetto's Cottage, the village streets, the amusement park and the ocean.  That's mostly it...I guess they'll go with the village and the amusement park, which are larger areas.

All in all, I'm more hesitant to get this game.  It doesn't seem like it involves exploring Disney worlds; I'd probably be better off getting the latest Disney Princess game for something like that.  I hear the demo is free, so maybe I'll check out the demo before deciding whether or not to get the game.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Interview with Gabriel Wolf

Hey, everyone! Here is my interview with Gabriel Wolf, which I mentioned earlier.  Enjoy it, because it's a load of fun!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

2 Minute Mysteries

I mentioned Two Minute Mysteries yesterday, because I recently played a series of iPhone games called 2 Minute Mysteries.  I think they changed the title from "Two" to "2", so they wouldn't have to pay any royalties to the people who own the books.
I thought the games were interesting.  There'd be a one-minute movie of the detectives examining a crime scene.  Then, the game asks you "Whodunnit?" and "Why?", using multiple choice questions.  Answer them correctly, and you see a one-minute movie of the detectives explaining how they solved the crime.

There are points where the games' amateur colors come through, and the actors flub their lines.  And at 99 cents each, the games are completely overpriced, considering the fact that they're only two minutes long.  But I enjoyed them nonetheless.

Anyway, I thought it'd be amusing for me to give you the puzzle solutions, completely out of context.  Enjoy!
  • Concealed Weapon: The culprit is the only suspect whose shoes have shoelaces. Duh!
  • Garage: The Chevy Volt is an electric car, not a normal car! Clearly, the wife is guilty.
  • Guilty or Not?: The husband is guilty, because the desk is suspiciously tidy.
  • Staircase: The body is lying in the wrong direction.
  • The Bank Robber: The body is lying in the wrong direction.
  • Witness or Murderer: She is guilty, because she had to turn the lights on.
If you want a creative writing challenge, write out a short mystery, using one of the above solutions.  Make up the mystery, working backwards from the solution!  I think that's how the videogames and the book were written.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Two Minute Mysteries

Has anyone read Two Minute Mysteries by Donald J. Sobol?  It's a book that's filled with short, 1-2 page mysteries for people to solve.  It's a good book, but the downside is that most of the mysteries are overly easy to solve.  That's because the stories are so short that there's no room for putting in something unrelated to the case.  The result is that the witness is always the culprit, and he or she always makes an obvious mistake that proved his or her guilt.

Let me try to demonstrate what a typical Two Minute Mystery looks like, in 300 words or less.

---

Detective Ernwinkle Snaglefoompus stepped into the restaurant.  A dead body lay slumped over a table.  Various officers were investigating the crime scene, while one police officer greeted the detective and briefed him on the situation.

"A murder, huh?" Detective Snaglefoompus asked.  "Who's the victim?"

"The victim is Dr. Ralph Hooligan," the cop said.  "He was found dead, fifteen minutes ago."

"Hooligan...Why does that name sound familiar?" the detective wondered.

"He was in the news recently," the cop said.  "His organization just got a $50 million grant, so they could find a cure for lactose intolerance.  He claimed that ridding himself of the disease was the goal of his life."

"And now his life is over," Detective Snaglefoompus quipped.  "Hard to believe someone would kill a famous scientist in a public place like this.  Who found the body?"

The cop jerked his finger towards a nervous-looking man in a suit.  "That would be the waiter," he said.  "He claims he was assigned to the victim's table."

Detective Snaglefoompus went to question the waiter, who was giving his official statement to the police.

"As I said earlier, Dr. Hooligan was fine when I brought him his dessert," the waiter said.  "It was a vanilla milkshake, one of our specialties.  Can I get you one, detective?"

"Maybe later," Detective Snaglefoompus said.  "What happened next?"

"I don't know," the waiter said.  "I came by with the check ten minutes later, and he was dead!  Someone must have killed him during that time."

"Someone like...YOU!" Detective Snaglefoompus said, in an overly dramatic manner.

WHAT IS DETECTIVE SNAGLEFOOMPUS TALKING ABOUT?

...

...

...

Solution: The waiter is lying about what happened.  The victim did not order a milkshake for dessert, because the victim was lactose intolerant.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door

I need to stop writing blog entries five minutes before I go to sleep, because I can't think of anything good to write.

Um...let's see.  I'm about halfway through my video walkthrough for Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door, and I am starting to get really bored.  I forgot that this was such a long game.  I'm told Japanese RPGs tend to be overly long; this game is at least 20 hours.  If you're playing the game for the first time, it's probably a lot longer.

Recording issues have forced me to throw away hours of footage and re-record from an earlier savepoint.  It's hard to be excited about a game, when you're replaying the same twenty-minute section three times in a row.  And then, I get confused, because I don't know if something I said earlier was in this recording, or in one of the deleted recordings.  I think I made the same joke three times in the same recording, without realizing it at the time of recording.

I think I'll have to take a break from this game for a while, because if I see Yoshi fight another Goomba, I'm going to be sick.  It's a good game, and I like it, but doing a video walkthrough has given me an overload on the game.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Scott Pilgrim

I decided to pick up the Scott Pilgrim books from the library the other day.  They're kind of decent, but I had a really hard time understanding the plot.  That's because all the characters look the same.

No, seriously.  There was only one character I could recognize all the time, and that's the guy with the beard.  It's really easy to recognize the only bearded character.  But all the other characters?  I constantly confused them with each other.

Even the lead character, Scott Pilgrim, threw me off a couple of times, when he wore a hat or something like that.  I would say, "Oh, hey, it's a brand-new character!"  Then four pages later, I would realize that it's just Scott in a hat.

Ramona, the female lead, apparently changes her outfit and hairdo in every single one of the six books, which doesn't help matters.

I had to stop reading the series about halfway through the second book, when it got to be too much for me.  It was too difficult for me to figure out who was supposed to be who, so I couldn't really follow the plot.  Oh well.  Maybe I'll watch the movie instead.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Three Things

1. My interview with Gabriel Wolf (voice of Dylan Carter in the latest Nancy Drew game) took place yesterday; I'll try to get it uploaded within a week or so. Gabriel persuaded me to get a Twitter account.  Now you can follow me on Twitter!

...Does this mean I have to actually provide content for Twitter now? Uh oh...

2. My experiments with recording the iPad screen continue to take place. Best Buy had a cable thing which kind of works.  And by "kind of", I mean "not really".  Instead of recording everything, it is picky and only records certain apps.  And by "certain apps", I mean, "only Law & Order Legacies".

Uh...one app is better than none, I guess?

3. Today is a holiday in America! Happy Fourth of July, everyone!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

WWA, Chapter 49

Here's Chapter 49 of Weirdness at Waverly Academy. Today, Nancy gets poetical.

---

Nancy's dreams that night were odd, to say the least. For some reason, Nancy dreamed about Edgar Allen Poe. In a sinister voice, the man began to recite The Raven...

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious...


"CUT!" a loud voice in Nancy's dream said. "Try again!"

Edgar coughed loudly, then restarted his poem.

Once, at a place called Waverly, the upstate girls academy,
There was quite a mystery, for Nancy to explain.
Ah, Miss Drew was rather keen to understand what it could mean,
With Mel and Izzy and Corine, the scene was quite insane.
Rachel Hubbard was out of sorts, Leela only cared about sports,
Yet, according to reports, one of the girls was the Black Cat.
Nancy asked herself again, "Who will be valedictorian?
How many girls will be hurt by then?
I wish that I knew that."

The Black Cat left notes, obscene and vile, heralding upcoming trial,
And then, in just a little while, poor Nancy would be next.
Could she stop the horrid crime? Solve the mystery in time?
Or would she fall in muck and grime? Alas, Nancy was vexed.
While she nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone gently rapping, rapping at the window pane.
" 'Tis a squirrel," she muttered. "Tapping at the window pane.
Really, something quite mundane."


Nancy's eyes suddenly opened, as she woke up from her dream. There was a squirrel tapping at the window pane. It was the same squirrel who had stolen a starburst token earlier. In fact, the squirrel had the token in its mouth.

"Come back here, you thieving squirrel!" Nancy shouted. Of course, she shouted as quietly as possible so she didn't accidentally wake up Corine. After all, according to Nancy's phone, it was well after 11:00 PM.

Nancy threw open the window, and she saw the squirrel climb up the tree. At the very top, he put the token inside his nest.

Nancy sighed. She knew what she was about to do was stupid and life-threatening, but she had to get that starburst token back.

Nancy crawled out onto the large tree branch, then started climbing the tree. She was sure to test each branch, before putting her weight on it. It was rather slow going, but eventually, Nancy reached the top of the tree. She put her hand inside the squirrel's nest and got the missing starburst token.

"YES!" Nancy cheered.

Suddenly, Nancy hear ominous chanting. She looked down. At the base of the tree were eight people, all dressed in cloaks. They were standing in a circle and chanting something.

Nancy tried to climb back down the tree so she could hear the chant, but no luck. As if by an invisible signal, the person in the light blue cloak left. The other people—all wearing dark blue cloaks—followed.

Nancy grabbed her phone, so she could at least take a picture of this mysterious scene. That's when she saw that it was midnight.

"Spooky," Nancy said.

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Oregon Border

I drove up to Oregon this week. It's a long, boring drive that lasts about ten hours.  The scenery is made up most of mountains and billboards.

When you first cross the state border, the scenery changes, and everything becomes super-beautiful.  It feels like you're at Williamette Valley, at the end of a six-month journey down the Oregon Trail.

Ten minutes later, the scenery reverts back to boring.  I think the state only focuses on taking care of the area right near the border, in order to impress all newcomers.  That's a sneaky little trick.  California does the same thing, only we focus our efforts on Disneyland, not the state borders.