Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Azada: In Libro

I bought the game Azada in Libro, in hopes of making a video walkthrough for it.  The previous game in the series was moderately enjoyable, and this game was made by the same company responsible for Twilight Phenomena: The Lodgers of House 13.

It turns out that Azada in Libro is not the game I thought it would be.  It, um...ignores the two previous games in the Azada series.  And switches genres.  I'm going to be generous and say they tried to make it fit in with the Azada series, but something went wrong somewhere.  Now it's just a mess that wants to be a horror game and an Azada puzzle game at the same time.  In the end, it's neither of those things.

It's a poor-to-okay game; I'd give it a 4 or 5 out of 10.  I might write a text walkthrough for it, but I don't like it enough to replay it for a video walkthrough.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Blackmoor Manor

Okay, I'm basically done with planning my speedrun for Nancy Drew: Curse of Blackmoor Manor.  I just need to do a test run, to double-check there are no problems.  Then, I need to do the actual run.

  • You meet Ethel three times in this game.  Once, when you leave Jane's room for the first time.  Second, when you leave the East Hall after solving the Loulou Magic Word puzzle.  Third, after using the slide.  There are two sneaky strategies for avoiding Ethel.
  • #1: Never exit through the East Hall, after solving the Loulou Magic Word puzzle.  Instead, always exit the hidden passageways through the gargoyle exit.
  • #2: Exit the East Hall, by means of the slide, instead of through the doorway.
  • Ethel's hand (the one holding the candle) magically jumps around during the ritual cutscene.
  • When you first talk to Mrs. Drake, there are four conversation topics.  You need to talk about Linda's condition, in order to get through the conversation.  It's actually faster to talk about Jane's studies, then Linda's condition, compared to talking about Linda's condition right from the start.
I'm not sure how fast the speedrun will be.  It depends on the puzzles with random solutions, which could potentially take a long time.  I think Jane's game of Bul and the go fish game are the ones that can end up taking the longest to complete.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Misfits Collide, a Menry Story

No interesting Blackmmor Manor information today.  Instead, let's have a story.

This story is called Misfits Collide.  It is inspired by the 2013 Scary Nancy Drew Games Marathon, where everyone agreed that Mel Corbalis and Henry Bolet make a cute couple.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Blackmoor Manor

I did more work with Blackmoor Manor today.  Here are some findings:
  • You know the symbol on the ground of the main hall?  It's actually a maze.  You can follow a path through the maze, from the entrance to the center.
  • A fast way to get food delivered to Nancy's room is to go to the library, then immediately return to Nancy's room. The food will be waiting for her.
  • No matter which type of food you get, Nancy will talk about it, for 12-13 seconds.
  • You can't get the Cupid's Arrow piece, before looking at the wall with the telescope.  Inserting the code from the wall doesn't work, unless you've seen the wall.
  • When I set the alarm for 5:00 AM, Nancy took a moment to turn on the lights, and she saw the cloaked figure in the hallways. When I set the alarm for 6:00, the lights were already on when Nancy woke up, and there was no cloaked figure.
  • You can solve the puzzle outside Jane's door, without going into her room and reading the clue for this puzzle.
  • During the first conversation you have with Linda, Jane interrupts and says lessons are over for the day.  After this conversation, I went to talk to Jane, and Ethel told me to come back later, because they were having lessons.  Odd.
  • There's a woman in the pictures in Linda's room.  This woman is also in the picture of Jane, in the opening cutscene, standing in the exact same pose.  I think she's supposed to be Linda..

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Blackmoor Manor Speedrun

Are you sick of blog posts about a Curse of Blackmoor Manor speedrun yet?  Well, too bad! I'm sure I can write about it for at least a week to come.

I played the first parts of the game.  Here are things I found out:
  • After you get the telescope lens from the Brigitte's block puzzle, you can ask Jane for the telescope.  Normally, you need to click on the telescope tripod to hear Nancy talk about it, but you can skip that.
  • The first time you go to Linda's door, you overhear a conversation between her and Hugh. You can skip this by going past her door, instead of zooming in on her door.
  • There are six variations of Nancy's first conversation with Linda.  The quickest way through the conversation is to pick the first option, then the second option.
  • When you call for food, order bangers and mash. It's the fastest food to order; the other three possibilities take two seconds longer to place an order.  Nancy will talk a bit when the food arrives, though, so maybe it's not so fast.
You need to skip ahead to the second day of the game, in order to get Linda to talk about the hidden passageways.  When you skip ahead a day, Nancy automatically wakes up at 3:15 AM, when there is spooky chanting.

This kind of screws up my speedrun strategy.  3:15 AM is the perfect time to go on a ghost hunt.  So I guess this means I'll do the ghost hunt early.  That's not too much of a problem, though.  I'll just have to juggle everything around.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Blackmoor Manor Speedrun Route

Thanks to you readers, I now know that you can beat Blackmoor Manor with only one glowstick.  Putting together all the information from this week, I have come up with this route for the game.

Today, I'll play it and see if the route is any good. I'll also keep an eye out for possible improvements.
  • Call for food and get butter
  • Solve Brigitte's block puzzle in Nancy's room for telescope lens
  • Solve zodiac puzle with telescope lens for moon piece
  • Go see Linda. Jane interrupts the conversation.
  • Go see Jane. She mentions the "lady in black".
  • Solve Jane's puzzle to get the telescope. Use it for the Cupid Piece puzzle.
  • Go see Linda and ask about the lady in black. Linda tells you to leave.
  • On the second day of the game, you can talk to Linda again. She mentions a hidden passageway.
  • Go see Jane. She gives you the key for the door to the passageway room.
  • Go into the passageway. It's dark.
  • Go to Jane for a glowstick to see in the dark passageway
  • Find the Loulou puzzle at the end of the passageway
  • Talk to Loulou for magic word trigger
  • Talk to Linda to learn of Passageway 2's existence
  • See gargoyle picture downstairs
  • Go to conservatory. Get crank from Mrs. Drake, along with Loulou's magic word
  • Talk to Loulou for password
  • Get Cupid Piece with crank
  • Solve Nigel's typing challenge for a coat of arms
  • Nigel's challenge ends at night, when you can do the ghost hunt
  • Finish the ghost hunt on singing stairs. Get the singing stairs key
  • Use singing stairs key to get Jupiter piece
  • Get Tempus Piece now that ghost hunt is done
  • Solve Loulou puzzle
  • Solve triangle puzzle in Passageway 1
  • Solve gargoyle puzzle to get into Passageway 2
  • In Passageway 2, solve Mercury puzzle
  • Solve triangle puzzle in Passageway 2
  • With both triangle puzzles solved, solve well puzzle
  • See door of forge
  • Go to library and get Mercury's wand
  • Get Knight Piece from frog puzzle
  • Go in library and ask Nigel about ourobourus
  • Arrange all pipes
  • Go in forge and solve Aelous puzzle
  • Light the forge
On a side-note, I really should take this list of things that happen in Blackmoor Manor, and use it to write one of my goofy Nancy Drew stories.  Maybe I can do that when my story about The Deadly Device is concluded.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Blackmoor Manor - Glowsticks

On Tuesday, I listed the challenges for the pillars in Curse of Blackmoor Manor, and on Wednesday I listed the challenges for the passageways in Curse of Blackmoor Manor.

I put the two lists together, and it's kind of messy.  Here are some places where the two challenges overlap:
  • Jane makes you play a game for both passageways and two pillars
  • You see Mrs. Drake for Passageway 1 and for the Cupid Pillar
  • Nigel has to be scared away for the Mercury Pillar, but he has to be there, for both times you work on the passageway puzzles
  • Nigel's typing challenge for Passageway 2 is the perfect time to do the Tempus Pillar's ghost hunt
Something which could be important are the glowsticks.  What makes the glowsticks die?

Normally, it takes two glowsticks to get through the game.  That means you solve Jane's glowstick puzzle (Petroglyph Punch) twice.  If there's a way to get through the game with only ONE glowstick, it'd be a timesaver.

The way I see it, there are two ways the glowsticks can work.  One, they automatically die when you enter a certain area, no matter what.  Two, they automatically die after a certain amount of time (real time or game time) passes.

So now I have to play through the game a few times, testing out the glowsticks and figuring out if there's a way to beat the game with a single glowstick.  Do any of you readers know how the glowsticks work?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Blackmoor - Passageways

Yesterday, I tried to plan a fast route for Nancy Drew: Curse of Blackmoor Manor.  I didn't discuss how to get into the hidden passageways, which is a puzzle in and of itself.  The order of the hidden passageway puzzle is this:
  • Go see Linda. Jane interrupts the conversation.
  • Go see Jane. She mentions the "lady in black".
  • Go see Linda and ask about the lady in black. Linda tells you to leave.
  • On the second day of the game, you can talk to Linda again.  She mentions a hidden passageway.
  • Go see Jane. She gives you the key for the door to the passageway room.
  • Go into the passageway.  It's dark.
  • Go to Jane for a glowstick to see in the dark passageway
  • Find the Loulou puzzle at the end of the passageway
At this point, the hidden passageway puzzle splits into two.
  • Passageway 1
    • Talk to Mrs. Drake for Loulou's magic word
    • Talk to Loulou for password
    • Solve Loulou puzzle
    • Solve triangle puzzle
  • Passageway 2
    • Talk to Linda to learn of Passageway 2's existence
    • See gargoyle picture downstairs
    • Solve Nigel's typing challenge for a coat of arms
    • Solve gargoyle puzzle to get into Passageway 2
    • Solve triangle puzzle
Solving the triangle puzzle in both passageways allows you access to the well and the forge.  With the forge, you have to see Nigel to get inside.

Tomorrow, I'll do the fun task of combining this information with yesterday's pathway.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Blackmoor Manor

My walkthrough for Nancy Drew: Curse of Blackmoor Manor divides the game up into eight major sections.  They can be done in pretty much any order, although the final section always comes last.
  • Finding the Forge
  • Pillar of Cupid
  • Pillar of Jupiter
  • Pillar of Knight
  • Pillar of Mercury
  • Pillar of Moon
  • Pillar of Tempus
  • Lighting the Forge

To help with my speedrun, here are basic explanations of how to get through each section.
  
  • Finding the Forge (go through both hidden passageways and solve triangle puzzle)
  • Pillar of Cupid (solve Brigitte's block puzzle in Nancy's room for telescope lens, use it to get the clue to Penny's machine)
  • Pillar of Jupiter (solve singing stairs, get butter from food)
  • Pillar of Knight (drain well after solving triangle puzzle, solve frog puzzle in conservatory)
  • Pillar of Mercury (move Mercury statue in passage #2)
  • Pillar of Moon (solve Brigitte's block puzzle in Nancy's room for telescope lens, use it on Zodiac puzzle)
  • Pillar of Tempus (do ghost hunt and throw cricket ball on slide)
  • Lighting the forge (solve Aelous puzzle, touch all gargoyles and forge)

That's kind of a lot to keep track of.  Here's my attempt at ordering the challenges.  The things in brackets are part of the hidden passageways:
  
  • Call for food and get butter
  • Solve Brigitte's block puzzle in Nancy's room for telescope lens
  • Solve zodiac puzle with telescope lens for moon piece
  • Solve Jane's puzzle to get the telescope
  • [Go through both hidden passageways and solve triangle puzzle]
  • [Solve Mercury puzzle for Mercury's Wand]
  • [Solve well puzzle]
  • [Solve Aelous Puzzle in forge]
  • Go to conservatory. Get Knight Piece from frog puzzle and get crank from Mrs. Drake
  • Get Cupid Piece from puzzle unlocked with crank
  • Do the ghost hunt
  • Finish the ghost hunt on singing stairs. Get the singing stairs key
  • Use singing stairs key to get Jupiter piece
  • Get Tempus Piece now that ghost hunt is done
  • Arrange all pipes and light the forge

I delay getting the Jupiter Piece, so I can solve both singing stairs puzzles in one trip.  In the same way, I delay getting the Cupid Piece, so I can do two things in the conservatory.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Curse of Blackmoor Manor

Yesterday, I ended the 2013 Scary Nancy Drew Games Marathon with Nancy Drew: Curse of Blackmoor Manor.  As a fun experiment, I tried to go through the game as long as possible, without going to the downstairs floor of the manor.

It turns out that you can play for at least an hour, before going downstairs. Really, the only reason to go downstairs is to access the secret passageways.  Mrs. Drake lets you get through Secret Passage #1, and Nigel gets you through Secret Passage #2.

I kind of want to do a speedrun for Curse of Blackmoor Manor now.  The game has about seven overarching puzzles, which can be done in any order.  I'd be interested in seeing which order is the ideal order.

I talked about a possible Curse speedrun twice before.  Is there any interest in me resuming this project?

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Nancy Drew - Live Play

My live playthrough of Nancy Drew: Message in a Haunted Mansion went well yesterday.  For those of you who missed it, the videos should appear on Youtube around the start of next month.

That's a fun game.  I'd love to speedrun it someday.  I'm pretty sure you can do most challenges out of order.  For example, the puzzle on the staircase bannister?  You can easily solve it, before solving the clue that leads to it.

I went on to play Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake, which ended up being a huge disaster.  I spent about an hour on the various "wandering the woods" challenges.  And I had no idea what to do.

Today, I'll tackle Ghost Dogs again for the marathon.  (The recording didn't turn out so well).  That's today at 11:00 AM, EST.  See you there!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Scary Nancy Drew Games Marathon

Let's continue the 2013 Scary Nancy Drew Games Marathon!!!
  • Friday the 19th, 11:00 AM PST -- Message in a Haunted Mansion
  • Saturday the 20th, 11:00 AM PST -- Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake
  • Sunday the 21st, 11:00 AM PST -- Curse of Blackmoor Manor
That's when I play those games!  You can watch live, from my Ustream channel.

...I seriously hope I can remember the password to my Ustream account before then.

Nancy Drew Slam Remix

I made a Slam Remix of the Nancy Drew theme music. For those of you who don't know, a Slam Remix is when you mix a song with the theme from Space Jam.



I had to speed up the Nancy Drew theme to get the songs to sync properly. I also did a slight pitch shift during the instrumentals at 0:32 and 0:59.  These two songs work surprisingly well together.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Temple Run

Eh...I don't really have a blog post today.

So here's a Temple Run story that I wrote with my girlfriend.  Ex-girlfriend at this point, which means we'll probably never get together and finish Chapter 2.  Maybe I should just end the story here.

Chapter 2 would have been Guy entering the temple and getting the monkey idol.  And here are my notes for Chapter 3: "Guy ran.  He ran and ran and ran."

Monday, July 15, 2013

Scary Nancy Drew Games Marathon

Wow, my 2013 Scary Nancy Drew Games Marathon was popular.  I should probably continue it, by going over the games I didn't cover:
  • Message in a Haunted Mansion
  • Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake
  • Curse of Blackmoor Manor
Any suggestions as to when I should try this?

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Walkthroughs Ending

So, remember June 24th, when I tweeted about posting 3-5 videos per day, for a short time?
It turns out that--ha ha!--I was slightly wrong with my estimate of "two weeks".  It's more like a month.  My two current walkthroughs, for Phoenix Wright 3 and Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker, will keep going at the daily rate of 3-5 videos until July 28th.

I guess it's time for me to think about what I'll do next.  Here are some options.
  • Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney--the sequel to Phoenix Wright
  • Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective
  • Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
  • Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
  • Professor Layton #5
  • Other
Bob, my co-announcer for the Zelda series, says that he will not be able to help out with Skyward Sword, but he can help with Twilight Princess.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Today's Question

Today's question!
Michael, I've noticed you like to troll people on your blog.  Do you ever do anything else with your blog?
Wait, are you saying it's possible for me to do something with my blog besides troll people?

Friday, July 12, 2013

Nancy Drew Mini-Mystery

The Nancy Drew facebook page shared a fun mini-mystery yesterday.
A Nancy Drew Mini-Mystery: Ned went to a party and drank some of the punch. Nancy wasn't there so he decided to leave early. Later, Ned found out that everyone at the party who drank the punch was in the hospital because the punch had been poisoned. Why was Ned not affected by the poisoned punch?

The solution is the poison from the punch came from the ice cubes. When Ned drank the punch, the ice was still frozen. Gradually, as the ice cubes melted the poison was released into the punch. Since Ned left early, he didn't drink the poisoned punch.

Highlight the above paragraph to read it.

This is a solid mystery, but I have to say that some of the comments were even more entertaining than the mystery.  The most popular joke suggestion is that Ned poisoned the punch.  The second most popular joke suggestion is that Ned has seen The Princess Bride, so he spent a few years building up an immunity to Iocane Powder.

Either way, it seems Ned should be more careful the next time he receives a party invitation.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Saints

Okay, I think I've said all that I want to about women and the priesthood.  If you want to read more about the topic, I'd recommend reading a letter that Pope John Paul II wrote on April 22, 1994 about it.  It's more of a recap than an exhaustive explanation, but it comes from a much better source than me.  I'm just some guy on the Internet; John Paul was the Pope.

Actually, when I started talking about Catholicism, I just wanted to have a big Q and A session, so I could answer any questions you readers might have.  Since I just now mentioned someone who has been officially confirmed as a saint, let's discuss this reader's question:
So I have another question. Do Catholics pray to God directly or do they just pray to the saints? This is something I never fully understood.
Catholics pray to God.  They do not pray to the saints.  Praying directly to a saint, as if he or she was God, is a form of idolatry.

It is possible to pray, on behalf of other people.  For example, you can pray for people in other countries, and you can ask your friends and relatives to pray for you.  Many people are in the habit of asking their relatives for prayers, even when said relative has died.

This holds true with the saints.  You can ask the saints to pray for you or with you. This can only help to make your prayers more effective.

People try to be logical, when they invoke the intercession of the saints.  For example, Saint Ignatius was a soldier, so soldiers ask for his intercession.  Saint Lucy's eyes were forcibly removed, so people ask for her intercession with eye problems.  I've even heard of people asking for St. Francis Cabrini's help in finding a parking space, because she had to deal with traffic in New York when she was alive, but I suspect that was a joke.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Brief Q&A Session

Let's have a Q&A, using some of the comments on the previous post.

Q: Were there female priests, at the time of Jesus?
A: Yes. The Roman religion had female priests.

Q: I read that there were female priest at the start of the Catholic Chuch.  Specifically, they are mentioned in Romans 16:1-2 and 1 Timothy 3:8-13.
A: You are mistaken.  Those women were deacons, not priests.  Presumably, they had the power to preach at masses, baptise people and preside over weddings and funerals, like modern deacons.  As you can see, they are similar to priests in many ways.

Q: Why are there no female deacons today, when they existed in the early church?
A: I don't know. There were no deacons at all in America until the 1970's, which also strikes me as somewhat odd.

Q: I believe the Catholic Church should go back to having female deacons.
A: You are not alone.

Q: Has there ever been a female Pope?
A: There is a fictional story about a woman who dressed up like a man and was accidentally elected as Pope.  It's basically the European version of Mulan.

Q: Did you say that priests are spiritually superior to non-priests?
A: No, I did not.  If you are interested in the Church's official teachings on how priests relate to non-priests, you should read Chapter Four of Lumen Gentium.

Q: I agree with what you said yesterday, but now I've decided to disagree.
A: Thank you for your contribution.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Priests and Double Standards

People thought my comments yesterday were somewhat bland. Perhaps they were, but I wanted to emphasize the fact that not everything should be treated equally.  I've met people in the past who have a hard time understanding that.

Now back to the original topic of the priesthood. In the Catholic Church, men can become priests and women can become nuns, but never the other way around.  Men get the roles of spiritual fathers and brothers, while women get the roles of spiritual mothers and sisters.

I don't see this as a double standard.  When you assign fatherly roles to men and motherly roles to women, that's not bigoted; it's logical.  And it also happens to be how Jesus Christ, the founder of the Catholic Church, split up his male and female followers.

For the sake of argument, though, what would make this situation an unfair, sexist double standard?

1. If only priests are allowed to have administrative roles. That would effectively prevent women from having any say in how the church is run.

2. If priests have superiority, spiritual or otherwise, over non-priests.  That would effectively force women into a subordinate role.

3. If men could be priests and nuns, but women could only be nuns. That gives men more options than women.

In the past, there have been evil priests who used double standards and abused their positions for power, wealth, honor, and pleasure.  In some places, this sort of behavior was widespread.  Needless to say, this is wrong, and it goes directly against what the Catholic Church teaches and believes.  As good and faithful Catholics, we are called to follow church teaching and help eradicate these evil behaviors, as best we can.

Monday, July 8, 2013

More on Double Standards

From the comments I've been getting, it seems clear that people usually talk about double standards, in terms of how you treat men and women.  There can also be double standards, in terms of how you treat people of different ethnicities, different hair color, different jobs, etc.

A double standard is when two things should be treated the same, but they are treated differently.  This is wrong.  Most people don't realize that the reverse is true.  It is wrong, when two things should be treated differently, but they are treated the same.  I suppose you could call this "a single standard", as opposed to a double standard.

Here are some examples of when it's wrong to treat different things equally:
  • The government treats me and Bill Gates as the same, in terms of how much money we owe in taxes.
  • I am treated the same way as a criminal, because I am the same gender/race/religion as many criminals
  • I am given just as much right to kiss the President's wife as the President does
As the saying goes, you can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose, but you can't pick your friend's nose.  Your nose and your friend's nose are just too different for that to work.

Anyway, here's the point I'm trying to make: things that are the same should be treated the same, and things that are different should be treated differently.  That's a general principle I work off of.  As you can see, it's slightly different from the principle of "treat everything the same, no matter what".

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Double Standards

I mentioned double standards in yesterday's blog post.   I first developed my thoughts on double standards, when reading a book from the 1940's  (when the term had a different meaning).

The modern definition of "double standard" is a situation where two groups (or things or people) are treated differently, even though they should be treated the same.  Double standards are objectively wrong.  I won't go into the ethics of why they're wrong, since that would take us a bit off-topic and nobody seems to be arguing the contrary.

By definition, a double standard involves two groups.  Logic tells us that this means both groups are negatively impacted.  Usually, the negative impact is larger on one group than it is on the other.

I want to emphasize the point that a double standard is bad for both parties involved, not just the victimized party.  As Abraham Lincoln once said, "As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master."  It is wrong when there are slaves or masters, even if many people would prefer being a master to being a slave.

For an example, I'll use Prince of Persia: Warrior Within.  That videogame is blatantly sexist; it features women in extremely skimpy costumes, in an attempt to appeal to men.  This is wrong for women, because it promotes the idea that women are sex objects that exist only for male pleasure.  It is also wrong for men, because it promotes the idea that men are sex-crazed maniacs who can't (or shouldn't) control themselves around women.  In other words, this is a lose-lose situation where both genders suffer, even if one gender suffers more than the other.

Hopefully this an adequate response to some of the comments I got on yesterday's post.  There are some double standards where I get bad treatment for being in a minority, and that is wrong.  There are some double standards where I get special treatment for being in a majority, and that is also wrong.  More on this tomorrow.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Equality

Reactions to yesterday's blog post were a bit harsh.  Many people believe that the Catholic Church promotes gender inequality, because it allows women to become nuns and men to become priests, but not the other way around.

So let's talk a bit about equality.  That's a popular topic in the United States. Our country believes that "all men are created equal", and everyone has the same rights and privileges as a result.

In the past sixty years or so, there have been several movements that focus on minorities, in order to ensure equality.  First there was the civil rights movement, then the feminist movement, and currently, we have the gay rights movement. 

In my experience, these movements have not resulted in completely equality.  Why do I say that?  I've been excluded from all of them.

As a white person, I am not encouraged to develop racial pride, in the same way a black person is encouraged to do so.  As a man, I am told to not be proud of my gender, because men have historically oppressed women.  As a straight person, I am not allowed to openly celebrate my sexual identity with things like huge parades, because that is bigoted behavior.

It's a cruel double standard, to be sure.  I get accused of being a racist, a sexist or a homophobe, if I try to take pride in my race, gender or sexual identity like other people do.  I'm Catholic, so I sometimes get accused of being a child rapist, in addition to being a racist, sexist homophobe.  From where I'm standing, things don't feel very equal right now.

I'll talk more about equality tomorrow. What do you readers think?  Is there a better way for our country to have equality?  How can we better help all minorities and majorities who are currently being discriminated against?

Friday, July 5, 2013

Spiritual Fatherhood

Back in May, I spent two weeks discussing why only men can become priests.  I still have a lot of comments to go through from that time period, so I might as well restart the series.

Another reason that only men can become priests is the fact that all priests are fathers.  Indeed, the idea of priest as spiritual father is so ingrained in Catholic practice that we literally use "father" as a synonym for "priest".  Also, when a man becomes a priest, the word "father" becomes part of his name.  For example, if a man named Peter is made a priest, he is called "Father Peter".  If he prefers to be called by his last name, he goes by "Father [Last Name]".

Of course, the word "father" implies the existence of a mother.  Where the priest is a father, the mother is the Church.  The priest is, in effect, married to the Church.  In every language, the Church is always identified as female.  Souls are always female, too, whether you're discussing a man's soul or a woman's soul.

The analogy of marrying the Church comes directly from Jesus.  He applied this analogy to himself a few times, calling himself the Bridegroom (of the Church).  If you're interested in this topic, you can find many resources on it, including an address by Pope John Paul II and a Wikipedia page about this.  Personally speaking, I haven't studied this topic, so there's not much I can say on it.

----

Now, objectors would say that "priests are fathers" is merely an analogy, rather than a spiritual reality.  They'll probably have a hard time proving that.

On a personal note, when I entered the seminary to become a priest, people started calling me "Brother".  It took a while for me to get used to it.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Fourth of July

Happy Fourth of July, everyone!  I'm celebrating today by not cooking.

Here's a joke that the 16th US President, Abraham Lincoln, used to tell:

Q: How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg?
A: Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn't make it a leg.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Mystery of the Broken Heart, Chapter 6

Time to finish my story about Nancy Drew: Ghost of Thornton Hall! It was surprisingly fun to write about Bess and George being in the same room as Nancy. Usually in the Nancy Drew games, they're only in the same phone call as her.

---

The fire burnt Thornton Hall to the ground, as none of the firefighters could arrive on time. Thanks to Nancy's actions, no one was seriously injured, but the leader of the firefighters ordered that everyone be sent to the hospital.

Nancy's trip home was delayed by three days, as she was made a virtual prisoner of Georgia's hospital system. The doctors determined that she and everyone else was suffering from exposure to carbon monoxide, and they wanted to be absolutely sure she was healthy, before releasing her.

Nancy's response to the diagnosis was grim acceptance. If there was carbon monoxide in the air around Thornton Hall, that would explain a lot. It explained why she felt so strange and why her sleeping patterns were off. It would even explain the visions she had of Charlotte's ghost.

But...did they explain what happened with Ned and Bess?

Now that her head was clearer, Nancy had to wonder if she had a legitimate cause for concern. Just because Ned was staying at Bess' house late at night, it didn't mean he was her secret boyfriend. Ned was a lot of things, but he wasn't a liar or a cheater. And Bess was a flirt sometimes, but she never messed around with other girls' boyfriends.

Nancy sighed. She knew this was a conversation she and Ned needed to have, face-to-face. She pulled out her phone and sent Ned a text.

We need to talk. Can you stop by my house tomorrow?

Hannah picked Nancy up from the airport and drove her home. Nancy was usually talkative after solving a case, but this time, she rode in silence. Hannah found it odd, but she didn't say anything.
Nancy sighed as she dragged her luggage up the walkway and into the Drew home. The lights were on, and Nancy was wondering where her father would be when she saw a huge group of people in the living room.

"SURPRISE!" everyone shouted. "HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NANCY!"

"Wha-WHAT?" Nancy said loudly. "But my birthday is two days from now!"

Nancy's father stepped forward to hug his daughter. He was wearing a pink party hat, on top of his usual suit and tie. "Welcome back, Nancy," he said. "You stay here and enjoy your party. I'll take your luggage upstairs."

Nancy looked around the room in surprise. "But how did you prepare this?" she asked.

"Ned and Bess have been planning this party, ever since you left for Georgia," Carson said. "She was the one who forced me to wear this ridiculous hat."

"It looks good on you, Mr. Drew," George said. She was wearing an "I heart NY" t-shirt. "It's great to see you again, Nancy. Did anything interesting happen in the state named after me?"

"Hmmm...let's see," Nancy said, tapping her bottom lip with her finger. "I got trapped inside a burning building, was almost decapitated by a scythe, got attacked by an evil ghost, and ended up in the hospital."

"In other words, it was just an average case for you," George summarized.

"Yeah, pretty much," Nancy agreed. "Except for, you know, the whole Ned and Bess thing."

"Which we're going to resolve right now," George said, grabbing Nancy's arm. She led Nancy to Ned, who was standing next to the sofa. He nervously ran his hand through his hair.

"Hello, Nance," Ned said. "I, um, I got your text. Did you get my voice messages?"

"I did, but I didn't listen to any of them," Nancy said. She paused for a second and said, "Bess, I can see you there."

Bess got up from the sofa that she had been trying to hide behind. "Heh heh...right," Bess said.

"So...this is what you two were up to, when I was gone," she said.

"Yeah..." Bess said. "We couldn't tell you the truth, because it would ruin the surprise! You love surprises!"

"I'm sorry we gave you the wrong impression," Ned said. "We only wanted your birthday party to be perfect. Do you forgive us?"

Nancy glared at them for a few seconds, before grabbing Ned and kissing him. Bess squealed in happiness, while George smiled.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Mystery of the Broken Heart, Chapter 5

Whoops, I forgot to finish writing my story about Nancy Drew: Ghost of Thornton Hall! Here's the chapter where Nancy solves the mystery.

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Why doesn't she return my calls? Ned wondered, for the eighth time. He understood that Nancy needed her space at the moment, but it wasn't like her to ignore him. Usually, Nancy met all of her problems head-on.

Ned called Nancy's phone. It rang six times, before going to voicemail. He hung up, instead of leaving another message.

Okay, Ned, think positive. Maybe she's just busy with the case right now. She'll probably call back, as soon as she's found the missing girl.

...Either that, or she hates me.

Ned took a moment to figure out what message he wanted to leave for Nancy, then he called again. This time, Nancy answered.

"Thornton Hall is on fire," she said tersely. "This is not a good time for a phone call."

"Nancy!" Ned said. "I've been so—"

"RAUGH!" Nancy shouted, before hanging up the phone. She reset the clock on the left and pulled the lever, only to have it fail. Again.

"Who was that?" Clara asked. Both she and Nancy were currently trapped inside Charlotte's old bedroom, thanks to a fire in the hallway.

"No one you know," Nancy said. "Who changed the clock speeds when I wasn't looking? And why isn't there a fire extinguisher in this house?!"

"This house has been abandoned, ever since Charlotte's death," Clara said. "There's no need to have a fire extinguisher if no one lives here."

"Charlotte died in a fire on this property!" Nancy argued. "You think the insurance company or fire department or somebody would make you put fire extinguishers everywhere!"

The teen detective slammed her fist against the second-from-right clock, which was out of sync with the others. She had no idea why the clocks were working differently during a fire. Of all the times for the clocks to mess up!

Clara started screaming about the fire, which did not help Nancy's concentration. After three minutes or so—Nancy wasn't sure, because the clocks were messed up—the puzzle was solved, and the hidden passageway behind the painting was opened.

"Come on, let's go!" Nancy said, grabbing Clara's wrist.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Personalized Advertisements

Internet technology has reached the point where people receive personalized advertisements.  It used to be the case that all the ads I saw on the Internet were general ads.  But now that Yahoo, Google, the United States government and everyone else has records on me, I only see advertisements that are aimed directly at me.

For example, whenever a new Nancy Drew game is going to be released, I see a ton of advertisements about it.  I feel kind of bad about that, to be honest.  It's too bad there's no button which says, "Hey, I already pre-ordered the game! Stop trying to sell it to me!".

For another example, I bought four pizzas from Domino's Pizza in January, when I didn't have a kitchen.  That was six months ago, but Domino's still has me on their record of pizza-obsessed bachelors.  Their ads pop up with great frequency when I use the Internet.

For a third example, advertisers know that I'm bilingual, so they sometimes post advertisements in Spanish for me to look at.  The Spanish Mormon Church is the main group that wants my attention, followed by the "learn Spanish in two weeks" group.

I'm guessing that advertisement technology is only going to improve, in the future.