Monday, March 31, 2014

Worst of Blackmoor Manor, Chapter 21

Here is Chapter 21 of my parody story, Nancy Drew: Worst of Blackmoor Manor. Today, Nancy solves the well puzzles.

---

Nancy was proud of the progress she was making. The book said that the next pillar key was hidden by John Penvellyn, who built a frog puzzle on top of Thomas' underground well puzzle.


"My life is unnecessarily complicated," Nancy complained, as she reentered the hidden passageways of Blackmoor Manor. By now, it felt like she had been spending an eternity solving the puzzles surrounding the Penvellyn Family Forge. She kind of wished she could go back to investigating why Linda was turning into a werewolf.


The underground well was near the entrance to the horrific maze. On the door of the well was a box with a triangle puzzle. Nancy had to move triangles around three different-sized cups, until one cup had four triangles in it.


"Oh, I hate these kinds of puzzles," Nancy said, referring to the kind of puzzle that forced her to think. She started pressing the three buttons randomly, and after about five minutes, she stumbled upon the solution by chance.


Nancy did a happy dance, then went upstairs for the second half of the puzzle. Now that the well was full, she could use the hose in the conservatory to solve the frog puzzle.


The hose ended up being a spray hose. Nancy picked it up and started spraying everywhere.


"Whee! This is fun!" Nancy said. "I'm making rainbows!"


"My dear child!" Mrs. Drake said angrily. "You should not spray the hose haphazardly like that! You're getting water all over the-"


Mrs. Drake was cut off when Nancy blasted her with the hose. She screamed and ran upstairs to get a towel.


Once she was finished having fun, Nancy focused her attention on the frog mural. When she sprayed a tile next to the frog, the frog jumped to that tile. The book said she had to find a safe passageway for the frog to reach the princess on the left-hand side. The clue said to avoid the tiles next to the boat, the trees and the lily pads.


"So...I need to avoid all of the tiles? That doesn't make sense," Nancy noted.


She played the puzzle a few times, but every time she did, she got eaten by the randomly-appearing alligators of doom. Eventually, Nancy got mad and sprayed the entire board at once. That caused the game to mess up, and it automatically gave her the endgame reward: the helmet key. That is, one of the frog statues opened its mouth, and it spit the key out onto the floor.


"Ew," Nancy said.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Nancy Drew 18 and 19

Here are the videos from yesterday's livestream! I accidentally recorded them at half size, so they went through the editing process twice as quickly as normal.




Saturday, March 29, 2014

Nancy Drew Movies

Warner Brothers made a series of four Nancy Drew movies around the late 1930s. I believe they filmed all the movies at the same time.


The movies were seen as notoriously bad, and nobody wanted to buy them. The only way Warner Brothers could sell the films was to attach them to more popular films. Theaters complained, and they eventually made a law against selling movies to theaters in combined packages.


(I would not object to similar laws in our modern age. I'm tired of being forced to buy the DVD and the Blu-Ray version of a movie, because they don't sell DVDs separately.)


Of the four movies, Nancy Drew Reporter is public domain. There is no question about this; it can be easily found on public domain sites. The legality of the other three movies is unknown to me. It seems weird that they would let the copyright slip on one movie, but not the other three.


Nancy Drew Reporter is included in the Shirley Temple & Friends DVD box set. It has nothing to do with Shirley Temple; they just tacked it onto the set because it's free to use, and more content justifies the higher price point. It's ironic that the film which created a law against packing movies is still being used to package movies.

Friday, March 28, 2014

President Obama Meets Pope Francis

In the news this week, President Obama was in Europe, and he stopped by the Vatican to meet with Pope Francis. They talked with each other for 50 minutes, and the following topics came up.
  • Immigration reform. Both the Catholic Church and the Democratic Party support reforming our country's current immigration system, which is not as humanitarian as it should be.
  • Birth control. Obamacare requires (almost) all health insurance plans to provide/cover birth control, which includes sterilizations, contraceptives and abortifacients. The Catholic Church is opposed to birth control. Logically and morally speaking, the church should get a religious exemption to these laws, in the same way that the US government gave the church an exemption from anti-alcohol laws during Prohibition. True, the exemptions were very narrow, but at least they existed.
  • Abortion and embryonic stem cell research. Obama supports these, while the Catholic Church does not. Rather, the church believes that all embryos--i.e. human babies--should be born, rather than aborted or used for experiments. People with long memories noted that Pope Benedict XVI also talked with President Obama about this.
  • War. Presumably, they talked about the current situation with Russia and Ukraine. It is also possible they talked about the Syrian conflict. President Obama supported attacking Syria, due to that country's misuse of chemical weapons, while Pope Francis was very much opposed to starting an international conflict. The church teaches that war must always be a last resort. Catholics have not always followed this teaching, but it has been official since at least the 400s.
  • Human trafficking. The Catholic Church is very much opposed to the practice of buying and selling humans as slaves, especially since the great majority of slaves in the US are sex slaves (as opposed to labor slaves), and the majority of slaves in the US are children. President Obama is equally opposed to the slave trade.
The discussion took place in Pope Francis' library. This was a private meeting between the two men (and their interpreters), and they did not meet in their formal capacity as the leaders of their respective countries. A formal diplomatic meeting took place afterwards, between among President Obama, his entourage, the Vatican's Secretary of State and the Vatican's foreign minister. The US ambassador to the Vatican attended, but I do not know if  Archbishop Vigano, the Vatican ambassador to the US, attended.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Three Things Thursday

1. It's starting to look like the appearance of spring the other week was just a false alarm. Stop playing jokes on us, weather!


2. Professional hockey is changing its playoff rules this year. Now, the best three teams in each time zone automatically make it to the playoffs. The other four playoff spots go to the top four remaining teams, with two on the west coast and two on the east coast.


3. I have a copy of Nancy Drew: The Hidden Staircase (the 1939 movie) ready to be uploaded, but I have no idea how to determine if it is public domain or not. Any suggestions? I don't want Warner Brothers to sue me for putting one of their movies on my Youtube channel. Yakko, Wakko and Dot are kind of harsh.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Political Extremes

This week, there have been big debates in the Supreme Court about contraceptives. I intended to read some reports about what happened, but I was discouraged by the fact that everyone immediately went to political extremes.


That's something I dislike about our current political climate. On pretty much every debate, you have to pick between the two extremes. In the debate on birth control, that means you are either pro-choice or pro-life. Politics apparently doesn't allow moderate or in-between positions, like these:
  • "I approve of birth control, but not abortions"
  • "I think abortions are wrong, but they should be legal"
  • "I believe abortions are wrong, but they are justified in the case of rape"
I've noticed that both political parties love moderate politicians...provided that they are in the other political party. They dislike moderates in their own party. That might be part of the problem.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Nancy Drew March Madness

Nancy Drew March Madness is going strong! It's been pretty exciting so far. The closest match was the one between Danger on Deception Island and Shadow at the Water's Edge, with Shadow winning by six votes. Wow! I knew Shadow was a popular game, but I had no idea Danger on Deception Island was so well-liked, too!


Danger on Deception Island is actually near the bottom of my list. The first half of the game is okay, but not very interesting. The second half of the game basically involves ignoring everyone and everything, to go on Hilda's extended fetch quest.


Secret of the Scarlet Hand is another game at the bottom of my list, which did well. Only about a third of that game is fun, in my opinion. The pyramid segment was tedious and takes forever, and the challenge of getting all the jade carvings was not very interesting, gameplay-wise. It's mostly a series of phone calls, made worse by the fact that certain phone numbers can only be called from certain phones, for whatever reason.


I guess what I've learned is that my personal favorites do not match up with the Nancy Drew community at large.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Book Reviews

Here are the two Nancy Drew book reviews I did last week! The review for The Bungalow Mystery took a long time to make, because it covers BOTH editions of the book.





My next book review will be for Book 4 of the Nancy Drew Diaries series, which is the last book in the series I have yet to review.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Frozen Again

Sorry for harassing y'all about Frozen the other day. I was just prepping some jokes for my White Wolf of Icicle Creek playthough--the game has a girl named Elsa in it--and I wanted to test them out on you.
  • It's kind of unfair that Elsa is born with cool superpowers, but her sister Anna isn't. Poor Anna.
  • Anna gets hit with two ice spells in the movie. Both spells come from Elsa, they both have the effect of making Anna's hair turn white, and they are both reversed by the same event. I maintain that they are the same basic spell, which had slightly different effects because they hit her in different places (her head and her heart). Other people believe the two ice spells are completely different. I admit I could be wrong; both scenarios are possible.
  • Everyone in the movie assumes that Elsa is the only one who can stop the winter storm, because she's the one who started it. That's logical, but not necessarily true. It could be the case that someone else can stop the storm, or it could be the case that Elsa's powers are limited to starting storms, not stopping them. Since Grandpa Troll says Anna's curse can be undone, completely independent of Elsa, I am inclined to think that Elsa's other winter curses can be undone independently of her.
  • How long does Elsa's winter storm last in the movie?  It could be a day, it could be more. I still say they should have tried waiting out the winter storm, before presuming the snow can't melt on its own. Olaf is capable of melting, you know. Why presume all the other snow is incapable of melting?
  • I am sure that Elsa did cool, interesting things offscreen. At the very least, she must have stopped to eat something at one point. Maybe it was a snowcone.
If you watch my video, you'll see that I make fun of myself for being skeptical about the movie, because I found it entertaining to be skeptical about my skepticism. ("Snowmen can talk, but not reindeer?! WHAT?")

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Worst of Blackmoor Manor, Chapter 20

Here is Chapter 20 of my parody story, Nancy Drew: Worst of Blackmoor Manor. Today, Nancy solves the Mercury Statue puzzle.

---

The next set of puzzles that Nancy had to solve were from Elinor Penvellyn, the woman who was rumored to be a witch. Her section of the book explained that the strange ghostly bells that were heard during her lifetime were actually part of a security system she built into the manor. It allowed someone to spy in the library, by using the device in the hidden passageway.

Needless to say, Nancy had no idea what Elinor was talking about.

Nancy headed back to the hidden passageway behind the gargoyle. On the main floor level, she saw the side passageway in question. Nancy went through it, and she saw an odd statue. It's hands pointed out at her, and there was a peep hole.

Nancy checked the peep hole. As promised, it let her see into the library. She couldn't see anything interesting, besides the statue of Mercury in the corner. She double-checked the book.

"If I press fingers on the left hand, the statue changes direction," Nancy said. "And if I press fingers on the right hand, the eyes of the statue change direction."

Nancy tested it out, while looking in the peephole. She could see the statue rotating, but she was too far away to see the eyes move.

"AAAAAAAAHHHHHH! EVIL MOVING STATUE!" a voice shouted from above.

"Either Jane has been sucking in helium to make her voice high-pitched, or that's Nigel," Nancy decided.

"MUUUMMMMY! I NEED MY MUMMY! PLEASE HELP ME!" Nigel screamed. Through the peephole, Nancy saw Nigel run away from his desk, towards the door. He accidentally ran into the door and fell down.

"THE STATUE HAS CURSED ME FOR LEARNING TOO MUCH ABOUT THE PENVELLYN SECRETS!" Nigel shouted. He got up, opened the door, then ran away, hooting like a howler monkey.

"Heh heh, awesome," Nancy said.

She made her way back to the library. The statue was facing towards the peephole, so she could easily take the wand key in Mercury's hand.

When she reached for it, she found it was stuck. "Huh? Leggo, Mercury!"

Eventually, she realized she couldn't take the wand, because Mercury's eyes were looking down at her. She had to go all the way back to the hidden room and try a different finger. This time, she pressed the finger which made Mercury's eyes face left.

Nancy had to go back and forth between the library and the hidden room, in her quest to figure out which finger made his eyes turn upwards. After the fifth trip, she got frustrated and picked up a heavy book. She used it to break the arm off of the statue.

Picking the wand from the crumbled statue remains, Nancy said, "Hooray! That's the fourth pillar key! I only have to find two more!"

Friday, March 21, 2014

A Letter to Elsa

Dear Queen Elsa,
I just found out that the only way to stop your ice curse is to perform an act of true love. Since the kingdom was frozen for a few days, I guess that means no one in Arendelle truly loves each other.
Okay, I can live with that. But what I can't live with is the fact that I've had your ice curse my whole life. For as long as I can remember, I've had that white streak in my hair.  Since you never got rid of it until just now, that means you never loved me until just now.
That's pretty messed up, Elsa. I thought I was your sister. I thought I meant something to you. But no, the only time you ever loved me is when I died. I talked to my friend, Princess Rapunzel--she's the one with the same personality and facial structure as me--and she agrees. You should have loved me long before my death, the way I always loved you, no matter what.
Rapunzel also says it's weird that you built an ice castle in the middle of nowhere. I mean, you had that big musical number about how you're "letting it go" and giving up your former life of isolation. And what do you do next? You isolate yourself from everyone else. Seriously, how was that in any way different from what you did before? You just moved from one palace of isolation to another.
Actually, it's more like a palace of ice-olation. Get it? Cause it was made out of ice! I'm so clever.
Which leads me to another thing. Your ice powers are amazing, Elsa. You can literally make whatever you want to, just by thinking about it! You've made a palace, living snow creatures, a cocktail dress which shows way too much leg for someone living in below zero temperatures, and...that's it.  Why don't you make something else? You could make something useful which helps everyone, like snowmen that do everyone's work for them, or free food and shelter for homeless people. You can make food out of nothing, right? I bet you can. You couldn't have survived in your snow palace without food.
Anyway, I just wanted to get that off my chest. I still love you, Elsa. I'm just a little miffed that you don't seem to love me back. Please let me know that I'm wrong!
At the very least, I'm still glad about everything that happened. Not only has it brought us closer together, but I learned an extremely valuable lesson: a woman doesn't need a man to make her happy. What a great lesson! Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a date with Kristoff, my new boyfriend.

Your sister,
Princess Anna

PS. I don't know if anyone thought of this, but the snow would have melted on its own, in a week. So don't start thinking your ice powers are impossible to stop, because they're not!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Worst of Blackmoor Manor, Chapter 19

Here is Chapter 19 of my parody story, Nancy Drew: Worst of Blackmoor Manor. Today, Nancy solves Jane's door puzzle.



---



Nancy skipped ahead in the book, to the next Penvellyn. Charles said that each of the pillars in the main hall could be opened by a specific key. Someone with all the keys could open the pillars. That sounded like a surefire way to destroy the pillars and make the ceiling collapse on her, so Nancy skipped to the next page.


Charles' other main accomplishment was creating the tapestry in Jane's room. He said the poem written on the tapestry was connected to the door.


"The biggest achievement in this guy's life was knitting?" Nancy wondered. "Glad I didn't live in the 1400's. It sounds boring."


Nancy headed to Jane's room. To the right of the door was a lock, which required a key. Fortunately, Nancy had the correct key. She stuck it in the lock, and...


"It's stuck?!" Nancy cried.


Nancy took a closer look at the keyhole, grumbling the entire time. Clearly, the keyhole was badly-made, if it didn't work after 600 years. Fortunately, the keyhole wasn't missing any parts; the parts were just old and refused to move. Some liquid would probably loosen them up.


Since Nancy didn't have any WD-40 with her, she hawked up some fluid and spit in the keyhole. That got it to work perfectly.


When I tell other people about this puzzle, I'll say I used butter that I got from dinner, Nancy decided to herself. Oh, and I'll make it seem like ordering food was a puzzle! That way, I'll look like a smart detective!


When she used the key, a staircase popped out, so she could reach the tiles above Jane's door. It was a slider puzzle, and Nancy could see that she needed to move the tiles around so they were in the order indicated by the tapestry.


"Forget slider puzzles!" Nancy said.


Instead of sliding the pieces into place, Nancy ripped the tiles off of the wall, then put them where they belonged. It was very simple.


When I tell people about this, I'm going to pretend it was a ridiculously hard slider puzzle, Nancy decided.


Solving the puzzle opened up a small compartment. Inside was a lightning bolt key, for one of the pillars in the main hall.


"Hooray!" Nancy said. "Only three more pillar keys to go!"

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

White Wolf of Icicle Creek Error

Bad news, everyone! I'm scheduled to record Nancy Drew: The White Wolf of Icicle Creek for this weekend's livestream, but my livestreaming programs aren't working with the game.


Program #1 either hates recording the game, or loves recording my desktop. I'm not sure which.


Program #2, which is the better program, refuses to work with White Wolf, because the game runs in fullscreen.


I thought this game has a windowed mode! Doesn't that option show up, when you click the cog in the lower/right corner of the screen?  Or do I have an old, weird copy of the game without windowed mode as an option?  Please let me know!  It looks like, if I can't get the game to run in a window, I won't be able to play it for the livestream!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Strange Bedfellows

I like hockey, but I don't like how violent the players get, or the constant fighting which sometimes erupts.  For example, my local team has had over 50 fights this season.  I want to support my team and the sport in general, but I can't do that without supporting certain people/behaviors I disapprove of.  Is it worth putting up with these people, or should I stop supporting the sport all together?


Or with bowling. I like bowling, I like my bowling league, and I like the people in it.  But being in my league directly benefits the owner of the bowling alley, and I dislike his policies.  Especially his decision to never spend any money repairing the building (which includes purchasing doors for the bathroom stalls) and working his employees just under the legal limit, so they don't count as full-time employees with benefits.  Is it worth supporting the alley, when it's owned by an immoral man?


Or, to use an example which made major news last week, there are some religious freedom groups in existence. I like religious freedom, and I want to support it. However, some people in these groups are transparently bad, and they do things I disapprove of.  Is it worth putting up with these people, to support a cause I believe in?  Or do those few bad apples spoil the entire bunch?


Of course, almost any sizeable group is going to have bad people in it. That doesn't mean I shouldn't support groups. I just wish there was a better way to weed out the people/things I don't like, from the things I do like.


On a similar note, my girlfriend says most Americans dislike the US Congress in general, but they love their particular congressmen/senators.  That's why there is such a low turnover rate with the government, even though the government consistently has incredibly low approval ratings.  She says it's like hating your hand, but liking a particular finger.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Saint Patrick's Day

Happy Saint Patrick's Day! To celebrate, here is one of the rules which is attributed to him:
On that which is not grounds for divorce: if she is sterile, if she is deformed, if she is old age, if she is smelly, if she is a drunk, if she is prone to anger, if she is quarrelsome, then the marriage holds, whether you like it or not. Whatever type of person is accepted in marriage, that person is held in marriage.
Despite the questionable provenance of this rule, I like to think it was written by Saint Patrick. I also like to wonder what situation caused him to come up with this rule.  Did the Irish try to file for divorce, on grounds of smelliness and old age?  Clearly, our generation is not the only one that wants to break up marriages on flimsy grounds.

---

Provenance: This particular rule comes from a manuscript at the Benedictine College at Cantabrigae (I'm not sure what that is in English--Cambridge, perhaps?).  This is the only place where it is located.  The author of this rule is unknown, but it is found on the same page as three rules, which are listed as written by Saint Patrick.  So either this one was written by Saint Patrick (and for whatever reason, it wasn't noted on the page, like the others), or someone slipped a non-Saint Patrick rule into the page of Saint Patrick rules (again, for whatever reason).

There is a second rule on this page, which has no author listed.  It is found, word for word, as #66 on a different list of rules, made by an Irish Synod.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Ratings System

You know, I tend to sort episodes of TV shows into three different categories.


1. Good and worth rewatching.
2. Good, but not worth rewatching.
3. Bad, and not worth rewatching.


I suppose there could be a bad episode which is worth rewatching, but I'm not sure what it'd look like.  Maybe an episode which I personally disliked, but one which was crucial to the show's overall storyline.


There probably should be a middle category of "ambivalent quality; not noticeably good or bad", but that generally leads to "not worth rewatching".

Saturday, March 15, 2014

YouTube Annoyances

YouTube is getting really annoying lately.  It keeps automatically kicking Arglefumph off of Youtube, and replacing him with a Gmail address.  Which wouldn't be so bad, but all my videos are on the Arglefumph account.  I constantly have to tell Youtube that I am logging on as Arglefumph the Youtube User.


(Not Arglefumph the Google+ User, or Michael the Real Person.)


Do any of you readers have a workaround for this? I don't understand the "settings" page, because it's all Google+ stuff, and I stay away from that.

Friday, March 14, 2014

1930's Book Trilogies

How did the Nancy Drew series get started? It was originally released as a trilogy of books in 1930, along "The Chester Boys" and "Slim Tyler Air Stories".


Elmer Dawson's "The Chester Boys", or "Buck and Larry Baseball Stories" were mildly popular; they got a sequel in 1931, and another sequel in 1932, before the series ended.


Richard Stone's "Slim Tyler Air Stories" did a little better; it got two sequels in 1931, and a third sequel in 1932, before the series was cancelled.  Wikipedia says the series had a seventh entry in 1935, but all of the antique book websites I've seen deny its existence.


Nancy Drew, on the other hand, was immediately popular. They wrote a fourth book as soon as possible, and it became a regular series.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Three Things Thursday

1. I prefer it, when news websites have the story written out in text, below the video. That way, I can skim the text and see if the story is actually interesting. Otherwise, I'm forced to watch a minute of commercials before learning that, oops, the news story has a deliberately misleading title!


2. So...Frozen says that only true love can undo the ice spell.  Since nobody can undo the spell, does that mean nobody in the kingdom truly loves someone else? Because that's sad.


Also, Princess Anna had the ice spell get into her hair, when she was a little kid.  Since it was never undone, I can only presume that her parents and sister never loved her. If they did, it would have ended the spell.


3. Hey, it's springtime now!  Thank goodness. I didn't like winter this year.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Nancy Drew #30 - Dates Revealed!

Her Interactive has announced the important dates for Nancy Drew 30: The Shattered Medallion.  Thirty games!  The 2000's Nancy Drew series only made it to 29 books, before it went crazy and did a complete series overhaul.


April 15--Pre-orders begin
May 13--Pre-orders are sent out
May 20--Official release in stores


For those of you who are wondering, my 2014 Nancy Drew Mega Marathon ends on May 17th.  Looks like I finish the marathon, just in time for the new game to be released!  Woo hoo!


(My emergency back-up plan was "cut a week from the marathon by removing the Nancy Drew Dossier games from the lineup".)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Nancy Drew Marathon Videos

Here are the latest videos from the marathon. Would you prefer it if I cut these videos into one hour slices?  That would really cut down on time it takes to edit/upload them.

Nancy Drew: Secret of the Old Clock



Nancy Drew: Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon



This week on Saturday, I tackle the next two games: Danger by Design and Creature of Kapu Cave.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Danger on Deception Island Walkthrough

...The videos I recorded on Saturday are still not done, due to weirdness with YouTube. I am all Grumpy Cat now.
In unexpected news, I actually wrote a text walkthrough for Nancy Drew: Danger on Deception Island.  You know, six years after actually playing the game.


This means the only Nancy Drew games I haven't done text walkthroughs for yet are Phantom of Venice and The Silent Spy. I better get working on them!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Minor Followup


To follow up on yesterday's blog post, I'm Catholic.  Generally speaking, that means it's a bit silly to ask me to ask me to talk about religious topics, without referring to the Bible.  That's like asking a baseball player to avoid talking about football; nine times out of ten, he wasn't going to do that anyway.


After all, we're the group that gets accused of never reading the Bible.  If I had to guess what percentage of people in my particular church have never read part of the Bible on their own, I'd say...no comment.


As for the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, my most concrete reason for believing in it as a fact of history, and not as a glorified myth, comes from a strong personal encounter with the resurrected Jesus. I don't usually talk about this experience, because it's somewhat complicated to explain.  Let's just say that it is related to my decision to become a priest and leave it at that.


And since people keep asking, the answer is "no, I am no longer in training to become a priest."  That's another complicated story, in that I heard different things from different people, while leaving the program.  I guess some people want me back as a seminarian, while others are glad I'm gone.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Jesus' Resurrection

Q: What evidence do we have of Jesus' resurrection? Please don’t use the Bible.

A: Um...I'm not allowed to use the eyewitness testimony?  Okay, I...um...huh.  What kind of evidence is possible, if eyewitness testimony doesn't count?  I'm guessing you won't accept second-hand information, either.

I mean, replace "Jesus' resurrection" with any other event that took place 2000 years ago, like Julius Caesar's death or Cleopatra's visit to Rome.  Really, our only proof that it happened is "people wrote about it afterwards". And even then, you can be skeptical and say they were lying. In fact, I would not be surprised if the people who wrote about Cleopatra were lying.

If eyewitness testimony and textual evidence are disregarded, I'm not sure what sort of evidence is left. Fr. Robert Barron made a video about this recently, so maybe he has some good ideas.



Hm. He's saying that Jesus rising from the dead wasn't a scam made up by the apostles, because they were 100% convinced it was true. Jesus' resurrection immediately became the center and focus of their lives, to the point that they were willing to die in brutal, horrific ways as a testimony to it. They would not have shown such dedication, if it was all something they made up.

I've also seen the argument that the story of Jesus' resurrection would be completely different, if it was a scam. After all, scams try to seem as legitimate and believable as possible. This is not the case with Jesus' resurrection; all the sources agree that the first person to see Jesus after his resurrection was Mary Magdalene. Her testimony was so unreliable that the first person to call her a liar was Saint Peter, AKA the first Pope, AKA the man who holds the keys to the gates of Heaven.

If it was all a scam, why on Earth would it start with the least reliable witness? In the first century, even a slave's testimony would be considered more reliable than a woman's. The only good reason to start with Mary Magdalene's testimony is if it really happened. If Saint Peter was making it all up, why would he publicly spread this (and many other stories) that makes him look bad? (This goes for every story in the New Testament; the majority of them present the apostles as selfish, liars, idiots and traitors. Seems unlikely that they would fabricate such stories about themselves.)

Another argument I've seen is that Jesus performed many, well-documented miracles prior to the resurrection. This argument was more convincing to people at the time, who witnessed the miracles.

Friday, March 7, 2014

New Book Reviews

Two new Nancy Drew book reviews!  First is the 3rd book in the 1980's series.  It's pretty bad, for multiple reasons.

1. The solution is so obvious that Nancy must be an idiot not to figure it out.
2. The culprit is ridiculously inept. As in, he tries and fails to commit murder seven times.
3. Most importantly, George is willing to let Nancy DIE, multiple times, for the sake of a cute guy she's never even spoken to.



Next is the fifth book in the 2013 series, which is the best book in the series I've read so far.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Harry Potter's Classmates

I still think it's weird how they handled Harry's classmates in the Harry Potter movies.

For whatever reason, the first movie only introduces Harry's male classmates (sans Hermione).  We meet Dean and Seamus and Neville, but Lavender and Parvati are nowhere to be found.

Parvati doesn't show up until Movie #4, where she is Harry's date for, um...five to ten minutes?  Then she disappears.  Lavender isn't introduced until Movie #6. It frustrates me that the female characters don't get introduced, until their minor romantic subplots.

True, there's little point in introducing Lavender and Parvati earlier, because they aren't important characters in the books.  But that's also true of Dean and Seamus, who are doomed to live their lives as background props for the rest of the movie series.  And odds are that being a living prop for a series in their teens will be the high point of their respective acting careers.

I kind of wish the movie series had gone the route of certain TV shows and gone for bold, ridiculous moves like "give Oliver Wood a huge part, because his actor is popular". True, I would have flipped my lid at the blatant disregard for the book series, but it would have been interesting in a train wreck sort of way.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Vegetable Predicament

Here is a humorous fanfiction about the vegetable picking challenge in Nancy Drew: Secret of Shadow Ranch.



The closed captioning for the video is 100% correct, because I just copy/pasted the entire story into Youtube's captioning system.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Nancy Drew Madness - Youtube's Picks


Yesterday, I gave my picks for Nancy Drew Madness.  Here are Youtube's picks!


Round One


Legend of the Crystal Skull
Phantom of Venice
Haunting of Castle Malloy
Treasure in the Royal Tower
Ransom of the Seven Ships
Secret of the Scarlet Hand
Warnings at Waverly Academy
Trail of the Twister
Shadow at the Water's Edge
Secret of Shadow Ranch
Curse of Blackmoor Manor
Secret of the Old Clock
Tomb of the Lost Queen
The Deadly Device
Ghost of Thornton Hall
The Silent Spy


Round Two


Phantom of Venice
Haunting of Castle Malloy
Ransom of the Seven Ships
Warnings at Waverly Academy
Shadow at the Water's Edge
Curse of Blackmoor Manor
Tomb of the Lost Queen
Ghost of Thornton Hall


Round Three:


Haunting of Castle Malloy
Warnings at Waverly Academy
Curse of Blackmoor Manor
Tomb of the Lost Queen


Round Four:


Haunting of Castle Malloy
Curse of Blackmoor Manor


Winner:


Haunting of Castle Malloy


Youtube tells me that the top nine Nancy Drew games are Haunting of Castle Malloy, Warnings at Waverly Academy, Ransom of the Seven Ships, Curse of Blackmoor Manor, Shadow at the Water's Edge, Message in a Haunted Mansion, Secret of the Old Clock, and Trail of the Twister, in that order.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Nancy Drew Madness - Michael's Picks

This month, they're holding a Nancy Drew March Madness Tournament, with all 32 games!


Here are my picks. Clearly, in the fourth bracket, I think Games 26-29 will crush Games 13-16. I also am predicting surprise upsets, with Secrets Can Kill Remastered and Dossier: Resorting to Danger.


Round One:


Legend of the Crystal Skull
Stay Tuned for Danger
Message in a Haunted Mansion
Treasure in a Royal Tower
Ransom of the Seven Ships
Dossier: Resorting to Danger!
Warnings at Waverly Academy
The Haunted Carousel
Shadow at the Water's Edge
Secrets Can Kill Remastered
Curse of Blackmoor Manor
Alibi in Ashes
Tomb of the Lost Queen
The Deadly Device
Ghost of Thornton Hall
The Silent Spy


Round Two:


Legend of the Crystal Skull
Treasure in a Royal Tower
Ransom of the Seven Ships
Warnings at Waverly Academy
Shadow at the Water's Edge
Curse of Blackmoor Manor
Tomb of the Lost Queen
Ghost of Thornton Hall


Round Three:


Treasure in a Royal Tower
Warnings at Waverly Academy
Shadow at the Water's Edge
Ghost of Thornton Hall


Round Four:


Warnings at Waverly Academy
Ghost of Thornton Hall


Round Five:


Ghost of Thornton Hall


Normally in these tournaments, a correct Round One guess is worth one point, a correct Round Two guess is worth two points, and so on.  I'll be interested in seeing if my personal tastes match with Nancy Drew fans at large!  After all, my Round Three picks are basically my top four, minus Secrets Can Kill Remastered and The Haunted Carousel.

Tater Tot Burrito

Here are Chef Michael's instructions for making a Tater Tot Burrito, or a "totrito", if you will.


1. Cook up ground meat, Mexican rice and tater tots in three separate frying pans.
2. Run around like a maniac, because you are trying to cook three things at once.
3. Put a thin layer of Mexican cheese on the tortilla. Cook tortilla in microwave for 20 seconds.
4. Put the meat, tater tots and rice on the tortilla.  Try to have each ingredient be a little circle, which makes up a third of a larger circle.  This doesn't affect anything, but it looks cool.
5. Put a thin layer of Mexican cheese on the tortilla again, and cook it in the microwave for 20 seconds.
6. Try to wrap up the tortilla into a burrito, then realize you put too many ingredients on it for this to work. Also, you've never been good at wrapping tortillas into burritos.
7. Add sour cream / guacamole, if desired.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Nancy Drew Marathon

Here are the two marathon videos from yesterday! We're about a third of the way through the marathon, can you believe it?!

Secret of Shadow Ranch:



Curse of Blackmoor Manor, with special guest star: my girlfriend Katie. She shows up after the 58 minute mark.



Saturday, March 1, 2014

Video Recording Plans

This week, I said I would alternate between Nancy Drew and Phoenix Wright videos until one or the other series is done.  I'm taking that back, because jeez, Phoenix Wright Case 2 was exhausting and long.


So, this upcoming week, I'll just do Nancy Drew projects.  Two book reviews, one movie, and maybe a speedrun of Danger on Deception Island.  It should be fun!


Behind the scenes, I might prep for a speedrun of Secret of Shadow Ranch.  I outlined a speedrun for Day One, and things fell apart for me, when I got the glitch on Day Two, where the game doesn't progress.  I eventually fixed things and got to Day Three, which is pretty straightforward in terms of what to do.  Did you know it's possible to skip the bead puzzle at Mary Yazzie's on Day Three of that game?


Most likely, though, I will purchase Nancy Drew: Ghost of Thornton Hall (iPad) on Tuesday and completely lose track of everything else.