Saturday, January 31, 2015

Live-Action Disney

Disney is releasing the live-action of Cinderella in March. Mary is excited to see it, especially since it comes with a Frozen short. I was waiting until the film's release, to make this joke on Twitter:

'Due to success of live-action "Sleeping Beauty" and "Cinderella", Disney announced they're making a live-action "Little Mermaid", starring Tom Hanks. Hopefully no one remembers they already did that.'

(That joke is a reference to the 1984 movie, Splash. My mom was obsessed with that movie, when I was younger.)

As it turns out, Disney announced a live-action "Beauty and the Beast" this week. Curse you, Disney, for pre-empting my joke!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Male Altar Servers

This week, we had Catholic news from Our Lady, Star of the Sea parish, in San Francisco. The pastor, Fr. Joseph, is switching from having male and female altar servers, to just having male altar servers. He said there are two reasons.

1. Young boys and young girls usually don't get along well. It's easier to have just boys or just girls.

2. The point of being an altar server is to prepare you for becoming a priest. Since girls can't be priests, it's contradictory to let them be altar servers.

Unstated Reason #3 is "that's the way it was, before the 1990's."

Some people are upset about this, and they want the local archbishop to step in. Legally, that's impossible. Church law says that a bishop cannot force a priest to include female altar servers, which means the local priest gets to make the decision.

What do you readers think? Is this a sexist power play? Or is it a logical consequence of the premise "altar servers are priests-in-training"? There is a girls-only Catholic group at that parish, so it's not like gender-separated activities is a completely foreign concept to them.

Personally speaking, I'm more interested in why people think altar servers are necessary, or why they think altar servers must be children. The truth is that altar servers are optional, not mandatory, and there is no age limit. I'm not sure how "kids only" became the norm, but it's been that way since at least the 50's. I've only seen teenager/adult altar servers in places where there are no kids. I think it would make more sense, if they only had priest-age altar servers. That'd better connect it with the idea that being an altar server is preparation for priesthood.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Three Things Thursday

One of the Catholic Church's problems is that exceptions have become the norm. I think that's why they're super-hesitant to make any exceptions to rules, in general.

1. Saint John Paul II allowed churches to have female altar servers, in some situations where no male altar servers can be found. Altar servers are unnecessary for a mass, so it's always an option to have none. Today, basically every church has male and female altar servers.

In fact, there was a huge backlash this week, when a church in San Francisco decided to go back to the pre-90's scheme of only having male servers. More on that tomorrow.

2. The Catholic Church teaches that the mass should normally be offered in Latin, but it can occasionally be offered in other languages. People with selective hearing only paid attention to the "mass can be offered in other languages" part. Now Latin mass is a rare exception, not the norm. Which is the exact opposite of the rule.

3. Blessed Pope Paul VI clearly said that churches should distribute the Eucharist on the tongue, and not on the hand. You could only get Eucharist on the hand under specific circumstances, and you had to jump through a series of hoops to get it. The United States Bishops did not meet the requirements, but that didn't stop them from switching to communion on the hand. In fact, it's almost impossible to find a modern church with an altar rail for receiving on the tongue.

Non-priests who distribute communion on the hand still have the official title "extraordinary ministers of holy communion". The "extraordinary" means that they are only used under extraordinary circumstances. The title is basically a joke now, since they are used all the time.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

George Edward Stanley

Most of the modern Nancy Drew authors are unknown ghostwriters. One of the few we know about is George Edward Stanley.

The reason we know about him is because, well, he's dead. The University of Southern Missisippi has a copy of most of his various manuscripts.

I wish I knew about him, before I did my review for The Mystery in Tornado Alley. It turns out that the book does NOT take place in a fictional university in Oklahoma; it takes place in the university where George Stanley worked as a professor. (Stanley always mentions Oklahoma somewhere in his books, as an Easter egg. This makes me suspect he wrote the other "Nancy Drew Goes to Oklahoma and Meets University Professors" book.)

Also, I'm surprised that the Tornado Alley book went through four drafts, considering how awful the final book was. I wouldn't mind going to Mississippi and reading all four drafts of the book, just as a matter of curiosity. That's probably never going to happen, but I'm sure it would be interesting!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Living Legends: Wrath of the Beast

This week, my walkthrough is Living Legends: Wrath of the Beast. It's a mixture of Goldilocks and Brave, which is a crossover I probably never would have thought of. It works really well, because they both have bear villains.



The game is a sequel to the popular Living Legends: Frozen Beauty. The first game in the series is the not-incredibly-popular Living Legends: Ice Rose. The first game is still good, but going back to it after playing the much improved sequels has proven difficult for some gamers.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Schedule

My schedule got messed up again, with the release of Twilight Phenomena 3 and Living Legends 3. Why can't my favorite videogame series be like Nancy Drew or Mario, and announce release dates months in advance? That way I could prepare for their new games.

Living Legends 3 is one of those "so good, I'm playing it immediately" games. The last game was a mix of Sleeping Beauty and Frozen. This one is a mix of Brave and Goldilocks. I haven't played Twilight Phenomena 3 yet, but I bumped it up near the top of my games list, because I played the second one recently, and I can still remember it.

Living Legends 3
McKenzie and Co.
Nancy Drew: Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon (French)
Regeria Hope
Twilight Phenomena 3
Shadow Wolf: Cursed Wedding
Dark Strokes: Legend of the Snow Queen


As of my writing this, I have recorded all eight videos for Shadow Wolf: Cursed Wedding. (That was originally going to be next.) Katie and I have done three videos for French Nancy Drew, and I have done the first two videos for McKenzie & Co. There are six different boyfriends you can get in that game, so I figured I would let the YouTube viewers pick which guy I should pursue!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Litany of Saints

As I mentioned earlier, we're doing a litany of saints at our wedding. Now I need to juggle names around so they fit the song. In this case, there are four verses, and each verse contains eight measures with names. How does this look?

Verse 1, Mary and the Early Church
  • Holy Mary, Mother of God
  • Queen of All Hearts,
  • Mary, Queen of Apostles,
  • And Saint Joseph, her husband
  • Saint Michael and all angels,
  • Peter and Paul
  • All the Holy Apostles
  • Matthew and the Evangelists
Verse 2, Martyrs, Male Religious
  • Catherine of Alexandria
  • Blaise, Christopher and George
  • Saint Stephen and all martyrs
  • John Henry Newman
  • Louis de Monfort, Jean Vianney
  • Francis of Sales and all Bishops
  • Francis and Claire of Assisi
  • Vincent de Paul
Verse 3 - Female Religious, Doctors of the Church
  • Catherine Laboure
  • Kateri and Faustina
  • Katharine Drexel
  • Bonaventure and Bellarmine
  • Bernard of Clairveaux
  • Augustine and Monica
  • Therese of Liseux
  • Thomas Aquinas and all doctors,
 Verse 4 - Married Saints
  • Anne and Joachim
  • Louis and Zelie Martin
  • Isidore and Maria
  • Elizabeth Ann Seton
  • Jane Chantal
  • Thomas More and Philip Howard
  • Juan Diego and Saint Louis
  • Rita of Cascia

...I just now realized that I forgot to put some Popes on the list, other than Saint Peter. Granted, the Popes fall under the "male religious" category, but usually they are listed separately.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Fire Emblem

I've been a fan of the Fire Emblem series ever since high school. Many times, I've tried starting a video walkthrough for a Fire Emblem game (usually the DS or GCN one), but I always stopped a few videos in because I don't think people will like it. Either I go through the game too slowly, or I realize that there's not much crossover between tactical RPGs and Nancy Drew mystery fans.

I'm told that Fire Emblem has finally become popular, due to Fire Emblem 3DS. Does this mean the time is ripe for an Arglefumph Fire Emblem walkthrough? Right now, I'm in the mood for Fire Emblem Gaiden, the second NES game.

I'd also like to do a walkthrough for Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, but it has the same issues as Fire Emblem. Namely, it's long, and I don't know if there is enough interest.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Fright

This week, I did a video walkthrough for Fright. I am glad to say that it's been popular! As in, more popular than anything I've done in a month. For a while, I was worried.



I'm not sure what's going to appear on my channel next week. I am hoping to do French Nancy Drew, but I haven't actually started it yet. And I've got some half-finished reviews...I better hurry up to get stuff done before the Fright walkthrough is over!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Three Things Thursday

Today is the March for Life, so I figured I'd do a Three Things Thursday on various life-related issues.

1. We're still waiting for the 2014 population data to be released, but the 2015 fertility rate in the United States is projected to be at 1.97. Estimates say that out country will stay at this rate, with a possible slight increase, for the next 35 years. If those numbers are correct, we'll hit 400,000 citizens in 2050.

China's fertility rate has hit a low of 1.66. That's because their country is actively working to lower the population. The forecasts say that China's efforts will finally take effect in the 2030's. Their population will actively decrease due to many deaths and fewer births, and India will steal China's title as "country with the most people".

Japan is still in bad shape. Not only is the population getting older, but each year, the number of babies born hits a new record low. The average age in Japan, in 2014, was 46.2 years old. It's expected that the average age in Japan will hit 50 in the early 2020's.

2. Recently, I've seen some arguments that say that abortion and contraception are good, because they eliminate poverty. I am disturbed at how similar this is to the arguments for eugenics. "Make sure poor people don't reproduce" is not an ethical or a viable solution for poverty.

Of course, it's possible that I'm oversensitive to this issue, because I plan on having a child with Katie, after we get married. I only made $15,000 last year, and people say I am too poor to have any children. I find that to be offensive, and none of their business!

3. I think the debates on birth control will radically change, once male contraceptives are introduced. Right now, Vasagel is looking like the first male contraceptive that will be publicly available. It works by injecting a polymer into the vas deferens, which prevents sperm from exiting. The polymer lasts for many years, and the effect can be reversed with a second injection. The estimated cost is about $300 per shot. The tests on rabbits and baboons have been successful, and they plan on doing testing on humans later this year.

How would male birth control change things? Well, I expect our society will pressure most men into going on birth control, in the same way that our society pressures women to get on birth control. I suspect that the percentage of men who never have kids will greatly increase, which will, in turn, make the fertility rate go down. I also suspect an increase of sexual activity would cause a rise in STDs, since male birth control doesn't stop HIV.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

McKenzie and Co.

For my birthday, I got the first-ever game made by Her Interactive. That's right. I got McKenzie and Co., made in 1995. It's a game about a high school girl, who wants to find a cute prom date.

That is literally the entire storyline. "McKenzie" is the name of the main character's car. She calls it "Marvelous, Cool, Kinetic movement, Ever-lasting friendship, Non-conformist, Zany, Ingenious, and Empowered". I am not making this up.

To my surprise, the seller packaged the game with the sequel/expansion pack. That means I have 8 CDs, for one game. You thought the first Nancy Drew game was bad, with two CDs? This game has EIGHT. How else can they hold all the video files of cute guys?

I think I will play this game in February, because a dating sim is perfect for Valentine's Day. And I'll try to make it interactive! That is, I'll let the viewers pick which cute guy I should be chasing.

(Please note I haven't tried to install the game yet. Since it's so old, it's possible I won't be able to run it on my computer. That would be the worst.)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Girl Detective Reviews

I'm still chugging away at the Nancy Drew book reviews! Right now, I'm doing a chunk of reviews for the 2004 series. Here are the reviews for Books 7 through 9.







Book #10 is a special case, since a game was based on it. I decided to save it for later, so I could do a book and game review, on the same day.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Botanica

Recently, I played both Botanica games. The series is about a woman who gets stuck on an alien planet. She needs to find her way back home, before the hostile natives kill her. Here's the first game.



And here's the second game, which is very much the same. This time, our hero must find her father, who is inside a volcano.


Sunday, January 18, 2015

Updated Schedule

I got some of the games I was looking at! Well...to be honest, I got most of them. There was a sale, and I used compounding discounts to buy the lot for 65% off! Quite a deal!

I added the new games to my schedule. Now my schedule looks like this:

Fright
Shadow Wolf: Cursed Wedding
Dark Strokes: Legend of the Snow Queen
Grim Facade: Sinister Obsession
Princess Isabella 2
Sable Maze: Forbidden Garden
League of Light: Wicked Harvest

I'm starting Fright tomorrow! It's a very well-done game, and it lives up to its title.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Captain America 2

I finally got around to seeing Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier.

As I suspected, the movie assumes that you saw the Avengers movie. That's a tad unfortunate. I really could have used an exposition-heavy scene, where Nick Fury hands Captain America his business card. He explains who he is, what SHIELD is, and why he thinks Captain America is the perfect fit for their organization.

Since I didn't get any of that, I spent the first quarter of the movie wondering who everyone was, and what was going on. Eventually, I decided to stop asking questions, and to pretend that it's the same secret government organization that the Hardy Boys work for. The movie's plot could easily work as a 1980's Hardy Boys book, since they're mostly nonstop action/fighting.

The second half of the movie is way better than the first. The first half tries to be a mystery, which keeps you guessing who the culprits are. It definitely wasn't as good as it could have been, and there were parts where my reaction was not "Oh, how mysterious!" but rather "Quit wasting time and tell me what's going on, already." I think it takes over an hour before we get to the plot twist that the movie is named after, namely, the Winter Soldier is really [spoiler].

Once the movie switched from "figure out who the bad guys are" to "stop the bad guys", it became much better. There was a lot of action and explosions, and the plot twists were based on information we know, not information we don't know. If I had to rewatch the movie, I'd probably fast-forward through the first part. Bring on Captain America 3: Civil War next year!

*reads description of Captain America 3*

Oh, dang. Another movie which forces you to watch the Avengers first. I'm not playing that game!

Friday, January 16, 2015

French Gifts

Yesterday, I got a package from some French fans of my walkthroughs (and blog!). They sent me seven different Nancy Drew books (all in French) as a wedding present.

Thanks! I mean, Merci! I plan on sending some books back to them, once I figure out how international shipping works. I think maybe I'll send some Nancy Drew Files books, since most of them weren't published in France.

I also got a trio of Nancy Drew games in French! (Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon, Creature of Kapu Cave and Legend of the Crystal Skull) I don't speak French myself, but I think Katie does. Maybe I can force her to play the games with me. Or maybe I can pick up a book of easy French and do very simple commentary. ("the cheese is on the table" = "le fromage c'est sur la table") I'd probably do a bilingual commentary, though, because it's easiest on me.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Three Things

1. In Nancy Drew: The Message in a Haunted Mansion (the book), Rose and Louis find love--I mean, a fancy chandelier! The same page that we see the chandelier, it crashes to the ground. I love the reactions of everyone present. Bess freezes in fear, so Nancy is forced to tackle her and save her life. And George? She double-checks to make sure the accident didn't mess up her jogging plans. Typical Bess and George.

2. Also, Charlie is an old man in the book. The game combines him with Tim, the homeless boy living in the mansion. I guess young men are more popular with Nancy Drew readers.

3. In one of my reviews, I made a snide remark about Nancy Drew: Ghost of Thornton Hall. Someone asked me to clarify. I like the game; it's amazing. The only parts I don't like are Colton (sorry, buddy, you're the least interesting character of the bunch) and the ending explanation. Not to give any spoilers, but they use a variation of the "it was all a dream" ending. It felt a little like a cop-out ending, as I was expecting a more thorough explanation of the hauntings, along the lines of the explanations given in Message in a Haunted Mansion and Shadow at the Water's Edge. It doesn't ruin the game, by any means, but I wasn't happy with it.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Speedrun Status Update

I've done some speedruns that have been submitted to Speed Demos Archive.

Nancy Drew: The Deadly Device. Speedrun completed 9/9/14, accepted 11/11/14.
Nancy Drew: Labyrinth of Lies. Speedrun completed 11/6/14 accepted 12/13/14.
Nancy Drew: Message in a Haunted Mansion. Speedrun completed 1/8/15. Submission pending.

For the record, I have no idea what I'm supposed to do, after my speedrun is accepted. I think that nothing is required of me. I just sit and wait for them to get around to processing it. There is a "remaining checklist" for each run, and with the first two, the checklist looks like this:

Prepublish
Postverification
Prerelease Check

How long should I wait, before trying to contact someone? I don't want to be the jerk who complains that the unpaid volunteers are way too slow. On the other hand, I still have all the original files saved on my computer, and getting rid of 144 GB would be pretty nice!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Wedding Procession

I'm not good at wedding planning, mainly because I stop to question all the ridiculous traditions that people do. In my opinion, "you have to do it because it's tradition" is a bad reason for doing something.

That's causing tension between my parents and me.

Over Christmas break, both of my parents confronted me (separately) about the fact that Katie and I are going to walk down the aisle side-by-side. My parents don't like that, mainly because they've never heard of it before. So they're accusing me of being a weirdo / attention hog, and I need to not walk with Katie, because it's tradition.

It's funny, because the bride and groom going down the aisle side-by-side is a Catholic tradition. My parents are lifelong Catholics, and they've never heard of it before.

So on my side, I'm saying I want to walk down the aisle with Katie, because that's what is recommended in the rubrics, found in the Catholic Rite of Marriage. It's a Catholic tradition, stemming from the fact that the bride and groom are equals, entering into the sacrament together. They are part of the entrance procession, with the priest, because they bestow the sacrament of marriage upon each other. The two should not be separated, since marriage is a symbol of Christ's love for the Church; as Jesus said, "What God has joined together, let no one separate".

And on my parents' side, I should do something else because "it's tradition". They're mad at me, for not automatically accepting that as a convincing argument.

The good news is that my parents live in another state, so these fights are less frequent than they otherwise would be.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Wedding Math

I'm gonna do some wedding math today.

The wedding reception place has two packages. The super-boozy package is $135 per person, while the normal package is $96 per person. (There are two cheaper packages, but we're ignoring them for the time being.) To both packages, we can add $8 per person for a fruit platter thing, and we can add $14 per person for a chocolate fondue fountain. Mom likes the fruit, Katie likes the chocolate.

The total food and drink price must be at least $12,500. I think that's bogus, for multiple reasons I won't go into right now.

If we get the cheaper package with the add-ons, we need at least 105 people to make the minimum. If we get the super-boozy package, we need at least 80 people to make the minimum. We are inviting 157 people to the wedding, with about 100 in the "likely to come" category and 50 in the "not likely to come" category. So right now, it looks like we can go with either package.

I don't want the super-boozy package. In fact, I'm not a fan of having alcohol at the wedding reception, period. You can blame college for that. I've seen more than enough drunk idiots to make me swear off of drunkenness forever. Also, I'm what you call a "sad drunk". Whenever I drink, I tend to get depressed, not upbeat and happy. I would like to avoid getting depressed on my wedding day.

So I'm banking on the cheaper package, with the add-ons. If we do not make the minimum number of people, I'll add a bunch of people at the last minute, and Mom will never know! Ha ha ha! I mean, uh...there will be an open bar, to make up the difference. For example, if we're $300 short, the bar will give out $300 of alcohol for free. After that, the bar will force the guests to pay for their own alcohol. Knowing my relatives, that means the bar will close almost immediately.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Games to Buy

I played through a bunch of games recently. That's because I made a point of trying out all the casual games that won awards in 2014. I haven't purchased any, because it would cost lots of money, and I already have a sizeable backlog. But the next time a big sale comes around...look out!

1. Botanica 2
2. Dark Parables: Rise of the Snow Queen
3. Dark Parables: Red Riding Hood Sisters
4. Dark Parables: Ballad of Rapunzel
5. Fright
6. League of Light
7. Grim Facade: wealth of betrayal
8. Grim Facade: Artist and Pretender
9. Grim Facade: Sinister Obsession
10. Dracula Love Kills
11. Mystery Case Files: Dire Grove
12. Mystery Case Files: Dire Grove, Sacred Grove (Collectors edition)
13. Midnight Mysteries 3: Mark Twain
14. Ominous Objects: Family Portrait
15. Awakening: The Golden Age
16. Grim Tales: The Vengeance (other Grim Tales games?)
17. Other Dark Tales: Edgar Allen Poe
18. Cadenza: Music, Betrayal and Death
19. Dark Strokes: The Legend of the Snow Kingdom
20. Bridge to Another World: Burnt Dreams
21. Dark Parables: The Exiled Prince (?)
22. Dark Parables: Jack and the Sky Kingdom (?)
23. The Nevertales Series (Nevertales: The Beauty Within)
24. Hidden Expedition: Smithsonian Castle (?)
25. Sable Maze: Forbidden Garden

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Birthday

Today's my birthday, so I'm taking a break from working.

That said, I'm at a point where I have no videos ready to upload. None! Oh, my. I didn't plan this very well, did I?

Anyway, the next games I'll play are Shadow Wolf, Princess Isabella 2 and League of Light. I might also do a video for Professor Garfield: Internet Safety, but cropping all the pictures for that game is proving to be a pain.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Nancy Drew: Message in a Haunted Mansion Videos

Okay! Here's the result of all my work on Nancy Drew: Message in a Haunted Mansion. First, the reviews for the book and game:





Now, the speedrun! With and without commentary.



Thursday, January 8, 2015

More Mansion Material

Yesterday, an anonymous commenter said that it's possible to skin the séance in Nancy Drew: Message in a Haunted Mansion. It turns out that is correct! What you need to do is talk to everyone, then solve the Diego puzzle on the stairs. Enter and exit Nancy's room to trigger the fire in the sitting room. Once you put out the fire, Abby forgets about putting on the séance.

The fire scene takes about 40 seconds, and the séance takes about 90 seconds, so that is a timesaver! Thank you, anonymous commenter! Also, curse you, because I had my speedrun all finished, and now I have completely redo it to take your tip into account! Grumble, grumble.

But wait, there's more! Amy commented with an itinerary for getting through the game quickly. Hmmm...that's basically what I'm going to do, except I start with talking to everyone. All the stuff with the tiles and the attic will be a "timewaster" of sorts. That way, I don't need to set the alarm a second time.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Haunted Mansion Speedrun

Scratch what I said yesterday, about Nancy Drew: Message in a Haunted Mansion. It turns out that there are two times in the game where you need to talk to everyone. First, at the start of the game. Second, towards the end of the game, when you must talk to everyone about gum bo fu.

This means it is impossible to beat the game, without seeing the séance. The séance starts when you talk to Abby, after talking to Louis. (Bit of an odd trigger there, but that's how it works.)

When you do the séance, it skips you ahead to 10:00 PM at night. That's handy, and it saves me a trip back to Nancy's room to use the alarm. I'll keep working on the route, but right now, it looks like I have two options.

Séance earlier: Skip ahead to 12 PM, and talk to everyone. Talk to Abby to start the séance, which bumps me to 10 PM. Get Charlie's key and do the attic stuff. Skip ahead to 11 AM and spy on Louis to learn about gum bo fu. Call Emily, talk to everyone about gum bo fu, and call Emily again. Nancy should be able to solve the endgame puzzles in her room.

Séance Later: Skip ahead to 4 PM and talk to everyone. Hope I time things perfectly, so I can get Charlie's key at 5:00. Do the attic stuff and spy on Louis to learn about gum bo fu. Call Emily, then do the séance. Skip ahead and talk to everyone about gum bo fu, and call Emily again. Nancy should be able to solve the endgame puzzles in her room.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Haunted Mansion Speedrun

I'm going to speedrun Nancy Drew: Message in a Haunted Mansion this week! Let's hope there are no major problems.

As far as I can tell, the endgame sequence starts when Nancy spies on Louis. In order to reach that point in the game, Nancy must talk to everyone and get all three tiles. One tile is the attic, which means Nancy has to get the attic key from the saloon, when Charlie isn't there.

Since the game starts at 8:00, and Louis doesn't arrive until noon, you're forced to make three time jumps.

1. Jump to a time when Charlie is absent (so you can steal his key)
2. Jump to a time when Louis is there (so you can talk to him)
3. Jump to a time when Louis isn't there (so you can spy on him)

#2 must happen before #3, but #1 can happen before or after #2. Which gives us two possible routes.

Route 1: (#1 is done first)

Start the game by jumping back an hour, so you can steal Charlie's key. Use it to do the attic stuff. Jump ahead to noon and talk to everyone. Jump back an hour and spy on Louis.

Route 2: (#1 is done second)

Start the game by jumping to noon and talk to everyone. Jump ahead to 5:00 when Charlie leaves. Steal his key and do the attic stuff. Spy on Louis.

It looks like Route 2 is slightly faster! That's because Route 2's second jump leaves Nancy at the 5:00 hour, which is a time when you can spy on Louis. Route 1's second jump puts you at a time where you can't spy on Louis, forcing you to take a third jump. Now, granted, the time difference between the two will be less than a minute, but every little bit helps.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Cooking

I don't think my cooking has improved much. I can follow recipes, because they tell you exactly what to do. I still don't know/understand general cooking rules.

For example, seasoning. I've cooked at least five recipes with seasoning. Taco seasoning, noodles, rice-a-roni, hamburger helper, etc. Every single recipe has the same series of steps. You put the meal in a saucepan and cover it with water. Start boiling the water, then add the seasonings. Let the meal simmer, until the water is gone.

Since I've seen this sequence of events repeated so often, that must be a cooking rule, right? "You can only add seasoning to boiling water". I don't know why that's a rule, but every recipe seems to follow it. I also don't know why seasoning water is simmered away, instead of boiled away, but I'm guessing it's because simmering takes a long time. That gives the seasoning more time to "sink in" to the meal, as it were.

So right now, I'm at the point where I can kind of recognize general cooking rules, but I don't understand why they are rules. It'd be nice if they were written out somewhere. I've read the longish "how to cook" introduction in the front of the Betty Crocker cookbook, but that's mostly an explanation of what kitchen utensils are. Plus, the author was really insulting, which turned me off.

Side Note 1: The only recipe I've seen that doesn't follow those unwritten seasoning rules is British-style chops, but maybe that's a British thing.

Side Note 2: I didn't know what seasoning was, until Katie told me to get some for burritos. Why didn't anyone tell me about seasoning before? I've been cooking by myself for years, and I never came across anything that mentioned seasoning before. Is there something else important that I'm missing? I know there are, like, four aisles at the grocery store I never go down, because I don't know what their products are.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Wedding Reading

I'm still working on the readings for my wedding, kind of. I'd like to have something from Song of Songs, the book in the (Catholic) Bible which is a long love poem. The recommended reading from that book is kind of crazy, by which I mean "it skips straight from chapter two to chapter eight".

Here's the recommended reading, in full. I also included two parts I liked, from chapters 4 and 6. I hope I can edit them down, into a coherent reading. Basically, I'd do this by removing lines, because the 28-line reading is a little long.

Hark! my beloved-–he comes, springing across the mountains, leaping across the hills.
My lover is like a gazelle or a young stag.
Here he stands behind our wall, gazing through the windows, peering through the lattices.
My lover speaks; he says to me, “Arise, my beloved, my dove, my beautiful one, and come!
For see, the winter is past, the rains are over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth, the time of pruning the vines has come,
and the song of the turtledove is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth its figs, and the vines, in bloom, give forth fragrance.
Arise, my friend, my beautiful one, and come!
O, my dove in the clefts of the rock, in the secret recesses of the cliff,
Let me see you, let me hear your voice, for your voice is sweet, and you are lovely.
Catch us the foxes, the little foxes that damage the vineyards; for our vineyards are in bloom!
My lover belongs to me and I to him. He feeds among the lilies.
Until the day grows cool and the shadows flee, roam, my lover,
Like a gazelle or a young stag upon the rugged mountains.” (Song of Songs, Chapter 2)

You have ravished my heart, my bride;
You have ravished my heart with one glance of your eyes, with one bead of your necklace.
How beautiful is your love, my bride,
How much better is your love than wine, and the fragrance of your perfumes than any spice!
Your lips drip honey, my bride, honey and milk are under your tongue;
And the fragrance of your garments is like the fragrance of Lebanon. (Song of Songs 4:9-11)

Who is she who comes forth as the morning rising,
fair as the moon, bright as the sun,
more terrible as an army set in battle array? (Song of Songs 6:10)

Set me as a seal on your heart, as a seal on your arm;
For stern as death is love, relentless as the nether world is devotion;
its flames are a blazing fire.
Deep waters cannot quench love, nor floods sweep it away. (Song of Songs 8:6-7)

Saturday, January 3, 2015

My Parents

My parents are not good with computers. When I showed them my videogame over the holiday break, they had problems. I've complained about this before, but when my parents have computer problems, their first response is to give up and ask someone else to do it for them. I prefer to play around with new computer programs for a while, before asking for help.

In this particular instance, my parents couldn't figure out how to progress in the game. It's kind of embarrassing that they got stuck here, because the solution is "click the mouse to move to the next screen". It's just like PowerPoint! Also, there's a "next" button that you can click on. I honestly believe my parents could have figured it out on their own, if they tried. "Click to interact with the game" is pretty standard for computer games.

The game starts with a parody of Japanese dating sims. My parents haven't played any of those, so they were super confused. Once they got into the main game, they made fun of my artwork. "Is that a man?" "It looks like a man in a wig." In fact, I think that'd be their review: "Nice try, but it looks stupid." Thanks, Mom and Dad.

My parents got stuck again, when the game reached the first choice menu. My parents immediately stopped, because this was something new. Again, I think it's semi-obvious that you select the option you want, by clicking on it. Maybe my next game needs a tutorial? I'm not sure. I think the interface is simple enough, but it might be confusing to someone who's never played a visual novel before.

The good news is that my parents were really impressed by the "pick one of three choices" thing. They thought it was a new and exciting videogame feature I thought up. I didn't have the heart to tell them that dialogue options are pretty standard in videogames.

My parents stopped playing My Nigerian Prince, right before the news report about the Nigerian prince. That's sort of like turning off Back to the Future, right before Marty time-travels. You're missing the main part! That should be somewhat obvious, based on the title!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Environmental Stuff

A while ago, Pope Francis said that he's going to write a big thing on climate change. Eventually. He's a busy dude, and he's operating on Italian time. But this week, it was reaffirmed that the project is still being worked on.

If you can't wait to see what the Pope thinks about climate change (spoiler alert: he's against it), you can research Pope Benedict XVI, who was nicknamed "The Green Pope". He gave dozens of speeches on the environment, he put solar panels on top of the Vatican, and he got a hybrid for the Popemobile. In particular, environmental activists like Pope Benedict's speech for World Peace Day 2010. Protecting the planet is the best way to establish world peace, because it forces humanity to forget national borders and work for the common good of all.

The rest of the news this week was mostly recaps of the previous year, which is usually the case on New Year's Week.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Top Walkthroughs of 2014 - 5 through 1

Happy 2015, everyone! Here are my top walkthroughs from the previous year!

5. Living Legends: Frozen Beauty

This game was a surprise hit! It's a mixture of Frozen and Snow White. I still can't believe those stories mix together so well. The beautiful scenery and fair gameplay make this game worth playing.

4. Nightmares from the Deep: Davy Jones

I played the entire Nightmares from the Deep trilogy this year, and they're all fantastic games. #2 is probably my favorite, but I'm giving the credit to Davy Jones, since it's the only one that was released in 2014. The series is about zombie pirate curses, and it is great! It replaced Pirates of the Caribbean as my main pirate entertainment for the past five years.

3. Nancy Drew: Labyrinth of Lies

Nancy Drew #31 is my favorite Nancy Drew game of the past few years, beating out Ghost of Thornton Hall. I love the setting, the creative puzzles, and I especially enjoy the ending. To be honest, though, a "Nancy Drew has Ancient Greek adventures" game would have to be pretty terrible for me not to like it.

2. Midnight Mysteries: Witches of Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln's time-travelling ghost needs the help of a psychic writer, in order to stop a gold heist by Confederate witches! This game and its premise is so ridiculous. I love it. I think President Lincoln was drunk the entire time. Also, it was made by a company I haven't heard from since 2010, and it's good to see they didn't go bankrupt.

1. 2014 Nancy Drew Games Mega Marathon

My favorite part of the year was playing all the Nancy Drew games. ALL OF THEM. Every Saturday for months, I played them in front of a live audience on YouTube, and it was ridiculously fun. How long is the marathon, when you put all the videos together? It's a little over four days.