Friday, July 31, 2015

Nancy Drew Hardy Boys Ghostwriters

Here's an interesting article which came out recently, about the ghostwriters for Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys. Can you believe the writers of the 1980's series got $2000 up front and $2000 afterwards? That was 30 years ago, and it's STILL a great paycheck!

Sadly, they don't accept manuscripts from authors the way they used to! Now, they contact writers directly, if they're interested in having someone ghostwrite a book. I'll be honest; I was interested in applying to be a Nancy Drew ghostwriter. Maybe I could build a time machine and apply during the 1990's?

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Dragon Ball Super Episode 2

I watched Episode 2 of Dragon Ball Super yesterday. Like the first episode, it's mainly filler. Nothing important happens, at all. Like, half of the episode is "Vegeta is forced to go on a family vacation, and he doesn't like it".

We saw more of the villain, the dog creature known as Beerus. I guess he's supposed to be intimidating, but he strikes me as mainly weird. The show hasn't really explained who he is or where he comes from. All we've seen is Beerus do is kill innocent aliens and eat food. Most of the time, he acts bored. Occasionally, he acts uppity. I'm not sure where they're going with this enemy.

Apparently, this series is based on a 2013 movie. Which is cool, I guess. They're basically retelling the movie, except now they have 10 hours to get through everything, instead of an hour and fifteen minutes. So...every episode of the show is like three minutes of the movie?

I dunno. I never saw the movie. Maybe the movie explains who this Beerus guy is, and what's going on. It'd be pretty lame if it turns out you can't enjoy the TV series, without seeing the movie first.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Her Interactive Archives

In related news, doing a Google search gave me some super-fancy archives from Her Interactive. They have a ton of production information, for a ton of games! It includes a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff that gamers wouldn't normally see. I would love to go through this archive, but alas, it is in Rochester, New York.

I must resist the urge to jump on Interlibrary Loan and have them send over EVERYTHING THEY POSSIBLY CAN BECAUSE I WANT TO READ IT NOW!!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Land Before Time 7: Stone of Cold Fire

I only saw the first six Land Before Time movies, as a kid. All the movies from here on out are movies I've never seen before.

Stone of Cold Fire is a bit of an odd duck. The animation is different, and it kept bothering me that the characters didn't look the same as the other movies. Ducky changed sizes a few times, Cera lost some detail, and was Littlefoot always that color? There were also a few moments with blurriness and pixelation, too, which looked bad.

I'm guessing they switched to computer animation, because the movie also contained a few neat 3D animation effects. Mostly, the scenery spun around Pterano as he talked.

The story is that Littlefoot sees a comet land, while everyone else is sleeping. Everyone gets up in arms about this "stone of cold fire", because it might have magical powers. That's what a pair of mysterious Rainbow Face dinosaurs say, at least.

Enter Petrie's uncle, Pterano. He's a villain, who tried to declare himself king a few years ago. He wasn't a very good king; he tried to lead some dinosaurs to safety, but they all got eaten. Pterano was exiled after accidentally killing half the herd. Now he's back, and he thinks the stone's magical powers will make him a better king. He lies and even kidnaps someone, to get his hands on the stone.

Halfway through the movie, it is decided that Pterano isn't evil; he's just misguided. Kidnapping? Manipulation? Leading people to their deaths? Nah, those aren't indicative of his character. Deep down, he's just a nice guy, with minor delusions of grandeur. There's even a musical number about his delusions of grandeur. I thought that was odd.

Most of the movie is spent, trying to reach the stone of cold fire. Turns out it isn't magical at all. It's just a crashed meteor. Pterano is exiled a second time, although his sentence is lessened because he helps save the kids.

As for those Rainbow Face dinosaurs? They secretly follow Littlefoot the whole time, and help him a bit. The end of the movie reveals that they are ALIENS FROM ANOTHER PLANET. They go away, and Littlefoot keeps their secret. It was incredibly unexpected and weird.

Monday, July 27, 2015

To Be Or Not To Be...Murdered! - Book Review

During my honeymoon, I read a lot of books. One of them is To Be Or Not To Be...Murdered!. I bought this book, because it was described to me as "Catholic Nancy Drew".

The book is narrated by a girl named Peyton Simons. She has a boyfriend, and their relationship has gone sour, ever since he lost out on a scholarship. She wants to break up with him, and start dating the super-hot guy from her theater group. The romance plot takes up most of the book.

Someone at the school commits suicide, by hanging themselves. Peyton is the one who finds the corpse. The book takes the death very seriously, compared to Nancy Drew, who regularly finds corpses and shrugs it off. Peyton is very disturbed by the death, and things get even worse when there is a copycat suicide.

The third suicide? The hot guy from Peyton's theater group. She goes into mystery-solving mode at this point, because she knows he wouldn't commit suicide. Sure enough, she discovers that the suicides are really murders, and she stops the murderer.

Peyton is taking confirmation classes, which is where most of the Catholic stuff occurs. I'm surprised that a priest runs those classes by himself; every place I've been to, they have someone besides the priest teach.

Overall, it's an okay book. I was expecting it to have a lot more mystery elements, when in reality, the first half of the book is mostly romance. That's not bad; it's just not what I expected. The mystery was well done, in my opinion. People say that, with a good mystery, you can go back and see all the clues that you missed the first time around. That certainly happened for me with this book. I gave it four out of five stars on Amazon.

On a not-so-good note, this book definitely needs an editor. I saw multiple sentences with incorrect grammar. But the main editing issue is the spacing. Some paragraphs start with a tab, some have two tabs, some have three. There seems to be no reason or consistency to how large the start-of-paragraph tab is. I read the book on my iPhone, so it was extremely noticeable when a paragraph started with a huge tab, one so big that only two words fit on that line.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Summer Marathon

Right now, I'm working on the last three weeks of the big summer marathon. The games that I've recorded are marked with asterisks.

Monday August 10
Dark Parables: Red Riding Hood Sisters
Game 42: Unfinished Tales: Illicit Love*
Game 43: Azada: In Libro*
Book of Legends
Game 45: Mystery of the Ancients: Three Guardians*

Mon Aug 17
Dark Parables: The Exiled Prince
Drawn: Trail of Shadows*
Tiger Eye: Curse of the Riddle Box*
Sable Maze: Sullivan River*
Tiger Eye: The Sacrifice

Aug 24
Mystery Case Files: 13th Skull
Ominous Objects: Family Portrait
Grim Facade: Artist and the Pretender
Grim Tales: The Vengeance
Engimatis 2

This makes nine games, for me to record. Book of Legends has proven to be impossible to record, on Windows 7. I might have to replace it with something else. I was hoping to do the Dark Parables games with Mary, but if I can't get to those in time, I'll rearrange this schedule.

Right now, the biggest time waster is uploading the videos, since my Internet is slow (an upload speed of 1.25 MB per second). Each walkthrough is about 7 to 10 GB, so...it takes multiple days to upload a walkthrough. This week, it took four days to upload all of Unfinished Tales, and two days to upload Azada. As I'm typing this, I'm uploading Mystery of the Ancients. I think I'll just have to leave my computer on and running all night long, to get it done in under three days.

The worst case scenario is that I won't be able to upload the videos in time. If that happens, the marathon will be a little shorter than original planned. I'm working three weeks ahead, so hopefully that won't be the case.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Yam Casserole

I'm trying out recipes from the Sharp Carousel Convection Microwave cookbook. I have, like, dozens of recipes from this book on my to-cook list. The book is just that awesome.

Yam casserole was pretty good, even if I totally messed it up. The recipe wants you to bake the sweet potatoes in the microwave, for 8-10 minutes. Then you peel and slice them.

Peeling the potatoes took FOREVER. I could barely hold the potatoes because they were so hot. And the insides were mushy, because they just got cooked. Are there, like, cooking gloves that you can wear to protect your fingers?

The recipe then has you add 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup margarine and 1/2 tsp of salt to the potatoes. Then you mash them. I did this with a hand-held masher thing, and that did not end up well. Next time, I'll do that in the food processor or the mixing bowl. (Both of those were wedding presents!) Or, I'll just make mashed yams the normal way, where you peel them BEFORE cooking them. Seems good either way.

On top of the mashed yams, you add a can of crushed pineapple. I made a mistake in not draining the pineapple juice first; that made the end result way too watery. Still! The pineapple was unexpectedly delicious! Microwave the pineapple-on-mashed-yams for 2 minutes.

Finally, you make a topping. Mix a teaspoon of water, with a tablespoon of brown sugar, a tablespoon of margarine, a half teaspoon of cinnamon and a quarter teaspoon of nutmeg. You microwave the topping for 30 seconds, stir, then microwave for another 30 seconds. Add a cup and a half of marshmallows to the topping, then coat the topping over the casserole. Microwave it for 2-4 minutes. Top it with pecans if you want. (We didn't.)

Mary decided she hates cinnamon, so she refused to eat ANY of the meal, besides the pineapple. (Sad chef face.)

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Sea of Darkness Speedrun - Update

Q: When are you posting your speedrun for Nancy Drew: Sea of Darkness?

A: I will return to speedrunning, when summer is over. All the stuff I recorded is obsolete, since I found a faster way to earn money. So I had to delete my recordings. I'll start over from the beginning again, when the big summer marathon is over, and I have free time again.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Father Barron

So here's something interesting! I talked about Father Robert Barron two days ago. Yesterday, Pope Francis picked Fr. Barron to be one of three new Bishops for Los Angeles! Congratulations to Fr. Barron!

It's probably a coincidence I was talking about him, right before his promotion. Pope Francis isn't a follower of this blog.

This brings Los Angeles to a total of eight Bishops, not including the retired ones. Los Angeles must be a pretty big place to have eight Bishops.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Caitlyn Jenner

One comment on my blog post yesterday was this:

Caitlyn Jenner, you mean. She wants to be called Caitlyn, and showing tolerance to her would be respecting her wishes (even if you don't agree with her lifestyle.)

I meant no offense; I merely called her "Bruce", since I was summarizing an article which did so.

I have a question, though. How far back do you go, when referring to Caitlyn Jenner? I'm asking, because this came up in a Nancy Drew book review I did in February, long before Jenner's sex change operation. Specifically, I made the joke at Bruce Jenner writes Nancy Drew books, since multiple Nancy Drew books refer to the 1976 Olympics.

Do I have to redo my review and change that line to Caitlyn Jenner? Or is it okay to keep the reference to Bruce Jenner, since we're talking about things done long before his sex change operation? I don't want to offend anyone.

EDIT: I originally wrote something here about my wife Katie. I thought it was relevant, because she's also a Cate/Kate making a name change right now. People thought it was a backhanded insult, so I'm deleting it at their request.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Love and Tolerance

While I was on my honeymoon, Fr. Robert Barron wrote a nice philosophical piece on love and tolerance.

People either don't know, or have forgotten, that Catholics don't believe love is an emotion or feeling. We believe that love is an act of the will, a decision, a desire. To love someone means that you want what is good for them. Hatred is the opposite; to hate someone means you want what is bad for them.

When you criticize someone, it can either be an act of love or an act of hatred. If I tell a family member to stop using drugs and clean up their life, that is an act of love, because I want what is best for them. When John the Baptist criticized Herod for marrying his brother's wife, that was an act of love, because he was trying to get Herod to convert and live a life free of sinful immorality.

This is an important thing to note. In a lot of debates today, people assume criticism is the same thing as hatred. And they tend to use "you hate [x]" as an excuse to dismiss or ignore you; sometimes, people go further and attempt to censor you. At least, that's what happened when Fr. Barron talked about Bruce Jenner. He disagreed with Bruce's ideas, on how the soul interacts with the body; people responded by saying Fr. Barron is a horrible person who hates transgender people.

Fr. Barron also talks about "tolerance", which used to mean "willingness to put up with something that you disagree with". Today, people think it means "acceptance and celebration of something else". I wonder how the definition changed so radically.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Book Lists

I've been working on the wedding registry on Amazon, recently. As part of my Amazon work, I made wish lists for various Nancy Drew series.

The main Nancy Drew series
The 1980's spinoff series
The Nancy Drew / Hardy Boys Crossover series

It feels kind of weird to have wishlists for these series, considering that I won't be reading any of their books for several months. The current schedule is to alternate between the Girl Detective trilogies and the Baby-Sitters Club. That'll bring me to the end of the Girl Detective series; I'll be done with it forever. I'll also be semi-done with the Baby-Sitters Club, because the collection I have only goes up to Book 20.

So, yeah, those are the next 25 books I'll be reading! Girl Detective and Baby-Sitters Club. I hope people like them! If not, well, there won't be any more book reviews from those series, for people to dislike!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Fourth of July Wedding Stuff

Since our wedding was on the Fourth of July, we decided the recessional song at the wedding would be Battle Hymn of the Republic. Nobody knew the words, but EVERYONE knew the chorus!

We named all the tables after various Americans, like Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln and George Washington. We thought about picking Ronald Reagan, who's a favorite in California, but we decided against it. Sure enough, it turned out one of our guests is still very unhappy with Reagan's presidency, even though that was 30 years ago, and they should be over it by now.

We picked two fictional people, Carolyn Keene (author of the Nancy Drew series) and Captain James Kirk (the first captain in Star Trek). Captain Kirk is an American, but the actor who plays him is not.

Also, red white and blue was the default color scheme. That's why all the groomsmen had red ties and blue shirts. And they got cool little American flag pins for their lapels.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Wedding Registry

I promise that I'll eventually write blogs about the wedding and the honeymoon and everything. Katie and I are just super busy right now.

Yesterday, we went through the wedding registry. We asked, "Is there anything left on here, which we absolutely must have?". The answer was "No." Our wedding guests were awesome, and they bought all the must-haves.

Then we asked, "Is there anything left on here, which we'd really like to have?". And there were about four things: a flour sifter, bathroom shelves, a welcome mat and a shaving mirror. We bought those for ourselves, using some Amazon gift cards we got as wedding presents. Amazon also gave us a 10% discount, for doing a wedding registry with them, and that pretty much covered the shipping and handling.

Katie and I also bought some less necessary stuff, like stupid t-shirts and one of the 1980's Nancy Drew books. We also spent fifteen minutes, trying to find a replacement ice-machine part for our refrigerator. That ended up being the most expensive thing on the entire list.

Another thing we did was investigate some weirdness, connected to the wedding registry. Three items on the wedding registry were purchased, but never delivered. Either there's a mistake somewhere, or people bought those items off the registry, for themselves. There were also three items purchased from our registry, which we received, which Amazon listed as unsold. So maybe people saw items on our registry and bought them separately? I dunno.

Anyway, we're done with the registry, and we'll delete it soon.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Book Selling

Yesterday, I asked if anyone was interested in buying my duplicate Nancy Drew books.

I sold two groups, to people who contacted me on Twitter. We worked out the details, and I made an eBay listing. I sent the link to them, and they bought the books right away. Then, I was horrified to learn that PayPal charges a fee. What? No! Why? They didn't do that years ago, when I last sold stuff on eBay!

I have a PayPal business account. I think. All I know is that my work pays me through PayPal, and they did something special to allow large transactions without any delays or holds. It's also free for me to transfer any amount of money to/from my bank. So this is the first time I've come across the dreaded PayPal fees.

Anyway, here are the books I still have available! I'm waiting to settle things with Kevin, who commented yesterday and the blog and Twitter. After that, I'm going to pack up my books and sell them to that one book store that stocks older Nancy Drews.

•Nancy Drew 144, 155, 160,
•Nancy Drew Diaries 7, 8, 9
•Girl Detective 33, Girl Detective Supermystery 1
•Nancy Drew Hardy Boys Supermystery (2000's) 1
•Nancy Drew Hardy Boys Supermystery (1980's) 3, 35
•Nancy Drew On Campus 2
•Nancy Drew Files 1, 1, 3, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 15, 16, 21, 26, 26, 29, 39, 44, 51, 52, 58, 58, 65, 69, 74, 96

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Books for Sale

Does anyone want one of my old / duplicate Nancy Drew books? Let me know, and I'll put the book / books up on eBay. (If you want a specific lot, let me know that, too.) Otherwise, I'm selling them to a bookstore.





Twitter dropped the quality a tad, so here's a list of the books.
  • Hardy Boys Casefiles 1-3
  • Ghost Stories 1 and 2
  • Nancy Drew 17, 144, 155, 160,
  • Nancy Drew Diaries 7, 8, 9
  • Girl Detective 33, Girl Detective Supermystery 1
  • Nancy Drew Hardy Boys Supermystery (2000's) 1
  • Nancy Drew Hardy Boys Supermystery (1980's) 3, 35
  • Nancy Drew On Campus 2
  • Nancy Drew Files 1, 1, 1, 2, 3, 3, 4, 6, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 15, 16, 21, 26, 26, 28, 29, 38, 39, 44, 51, 52, 58, 58, 65, 69, 74, 96
I'm also willing to part with my "collector's editions", which are three Nancy Drew Files books slapped together. I have 42, 45, 47 and 64, 67, 69. Not sure why they picked those groups of three to print together, instead of printing books in chronological order.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Dragon Ball Z Super

The new Dragon Ball Z series has started! I saw the first episode, and it wasn't bad!

It was a lot better than the LAST attempt to do a sequel to Dragon Ball Z, which is known as "the series that shall not be named". That series started by turning the main character into a twelve-year-old, so he could be the same age as his granddaughter. Just like "let's make Phoenix Wright a drunken piano bum", I have no idea who thought that would be a good premise for the series.

The first episode was basically a casual look at all the various characters, and what they're up to now. There wasn't really an overarching storyline. It was more like, "Hey, everyone gets three minutes to do their own thing". So the kids went on an adventure to find a present, Hercule had trouble at a big press conference, Gohan got engaged to Videl, and Goku got a part-time job as a farmer.

There was also a villain in outer space. He looks like a purple dog. He lands on a planet and forces people to make him food. If the food isn't good enough, he blows up the planet, killing everyone. The rulers of the universe were upset about planets being destroyed, and I'm sure we'll see more of this villain in future episodes.

Overall, I think people will like the new series. Anything that officially replaces the series that shall not be named is A-Okay, in my book. Plus, the animation is a lot fancier than in the original series, probably because they're using computers to help with everything. I'm not too impressed by our new villain, Eating Dog Person, but I'm willing to give him a shot!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Book Reviews

I read a lot of books over the honeymoon! Mainly, I did it during the super-long flights. Here's a list of the books I read:
  • Baby-Sitters Club Super Special #1: Baby-Sitters On Board!. The girls go on a cruise to the Bahamas (just like my honeymoon), and they do a lot of advertising for Disney World.
  • Nancy Drew 154: The Legend of the Emerald Lady. Nancy goes to the Caribbean and has to find an emerald necklace before the culprit does. There's no emerald lady in the book at all; apparently, the title person didn't get the memo.
  • Nancy Drew Files 74: Greek Odyssey. The third book in a trilogy, where Nancy has adventures in Europe and meets an Australian hottie. He proposes to her, but she turns him down because she's too independent.
  • Nancy Drew Files 63: Mixed Signals. Another sequel book. Man, I'm bad at picking these. Anyway, Nancy has to figure out who is trying to kill a college quarterback.
  • Hardy Boys Casefiles 127: Dead in the Water. The last book in the series. The Hardys have to find a missing sea diver, and it turns into a Nazi-fighting escapade.
Reading a bunch of random books out of order pretty much screws up my release schedule for book reviews.

Edit: I'll probably just write reviews for some of the books, and not make them into videos.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Back from Vacation

I'm back from the honeymoon! Kind of! Yesterday was nothing but flying from Miami to the West Coast. Today, we get to fly back up the west coast, and I'm still tired.

Hopefully, I'll be able to write more tonight.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Wedding Videos

I have wedding videos!







And the honeymoon starts tomorrow, so no more blog posts for a week! Bye!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Wedding

The wedding is in three hours. I'm going to the hotel right now, to get keys for the bridal suite.

Update: Here is a selfie that Katie and I took while in line, during the bridal procession.



I just finished editing the bachelor party video from yesterday, and it is awesome. It goes up on my channel on Monday.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Big News

This is blog post #2000! To get that number right, I had to cheat a little and delete two old blog posts, about a speedrun for Nancy Drew: The Silent Spy. Why those posts? Because someone has MADE a speedrun for that game, and they submitted it to the speedrunning website. I, of course, have signed up to be one the verifiers.

In another big milestone for me...the wedding is this Saturday! As in TOMORROW!! I probably won't have the free time to post anything about it, before we leave on our honeymoon the following day. We'll see! I promise that I will post something, even if it's just a one-line sentence or a picture. Maybe I can put the best man in charge of taking a photo for Twitter, because otherwise, you're getting a selfie.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Vampire Diaries

I finally got access to my sister's old Windows 2000 computer. Believe it or not, it's a Windows XP computer. Yes! If any computer is going to run Her Interactive's Vampire Diaries game (from 1996), this should be it!

I put in the game CDs, and they worked! I started installing the game, and...

The application is not supported by Windows NT.

What? No! Game, please work! I don't even know what a Windows NT is!

The official solution to the problem is to expand .dll files in the System32 folder, by using the original NT disc. I don't have that disc, and I tried checking Windows Update. This is the old version of Windows Update, which doesn't work unless you have the Microsoft website open in Internet Explorer.

No dice. It looks like I will NOT be able to play Vampire Diaries.

In other news, I have a Windows XP computer now! What are some classic games that I should get for it? I'm half-tempted to use it for speedrunning. Official speedrunning rules say that you can't use emulators, which is why you don't see official runs for famous games like Oregon Trail or Myst. In fact, the only Myst runs they have posted are for RealMyst, the 2000 remake. I could easily get the record, by virtue of being the only person using the original version!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Land Before Time 6

The sixth Land Before Time movie is "The Secret of Saurus Rock", and this is the last movie in the series which I saw, while growing up as a kid. All I remember is that I saw it once, and I didn't like it because it focused too much on the Lone Dinosaur. At the time, I didn't understand why they put an old west hero into a dinosaur movie. I still don't understand it, in fact.

The story goes that a huge mountain named Saurus Rock appeared in the valley, after the Lone Dinosaur saved everyone from a sharp tooth. If the monument is ever destroyed. A cowboy dinosaur called Doc appears shortly after this, and Littlefoot instantly hero-worships him. Not sure why. Doc hardly ever talks, and pretty much whatever he says has the undertone of, "Kid, leave me alone. I hate talking to people." I'm told that he acts just like John Wayne, but since I've never seen John Wayne movies, I can't confirm this.

Cera has twin nieces, named Dina and Dana. Who are the twins' parents? That's unexplained. Just accept the fact that Cera is watching two toddlers, and move on. She yells at them in a fit of anger, and they run away to Saurus Rock. Our heroes give chase, and they accidentally break off a tooth-shaped part of the mountain.

Bad luck soon curses the entire valley, and an angry mob decides to run Cowboy Dinosaur out of town. Littlefoot has an emotional meltdown, and he decides to fix Saurus Rock by putting a dinosaur tooth there. Which requires getting a tooth, from a giant dinosaur that could eat him in one bite. It's not a smart plan, especially since the allosaurus in question is alive. Littlefoot's grandfather and Doc work together, in order to save him.

Littlefoot realizes that he doesn't need an imaginary hero to worship. His own grandfather is pretty darn cool. And that was an okay moral, I suppose.

I'm not sure how to rate this movie. It was fine, but nothing really stuck out as particularly good or bad. I'd say it's average, and I probably would have liked it better if the new character focus was someone besides John Wayne parody. That led to Littlefoot singing an old west song, which felt out of place. As for Cera's unexplained nieces, their main purpose was to be cute and advance the plot. They did that well enough. They don't talk (besides baby talk babble), so they don't really have personalities or memorable characteristics. I wonder if we'll see them again.