Club Admiralty

v7.0 - moving along, a point increase at a time

Club Admiralty Blog

A blog about life in general, in as many languages as I can manage. Ενα ιστολόγιο περι ζωής, πολυγλωσσο - σε όσες γλωσσες εχω μεράκι να γράψω.

Adieu 2020

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 I would say that I'll miss you - but you can't depart quickly enough.  I think this bitmoji sums up the year :-)




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TV Binging and Series Finales (part II)

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The other post was getting a bit long, so I am continuing it here (who knows, there may even be a part III!)


Marvel's Agents of SHIELD

I rather liked this series. It follows a group of SHIELD agents who are protecting the earth from whatever big bad happens to exist. All events take place after the first Avengers movie, so the big bad that kicked it off was HYDRA, and Agent Coulson was brought back from the dead to run SHIELD because Nick Fury has gone AWOL. Throughout the series we get introduced to inhumans (which had a failed spinoff series), we have our agents traveling to parallel dimensions (or was it other planets?), we have a small Ghost-Rider arc (still waiting on that spinoff), we had agents stuck in a simulation and living "Agents of HYDRA" - a soft of mirror universe. And then somewhere around season 5 we get all timey-whimey where the Agents try to save the earth from an apocalyptic future.  This gets them to space, and introduces the Chronocoms, and all sorts of things that I really didn't excite me as much.  I think the final season really saved it.  Yes, it was time-travel-y, but I think it was done well and re-established SHIELD as an agency.  Sometime around Season 3 they felt a little less like an agency under the auspices of a government, and more like disconnected dogooders.  It's really a pity that the MCU didn't capitalize on this series by creating connections between the movies and the TV show.  In the end, I think things were tied up well.  Phil Coulson, a guy who's died more times than Daniel Jackson and JL Picard finally retires and can enjoy his time off...until the next adventure I guess.  I think the payoff for all main characters was really good. You get a glimpse of their post-SHIELD-team lives, despite the bittersweet nostalgia that remains.


Schitt's Creek

The final season of this show was quite a surprise (I did not think they were getting another season). The premise of the show was that a rich family is down on their luck.  They had made their millions in VHS rental stores (think Blockbuster), but with the downturn of that industry (and because someone was embezzling money), this family failed to rebound.  Lucky for them the dad had jokingly bought a small town for the son (David) as a birthday gift which could not be repossessed.  hence, the family moves to the town and they live in two motel rooms free of charge (since they own the town). It was a show about discovering yourself and discovering what really makes you happy.  There are quite a few memorable characters in this show, and I think they all get a happy ending (no pun intended...I guess you have to watch).  That said, I think that it's left open-ended for potential future series (although I think that's unlikely).


Strike Back

This was another TV show that I was surprised had one more season in them. The last season seemed like it would be it for this show.  Well, in this exciting season of Strike Back, Section 20 are given a mission to stop two brothers from unleashing a series of terrorist attacks against the West, but gradually uncover a conspiracy between Western intelligence agencies. While uncovering this, they become a target.  At the end (after being chased as rogue operatives), Section 20 is cleared of all wrongdoing and they all go their separate ways...or do they?  I think the ambiguous ending leaves it open for another season, but I think this crew definitely needs a break.  The biggest part for me this season was the (antepenultimate?) episode of the series where MacAllister dies.  From memory, I don't think the series has shot an episode like this in the past, and the darned thing was a tear-jerker when you realized what was happening.


Silicon Valley

This is from a while back (sometime last spring).  Silicon Valley was a show about a talented, yet very gauche, developer makes an awesome compression algorithm that could revolutionize the internet. This developer works for Hooli (basically Google), and leaves to pursue their dream of further developing this algorithm, with venture capital funding.  The amount of times I cringed throughout the seasons at what has happening on screen is probably uncountable, but it was quite a fun show overall.  I think the series as a whole was an introspection at the oddness of the Silicon Valley world, and venture capital in the USA. This show is definitely worth a re-watch.



The 100

I think I may have found a series finale that was worse than the LOST season finale!  The 100 had so much potential, but it pulled an Andromeda on us, and every season after the second got wackier and wackier.  I think this show jumped the shark at least 10 times for me, but I kept watching to see where it ended.  So, we start off with Humanity destroying earth through a nuclear holocaust.  There are 12 space stations that serve as an Ark for humanity, but they have population controls until the radiation levels can go down low enough for them to come down to earth.  Near that time when it's safer for people to come down, 100 delinquents are sent down to earth as punishment (also over-population) and they survive.  Sounds like a good premise.  Well, over the 7 seasons we've seen things like AIs going nuts and nuking the planet, 12 tribes ("krus") who are immune to the radiation on earth (with various territorial skirmishes), a long lost expedition to some other planet in the Goldilocks zone coming back to earth, earth getting a second nuclear holocaust, but this time no Arks to save them, except for said ship, stargates (of sorts) that connect people across 7 planets (missed an opportunity there for the number 12), ascended beings, like stargate, ascension - like stargate, unascension - since it's a choice like stargate, and a grand old test to see if you're worthy to ascend (sort of like Q standing in judgment over all of humanity).  In the end, the series protagonist, having gone off the rails ALMOST dooms all of humanity, essentially forfeiting her leadership role by killing, but someone else steps in, redeems humanity in the eyes of this ascended judge.  Everyone human is lifted into -- wherever -- and humanity is ascended. Except for Clarke (said protagonist). Her sin was too great and in order for humanity to ascend she needs to stay behind. So, Clarke now is going through the 7 planets looking for others. She does not want to be alone.  Well, back on earth a handful of her friends unascended to live happily ever after with her, but in doing so they can neither procreate (to continue humanity's corporeal existence) and they can neither ascend once their corporeal lives ends.  Nice sentiment, but I think the ending would have been more potent is Clarke were some sort of 100-Jesus-figure, sacrificing herself to save humanity. The ending (and the last season or so) were just really bad.  Such lost potential.  There is a prequel rumored to be coming around.  I want to know what they aim to do with that...
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Review: How to Be Black

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How to Be Black How to Be Black by Baratunde R. Thurston
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I won this book at a conference a few years back (Baratunde was one of the keynote speakers) and I finally had a chance to read it.  For someone who didn't spend all of my formative years in the US, I think the subject is approached in a humorous and approachable manner. Heck, in some segments, Baratude's narrative might as well describe growing up Greek-American ;-)  Definitely worth a read. Obviously, there is a lot more under the surface to explore, but this was a good intro.

View all my reviews
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Knome

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A bit of a delayed April Fool's joke that I saw on Reddit a few weeks ago.  Not much happening this year in terms of jokes given the somber coronavirus reality, but this was funny :-)


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Guacamelee | Done

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Here's to another completed game :-)  After the odyssey that was Assassin's Creed Odyssey this one felt like a light breeze!  This game was another GamePass game that I decided to try out, and I rather liked it.    I wasn't sure if I was going to like the Metroidvania-style gameplay (sometimes I love it, sometimes I absolutely hate it), but this hybrid brawler-Metroidvania game was really good.  I loved the color palette, the references to other games, the humor in the dialog. 

The plot (from Wikipedia):
In a small village in Mexico, Juan Aguacate is a humble agave farmer. On the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) he’s going to meet with his childhood friend and love interest, El Presidente's Daughter, Lupita. An evil charro skeleton named Carlos Calaca attacks the village and kidnaps her. Juan is no match and is killed by Carlos. He is sent to the land of the dead, a parallel world where the dead reside. There, Juan finds a mysterious luchadora named Tostada. She gives Juan a mystical mask that transforms him into a powerful luchador and brings him back to the world of the living. The game then follows Juan's battle to rescue his beloved and to stop Calaca's plan to sacrifice her in a ritual that would unite the worlds of living and dead under his rule.

While he confronts X'tabay, the first of Calaca's lieutenants, he ends up transformed into a rooster and brought back to human form by another rooster with mysterious powers. After defeating X'tabay, she reforms, revealing that Calaca was once a great rodeo man who broke his arm just before an important competition, and sold his soul to the Devil to have it healed time enough for the competition, but just after winning, the Devil enacts his payment and drags him to hell, but with X'tabay's help he deceived the Devil by having him transformed into the same rooster who helped Juan, having helped him against Calaca in order to restore his power.

Juan gains power to confront and defeat the rest of Calaca's forces. Juan pursues Calaca to the altar where the ceremony is being held and defeats him, but does not arrive in time to save Lupita. In the normal ending, Juan returns to his village and lives his life in peace until reuniting with Lupita in the afterlife and the mask disappears. In the true ending, attained if the player clears all the hidden trials, Lupita is revived by the power of Juan's mask which breaks apart, and the two return together to the village where they get married.
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I ended up getting the unhappy ending where Juan and Lupita end up finding each other in the afterlife.  I have a few qualms about calling this the "bad" ending.  I think it was rather interesting, and it follows the fairytale-like plot.

I ended up playing some of the Infierno challenges, but I don't think I'll be going back (anytime soon) to complete the challenges.  There are 6 more orbs to find to get the "good" ending (the "they lived happily ever after" ending), but that's time taken away from other games (and the semester begins today, so...nope)


Gamerscore: 365/1200
Achievements 15
Total playtime: 10 hours
Silver earned: 75


Overall I'd give this game a 10/10.  Very entertaining, nice environmental puzzles, and if you don't spam the buttons on your controller - the story is funny too!



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Think Geek April Fool's

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Last but not list, on the 2019 list of of April Fool's jokes is Think Geek.  These were my favorite (and some times these things become reality!)  I don't know what that string of numbers on on the Captain Marvel pager.  Any Marvel fans out there to help me out?


Captain Marvel Universal Pager (link)
RETRO TECH FOR THE MODERN HERO
Pagers. Every cool 90’s kid had them, but what exactly were they for? Seriously. It's not like people in the 90’s were constantly waiting for a page so they could quickly fax someone an important document printed out on a dot-matrix printer from a file on a floppy disk. All while rewinding a VHS, waiting for a dial-up modem to connect, and flipping a cassette in a Walkman. Any of these words resonate with you?

Pagers are confusing and not even the people who had them know why they were necessary… but they totally were. You just have to take our word for it. Or at least take Captain Marvel's word for it. Because sometimes when you need a hero, the easiest way to get in touch is to page them.

This Captain Marvel Universal Pager might not be intergalactic, but it works as long as it's close to your phone. Powered by Bluetooth®, this pager will clip right on your pocket, belt loop, or high-waisted jeans. When you receive a phone call or text, your pager will alert you that you need to check your phone by flashing and beeping- just like in Marvel's Captain Marvel. Fortunately, instead of running to a payphone, all you have to do is pull out your cell phone. For a limited time, this Captain Marvel Universal Pager is available for only 1 cent with a 2-year contract commitment.

The Captain Marvel design is sure to impress your friends, and the colors go really well with a neon geometric wind breaker. It's perfect for emergencies - like when you run out of eggs, or you're being snapped out of existence.

What's the point of a pager if you still need your phone to use it? It's a secret.
Product Specifications

  • Captain Marvel Universal Pager 
  • A ThinkGeek exclusive 
  • Fully functioning pager that connects to your phone via Bluetooth® 
  • Displays up to 4 lines of text and 80 characters per line 
  • Only $0.01 with a 2-year contract ($9.99/month) 
  • No emoji support 
  • Up to 30,000 Maximum character capacity 
  • Compatibility: Supports all Android, Apple, and Stark devices 
  • Wireless Range: 30 ft. 
  • It's not actually intergalactic 
  • Only 90’s kids will remember to forget pagers 
  • 17 4011123 123801176 7415 53170 4379 
  • Materials: Plastic 
  • Dimensions: 2" tall x 3" wide x 3/4" long 
  • Power: 1 AA battery (included) 
  • Manufactured by Chronicle 




Kirby Roomba (link)
TIME TO DO THE KIRBY DANCE
Kirby's hunger is never-ending. He's inhaled enemies, friends, blocks, bricks, and food. But he's not satisfied. He wants more. He wants… to clean your house.

Stemming from years of enhanced vacuum technology and dirt disposal, this Roomby Kirby robot vacuum uses advanced smart mapping technology to remember your floor plan and responds to a variety of different voice commands.

Kirby (Knowledge Interface Robot Buddy Yielder) is a complex intelligent AI emoter, and will transition between different poses to let you know when it’s full and needs to be emptied, when it’s charging, and when it’s in regular roaming mode. And because it's Kirby, our developers have brought even more customization. When vacuuming, you'll hear sound effects provided by Makiko Ohmoto who performed over 41 unique Kirby emotes that have never been heard before. 

To fully interface with the Kirby robot vacuum, we recommend downloading the custom app (available exclusively on Switch). Though it can function with voice commands only, the app unlocks additional features like navigated piloting (for custom hand-held cleaning) and Smash Mode (compatible with select robot vacuums - sold separately). 

Robots are definitely going to take over the world, but until then, let them vacuum your stuff! (>'O')> 


Mjolnir Mailbox (link)
BECAUSE YOUR MAIL IS WORTHY
We at ThinkGeek usually take a playful tone with our copy, but there's nothing cute or funny about vandalizing someone's mailbox. We swear to Odin, if we have to replace our mailbox again we'll set off Ragnarok ourselves. *Deep breath.* Sorry, you didn't deserve that. It's not like you're the one taking a baseball bat to our mailbox. RIGHT?

If you too have experienced the harsh sting of collecting scattered letters (ahem, bills) after finding your mailbox on the front lawn, we've got a solution for you. Before you go all Revengers on anyone, try out this Marvel Thor Mighty Mjolnir Mailbox. We named it after Thor's mighty hammer not just because it looks like Mjolnir, but also because this mailbox is nearly indestructible. Seriously. With a healthy stash of uru and signoff from some Dwarven blacksmiths, we've provided an ultimate solution that has a lifetime guarantee. Your mailbox will never be moved again. Even if you wanted to.

In addition to holding your mail and being virtually unmovable, we've added some extra features to make this mailbox an active part of your smart home. Ever had people snooping around in your mailbox? Not anymore. Just like you have to be worthy to wield Thor's hammer, you also have to be worthy to open this mailbox. This mailbox cannot be opened by anyone but official USPS workers and you. It comes with facial recognition technology that always has the most up-to-date list of USPS employees, and you can add up to 4 friends and family members as well.

Wondering if that mail has come yet? The sides will light up when your mail has been delivered (with optional push-notifications to your mobile device). Don't worry about replacing batteries or running power cords - it runs on solar energy. Need to mail something? We've replaced the boring mailbox flag with the wings of Thor's helmet. Because if we're embracing authenticity, we might as well go all the way.  
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The Impossible Whopper

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Burger Kind punks everyone who thought their Whoppers were made of real beef.  Sadly, I think one of these days we will find out that fast food was not beef all along (and not, it won't be veggie burgers :p)


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Screen Cleaner by Google Files

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This April Fool's joke is from Google proper.  While it's intended as humor...I could see self-cleaning glass in our future!


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Roku Press Paws

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This one was another interesting April Fool's that has caught my attention.  I think what got me was the pet-appeal of the fake ad.  Next year they should do something with cats ;-)


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Duoling Push

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Another of my favorite April Fool's fake announcements from this year's crop of April Fool's Jokes, the persistent, real life, owl notification that keeps pestering you to practice your language skills on Duolingo ;-)


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