AC Valhalla: Post Updates

Before I start, if you have not read my previous posts on the game and the marketing, I highly suggest you do so, otherwise this post will likely make little sense.

I wasn’t planning to write anything else about Assassin’s Creed Valhalla after ripping the game and the marketing to shreds. However, I have information updates for both posts. Rather than update the posts themselves, where no one will ever see the information, I’m writing this post.

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My 2020 Top Pens

In working on blog posts for the new year, I wanted to revisit last year’s favorite pens, only to realize I hadn’t previously written such a list. So, to have something to revisit next year, I give you my top pens as of the close of 2020.

I tend to sell or trade pens that don’t make me very happy to own. I’m hoping to eventually get to a point where all of my pens are favorites, but I was able to come up with a top 10 and top 20 this year. It was difficult to do, but these are basically the pens you’d have to pry out of my cold, dead hands.

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2020’s Silver Linings

Despite everything that has happened recently, and my last post, I still want to share this, because it holds true. Here’s hoping there are more, and larger silver linings to 2021.

So, 2020 is finally over, after an indeterminate number of years. There’s no denying that it was a terrible year for many. Or that it was a year unlike any ever seen. And, in some ways, it’s not over yet. We’re still dealing wtih most of the biggest issues of the past year.

However, among the plentiful negatives, for me at least, there were little nuggets of positive that keeps 2020 from being an unmentionable black mark in the past. I’d like to take a post to look back on the positive silver linings of 2020 as an uplifting start to 2021.

#1 & #2: It’s a Tie

My top two items tie for first: adopting our kittens and Bumbledore’s improvement.

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A Dark Day in American History

I had a different post scheduled for today, one about the small silver linings of 2020. But I couldn’t bring myself to let it post. I unscheduled it, and will put it up another day. I tend to shy away from politics, from divisive posts, but I just can’t bring myself to stay silent today. Yesterday’s actions must be universally condemned in the harshest manner possible.

I thought, at this point, with everything that has happened in the last four years, and especially last year, that I was somewhat inured to bad news. We’re already living in times that will go down in history as overwhelmingly bad. But then this.

The world watched with America as we gawked in horror at our phones, computers, and TV screens. We watched a sitting president attempt to stage a coup and overthrow a democratic election by using people who are too stupid, or too stubborn, to accept that they’re being used. We watched elected leaders attempt to help the president with his mission, although most of them hastily changed their mind as a result of the idiot-mob. We watched police that — less than a year ago — reacted with force to mostly peaceful protests, virtually stand aside and welcome rioters into the Capitol building.

It was disgusting. And even more disgusting and depressing is the likelihood that not one of the leaders who directly defied our constitution — with full awareness of what they were doing, I might add — will face more than social backlash.

Despite how my post likely sounds, I don’t hate the idiot-mob. I pity them. I pity people too blinded by hate, prejudice, fear, or stupidity to realize that they are being used, that they are fighting for something that doesn’t exist, and has never existed. Trump doesn’t care about them, he cares about power and money, and is throwing a tantrum now that his ill-gotten gains are being taken away. MAGA supporters can’t even agree when America was “great.” They’re small, scared little people who feel that America only deserves to be “great” for them.

As people are saying across the world, yesterday would have looked far different if that crowd had been anything other than white. The comparisons between yesterday and the Black Lives Matter protests prove that beyond a shadow of a doubt.

If ever there is a time to use deadly force, it is when an insurrection is in progress, even more so when a nation’s leaders are put at risk. Make no mistake, yesterday was an insurrection. An unsuccessful one, perhaps, but one nonetheless.

What I Would Like to See Happen

At this point, what’s done is done. But Congress can still impeach and remove Trump, who is clearly unfit for office. They can bar him from ever holding any form of office again. Pence and the cabinet can remove him from office using the 25th Amendment. Either, or both, should happen. It’s clear that leaving Trump in office is dangerous to our nation, and our nation’s people.

I firmly believe that yesterday has cemented Trump’s reputation for the history books. He will be known as the worst president — I really hate writing that — the United States has ever known.

I fervently hope that someday the name Donald Trump will be viewed with more disdain than Benedict Arnold. He deserves to be forgotten to time. An unnamed blemish on American history studied only as a reminder of how bad things can go. An abberation of the democratic process that was appointed to office when he lost the popular vote by millions. But, since that’s virtually impossible at the very least, he ought to be remembered with the contempt he and his actions inspire.

NOTE: To anyone who is new here, ALL comments are held for review. That is not unique to this post. And I WILL NOT approve any hateful comments.

Year in Review – 2020 Pens

Welcome to 2021! Of course, my first post of the year is about pens. But, I promise, my next post won’t be. Really.

Last year, I wrote about my biggest pen wins and regrets of 2019. It was fun to look back on my pens, so I decided to do the same thing this year. Thankfully, I’m less embarrassed about my total pen purchases this year.

In my last post, I took a more intention-based look at my pen collection from last year. This time I’m looking at actual pens.

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Pen Ownership

2020 was my fourth full year truly invested in the pen world. I bought 3 pens in 2016 — over the entire year — but I wasn’t a “pen person” yet. So, what’s changed in four years? What’s stayed the same? And what have I learned?

I want to start with that last one. The most important thing I’ve learned is that I need to buy pens that I’m happy to own, not just pens I’m happy to buy. Pens that I’m happy to buy don’t stick around very long.

In an unexpected, and unpleasant, way, 2020 really helped me get a good handle on this new philosophy. Less money coming in means less money for pens. So I really had to question every purchase — especially pens.

And it made a huge difference. I acquired 40% less pens this year than last year, and even 10% less than 2018. In many cases, I sold other pens to fund purchases. And, to be fair to myself, several pens were gifts or trades.

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Ubisoft, Market Your Female Protagonists!

This is my second, and final, negative post about Assassin’s Creed Valhalla (ACV).

For those completely unfamiliar with the game, ACV gives you the option to play either:

  • entirely as a female version of Eivor,
  • entirely as a male version of Eivor,
  • or let the animus (the device in the game universe that lets you relive past memories) decide.

The Animus choice is the default. It means you play as a female Eivor through most of the game, only playing as male during “potion”-induced visions.

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Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Why Are Reviewers Lying?

I’ve played every major Assassin’s Creed (AC) release, and none have annoyed and disappointed me more than the newest release, Valhalla. Nope, not even the infamous Unity was as bad in my opinion.

For the record, at the time of writing, I’ve logged 46 hours of playtime at the easiest setting on my PlayStation 4. Everything that follows is based on that experience.

My biggest disappointment, and anger inducing issue, is the crashing problem. Valhalla has crashed 8 times so far. That’s less than 6 hours of gameplay per crash. And based on comments on Reddit, I’m one of the lucky ones that isn’t experiencing much crashing. Keep in mind, people paid a minimum of $60 for this game.

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Review – Elegant Etiquette in the Nineteenth Century

Elegant Etiquette in the Nineteenth Century

by Mallory James

Elegant Etiquette in the Nineteenth Century

Genres: Non Fiction
Release Date: November 30, 2017
Pages: 152
Purchase from: Amazon
My Rating: ★★★★★

Have you ever wondered what it would have been like to live in the nineteenth century? How would you have gotten a partner in a ballroom? What would you have done with a letter of introduction? And where would you have sat in a carriage?
 
Covering all these nineteenth-century dilemmas and more, this book is your must-have guide to the etiquette of our well-heeled forebears. As it takes you through the intricacies of rank, the niceties of the street, the good conduct that was desired in the ballroom, and the awkward blunders that a lady or gentleman would have wanted to avoid, you will discover an abundance of etiquette advice from across the century, and a lively, occasionally tongue-in-cheek, and thoroughly detailed history of nineteenth-century manners and conduct.
 
This well-researched book is enjoyable, compelling reading for anyone with an interest in this period. In exploring the expectations of behavior and etiquette, it brings the world of the nineteenth century to life.

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Bumbledore: the Heartbreakingly Beautiful Story of a Rescue Cat

Today marks one year since we brought Bumble home. In that time, he has completely transformed. He still has a long road of mental recovery ahead of him, but even if he weren’t to improve any further, I’m convinced he’d live a happy, fulfilled life. 

Before I jump into Bumble’s story, I want to say that King Street Cats (KSC) is fabulous. They are an extremely successful and well-regarded shelter specializing in “difficult to adopt” cats — like those that are shy, older, or have mobility issues, among other things. Anyone looking for a cat in the Washington, DC area should look into KSC. They rely on volunteers and donations, and you can easily help support them by setting KSC as your charity on AmazonSmile online and by setting up your Amazon app to shop using AmazonSmile. I’m not affiliated with KSC in any way, I just believe that strongly in their mission.

Back to Bumble, he was a rather damaged cat when we adopted him. He’d been through some horrible things in his life, and that’s just what we have proof of. It’s amazing how far he’s come in just one year. I’ve never known a sweeter cat, nor one more desirous of affection (though scared to ask for it). I hope he’ll continue to improve and flourish. My goal is to turn him into a lap cat — we’ll see if that happens. Regardless of what the future brings, I want to share his story with us so far.

I’ve included lots of photos and videos to break up this super-long post. Make sure to turn up your audio so you can hear what’s going on in the videos.

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