Storypost | 2020.07.26

The Last of Us Pt II TLOU2 sniping
Monopod build

Monopod head assembly insert carbon fiber

Still waiting on the lens, I've made headway on the monopod. I won't cut the main pole until I know how high the lens sits, but I assembled the stem piece.

Monopod build for telephoto lens

While the carbon pole and ferrule were manufactured to go together, I'm using a railing flange to connect horizontal and vertical. The flange inner diameter is a bit larger than the outer diameter of the ferrule - I could have probably purchased the right dimensions originally, but I think this will work. Naturally, any play between any pieces is unacceptable.

Monopod head assembly telephoto lens carbon fiber

Using plumbing pipe wrap, I created a press-fit lower connection, then shimmed the gap between the pieces with thin plastic and dumped epoxy into the gap. The epoxy isn't meant to bond, but rather fill the area and hold the plastic pieces in place. The real work is being done by a couple 3/8" bolts with lock washers.

Telephoto monopod head safety pins

Sliding the flange/ferrule portion into the carbon tube, I drilled holes for the lock pins that will hold the mount in place as long as I want the lens attached to the monopod. I have to clean up the drill areas a bit. Also: masonry drill bits for carbon fiber.

Carbon fiber block sheet

The flange will bolt into a rigid carbon block which will hold the standard lens mount screw.
Covid gaming

Civilization VI multiplayer

After Axis and X-Wing, Jon, Rob, and I tried a Civ 6 online game. Our 10am start time was pushed to 5pm and we eventually started the game about ninety minutes after that. A duel board size was plenty big for the three of us and two city-states.

Rob fumbled with his early empire, I did okay but stunted my civ's growth by mismanaging barbarian hordes. Jon probably had a spreadsheet with his first 500 turns planned out.

Jon tried unsuccessfully to take a city-state, then pivoted to my outermost city, thinking he could pull off a sneak attack. When he realized I was on to him, he went back and finally had the technology to conquer the city-state. Rob did some dishes.

When Jon came back at my exposed city, I had just one niter resource that was on a remote island. This ended up being critical, as Rob had no niter access. Even with gunpowder tech, I could only build musketmen in my capitol and only when Jon's knights weren't pillaging my niter mine. That was it, he rolled through a couple of my cities.

With very thin continents and the Venetian Arsenal (ship BOGO), my only hope was a flotilla of bombards on his advancing cannon. Unfotunately, until very late, Rob couldn't figure out how to agree to open borders and let my ships out of our shared bay. To his credit, Rob did eventually declare war on Jon, albeit with arrows against artillery.

I'm not sure if it was the 12am, the attrition, or the completely reasonable alliance, but Jon decided to call it there. I'm still impressed that he managed to build up and partially lose a huge attacking army while still maintaining a tech edge.

Birthday photos, the usual.

Surfing memes SUP hate
TUP party

I previously said that bond offers looked pretty dismal - not that it mattered since my expectation was to hold them until maturity. Well, I had some better results.

I bought few TUP(perware) bonds, hoping they could rebound from legal troubles (with shareholders iirc) on the back of very competitive oil prices. With 50 cents on the dollar bonds that would pay out in a year, I guess it makes sense that someone decided to offer 80 cents on the dollar. I figured I'd take the gains.

And I pulled an offer for 18% gains on Bed Bath & Beyond bonds. With a 3.75% yield and 2024 maturity, these aren't quite as attractive, but still pulled a decent market value.
Media room fin

Restoration Hardware curtains

The RH curtains took their sweet time, but they got here. The photo is overexposed, with the curtains drawn the media room gets more light bouncing down the stairs. And so I don't have to wait til nightfall to play...
The Last of Us Pt. II review Pt. II

The Last of Us Pt II TLOU2 creep ferris wheel

First, no spoilers

Picking up where I left off, the core gameplay has largely remained the same, with variety provided by unlocks (weapons, skills) and new enemies. The beautiful/horrific, detailed environments have not failed to deliver an immersive experience.

The Last of Us Pt II TLOU2 boat overpasses

The boat is kind of neat, and I'm happy to have finally used the scope I crafted as my first mod.

thumbnail The Last of Us 2 TLOU2 Ellie boat thumbnail The Last of Us 2 TLOU2 Ellie boat rapids thumbnail The Last of Us 2 TLOU2 Ellie
thumbnail The Last of Us 2 TLOU2 Ellie sneak stealth kill ferns
thumbnail The Last of Us 2 TLOU2 Ellie hostage knife thumbnail The Last of Us 2 TLOU2 Ellie parking garage view

Now, can we talk about... (plot spoilers)

The Last of Us Pt II TLOU2 Ellie flashback

First up, Ellie knowing about Joel's choice came as a bit of a surprise. It made me briefly wonder how this fits in with all of the flashbacks, but I decided it'd be best to trust the storytellers.

The Last of Us Pt II TLOU2 WLF stadium

To quote my earlier reaction:

MeMe But you play for a few minutes as the villain. Like why?

And now it looks like there's a substantial portion of the game that's played as Abby. This is something I simply cannot get into. I'm not sure how the writers expect you to watch clips of Joel get beaten to death in front of Ellie and then somehow want to follow her story.

The Last of Us Pt II TLOU2 Abby swim

I mean, I have a pretty good idea based on the flashbacks; we're supposed to be manipulated into thinking Abby isn't so bad.

The Last of Us Pt II TLOU2 inciting decision flashback Abby

Yeah. Joel killed Abby's dad as he was trying to murder a child. Okay, I buy the anger. I'm not sure I buy the crusade to Jackson - dragging a team across a zombie-infested wasteland to get revenge for justifiable homicide. There may be yet more reveals, but slowly beating Joel to death with a golf club is simply beyond explanation or redemption.

The Last of Us Pt II TLOU2 zebra barbed wire

The storytelling has moved to drawing heavy-handed parallels between Ellie and Abby. Zebra = giraffe.

The Last of Us Pt II TLOU2 aquarium whales

Whale = dinosaur. I get it, Abby and Ellie are two sides of the same coin (which Abby collects!). They aren't though. Ellie's quest for revenge is reciprocal, Abby's was asymmetric. Jackson is (ostensibly) civilized, WLF has its own Gitmo. And now I have to watch Abby run around joke about her roomie's romantic misadventures. For a good chunk of the game. If the writers are going to convince me that Abby is okay (or that Ellie is equally bad), I'd rather that happened before the part where I have to keep her from getting killed.

The Last of Us Pt II TLOU2 sunset

But, you know, the battle for Seattle is actually kind of interesting. I really wish I didn't constantly want to run Abby into the nearest clicker, because I'd like to see what happens when the ruthless militants try to eliminate the whistling cultists. Perhaps we learn that the real monster is man.

So while I appreciate that the game is fun/frightening to play and that the story is interesting, I really wish they'd chosen one of the following:

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