February 23, 2017

The Wii U’s Dying Breath

We are now days away from the release of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for both the wii u and the Switch.

It is a game many have been looking forward to for a while. Heck, it’s the reason why some got a wii u to begin with. That wasn’t the only reason why I got mine, but it is definitely a reason. It has been in development for the wii u, however, it’s launching on both the wii u and the Switch. It’s unfortunate that the wii u does not have a Zelda game on it exclusively. There are actually a few unfortunate things about the wii u:

- how multiplayer is handled. With the Gamepad, things got overly confusing in regards to how many extra controllers you need, etc.

- reliance on wii motes. There are a few games that actually required wii motes. Here’s the thing: the wii motes are the controllers from the previous system, the wii. This is the wii u, a whole new console. It just got poorly named. Anyway, wii motes should have not been supported on this system, aside from playing wii games on it [backwards compatibility]. The “actual” wii u controllers are the pro controller, and the game pad.

- the name. The name of thing confused people right off the bat. Some didn’t know what it was, or if it worked with the wii, or what have you. This, combined with the poor marketing ads led to it not selling well.

- the hard drive. I'm sorry, 32GB is not a lot of storage these days. We shouldn't be 'expected' to get an external, because the console doesn't ship with a hard drive suited to its needs. After the first year or so, Nintendo should have made a "wii u pro" with a built in 64GB one.
- too many gaps between notable games.

- lack of third party support.

I'm sure there's more as well, but the wii u could have been so much better than it was. It had some really good games on it. Sadly, most of them are being ported over to the Switch, or have been ported over to the 3DS. That fact itself doesn't like the wii u is worth owning anymore. It is therefore, fitting, that Zelda is the last game coming out for it. The wii u is dying, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is its dying breath.


The game will keep me playing for quite a bit, as there will be DLC coming for Zelda in the summer, and the fall / "holiday".

Also, my Nintendo buying days are beginning to come to an end. I wills till play games (Steam, and the Ps4), but I'm clsoe to being done with Nintendo. There have a been a few reasons that has led me to this decision:

- unable to get the Majora's Mask themed New 3DSXL

- unable to get the Fire Emblem: Fates Special Edition

- amiibo shortages

- NES Classic shortages

- Nintendo never announcing themselves announcing when specialty items are actually able for pre-order

It's very hard to support a company that I find treats it's fans so poorly....especially the wii u owners: "the wii u failed...buy our switch isntead!" What if the switch fails as well? With XBONES and the Ps4 Pro coming out, as a wii u owner, I sort of hoped something simialr would have happened with the wii u to get it 'on track.' Not only that, but how can a pre-order for an item that's not limited (or, for that matter, numbered) be sold out??? I've been through this before, and with the end of the wii u and the beginning of the switch, I see no reason to go through it again.

But I could eat my words.

We'll see how this Switch does. For all I know, this Christmas (at the very earliest) I could up wanting one.

For The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild though; I'm getting it on the wii u. It's one of the reasons why I bought my wii u, and seems like a very good way to end it's life. In regards to other purchases for the wii u, I'll essentially turn it into an emulation machine. I'll buy and download some virtual console games off the eshop.

As for future Nintendo purchases, here is what I predict I will get:

- a few more 3DS games, depending on what comes out. There could be 1 or 2 more Fire Emblem games coming out. I say this because the full title of the May release is "Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadow of Valentia. With the previous games, they were called: "Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright, Conquest and Revelation. Is it possible that we may get more games under the "Fire Emblem Echoes" title?? [Sacred Stones, perhaps??] 

- the Corrin amiibo

- NES Classic + 2nd controller

- [because you never know....] Nintendo Switch + 2 pro controllers. It would be awesome if the Switch got a new Mario Kart game [not a deluxe version of one that exists already], same with Smash, and a Zelda game designed for the switch, not a dual-release title. I would constantly keep the console docked, as the portability aspect of it does not appeal to me. I want to give it to see how it does, and what comes out for it. But if Nintendo disappoints as per the examples I gave beforehand, I won't even consider getting it. I should also add that I do not intend to get it at launch, nor am expecting to. The earliest I'd get it would Black Friday.

February 22, 2017

A Fantasy Update

There are a few updates on some fantasy books which I’ll mention in this post.


Assassin’s Fate
, the finale of Robin Hobb’s latest Fitz-related trilogy, is due out in May. I’ve been trying to find out whether or not this is the final Fitz-related book, period. I’ve heard of Robin and her works going about as far back as when I discovered Tolkien, but have not read any – yet.


This spring also marks the beginning of the end of the Shannara series. The final Shannara series [which will be 4 books] is called “The Fall of Shannara.” The first of those four is titled The Black Elfstone.


I have also discovered another fantasy author, who seems quite promising. The author’s name is Michael J. Sullivan. I’ll be keeping a close eye on him and follow his publications. I say this because; George R.R. Martin and Patrick Rothfuss are the final authors that I’ll follow as their books come out. If an author is writing a fantasy series, I’ll wait until the series is completed before buying any of them. Still no word yet on either The Winds of Winter or The Doors of Stone. Nothing against other authors or publishing houses, but I'd rather wait until a series is written and published in full before getting involved, and having supremely long wait times during the publication of the series.


Another author that I’ve discovered that I’m waiting until his series is completed before purchasing, is Scott Lynch.  


Steven Erikson is also at work on Walk in Shadow, the third book in his Malazan prequel trilogy. It’s publication date is currently unknown, but I have noticed that books 1 and 2 of the trilogy are about 4 years apart. Forge of Darkness arrived in 2012, and Fall of Light was 2016.


This year also sees the publication of Stormlight book 3, called Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson. This one is due out in the fall.


Finally, Philip Pullman will also be publishing the first of 3 volumes in an “equel” trilogy to His Dark Materials. The name of that trilogy is “The Book of Dust.” He dubbed the term himself, as it’s neither a prequel, sequel, or even an “interquel.” [an interquel is what Stephen King’s The Wind Through the Keyhole is].Again, I’ll wait until the trilogy is completed before purchasing it. I may go for: all individual titles in hardback, a hardback boxed set, or an omnibus edition [hopefully one will be offered by Everyman’s Library to match my edition of His Dark Materials].

Looks like 2017 is beginning to shape up to be a great year for fantasy! And that's not counting the Tolkien or Tolkien related books, either....

February 13, 2017

Tolkien 2017 Wish List

2017 may already be set in stone for Harper Collins and their Tolkien publications. Assuming that it isn't, here are some things that would be neat to come out. There are a few events of note: Tolkien's 125th birthday, the 80th anniversary of The Hobbit and the 40th anniversary of The Silmarillion. I've sort of made a "wishlist" or a "wouldn't it be nice?" post of some items I think would be neat to see, as well as what some items would contain.

So let's get to it...

The Hobbit: 80th anniversary edition illustrated by Alan Lee

- transparent slipcase
- re-scanned paintings
- chalk-white paper
(original text?)
- unjacketed book: the iconic image of Smaug on the front cover, Gandalf leaving the company at Mirkwood on the back cover
- Thror's map as front endpaper [reverse of board] and Map of Wilderland as rear endpaper [reverse of board]
- 1/4 bound burgundy ["spine colourization"]
- ribbon marker bound in [same coloour as the 1/4 binding]
- dimensions would match the 60th anniversary of The Lord of the Rings illustrated by Alan Lee

The Silmarillion: 40th anniversary edition illustrated by Ted Nasmith

- transparent slipcase
- re-scanned paintings
- all of Ted Nasmith's artwork from The Silmarillion (1998 and 2004) included
- the most recent, and accurate, text setting of The Silmarillion [including Tolkien's letter]
- chalk-white paper
- unjacketed book: the iconic image of Maglor casting a Silmaril into the Sea on the front cover, Beren and Luthien being flown to safety on the back cover.
- features the full-colour map of Beleriand (and the lands to the North) on the endpapers. (This one also appeared in the 1998 edition)
- 1/4 bound bright terra cotta ["spine colourization"]
- ribbon marker bound in [same colour as the 1/4 binding]
dimensions would match the 60th anniversary of The Lord of the Rings illustrated by Alan Le

"The Annotated Silmarillion" or "The Silmarillion Reader's Comapnion"

This is somewhat based on the fact that there is an Annotated Hobbit, as well as a Reader's Companion to The Lord of the Rings. a similar book in either vein would be welcome for The Silmarillion.

"The Art of the Silmarillion"

We've had The Art of the Hobbit and The Art of the Lord of the Rings; so naturally, it may be possible to do "The Art of the Silmarillion." Question is, if there's enough content to make a book dedicated to Silmarillion related artwork by Tolkien himself.

So those are the books that I feel are "missing" or it would be great if they existed. There isn't too much else I can think of that I would want to publish. My other wish would be The Fall of Gondolin, edited by Christopher Tolkien and illustrated by Alan Lee.

That basically sums up what would be neat to see from Harper Collins this year...or at some point. 

January 21, 2017

"Excalibur" (and The Warlord Trilogy) Review

This is one of the best trilogies, or series,  that I have ever read.

What is begun in "The Winter King" carries through "Enemy of God" and concludes here. Each book is divided into 'parts' (usually 3 or 4 per book) and serves as a nice 'breaking point' in the narrative. So, this could have one HUGE book, or about 10-12 much much smaller ones.

Nothing ever 'wavers' throughout all 3 books. The conclusion...well, it's not terrible, but it's a 'we get there before we realize it' type scenario. Enough is wrapped up to satisfy, enough left open to ponder. As ever, with books 1 and 2, read the Author's Note at the end of each book for additional context or commentary from Cornwell himself. 

I can safely recommend this trilogy to any and all who like historical fiction, or even fantasy.

This 3rd and final book is a great and worthy follow up to "Enemy of God" (which in itself was a great and worthy follow-up to "The Winter King.") and the entire trilogy is practically flawless, as are the books therein. If possible, read all 3 as close together as you can.

January 17, 2017

Tolkien Tuesday: 2017

One subject I wished to blog about, was upcoming Tolkien publications this year. I could have covered it in my books post, but I thought I should give it its own spot.

There are a few interesting items on the horizon, as well as events.

2017 marks the 40th anniversary of The Silmarillion. Presently, there isn’t a new edition planned (or a republication of an older, etc), however that could happen in 2027 for its 50th. I’m not too sure what else they can add, to be honest. I can see both The Hobbit and The Silmarillion getting an edition similar to the 60th anniversary illustrated edition of The Lord of the Rings. What I’d like to see in a future Silmarillion edition would be the sheet about the heraldry and devices that was included in a Tolkien calendar from the ‘70s, and it was also included in the white collector’s box that came out in ’99.

Most likely the biggest Tolkien publication this year is Beren and Luthien. At this point, because I haven’t seen the table of contents, I can’t say exactly what the book will contain. What’s for certain, though, is that it’s one of Tolkien’s original 3 ‘Great Tales’ edited by Christopher Tolkien, and illustrated by Alan Lee. The others are The Children of Hurin (which came out in 2007, 10 years ago) and The Fall of Gondolin. Here’s hoping that The Fall of Gondolin will happen in this manner, as it will round out all the Great Tales in that style. For Beren and Luthien, there will be a deluxe edition published the same day as the hardback and ebook. The 2018 Tolkien Calendar will also feature Alan Lee’s artwork from Beren and Luthien.  

Another item I’m looking forward to is 10th anniversary revised edition of The Tolkien Companion and Guide by Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull. I’ve been on the lookout for the original box set by Harper Collins, however, since it’s out of print, the market place prices are crazy high. I believe around 2010-2013 was when it caught my attention. However, this year, the two book set has been expanded. So much so, that it will now be a three book set. If I’m not mistaken, the Reader’s Guide has expanded from one book to two.

There doesn’t appear to be any sign [and by that I mean pre-order listing] for a deluxe version of The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun. The deluxe version of The Story of Kullervo came out a year and a bit after the hardback and ebook did; so I’m wondering if Harper Collins will do likewise with this one. Then again, Beren and Luthien gets its deluxe edition ‘same day’, so…. Aotrou & Itroun is smaller / slimmer / thinner than Kullervo, so it may be possible that the book may be too small to get produced or printed in the deluxe edition design and style. Anyway, at this point, it’s not known if one will come [this year or ever.]. I check about once a week, every week, but I’ll make a point to check around the half-way mark for the year. If July or August rolls around and there’s no listing for it, then there won’t be in 2017 [or…ever?], would be my guess.

For those who like paperbacks, it seems that The Hobbit illustrated by Jemima Catlin will be arriving later this year (September), under the title “Colour Illustrated Hobbit”. I’m guessing because paperbacks usually have black and white artwork etc, they wanted to specify. The Story of Kullervo will also be coming out in paperback, in the “matching” size as the other Tolkien paperbacks in August.

I usually don’t track ‘books about Tolkien’ but in August, The Song of Middle-earth by David Harvey is coming out in hardback….which is a tad backwards, considering that the paperback came out last year. I am not sure what it will feature [aside from the fact the book will be in hardback], if anything. It could possibly be a print-on-demand title offered from Tolkien.co.uk , the official Tolkien bookstore.

For the time being, I believe that covers the notable Tolkien publications for 2017….that we know of at this point.

January 15, 2017

2017: Books & Reading

There isn’t a whole lot I’m looking to buy this year in the way of books; whether they be new releases or books previously published that I’ve yet to discover.

There are only a select few I intend to get. Of course, this isn’t counting any books that may be gifted to me throughout the year, nor comics / trades / graphic novels. I really hope The Winds of Winter comes out this year. Once it’s announced, I’m pre-ordering it ASAP. If it comes out this year, the earliest would be May, the latest would be November.

I’ll be getting The Flame Bearer in the spring; which is usually when the Bernard Cornwell books come out in the format I like, and have the other Last Kingdom books in. I’ll also be getting The Tolkien Companion and Guide by Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull; which is a revised 10th anniversary edition of their 2-book set. Another Tolkien book I’ll be getting will be Beren and Luthien in the spring when it comes out. All three books I’ve mentioned are on pre-order.

I may also consider picking up the Everyman’s Library edition of a collection of Robert Burns Poems.

Aside from those, my trips to the book store will be minimal. I’ve got catching up to do, though!

Now, what do I plan to read

Well, I am currently reading Excalibur by Bernard, the final book in his Warlord Trilogy. I have about 100 pages left, and I hope to finish that by next Sunday. After that, I have a number of options of what to read next.

- Canterbury Classic's leather edition of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (And Other Stories) 

- Nova Scotia: Shaped by the Sea [New Revised Edition] by Lesley Choyce 
 - The Man in High Castle by Philip K. Dick 
- Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

So those are my choice son 'what to read next.' I will read all of those titles, but the question is 'when', and 'which one do I start with.'

I am also looking to read some 'mythology' [Sagas of Icelanders, Penguin's "Legends from the Ancient North" series, a few other mythology titles, Canterbury Classic's leather duology of Iliad and Odyssey], a re-read of His Dark Materials, Les Miserables, and The Count of Monte Cristo, to name few other titles I wish to read at some point this year. That's not counting what I'll read on my Kobo ereader, or if The Winds of Winter does in fact come out this year.

Lots of books, lots of choices...not nearly as much time as I'd like!

January 11, 2017

2017: Movies + TV

For the next installment of  my 2017 series, I’m going to examine which TV shows and movies I’m looking forward to feasting my eyes on. 

First, I’ll cover movies. 

So far, 2017 seems to be quite lacking in the big blockbuster movie department. I don’t mean the fact that it’s only January, of course, but looking ahead to seeing when movies are coming out. That said, I’m looking forward to the following. Please note, that just because I don’t want to see something at the cinema, doesn’t mean I don’t want to see it. 


Guardians 2

I will definitely see this one opening night in premium format.


Alien: Covenant

The Aline films seem to be hit or miss. The very first two were quite good but the rest after that…..we’ll see by word of mouth before I decide if I want to see this one at the cinema, or wait for it to hit Netflix [so I can ‘legally’ watch it but not pay an arm and a leg to do so.]


Pirates 5

Good chance I’ll see this one at the cinema. Perhaps not during the first week, but I hope to see it at the cinema. If I hear it’s terrible….I’ll still watch it, but may wait for it to be on Netflix.



It’s another MCU movie, so of course I’ll be at the cinema in premium format to see this one! I quite enjoyed Spider-Man in Civil War, so bring on his own film. 


War of the Apes

I’d like to see this one, but I’ll most likely see it on Netflix. I enjoyed the more recent Apes movies, but I’ve never gotten excited enough to catch them at the cinema, though. 



I managed to see about the first 10 minutes of this when I saw Rogue One. It looks pretty impressive. I’d definitely be willing to catch it in the cinema, especially in a premium format (Nolan likes to use IMAX camera for filming). 


Blade Runner 2

I loved Blade Runner, especially the final cut. I saw it in a cinema, in fact. Basically, the reception of this film will determine how I will watch it. I want to see it though, but do I want to spend the $20 to do so….?

…and those are pretty much it for the year that I I’m looking forward to seeing. I’m sure I’ll see others, and some dates may get pushed back, and some may advance. But as of this moment, those are the ones I’m looking forward to seeing. 

Now, for the TV shows. 

At the moment, the only show I’m watching “as it goes” is Vikings. I enjoyed it enough to not wait until the season was finished to power through it, but to watch it week-by-week. The only other show I do that with at the moment is Game of Thrones. Season 7 will be this year sometime, so I’m looking forward to that. It would be nice to get the book The Winds of Winter by Martin before the new season begins, but that’s another post. 

The other shows I watch ‘later’ – I either wait for the season to end, the entire show to finish, or I watch on Netflix. Netflix recently posted the final episodes for Hell on Wheels, so now the entire show is there. I’m waiting for newer seasons of Halt and Catch Fire and Turn to be uploaded, as well. The Americans and Better Call Saul I’m waiting until they’re finished. I’m also interested in The Crown. Probably soon I’ll start Star Wars: Rebels, as well.

January 6, 2017

2017: Wishlist

As part of my “2017 Series”, I will examine which things I am hoping to get, as well as save up for the year. Each year, I usually ‘treat’ myself to a somewhat large financial purchase. So, I’m going to look ahead and tell you what I want to get this year. This is essentially a birthday and Christmas wishlist for 2017.

There aren’t that many I’m looking to get this year, surprising enough. It’s time to start reading what I own! If The Winds of Winter comes out this year, I’m definitely getting that.

- Beowulf by The Folio Society [I’d love town this special edition of Beowulf]

- A Middle-earth Traveler (Sketches From Bag End to Mordor) by John Howe [ISBN: 
9780008226770] (To be published Oct. 5.) [it sounds like a john Howe Lord of the Rings sketchbook….]
- The Legend of Zelda: Art & Artifacts [just in time for the new game coming out on wii u! Also, I own Hyrule Historia, so this will match it!]

- A Feast of Ice and Fire [I have the other cookbooks by the same author: the Warcraft one and the Shire one. This one’s all that’s missing. I wonder if there will be an updated one once the books or the show ends….?]

- Through the Eyes of the Vikings: An Aerial Vision of Arctic Lands  by Robert Haas [saw the Viking exhibit at my local museum and I should have grabbed this book!]


This is the stuff that doesn’t really fit into a category.

- Ottawa Redblacks jersey

- Ottawa Redblacks [Grey Cup Champions?] t-shirt (red)

- Ottawa Redblacks tickets
- Team Canada Jersey

- cozies (pants + shirt combo)

- Beau's Pint Glass [need a beer glass from one of my fav breweries!]

- Beau's B-Side Brewing Label t-shirt [my fav t-shirt they currently sell] 

- NES Classic *AND* NES Classic Controller [I’m in no hurry to get this, but I’ll make the effort any time I know they’ll go on sale.] 
- Shrine of Talos statue [Talos is central to the story of Skyrim, and this statue is pretty sweet looking.]
-  Batman Rebirth Symbol t-shirt

- Dawn of Justice Batman t-shirt 

Some vinyl LPs that I’d love to get.
- Hero of Time 

- The Rolling Stones: Blue and Lonesome 

Some breweries that I like, whose beers can be bought at LCBO.

- St Bernardus
- Muskoka

- Beau's

- Chimay

- Innis & Gunn
- Belhaven

- Fuller's

These will help me get a few things for the house [such as full sized ‘proper’ bookcases], get some clothes, or to help pay for Netflix, game son Steam, or music on iTunes.

- Home Depot

- Lowe's
- Jysk

- Canadian Tire

- Eddie Bauer

- Banana Republic / GAP

- Netflix

- Steam
- iTunes


There are two things I’m specifically saving my own up for in terms of “big purchases” this year – I want to build a stereo system [receiver, 2 speakers (maybe with a sub) and turntable] and I’d like to get an ASUS ROG laptop. For the ASUS ROG, I’ll grab it on ‘Back to school’, Black Friday or Boxing Day….if I have enough funds. It may have to wait a year because of that. But I’d love to get myself set up with a brand new stereo set this year at some point.

January 4, 2017

A Few More Details About the Revised Tolkien Companion and Guide

The original set from 2006.
In late 2016, it was revealed that the ultimate Tolkien resource by Wayne G. Hammond & Christina Scull was being revised and republished.

The Tolkien Companion and Guide is set to be re-published [updated and revised] in the fall of 2017. The original set, is comprised of two books: Chronology and Reader's Guide. The new set, is so expanded, that it will now be three instead.

Why I'm doing up this quick little post, is that there are a few ways [and ISBN's] that you can get the revised set later this year.


The J. R. R. Tolkien Companion and Guide : Boxed Set"
ISBN: 9780008214548
Publication Date: 9780008214517
Publication Date:

Publication Date: 30 Nov 2017

So it appears that the Reader's Guide has gotten to be so large, that it's getting two books. This is of course going by the fact that it goes "Volume X: Part Y" in the current titling format.

Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull are among the most knowledgeable Tolkien scholars; as they have proven their expertise time and again throughout the years.

January 3, 2017

2017: Sports

With the new year, there are a few things I look forward to. This entry will focus on sports.

I was never really a big sports guy. I’ve watched, followed and enjoyed my local NHL team, the Ottawa Senators, as far back as about 96/97. Recently, I followed other teams as well – Tampa Bay Lightning and St Louis Blues, chiefly, but not exclusively. Before that, my grandfather and I enjoyed following the Blue Jays (1990 – 1995-ish), as well as my father.  It was in the past year that I got back into baseball, because of how well the Jays were doing. In the past couple of years as well, I’ve been following a few NFL teams. So really, in the past few years I’ve been following sports when “something” was happening – The World Cup, FIFA, Team Canada (hockey) etc…. and now, the Ottawa Redblacks have won the Grey cup, and have been on fire since about 2014.

So since I’ve given you a quick glimpse of my past with sports, I’ll say what I’m looking forward to seeing / happening this year.


I’m looking forward to seeing, and hoping, that the Senators have a great ending in 2017. By ending I mean January to hopefully the Stanley Cup. Now, since Ottawa isn’t the only team I like (though they are my favourite) I would also like to see the St Louis blues do well in the West. I also hope that Tampa does well, in Ottawa’s place. Here’s hoping that Ottawa wins the Stanley Cup!

There have also been rumors, musings and rumblings about the Senators getting a new arena. We’ll see if that happens this year. Since it’s 25 years since the Sens ‘came back’ it would be great due to that fact. Also, I’m sure that whenever that happens, there’s bound to be some great deals on tickets…..


Well, I only watch for the Jays. I hope to follow the team a little bit more, and hopefully they’ll win the World Series!


NFL: I don’t want to see the following teams do well: New England Patriots, Green Bay Packers, or Oakland Raiders. Some of the teams I’d like to see do well: Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Giants, and Seattle Seahawks.

CFL: I only watch for the Redblacks, so here’s hoping they have a great season and win the Grey Cup yet again….seeing as Ottawa is hosting the next one. I hope to see a game or two this season, as well as get a jersey.

OTHER / Closing Thoughts: I’ll also check out whatever special soccer events happen during the year as well. Since I don’t have cable (sports is the thing I miss – being ABLE to watch games), I will most likely catch games at the pub, or go to a few of them. By ‘them’ I’m referring to the Redblacks. At the very worst, I follow some teams on social media, and theScore app, so I’ll always be in the loop even though I may not be able to actually WATCH some of these games.