December 22, 2015

Happy Yuletide!

I wanted to wish my readers a Happy Yuletide! (first day of winter until the 12th day of Christmas).

Thanks for keeping up with the blog, even though I don't as often as I should. Life happens, and I'm not a 'full time' writer, sadly.

I'll do up another post after Yuletide ends.

Hope you're enjoying the posts, and keep watching. The blog is not going anywhere....unless I say it is.

The image used is by J.R.R. Tolkien, as the original cover of "Letters From Father Christmas" [but back then it had a different title if I'm not mistaken]

December 4, 2015

Tolkien Christmas

Well, it’s that time of year again! I generally like to assume that no one follows my blog. By that, I mean, when I write a post, I think that is the first entry that someone may read.

So, as is my custom, I’m going to be spotlighting a few books around Yuletide. This entry will focus on Tolkien. This year, there is no Hobbit film coming out, so fans of the series (or newcomers) may be keeping an eye out for themselves, or for gifting to those they think may be interested. I will provide the ISBNs for the best paperback, hardback, and deluxe editions. (Since The Lord of the Rings is often sold in a box set, I’ll provide that ISB as well)

The ‘essentials’:


Paperback: 9780261103344 

Hardback: 9780261103283
Deluxe: 9780007118359

"Bilbo Baggins enjoys a quiet and contented life, with no desire to travel far from the comforts of home; then one day the wizard Gandalf and a band of dwarves arrive unexpectedly and enlist his services – as a burglar – on a dangerous expedition to raid the treasure-hoard of Smaug the dragon. Bilbo’s life is never to be the same again"



Hardback: 9780007203543



Paperback: 9780261103580
Hardback: 9780007203550


Paperback: 9780261103597
Deluxe (single volume) : 9780007182367

Box sets. Includes the three books.

Paperback box set ( also includes
The Hobbit) : 9780261103566

Hardback box set ( also includes Reader's Companion) : 9780007581146

 "Sauron, the Dark Lord, has gathered to him all the Rings of Power – the means by which he intends to rule Middle-earth. All he lacks in his plans for dominion is the One Ring – the ring that rules them all – which has fallen into the hands of the hobbit, Bilbo Baggins.

In a sleepy village in the Shire, young Frodo Baggins finds himself faced with an immense task, as his elderly cousin Bilbo entrusts the Ring to his care. Frodo must leave his home and make a perilous journey across Middle-earth to the Cracks of Doom, there to destroy the Ring and foil the Dark Lord in his evil purpose."


Paperback: 9780007523221
Hardback: 9780261102422

"The Silmarillion is an account of the Elder Days, of the First Age of Tolkien’s world. It is the ancient drama to which the characters in The Lord of the Rings look back, and in whose events some of them such as Elrond and Galadriel took part. The tales of The Silmarillion are set in an age when Morgoth, the first Dark Lord, dwelt in Middle-Earth, and the High Elves made war upon him for the recovery of the Silmarils, the jewels containing the pure light of Valinor.

Included in the book are several shorter works. The Ainulindale is a myth of the Creation and in the Valaquenta the nature and powers of each of the gods is described. The Akallabeth recounts the downfall of the great  island kingdom of Númenor at the end of the Second Age and Of the Rings of Power tells of the great events at the end of the Third Age, as narrated in The Lord of the Rings.


Paperback: 9780261102163
Hardback: 9780261102156

Deluxe: 9780007542925

"Unfinished Tales is a collection of narratives ranging in time from the Elder Days of Middle-earth to the end of the War of the Ring, and provides those who have read The Lord of the Rings with a whole collection of background and new stories from the twentieth century’s most acclaimed popular author.

The book concentrates on the realm of Middle-earth and comprises such elements as Gandalf’s lively account of how it was that he came to send the Dwarves to the celebrated party at Bag-End, the emergence of the sea-god Ulmo before the eyes of Tuor on the coast of Beleriand, and an exact description of the military organization of the Riders of Rohan.

Unfinished Tales also contains the only story about the long ages of Numenor before its downfall, and all that is known about such matters as the Five Wizards, the Palantiri and the legend of Amroth. The tales were collated and edited by JRR Tolkien’s son and literary heir, Christopher Tolkien, who provides a short commentary on each story, helping the reader to fill in the gaps and put each story into the context of the rest of his father’s writings."



Paperback: 9780007252268
Deluxe: 9780007252237

"It is a legendary time long before The Lord of the Rings, and Morgoth, the first Dark Lord, dwells in the vast fortress of Angband in the North; and within the shadow of the fear of Angband, and the war waged by Morgoth against the Elves, the fates of Túrin and his sister Niënor will be tragically entwined.

Their brief and passionate lives are dominated by the elemental hatred that Morgoth bears them as the children of Húrin, the man who dared to defy him to his face. Against them Morgoth sends his most formidable servant, Glaurung, a powerful spirit in the form of a huge wingless dragon of fire, in an attempt to fulfil the curse of Morgoth, and destroy the children of Húrin.

Begun by J.R.R. Tolkien at the end of the First World War, The Children of Húrin became the dominant story in his later work on Middle-earth. But he could not bring it to a final and finished form. In this book Christopher Tolkien has constructed, after long study of the manuscripts, a coherent narrative without any editorial invention."


Paperback: 9780007317240
Hardback: 9780007317233

Many years ago, J.R.R. Tolkien composed his own version, now published for the first time, of the great legend of Northern antiquity, in two closely related poems to which he gave the titles The New Lay of the Völsungs and The New Lay of Gudrún.

“In the Lay of the Völsungs is told the ancestry of the great hero Sigurd, the slayer of Fáfnir most celebrated of dragons, whose treasure he took for his own; of his awakening of the Valkyrie Brynhild who slept surrounded by a wall of fire, and of their betrothal; and of his coming to the court of the great princes who were named the Niflungs (or Nibelungs), with whom he entered into blood-brotherhood. In that court there sprang great love but also great hate, brought about by the power of the enchantress, mother of the Niflungs, skilled in the arts of magic, of shape-changing and potions of forgetfulness.

“In scenes of dramatic intensity, of confusion of identity, thwarted passion, jealousy and bitter strife, the tragedy of Sigurd and Brynhild, of Gunnar the Niflung and Gudrún his sister, mounts to its end in the murder of Sigurd at the hands of his blood-brothers, the suicide of Brynhild, and the despair of Gudrún. In the Lay of Gudrún her fate after the death of Sigurd is told, her marriage against her will to the mighty Atli, ruler of the Huns (the Attila of history), his murder of her brothers the Niflung lords, and her hideous revenge.

“Deriving his version primarily from his close study of the ancient poetry of Norway and Iceland known as the Poetic Edda (and where no old poetry exists, from the later prose work the Völsunga Saga), J.R.R. Tolkien employed a verse-form of short stanzas whose lines embody in English the exacting alliterative rhythms and the concentrated energy of the poems of the Edda.”

Christopher Tolkien


Paperback: 9780007557301

Hardback: 9780007489947
Deluxe: 9780007489893

"The Fall of Arthur, the only venture by J.R.R. Tolkien into the legends of Arthur King of Britain, may well be regarded as his finest and most skilful achievement in the use of the Old English alliterative metre, in which he brought to his transforming perceptions of the old narratives a pervasive sense of the grave and fateful nature of all that is told: of Arthur’s expedition overseas into distant heathen lands, of Guinevere’s flight from Camelot, of the great sea-battle on Arthur’s return to Britain, in the portrait of the traitor Mordred, in the tormented doubts of Lancelot in his French castle.

Unhappily, The Fall of Arthur was one of several long narrative poems that he abandoned in that period. In this case he evidently began it in the earlier nineteen-thirties, and it was sufficiently advanced for him to send it to a very perceptive friend who read it with great enthusiasm at the end of 1934 and urgently pressed him ‘You simply must finish it!’ But in vain: he abandoned it, at some date unknown, though there is some evidence that it may have been in 1937, the year of the publication of The Hobbit and the first stirrings of The Lord of the Rings. Years later, in a letter of 1955, he said that ‘he hoped to finish a long poem on The Fall of Arthur’; but that day never came.
Associated with the text of the poem, however, are many manuscript pages: a great quantity of drafting and experimentation in verse, in which the strange evolution of the poem’s structure is revealed, together with narrative synopses and very significant if tantalising notes. In these latter can be discerned clear if mysterious associations of the Arthurian conclusion with The Silmarillion, and the bitter ending of the love of Lancelot and Guinevere, which was never written.


Paperback: 9780007590094

Hardback: 9780007590063 
Deluxe: 9780007590070

"This edition is twofold, for there exists an illuminating commentary on the text of the poem by the translator himself, in the written form of a series of lectures given at Oxford in the 1930s; and from these lectures a substantial selection has been made, to form also a commentary on the translation in this book.

From his creative attention to detail in these lectures there arises a sense of the immediacy and clarity of his vision. It is as if he entered into the imagined past: standing beside Beowulf and his men shaking out their mail-shirts as they beached their ship on the coast of Denmark, listening to the rising anger of Beowulf at the taunting of Unferth, or looking up in amazement at Grendel’s terrible hand set under the roof of Heorot.

But the commentary in this book includes also much from those lectures in which, while always anchored in the text, he expressed his wider perceptions. He looks closely at the dragon that would slay Beowulf ‘snuffling in baffled rage and injured greed when he discovers the theft of the cup’; but he rebuts the notion that this is ‘a mere treasure story’, ‘just another dragon tale’. He turns to the lines that tell of the burying of the golden things long ago, and observes that it is ‘the feeling for the treasure itself, this sad history’ that raises it to another level. ‘The whole thing is sombre, tragic, sinister, curiously real. The “treasure” is not just some lucky wealth that will enable the finder to have a good time, or marry the princess. It is laden with history, leading back into the dark heathen ages beyond the memory of song, but not beyond the reach of imagination.’

Sellic Spell, a ‘marvellous tale’, is a story written by Tolkien suggesting what might have been the form and style of an Old English folk-tale of Beowulf, in which there was no association with the ‘historical legends’ of the Northern kingdoms." 

So if you’re getting these for yourself, or someone else I’m sure you / they will enjoy. Harper Collins usually does a magnificent job publishing Tolkien books. These are the editions I personally recommend and are generally pretty 'uniform'. To find them, I suggest:,,, blackwells, waterstones, and abebooks & alibris if an edition may be trickier to find. No matter which editions you get (for yourself or someone else) - enjoy!

December 2, 2015

"The Story of Kullervo" Deluxe Edition

At long last, Harper Collins will be publishing a deluxe edition (slipcased, of course) of The Story of Kullervo!

Usually, a deluxe edition of a Tolkien book published by Harper Collins is published on the exact same day as the hardback (and ebook) editions. Because Harper Collins hasn’t officially released the description of the deluxe edition contents, or a cover image, I’ll only provide the ISBN (a direct ‘link’ to that edition) and publication date:

The ISBN is :
Publication date: Oct 20, 2016

It should cost you about the same price as other deluxe editions, so bear that in mind. I have a feeling that Tolkien’s image, ‘The Land of Pohja’, will be featured as a facsimile frontispiece illustration fold out sheet. Perhaps the emblem will be also on the slip-case and the book itself, as well.

Either way, this is sure to be great news for collectors of the Harper Collins deluxe Tolkien books. [I’ll do another post about this once it’s been ‘officially annoucned’. It could be in 2016 sometime though]

December 1, 2015

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (HD)

This was announced not long ago, but I hadn’t got around to posting about it. I apologize if anyone here was wanting a pre-order, and is not able to due to ‘limited pre-orders’…those amiibo / amiibo bundles sure do sell quick! Do keep your eyes peeled on Amazon and Best Buy in case more pre-orders open up. Then again, there’s always the game itself, and the amiibo shortly after launch (hopefully…)

Anyway, so in their latest Direct, Nintendo announced The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (HD) for the wii u. It will be released March 4, 2016.

Nintendo stated that the amiibo that comes with the bundle (which will also include the soundtrack) will be able to function with the Zelda title they are developing for the wii u. Most likely, other Zelda-themed amiibo as well. [This and Wind Waker came out on the Gamecube but have been upgraded visually, and perhaps more, for the wii u.]. If I remember correctly, you can also use Zelda amiibo with Twilight Princess [Link, Toon Link, Zelda and Sheirk…again, if I remember.] More details about that isn’t known yet.

I am especially glad because the game itself is great, but there are some things that Nintendo can smooth out. Glitches, minor gameplay adjustments, graphics…. I understand they may not be re-designing the game from the ground up, but a ‘patched, upgraded, port’ would be awesome, so this game can be enjoyed the best way possible. I believe that this is to tide Zelda fans over for “The Legend of Zelda U”, which I strongly believe will come out November 20-something, 2016.

For those that missed out on the amiibo bundle / pre-order, fear not as I believe the Midna + Wolf Link will be sold separately at some point after the game launches. Side note : I forsee a Skyward Sword remaster coming on Nintendo’s next console, or even the N3DS…..

·         Return to the land of a visually remastered Hyrule in Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (HD) for Nintendo Wii U. Lead Link to the Twilight Realm, where his transformation into a powerful divine wolf pairs him with a mysterious Midna creature. Together, they must save Hyrule from an encroaching evil darkness.

Enjoy a visually remastered remake of the critically acclaimed game Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
·         Guide legendary hero Link on a journey to the Twilight Realm, where transforms into a wolf and teams up with the mysterious Midna
·         Solve puzzles, navigate dungeons, and fight fierce creatures in an epic journey to save Hyrule from a shroud of evil darkness
·         Includes detailed amiibo figure modeled after Wolf Link and Midna character 

November 29, 2015

The Hobbit Trilogy, Or, The Prelude to the Lord of the Rings - Extended Trilogy Review

At long last, I have seen all the extended editions of The Hobbit. Here is my complete, movie-by-movie (final) review, as well as the trilogy as a whole. I won't spoil anything, merely add or elaborate on the films themselves in regards to the extended films. This review covers the extended film footage only, not the documentaries.

November 22, 2015

"Mockingjay: Part 2" Spoiler-Free Review

Just last night, I saw the final 'Hunger Games' film, Mockingjay: Part 2. Here is my [spoiler free] review.

November 7, 2015

"Mario Maker" Levels : Nov. 6 - 20

Well, it's that time again - more Mario Maker levels from yours truly!

Here are the codes for the batch uploaded most recently, and will be replaced on Nov. 20. This time, I went for Mario Bros 1 graphic style. I did 'New' for my 'game', but I wanted to go back to the roots. Also, at this point, no hills etc so my designs work with the original game's look, style and interface anyway, which would work great for Mario Bros. 3, and Mario World.

A-1 :3A2F-0000-00D6-AF47

A-2 :46DA-0000-00D6-B02A

A-3 :A237-0000-00D6-B139

A-4 :63AF-0000-00D6-B24E

B-1 :4CA8-0000-00D6-B312

B-2 :405D-0000-00D6-B434

B-3 :5F47-0000-00D6-B541

B-4 :EF12-0000-00D6-B69E

C-1 : 11E1-0000-00D6-B7D0

C-2 :561A-0000-00D6-B8A5

C-3 :D2BF-0000-00D6-B9FD

C-4 :16BC-0000-00D6-BBDC

D-1 :7E34-0000-00D6-BC91

D-2 :319B-0000-00D6-BD2E

D-3 :13A1-0000-00D6-BDDF


...and making a return: (these ones will 'stay' up when I change the levels on Nov. 20. A-1 - D-4 will come down though.)

The Lost Levels: A Tribute : 23D5-0000-00D6-AB35

The Lost Levels 9-1: Maker Remix : 0FB0-0000-00D6-AB71

The Surface: BCC1-0000-00D6-AD1A

Classic Castle: Maker Remix: 217A-0000-00D6-AE1D

November 3, 2015

"Warcraft" Update

The wait is getting harder and harder.

June 10 marks the release of Warcraft, the live action adaptation of the very first video game in the series. This is NOT a World of Warcraft film, but a Warcraft film. The First War. Orcs coming to Azeroth. Lothar & Durotan.

So where to begin?

First off, there’s been a new poster revealed. Not sure many will come after this, but if this is the final one, I’m happy. It reminds one of the video game box art of old.

Also, this Friday, Nov 6, marks the official, full reveal of the trailer. Glimpses of the film have been shown here and there over the years at BlizzCons, Comic Cons etc, but now, the WORLD will get its first, proper look at the film via footage. I’ve got my fingers crossed that the film itself will look good, and that it’s a great preview.

Finally, while checking out some of the lore (books, etc) I made a discovery, not unknown to the fans – there is a prequel novel, and novelisation coming out, written by Christie Golden. Now, I haven’t read any of the books, but I recognize her by name. I’ve only played the games, and it was around the time that Rise of the Lich King came out that I began to look closely at the books – but yet to read any. Since she has written about this time period of the story before, I got curious if this was existing material re-packaged to help understand the film, or merely provide a change of title / format etc. So I sent her an e-mail, and she replied. Both emails below:

“Good day Christie,

I will keep this short and sweet – despite playing the Warcraft games over the years, I admit to being a newcomer to the lore (novel) side of things of the franchise.

I noticed that in May and June, you have written a prequel and a novelization which ties into the June film; which will be published. My question is, as the books are not yet published, is this all-new material, or is it work you’ve written and published before, but possibly re-edited, or re-titled to tie into the film? Example, in the copy right page for the upcoming book(s), it could say “Published 2016. Published previously, in part, as RISE OF THE HORDE.” I ask because you have written about this time period of the story beforehand.

Many thanks for reading this; and I look forward to expanding my knowledge of the lore in the coming months, as well as seeing the film in June.

~ Jeff”

Brand new, as in just finished up the prequel and am working on the novelization!

The prequel sets the stage for the movie version of this world we all love, so it's the lore of the movie Draenor.  It is most definitely not a repackaging of Rise of the Horde, and I know and understand why people are concerned.

I hope you enjoy it!

Christie Golden”

So the material will be entirely movie related, and nothing previously published. June 10 seems so far away….  [I will see it the week after it comes out, after all the die-hards have seen it.] 

I will close by copy + pasting the synopsis of the prequel, and novelization, both written by Golden:


In the world of Draenor, the strong and fiercely independent Frostwolf Clan are faced with increasingly harsh winters and thinning herds. When Gul'dan, a mysterious outsider, arrives in Frostfire Ridge offering word of new hunting lands, Durotan, the Clan's chieftain, must make an impossible decision: Abandon the territory, pride and traditions of his people, or lead them into the unknown.


The peaceful realm of Azeroth stands on the brink of war as its civilization faces a fearsome race of invaders: Orc warriors fleeing their dying home to colonize another. As a portal opens to connect the two worlds, one army faces destruction and the other faces extinction. From opposing sides, two heroes are set on a collision course that will decide the fate of their family, their people and their home. So begins a spectacular saga of power and sacrifice in which war has many faces, and everyone fights for something.

October 30, 2015

"Happy" Halloween? No, I Don'tThink So...

I’ve never been a fan of Halloween. I don’t ‘hate’ it, it’s just not my thing. I understand the appeal but I’ve never been stoked about it.

First of all, I live in Canada. That means, having Halloween at the end of October, it’s a bit chilly to ‘go out’, especially in a costume. That’s regional, so we’ll let that slide.

I’m not a fan of horror, but the expression : ‘Happy’ Halloween never seemed right. Why would one be 'happy' on a day about horror, terror and dead things? You're supposed to be scared witless...aren't you? To further my point – some, if not all, decorations are ‘kiddie’ or ‘childish’. A Frankenstein, vampire, skeleton or ghost would not be smiling or looking cuddly. They would have looks of horror, and have grotesque skin, head trauma or the like.  This also shows that Halloween is yet another ‘event’ for the kids. Again, cute costumes vs scary costumes. The ‘essence’ of Halloween are those haunted houses where stuff comes and scares you, or hay rides, etc. You know = SCARY! “oh it’s too scary for kids.” It’s Haloween, not Easter. Within reason, of course. You don’t want children to be traumatized. Scaring kids (7 and up is acceptable). The idea of kids wanting candy when we're trying to not let them have it seems counter productive as well.

Another thing that annoys me, is this – Skankaween. Now, I’m straight, and while not perverted, normally would not say ‘no’ to…witnessing revealing outfits. But some ‘sexified’ versions of costumes are plain absurd. If you go as Mario & Luigi, the costume is: blue overalls (actual overalls, like what painters wear), a red shirt if you’re Mario, green if you’re Luigi, and likewise with the hat. And a fake moustache. Not red lingerie if you’re Mario and red hat, or green lingerie and hat if Luigi, with fake moustache. Also, don’t be afraid to go as like a Scooby Doo or something – or a paperbag princess…with the dress coming from a Costco yard bag. It’s annoying that ‘sexy Halloween’ costumes is EXPECTED of girls / women today. Nothing wrong with an awesome girls costume, but it doesn’t have to be sexified. Or, do a ‘normal’ costume one year, and ‘sexy’ the next.

Also, children are encouraged not to talk to / visit strangers. Yet, on Oct. 31, all those seem to go out the window….

As you can tell, I’m not the biggest fan of Halloween. It just like it has no place in the 21st century, other than yet another ‘kids’ event’. I’m not against costumes : Comic Con is awesome….

Now, if there was a recognized day, or weekend, dedicated to being outside, camping, walking in the woods or being tech free (think ‘wilderness’ or ‘forest’ adventure), I’d be on board with that. I understand campsites are open specified times of the year, I wasn’t speaking about Oct. 31 here. But if there was a dedicated day to wilderness and nature, it could have serious potential and appeal.

October 29, 2015

"Stormlight" Book 3 Sample Chapter

Another sample chapter from Brandon Sanderson's third Stormlight book has emerged. The good news, is that it is a flashback chapter, and contains no spoilers for books 1 and 2.

I haven't read the books myself yet, but I look forward to it. Reading pile is quite large at the moment....I hope to jump in, if I were to guess, in the space between books 3 and 4.

Anyway, here is the chapter....

October 24, 2015

"Mario Maker" Levels: Oct 23 - Nov. 6

Ok, so I uploaded the rest of my 'game' I was making with Mario Maker. Sadly, I had to pull down my first set of levels to make way for the 2nd, and last half, of my game. I don't yet have enough stars to have the whole game posted, so here are levels 4-1 - 8-4, with codes and descriptions....look for another post the weekend of Nov. 7, when more levels will go up, and this set will go down.

"Into the Mountain (4-1)" : 62AE-0000-00BC-CC2A

Mario enters the gigantic mountain to continue his quest....

"Beneath the Mountain (4-2)" : 392A-0000-00BC-CD75

Mario's exploration leads him not only inside the mountain, but under it. In its belly, he must find the exit and beware of the dangers within....

"Like a Dream...(4-3)" : EEA0-0000-00BC-CDB1

This level is very similar to a dream that Mario had a while back.... (and since we can't always remember our dreams to the fullest detail, it's ok that this level is a little different from the original in which it's based)

"Beware of Dog (4-4)" : 4025-0000-00BC-CDEB

Mario has reached the next castle, and it's boss as well! Now, if only he could a bone inside one of the blocks for when he reaches the boss.....

"Highlands (5-1)" : C429-0000-00BC-CFF2

Still within the heights of the mountainous region, Mario's jumping ability begins to become truly tested within this level, and this world.

"P-Switch Skyway (5-2)" : 7E9B-0000-00BC-D1EB

Appearing primarily in bonus regions, Mario must now rely on the P Switch to get him to the end.

"Supply Stop (5-3)" : F79C-0000-00BC-D216

What's this?! Mario has happened upon a docked doom-ship! Is it loading supplies? Unloading? Either way, Mario must make his way across

"The Heir of Koopa (5-4)" : 9362-0000-00BC-D3AD

Mario has reached another castle, guarded by a formidable foe! Should Mario defeat him, is he gone for good?

"Hot Cave" (6-1)" : 6054-0000-00BC-D664

This level takes place near some lava. Where there's danger, there's also bound to be some secret goodies too! This is Mario After all ;)

"Guarded Grounds (6-2)" : 39AD-0000-00BC-D6AC

Above the ground, Mario faces some unexpected, yet strong foes!

"Chilled Cavern (6-3)" : ED72-0000-00BC-D6DE

brrr, this area is cold! Careful of the icy patch....

"Fire Spirits (6-4)" : 5F2A-0000-00BC-D708

This castle is haunted! Watch your back.

"Run for It!!! (7-1)" : 163d-0000-00bc-d7fa

Lakitu's aim may not the greatest, this is still a tricky level for Mario to complete, however!

"Jump, Man! (7-2)" : A7E3-0000-00BC-D83C

Mario's jumping skills are put to the test!

"Dunked Doom-ship (7-3)" : E1F5-0000-00BC-D973

Hmm., looks like this doom-ship has crashed into the water some time ago. Just because it's downed, doesn't mean 'not dangerous'....

"Into the Fire (7-4)" : 861E-0000-00BC-DAD0

This is one hot castle! Mario must take great here from start to finish.

"Enemy Territory (8-1)" : 3D6B-0000-00BC-DDA9

This is it - the beginning of the end of Mario's journey in Mario Maker! (first full set of level designed by me)

"The Secret Tunnel (8-2)" : B59B-0000-00BC-DF95

After entering the enemy's grounds in the previous level, Mario discovers a secret way that will get him into Bowser's (King Koopa) monstrous castle. To think 'straight through' would have been more dangerous!

"Field of Fire (8-3)" : ECA7-0000-00BC-E115

Bowser's Castle is in sight! But Mario is not yet there yet.... Between him and the entrance to the castle is a moat of lava, and some of Bowser's best to guard the area.

"The Throne of the Koopa (8-4)" : 9ACE-0000-00BC-E39E

This is it - the end of Mario's quest. Mario must make his way through Bowser's castle, and then defeat the king himself in combat. Best of luck!

This concludes my first 'game' (8 worlds, 4 levels per world). Thank you for playing, and I hope to get more levels up by the weekend of Nov 7th. So 4-1 - 8-4 will come down, and more will go up. I wish I had enough stars, which would have allowed me to post 1-1 - 8-4 at once!

October 20, 2015

"The Return of the King" 60th Anniversary

Today, The Return of the King (The Lord of the Rings: Part 3) turns 60 years old. This also marked the conclusion The Lord of the Rings, 60 years ago.

When Tolkien became aware that The Lord of the Rings would be too large to publish as one volume, he envisioned the split as 6 books, rather than 3. Three were published as The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings: Part 1, July 29, 1954), The Two Towers (The Lord of the Rings: Part 2, November 11, 1954) and finally, The Return of the King (The Lord of the Rings: Part 3, October 20, 1955).

Tolkien originally wanted to title The Return of the King, as The War of the Ring. 

Victory! We Have Victory!

I usually use the blog for things of interest to me, on a nerd / geek level. Politics isn’t usually in that field, but with what every Canadian knows by now, it deserves a mention.

Last night the Liberals swept the Conservatives.

Now, over the course of time, I’ve usually voted NDP and Liberal, depending on the year, party, platform, leader etc…I’ve never voted Conservative. Not due to being pro-active anti- Conservative bigotry (which I don’t have, but the attack ads, and posts against Liberals from ‘extreme’ Cons was a bit much. I just never agreed with their platform or leader’s.) Because of how much the Liberals defeated the Cons by, that says something. Perhaps about Harper. Perhaps about the Cons. Perhaps both. Or perhaps something else.

For me, I believe it was in 2011 when the Cons returned to power – and how they did (with the % of the vote thing…I can’t find the mage at this moment). Even during Harper’s campaign – “Protect our economy”. Using “crime” and other negative, fearful words to attempt to make Canadians afraid should they not vote for him. I believe, that was the wrong approach. That could, however, be Harper’s angle, or that of the Cons.

I much preferred Trudeau’s style – youthful, enthusiastic, promising change, giving hope. In terms of personality and charisma, Trudeau was the winner on that angle.

I do hope that this post won’t upset any readers, nor be too touchy – you don’t talk about religion and politics, after all.

I am glad to get “Canada” back, and escape words such as ‘protect’ etc that may make Canadians fearful (of what…?).

I believe the ideal election would be (keyword is ideal, not realistic) :

Justin Trudeau – Liberal

Jack Layton – NDP

Someone Else – Conservative

Elizabeth May – Green (…?)

Before I close, some good words from Mulcair:

“This election was about change, and tonight, Canadians turned the page on 10 long years and they rejected the politics of fear and division,”
“It is obvious that major differences exist between our parties, and over the past 78 days there was emphasis put on these differences, to permit Canadians to make a choice. Today, Canadians have made that choice and we accept it with humility.”
“In this campaign Mr. Trudeau made ambitious commitments to Canadians, and Canadians will have high expectations for their next Parliament.”

October 12, 2015

"Mario Maker" Levels: Oct 9 - 23

So here are some of my Mario Maker levels that I currently have up! I'll have each set up for about 2-4 weeks to give people a chance to play, but also because I'm only allowed a set number at this point. I'll do update posts (not in this post) of levels / sets as they get updated.

"Winter is Coming" [5493-0000-005F-6444]. Yes, it's a Ice and Fire / Game of Thrones inspired level!

"Super Mario Land: A Tribute" [1EB2-0000-0061-D94D] The first level of Super Mario Land re-created.

"The Lost Levels: A Tribute" [C5FB-0000-0096-EE71] The first level of The Lost Levels re-created.

"The Lost Levels 9-1: Maker Remix" [DF33-0000-0096-EE92] 9-1 of The Lost Levels re-created with a few differences

"The Surface" [160A-0000-0096-EEBD] Follows 9-1. A level of my own design which hopefully feels like a Lost Levels level.

"Classic Castle: Maker Remix" [D5FD-0000-0096-EEEC] A castle level, in the style of Super Mario 1 / The Lost Levels, with a few new elements from Mario Maker thrown in.

"Welcome to Mario Maker! (1-1)" [4397-0000-00a1-e6fd] Welcome to the beginning of my 'game'!

"The Underground (1-2)" [FC1E-0000-00A1-E752]

"Lowlands (1-3)" [2B0A-0000-00A1-EA54]

"The First Boss (1-4) [2FBE-0000-00A1-EB05]

"That's New! (2-1)" [CB87-0000-00A1-EB60] What you can do in the game begins to show...

"Koopa Cavern (2-2)" [7644-0000-00A1-EBA9] Pay attention to the 'clue'....

"Bullet & Cliff (2-3)" [DBA5-0000-00A1-EC13]

"The Two Guardians (2-4)" [634A-0000-00A1-EE4B]

"Plant-trap Pass (3-1)" [90FF-0000-0096-ED75] Mario must navigate through all the various plant life (and other foes) that stand between him and the end!

"Mushroom Mines (3-2)" [CEBE-0000-0096-EDA2] Three different options exist for progressing through each section of the mines. Can you find them all?

"Pipe Plains (3-3)" [0C32-0000-0096-EDDA] A network of pipes comprise most of this level. Basic ground levels, but designed a bit different.

"Shell Stronghold (3-4)" [6DC4-0000-0096-EE04] In the finale of this set / World 3, you face off against pretty much anything that has a shell on its back....

Keep an eye out in about two weeks or so when the lineup changes - I'll do a similar post so you may search up and try my levels! 

October 10, 2015

A Catch Up

Hey all,

Sorry it's been a while. Moved into a new house, went on vacation and started a new job! I'm still here but I haven't gotten around to any writing, blog or otherwise, in a bit.

There are a few updates I wish to address here, rather than writing a ton of shorter posts.

The Art of the Lord of the Rings is now out! This will match The Art of the Hobbit. It was published Oct 8. Mine was shipped that day, but not delivered yet. Hopefully next week...[that is, Tolkien's artwork, this has nothing to do with the films].

The specs of the forthcoming Game of Thrones: Season 5 blu-ray has been unveiled, but I'll detail that the week before release, which is to be March. That fact leads me to believe that Season 6 will begin airing in April....

Mario Maker is now out, and boy have I been enjoying it! I've uploaded some courses. My first batch was a little weak, as it was my beginning set (you can only post 10 at a time. Well, I can - for now.) in another entry, I will post their details, should you wish to search them up and give them a go. I have each 'set' up for about 2 weeks, before I take some down, and post some others. I'm tinkering the next set, and begun work on the set after that. And in other gaming news, there's been a few Smash Bros. U updates and minor DLC releases.

I've finished Hell on Wheels: Season 4 and am waiting for Netflix to upload more episodes July - Aug 0f 2016. Right now I'm watching Bloodline: Season 1, and it's the best show since Breaking Bad, and the best Netflix original since House of Cards. So it's quite good! Worth checking out for sure.

There are a few book updates....nothing too new, other than names and titles of 'the next in the series' that I read / am interested in. Bernard Cornwell springs to mind. Oh, speaking of books:

A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms has also been published. Technically, it's 're-published', as the three novellas included, have existed before in other formats. They are The Hedge Knight, The Sworn Sword and The Mystery Knight. The only thing that's 'new' (aside from the fact they have their own covers) is they are fully illustrated. And for those who are concerned about another book with Martin's name on the cover before The Winds of Winter that's NOT that book, fret not - the newest written material is The Mystery Knight was initially published in 2010.

There's also been an illustrated version of The Philosopher's Stone, with artwork by Jim Kay. Since it's the first in the series, and it's the only one out yet, here's hoping the whole set will be still be available once The Deathly Hallows illustrated edition is published whenever that may be. Or a set even, though that will most likely be pricey (as it will be seven illustrated hardbacks)

That's all I can think of that I wanted to write about in the past but didn't have a chance to do entries.

Stay tuned!