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!