July 10, 2017

Switch-Ports


In the past, I have been salty about the fact that the Nintendo Switch has gotten so many wii u games ported over to it. I understand that the wii u 'failed.' I personally quite enjoy mine and myself and my lady have a decent selection of games on it. So, to us, it wasn't a 'fail.' The wii u was essentially....a half and half, or an in between - it shares things in common with both the wii and the switch, but it just couldn't decide what type of console it wanted to be. This was mostly due to the marketing, also responsible for naming it "wii u." However, I can sort of see why it is. Heck, even trying to figure what games need the gamepad in terms of multiplayer is confusing. It honestly does vary game by game.

So, for me as a wii u owner, I kept saying "Why would I want a Switch?? So far it has all the games the wii u does!"After all, we buy new gaming consoles to play new games. That said, because a few people missed out on the wii u's games, I'm going to suggest some. This list, from a wii u owner, shows the console's strengths. Of course, any parts of the game that feature or make use of the gamepad would have to be removed.

 

New Mario Bros. U + New Luigi U

If one were to port this over to the switch, it obviously wouldn't have the "u" in the title. "New Mario Bros. Switch" implies that it is a whole new game, just for the Switch. I propose that if it makes it over to the Switch, to call it "New Mario Bros. 3." The reason behind this is, on the DS we had New Mario Bros. Then, on the wii, we had New Mario Bros. wii. After that, on the 3DS, came New Mario Bros. 2. Then of course, New Mario Bros. U for the wii u. So calling it the 3rd one makes sense, naming-wise to me. Unless they come up with a better title. And hey, why not throw in New Luigi U in there as well?? On the other hand, "New Mario Bros. Switch" [all new] would also be a welcome addition.

Sure many are looking forward to Mario Odyssey, however having this game on the Switch would a great opportunity for more Mario - especially if one isn't fond of 3D Mario games.



Mario 3D World + Captain Toad

Ah, Mario 3D, one of the reasons why I bought my wii u.... it's similar in design and engine to the 3D Mario game on the 3DS. This was one of the games I was hoping would sell a lot of consoles. The game is fairly large, offers multiplayer a la the New Mario games [all players all at once]. This is a 3D Mario game, but not really. You can move in and out of the background, but the levels do follow the 'left to right' pattern for the most part. It would also be neat if they included Captain Toad in the same game cart, or made it a 2-in-1 deal. 

This game was one of the wii u's strongest games, and I think it would do well on the Switch.
Possible title on the Switch: Mario 3D World DX, Mario 3DX World, Mario 3D World + Captain Toad

 

Donkey Kong: Tropical Freeze

One of the wii u's best games. Nothing says "Nintendo" like classic Donkey Kong action! Due to the nature and sales of the wii u, this is somewhat of a 'hidden gem', even though it's part of a larger franchise - Donkey Kong!
Possible title on the Switch: Donkey Kong: Tropical Freeze DX
Also welcome: a new Donkey Kong game, in the vein of Donkey Kong Returns, as well as this title.


Xenoblade X

Sure, the Switch is getting Xenoblade 2, however, to build up hype, offer a bundle etc, I see that as a perfect chance for Xenoblade X to get transferred over to the Switch. It could include all DLC. Prior to Zelda: Breat hof the Wild, this was one of the best, most-recent open-world games there were.
Possible title on the Switch: Xenoblade DX, Xenoblade X - Complete Edition

 


These (this?) game(s) I discovered while attempting to obtain an NES Classic. At that point, I knew that the wii u wasn't doing so well, and that there wouldn't be a whole lot more games coming out for it....which meant even less for me to get. So, I used some of my eshop balance and got both NES Remix and NES Remix 2. They were two games, available only on the wii u's eshop at first, and then on the 3DS as Ultimate NES Remix, and a physical disc copy for the wii u called NES  Remix Pack.

The games are a series of speed-challenges taken from a selection of games that were on the NES. There are some challenges that mixes them together, such as using Link in a Mario level.
Possible title on Switch: NES Remix Deluxe
Also welcome: Super NES Remix and possibly even Nintendo 64 Remix  

 


The Legend of Zelda HD Collection [Wind Waker + Twilight Princess]

The HD version of Wind Waker really showed what the wii u could do. It was colourful, vibrant, and the use of the gamepad was top notch. The imagine with the HD version of Twilight Princess HD left a bit to desired, but it was a vast improvement over the original - just not vast enough. I think dual release of the remasters would be great on the Switch, offering those who enjoyed Breath of the Wild a little bit more of a sampling from the Zelda series, if Breath of the Wild was their first Zelda game.
 


Smash Bros U

As much as I'd like there to be a "Smash Switch", I would not argue with the wii u version coming over - as long as the Switch will get a new installment.

The Switch edition can contain everything from the wii u edition [and perhaps the 3DS, as well??] making it a complete edition.
Possible title on Switch: Smash Bros: Championship Edition, Smash Bros. Ultra [or some such]

I will close off with some ideas. First up.....


The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD [remake??]

It seems that the next Zelda game to be remastered on the check-list would be Skyward Sword. However...that game was built on motion controls, which is its downfall. One of a few. Nintendo could work around forcing motion controls, in favor of having it playable on the Switch. On the other hand, they could also re-build the game, as well.....

Some other full on remakes I'd like to see would be:
Zelda 87
Zelda: A Link to the Past
Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

When I say full-on remake, I'm not talking about remastering or enhancing what is already there, but essentially an all-new game, in that aspect. much like Square Enix is doing with Final Fantasy VII. It is still "Final Fantasy VII" but the game is completely redone.

As mentioned above, I'll recap some of my ideas here:

- Super NES Remix
- New Mario Bros. Switch
- Captain Toad 2
- Donkey Kong Switch
- F-Zero Switch
, or a HD version of the Gamecube game.
- Earthbound Collection
- Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door HD, or a new game
- perhaps a few more Gamecube and wii games!

July 5, 2017

The Legend of Zelda: Master Trials [Trial of the Sword] Hints and Tips


So I won't spoil or give anything away here, but I was one of the lucky, or first few, to complete The Trial of the Sword, part of the new DLC for Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

I managed to complete it on July 2nd. I didn't do it my first attempt, either. Due to my experience of trying it a few times, as well as how I play the game, I have general hints to help any who may still be struggling, as well as those who have yet to make an attempt:

- practice cooking. I'm sure you know how to cook, but I'm saying this so you can practice getting the most out of what you put into your dishes, as well as types of dishes. Just remember that a dish can't have two 'effects'.
- When possible, use your bombs. This will keep your weapons strong and going. Also, bombs are useful for fighting, as well as knocking over trees.
- knock over as many trees as you can. You'll get acorns and apples, which you can later cook with.
- thoroughly check each section before moving onto the next. In the final trials, I had a total of 9 Ancient Arrows. You can too, if you search hard enough.
- practice shield-parrying against Guardians. With your weakest shield, it's possible to one-shot the stationary variety with a successful deflection.
- try and save any ancient arrows you get for really though foes....such as lynels and Guardians
 - make sure you have Bombs+ and Stasis+. Stasis+ is great for un-horsing mounted foes, as well as temporarily freezing some foes for you to get 'that' shot in.
- try to 'pull' singular enemies towards you
- take your time, and carefully observe each room (floor, whatever) before you proceed.
- use the mid-air effect with your bow when possible. This allows for greater aim, which in turn saves you arrows, and weapon durability.
- do your best not to get hit. Weapons and arrows seem plentiful enough. But clothes, not so much.
- the trial is somewhat a mix of Eventide Island, and the all-star mode from Smash Bros, to give you an idea. You bring nothing with you, and come out with nothing, in terms of items you find. HOWEVER: before you begin the Trial, choose the Rito-down bed, or the full spa treatment to get additional hearts and stamina. ALSO, make and eat a dish that grants high defense seconds before starting the trial to give yourself a boost. These effects will still be active upon beginning of the trial.

Be patient, use your wits and your head, and best of luck!!

July 4, 2017

Tolkien Tuesday: Major Events


I discovered, and began a Tolkien fan, in 2001-2002. Because of that, I'm a little bit new to the game. That also means, in the years since, I've witnessed a few major events in the Tolkien area. Or, major publications if you will: deluxe editions and calendars celebrating a new book, or a new version of one.

Here they are, since when I became a fan:

2005: The Lord of the Rings 50th Anniversary. The book was corrected and reset, the new text has now become the new standard. The initial publications consisted of hardbacks, deluxe editions and calendars, among other items.

2007: The Children of Hurin. In a story that has been told before, in such place as The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales, The Tale of The Children got its own stand-alone release in 2007. Initial publications consisted of hardbacks, deluxe editions, and calendars for 2008.

2009: The Silmarillion illustrated by Ted Nasmith: calendar. It was high-time that Ted Nasmith's artwork from The Silmarillion, which he illustrated and was published in 2004, got released in calendar forma. It's a few years after the initial publication of the book itself (Ted Nasmith's illustrated edition, I mean) but it is fantastic and fits perfectly beside Alan Lee's illustrated The Hobbit and also Lee's The Lord of the Rings boxed set.

2013: The Hobbit illustrated by Jemima Catlin. As much as I adore Alan Lee's artwork, Jemima Catlin's bring a fresh, whimsical and enchanting take on "Tolkien art"; and it suits the book quite well. Many consider The Hobbit to be a "children's book." If that's the case, then Catlin's artwork blends in perfectly with the charming text. Her artwork, and the way it's incorporated into the text, will remind you of classic 'story books', or books such as The Wind in the Willows. The event was celebrated with hardbacks, a deluxe edition edition, and a calendar for 2014.

2017: The Hobbit 80th Anniversary. The 80th anniversary was celebrated with the release of The Hobbit facsimile first edition boxed, as well as a calendar of Tolkien's black and white artwork he illustrated himself for the book.

2017: Beren and Luthien. Possibly the last Middle-earth book (not counting future anniversary (example: The Lord of the Rings 75th anniversary edition) or illustrated editions) to ever be released, the event was celebrated by way of publishing the book in hardback, deluxe edition, and a calendar for 2018. 

So there you have it! As you can see, since becoming a Tolkien fan, I've seen quite a few interesting publication events. Who knows what'll come in the years to come....

Canada 150 Weekend

Well this weekend was quite a blast.

Lots of cities this past weekend were hosting large extravagant events for Canada 150 (the 150th anniversary of our country becoming a country). However, to the vast amount of traffic, as well as the fact that my lady and I missed out on The Epic New Year's Party, we decided to keep it small(er) and hang around the neighbourhood.

Some really good friends of the family (I consider them family, in fact) hosted their annual Canada Day BBQ Pool Party which they've been doing for the most part since they got their pool put in.....geez, quite a few years ago now. It was loads of fun.

Thanks to Red racer's two mix packs, Across the Nation (East and West) I took a drinking tour of Canada! I went from West to East. Sunday was recovery day (which should be renamed unofficially to Day of the Dead) and Monday was just lounging around. Today was back to reality.

So thank you Canada, and here's to another 150 years.

Oh, and that 150 logo? "The official emblem of the sesquicentennial was designed by Ariana Cuvin, a then-19-year-old student in the University of Waterloo's global business and digital arts program. It consists of 13 multi-coloured diamonds forming a maple leaf; Cuvin stated that the four diamonds forming the emblem's base represented Canada's four original provinces, while the others represented the provinces and territories that had joined since. The government officially described the emblem as reflecting Canada's unity and diversity."

June 26, 2017

"The Philosopher's Stone" 20th Anniversary


On this day 20 years ago, The Philosopher's Stone, the first book in the 7-book Harry Potter series was published.

I cannot say what others have already, or say it any better. I'm just going to acknowledge that thought in my post.

There really is nothing to say; other than thank-you to my sister, for persuading me to give them a try, to Jo for writing 7 amazing books, and for Bloomsbury / Raincoast for publishing them (and for putting out those nice, sleek, black dustjacket editions).

And:
 



If you never read the books before, or are in dire need of a complete set, let me help you: (search by copying + pasting these ISBN's)

- 7 book paperback boxed set ISBN:  9781408856772
- 7 book hardback boxed set ISBN: 
9781408856789

Do Not Buy This: "The Name of The Wind" 10th Anniversary Edition

Hey all.

So, this is sort of a pet-peeve of mine: anniversary editions of books in an incomplete book series. This isn't targeted at any series or author in genera;, but today I'm going to showcase one such example: The Name of the Wind 10th Anniversary Edition by Patrick Rothfuss. Here's why. And, no, it's not because "it's not book 3."

Pat has outlined the details about the book in his blog post here: http://blog.patrickrothfuss.com/2017/06/10th-anniversary-edition-cover-reveal/ . My problems with books like this, come from three different angles, as someone who likes complete and matching sets:

1) Will the second book, The Wise Man's Fear, also be release din this format?? If not, why have a book that will stick out like a sore thumb, compared to the other two?

2) Why not wait and do an anniversary set for the entire series? If there's an anniversary edition of The Lord of the Rings, guess what - you'll get all three parts in that style! Although, here's hoping the publisher of those also does The Hobbit and The Silmarillion, and maybe Unfinished Tales, as well...

3) Will this content only be available as the anniversary edition, or can we expect it to come later, possibly in another form? Possibly in the complete boxed set? Possibly in a 'collected' volume that includes short stories related to the setting the main trilogy has taken place in etc.

So I'm not trying to dissuade you from buying, or reading Patrick Rothfuss books; or even donating to his various charities - by all means, donate if you wish! And the original version of The Name of the Wind hasn't gone anywhere. If you want to read the books, pick that instead. I'm just trying to convince you not to buy this product in particular. Besides - you know something sweet will come along once the trilogy boxed set rolls out...

Oh, and if you're wondering what the other instance of a similar scenario of a book like this that I try and convince people not to buy, it's the 20th Anniversary Edition of A Game of Thrones. So far there seems to be plans to publish the other books in the series in that style. And, again - who knows what they have planned for the complete series boxed set? Buy the original editions, or wait for the complete set.

Whether or not you agree with me, I hope you understand what I'm getting at.

June 24, 2017

It's Not "The Elder Scrolls VI" But.....


The Elder Scrolls VI is still a ways off. By now, most likely anyone who has had an interested in Skyrim (The Elder Scrolls V) will have played it by now. It seems that Bethseda has been giving that game everything it's worth.

The game originally launched in November 2011 on PC, X360 and PS3. It followed with DLC later on with Dawnguard, Hearthfire and Dragonborn. And, not to mention the hi-res texture pack for PC as well. Naturally, all this was eventually collected into a 'complete' release; as is usually common with games once developers are completely finished with them. In the fall of 2016, to celebrate its 5th anniversary, the game was remastered. This was primarily for the console players, as the game out on XBONE, and PS4. Steam users that already have the game and all of its content got the remaster added to their library free of charge. Because the PC users had the hi res texture pack (plus, not to mention mods) the remaster seemed unneccesary for PC gamers. But still, there it was.

Now, Skyrim is coming to Nintendo Switch, as well as getting a VR release.

If, however, you are tired of Skyrim, and want The Elder Scrolls VI, I sort of have a middle-ground suggestion: the MMO known as The Elder Scrolls Online

The game was made without the intention of being a main entry in the Elder Scrolls series (sort of like the Final Fantasy games and their online games, despite the fact the online Final Fantasy games are numbered...). It isn't a "proper" Elder Scrolls game BECAUSE it's an MMO. And then there's the issue of Zenimax.... but if you are truly hankering for more romps through Tamriel, give The Elder Scrolls Online a shot.

It's free to play (however, if you want to you can subscribe to get more out of the game but it's not neccessary), and is available for XBONE, PS4 (although I should add that yo need XBOX Live or PS Plus for it) as well as PC.

And it's great time too because the first major expansion has just come out recently: The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind. That game requires the 'main' Elder Scrolls Online, which you can get in the redesigned 'base' game called The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited or The Elder Scrolls Online: Gold Edition. There are numerous bundles, and deluxe editions etc, as you can see from looking it in the Steam store, for example.

So that's an option for quenching your Elder Scrolls online thirst. However, if you thirst for beer (the main Elder Scrolls series, for example) and I'm suggesting wine (The Elder Scrolls Online) then I can understand not accepting the drink.       



June 16, 2017

I'll Netflix That: "Big Hero 6"


Next up on my "I'll Netflix That" series is a movie that I wanted to see in cinemas, but misse dout on. Maybe it was a busy time in my life? Maybe there were quite a few other movies in cinemas, and this one made the cut....either way, Big Hero 6 became a Netflix title for me. But not for the 'usual' reasons.

I quite enjoyed it! I'm somewhat glad I didn't pay the big bucks for the cinema experience but it was what I expected: the origin story reminded me of Iron Man a bit, the 'fun' element reminded me of The Incredibles or The Avengers, and the humor of Meet the Robinsons.

It's definitely a "Disney movie" in the truest sense of the word, while also being "Marvel Lite." If you enjoyed The Incredibles as well as Dragons from Dreamworks; you'll most likely find something to like here. There's something for everyone if you like animated films and / or superhero movies. It has an adventure element seen in such films such as the Dragons series by Dreamworks, The Incredibles, while brining the humor seen in Meet the Robinsons or Zootopia. It's not exactly ground-breaking, nor offers anything new or special we haven't seen before. The Disney charm has a spark in this one, and thus it's worth seeing. Just don't expect too much.

7.5 / 10  

June 15, 2017

E3 2017 Thoughts

Well another E3 has come and gone.

This is the big annual event where developers and designers get to showcase upcoming major releases for all the video game platforms. There were some surprises, both good and bad.

The systems I have, and follow, are PS4, PC (Steam) and 3DS. I have a wii u, but that's been discontinued in favor the Switch; which I don't have.

Nintendo has unveiled two upcoming Metroid games: Metroid: Samus Returns for 3DS, and Metroid Prime 4 for the Switch. We also got a look at some of the Zelda DLC. The first of two, coming on June 30, is called The Master Trials. The final set, The Champions' Balad, will be out "Holiday" 2017.

Of interest to me from Playstation, is the first set of DLC for Horizon: Zero Dawn called Horizon: The Frozen Wilds. It's of interest to me because I'm looking forward to playing Horizon, but will await the 'complete' edition.

Bethseda has announced Wolftenstein 2, which will be a sequel to Wolfenstein: The New Order. Nothing whatsoever in regards to The Elder Scrolls VI. I wasn't much if there was anaying - about the same sort of tease or reveal we got for Metroid Prime 4.

So it wasn't an overly spectacular E3 for me, though it's good to know there's some good things on the way. I wish Bethseda would leave Skyrim alone. I realize it takes time and energy to work on a game, but enough's enough. All we need is a brief tease / announcement to say that you're working on it like what Nintendo did with Metroid Prime 4. Or that you plan to work on it. Of all the games Nintendo is bring over to the Switch that already exist on other systems, I was hoping Mario Maker would make it over. You never know, perhaps someday in a direct or something. I say this because, I don't intend to get it, but it'll keep the servers going longer.

So those are pretty much my thoughts. Looking forward to: Metroid on 3DS, The Legend of Zelda: The Master Trials and The Legend of Zelda: The Champions' Balad for the wii u (also will be for the Switch), Horizon: Zero Dawn tog et it's 'full' ("Game of the Year") edition, and Wolfenstein 2 to get likewise for PC - if there will be any DLC, that is.   

June 11, 2017

Birthday is Coming


Well, it's about that time again! One month to go!

In a few weeks I shall age. In fact, following Tolkien's custom of a hobbit, I will come of age [33]. I definitely don't think I feel, or act, that way....try closer to 27-29.

I've always been glad that my birthday is in the summer. Summer is generally a fun time, despite the occasional heat and humidity. I usually opt for something BBQ'ed in the traditional sense: meaty, sticky, and smoky! It's also about half-way through the year.

Anyway, I try not to make a fuss. I don't expect much. A few close people, some good food, some good drink.

Truly, I'm not fussy about the gifts. There isn't anything I "ask" for; but there are some things I have my eye on. I'm trying to move past making and giving out wishlists.

So this post will showcase a few items that I have my eye on' so that my readers may "connect" with who I am. Please note that I am saving up for, and intending to buy a stereo system with a turntble sometime this summer.

GIFT CARDS

- Netflix
- LCBO
- Chapters iTunes

I find I'm constantly buying from those sources. Not meant as a bad thing, but I would not object to a bit of assistance with some of the expenses.

Other Items

- Hyrule Warriors for 3DS

- The Penguin Book of Norse Mythshttps://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/the-penguin-book-of-norse/9780241953211-item.html

- A History of Wales: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/a-history-of-wales/9780140284751-item.html

- Exploring The Hobbit : https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/exploring-j-r-r-tolkiens/9780544106635-item.html

- The Languages of Tolkien: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/the-languages-of-tolkiens-middleaearth/9780395291306-item.html 

- Rumours by Fleetwood Mac on vinyl: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B004OKFISQ/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_img?_encoding=UTF8&colid=F68MQXZEZHSG&coliid=I3GNYI951Y316P 

- Quadrophenia by The Who on vinyl: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B005M17KFU/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_S_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=F68MQXZEZHSG&coliid=I9YHHR15O7IA3

- Game of Thrones beer steins. I'd love to get both of these at once, which would complete my set. They are:

Lannister: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B00BFZ3O5C/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_S_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=334OHARFDHZKQ&coliid=I3MEV33UR3HZL0

Baratheon: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B009Z07U40/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_S_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=334OHARFDHZKQ&coliid=I2TJYH6U2I4T54

A decent mixed bag. There's a few books I'd like to receive that have peaked my interest. One or two vinyl albums; as I am intending to purchase a stereo system this summer sometime. I already have a few vinyls, as some of them may be harder to find over time; whereas the hardware equipment will always be around. Finally, a few more Game of Thrones beer mugs to close out my collection, which is fitting seeing as the show is headed towards its endgame.

June 7, 2017

"I'll Netflix That"



One thing that I'm doing, is starting up a blog series titled "I'll Netflix That." Whenever I use that expression on social media etc, some people take that as "that movie looks like crap." or "I don't want to see it." Neither is true...well, fully.

Here's the thing.

Cinema prices are expensive. (9/10, I see a movie with my lady. We usually do the IMAX version, and do snacks and/or supper out beforehand. Its fine financially every now and then. But for every single movie we want to see? Now it gets to cost a bit after awhile. So, we see the ones that we really want to see at the cinema, as well as the odd non-planned movie should we have enough Scene points.

The rest of the movies, I wait until they're available to download, or streaming on Netflix. Netflix's strength is some of its original shows (House of Cards, for instance).

I also don't have "TV", so I was able to watch some shows I was interested in thanks to Netflix. I'm currently watching Turn: Season 3 and will likely finish on Friday.

Here are some of the movies that I have on my Netflix list that I'll eventually watch and review:

- Ms Peregrine
- Big Hero 6
- Ice Age 5
- Fury
- Into the Woods
- Snowpiercer
- Turbo
- Captain Phillips
- Bridge of Spies
- Peanuts

And now for the 2017 films that I'll be 'waiting' on but still want to see:

- Underworld: Blood Wars
- Resident Evil 6
- The Great Wall
- The Lost City of Z
- The Circle
- Wonder Woman
- Despicable Me 3
- War of the Apes
- Valerian
- The Dark Tower
- Justice League
- Star Wars: Episode VIII 

June 6, 2017

Tolkien Tuesday: "Beren and Luthien"


Well, this is it - what could very well be the final Tolkien, and Middle-earth book (not counting anniversary or illustrated editions of existing material).

The announcement of the title surprised myself, as well as quite a few others. It seems that everyone involved with the book was keeping it under tight wraps. The very existence of it, I mean.

So, let's delve into the newest...and possibly final book.

The dustjacket features illustrations on the front and back, much like for The Children of Hurin. The texture is a matte / paper-y feel to it. Removing the dustjacket, the book itself is black with the writing embossed. Opening the book yields no frontispieces, anything on the reverse side of the boards, and no maps. Nothing folds out. Aside from the text itself on 'normal' paper, the colour plates are printed on glossy or plastisized photo-type paper. And that's it! I was honestly expecting the same fold-out map at the back of Beleriand and the Lands to the North, much like how The Children of Hurin had a slightly different variation of it. Ah well.

And that's pretty much all I can say about the book itself, in regards to how it's presented and any feature it may have. Just like The Children of Hurin, this one is somewhat of a judgement call, in regards to the material already existing elsewhere.

[my copy is nestled between The Children of Hurin and Tales From the Perilous Realm. I consider Perilous Realm to be a 'gateway' in, and out, of Middle-earth, because only story it contains is set there.] 

June 2, 2017

"The Joshua Tree" by U2 30th Anniversary



There they are: U2, in a reproduction of the cover from the monumental album The Joshua Tree.

This year, they're celebrating in a big way, with a Joshua Tree 30th Anniversary Tour. The album will most likely be played in its entirety, including additional B-Sides and bonus tracks. Find the details here: http://www.u2.com/tour/index/tour/id/79/ .

Today The Joshua Tree 30th Anniversary 7LP Deluxe Vinyl Boxed Set was also released [read about that here: http://insurrbution.blogspot.ca/2017/03/joshua-tree-30th-anniversary-edition.html . In short, anything and everything you could possibly wish for are included in that box.

May 23, 2017

"The Wheel of Time Companion" Review



I got this book a little bit ahead of publication date. Sometimes that happens.

I finished The Wheel of Time series a few years back (I believe it was 2013 or 2014 sometime, I forget which year; but I've documented all my Wheel of Time reviews.)

I haven't "read" this book, and that's because it's essentially an A-Z companion of the entire saga. One COULD read the book, cover to cover, AS a book but that's the intent for its existance.

So how can I review it then??

Because judging from the size, and nature of the contents, I know enough to give it a rating, and write about it.

First of all, the edition I got was the (trade) paperback (which, size-wise is about the size of a hardback, except it's made a paperback). I've always gotten The Wheel of Time as paperbacks. Way back when I started reading / buying the series, I believe the most recent book to be published in (mass market) paperback would have been Book 10, "Crossroads of Twilight." Since then, I strive for uniformity / matching formats within a series. Anyway, so the (trade) paperback of the Companion is the first published. there very could be the smaller, thicker, mass-market someday...but it wasn't the first to be published. In fact, to better explain, the book DEFINITELY matches the re-issues that TOR have been putting out here and there over the past few years. It'll definitely match with those. But since it's a Companion book, and not "Book #__" for instance, it's ok if it doesn't "match" the other titles. The fact that it's a Companion benefits the larger size. Maybe because of that it won't exist as a mass market brick of a book?

Like The Wheel of Time series, this book isn't perfect. There are possible errors in it, as indicated in the foreword itself. This is because the body of work is quite vast (14 books long, each being no shorter than 700 pages long, in mass market) and that Robert Jordan has passed away; therefore fact-checking more difficult than usual because of that.

The book serves as a great companion to the 14 books. There isn't a Table of contents, as it's A-Z formatted. However, the back cover [picks book up] states: "included in the book in A-Z format are: an entry for each named character, an inclusive dictionary of the Old Tongue, new maps of the Last Battle, new portraits of many characters, histories and customs of the nations of the world, the strength level of many channelers, descriptions f of the flora and fauna unique to the world, and much more. However, looking at what the book contains, finding some of those may be a tad tricky, if you don't know what to look under. the maps of the Last Battle, it makes sense they would theoritically be under the Last Battle entry. However, it could have been benefecial to separate portions of the Companion into sections. Not the entire thing. Have an A-Z listing, and then afterwards, perhaps group all the maps. Following the maps section, perhaps give the Old Tongue its own section. For all I know, that may have come up, but it's something I noticed about the book.

Another point I wish to address is spoilers. They mention spoilers in the beginning of the book. But how 'spoiler-y' are they? Would one ruin the reading experience if they were to use the Companion AS they read?? Again, as I haven't 'read' or 'used' this book yet, it's difficult to say. In fact, I just looked up a character and the book tells you EVERYTHING about them. Because of this, for anyone who's familiar, the book appears to be more akin to what Robert Foster's Comple Guide to Middle-earth is to The Hobbit, the Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion, rather than a 'guide'.

So I can easily recommend this to anyone who owns, and enjoyed, all 14 books. As well as those that plan to buy, or are purchasing, the 14 book series. I will caution its use, however, as it appears to be beneficial for re-reads, or best use post-series.

There is lots here that the readers and fans will love. If you've got all 14 books already, go for this one. If you are buying, or plan to buy all 14, get this; but get it last.

4 / 5

May 15, 2017

Beren and Luthien Tease


Pictured above is the backcover from the forthcoming Beren and Luthien. Before I get into this post, I will say a big thanks to "Tolkien Italia" for providing this info on The Tolkien Society's Facebook group page. What follows is what they've posted to the group:
News about "Beren and Luthien" with extracts from Christopher's Preface.Here's the table of contents:

CONTENTS

- List of plates (p.8)
- Preface (p.9)

- Beren and Lúthien (p. 27)
- Appendix: Revisions to “The Lay of Leithian” (p.257)

- List of Names (p.274)
- Cat3 (p. 286)
------------------------------------------

In addition, some extracts from the preface of Christopher Tolkien.

«After the publication of The Silmarillion in 1977 I spent several years investigating the earlier history of the work, and writing a book which I called “The History of The Silmarillion”. Later this because the (somewhat shortened) basis of the earlier volumes of “The History of Middle-earth”.
In 1981 I wrote at length to Rayner Unwin, the chairman of Allen and Unwin, giving him an account of what I had been, and was still, doing. At that time, as I informed him, the book was 1,968 pages long and sixteen and a half inches across, and obviously not for publication.
[...]
'In theory, I could produce a lot of books out of the History, and there are many possibilities and combinations of possibilities. For example, I could do "Beren", with the original Lost Tales, “The Lay of Leithian”, and an essay on the development of the legend. My preference, if it came to anything so positive, would probably be for the treating of one legend as a developing entity, rather than to give all the Lost Tales at one go; but the difficulties of exposition in detail would in such a case be great, because one would have to explain so often what was happening elsewhere, in other unpublished writings.'»

The transition living resource is particularly significant because it shows the massive problems of a curator that, even if I wanted to give prominence to individual legends in their specific evolution, can't ignore the difficulties that readers would face without having available to all the other legends in their interdependent and sometimes Contemporary in the same evolution; he does it with the words of the same curator Christopher, extrapolated directly from a letter of the period. This is also the first public admission of Christopher Tolkien about the existence of a book prior to "the history of middle-Earth" dedicated to the history of literary works paterne he designed and produced in those years; Rayner Unwin had spoken, without Titolarlo indirectly, in a book review published in 2000 (Flieger & Hostetter 2000, " Tolkien' S Tolkien's legendarium "), while the words " the history of the silmarillion " appeared only in private matches of Christopher.

We understand how easily, soon the idea of presenting the whole corpus of legends divided into periods the diary of composition took over. The following may disappoint many fans.

«I seem now to have done precisely that - though with no thought of what I had said in my letter to Rayner Unwin thirty-five years ago: I had altogether forgotten it, until I came on it by chance when this book was all but completed.
There is however a substantial difference between it and my original idea, which is a difference of context. Since then, a large part of the in close store of manuscripts pertaining to the First Age, or Elder Days, has been published, in close and detailed editions: chiefly in volumes of “The History of Middle-earth”. The idea of a book devoted to the evolving
story of 'Beren' that I ventured to mention to Rayner Unwin as a possible publication would have brought to light much hitherto unknown and unavailable writing. But this book does not offer a single page of original and unpublished work.»

No news text, so, despite implicitly Christopher admit that further textual material exists. What Relevance, unfortunately, we cannot know, even if we can be reasonably trust not crucial. Of course Christopher one is to explain what it is, then, the sense of a similar publication and her explanations will be satisfactory.

«What then is the need, now, for such a book?
I will attempt to provide an (inevitably complex) answer, or several answers. In the first place, an aspect of those editions was the presentation of the texts in a way that adequately displayed my father's apparently eccentric mode of composition (often in fact imposed by external pressures), and so to discover the sequence of stages in the development of a narrative, and to justify my interpretation of the evidence.
[...]
It is an essential feature of this book that these developments in the legend of Beren and Luthien are shown in my father's own words, for the method that I have employed is the extraction of passages from much longer manuscripts in prose or verse written over many years.»

What can we infer the composition of this new book?

First of all, we can be sure that this book is not an operation identical to that accomplished for "the children of hùrin". this new book will be organized as a literary history of deeds of beren and lúthien, presented in the form stages of different versions of the various Periods, intact, without a summary narrative (often failed) on the model of the chapters of "the silmarillion".
Then we can safely conclude (see also the table of contents) something about the versions that are derived from:
- the poem "the lay of leithian" will be brought back at least for large steps of the versions of the 30 s, with in appendix revisions of the early 50 s;
- the first version, contained in the " lost tales, it will be just as present.
Hard instead exposure about versions synthetic more present in the various annals and in the drafts of The Silmarillion.
Source: Images And texts preview of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt from harpercollins license: © Tolkien Summer Limited 2017, preface by © CR. Tolkien, 2017 illustration by © Alan Lee.

Spinoffs of Ice and Fire



There's been quite a bit of buzz going around lately about the recently announced Game of Thrones spinoffs. George R.R. Martin himself sets the record straight via a blog post:

So while I was on the road out California way, the story broke about the four GAME OF THRONES spinoffs that HBO is developing. And of course the news has since spread everywhere, all over the web and all over the world.

Yes, it's true. More or less. Though, as is all too common these days, various distortions and misapprehensions have crept into some of the reports along the way. And television being the fast-moving business that it is, there have already been some further developments.

For what it's worth, I don't especially like the term "spinoff," and I don't think it really applies to these new projects. What we're talking about are new stories set in the "secondary universe" (to borrow Tolkien's term) of Westeros and the world beyond, the world I created for A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE. It is a world, and a pretty big one, and if there were eight million stories in the naked city back in the 50s, just think how many more there are in an entire world, and one with thousands of years of recorded history.

None of these new shows will be 'spinning off' from GOT in the traditional sense. We are not talking Joey or AfterMASH or even Frazier or Lou Grant, where characters from one show continue on to another. So all of you who were hoping for the further adventures of Hot Pie are doomed to disappointment. Every one of the concepts under discussion is a prequel, rather than a sequel. Some may not even be set on Westeros. Rather than 'spinoff' or 'prequel,' however, I prefer the term 'successor show.' That's what I've been calling them.

Yes, I am involved, and have been for months. I had my first meeting with HBO about the possibility of a successor show back in August, when I pitched them two possible series. (One of those is among the concepts being developed, one is not). In the months that followed, other writers were brought in and pitched other ideas. Ultimately HBO decided to go ahead with four separate developments, to be written by Max Borenstein, Jane Goldman, Brian Helgeland, and Carly Wray.

It was stated in some of the reports that I am working with two of the four writers. That's not quite right. I've actually been working with all four of the writers. Every one of the four has visited me here in Santa Fe, some of them more than once, and we've spent days together discussing their ideas, the history of Westeros and the world beyond, and sundry details found only in The World of Ice & Fire and The Lands of Ice & Fire... when we weren't drinking margaritas and eating chile rellenos and visiting Meow Wolf. They are all amazing talents, and I am excited to be working with them. In between visits, I've been in touch with them by phone, text, and email, and I expect there will be a lot more back-and-forth as we move forward.

And there's more. We had four scripts in development when I arrived in LA last week, but by the time I left we had five. We have added a fifth writer to the original four. No, I will not reveal the name here. HBO announced the names of the first four, and will no doubt announce the fifth as well, once his deal has closed. He's a really terrific addition, however, a great guy and a fine writer, and aside from me and maybe Elio and Linda, I don't know anyone who knows and loves Westeros as well as he does.

Some of the reports of these developments seem to suggest that HBO might be adding four successor shows to the schedule to replace GAME OF THRONES. Decades of experience in television and film have taught me that nothing is ever really certain... but I do think it's very unlikely that we'll be getting four (or five) series. At least not immediately. What we do have here is an order for four -- now five -- pilot scripts. How many pilots will be filmed, and how many series might come out of that, remains to be seen. (If we do get five series on the air, I might have to change my name to Dick Direwolf).

The one goal that EVERYONE involved shares here is to make these new shows just as good as GAME OF THRONES itself. No easy task, mind you. David Benioff and Dan Weiss are a tough, tough act to follow, as all those Emmys demonstrate.

I can't tell you what the shows will be about (well, I could, but I won't), but I will tell you a couple of things they WON'T be. Which will disappoint some of you, sure, but better to do that now than later, I think.

We're not doing Dunk & Egg. Eventually, sure, I'd love that, and so would many of you. But I've only written and published three novellas to date, and there are at least seven or eight or ten more I want to write. We all know how slow I am, and how fast a television show can move. I don't want to repeat what happened with GAME OF THRONES itself, where the show gets ahead of the books. When the day comes that I've finished telling all my tales of Dunk & Egg, then we'll do a tv show about them... but that day is still a long ways off.

We're not doing Robert's Rebellion either. I know thousands of you want that, I know there's a petition... but by the time I finish writing A SONG OF ICE & FIRE, you will know every important thing that happened in Robert's Rebellion. There would be no surprises or revelations left in such a show, just the acting out of conflicts whose resolutions you already know. That's not a story I want to tell just now; it would feel too much like a twice-told tale.

More than that, I will not say. Feel free to makes your guesses, if you like... but I am not going to be confirming or denying anything, so don't expect replies.

And yes, before someone asks, I AM STILL WORKING ON WINDS OF WINTER and will continue working on it until it's done. I will confess, I do wish I could clone myself, or find a way to squeeze more hours into the day, or a way to go without sleep. But this is what it is, so I keep on juggling. WINDS OF WINTER, five successor shows, FIRE AND BLOOD (that's the GRRMarillion, remember?), four new Wild Cards books, some things I can't tell you about yet... it's a good thing I love my work.

So there you have it!!

The important things to take away:

- it won't be Robert's Rebellion
- it won't be Dunk and Egg (yet)
- he's still writing The Winds of Winter.

George's blog post can be found here: http://grrm.livejournal.com/536859.html

2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Eat & Western Finals



Well this is definitely a surprise!!

Ottawa has made it to the Eastern Final against Pittsburgh (and won the first game, as well).

I am definitely pleasantly surprised that Ottawa has done so well thus far during the playoffs to make it this far. Keep it up Ottawa, you can win this.....

In the West, the final two teams are Anaheim and Nashville. I'm pulling for Nashville; with hopes of an Ottawa - Nashville Cup Final....with Ottawa winning, of course.

We'll see how it goes, but the playoff hockey has definitely heated up now!

May 9, 2017

"I'll Netflix That" - Snow White and The Huntsman


"I'll Netflix that" is an expression I use. Most of the time, it means I want to see a movie, but I don't want to pay the prices of seeing it at the cinema, nor do I want to "rush out and see it."

This is usually determined by how the trailer looks, as well as various other aspects about the film. It could even be due to how it's received. I usually don't follow or pay attention to reviews or feedback; but if a movie gets bad enough feedback, then I'll skip out on seeing it at the cinema; opting to watch it "whenever" it arrives on Netflix.

So, the first movie I'll cover in this new trend (or 'banner, rather) is Snow White and the Huntsman.

There a few reasons why I  chose to skip this one at the cinema, but mostly was due to the casting of Kirsten Stewart. Those Twilight films have left a sour taste in my mouth, to the point that I'm quite wary over anything that stars cast members from those films. I haven't seen Stewart in much outside of the Twilight films.

One thing I do not like is what Disney is doing lately by live-action remaking most; if not all of their animated films. The reason for my dislike is, as far as I can tell, most of them are exact copy + paste remakes from the cartoons! I got this impression from Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, The Jungle Book...One that I did that was different was Maleficent. It wasn't a flat-out remake of Sleeping Beauty, it had a twist to it, a unique spin, if you will. If you're going to remake or redo your classics, why not make it different? Or add a twist? or something creative; rather than flat-out making the exact same film.

So, that's why I welcomed checking out Snow White and the Huntsman - it wasn't a 'remake' of the cartoon....and that's because it's not a Disney movie.  This film is more original and unique in its approach to the Snow White story. I have not yet read it, so I'm not sure how accurate it is to the actual source material. However, you don't often see Snow White donning armor.

Charlize Theron was the best aspect of this film to me, as her role of Queen Ravenna. She was both powerful yet vulnerable. It was quite interesting to see an antagonist in a fairy tale movie not being 'all powerful'; ass he is weakened most of the film.

The visual effects are quite impressive, as well. Scenes like those in Sanctuary make me welcome "new" fantasy. Again, I'm unsure what is original to this film, and what was in the original tale.

Another thing I noticed, is this: The Hobbit was published in 1937, and Snow White came out in 1938 (the film). Both Snow White and the Huntsman and The Hobbit: Part 1 films came out in 2012. Both feature dwarves.  I remember a video Peter Jackson posted, close to one of The Hobbit films release (I'm fairly certain it was for Part 3) where he took questions (videos, e-mails etc.) from other celebrities. One of them sent him "Our dwarves are better than yours." I forget which cast member from Snow White (or The Huntsman, however you want to shorten it ro) said it, but since then, I've been curious to see how this film handles the dwarves. I must say, I prefer Peter Jackson's overall, however I like the design, look and style aesthetic for the dwarves in this film a bit more than in The Hobbit films. Sure The Hobbit is a "children's" book, but the tone that PJ went for is more in line to a Lord of the Rings prequel than a children's tale. However, his dwarves looked a tad overly comical. It was mostly the hair and beard styles. "Sure....it's because they're dwarves" you're thinking. Not so. Gimli in The Lord of the Rings did not look overly goofy. So, the dwarves in Snow White and the Huntsman were well done as well - in terms of how they looked.

All in all, I found Snow White and the Huntsman to be a success on a technical and visual level: the costumes were great, it was well-filmed, well designed aesthetically, great visual effects, and I enjoyed the unique take on the story. However, it wasn't a perfect film, as some of the performances (barring Charlize) left something to be desired. Of course, I may have been reaching by comparing parts of it to The Hobbit films, though I wanted to address my thoughts on that regard all the same.

On a scorecard, I would probably give the film a 2.5 / 5; or something like a 5.5 / 10.

The film scratched a very specific itch I had for fantasy, quite successfully. It was what I was after, and I was not disappointed in that Regard. Then again, I wasn't expecting much to begin with. I liked it enough to keep an eye out for The Huntsman: Winter's War when/if it arrives on Netflix, as well.

May 4, 2017

SWCU: The Star Wars Cinematic Universe


Today, as you may well know is "May the Fourth." Which, I get - it's a silly play play on words, or sounds like someone has a lisp. You see, Star Wars (or, Star Wars: Episode IV) did NOT come out on May 4, but May 25 instead.

Anyway, this year, this month, in fact Star Wars turns 40.

As we know, Disney now owns the Star Wars franchise, much the same in how they own Marvel. There have been a few projects already (Star Wars: Episode VII, Star Wars: Rebels, Rogue One, the upcoming Star Wars: Episode VIII, Han Solo and Star Wars: Episode IX), plus a few others in the works.

A few months ago, it was revealed that there is about 15 years of Star Wars movies ahead of us. Upon hearing this, I got reminded of Marvel's Cinematic Universe, and calling the new 'Disney owns star Wars', the Star Wars Cinematic Universe, or SWCU.

I am curious to see what these post-Episode IX projects will be. I'm expecting a few more spin-off films here and there, but most importantly I'm also expecting another trilogy. Will that new trilogy be Episode X, Episode XI and Episode XII? [I wanted to write that out to see how'd it look.], and take place about 30-4 years after Star Wars: Episode IX? Or will it truly be a prequel trilogy, taking place during the Old Republic era? Heck, it could even take place about 30-40 years before Star Wars: Episode I, and setup the main franchise as we know it. The possibilities are somewhat endless. Rogue One showed us that's possible to revisit old territory in a new way, and at a different angle. 

So what would you like to see post-Episode IX, as part of the next 'phase' of the SWCU??

May 2, 2017

"Beren and Luthien" Waterstones Events: An Evening With Alan Lee



Waterstones, national bookseller of the UK, is hosting a series of Beren and Luthien events close to the book's publication.

You can read more about them here: https://www.waterstones.com/events/search?shop=&date=&region=&author=332510

 "Celebrate the launch of J.R.R. Tolkien’s "Beren and Lúthien" with Alan Lee, the book’s illustrator and the man behind much beautiful and iconic Tolkien artwork, for a discussion and book signing."
Living in Canada, I won't be able to make it, sadly. It would be wonderful to meet Alan. He is renown for illustrating The Hobbit in 1997, the three volumes of The Lord of the Rings (The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King) in 2002, and The Children of Hurin in 2007. He was also involved with the art direction of The Lord of the Rings film trilogy.

So be sure to swing by, my UK readers, whichever location best suits you to get your copy of Beren and Luthien signed, as well other Tolkien books he illustrated. If you are only allowed one other book tog et signed [I am unsure of the exact details and rules, check with Waterstones] I suggest bringing, or picking up, The Children of Hurin as well.

If you're interested in some illustrated Tolkien books, check out this post: http://insurrbution.blogspot.ca/2016/11/tolkien-tuesday-illustrated-collection.html
   

April 26, 2017

Second Round Picks

The Sens have made it to Round 2!!

As great as this is, I will also examine the rest of Round 2 and give my thoughts on who I want to see win, and move on.

Ottawa had a few close calls against Boston, but they made it through. So, without further ado, the rest.....

Washington vs Pitssburgh: Washington
I'm sorry, Pens, but you're not all high-and-mighty, or holier-than-tho.

Nashville vs St Louis: St Louis
I'd love to see St Louis advance!!

Anaheim vs Edmonton: Edmonton
This round will be tricky....

So, here's hoping Round 2 will go as I hope. Ottawa facing off against Washington for the Eastern Final, and Edmonton facing off against St Louis in the Western final. I would love to see an Ottawa - St Louis cup game, or an Ottawa - Edmonton one.

We'll see.....

April 15, 2017

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild [Spoiler Free] Review - "Hello, beastie..."


So I've been playing quite a bit of Zelda: Breath of the Wild lately. I enjoy taking my time with these games, and doing non-essential stuff as I progress through the main game, which takes a longer time to progress story-wise.

There are 4 Divine Beasts, each of which is...influenced by a scourge, called a blight. You have a Waterblight, a Fireblight, a Thunderblight, and a Windblight. Those serve as your 'dungeon boss'. I have conquered 2 of the 4 blights thus far. 2 more remain before I even consider myself ready at the earliest to take on the darkness itself. Oh - and yes my blog post title is a Pirates 2 quote.

Once you're off the Plateau, which is where I left my previous 'progress review', the world is literally your oyster. You can head in any direction you wish. Storywise, you're to head to Kakariko Village next. I did that, while using my amiibo for the first time. At the very worst, I do 'daily' scans if I can't "play" the game to earn materials. The best way to describe earning materials from amiibo is....imagine if you're playing Skyrim, and you get Orc gear sooner than you normally would in-game.

So I headed to Kakariko, as well as activating the Tower along the way. I forget the name of the Tower, but you it's the closest one to you upon leaving the Plateau...Dueling Peaks? I can't recall. I progressed the story while exploring and completing some shrines along the way. Oh, shrines! My upgrade pattern is as follows: heart, heart, stamina. Repeat until finished. This way, I'll get my life points up, as well as my stamina which will make it possible to explore more of the world.

Upon my exploring, I decided that I wanted to uncover the entire map. So, I went tower hunting. Some of them were tricky. Just a heads up to be ready for Ridgeland, Akala, and Central. You'll see.... Also, keep an eye out for anything unusual as they may yield Korok Seeds. Get enough of these and you can 'expand-a-band' the ammount of items [weapons, bows and shields] you can carry.

Once I felt it was time, I decided to head to Zora's Domain for the first Divine Beast. This happened by a 3-way coinincidence:

- it was the first of the 4 that I happened upon,I met an NPC that advanced that questline first.

- [this may count as one] both guides that I use for reference (the official one as well as Zelda Dungeon] recommended I tackle that one first.

And thus, the hero vanquished the Waterblight.

But this post isn't quite over yet.

I got my guide late. I believe it came in early into 3rd week of the game's release, maybe the end of the 2nd. So I knew I was missing stuff. I used it as reference and as a checklist before moving on from one area onto the next. So I went back and did some more 'side stuff'\, as well as continue to explore and follow it mostly for Shrines, recommended areas to visit, and side quests.

Then a I discovered The Great Fairies. I mentioned I was at Kakariko. It was there I freed the first of four without quite seeking her out. Saving up your rupees for specific things does help. I wanted to 'activate' all 4 Great fairies shortly after revealing the entire world map. The 4th one was the hardest to save for, due to the amount. And after that, it gets even better! The materials you need to upgrade the defensive level of your clothes. Fully upgrading a 'set' to the max [4 levels] after you've gotten all 4 fairies enables a special effect. Flamebreaker armor, for instance, makes you completely fireproof. I wanted to ensure THAT was possible before taking on the Fireblight. And I'll do so with the Thunderblight, as well. [not sure which element the Windblight uses....my guess would be ice?] Anyway, upgrading certain clothes requires certain materials. Call me a hoarder, but I like to hold onto materials and items in-game. To an extent, though. The lowest of something I'll hold onto [except for ore gems] would be 20 at the very lowest, and 50 at the very highest. Depending on the item, though. So that's my advice for you - hold onto at least 20 of everything, and 50 at the very most, though it depends. 

So, just last night I vanquished the Fireblight.

I should also add that thus far, each cinematic that occurs afterwards, are quite touching. Heck, I even had a tear or two during the Zora one. Some of the memories are quite moving, as well. That's my next, main goal, as well - to find more of memories scattered throughout Hyrule. There are some, based on their location, that will have to wait until The Final Showdown. Or, when I'm quite close to it. Which will be well after the fourth and final blight is vanquished. I'll also grab as many of those Koroks as I can. Also, I want to collect as many armor sets [and max them out] as I can, as well.

I could keep writing and writing, but I won't. This is turning into an exhaustive post, so I'll end here but I'll 'sum up' some emotions, accomplishments etc in bullet point.

Accomplishments:

- all towers activated, thus revealing the map
- all 4 great fairies restored
- I got "that" Sword once I got my 13th heart. And no, I did not change stamina into a heart. I waited until I got 13 hearts total in regards to my cycle system.
- vanquished 2 blights, in this order: Waterblight and Fireblight.
-  My Slate is upgraded [Sensor+, Bomb+ and Stasis+]
- I have a house, fully completed.
- Tarrey Town is completed.

A Look to the Future:

- fully upgrade my current clothes sets
- obtain the rest of the Ancient Armor [and upgrade it once I own all 3 pieces.]. I currently just have the chest piece.
- Obtain all armor 'sets'
- Explore, Shrine, and Quest until I feel I'm ready to tackle......The Windblight.
- [same as above but relating to The Thunderblight.]
- ~once the final Blight has been bested, tie up any and all loose ends, and prepare for The Final Showdown.~
- This: [see image]


Some Advice:

- 'hoard' as much stuff as you can, maxing out at approx 50, and having no less than 20. Depending on the items, of course.
- Check out the Dye Shop in Hateno. It really lets you customize and roleplay your Link. Some of my clothes I've left the exact same default colours. For some of my wardrobe [assuming it looks good] I 'inverted' the default colours. Let's look at the Hylian Hood, Hylian Tunic, and Hylian Trousers. The Hood is navy, the tunic, crimson, and the pants, light brown. MINE is: crimson hood, navy tunic, and grey pants. It also looks pretty sharp, and some of them look good with other clothes, as well. Anyway, something worth looking into if you enjoy roleplay and wanting your Link to be more yours.
- activate the map (towers) and fairies as early as you can. This will also allow you to explore as you do so.
= after defeating a Blight and "all is well." again [in the area, I mean] speak to the locals. Usually, this opens up more side quests and shrine quests.
- don't forget to use pins and stamps. I use pins to mark shrines, myself.
- check out anything unusual that you may see....
- upgrade and get elemental protection clothes before you head into a region in which you will fight a Blight. For instance, if you're planning on heading to Death Mountain for the Fireblight, I suggest you get the Flamebreaker gear as before / during then, all 3 pieces, and then fully upgrade them to make yourself fireproof. Definitely helps. It doesn't make it to the extent of being "easy" though its more.... 'convenient.' Also, try and save any elemental weapons to use against Blights. Ice weapons and arrows also work well against the Fireblight, for instance.  
- Part of the game is weapon swapping. However, try and have a 'backup' or two handy as well.
- Try and follow a 'leveling' pattern. For every 4 Spirit Orbs, you can get a Heart Container or Stamina Vessel. As I mentioned, I do mine in the order of heart, heart, stamina.
- Use Stasis and Magnesis every so often, just because they may detect something hidden. Also great for 'scanning.' By a body of water? give Magnesis a scan to see if there's anything in it.....
- have fun, try to plan, and explore!

Until next time.....

April 10, 2017

Let the Games Begin



[click to enlarge]

So the time has come - the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs has been announced. The board is set, the pieces need to move. I am also quite glad that my Ottawa Senators have made it in. In fact, so have Montreal and Toronto, much to the fans' delight.

As is somewhat custom, I will break down my first round bracket for which teams I'd love to see advance onto the next round.

THE EAST

Montreal vs NY Rangers

As an Ottawa fan, I'm not a Montreal fan. As long as Ottawa keeps moving forward full-steam, the other Canadian teams don't matter to me 'just because' they're Canadian. This one looks iffy, though. Either team could move on, so it'll be interesting. I'm calling that it'll be the Rangers, in 6 or 7 games.

Ottawa vs Boston

THIS will be a great round. Not just because it's the Sens, but because they'll be up against the Bruins. Of course, I'd lvoe tos ee Ottawa move on....but it could be a tough round.

Washington vs Toronto

I'm saying the Capital. they're usually pretty decent in the playoffs. This one should be another entertaining series.

Pittsburgh vs Columbus

I want Columbus to advance, and get a good, clean hit on Crosby while they're at it.

THE WEST

The Western conference is always exciting to follow each year.

Chicago vs Nashville

Chicago

Minnesota vs St Louis

This one will be an awesome series. I've always thought of the Blues as the team not to underestimate. I'm surprised that Minn made it into the playoffs only because they had a such a rough season. I'd like to Minn do well, however I see St Louis taking it.

Anaheim vs Calgary

I'd want to see Calgary advance here.

Edmonton vs San Jose

This will be another matchup - so many this year!! I'd like to see Edmonton advance, however, I think the odds are stacked against them.

So those are my thoughts! It'll be a great first round of the playoffs, which will make for some great hockey. I doubt there will be any sweeps. We'll just have to watch and see..... I'll do another one of these once the Round 2 advances are set.

April 7, 2017

Upcoming Tolkien Books of 2017 [So Far...]

I this post, I'm going to give a rundown of the Tolkien books coming up in the next while worthy of note.

First up, as I previously reported, is what will most likely be this year's main Tolkien event, the publication of Beren and Luthien. It will be available in hardback and deluxe edition formats.

Also, coming out, is Hammond + Scull's revised edition of their Tolkien Companion and Guide. It will be 3 physical books total, with the Reader's Guide being split into two. The ISBN for this set is 9780008214548.

There will also be a sketchbook of John Howe's artwork titled A Middle-earth Traveller, with an ISBN of 
9780008226770.

David Harvey's book about Tolkien, myth, and Middle-earth, The Song of Middle-earth, will be publishing in a print-on-demand hardback from tolkien.co.uk with an ISBN of 
9780008184834.

Finally, for 2017 that is, Jemima Catlin's colour illustrated edition of The Hobbit in paperback is arriving in September, just in time for The Hobbit to turn 80. The ISBN of that edition is 
9780007497935.

Next year sees the paperback edition of The Story of Kullervo, which will match the other Tolkien paperbacks in terms of size dimensions, so they'll be 'level' on a book shelf. The ISBN for that edition is: 
9780008131388. In 2018, it's possible that the paperback edition of Beren and Luthien should also be out as well. No listing yet, however.

Finally, there will also be a paperback edition of A Secret Vice publishing in early 2019. The ISBN for that edition is 
9780008131418.

I will conclude by saying that there could very well be other Tolkien books announced. Some publication dates could change, as well. I'm also keeping a lookout for any possible listings of a deluxe edition of The Lay of Atrou and Itroun, but there's been nothing thus far. The books mentioned are the ones that I believe deserve mention and attention. There could be some others, but not enough is known at this point (example: "A Middle-earth Treasury", which I'm fairly certain will be pocket hardback editions of The Hobbit, The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King in a set very similar to "The Tolkien Treasury")  
 


April 4, 2017

My Starter Pack

As time goes on, I like to recommend more and more items to people. This could be due to age, social circles of various areas expanding, or the openness of geekdom within the past 5-10 years; [compared to, well, ever.] where cons have been popping up more and more often, and more and more people attend them.

I also somewhat got the idea from the famed TV, one of the few early ones, that made geeky 'cool' - The OC. Not for sake of being cool, mind you, but the fact that it shows you don't have to, or should, change who you are. I am of course referring to Seth Cohen. In particular, come the Holidays "Chrismukkah", to be precise) Seth finds himself dating two girls at once. It's been a while since I've watched, so I forget which 'stage' of the relationship he's at with each woman. Because of the fact he can't [immediately] choose, he gifts them both the exact thing: "The Seth Cohen Starter Pack.".

Now, my situation is vastly different from Seth's, but that idea has always stuck with me: "starter Pack." Where you gift people with things that you love, in hopes that they will enjoy them as well, no matter who they are.

So now comes the "Jeffrey Hawboldt Starter Pack".


.

THE HOBBIT by J.R.R Tolkien. ISBN: 9780007458424

First, and definitely foremost, is Tolkien's timeless tale [for children, adults, and everyone in between alike] of adventure and fantasy.

Tolkien had other myths and legends at work that occur in the same in the world before The Hobbit chronologically, however, "In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit." was the start of the whole thing. It was the first published book to take place in Middle-earth.

People say that The Lord of the Rings changed fantasy. While that may be true, if it weren't for The Hobbit, then The Lord of the Rings may not have existed.

The edition I've selected for my 'gift giving purposes' is a great paperback. It's dimensions match other Tolkien paperbacks, should you wish to pursue them, expand your Tolkien library, or have a look at them here: 
https://www.bookdepository.com/account/wishlist?wishlistId=1489286 . Aside from the fact it'll line up with other Tolkien books on your shelf in terms of size dimensions, as well as most paperbacks' it also features awesome opening chapter ink drawings, and incredible cover art. Quite precious indeed.

 
BOOZE

Now this one may be a bit trickier, as it depends on who lives where, and what they like to 'drink.' You know, know your audience. Here, I will provide some great tasting drinks to try out:

Ontario Craft Beer:

- Beau's Lugtread Lager
- Muskoka Detour
- Great Lakes Cannuck Pale Ale

Imported Beer:

- Innis & Gunn Original
- Fuller's London Pride or London Porter
- St Bernardus Abt 12
- Kilkenny Irish Ale

Others:

- Crown Royal Whiskey, Crown Royal Black, or Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye
- Bailey's Original Irish Cream

 

TEA

I do enjoy a nice cup of tea! Thanks to infusers and tea mugs sold at place like David's Tea and Teavana, It's quick and easy to have one. Of course, these are 'to taste' so I'll list off some of my faves here [sold by David's Tea]:

- Blueberry Jam
- Mint Chocolate Roobios
- Cream of Earl Grey
- Mother's Little Helper
- Alpine Punch
- Ginger Pear
- Bear Trap
- Irish Breakfast
- English Breakfast
- Green Roobios
- Glitter and Gold
- Spiced Apple




HIS DARK MATERIALS TRILOGY BOXED SET by Philip Pullman. ISBN: 9780375823367
(consists of: The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass)

These books are some of the best I've ever read. I won't say that much about them, other than that you need to read them. The edition I've selected is a complete trilogy boxed set, and each book contains bonuses at the end.

 

GAME OF THRONES: Season 1 Blu-Ray

One of TV's best shows; regardless of which books from the series on which is based, A Song of Ice and Fire, are or aren't published. Some seasons have been better than others, but, as a TV show first and an adaptation second, Thrones is one of the best TV shows that's been consistently good since it started.

Now that the show is nearing its end [season 8, the final season, airs next year] this is a great time to begin watching, or if you don't own the blu-rays yet, to start getting them so that you can enjoy the show in all its HD glory.