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.