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.

March 31, 2017

An Update: First Quarter 2017



Well, I thought I'd provide an update thus far, to let everyone know how the year is so far. I generally post news that interests me, as well as others, but I wanted to provide a general summary.

I've been playing the heck out of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on wii u. If there are any wii u owners have a hard time tracking it down, may I suggest buying it off the eshop? It's going quite well....I want to talk about it, but I don't want to ruin anything though! Perhaps I'll share my thoughts closer to when the first DLC batch rolls around...that way, hopefully, very mild spoilers will be known.

It's officially spring now! Even though it may not seem like it, due to winter weather not wanting to leave.I love winter, and the snow. But enough is enough. I suppose I wish we always had all 4 seasons lasting the same amount of time, weather wise.

The reading has slowed down a tad, in favor of my playing Zelda. I'm reading on the ereader when I travel (even if it's a commute trip). Presently, for actual physical books, I'm reading the Skyrim Library books. I'm on Vol. 1, and my next portion to read is titled "The Argonian Account."I have a few books I'd like to read once I finish the Elder Scrolls game ones [I have the 3 Skyrim ones, as well as the 2 Elder Scrolls Online ones). I recently obtained signed copies of Ron MacLean's Hockey Towns, and Alan Doyle's Where I Belong. They were first editions, signed, 50% off, AND 5X the plum points! Keep an eye out for my books reviews.

I know I'm getting ahead of myself here, but for 'Hobbit Day' ("....the 22nd of September...") I'd like begin reading The Annotated Hobbit. As I mentioned previously via the blog, when I was getting my Tolkien books, I was opting for them to be in hardback, and to match. None of the others 'match' The Annotated Hobbit, so I never really paid any attention to it. Not out of disinterest, but due to that fact. However, it was when I was gifted it, that I decided "the next time I read The Hobbit, it'll be this one." Following that, depending on my mood, or how my reading pile looks, I may even re-read The Lord of the Rings in conjunction with The Reader's Companion; something I didn't use, or do, during my most recent read.

Speaking of Tolkien, I look forward to the release of Beren and Luthien in a few months. Just to know what the contents are will be interesting as well. once I return to reading Tolkien [not counting reading of The Annotated Hobbit, as well as potentially The Lord of the Rings, that is] I intend to read: The Children of Hurin, Beren and Luthien, Tales From the Perilous Realm, The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun, The Fall of Arthur, Beowulf and The Story of Kullervo. I'm still waiting to see whether or not Harper Collins will publish a deluxe edition of The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun before deciding to get the hardback copy. If they don't, I'll get it as an ebook. I'll give them until July, for a listing to start appearing on sites such as Amazon UK, and Book Depository. Speaking of upcoming Tolkien books, that warrants a blog post sometime soon. Also, I'm looking forward to getting the revised edition of The Tolkien Companion and Guide boxed set by Hammond + Scull.

Moviewise, I saw Logan recently - last Friday in fact. I hope to have a review of that up sometime soon. Looking forward, next, to Guardians 2 and Dunkirk. A few others throughout the year, but those are the next big ones for me.

On the TV, my lady and I are presently watching Iron Fist together. It's not too bad. It's a bit uneven at times, but nowhere as bad as people saying it is. It may be possible that they may be unfamiliar with the Iron Fist comics [I am], or comparing it to other fare such as Daredevil or Arrow. I also finished Season 3 of Halt and Catch Fire on Netflix. Looking forward to Season 4, though I know itll be a bit yet. On my 'rotation' I'm keeping an eye out for Season 3 of Turn to be uploaded. Just today I finished watching Season 1 of Badlands. It's worth giving a go. I hope it stays good, and doesn't up sucking later.

I'm also watching more sports [though, again, Zelda...I Have been waiting close to 3 - 3.5 years for this game] namely hockey (Ottawa Senators) and Baseball (Blue Jays). My hockey watching will likely pick up, as we are nearing the playoffs. Once the first round has been announced, I'll share my thoughts on the blog.

Last, but certainly not least, is the beer! Spring is typically IPA season. I have a few from Beau's I'm looking forward to picking up [I'm due for another Beau's run at some point, as well as a pack of Lugtread. I like to pick up Lugtread up at the very minimum once per season.] In April sometime I'm hoping to pop into Whitewater [if you have they chance to try their beer on tap, do it]. My own 'cache' is beginning to run quit low. I'll have a peek at LCBO this weekend at some point to see what's new and featured, as well what's available. I'll make a note to see if the newest by Creemore and/or Muskoka is in  as well....

And that, is pretty much all!

March 25, 2017

"Beren and Luthien" Deluxe Edition Cover Art




We finally have a look at what the deluxe edition of the forthcoming Beren and Luthien deluxe edition will look like! It is a dark green. The Children of Hurin was blue. So, if I am correct to assume, that should The Fall of Gondolin be published in a similar style, that the deluxe edition will be coloured dark red, almost maroon.

Appropriately enough, this was revealed on 'Tolkien Reading Day', one of the dates celebrated by Tolkien fans. the others include Tolkien's Birthday, ad well as Sept. 22 [Bilbo 's & Frodo's Birthdays, as well as the publication of the The Hobbit, the first book to be published that is set in Middle-earth.]

Apparently, it features a nightingale motif, which is appropriate considering the fact that "Tinuviel", Luthien's last name, is Elvish for "nightingale." This motif is most likely designed by Alan Lee, who also provided similar motifs for the deluxe editions of The Children of Hurin and Tales From the Perilous Realm.

As a reminder, the ISBN for the deluxe edition is: 9780008214203.
Painstakingly restored from Tolkien's manuscripts and presented for the first time as a continuous and standalone story, the epic tale of Beren and Luthien will reunite fans of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings with Elves and Men, Dwarves and Orcs and the rich landscape and creatures unique to Tolkien's Middle-earth. The tale of Beren and Luthien was, or became, an essential element in the evolution of The Silmarillion, the myths and legends of the First Age of the World conceived by J.R.R. Tolkien. Returning from France and the battle of the Somme at the end of 1916, he wrote the tale in the following year. Essential to the story, and never changed, is the fate that shadowed the love of Beren and Luthien: for Beren was a mortal man, but Luthien was an immortal Elf. Her father, a great Elvish lord, in deep opposition to Beren, imposed on him an impossible task that he must perform before he might wed Luthien. This is the kernel of the legend; and it leads to the supremely heroic attempt of Beren and Luthien together to rob the greatest of all evil beings, Melkor, called Morgoth, the Black Enemy, of a Silmaril. In this book Christopher Tolkien has attempted to extract the story of Beren and Luthien from the comprehensive work in which it was embedded; but that story was itself changing as it developed new associations within the larger history. To show something of the process whereby this legend of Middle-earth evolved over the years, he has told the story in his father's own words by giving, first, its original form, and then passages in prose and verse from later texts that illustrate the narrative as it changed. Presented together for the first time, they reveal aspects of the story, both in event and in narrative immediacy, that were afterwards lost.

March 23, 2017

The Next Smash Bros: "Breath of the Wild" Link



So there's a new Nintendo system out. That means, someday, it'll get a brand new Smash bros game on it.

I'm not talking about a deluxe version of an existing one (look at Mario Kart 8 for the wii u, and then Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for the Switch) but a brand new Smash game.

The Smash game have always 'updated' their characters as they've had changes to them throughout the series. Take a look at Mario's move set from Smash 64, Smash Bros. Melee, Smash Bros. Brawl, and Smash Bros. U to see what I mean.

Because of the fact that Breath of the Wild was an overhaul for the Zelda series, I think it's safe to speculate that Link will change for the next entry, possibly Zelda as well. At the very least, I can see Zelda getting a new skin change. Link, on the other hand, will be quite different than what we've seen before.

I am talking about Breath of the Wild Link replacing the normal "Link". If there's an additional Link, I can see it being Toon Link (for those preferring a more 'traditional' move set) or even the Younger Link may get redesigned reflecting abilities, etc, from Majora's Mask.

So in this post, I'll take a look at Link from Breath of the Wild, and how he could fit or work in "Smash Bros. Switch."

Appearance

Of course, Link would look the same way he does in the game Breath of the Wild, which is different than his usual look. All the promo artwork and even amiibo seems to show him with what looks like the traveler's shield, and sword, rather than the Hylian shield and Master Sword. It looks like his bow is the Knight's bow and equipped with either Guardian or Ancient arrows. I'm not familiar enough with the game or the items yet to place accurate names to the gear based on looks. Either way, expect Link to look similar to how he does for promo images base don Breath of the Wild.

Colour change or palette could work based on his various outfits from the game. Red could be the "Hylian tunic" for instance.

Moveset

Now for the neat part, and hardest to think of, which is why this post took so long to do! I can see Link being a sort of combination, or mix of, "Link" as well as Shulk.

Similar to how Shulk has the Monado Arts, Link has 'runes' in Breath of the Wild (Stasis, Remote Bomb, Cryonis and Magnesis). Of course, there's also using those as moves in a fighting game. Would Link swap between them, much like Shulk did with his Monado Arts? Or will the move set be a little similar to 'traditional' Link, with the remote bombs repalcing his standard ones?

The bow is featured prominently, as well. Both in game and in promo images. That will most likely stay as the B standard. Remote Bombs or runes could be DOWN+B.

I can see Link's moveset consisting of runes (or remote bombs only), the bow, and possibly a counter (or counters). The Up+B could be the paraglider for a triple jump,replacing the spin attack. Similar to how Peach glides. Link could still have a spin attack of sorts, perhaps, by simply HOLDING the A button. sure it'll be weaker than usual.

That's all I've got for the time being [I know I'm missing SIDE+B] but I wanted to showcase how Link could how quite different the next time you see him in Smash.

March 17, 2017

Joshua Tree 30th Anniversary Edition



One of my all-time favourite albums is getting the deluxe vinyl boxed set treatment. It's The Joshua Tree by U2; possibly the very best album they've done. The package is quite extensive, so my post is about the contents of the set. It'll be available June 2

Here are the contents:

Super Deluxe 7LP Box Set

Bespoke boxset. Cover features a textured embossed gold foiled Joshua tree icon.

This collector’s boxset includes:

7 pieces of original, live and unreleased recordings on 12” 180gsm vinyl.
3.5hrs of audio content / 49 tracks (25x unreleased tracks: 17x live, 7x new mixes, 1x archive track)

• The Joshua Tree double album (gatefold) with a download code for a digital version
• The Joshua Tree Live at Madison Square Garden double album 1987 (gatefold)
• The Joshua Tree Remixes
• The Joshua Tree Outtakes
• The Joshua Tree B-Sides

• The Joshua Tree – Photographs by The Edge. An 84-page hardback book of personal never-before seen photography by The Edge, taken during the original Mojave Desert Joshua Tree shoot, 1986

• A folio of 8 rare 12” Anton Corbijn colour prints

Tracklisting:
The Joshua Tree
Side 1
Where The Streets Have No Name
I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
With Or Without You

Side 2
Bullet The Blue Sky
Running To Stand Still

Side 3
Red Hill Mining Town
In God's Country
Trip Through Your Wires

Side 4
One Tree Hill
Exit
Mothers Of The Disappeared

The Joshua Tree Live at Madison Square Garden 1987
Side 1
Where The Streets Have No Name
I Will Follow
Trip Through Your Wires
I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For

Side 2
MLK
Bullet The Blue Sky
Running To Stand Still
In God's Country
Sunday Bloody Sunday

Side 3
Exit
October
New Year's Day
Pride (In The Name Of Love)

Side 4
With Or Without You
Party Girl
I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
"40"

The Joshua Tree Remixes, Outakes & B-Sides
Remixes Side 1
One Tree Hill (St Francis Hotel Remix)
Bullet The Blue Sky (Jacknife Lee Remix)
Running To Stand Still (Daniel Lanois Remix)

Remixes Side 2
Red Hill Mining Town (Steve Lillywhite 2017 Mix)
With Or Without You (Daniel Lanois Remix)
Where The Streets Have No Name (Flood Remix)

Outtakes Side 3
I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For (Lillywhite Alternative Mix '87)
One Tree Hill Reprise (Brian Eno 2017 Mix)
Silver and Gold (Sun City)
Beautiful Ghost/Introduction To Songs Of Experience

Outtakes Side 4
Wave Of Sorrow (Birdland)
Desert Of Our Love
Rise Up
Drunk Chicken/America

B-Sides Side 5
Luminous Times (Hold On To Love)
Walk To The Water
Spanish Eyes

B-Sides Side 6
Deep In The Heart
Silver And Gold
Sweetest Thing
Race Against Time




As you can see, this offers the ultimate Joshua Tree experience.

Don't Drink Green Beer, Drink Irish Beer!



I don't have any [documented] Irish Blood in me, I've got English, Scottish and German. However, I like a good tasting drink, and encourage others to enjoy their taste buds.

I never understood the appeal of ruining beer by making it green. Sure it doesn't affect the taste....but still. If you're going to party on St Patrick's Day, do it properly.

Here are some Irish drinks to enjoy today:

BEER

- Guiness
- Kilkenny
- Smithwicks
- Harp

I recommend giving each of those a try. If you're looking to drink "a lot" or for a "normal beer", go with Harp. Especially if you plan on having other non-beer drinks. If you're just sticking with beer, well then have all 4, but go from heaviest to lightest [the order iIlisted the beers in.] If you're feeling fancy, you can even try this:

Tilt and fill a pint glass just over halfway with pale ale. Wait a few seconds for foam to settle.
Turn a spoon upside-down so the back is facing upwards. Put the inverted spoon into the pint glass and angle it is so that the tip of the spoon just touches the top of the pale ale.
Slowly pour the stout over the back of the spoon, moving the spoon higher as the glass fills up. This will keep the ale and stout separated.

I suggest the 'pale ale' being either Harp or Smithwick's.

WHISKEY

- Jameson
- 2 Gingers
- Bushmills

OTHERS

- Bailey's [suggestion: in coffee, replacing milk or cream]
- Magners (cider)

Cheers! That's how you do it right.

Shout-out to the LCBO for the Half-and-Half recipe, as well as the photo I've used (by way of copying its link)