Book Review – The Lost Road : And Other Writings


The Lost Road and Other Writings is the fifth book in the History of Middle-Earth twelve set book series. In this book, we finally start reading the early manuscripts that will make up the stories regarding Númenor. The first title portion of this book, The Lost Road follows a very unique short story that connects the modern world, to that of the Númenórean era.

Given that the entire History of Middle-Earth series was published after The Silmarillion. To me what stood out the most reading this book was the acknowledgment of Christopher Tolkien regarding editorial mistakes that he made during his scrupulous work in The Silmarillion; in particular those belonging to the tale of Beren and Lúthien. Additionally, it was also really interesting to read passages that had some events that were inconstant with some of the narrative of the stories, and how even Christopher Tolkien himself had no explanation of it. I can only imagine how rigorous, J.R.R. work might of been when he was writing all of these stories, that he possibly didn’t noticed these mistakes in his original manuscripts.

The last portion of this book starts delving (although not in a linguistic scholarly manner) into J.R.R. Tolkien’s languages. A significant amount of etymology is covered. It’s quite amazing the vast amount of work Tolkien did in creating his languages and incorporating them into his secondary world. Just about almost everything whether being a character or a location in works has a linguistic meaning associated with their names. This actually reminded me of an amusing George R.R. Martin interview I saw a while ago were he explains how he comes up with character names. I don’t minimize Martin, but reading the etymologies of the words Tolkien invented; he is on a different level.

PlayStation 4 Hard Drive Upgrade

I was pleasantly surprise to see how incredibly easy it was to upgrade the hard drive on a PS4. I have an original PS4 model with 500GB storage, and for the longest time I’ve always found myself having to constantly delete games in order to install new ones. I’m not a PlayStation Now subscriber and my digital library of games is fairly small, yet 500GB was not sufficient space for my gaming needs. With the ridiculously amount of disk space modern games take up, quite frankly unless you’re playing less than three games at any given time, just about everyone will run into this problem. Luckily not long ago Sony finally patched the PS4 to support external storage. While I do have an extra external 500GB USB drive laying around, it really bothered me that Sony didn’t placed the USB ports on the back side of the PS4. Usually, I really don’t care about aesthetics, but having the external drive connected in the front of the PS4 and be completely visible felt like eye sore. So I decided to upgrade the internal system drive. Upgrading the internal drive does not void your warranty and Sony has easy to follow instructions on how to perform a new installation of the PS4 software onto a new drive. https://www.playstation.com/en-gb/get-help/ps4-system-software

Given the positive reviews, I opted to upgrade to a 2TB Seagate FireCuda SSHD. The entire hard drive upgrade process including the software installation took me less than 10 minutes to complete! I didn’t restore the data of the old factory 500GB drive, instead I decided to start from a clean slate. 2TB should be sufficient space for my gaming needs, if anything I’m angered I didn’t did the upgrade earlier.

Book Review – The Shaping of Middle-Earth


The Shaping of Middle-Earth is a continuation of the development of early myths of made up The Silmarillion. This book is mainly just a combination of passages, that further develop Tolkien’s amazing mythology. The Shaping of Middle-Earth is divided into seven sections:
1. “Prose Fragments Following the Lost Tales”
1. “The Earliest ‘Silmarillion'”
2. “The Quenta”
3. “The First ‘Silmarillion’ Map”
4. “The Ambarkanta”
5. “The Earliest Annals of Valinor”
6. “The Earliest Annals of Beleriand”

At this point, I estimate about 70% of The Silmarillion is almost at it final form, excluding the Downfall of Númenor and Of The Rings of Power and The Third Age. In this book, you’ll find some of the very first Silmarillion maps, and the history behind them. Just like the first three previous books in The History of Middle-Earth series, Christopher Tolkien does an awesome job analyzing and explaining his father’s writings in an easy to understand manner. To me, the best thing about reading The History of Middle-Earth is learning about the things that were not included the final version of The Silmarillion. For example, in this book you’ll learn more “The Final Battle” and the ending of the world, which this is only mentioned in The Silmarillion, but doesn’t go into detail. In this book, you’ll read the details (and different versions) and holyshit it’s absolutely amazing. J.R.R. Tolkien’s creation story is amazing, but wow, his story of the ending of the world is just as epic!

This is the fourth book in the twelve set volume series of The History of Middle-Earth, and I cannot stress this enough; in order to enjoy these books you really need to understand and like the stories in The Silmarillion. Reading The Shaping of Middle-Earth, felt to me like reading (albeit a differ version) The Silmarillion for the tenth time. This is not a problem for me, since I absolutely love it and it’s personally my favorite book of all time.

2018 New Year’s Resolutions

In no particular order:

    1. Lose the weight I gained in 2017.
    2. Eat more healthy.
    3. Write more.
    4. Replace my daily Castilian vocabulary with Portuguese.
    5. Obtain a professional tech certification (AWS, Docker, or RHCE).
    6. Not buy anymore video games.
    7. Delve into the world of photography.
    8. Start my day at 5:00 am.

Bye 2017

2017 has been a the year that I went full blown Tolkien. Although I must admit, this year has been one of my poorest reading years in terms of quantity, but of quality, that’s a different story. Another cool thing that happened this year was my purchase of an awesome Sauron statue. In terms of politics and popular culture. 2017 has been the year, I’ve lost all respect to the alleged conservative media (mainstream and independent). In my personal development, 2017 was an excellent year in my goal of speaking Portuguese fluently.
Lastly and to conclude, not all things were positive this year. 2017 has been the year basic logic and rationale has been thrown out the door, and abolishment of Net-Neutrality is the perfect example.

Adeus 2017, and olá 2018.

Lord of the Rings TV Series

When I first heard the news that Amazon was going to making a TV serious based on The Lord of the Rings, I honestly didn’t really paid much attention to it. Since my impression was of; oh look, another major entertainment outlet that’s jumping on the live action fantasy bandwagon. Just like with Netflix making a TV series based on the Witcher universe, effectively both to competing and trying to follow the incredible success that HBO is having with the Game of Thrones.

It wasn’t until I found a reddit post where someone indicated that Christopher Tolkien had resigned from his position in the Tolkien Estate that made me worried. Christopher Tolkien is almost 93 years old, so it was inevitable that he was going to step down as the guardian of the Tolkien Estate, however giving Christopher’s history and the timing of the announcement, I must say this is now a little concerning. We’re all thankful of the role Christopher Tolkien has had in editing and publishing his father’s work posthumously. But more importantly, I think we should more thankful that Christopher Tolkien kept a firm tight control of his father’s work. In fact, it is well known that Christopher was not a big fan of the Peter Jackson LOTR/Hobbit films because these didn’t fully portrayed the stories the way the novels did.


George R. R. Martin on Christopher Tolkien

By reading Amazon’s official announcement, it looks like they only have the rights for the LOTR, and possibly The Hobbit. This doesn’t necessarily mean, that Amazon has the rights to all of Tolkien’s Legendarium. However the sentence “The deal includes a potential additional spin-off series.” makes me think that, it might be possible.

Set in Middle Earth, the television adaptation will explore new storylines preceding J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring. The deal includes a potential additional spin-off series.

Perhaps the only silver lining here, is that if their were ever a live action adaptation of the stories that make up The Silmarillion, the only possible this could be done is if it had its own TV series and not a not through multiple movies.

It would be really tragic to see Middle-Earth based theme parks, or even worse, see Tolkien’s stories be adapted into never ending shitfests like those in the Star Wars universe.

Book Review – Gwent: Art of The Witcher Card Game

I must admit, I didn’t fully play Gwent until my third Witcher 3 playthrough. Gwent: Art of The Witcher Card Game is a beautiful 245 page art book that can be used as reference or companion to the stand alone Gwent card game. This book does NOT teach not play Gwent, but rather it gives you a brief description of the characters in the Gwent cards. In some occasions, it’s just a simple quote related to the card being demonstrated, while in others is a full concept explanation of the art; written by the artist themselves.

The book covers all four Gwent card decks: Monsters, Nothern Realms, Skellige, and Nilfgaard. The illustrations in this book are beautiful, some spanning through the entire page, while others being much smaller.

In a universe as vast and rich in lore as The Witcher, I was surprise to see new characters/cards be created just specifically for the card game.

I love the Witcher universe, and love seeing and reading new content of the Witcher universe that was never mentioned on any of the games, but played a major role in the Witcher novels.

Book Review – The Art of The Hobbit


Aside from being a philologist, and an amazing author, J.R.R. Tolkien was also an artist. Albeit, not necessarily his forte. Tolkien created vast amounts of sketches and paintings associated with his literary world. This includes the actual cover art of his novels, as well many others that illustrates important events in his stories. Many of them are actually really nice. Even so, and although not directly related to the art of The Hobbit; I’m considering on getting an iconic Tolkien painting tattooed on my body.

This book has all of the sketches and paintings made by J.R.R. Tolkien himself that are associated with The Hobbit. The 75th version of The Hobbit that I read included some of the pictures presented in this book. This book includes those drawings as well as many others, and goes into detail on the history of the sketches/paintings. The art is presented in chronological order as the events happened in The Hobbit.

To me the most amusing part in reading art book was learning that Tolkien visioned the entrance to the Elvenking’s halls to be almost exactly identical to those of Finrod Felagund’s Nargothrond realm in The Silmarillion.

Book Review – The Lays of Beleriand


The Lays of Beleriand is the third volume of the twelve volume set of The History of Middle-Earth that I’m planning on reading in its entirety. This book consists of two fairly long poems, The Lay of the Children of Húrin, and The Lay of Leithian. Which, the latter was abandoned and not finished.

For starters, I’m not a big fan and will ever be a fan of poetry (I prefer more traditional story telling). However, reading these long poems was not terrible. The poems are broken into chunks which Christopher Tolkien then describes his literary analysis. His analysis is extremely detailed, it practically covers the poems line-by-line. Christopher Tolkien summaries the poems into a very cohesive and understandable manner, and describe its difference and influence between the lays, The Book of Lost Tales, and The Silmarillion. It’s quite remarkable the amount of detailed information that he gives us. A relatively simple example, is how a certain river was first mentioned, and how it ended up becoming part of the world. You will definitely learn a lot of the actual literary history of Tolkien’s work by reading this book.

In a time line, The Book of Lost Tales was first, then afters The Lay of the Children of Húrin, and The Lay of Leithian. Tolkien’s awesome mythology come into existence by these two variations, culminating into the epic masterpiece of The Silmarillion.

Although Tolkien abandoned it, I’ve enjoyed more The Lay of Leithian over The Lay of the Children of Húrin. In The Silmarillion, Sauron plays a major role in the tale of Beren and Lúthien. Between The Book of Lost Tales, and The Lay of Leithian, one of the major difference between them, is that in The Lay of Leithian, we see a certain character that ultimately ends up becoming Sauron in The Silmarillion. It was awesome reading and knowing the difference and relation The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings made the final version of The Silmarillion that I so love.

Also worth mentioning that this book includes some additional literary analysis of C.S. Lewis, since he was fortunate to read some of the very early unfinished writings of The Lay of Leithian.

DreamHost is Fucking Awesome!

DreamHost is relatively tiny company compared to other massive tech giants. Yet, this small company is incredibly helping protect our fourth constitutional amendment. In a nutshell the Department of Justice wanted all user information that visited the site disruptj20.org. This is incredible in many ways. First, let’s start by the fact that it’s completely unconstitutional. To think that many Trumptards turn the other way on this issue is absolutely mind boggling. People (frauds) like Sean Hannity would have fire coming straight from out off his ass if a government under a Clinton presidency would be wanting all user information from breitbart.com, and rightfully so. Yet, the hypocrisy is amazing. Anyone rationale with logic and common sense knows this is an authoritarian move by the Department of Justice, but to me any so called conservative or libertarian who supports this should be ashamed regardless of it’s political affiliation.

The good news that as of the time of this writing, it looks like the Department of Justice has backed off on it’s original (broad) request of getting access to all client user that visited disruptj20.org.

Our government isn’t stupid, we simply need to see the amount of unconstitutional laws that they have passed after 9/11. It’s just a matter of them to claim terrorism, to grant themselves unlimited power. To make things worse, after last week’s Charlottesville’s Virginia event. We now have three different groups in this country that can technically be classified as domestic terrorists. So cases like this will most likely be the beginning.

In a way this DreamHost vs DOJ reminds me of the legal battle Apple had with the FBI regarding encryption on the iPhone. In both cases, our privacy is at stake and terrorism is the excuse. This is why I personally belief, privacy along with free speech; are going to be two of our constitutional rights that well be restricted (ie losing) with terrorism as the excuse, but the underlying cause being our very own stupidity/political correctness.

Regarding DreamHost, they’re an awesome company that truly cares about it’s customers; in this case online privacy. On top of being open source friendly, having worked for them, and knowing their culture; I can certainly vouche for them.

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