Book Review – The Boy Knight: A Tale of the Crusades

The Boy Knight: A Tale of the Crusades by G. A. Henty is a coming of age story about a young English boy named Cuthbert who lived around the time of The Third Crusade. The story has great examples of friendship and chivalry. After all, it was originally aimed for children.

The story starts in England, with our hero performing heroic deeds, which later we see him joining the English armies that would go on crusade to the Holyland to recapture Jerusalem. In here, we see the calamities and successes the crusader armies had during The Third Crusade, and how our protagonist fits into these events. For a complete fictional story, the historic events that occurred during the Third Crusade are exceptionally well described in this book. Obviously, certain changes had to be made to fit the young Knight into the narrative of the story.

One interesting comparison between this story and the book The Boy Crusaders, is the rivalry between the English Saxon and Norman ethnic characters, while on the latter it was an English and French (non-Norman) rivalry.

Overall, this is a great story with many heart warmth examples of human dignity, regardless of religion.

Ciri of Cintra – Prime 1 Studio Statue

Ciri of Cintra

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Ciri of Cintra

It took almost exactly three years of waiting to finally receive my Cirilla Fiona Elen Riannon Prime 1 Studio statue. Not only has this been the longest wait time that I’ve for a statue, but so far in The Witcher 3 Prime 1 Studio line, this has been the most disappointing one for me thus far. The statue it self is beautiful, but Ciri’s pose seems somewhat unnatural. She appears to be walking, while looking down. To me, she doesn’t really look like she’s in an attacking mode, which I would’ve prefer. While I do love the statue, it is certainly not my favorite.

Overall, I’m glad that I manage to pre-order and buy this statue from Sideshow. I freaked out because this statue kept on getting delayed, all while Prime 1 Studio marked it as “Sold Out” almost two years ago! I was fearing that Sideshow was going to cancel my pre-order and I had to resort to e-bay, which now the statue is going for twice as much as its original price. Lucky for me I was relieved to finally receive my statue. I’m also glad that I opted for the Exclusive edition since I wanted to pair up Ciri next to Geralt, and I think Ciri wearing the Witcher medallion makes pairing the statues more epic.

Book Review – Moros y Cristianos

Moros y cristianos: la gran aventura de la España medieval (Moors and Christians: The Great Adventure of Medieval Spain) is the second book of the three book volume series of The Spanish Reconquest. Sequel to La Gran aventura del reino de Asturias: Asi comenzó la reconquista (The Great Adventure of The Kingdom of Asturias: How the Reconquest Started), this book continues the events following the timeline where the previous book left off.

This book covers the next 212 years of the reconquest timeline, culminating in the epic Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa. In those next 212 of the reconquest, a lot of things happen. Thus this book is roughly three times longer than its predecessor! The book starts from the rise of the Caliphate of Cordoba, and it’s complete hegemony overall all the Christian kingdoms, to it’s rapid decline and disintegration. This leading to what is my favorite era of the reconquest, which is The Spain of the five kingdoms (Leon, Navarra, Castile, Aragon, and Portugal), and the Taifa states of Al-Andalus.

While indeed the reconquest was an arm conflict. One thing this book really emphasizes a lot is the important element of the conquest, which was the migration onto the south from the common folk that were not necessarily warriors from the Christian North, and how incredibly dynamic the process was; making it into an unstoppable force.

This book does have maps, and family tree charts of the different Christian royal houses, I still feel might’ve needed some sort of appendix indicating who is who. This book is massive, with a very extremely long list of characters (most of which have the same names), so having a clear glossary with dates, might help anyone new who wants to dive into the awesome history of medieval Spain without being overwhelmed. Thus said, even if you’re not interested about the history of Spain/Portugal or The Crusades, but are only interested about extending your knowledge of the middle-ages. Then I would highly suggest reading this book. The vast amount of content dealing with medieval politics is absolutely incredible. Think of A Song of Ice and Fire, multiplied by 100.

2021 New Year’s Resolutions

2020 was a complete shit year, yet this yearly traditional post must still continue. These are my 2021 New Year’s Resolutions in no particular order:

  • Lose the weight I gained in 2020 (seriously)
  • Watch less crap on YouTube
  • Learn Go
  • Learn Kubernetes more in depth
  • Acquire more Professional certifications
  • Not buy any video games
  • Write book reviews for all the books I read

Book Review – Masiosare, nuestro extraño enemigo

Masiosare, nuestro extraño enemigo (Masiosare, Our Strange Enemy) is the sequel to the fantastic book Los mitos que nos dieron traumas. This series of books are an attempt to try to describe the sociology and idiosyncrasy of the Mexican people and its culture. Unlike the first book, this sequel does not take a comedic approach when describing such complex topic. Instead, it is really a well crafted novel of Mexican history and economics.

Personally, I find it difficult to fully comprehend the political nature of The Mexican Revolution. This book does an excellent job describing this. It breaks down the war into different episodes. Were it might sound a little repetitive, albeit necessary to fully understand the entire political environment.
As I originally mentioned this book does not take a comedic approach, however some of the actual generic views and sociology of the Mexican people are flat out hilarious. For example taking the Mexican Revolution War as an example, in current Mexico all factions minus the original ruling dictatorial government are seen as heroes. Forget the fact that all factions turned on each other causing a full scale war over the entire country that lead to the deaths 1-2 million people. Yet, in current Mexico they’re all seen as heroes, and the war is seen as a revolution even though in fact it was civil war whose end goal was a political power grab.

This book takes a really strong approach against The Mexican Revolution War (ie civil war) and its profound negative long-term effects had, culturally, politically, and economically.

Overall, this book is well worth the read even if you don’t know or care about Mexican history and politics. If anything, you’ll want to read this book if only to learn why Mexicans hate each other, and why they hate foreigners even more.

Book Review – La Gran aventura del reino de Asturias

La Gran aventura del reino de Asturias: Asi comenzó la reconquista (The Great Adventure of The Kingdom of Asturias: How the Reconquest Started) has been probably my favorite read of 2020. This book is fantastic. It narrates the history of the Kingdom of Asturias starting from the Visigothic Kingdom, and its fall under the hands of the Umayyad Caliphate, to later its evolution to the Kingdom of Leon. You’ll read about the different phases of the Asturian kingdom. From surviving annihilation, to consolidation, and finally expansion. You’ll read about the birth of the counties of Castile and Portugal in liege to Asturias, the establishment of the Kingdom of Navarra, and birth of the Frankish counties of Aragon and Catalonia. Also the role that the Franks played during this era.

An important element of this book that I really enjoyed is that it goes equally into incredibly detail of the history of Al-Andalus.

The history of The Kingdom of Asturias literally felt like it came straight from an epic fantasy novel. I love reading fantasy novels because of the incredible immersion they provide, and I definitely felt deeply immerse reading this book. Not to mentioned that Kings, Knights, battles, political intrigue, and magic are included here! Which was very fitting when I saw the following tweet posted by the official Spanish tourism account:

The author’s eloquent writing is fantastic, and to be admired given the sources during this period of history are limited. He constantly reminded us what is myth and what possibly happed. I really hope this book gets an English translation soon, so everyone can read and learn the spectacular history of The Kingdom of Asturias.

Sauron Vs The Numenorean Army Polystone Diorama

Sauron Vs The Numenorean Army Polystone Diorama Statue

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Sauron Vs The Numenorean Army Polystone Diorama Statue

For quite some time, I’ve been wanting to buy the Sideshow Collectibles Battle of The Last Alliance: Sauron Vs The Numenorean Army Diorama statue. Originally release in 2010 with an edition size of 700 units made. Finding the statue for a decent price hasn’t easy, and I wasn’t willing to pay the reseller’s two to three times of its original price of $300. Needless to say, patience has its reward, as I was able finally buy the statue for just above its original retail value. The statue is roughly 1:10 scale, and although it’s fairly small compared to my other 1:4 statues, the detail on it is fantastic. Even for a ten year old statue.

My statue collection continues to grow, and with my Moducases soon to be arriving, and my current existing pre-orders, it will continue to grow. Exiting times for my newly expensive hobby. 

Geralt of Rivia Skellige Undvik Armor – Prime 1 Studio

The Geralt of Rivia Skellige Undvik Armor statue is my fourth Prime 1 Studio statue in The Witcher 3 line. This time around, I opted to get the exclusive version since it was different and compelling enough for me to consider alternating with the regular version. This exclusive head sculpt is based on the fantastic “Hearts of Stone” expansion, so to me it was a no brainer. Although, the armor is not necessarily one of my favorite’s, in the statue itself is extremely well detailed. Just like the rest of my Prime 1 Studio Witcher statues, the incredible detail of the sculpt and paint on this statue is absolutely fantastic. People may find it shocking to see a $800 plus price tag on these statues, but looking at them in person, you see these beautiful pieces of art come with a hefty price tag.

Geralt of Rivia Undvik Armor

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Geralt of Rivia Undvik Armor

Unlike my first Geralt Prime1 statue. The base of this particular statue is a lot simpler. From what is looks like, it appears to be some sort of castle ruin with rocks and wooden ruins. As with the Triss Merigold and the original Geralt of Rivia statue, I didn’t originally planned on purchasing this particular statue back when it was originally announced.

I have numerous statues by Sideshow Collectibles and Gaming Heads, and I must say Prime 1 Studio completely blows both out of the water. The detail on this statue (and all of Prime 1 Studio statues) is absolutely incredible.

Book Review – The Life of the Very Noble King of Castile and Leon, Saint Ferdinand III

The Life of the Very Noble King of Castile and Leon, Saint Ferdinand III is a very interesting book. To start, I mistakenly thought it was a chronicle of this legendary Spanish king. Instead to my surprise, this book was written as a novel. This novel is a biography of histories’ most successful crusader king. It can be divided into different stages of St. Fernandos life. Starting from his childhood and upcoming, his relationship with his estrange father, and the importance of his mother. The famous, and somewhat cliché quote “behind every great man is a great woman”, is certainly truth with Fernando III and his mother Berenguela of Castile. Then, like just very great king, you’ll read about the different rebellions and difficult Fernando had once he came to power. Lastly, the bulk of the book deals with the military campaigns in Andalusia.

A very interesting thing about this book is its title. In Spanish, the literal translation of this book’s title is Our Lady in the Saddletree. Upon reading this book, you’ll learn why that’s the title described here is the subtitle. This translation is a fairly easy read, although I haven’t read the original source, from what I’ve learned, it uses a more poetic archaic Spanish. This really picks my interest since I love such type of works.

The only drawback of book is that the annotations are fairly limited. Which is understandable as this book written by the nun María del Carmen Fernández de Castro Cabeza, to give homage to St. Fernando, and not by a historian as a scholarly work.

Vote 2020

As I dropped off my mail-in voting ballot earlier today, I was reminded why I stopped posting politics related content on this blog for the last four years; the primary reason being because it wasn’t healthy to my psyche. That is to say these last four years have been an absolute disgrace and a sad reality as to how low and divided we’ve fallen as a society.

Due to a project that I’ve been working these last few years, I’ve done quite of bit of research regarding some of histories fallen empires: Rome, Toltec, Tepaneca, Mexica, Purépecha, Inca, Spanish, Byzantine, and even the Ottoman Empire to some extend. Whether eventually history repeats itself and this becomes the beginning of the end. Theirs absolutely no doubt that these last four years have altered the shift of this country for future generations to come. With the immense wealth of examples of lack of basic logic and common sense, future historians are going to view 2016-2020 U.S. and say “Social discord and mass stupidity started it all”.