Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Picture Kaleidoscope - A-kon 2017

Greetings!

I haven't done one of these in ages! Not that I haven't been taking pictures, but with the madness that has been the day job for the last couple of years, I've not been able to keep up and repost them.

If you want to make sure not to miss any of my con pics, be sure to follow my Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Google+ accounts as I do post them there as I take them. :)

A-kon 2017


The obligatory booth pic! A-kon moved to the Fort Worth Convention Center for 2017. So we were trying some new stuff to make the best use of the space as possible. :)


From Black Butler! Lord Phantomhive and Sebastian. 


From Zelda Breath of the Wild. The bow looked awesome!


Had to take a pic of this. One of the dealers we see a lot came up with this creation! A Castiel Corset combo! Fab! (Can't believe I don't remember the shop name. *cry*)


Star from Star vs. The Force of Evil. Nice! 


Black Cat and Lady Bug! 




Koro Sensei! The costume was awesome! (His eyes lit up too! 


One of the bad guys from My Hero Academia. Great job! 


Gorgeous costume! So detailed!


He looked fantastic! Loved the bad attitude! lol.


Vulture Girl? She looked fab! 


From the game Bloodborne! So many awesome costumes this year!


Could not get a pic of him from the front, but isn't this fabulous?!?!


View from the back. Rocket propulsion and everything! Sweet! 


And a blast from the past! Sho'nuff - Shogun of Harlem! So freaking awesome!

Can't wait for next year! :)


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Virtual Tourist - Obduction 6/18/17

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day!

Obduction

Sadly, I am going to have to quit playing this gorgeous game. :( I don't know the exact reason, but every time I play it I get ill. No baud rate settings, so can't tweak that. The visual range didn't seem to make a difference. This is not the type of game you can play in 10 minutes bursts either. Waaaaahhhh!!!!


Finally made it up to a higher area ledge I could not reach before. :P


Such a cool and eerie landscape.


High above all others! Bwahahaha!


I found an odd device. What it does, I was not expecting!


Middle of doing what it does. Freaky!


It's a transporter, but not as you'd expect. Same spot, just different reality? I just went from desert scape to lush jungle.


I still see the signs I do in the other dimension/location/possibility?


Plants, moss, flowers, and more.


The path leads to this gate. Can see tantalizing things beyond but can't get in!


The transport device glows a different color from this end. So neat!

May all the Dad's out there have a fabulous Father's Day!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Movie Review - The Mummy

The Mummy

The Mummy

Starring: Tom Cruise, Russell Crowe, Annabelle Wallis, Sofia Boutella, Jake Johnson, Courtney B. Vance, Marwan Kenzari, Simon Atherton, and more.

Directed by: Alex Kurtzman Screenplay by: David Koepp, Christopher McQuarrie, and Dylan Kussman Screen Story by: Jon Spaihts, Alex Kurtzman, and Jenny Lumet Cinematography by: Ben Seresin Music by: Brian Tyler

Premise: A relic hunter stumbles onto a hidden chamber in Iraq. Rushed for time, he inadvertently loosens an imprisoned force. A woman with a mission she's been trying to complete for five thousand years. Nick is the one she's decided will replace the receptacle for Set stolen from her so many years ago. No one better stand in her way. (Rated PG-13)

Review:

1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: While we have some great acting powerhouses in this film, there is so much action,  little time is left for actual acting. Still, Tom Cruise does a nice job as Nick - relic hunter, thief, adventurer. Annabelle Wallis as Jenny got the biggest range to play with as she dealt with her feelings, her attractions, and her job. She did it well. Sofia Boutella made a nice sultry mummy. Jake Johnson was a ton of fun as Nick's sidekick Chris Vail. Russell Crowe's character was a rather big surprise once the two men meet and introductions are made. (He could still take some lessons from James Nesbitt's superb performance of the same character though. :) )

2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: There was a ton to love about the special effects in this film. Watching the credits, they used a ton of different companies. They come up with some superb images.

Ahmanet's prison and the other chambers attached to it were very cool! The Crusaders' tomb when they first find it with the tunnel maker and other sections of the place were well done!

Several special effect parts used weird spiders, tons of rats, black birds and other crawling things. They looked great.

When Ahmanet first shows herself, and the transformation after her first feedings, were enthralling. The change on those she fed on also were fantastic. When she has them rise, and the bones and joints pop and snap - creepy!

Cool sand storms, walking and swimming dead, and all the cool bits using mercury. The look and feel of the base beneath London's Natural  History Museum were great. The all important dagger was a wicked looking thing!

Lots and lots of lovely effects!

3) Plot/Story - Neutral: I go up and down on how I feel about the story. A big part of my issue with it is the presentation. While they didn't give everything away in the previews, they gave away a lot. So there was little there to give a feeling of discovery or mystery in what was going on.

They also didn't do themselves any favors by having Henry tell us all about Ahmanet at the very beginning - especially when the information got repeated all over again later as Nick has visions of the past. They could have easily found the Crusaders' tomb and the wall carvings and left it at that. Thus tantalizing the viewers to discover how the Crusaders and Ahmanet might be related. But no. We got spoonfed the information instead.

A couple of scenes, while cool, didn't make a lot of sense. Ahmanet wants her new Chosen to willingly submit to the ritual. So, how was giving him nightmares of rats and monsters was supposed to do that? Other images made sense for that, but some others did not.

Also, Nick's choice in the final room I saw coming ten minutes before he made it. DUH!

There's tons of action, and they move at breakneck speeds. There's even a quick wink/homage to Brendan Fraser's "The Mummy" in the form of the Book of Life showing up at one point. But character development is pushed way back to the background.

4) Stunts - Total Thumbs Up: The whole 'gag' in the airplane was fantastic! I felt sorry for them all. lol. The fun chase scene in the Iraqi city with bullets and grenades being used all over the place kept the stunt people quite busy and looked great. Lots of good work from the team.

5) Locations/Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up: Tons of great and real places! Waverley Abbey in the UK, London, the Natural History Museum, the Namib Desert in the country of Namibia in Africa. These great locations added lots of visual flavor to the scenes.

6) Costuming/Makeup - Total Thumbs Up: CGI mixed with real makeup gave some great looks to Ahmanet, Henry, and Vail. The writing on Ahmanet's skin alone was dazzling. When we see her close to filled out but still with gaps in various places on her face and body, it added so much! Some great contrast too between Nick and Vale in the restroom scene.

Conclusion: The Mummy is a wild ride. Great special effects and stunts. A surprise here and there. Yet a little less telling up front would have made the film more mysterious and thus more enticing to the viewers.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again.)

Monday, May 29, 2017

Mind Sieve 5/29/17


Let's remember and give thanks to all those serving in the armed forces who've died to keep us safe and our way of life intact. 

Fan Fun


Fun music video Hubby shared with me! Fergie - A Little Party Never Killed Nobody (All We Got)



It's Gonna Be Okay - The Piano Guys w/Sir Cliff Richard. Very upbeat song. They do look like they're having fun! lol. 



Marvel's The Defenders Trailer - misfit team of awesome! Sweet! 



Marvel's Cloak and Dagger Official Trailer - yes! Loved that comic!


Social Media/Author Platform

3 Simple Mistakes to Avoid if You Want to Make Your Book a Best Seller by Matthew Turner - some popups but not bad. Another post that infers I need a clone. With a full-time job and writing, there's no time for all this stuff. :(

Writing

Be Specific! How to Get to the Point in Everything You Write by Grammarly - some basic but super important items. :)
Forget About Being a Good Writer (And Do This Instead) by Jeff Goins. Some helpful insights. :)



Sunday, May 28, 2017

Virtual Tourist - Sherlock Holmes: The Devil's Daughter 5/28/17

Good morning!
Hope you're having a fabulous weekend!
Sherlock Holmes: The Devil's Daughter
View of the grounds and clubhouse of the archeological society. 
Some giant carved rocks appropriated for the club grounds. :P
Scotland Yard - didn't change from the last game, which made the new Sherlock and Watson stand out in my mind. :P
Inside the archeological society's clubhouse. It's a neat place!
Some of the items donated by the members.
Long cross view of the clubhouse.
London's sky in the morning.
Steelworks factory for fences and statues. Also a giant puzzle on how to get into the owner's office! 
An unusual bedroom belonging to one of the suspects. 
Loved this thing!!!!!  A world map made of metal. Once the final piece is placed, it opens a hidden chamber inside. So cool! (Pic caught it in mid opening. :))
Have a great day!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Movie Review - Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
Starring: Johnny Depp, Javier Bardem, Geoffrey Rush, Brenton Thwaites, Kaya Scodelario, Kevin McNally, Golshifteh Farahani, David Wenham, Stephen Graham, and more. 
Directed by: Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg Screenplay by: Jeff Nathanson Story by: Jeff Nathanson and Terry Rossio Based on Characters Created by: Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio, Stuart Beattie, and Jay Wolpert
Premise: Will's son Henry has been trying to find a way to break his father's curse. He believes Poseidon's Trident has the power to do so. But to find it, he needs to find Jack Sparrow. But Henry is not the only one looking for Jack. Plus many others also want to get their hands on the Trident. The hunt for the treasure begins. (Rated PG-13)
Review:
1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Johnny Depp once more reprises his unique take on a pirate captain as Captain Jack Sparrow. His crazy expressions, obfuscation, and general "go with the flow" attitude are in high force. Brenton Thwaites is very reminiscent of Orlando Bloom's Will Turner, which seems apt as he is playing his son Henry. Kaya Scodelario as Carina Smyth is spunky, stubborn, and driven. Javier Bardem does a nice job as Captain Salazar. Geoffrey Rush gets to prove to everyone Captain Barbossa has got it all. Then comes to realize there is an even greater treasure to be had. Loved the expressions as the truth of things finally began to register. :)
2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: Special effects tend to make up large sections of the "Pirate of the Caribbean" movies and "Dead Men Tell No Tales" is no exception. The smoky piecemeal appearance of Salazar's crew is neat and very haunting. The effect when they touch land even more so.
The whole gag with the bank robbery and running through town was great! Only Jack has this kind of weird luck. Oh, and wait until you see the guillotine gag - hilarious!
Salazar's ship was fabulous! A literal shark of the seas. I also loved what they did with the masthead later in the film. Too fun! The undead birds and sharks were a nice addition as well. The monkey is still a total ham. :P
They did save the best to show toward the end. The island holding the last clue to Poseidon's Trident was gorgeous! The area that unfolds from there was way cool as well. They did all sorts of fun things with water. And the trident itself was lovely. Something more befitting of the sea than the usual trident portrayal.
The Black Pearl's transformation was also a lot of fun. Especially when the change stalls. Later, the maneuverings with the edge of the water and the anchor looked great!
3) Story - Neutral: I wish those who give the final okay on scripts and changes would remember the devil is in the details. While they carefully kept track of some information, they totally disregarded others, so certain things made no sense. For example: Don't make a commander who is dead set on killing witches, and will hunt them relentlessly with all the soldiers at his disposal, then turn around and go pay/use one to come do magic! Also, if you have a captain say he only ever kills pirates, don't have him going around killing non-pirates! (Since Salazar is a Spaniard, adding two words to his statements would have fixed this. Just say "pirates and Inglés," and he would have been covered to kill all the Brits and pirates he wanted without anyone raising an eyebrow.)
Another bit that seemed weird is that Disney appeared to pull the same thing they did with "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" - they tried to cookie cutter the new film into a clone of the first with bits from the others. What is that about? Girl in distress, a boy about to get killed, Jack in trouble, all looking for a special treasure as they are hunted by the undead. Huh. It's like they're afraid to try new plots. :( 
One thing I did like was the undercurrent themes of obsession, drive, and what we should all truly treasure.  Pay attention to the ship names as well, there are some subtle jokes going on there. :)
Another subtle bit was Jack's descent since the events from years before when he bid his friends goodbye. His luck, his drive, his sense of purpose, all eroded by his inability to help Will. Jack's final comment as he spies upon events on the hillside at the end said it all - veiled as usual of course.
Do make sure to sit through the credits! One final scene at the very end. :)
4) Stunts - Total Thumbs Up: Much to love in the stunt department. Pratfalls, guillotines, hangings, chases, sword fighting, shark wrangling, and much more. Of particular fun was Jack's fight/chase scene between two ships jumping from canon to canon. :P 
5) Locations/Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up: Filmed in different parts of Queensland, Australia, there were plenty of gorgeous shots of the bay, the sea, and the sky. The sunrise over the map island and the blood moon are especially lovely. Add in the CGI locations like the Devil's Triangle and the resting place of Poseidon's Trident, and you're in for many visual treats. 
Conclusion: Though a fun romp and filled with cool effects, "Dead Men Tell No Tales" felt too much like a retelling of the original "Pirates of the Caribbean." Some inconsistencies drew away from the fun. Stay through the credits for a final scene at the very end!
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission) 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Virtual Tourist - Deus Ex: Mankind Divided 5/21/17

Morning!
Hubby's sick with a cold, and I am not far behind. Boo! The weather has been flip-flopping like crazy!
Taskforce 29 HQ
A cool thing the game peeps did. If your original rescue mission failed, you would not meet this guy at the office. But if you did!  :) I thought it was a nice touch that the game made a distinction.
Super cool 3D hologram, no? :) 
This was funny and sad. This is Jensen's workspace at HQ. The board pretty much says it all. Poor guy. (Not sure what's up with the cereal boxes.) :P
Back in the Streets
Coolest store front for a wristwatch no? I guess for these guys that would be very retro! :P
Barb wire fences next to old castle defenses. 
Meet the current head of the underground newspaper. He became a little bit of an issue as it appeared he'd gotten intel about HQ's secret base. Not a good thing. 
Down in the sewers. A super cool bit of graffiti! 
The weird advertising is half the fun of walking around. 
Is this not the cutest setup for a fast food burger joint? :)
One of the things Jensen does best. Crawling through vents! :P
May the weekend find you dry and your sinuses behaving! :)

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