Monday, April 27, 2015

Mind Sieve 4/27/15

Morning, all!
Let's see what trouble we can get into today. :)



Fan Fun


Black Mass Official Trailer - has loads of people I like, but not sure its my cup of tea. Hmm



Area 51 Official Trailer 1 - Sounds interesting but tons of shaky cam, so nooooo...



The Visit Trailer 1 - I am on a bad streak - another one to avoid and MORE shaky cam. Wah!



TUT Official Trailer - okay, this could be interesting. Historically accurate? No idea.





Social Media/Author Platform

How to Live-Tweet and Event to Help Your Business from the Social Media Examiner - article by Liz Azyan. I sorta do some of this... Err...

How to Optimize Your Twitter Profile for Mobile Users from the Social Media Examiner - article by Julia Borgini. Some definite stuff to keep in mind!



Writing Advice

What Advice Do You Need? by Jami Gold. Hah! Another convert to the Beard! Heh heh. Great advice too. :)




Okay, bailing. Have fun!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Virtual Tourist - ZMR 4/26/15

Morning!

Tried a new game (for me) yesterday. Multiplayer First Person Shooter. Has PVP (Bleah!) as well as PVE (YEAH!) zones. Ended up getting dizzy as sin but it was definitely intense!

ZMR - Zombies, Monsters, Robots


Part of the Newbie Tutorial - shows you how to move, roll, run, shoot, throw grenades, heal others. All your necessary survival skills!


How to pick up things, etc. 


Graphics are pretty decent as you can see.


Me and hubby on our first map.


When waiting to cycle or if you can't get in (I waited too long to hit the button) you can switch views to get the lay of the land or see the action from one of the teams' shoulders. heh. 


Lovely, no?


Multi-segment mission - clear the village of insurgents.


Keep the docks clear and wait for the boat (Also got to get into mecs on this one! Sweet! Forgot to take a pic)


Landfall after boarding said boat and getting shot at by helicopters. Too much action and totally forgot to take a pic of the helicopters. Here, you have to work your way up the beach. Massive bad guys. Hubby and another person got killed off. I survived through the timer but there was no way I could kill enough of them to go to the next step. Boo!


Login Character screen. Got me a snazzy hat. lol. 


Lobby of the game where you can see what rooms are open, inventory, upgrades, etc.


I just wish it had not made me so sick. Waaaahhhhh
Have a great day!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Movie Review - The Age of Adaline

The Age of Adaline



Starring: Blake Lively, Michiel Huisman, Harrison Ford, Ellen Burstyn, Kathy Baker, Amanda Crew, Hugh Ross, Hiro Kanagawa, Izabel Pearce, Cate Richardson, Anthony Ingruber, and more.

Directed by: Lee Toland Krieger Screenplay by: J. Mills Goodloe and Salvador Paskowitz Story by: J. Mills Goodloe and Salvador Paskowitz Cinematography by: David Lanzenberg Music by: Rob Simonsen

Premise: After an unusual series of events, Adaline Bowman no longer ages. Forced into a life where she must change who she is and where she lives every decade or take a chance at being grabbed and locked away to be experimented upon, Adaline has allowed very few people into her life, with only her daughter actually knowing the truth about her. On the cusp of once again changing locations and identities, she meets a forceful young man named Ellis. Will she give in to her growing feelings for him or run once more  to keep her secret. (Rated PG-13)

Review:

1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Blake Lively does a marvelous job as the emotionally starved and understandably paranoid Adaline Bowman. Her distress and feelings during the film are very easy to read.

Michiel Huisman as Ellis makes for some great eye candy for the ladies and made it a lot of fun to watch his character's pursuit of the mysterious librarian.

Harrison Ford was a great choice for William Jones - his reactions when he first sees Jenny and during his recollections of Adaline, were wonderful to watch. Ellen Burstyn as Adaline's daughter in 2015 added great little touches by her presence. A similar approach used by Judd Hirsch's character Abe in "Forever".

2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up:  Believe it or not, there were several big special effect gags in the film. Cars tumbling down hillsides and the audience seeing the chaos from inside the car. The rather spectacular lightning bolt that gets frozen in time. And wait until you see the asteroid hitting the moon and the cool Earth shots! The ceiling of the movie theater was quite awesome. Really nice work.

3) Plot/Story - Thumbs Up: The tale is told by a narrator played by Hugh Ross. No explanation is ever given of who he is or how he knows the story he's telling - so the audience just has to go with it. While the info he gives is definitely interesting, the fact they felt they had to explain the different phenomena that made two separate events possible felt rather odd.

The methodology for taking the audience back in time and showing them pieces of Adaline's life, however, worked rather well.

On the weird side, they telegraph several pivotal points of the film before they happen. Back around 2002 to 2005, the gimmick of having people in a car having a conversation then having them get slammed by another car was fresh and innovative. But in 2015, the move has become cliched. They've been done so often and it's so easy to tell when they're coming - they don't hold much of a surprise factor anymore. (At least not to me.) This makes the story come across as pretty straightforward with minimal surprises for the audience. The one surprise that would have made everyone lean forward with interest had already been disclosed in the previews, so wasn't a surprise at all.

Still, the tale is told well and we learn enough about her to empathize and care about her and those around her. So it was entertaining.

5) Locations/Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up: The film had many wonderful cinematographic moments. The San Francisco bridge is used to full advantage with lovely day shots, but even more impressive night shots. The time lapse segments were lovely as well.

6) Costuming/Makeup - Total Thumbs Up: Great work by the costuming and makeup departments. Just by looking at Adaline's clothes and hair, you could easily identify the time frame being portrayed. The 1963 segment when she's in the taxi was especially well done by showing us one of the rarer fads of the time. Nicely done! (And Blake Lively looked good in everything! lol)

Conclusion: "The Age of Adaline" is a cute little love story with a supernatural slant for added flavor. No real surprises, but the film still moved along well and entertained.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Picture Kaleidoscope 4/22/15

Running late!!!!!


Sunrises have been rather fab the last few weeks!




Went to check out the company's new location and took some pics of the surrounding view


Nice no?


Looking forward to what other pics I will get from here once we move. :)





Some construction nearby. 


Couldn't leave without a pano. Heh heh


See what I mean about the sunrises lately?


Oh yeah!


Far back approach


Loads of cool clouds this past weekend. 


Cirrus at the top, cumulus at the bottom. Like a cloud mullet?  :P


Yeah I do hit that button a lot.

Have a great day!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Mind Sieve 4/20/15

Happy Monday!




Fan Fun


Be Water My Friend - hubby shared one of the many versions of this remix with me this weekend. I felt it was worth sharing. Especially since most of the generation have not heard of him. (And you can see a super young Chuck Norris in here too!) Heh heh. This video is by Henry Lai. (Now I want to go an watch form Kung Fu flicks.) :P



The Sisterhood of the Night Official Trailer - when social media goes terribly wrong. DOH!



Dial A Prayer - this looks like it could be totally adorable!



Good Kill Official Trailer #1 - Oooh drones and moral choices. Should be harsh! Sweet!



Avengers: Age of Ultron Trailer #3- because we're not pumped up enough. heh heh




Social Media/Author Platform

The 10 Commandments of Authorial Self-Promotion by Chuck (NSFW) Wendig. The Beard tells it like it is, ya'll!



Writing Advice

Ten Ways to Tighten Your Writing & Hook the Reader by Kristen Lamb. Nice and precise! With examples too. It's amazing how we always have to be reminded of these things. DOH!

Picking Editors: How to Evaluate Potential Editors by Jami Gold. Loads of wisdom shared in this one. :)


Have a great Monday!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Virtual Tourist - TERA 4/19/15

Morning!
Up earlier than usual today. *yawn* May have to go in to the office. Quarter end and all. The power outages last night may have hit the office because I can login from home this morning. Boo!

TERA
Southern Shara
Arachnaea


Yeah...this place is not creepy at all. Eek!


They grow them big around here!


Brave soul that one.


Look at the bizarre web patterns


Super bad spider - eek!


Yeah, you can guess what they use for food. Ugh. Nasties who help them.


A menacing close up!


And his backside. Mean looking.


See the dead creature? Wrapped in mid roar. Doh!


Outside! Fresh air! Huzzah!


Such an inviting gate - NOT!


So green!

Hope you have a wonderfully restful Sunday!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Movie Review - Ex Machina

Ex Machina


Starring: Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, Alicia Vikander, Corey Johnson, Sonoya Mizuno, Claire Selby, Symara A. Templeman, Gana Bayarsaikhan, Tiffany Pisani, Elina Alminas, and more.

Directed by: Alex Garland Written by: Alex Garland Music by: Geoff Barrow and Ben Salisbury Cinematography by: Rob Hardy

Premise: Winning a vacation prize at work, Caleb gets to travel to spend a week with the company's founder, recluse, and programming genius, Nathan, at his private estate. But when Caleb gets there, he's told he's there for something else as well. He is to be the tester of Nathan's latest creation. He will be helping to prove, one way or the other, if Nathan has created a true Artificial Intelligence. (Rated R)

Review:

1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Domhnall Gleeson made the perfect foil for Nathan and his test. The character Caleb is like an eager puppy, and Domhnall portrayed that, and some of the later changes, beautifully. Oscar Isaac also did some great work - he was totally creepy and hard to read as the recluse Nathan. Sonoya Mizuno was fab as Kyoko - the longer you watched her the more subtext she conveyed - nice. But it'll be Alicia Vikander that'll steal your heart and soul. She's fantastic as Ava. Tons of lovely facial expressions and nuances. Especially during her transformations - very nice.

(And both Domhnall and Oscar are going to be in the new Star Wars film! Sweet!)

2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: The special effects in the film are not grandiose or flashy, but this just makes them ever so much more effective. The blending of Alicia and the CGI for Ava's body was fantastic. Much like Chappie in the movie "Chappie", Ava looks real in every way, and you believe she is an android, her body slimmer than a real girl's would be since it is missing a 1/2 layer of skin.

Ava's glowing innards and all the shiny metal and parts were just too darn cool. Loved the small peek we got into the fabrication area, too. The partially liquid brains were awesome!


3) Plot/Story - Thumbs Up: The film is more of a thought provoking thriller than an action film. Hubby thought from the previews it would be more action packed than it was (as it had minimal action) so it might be something to keep in consideration when deciding if it is for you.

Between the unusual setting, Ava, and all the weird vibes the audience will get from Nathan, the film moves along nicely and will snag the audiences' interest. Several roads of posibilities are presented, and you're never quite sure which one is the real one. So that was nicely played. There were a couple of good twists as well.

Unfortunately, right at the end, they bailed. Hubby and I stared at each other after the credits finished, our minds rolling in confusion. A trick is used by one of the characters. Yet five minutes later, this trick is totally forgotten about and leaves one of them in a situation that really did not exist. There's also a choice made by Ava that clashes with what she shows seconds later. She had no audience, so no reason to fabricate what we see unless it was real. Yet, if it was real, she would not have made the previous choice. So it left a bad after taste and gave us the impression the ending had been tweaked - and not well. Dark endings are fine, but they should also have substance...

It was also really weird that the reclusive owner of a vast empire and creator of this magnificient technology only cooked, spied, drunk, danced, and exercised the whole week. It was bizarre never once seeing him do anything actually techie. o.O

4) Locations/Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up: The countryside encompassed by Nathan's vast estate was gorgeous. A lof of the house was filmed in different areas of the Juvet Landscape Hotel - and they couldn't have picked a cooler venue. The main room alone, inside a sandstone hollow and covered in glass, was utterly amazing. (Reminded me of one of my homes in Minecraft. :P) Add in the waterfalls, woods, and other lovely views in the protected land area, and the perfect place for science and nature to meet was brought to the screen.

Conclusion: Ex Machina is a disturbing little psychological thriller with some amazing CGI work. The ending doesn't entirely jive, but the film is worth watching for the fun cat and mouse game between the pricipals as well as the location, acting, and CGI.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full of Admission)