Sunday, February 07, 2016

Virtual Tourist - Final Fantasy XIV 2/7/16

Morning!
Complications and complications! I don't think the world can exist without them, do you? :P DOH!
Final Fantasy XIV
Player Housing in Ul'dah
Outside the player housing zone. 
Different angle shot. You can see some of the Halloween decorations on the right. :)
Isn't that a lovely pond? Nice!
The facade of one of the homes.
A Shrine to their sweetheart?
What awesome detail. Look at all the engravings! Sweet!
Thanalan
Totally love the look of this rise. The weird purple ring is our current objective.
Kikipu a merchant in need!
View of Ul'dah from outside the city. Lovely!
Copperbell Mines
Copperbell Mines Dungeon intro! Convoluted place.
Oh yeah!
Hope you have an awesome day!

Friday, February 05, 2016

Movie Review - Hail, Caesar!

Hail, Caesar!



Starring: Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Alden Ehnrenreich, Ralph Fiennes, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Veronica Osorio, Heather Goldenhersh, Clancy Brown, Alison Pill, Max Baker, Fisher Stevens, Patrick Fischler, Robert Picardo, Christopher Lambert, and more.

Directed by: Ethan Coen and Joel Coen Written by: Joel Coen and Ethan Coen Cinematography by: Roger Deakins Music by: Carter Burwell

Premise: Eddie Mannix manages all that goes on at Capital Pictures. He makes sure things run smoothly. But when he has to juggle an unmarried pregnant starlet, a lucrative offer from Lockheed, threats from a gossip columnist and a journalist, plus the kidnapping of the main star of the biggest budget picture ever from the studio - Eddie may have finally reached his limit. (Rated PG-13)

Review:

1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Josh Brolin is fun to watch on this film. He embodies the look and feel of the 40's - a troubled soul with a calling. George Clooney really shows his skills as we see him flip back and forth between semi-brainless Baird Whitlock, bad actor, victim, good actor - he ran the gambit on this film! lol.

Alden Enrenreich was too much fun as Hobie Doyle, especially when he's trying to act! lol. (Wait till you see his roping skills! Dang!) Top performances from everyone involved. It's obvious they had way too much fun making this film. Channing Tatum dances AND sings! It was awesome! That sailor musical number was fantastic! (They even added some cool tricks I'd not seen done before. Fab!)

2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: Chunks of the film are done 'old school' style. Here and there they show pieces of the films being made at Capital Pictures. And they have the same look and feel they would have had if they'd been made in the 40's. Even some of the reality took on the feel of a 40's film. :)

They also brought out some old but very familiar sound effects. One of them they had to have done just to do it, because otherwise it would not have been heard at all! Think Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. You'll know when you hear it. :P

3) Plot/Story - Total Thumbs Up: It's going to be hard for me to quantify this film. In the true tradition of the 40's, the tale begins with a voice over and ends in one. And like several movies of the time, it ambles in a general direction but also has a lot of other pins tossed in the air, so you're never quite sure where everything is headed.

The film is a comedy but is also an encapsulation of the times as well as a giant homage machine. It has a TON of loosely veiled references to other films, studios, personalities, politics - there's a bit of that and more in there. And though I applaud them for doing it, I think it might also inadvertently hurt how the film does at the box office. I don't think anyone below the age of 40 will understand and get a lot of what is being presented and why so many bits are funny. I don't believe they'll have the knowledge needed to be able to put what they see in context. But I would be quite happy to be wrong about this! :)

The brothers touched on all sorts of things - the treatment of writers and other staff by the big studios, Howard Hughes (the mysterious backer of Capital Pictures perhaps?), the film Hell's Angels, the big musical's of the times, Roy Roger, Gene Kelly, religion, the scandal and gossip, communist accusations, the wrecking of careers (The Majestic is not only an awesome movie but it shares a ton of info on this controversial time in Hollywood, too!). A ton of scenes and locations of the films being made will seem familiar, poking at your memories.

Some neat duality was woven into the themes, which at times made certain moments truly ironic. Eddie struggles with the fact he lies to his wife about smoking and feels the need to confess and be absolved for this, but giving money to squash rumors, lying to keep from getting bad press, or keeping on the good side of the cops is just everyday life. The oppressed men who are part of "The Future" are raging at the system, but in the end, they willingly play the same role as before (even as they convince themselves they're free) - the working class toiling for those above them, and getting next to nothing for their efforts.

The film is also a view behind the curtain. The audience normally only sees the finished product, the dream as it was envisioned. But this film loves to set the audience to get caught in films being made then yanks the curtain open, forcibly pulling us from the fabrication back to their reality.

4) Locations/Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up: The cinematography was great. From the too close overdone filming to spanning vistas, it was all embroiled with new and old techniques. They even throw in cheesy stuff that for the times would have been top of the line tech. Nice!

5) Costuming/Makeup - Total Thumbs Up: The costuming and makeup department did a phenomenal job. Not only did they bring out the fashions for the time, but also made the actors and actresses look like top stars of the 40's and recreated costumes that would look close to those actually used in the films.

Conclusion: "Hail, Caesar!" is a fun film full of all things Hollywood in the early 40's, making it a time capsule of sorts. Top performances by everyone. Younger viewers may not enjoy it as much, though the musical bar scene and Hobie's horseriding and lasso handling are totally worth seeing.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission)

Thursday, February 04, 2016

ChibiChains - The resurrection

Going to toot my daughter's horn today. Like, why not, right?  :-P
Anyway, as some of you might already know, Drew creates chainmail jewelry and uses Chibi Chains for her brand name. She does some truly fabulous work, too!
Well her old website just didn't seem to be robust enough for what she really needed - so now we've moved her to wordpress and found an awesome plugin from WP-EasyCart.
So far she's only got the Bracelet's section complete - but it's worth showing off now!  8-)
Chibichains Index Page
This is the top front of the store. Has a decent slider showing a few teaser pics. Pretty!

Chibichains6
Here's the current bottom of the index page. There's probably a category or more to add to the list. Though currently only Bracelets has been finished. (Between the photo taking, setting up each weave, and descriptions and more - it takes a while to get it all together!)

Chibichains2
This is how the category page looks. Showing a 3 column setup for all the items in a category. (Sorted by name - though shoppers and change that for their viewing pleasure. )   ;-)
Chibichains3
This is the Quickview of one of the bracelets. So you get a little more info.

Chibichains4
This is the full detail page. Shows you all the lovely options you can pick from. Color 1 and Color 2, there's a spot to mention you'd like a 3rd color (Like the bracelet in the pic). The length and Ring Size (for the chainmail rings not your finger. Heh heh) and how many you want. Super nice!
Chibichains5
She wanted the store to be as big and wide as possible, so all the extra stuff is in the footers. You can search by name, weave, etc. Find Drew on social media. Sign up for her newsletter so you can always know what's new. And a login screen. I believe it is even linked to Facebook so you don't have to create YET another log in.  :twisted:
Anyway, I wanted to share, I you have time, it'd be awesome if you'd stop on by. The store is functional (even if all that's out there is bracelets)! Chainmail makes for truly unique gifts!
And Valentine's Day is fast approaching. *hint hint* :mrgreen:

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Picture Kaleidoscope 2/3/16

Morning!
This week has seemed real hard for some reason. Huh.


Etna Power by Nunzio Santisi at Earthshots.org - WOW! Nature is amazing! Mr. Santisi has other landscapes, macro, and more at this site. Nice work!



Another unusual shot! Fighting and Yelling by David Hua at Earthshots.org He has lots of lovely animal photography at his site. 


Hidden Garden by Perri Schelat at Earthshots.org - Perfect scene for a romance or fantasy no? :) Lots of lovely landscapes at his site. Sweet!


I Waited for 117 Hours in -50°C Temperatures to Snap These Polar Bear Photos article and photography by Daisy Gilardini at PetaPixel. That's dedication! She's got a ton of bear pics and cold environ pics at her site as well. Brrrr. 



17 of Apple’s Favorite iPhone 6S Portrait Photos by Michael Zhang at Earthshots.org Photo by Jirasak Panpiansin, Chaiyaphum Province, Thailand


Have an awesome day!

Monday, February 01, 2016

Mind Sieve 2/1/16

Way too much happening, crashing, catch-uping, and more - so this will be a quick one this week!










Eye in the Sky - looks good! (We will miss you Mr. Rankin) :(



That's it. Hope your week is less chaotic than mine! :)

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Virtual Tourist - Grim Fandango 1/31/16

Morning!

I went ahead and changed the photo watermark. The first one seemed a little too intrusive? Love how you can just change it and it affects all photos! Sweet!

Grim Fandango


The secret lift to the Rebel's HQ! Bwahahaha!


The Secret Rebel Base! And yes, the lady at the table should look somewhat familiar. lol.


Inside front of Don's office without Don. Heh. Love the glass door!


Day of the Dead Festival. So close and yet so far. 


This is as close as you can get to the festival. And the sad gentleman in the tent to the right? One of the most important people you will meet. His balloon animals and empty balloons are integral to the game play! Bwahahahahaha!






Have a wonderful restful Sunday!


Friday, January 29, 2016

Movie Review - Kung Fu Panda 3

Kung Fu Panda 3



Starring: Jack Black, Bryan Cranston, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, J.K. Simmons, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, David Cross, Kate Hudson, James Hong, Randal Duk Kim, Steele Gagnon, Liam Knight, Wayne Knight, Barbara Dirickson, Al Roker, Willie Geist, and many more.

Directed by: Alessandro Carloni and Jennifer Yuh Written by: Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger Art Direction by: Max Boas Music by: Hans Zimmer

Premise: Li gets a message about the location of his missing son. This sends him to Po's village in the Valley of Peace. But the happy reunion is short lived as Kai, a battle comrade of the late Oogway, has gathered the chi of all the masters in the spirit world to come back to the land of the living. His objective? To destroy all Oogway once held dear, especially his prodigy, Po, and the pandas from the secret village. (Rated PG)

Review:

1) Voice Acting - Total Thumbs Up: The great cast from previous Kung Fu Panda films are back to give us a dish full of awesomeness! There are also a lot of new characters and great actors joining the fun as Po is finally reunited with his own kind.

J.K. Simmons was fun as Oogway's frenemy Kai. Bryan Cranston shows a nice range of emotions as Po's father Li. Kate Hudson plays Mei Mei, a panda who knows what she wants and how to get it - she cracked me up. There were no small parts in this film - everyone brought something amusing to this entertaining tale.

2) Artwork/Animation - Total Thumbs Up: Dreamworks has always shown extra effort on the Kung Fu Panda films, and number 3 is no exception. I really hadn't thought they could top the awesome visuals of KFP2, but they did. For the audience to experience the maximum effect, this one must be seen in 3D. The spirit world scenes are spectacular in 3D. The film has some truly gorgeous graphics.

The textures of the animation were also very impressive. You almost believe you can run your fingers through the pandas' fur. This makes for a wonderful contrast to the cold, sheen surface of the 'jombies' (jade zombies) Kai controls. When the two get brought together during the climax of the film, the differentiation is beautifully magnified.

Dreamworks also introduces some new visual story techniques to their repertoire as well as playing around, as they're known to do in these films, with mixing arts styles to differentiate between flashbacks or stories from the real world.

Wait until you see the super fun dragon warrior sequence in the spirit world. It's sweet! :)

3) Plot/Story - Total Thumbs Up: The storyline tackles several themes at once. Themes like family and friendship, relying on others, inner strength, knowing who you are, allowing yourself to be changed by those around you, and being yourself. Within the themes themselves they play with the concepts of duality and ying and yang. Though light on the surface, they dive into deep waters ewith regards to emotional topics and do a good job as always.

I thought the film did a wonderfully at representing the feelings of both Li and Mr. Ping with regards to their roles as Po's fathers. The solution the two eventually come up with on how to deal with their current positions was great. I also loved the little panda girl and how they used her with Tigress. It was a tale told about the two totally in the background of the main proceedings, but it made it no less poignant and definitely fun.

As the concepts of ying and yang are explored, the film also weaves all three of the KFP movies into a giant circle/wheel as we see Po become what he'd pictured himself as all along. And a fun treat awaits at the end for anyone from the 70's. You'll see. :)

Conclusion: Kung Fu Panda 3 delivers all the things we love about the previous KFP films -  gorgeous animation, heartwarming storytelling, and a touch of asian mysticism. Fun film for adults and kid of all ages. If you're already a fan of KFP, you won't be disappointed. And if you can at all manage it - see it in 3D! Well worth it!

Rating: 4 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again!)
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