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

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!

Southern Shara

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)


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)

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Picture Kaleidoscope 4/15/15

Happy Wednesday, all!

Let's see what I've got to share with you today. :)

The Gem-Like Turquoise Ice Found on Lake Baikal - article by Michael Zhang at PetaPixel. Photography by Alexey Trofimov. The ice is really amazing!

This photo by Alexey Trofimov on his site is totally amazing. It may not seem like it at first, but look closer. The lake is frozen and is now showing a solitary crack. The crack itself is fascinating. The frozen body of water around it, even more so. He's got a lot of great stuff on his site to peruse. 

Tintype Portraits of Celebrities at the Sundance Film Festival - article by Michael Zhang at PetaPixel. Photography by Victoria Will. What a neat undertaking! She got pics of a number of popular peeps!

Victoria Will has a fascinating site as well. More tintype pics, celebrity pics, and all sorts of stuff. I found this one rather fascinating.

Doggy Photo Booth Helps Shelter Get Dogs Adopted - article by Michael Zhang at Petapixel. Photography by Guinnevere Shuster. What an incredibly cute idea! 

Have a great day!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Mind Sieve 4/13/15

Morning all~!

Fan Fun

Barely Lethal Trailer - OMG! This looks awesome! ROFL!

Daredevil Trailer 2 - this is already in Netflix as it is one of those "made only for" shows - and it is FAB!  So if you have Netflix, I highly recommend this one. Been a lot of fun so far. 

Survivor Official International Trailer #1 - Brosnan as a bad GUY! Woot!

Social Media/Author Platform

Pen Names - Necessary Evil or Ticket to Crazyville? by Kristen Lamb. Some great arguments here. So much of the landscape is changing you just can't assume the old ways are still good.

Writing Advice

Are Drowning in To Do Lists? from Jami Gold. Good advice!

Out of time! Enjoy the week all!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Virtual Tourist - TERA 4/12/15


Southern Shara
Val Palrada

An open air library - nice! (Though in this humidity, it may end up NOT being such a great thing. Heh heh.

Look at the size of that sword! And it's shinny! (She won't miss it, will she?)

Cool looking thing, no?

This place has the oddest things.

The bad guys here are nothing to look at, but their tents as super cool. :P

Hip reduction and new armor. So cute!

A peek at my new armor as well.

Some of the extra items placed about during the Christmas season.

Th e tree!

Huts definitely fitting the jungle theme.


Eek! And this just leads to the entrance!


Have a great day!

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Picture Kaleidoscope 4/8/15 - DART Adventure

Morning, all!

My work place is moving to Las Colinas, which means a much more involved commute. So trying to see how to avoid traffic and all the stress, annoyance, etc that goes with it, I figured I'd check out DART Rail since there's a station right by the new work address.

So I spent a couple of hours doing research, finding out routes, comparing maps, and more. So Saturday, hubby and I set off to check it out and see if it is a viable alternative or not.

This is the view from the DCTA platform off of Hebron in North Carrollton. The A Train stops by here.  As you can see, aside from a roof and some metal chairs and ticket machines, there's nothing here. 

On a day like Saturday, that is not a problem. But any kind of inclement weather and passengers would find no protection here. Also, the big schedule on the marquee is only for weekdays, so we ended up missing the train, because... there are no TOILETS!

Took a panoramic once we got back (before we realized the marquee was wrong and we'd just missed the train).  Wahhhh! (We got in the car and went to the alternate stop.)

Inside of the DART Rail - which we got on at the North Carrollton Station. No bathrooms there either.

Ticket machines and helpful signs. Huge parking lot, big statue, no bathrooms. No real cover.

Incoming DART rail. (We're sitting in the other one.)

And we're off!

Water treatment plant in Carrollton

Some nice views on  the overpasses.

Each station stop had a different decor motif for their columns. Still no restrooms.

A lovely fluffy sky!

Passing strangers

You can see the conductor and the rail map from here. Typical multi transit train setup.

Walnut Hill Station - a nice southern feel to the columns.

The big radar thing/water thing. 

Some more of the stop decor.

Historical Park in Farmers Branch.

They've really fixed it up!

More column decor.

This is the extent of protection at all the stations we stopped at. :( Rain with some wind, and you'd be soaked.

Really can see a long way from up here.

Old Downtown Carrollton

More station decor

Big art thing at the North Carrollton Station. Wish they'd instead put in some bathrooms.

All the stations were clean and so were the trains. But...

We never did go all the way to our final destination. The bathroom situation caused us to hoof it in search of one and after that we were pretty much done. I now know why DART is losing money. I've no idea how the elderly or people with kids could afford to use DART rail without any kind of facilities being available. I spoke to a friend who uses the Red Line and said he'd seen plenty there, but the Green Line seemed to have none. Sadly, the lack of facilities definitely makes this a non-option for me.

Happy Wednesday!