Sunday, August 02, 2015

Virtual Tourist - TERA 8/2/15

Morning, all!

Alamanthea Area

Oooooh! Magic! So cool!

I don't think the natives are friendly.

Ooooh! Hidden Shrine?

Dragon Temple

We're heading towards trouble.

Love the sunlight shafts!

Good things have not happened here.

Gorgeous though, isn't it?

Okay, this rocks!

Super cool architecture too. 

You can feel the humidity. :P

Awesome ceiling.

Love the floor work, though not the little buggers in the corner. :P

Have a lovely day!

Friday, July 31, 2015

Movie Review - Pixels


Starring: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Michelle Monaghan, Peter Dinklage, Josh Gad, Matt Lintz, Brian Cox, Sean Bean, Jane Krakowski, Dan Aykroyd, Penelope Wilton, and more.

Directed by: Chris Columbus Screenplay by: Tim Herlihy and Timothy Dowling Screen Story by: Tim Herlihy Based on the Short Film "Pixels" by: Patrick Jean Cinematography by: Amir Mokri Music by: Henry Jackman

Premise: In 1982, Brenner discovered video game arcades and the fact he could figure out the patterns and score really high on them. In the same year, he entered a video game competition, which was being filmed and sent as part of a NASA probe carrying info on Earth for possible contact with alien species. 33 years later, Brenner has yet to live up to his potential, while those around him have fulfilled theirs. Yet when there's an attack on a US base in Guam, his time to shine might finally have arrived. (Rated PG-13)


1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Playing the dispirited underdog is one of Adam Sandler's strengths, and he does it here very well. Michelle Monaghan makes a nice foil for Sandler, especially after the misunderstandings after they first meet. Kevin James did an exceptional job as Cooper. Totally loved the use of Penelope Wilton as England's Prime Minister, especially since she's already played the PM in Dr. Who! (Yes, I am easily tickled! :P)

2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: This film truly had a ton of lovely special effects. Seeing a bunch of beloved 80's arcade games come to life in 3D was a treat.  They even replicated the best bits from the original short by Patrick Jean - watching buildings shrink by matching Tetris tiles was too fun!

All my favorite 80's games and more were represented. Donkey Kong, Joust, Galaga, Centipede, Asteroids, Pong, and a ton more. My favorite replicated character was Q-bert! Though it was weird to hear him talk English. Heh heh. He was too cute!

The most impressive effect of the lot is probably Pac Man. They made him scary! Centipede up close was rather scary, too!

During the credits - they go super old school. They do the entire movie as a 2D low pixel game. Adorable!

For anyone who played arcade games in the 80's this will be a fun trip back in time. :) They even sneak in some of the original game music!

3) Plot/Story - Thumbs Up: When I first saw the trailer for this film I was sure it would either be good or very very bad. I'm happy to say it ended up on the 'good' side. They actually worked at it and even had a couple of plot tracks running at once, giving the film a little more substance than you'd expect.

One of the main themes played with at multiple levels and situations was love. Yep, you read right - love. Even geek love! Heh heh. (Even rather 'weird' love, too!)

Some of the humor was lukewarm, but other bits were quite precious. It all depends on your taste in humor.

And believe it or not, they actually have a surprise or two in the plot! Even some commentary on the difference between games then and games now. Using 80's shows, personalities, and commercials for how the aliens communicate - priceless! (And wait till you see the surprise speaker when the crew tries to get under the mother ship! Squee!) (My daughter had no idea who I was talking about. So sad...)

4) Stunts - Total Thumbs Up: Great job by all the people running, screaming, jumping out of half disintegrated cars, etc.  Some cool driving scenes, too! Especially during the Pacman sequence. Nice work!

5) Music - Total Thumbs Up: Lots of popular 80's titles along with some great background music by Henry Jackman.

Conclusion: "Pixels" is a fun little film with tons of 80's arcade nostalgia thrown in. Watch the credits for a condensed version of the movie in old style 2D pixels!

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

For fun, I've included the short film by Patrick Jean the movie is based on. Too darn cute!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Picture Kaleidoscope 7/29/13


Let's see what I can throw at you today. :)

We have a new assassin in the household. Mystique (aka Sweevil) had outgrown her kitten bed and Ells had been borrowing it off and on much to her chagrin. So we went and got a new and bigger bed. The following result in no way surprised me. lol. 

Still trying to get the sun through the trees look. Heh

Last time we went to Yoshi's Shabu-Shabu they were serving locally made desserts - Nom Noms. The Coffee Cream was delicious! (And they run a Mexican restaurant as well - though we've never been)

Assassination Classroom - one of the oddest manga ever! I took a picture as I wanted to try to entice A. Lee Martinez to give it a look see. Tentacled Alien teaching class while having the whole classroom try to assassinate him or he'll destroy the earth. Too awesomely bizarre~! 

My publisher had some truly outstanding prizes to give away during ArmadilloCon! This lighted bonsai indirectly ties in to my new novel Jewel of the Gods

Steampunk bookends! Wish I'd been able to see the actual ones but the publisher said they were still on backorder. 

And the most popular item - The Folio Society's Dune 50th Anniversary Edition. With illustrations. ZP kept it wrapped to keep better value for whoever won it. Lots of drooling over the weekend. :P

Loved this plaque at the Austin Airport.

I think I'd seen this there before, but I did not remember it looking this awesome. Isn't this cool?

Evil traffic earlier this week! Wish I'd thought of taking it when I was higher in the overpass. :P

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Mind Sieve 7/27/15


Running super late. Had a good time at ArmadilloCon, though sadly the new novel did not get there in time. Publisher was not happy! Especially since she paid for super printing and delivery. DOH!

You can find Jewel of the Gods at several retailers online now though.  So it's OUT! :)

Maze Runner - The Scorch - official trailer 2 - should be fun!

Gotta go! Have an awesome Monday!

Friday, July 24, 2015

ArmadilloCon Schedule!


For any of you fun people coming on down to ArmadilloCon this weekend - here's what panels I've been scheduled on.


9:00 PM - Ballroom F - SF TV Shows We're Anticipating
The Expanse, Man in the High Castle, Minority Report, etc.: Which looks the most interesting and exciting? How faithful can the ones with literary origins be to their source material?


10:00 AM - Ballroom E - Silkpunk: Asian themes and influences in SF/F
Exploring the use of Asian concepts and locations in the work of Guy Gavriel Kay, Neil Gaiman, and Ken Liu contextualized as just a few of many.

2:00 PM - Southpark A - Broad Universe
A joint reading by members of the writers' group Broad Universe "promoting science fiction, fantasy, and horror written by women."


11:00AM - Southpark B - Reading
Yes, I must find something worthy to torture anyone who shows up. Bwahahahahaha!

2:00PM - Dealer's Room - Autographing

For the full ArmadiloCon programming grid - go here.

For panel descriptions - go here.

And of course, there'll be added treats by Zumaya Publications as both my novel, Jewel of the Gods, and Rie Sheridan Rose's, The Nearly Notorious Nun, debut during the convention!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Cover Flat Reveal - Jewel of the Gods

Howdy, all!

Been working a ton of OT at work (*cry*) and also fighting a cold, so I got little to nothing done this weekend on writer stuff.

On the bright side, I finally got a hold of a copy of the final cover flat for my fantasy novel - Jewel of the Gods.

Still don't have the website updated with the new pages (doh!) but I can at least show you what's coming.

Debut for the novel is scheduled to happen at ArmadilloCon on Friday 7/24!  Great bunch of peeps, lots of authors, lots of panels, lots of fun. So if you're in the Austin area next week, come on by and sign up for the cool giveaways planned by my publisher Zumaya Publications!

If you've not taken a peek yet, I do have sample chapters at the blog - Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3.

Here's a bigger view of the cover.

If you've a mind to, please help spread the news! Much appreciated!
Ebook version and print versions should show up online retailers not long after. :)
Novel # 7! Lucky 7? Can only hope. :)

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Picture Kaleidoscope 7/15/15

Happy Wednesday!

Peeping Kitty by Morkel Erasmus at Isn't he adorable? Awwww! He's got more animals and other stuff at his site, too!

Statuesque by Linn Smith at - To me he looks like a conductor about to start a symphony, no? So cute! Doesn't look like she has a website. Too bad...

Mothership Landing by Dennis Oswald at What a cool visual! She's beeming up the cows. :)

Mr. Oswald has a neat portfolio. One whole section devoted to bad weather. Gorgeous stuff! 

These are the Most Incredible Photos Shot by NASA’s Cassini Probe by Michael Zhang at PetaPixel. Some look so surreal. And the straight lines on the rings...dang!

Have a great day!