Friday, September 30, 2011

Movie Review - Killer Elite

Killer Elite








Starring: Jason Statham, Clive Owen, Robert De Niro, Dominic Purcell, Aden Young, Yvonne Stahovski, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, and more...

Directed by: Gary McKendry Screenplay by: Matt Sherring Based on the Book The Feather-Men by: Ranulph Fiennes

Premise: An ex-assassin comes out of retirement to save the life of his mentor, who's refused to finish a job he took on once he found out the details. While Danny tries to fix things, matters get even more complicated as his actions spark the attention of an ex-SAS officer, called Spike. (Rated R.)

Review: I must admit that while I'd seen a preview for this, I'd not worked up much enthusiasm to see it. Thankfully, it was better than it looked and turned out to be a pretty intense good time. This film is NOT FOR KIDS. While the gore is minimal, the violence itself is high, and some of the subject matter mature.


The first job that sets up the scenario for what is to come later had a major flaw, but ignoring that, the rest makes for a fun and actually somewhat complicated film. Having recently completed Deus Ex Human Revolution made this even more fun as it was the same type of complicated political, greed, back-stabbing type situation (minus the augmentations and robots). :P

Lovely explosions and gun play. Some of the assassination set-ups were truly sweet. Also some nice hand to hand action. And some of the best Chair Fu I've seen in some time. The plot moves along at a nice pace, with minimal hiccups.

Some really nice scenery and flavors from myriad locations like Australia, Wales, and Jordan. The acting was good as well, Mr De Niro even getting a very sweet scene towards the end. Plot shows the deep complexity of true life regarding good guys and bad guys and the pawns used by those above. A total blast for filling in any cravings for shooting, fighting, and chasing.


Rating: 3.75 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth full price of admission)






Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Picture Kaleidoscope 9/28/11

A feast for your eyes!




I've always thought this unending hall visual effect is kind of cool! 


Rie Sheridan's costume at Fencon.


The Steampunk Illumination Society.  There were some really nice Steampunk outfits this year. 


She has a super cool rocket pack strapped to her back!


Not only was the Wicked Witch of the West done up steampunk, but her monkey moved! So cool!


Ah yes, Cthulu toilet paper roll protectors! No one will be messing with your paper if he's around. So cute!


Jackie Leaf mutated some dolls she bought on the cheap to the famed SG-1 group. They really came out great! 


Samantha Carter. (Her hat walked off somewhere.)


Teal'c.  He even had his gold symbol on his forehead. Jackie said the staff is still a work in progress.


Daniel Jackson - glasses and all! (She had to make those and add them - nice job!)


And of course Jack O'Neill. Jackie brought the for the possibly last Obligatory Stargate Panel at Fencon. Very well attended! Always a fun panel.

Now for other cool photos I ran into during the week. :)

From NASA's Image of the Day - Herschel Mission Finds Galactic Growth Slow and Steady.


Another NASA image - The Thin Blue Line.


Earth Shot of ther Day - Fairy Bonsai by Adam Gibbs - so cute!



Chuck Wendig took one of his son that is too rad. I don't think it was intentional, but if you look at his eyes, it's got a cyberpunk look to them! Heh heh

Some way cool 3D images of room in Latvia. Very rad!

The Milky Way From the Top of the World!


Rosemary Clemment-Moore took this pic of a Giant Armadillo! With HORNS!


National Geographic has a set of 8 Amazing Nature Photos. Pretty cool!

And from Jerry J Davis comes Trump Tower Sunset!


Till next time!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Mind Sieve 9/26/11

People were honestly super productive this week. Let's see what I can wheedle it down to.





FansOfMovies shared the news about the new Max Payne 3 game trailer. Total Film has the details.


Total Film shared the latest parody video by The Muppets - this one based on The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.


A preview to a film I'd not heard of before but looks totally adorable - We Bought A Zoo.



AceRocksBooks found this. Beyond cute! Jedi Kittens Strike Back! Totally beyond CUTE!


The Breaking Dawn pt 1 Trailer. I must admit they make it look tantalizing. Heh heh


Total Film has set photos of the Total Recall remake with Colin Farrell and Jessica Biel. Love Colin Farrell, so this should be fun!


Balladeer has a post on The Top Eleven Deities in Hawaiian Mythology. Now that's something you don't hear about everyday!

Another film I hadn't heard about - The Awakening. Very unusual location and time frame. Very tantalizing and I hate scary stuff! lol



Mary Jo Gibson gives us a peek at the Lightner Museum on Museum Monday.  Cool looking place and cool looking stuff! Be fun to visit.

From Total Film, a preview to J Edgar with Leonardo DiCaprio. Also has Jeffrey Donovan as President Kennedy! Woot! 



Dr Clayton Forrester shared a video called Because Tom Sellect's Mustache Makes Everything Better. (If you're under 40 this might not mean anything to you. Though Tom is now in Blue Bloods, so who knows!)  It's too funny.



TorBooks found this blog with AT-AT Pancakes! So cool!


From Eddie McClintock himself, a link to the preview of the 2 Hr Warehouse 13 season finale!











Dr Twuth from Kristen Lamb tackles - Now I Need a Service for Validation? Beating the Bots! Nice strategies on what to watch out for and how to avoid becoming Bot Fodder.

Maria Zannini gives us the Three Layers of Book Promotion. Great definitions and even examples!

From Laura Pepper Wu - Adding Customer Images to Your Amazon Page to Increase Your Sales. No idea if this would work or not, but wouldn't hurt. Went and added my mug to all my books and anthologies. What the hey! Wonder who in my family I can bribe to sit and hold one to look like they're reading. Hmmmm.

Kristen Lamb's WANA Wednesday - Three Keys to a Sucessful Author Platform - All This and a Bag of Chips. Kristen waxes philosophically on why you should take her online course. This might be of interest to some of you out there especially if you're just starting your author platform.









Gene Lempp's Designing from Bones - The Elements of Culture. The ancient Cyprus! Nice info on the long term culture and ways to think about world building for your own creations!

Jami Gold walks us through an answer for Where Do You Get Your Ideas? (Or how SPAM can make you a better writer. Heh heh.)

Jaye Wells has a great post on the writing experience - The Journeyman Writer.

Really nice post about dealing with critiques from Angela Ackerman - Evaluating Critique Feedback.

Setting - Adding Dimension to Your Fiction by Kristen Lamb. Great examples!

From Chuck (NSFW) Wendig comes 25 Virtues Writers Should Posses. Great list (though I'm still not sure about Coffee or Liquor as virtues, dude!) :P


Okay, I ran out of time, but here's a whittled down list of all the stuff I accumulated. Have fun! And feel free to list cool stuff you guys ran across, too! Sharing is fun! Heh heh.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Dues Ex: Human Revolution - YES!!!!!

(No movie review this week. Sept really did end up way busier than normal. This week I'm participating at FenCon.)

It's been FOREVER since I've played a First Person Shooter game of any kind. A lot of it had to do with spending my time on MMOs, but also because a lot of the newer games make the character movements and screens in such a way that, frankly, make me so dizzy I want to hurl. (Missed out on SPACE, Borderlands, FEAR - Waaaaahhhh) Hubby doesn't have this problem, so it's all good for him. (Bah humbug!)

I played the original Deus Ex years ago, so when he told me they had a prequel called Dues Ex: Human Revolution, I hoped I might actually have a shot at playing it. And YES! No super wobbly graphics! I can PLAY THIS! Woot!



Premise: Adam Jensen, security chief at Sarif Industries, is massively injured when he tries to stop an infiltration of the science labs at the company. He finds the perpetrators only to be overcome, as one of them exibits greater than human abulities. Jensen is the sole survivor to the incursion, but is in critical condition. Sarif puts his men to save him and gets him augmented with cyber limbs. Six months later, he calls Jensen back into active duty as hostilities once more escalate. Jensen wants answers and is now more than equiped to get them.

Babbling: Started the game about a couple of weeks ago and have been having a BLAST! Currently past the second boss and in a super secret facility in an undisclosed location. (Finding me some missing scientists I am! Bwahahahaha.)

The elements I loved about the original are present in the prequel. I couldn't be more ecstatic. Loads of world info you can choose to read through ebook readers and newspapers left around in the game world, even emails in computers. Nice solid story content. Fun characters. (Totally love the voice work by Elias Toufexis for Jensen!) Side missions add a nice compliment to the story and world as a whole. Love that I've been able to guess at several elements because I am reading what I find, am talking to the civilians around me, and doing these side quests. They serve to enrich the whole experience. And some of the rewards of these side quests give (aside from the xp!) are nice indeed!

I super love that sneaking around is more condusive than just shooting at everything (brought back all my fond memories of Thief!). There are hidden passages all over the place, but there are also some that take you nowhere. So it ups the exploration aspects a bit, I think. And sometimes there are goodies to be found at these dead ends as well. (WARNING: Sewers are not nice. Always try the front door first. Might save yourself some agony. lol)
There's a fun running joke I've been having a blast with. Jensen keeps asking people how they got his frequency as he keeps getting calls on his implants from all over the place. lol. Poor guy never does get a straight answer on that one from anyone. Hee!

Very nice graphics and videos. The two tierd city in Asia is amazing as you fly in. Pretty spectacular and kind of creepy as you look up at it in different areas. And of course there's all sorts of moral issues to consider with all the awesome tech and changes going on in the world's societies, even as some things never change-greed, power hunger, back stabbing, etc.

Totally loving my Q key. The subdue augment ability ROCKS! Especially when you can increase the augment to subdue two peeps at once-great sequences on the take downs too. Oh yeah! And the Typhon weapons system is the BOMB! Just the cool graphic is worth it. Heh heh. Enjoying many of the other skills you can pick up along the way as well. Hacking is cool! And you have to think too, suckers are sneaky in some of the software hacking setups-if you don't pay attention you won't get past it.

I'm pretty sure everything is going to come together in the Artic Sea and I'm totally looking forward to it. Bwahahahahaha! Also heard there will be even more content coming in October with Dues Ex Missing Link. Booyah!

A definite Thumbs UP!

Addendum:
Finished the game!  Here are some tips:
Bosses:
1)  Big Bawny Dude: Red barrels are your friends. Throw them at the guy. Also, there are two rooms with goodies at the northeast and southwest corners. Better yet, on the NE room, if you jump on the boxes and hide against the wall with the entrance, no matter how many grenades he throws, you'll take no damage. Good place to take a breather. Do not try to grapple with this dude! Shoot from afar.

2) Lady: She can turn invisible. Your best bet is to have previously gotten the Typhoon system (which ROCKS!) and do two immediate attacks with it. Took her down easy!

Cheat - Avoid changing your chip. Won't say anything more. I did it, and it makes 3rd boss harder, but hubby avoided it, so had full powers.(I knew it was a bad idea, I just didn't know if the consequences of not doing it would be bad. Hubby said aside from some glitches here and there, it did not affect him.)

3) Leader of the Trio: Also can turn invisible. But he tends to jump over the central room divider. Just run around and hide behind the columns to the center and wait for him to come over. Take a few shots, run the other way, lie in wait again. (If you shoot too much, grenades will blow you up. Machine gun did the trick.) If you don't change your chip, you can just Typhoon his ass! Heh heh.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Picture Kaleidoscope 9/21/11

With the weather changing I got several awesome sky shots. Will share those last.


By Hellslide: Got to love those colors! Dang!


From Jerry J Davis: A cool view of a Chicago building.


From Io9: Five of Saturn's Moon in One Breathtaking Photo.


Here's my sky pics for the week. :)


Mother Nature teasing us with possible rain, but not actually giving us any. Heh.


Hadn't done a photosynth in a while, so here you go.


Ominous, is it not? Heh





Like a ball of light between two hands. Kamehame ha, anyone? :)


From the Meet and Greet Local Authors and Illustrator event at The Colony Library this past weekend. Met some nice folks. Guy in the corner is a magician and kept us entertained with tricks. So fun!


Till next time! Hopefully I'll get some good ones during Fencon this weekend! Bwahahahaha!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Mind Sieve 9/19/11

More Mind Sieve Madness!





Per the Examiner.com Warehouse 13 has been given the green light for a fourth season! YAY! You can read the full skinny in this article.

Gene Lempp shared a link to an interesting article on the Top 5 Most Used Recreational Drugs by Manon Eileen. Some nice data here.

From GeekChicDaily comes a video with John Barrowman (Capt Jack Harkness) singing about Dr Who.  The Doctor and I (From a tune from the muscial Wicked.) He's got some good pipes on him!

Passed on by Stana Katic from Jessica Ross: Castleblanca. Too cute!

Castleblanca from Jessica Ross on Vimeo.


From CBS we get a peek at NCIS's Ducky's new flame! Was so surprised! Hadn't seen her in a while. She still looks awesome! Can't wait to see her and Ducky together. (No I'm not spoiling it for you, you'll have to click. Heh heh)

Lee Unkrich shared a link to a cool story - Urban Archeology: Sleeping Beauty's Paris Apartment Discovered.  Untouched treasures from the 1940's! Really neat surreal find.

From Examiner.com a story about a 310 Million Year Old Virus by Paul Hamaker.

In Gene Lempp's Designing From Bones series we get Kitchen of Time. Who knew cooking was this important!

A Lee Martinez shares his review of the kaiju themed dice game called King of Tokyo.  Sounds rather fun!

And here is the coolest Cat Pole EVER!  How to Build Your Cat a Tardis fort. Ooooo!!! So totally cool! Wait till you see the inside!


Per Clever Movies, JJ Abrams has been signed on to direct Star Trek 2~! Now if the script shows better Space Fu than the last, we might get something worthwhile here! Heh heh.







Here is the latest in Kristen Lamb's Dr Twuth series titled: Bots Make Me Bonkers. (Hah! Bots? You want Bots? Come join me in an MMO and then you can really see the spam fly! lol)

Writers Relief wrote a pretty nifty article on Eleven Deadly Sins of Online Promotion for Writers. All very good points!

Abby Larson did a guest blog at Pro Blogger and shared Six Proven Secrets to Blogging Success. All great tips!

Social Butterflies Trump Worker Bees on Social Media - Meet the Connector by Kristen Lamb. (Hm, wonder if I can set out a sugar water dish to attract some. heh heh.) (And, yes, Gene, you are one! You rock!)







Chuck (NSFW) Wendig speaks about The Twenty-Sided Troubadours: Why Writers Should Play Role Playing Games. (Interesting premise. I know it didn't hurt me any to be a playah! And if you get a DM who has a clue, it can be priceless! Hubbins is the BOMB.) :)

Ooo! We get to see things from the OTHER SIDE!  Advice for Agents by Rachelle Gardner. 

Janice Hardy states I Had To Do This: Clarifying Ambiguous Pronouns. And there's examples!

Totally FAB post on What Your Characters Eyes Tell the Reader, guest post by Steven Aitchison. Applying it to your actual writing will take some work, but the info itself is invaluable.

Claudia Gray does a great post over at The Other Side of the Story Blog on I Said, He Said: First vs Third Person. Good stuff!

From Chuck (NSFW) Wendig comes 25 Ways to Plot, Plan and Prep Your Story. Great list!

And Janice Hardy has a nice follow up to her Pronouns post called Oh, Now I Made It Worse: When Editing Goes Astray. Wow, Gary and Bob got a big workout. lol.

Jennifer Laughran explains how It's Not ALL About the Benjamins. Matters from the agent's perspective.

PW Creighton gives examples and walks us through Contrast, Detail, Emotion. Definite food for thought for staging our scenes.

5 Basics of Dialogue You Need to Know by Marcy Kennedy. Oooo! Learned some new terms I did! (Hey, just cause I know how to do something doesn't mean I know what it's called! :P)  


Oh yeah, that should keep you occupied for a bit. Heh heh heh

Friday, September 16, 2011

Movie Review - Seven Days in Utopia

Seven Days in Utopia





Starring: Lucas Black, Robert Duvall, Deborah Ann Woll, Joseph Lyle Taylor, Brian Gerahty, and more.

Directed by: Matthew Dean Russell Writing Credits: David Cook,  Rob Levine, Matthew Dean Russell, Sanda Thrift Based on the Book by: David Cook Original Music by: Klaus Badelt and Christopher Carmichael

Premise: After an emotional blow out an up and comer golfer makes a right turn at an intersection only to find himself in the town of Utopia and meeting the one man who might set him on the right path for his game and his life.

Review: When I first read the blurb on this film, it reminded me of Doc Hollywood (a long time favorite for me and my husband). So finding myself without hubby for movie night, I took a plunge and checked it out (hubby had no interest so it was open season!).

Actually filmed mostly out at Utopia, Texas there are some truly nice visuals of Texas flat lands and ranch homes. While golf is a major part of the story, you don't have to be into the sport to watch the film, any bits not known by the audience explained here and there.

There are no major surprises in the film. Troubled man gets taken under the wing of an older mentor and shown a new way of seeing things. Troubled man comes to certain realizations and improves inside and out. What was actually innovative, in my opinion, were the ways the lessons were taught.  Every time Lucas thought he'd figured out how Johnny was going to teach him some new lesson about golf or life, it was never exactly as he expected. Some were almost brilliant.

You'll find several familiar faces amongst the cast. Lucas Black did pretty well, especially at the very end. Robert Duvall, on the other hand, seemed a little lacking throughout - though there was one scene where he says absolutely nothing yet spoke volumes. Several of the side characters brought a lot of life and warmth to the film. Others were the normal cookie cutter types you usually expect, to add adversarial problems for the protagonist, though they did try to give them a little more depth than typical and even some changes.

Another nice thing were the flashes and flashbacks to what brought Luke Chisolm to the bad place he was at in the first place. For most of his years he'd been living the life forced upon him, not one he chose for himself. In many ways, he's not lived at all.

The method they chose to use at the ending, I can't say did them any favors. It's an open ending, without letting you know the end result, which to me was a given, so no biggie. But worse, they then tantalize you with a website to get the final scoop - www.didhemaketheputt.com  A nice site, with a couple of nice videos by the author, David Cook, and the answer to the question. But at the theater, seeing the website on the screen left a bad taste in my mouth. It felt gimmicky.  Worse, the point about letting God into your life wasn't really reached in the film in my mind. Felt tacked on. Yes, they showed Lucas how to live and be open to experiences, but the connection to faith, to God, felt like a stretch.


Rating: 3 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: N/A)








Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Picture Kaleidoscope 9/14/11

Some cool stuff this week.

From Nasa - Hurricane Katia from Space.

(Pic was working then wasn't on the blog page so I'm leaving it in case it will cooperate. Otherwise the link in the text will get you there. :P)



Updated Lunar Landing site pics from NASA.


For something more down to earth yet creepy is the Child's Skull With Baby and Permanent Teeth. Ewwwww~!


Several sunrises from the last two weeks. :)






Got the above little bugger from the vendors across the isle at Animefest. The EVIL Cuteness made us buy it for our table mascot. Isn't he CUTE?!?!


Sickness came upon my daughter rather suddenly on the first day. Bummer...


Some new arrangements for the Chibi Chains side of the table. :) Shinny eye candy. Heh heh.