Sunday, March 31, 2013

Virtual Tourist - Dishonored 3/31/13

Happy Easter! (Or as one of my bosses says Happy Keaster! Heh heh)

3rd Missions - Kidnapping Dr Sokolov

Ah, my beloved. What made this extremely poignant for me was that I am looking at her portrait even as I believe I hold her heart in my hand...

One of the rooms in Dr Solokov's place. Love the clock!

One of the views as I sneak around trying to find a way onto the bridge to Solokov's area of the city.

Loved this pic. It was also part of a sneaky puzzle to find the combination of a safe. This clue is for the # 7

Visited again by the Outsider himself. Hilarious how he's complaining about Solokov using and believing in the magic but not being the right kind of believer. lol. 

A closer view of the far side of the city across the bridge.

An altar to the Outsider. 

The bridge which must be crossed to get at Solokov. Not an easy enterprise. Though from talking to hubby, I had it way way easier than he did. Bwahahahahaha!

I got a warm feeling from seeing this. Two successful missions for me to coo over. Heh heh.

Looking from the end of the bridge down to where I need to go next. 

View from down at the docks by the bridge.

This section of the city is mostly empty and in ruins.

Had my mask upgraded for a zoom (and it put it in the alt button) so got a better pic than I expected by total accident! lol. (Normally press alt and screen print to take my pics. Heh heh) (Must use right alt from now on...)

Have yourselves and awesome and profound Easter!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Movie Review - The Host

The Host

Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Diane Kruger, Max Irons, Jake Abel, Chandler Canterbury, William Hurt, Scott Lawrence, Frances Fisher, and more.

Directed by: Andrew Niccol Screenplay by: Andrew Niccol Based on the Novel by: Stephenie Meyer Cinematography by: Roberto Schaefer Original Music by: Antonio Pinto

Premise: Earth has been taken over by an alien race that uses human bodies as hosts. Rather than be taken by them, Melanie Stryder attempts to take her own life by jumping out a window. The Seeker who watched her do this decides Melanie would make an excellent host. The Seeker's goal is to use Melanie's memories to hunt down the few remnants of unpossessed humans left. But Melanie's will is even stronger than anyone anticipated. Rather than be destroyed or totally subverted within her own body, Melanie is aware and fights against the alien inside her, hoping to somehow figure out a way to get back to those she loves. (Rated PG-13)


1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Saoirse Ronan did a spectacular job playing the Wanderer, and the imprisoned Melanie inside her. Saoirse gave each of the two beings unique voices and personalities so it was easy to believe she had two people taking residence inside the same body. Diane Kruger was outstanding as the dogged Seeker trying to find the Wanderer(Wanda)/Melanie no matter the cost. Max Irons and Jake Abel also gave good performances, easily showing the conflict each had for how they viewed and felt about Wanda/Melanie.

2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: I loved how the aliens looked - semi-energy beings with ganglia - it was a great effect. There are two emotional automobile crash scenes that got stitched to the film so well they looked eerily realistic in the damage to the cars and to the people inside them. The glow worm cave was fantastic - you could honestly think you were looking into a picture of a gaseous and star seeded section of space. The alien 'spaceport' was utterly fascinating. I also think the special effects department did a great job with the mirror banks used to reflect light to grow plants inside the caves. The wheat field itself also looked amazing.

They did a great job too on Jamie's festered wound (looked so nasty!) and the healing sequences for both Melanie and Jamie. You could almost see Jamie's cut weaving itself back together. Nice!

3) Plot/Story - Thumbs Up: I haven't read the novel the movie is based on, so I can't make any comments on how it translated to film. I will say that as long as you don't question how Earth came to be in its current state or what technology should have been available to the aliens with which to find a few pesky humans, the movie's plot works pretty well.

Though you can piece together some of the alien's social structure, it would have helped the film if they'd delved into it a bit more than they did. A greater understanding of this seemingly super stratified system (as implied by the use of occupation titles) would have helped viewers understand why some of the 'Souls' had not been bothered by their antagonistic way of life before. (Where their technology came from or how they were able to take over the first human, especially after seeing that the standard transfer process couldn't be done without help would have also helped plug some of the huge holes in the nonexistent back story.) Baring that, however, the film did do a great job bringing up all sorts of issues to both sides, and not 'sugar coating' most of them. The voice-over technique for Melanie's trapped self worked really well for imparting her thoughts to the audience.

And typical of a lot of young adult books, there are multiple love interests for the heroine. Except this time there was a nice twist - there are two heroines in one body, and they both like different guys. This made for some quite poignant and also funny moments. Jamie's infected wound, sadly, seemed somewhat contrived.

5) Locations/Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up: My inner geek screamed the first time we got the gorgeous spanning view of the desert area where the humans kept their hiding place (Worm Sign! Worm Sign! ("Dune")), something which will sadly not occur to most of the young people watching the film. I totally loved the cave chosen for their hideout. (The wheat field made me think of those built inside mountains or underground in the PC game "Mine Craft".)

While a lot of places looked normal, they did do one caveat to how the aliens had changed the planet by the giant, plain store called The Store. Their simplistic labels and naming of things was a nice touch too.

6) Costuming/Makeup - Total Thumbs Up: The costumes for the Seekers in their startling white worked very well. The shoes were not, but I am giving credit to that 'faux pas' to the aliens themselves. The ways the eyes looked on all who had aliens inside them worked really well and had just the right touch of creepy to it. There was good consistency too on wounds and natural healing.

Conclusion: If you ignore the science and technique of how the Souls took over the world, the film was well paced, thought provoking, and even quite humorous. Hubby said it would make a great date movie as it has a mix of romance, shootings, and car chases to give both sides what they like.

Rating: 4 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission)  

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Movie Review - The Croods

(It's my birthday so I splurged! Doing two movies this week. One today and another tomorrow. Yeah!)
The Croods

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, Catherine Keener, Cloris Leachman, Clark Duke, Chris Sanders, and Randy Thom.

Directed by: Kirk De Micco and Chris Sanders Screenplay by: Chris Sanders and Kirk De Micco Story by: John Cleese, Chris Sanders, and Kirk De Micco Cinematography by: Yong Duk Jhun Original Music by: Alan Silvestri

Premise: Tired of always hiding in caves and fearing the outside world, Eep, a young cavegirl, breaks her father's strictest rule and leaves the cave during the night when she sees light shinning in from outside and decides to go investigate. She makes a startling discovery, but also finds out the end of the world may be at hand. If she and her family don't try to find a new way of life, they may very well become extinct. (Rated PG)


1) Voice Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Nicolas Cage works a remarkably broad range of emotions as The Crood's head of the family. Between Mr. Cage's acting and the great animation from Dreamworks, it's easy to see the whole spectrum of Grug's feelings throughout the film. Emma Stone played the ultimate teenager and did it very well. Ryan Reynolds was fun as the character 'Guy'. Cloris Leachman had great chemistry with Nicolas Cage as hated mother-in-law. She had some great one liners. Chris Sanders as Belt was adorable!

2) Artwork/Animation - Total Thumbs Up: Dreamworks really knows how to use their medium to tell stories. I loved the stark contrast between the Croods' home and the new land they discover when they set off on their journey. And rather than just give us the usual prehistoric or modern animals and plants, the film animators went through a lot of trouble, and had some obvious fun, inventing a world all their own.

The animation is quite impressive throughout. The film was filled with great sweeping vistas and grand chaos. Coupled with the bright imagination of the artists and story makers, it made the whole film very robust. Deadly beauty, unexpected discoveries, even finding a way to make serious things humorous - the film does all this and more. One of my favorite parts was the field of giant flowers some of the party members come across in the labyrinth - definitely beautiful and also very deadly.

Two mirrored but extremely poignant moments only involved animation yet were incredibly powerful - Eep and her father both unknowingly hesitate, then make the conscious decision (for different reasons) to leave the known safety of the cave - the deep emotion and hesitation shown purely by the way they lay their hand on the cave's front stone and then remove it. Lovely.

3) Plot/Story - Total Thumbs Up: As some of the best animated films do, "The Croods" has something for everyone in the family to enjoy. They also incorporated a lot of subtle humor, even weaving some of it into the music in the background. The parents are apt to enjoy the movie even more than the kids.

The story line possesses several concurrent plots, making it more robust as a whole. Not only do they cover Eep's anxieties and dreams, which is typical of animated films, but they go a step further and also show her father's - connecting with the teens and parents. The whole section where Grug is trying to be 'hip' and create things on his own, is a total riot.

But even better, despite it being a kid's movie and as such almost forced to end on a happy note, the story tellers even make you doubt all will turn out okay.

Conclusion: "The Croods" is highly enjoyable and totally adorable. Contains a ton of cute to outright funny moments. Lots of great visuals. (I want one of the flying turtles!) Well worth making the time to go see it.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Paying Full Price To See Again!)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Picture Kaleidoscope 3/27/13

What should we look at today?

Hmmm, these first few were still on the phone, but not sure I haven't actually shared them before? The way the weather has been lately, though, they fit right in right now. Heh

I love it when clouds seem to develop an almost solid texture.

There really could be another world up there.

Somethings just scream for panorama. Heh heh

And with the cold and damp days, one bright light of awesome - Vietnamese Soup Noodle (light and dark chicken) with a slight Thai twist - YUM! Chopsticks Asian Cuisine.

Spring is definitely here. All the blooming trees are! Then you'll blink and they'll be gone. heh heh.

Top of Europe by Tobias Richter at

Mr Richter has even more amazing stuff at his website! This one is The Old Man of Storr

Ice and Storm by JeromeBPhoto at Love the off contrasts. Lots of cool stuff at his website as well. 


Monday, March 25, 2013

Mind Sieve 3/25/13

Spring is here! (Sinuses, run for cover!)

Game of Thrones and Princess Bride mash-up. Too cute! lol. (Promo for GOT Season 3)

Trance Official Trailer 3 - looks mental. Cool.

Turbo Official Trailer - this looks awesome! lol. Irradiated by speed. Hee!

29 Tools To Enhance Your Business Blog by Cindy King at Social Media Examiner. So many plugins, so little time!

What Should an Author Website Include? by Jami Gold.

Phew! Another blog post done! Enjoy!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Virtual Tourist - Little Inferno 3/24/13

Steam is the devil! I decided to play a little Worms Pinball and then when I was leaving they showed me weekend specials. Nooooooo! They had one that was so bizarre and cute looking (and cheap!) that I caved in. Thus this weeks virtual tour is on the indie game Little Inferno.

Little Inferno - a game for your inner pyro.

The premise is that you're a kid, alone in your home, and just got Little Inferno for a present. The world is cold and getting colder. So you can do your part by burning stuff up. You also get money for burning stuff, which allows you to buy more stuff to burn from catalogs.

This is the first catalog. Make sure to keep each description up for a half minute. Many have super amusing little videos. A few are disturbing. Heh heh

As you buy stuff and burn it, you also realize you can make combos! This give you a big cheer, a big star, and reward money and stamps. (Not that you can really run out of cash. There are spiders that come down the chimney you can flame and get coins.)

This is what Little Inferno looks like. The face in the middle doesn't do anything (until way later) though the moon and magnet can make the gears move faster. On the top right is the toggle to show you the combo list. On the top left is your cash and stamps. (Stamps can make your delivery of items faster.) At the bottom is the button to open up catalogs and your mail/package shelf.

The things you put in there can react in all manner of unexpected ways. That's the Mini Moon and Magnet - both on fire. And defying gravity.

Yes, somethings definitely burn better than others. Yyyyyeeeesssss.

You have to work at some of the combos too. Hints might be found in the descriptions, others you have to think outside the box for. Spider Egg works for the Generations Combo. Of course some combos you can't create until you get more catalogs. 

Spider there in the back. There are some that even fly. Some of the stuff do things when placed in the fireplace before you even torch them - move or make sounds or have an effect on other things. This little kitty looks around. When you flame him up, he poohs all over the fireplace! Ewwww. (That dang LOL Kitty Combo still evades me!) The puffer fish made me jump when I put him in there. Not gonna tell you why! Hee!

Unopened packages on the shelf there. (The green plus is to pay to make the shelf bigger, so it holds more stuff.)

Blow Fish and Octopus thing after they did their thing. They eyes stayed around for a while. Rolling around, watching. Always watching.

Freaky Cereal. Actually throws out teeth. Eek!

You get letters as you play from the creator of Little Inferno, from a neighbor, and from the Weather Man. Make sure you're done making combos before you do the combo the neighbor tells you or you won't get to do more! Though you then do go into a whole other fifteen minute section of the game.

WARNING! The little 1960's like happy ditty that plays when you are looking at the catalogs is highly ADDICTING! That song has been driving me nuts for a week! And all you'll want to do is get to play and make combos! Combos! COMBOS! (And torch stuff! Woot!)

Friday, March 22, 2013

Movie Review - Olympus Has Fallen

Olympus Has Fallen

Starring: Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Finley Jacobsen, Dylan McDermott, Rick Yune, Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett, Melissa Leo, Radha Mitchell, Cole Hauser, Phil Austin, Ashley Judd, and more.

Directed by: Antoine Fuqua Written by: Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt Cinematography by: Conrad W Hall Original Music by: Trevor Morris

Premise: Relegated to work at the Treasury Building after a tragic accident took the President's wife, Mike Banning finds himself rushing to the White House when an unauthorized plane makes it into the 'no fly zone' and starts shooting pedestrians, cars, and buildings, in the streets of Washington DC. When he gets there, he finds out the plane is not the only source of danger. With his intimate knowledge of the workings of the White House, he vows to do his duty and make sure the President is secured and the threat neutralized. (Rated R)


1)  Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Gerard Butler gives a great performance as the highly efficient, yet emotionally burdened secret service agent Mike Banning. Aaron Eckhart showed us a strong, yet also vulnerable president, husband, and father. Morgan Freeman was his usual charismatic self, his portrayal of Trumbull a wonderful portrait of a man rising to the unexpected challenges thrust upon him by fate.

2)  Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: From tourist bus explosions to fifty caliber Gatling gun bullets perforating pedestrians, the special effects team did a great job. The scene where the plane clips the Washington Monument and the slow collapse of the upper part of the same building was amazing to watch. Throw in crashing planes, blown up helicopters, walls, doors, and more and you'll be very busy watching them all.

3) Plot/Story - Thumbs Up: The bit of back story at the beginning of the film did a lot to get the audience familiar with the principal characters and make the state of their relationships eighteen months later to become a part of the issues at hand, which was great.

Though I hope that US response to a similar situation would be faster and better implemented, the plan carried out by the antagonist was very clearly thought out and deftly executed. The progression from there as they worked on their specific goal while distracting everyone else by making them think they were after other things worked well.

The part that doesn't hold up under scrutiny is motivation. While Kang stated his reasons during the film, it still didn't explain the willingness of pretty much all of his people to throw away their lives on this gambit. People are wired with the instinct is to live - so to overcome it takes a lot. Yet nothing is shown to substantiate why they're able to summon such fortitude - especially the last group, who knew exactly what they were walking into. The traitor's motivation made little sense as well - especially for it only having been a year and a half since he'd left the service.

The worst of them, though was that though Kang seems to have a plan on how to escape, there's no way it would have worked with what was about to happen, so it made little sense he was even attempting it.     

4) Stunts - Total Thumbs Up: The list of stunt people for this film was enormous! Between being mowed down by different weaponry and having to die in all manner of ways, there were also a lot of hand to hand fights, and gun battles. Sniper rifles, helicopters, all manner of guns, knives, and even super cool weapon systems got a turn. Blood splatter was kept to a minimum, which is probably a good thing. There were so many dead there would have been pools of it everywhere for people to slip on.

5) Locations/Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up: The White House did have a very short front lawn, which is no longer the case, but otherwise looked great. Some nice overhead shots of the White House as well as Washington DC before, during, and after the incident. A couple of scenes with added CGI for the American flag were quite poignant.

6) Costuming/Makeup - Total Thumbs Up: Great attention to detail. Wounds remained visually consistent, which always helps in maintaining the fantasy of the woven story in the film. When Asher is wounded, he really looked hurt. Melissa Leo also made a great canvas for the makeup department as she too, took her share of punishment.

Conclusion: If you don't look too deeply, "Olympus Has Fallen" is a fun, riveting, action flick. Patriotic 'heart strings' will be tugged. Great hand to hand and close quarter combat sequences.

Rating: 4 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Would Pay Full Price To See It Again)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Picture Kaleidoscope 3/20/13

Let's see what feast we can feed our eyes this week...

Mystic Jungle by Drew Hopper at He has other truly amazing pics at his website. Even Light Pictures!

Icy Trails by Maurizio Pignotti at He also has a lot of amazing shots at his site. Nice!

This was fun! A comparison between the crowds during the introduction of the last two popes. A Starry Sea  of Cameras at the Unveiling of Pope Francis at Peta Pixel.

Garden at Omia - Picture of the Day at The Guardian. From the 1860's by Felice Beato. An oldie but a goodie!

Have a great day!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Mind Sieve 3/18/13

It's a Monday!

A new Neal Patrick Harris Dreams - Bollywood. I really liked this one. lol. And the tune is so catchy!

Wrong Official Trailer #1 - this looks like a real mind bender. 

Much Ado About Nothing Trailer - Joss Whedon and a ton of my favorite acting peeps! Yeah!

Disconnect Official Trailer #1 - not sure what to make of this one...

Lumpy Official Trailer #1 - Uhmmmm, errrr?

Stand Off Official Trailer - really found a bunch of odd ones this week. 

(The youtube boxes are looking weird during set up. Hopefully they'll come out okay...)

Do Authors Need a Website and Blog from Jami Gold. The age old question! And Webinars to help answer them. Heh heh.

Can Social Media Tools Make Us A Social Tool? from Kristen Lamb.

Ten Simple Tricks to Perk Up Your Writing by Steve Alcorn at the Writer's Fun Zone. Nice tips!

5 Ways To Add Sparkle To Your Writing by Natasa Lekic at Write To Done. These are great too!

Have an awesome week!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Virtual Tourist - Angry Birds Star Wars and Star Wars The Old Republic 3/17/13

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Angry Birds Star Wars
Hoth Section

More fun with gravity wells and asteroids! The big rock is made to split into 3 pieces. 

This one too was a bit crazy.

Surprised they were doing the inside the asteroid bit.

Then I howled when I saw these guys. Heh heh heh.

They make the weirdest noises. And when things explode, rocks fall from the ceiling. Wonder if they'll do the giant creature thing! Heh heh

New addition to the character screen. :)

Star Wars The Old Republic
Imperial Spy

I do love the sky shots here. :)

I get to go to the nicest places - not.

My latest target. My companion might be trying to pick his pocket.

It's amazing how such high tech still leaves so much industrial garbage.

May the luck of the Irish be with you today!
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