Monday, April 29, 2013

Mind Sieve 4/29/13

Time for some fun~!

Squee! Another Studio Ghibli film has made it over here! Just stumbled over it. Playing currently in several US cities! From Up On Poppy Hill. Squee! has a short article on this Live Action short film from Studio Ghibli. Oh my goodness! All the awesome miniature knowhow of the Godzilla films, with cool CGI, and more. It's in Japanese, so skip to about 2:30 into it and prepare to be freaked. :P Giant God Warrior Appears In Tokyo. (May have been pulled from Youtube.) :(

Kick-Ass 2 - You won't recognize Jim Carrey! NFSW. Not for younger viewers. Have never seen a RED preview before. Huh.

From the History Blog - Hear My Voice. Alexander Graham Bell. Would be fun to see what he'd think of sound recording technology now. :)

Thallium - The Poisoner's Poison from James J Murray. Cool info! Err for writers...

Did Facebook Change Something? 5 Tips For Page Owners To "It's All Good" guest post by Lisa Hall-Wilson at Gene Lempp's blog.

Blog Tours: Waste of Time or Valuable Sales Tool? from The Writer's Guide to E-Publishing - post by Talli Rolland.

See ya Wednesday!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Virtual Tourist - Dishonored 4/28/13

Morning, all!

Don't have a lot for you this week... Been crazy lately.

Lady Boyle's Costume Party

Bedroom of one of the three Lady Boyles. Two of the three bedrooms were easy (there's an attic connection). But the third room is past a hallway with four guards. Didn't risk it.

View of the city from the balcony at Lady Boyle's. I really do thing the hot air decorations are so cool.

One of the three Lady Boyles. There's also a black and a white Lady Boyle. They have the best costumes, which is sad. Ugliest costume party EVER! lol. Don't believe me? Look at the next pic. :P

Ugliest costumes EVER! A fly head and a (I think) sperm whale? Ewwww. His personality matched his mask though. Heh heh..

Hope your Sunday is awesome!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Movie Review - From Up On Poppy Hill

From Up On Poppy Hill

Starring: Sarah Bolger, Anton Yelchin, Gillian Anderson, Christina Hendricks, Aubrey Plaza, Jamie Lee Curtis, Bruce Dem, Charlie Saxton, Chris Noth, Beau Bridges, and more.

Directed by: Goro Miyazaki Screenplay by: Hayao Miyazaki and Keiko Niwa Original Story by: Tetsurō Sayama Based on the Comics by: Tetsurō Sayama and Chizuru Takahashi  Cinematography by: Atsushi Okui Original Music by: Satoshi Takebe

Premise: Yokohama 1963 - The 1964 Tokyo Olympics looms in the horizon and Japan is in a mood for change. But to Umi Matsuzaki, change is the last thing she wants. And to her surprise, she finds out she's not the only one who feels this way. The boys using the Latin Quarters as a clubhouse want to save the structure from the wrecking ball and progress. Yet all their efforts seem in vain, until Umi gets dragged into the issue despite herself and gives Shun Kazama an idea that might just work to save it. (Rated PG)


1) Voice Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Sarah Bolger and Anton Yelchin are utterly adorable as the voices for the very private Umi and Shun. Everyone else added great dimensions to the wide variety of characters in the film. Nicely done!

2) Artwork/Animation - Total Thumbs Up: Ghibli Studios never disappoints. Their unique style and gorgeous painted backdrops are always a delight to look upon. Their attention to detail is incredible. The audience will feel transported back in time to Japan during 1963.

There were a couple of hiccups that surprised me - less variation in the faces, and definitely in the hairstyles - so much so I got confused as to who was who a few times. There was also a scene where four sailors were waving at the kids, and the smaller version of the two sets of men, was an exact copy of the larger group and the arms moved in sync. Hopefully that's just an accident and not a sign of things to come.

On the other hand, the gorgeous waves, the sky shots, the city/street views, and the amazing sequence when they relayed the ship explosion late in the film, easily overshadowed these rare flaws.

3) Plot/Story - Thumbs Up: Though animated, this story is not for young kids. It's a coming of age adult tale about the twists and turns in the lives of Umi and Shun as well as their classmates. Unlike a lot of the other Studio Ghibli films, there isn't any magic or cute creatures to appeal to the younger kids. Fifteen year olds and higher will understand more of what's going on and be interested in where the plot and budding romance is going, but much younger than that and they probably won't enjoy it.

Several themes run through the film - the past and why it should be respected, the fact change is inevitable but that it doesn't always make it right, sometimes it's good to look toward the future, and how a small idea can create a giant spark in others.

One of my husband's favorite parts of the film (to my amazement, he enjoyed the movie even more than I did) was how a certain situation actually allowed the characters to speak of things they would have fought a lot longer before revealing them to one another. Funny how things work sometimes.

Conclusion: Another fun film from Studio Ghibli, but one that won't be appreciated by the younger kids. A great look at Japan in the 60's and what those with a will can accomplish.

Rating: 4 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Paying Full Price To See It Again. He really, really liked it!)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Picture Kaleidoscope 4/24/13

Show me the pretty!

Discovered a way too cool board at Pinterest being compiled by Naomi Mendez. It was almost too much awesome!  Here are a few of the choices there.

Kluane National Park - photo by Remi Boucher. He's for lots of other awesome stuff at his site!

Came originally from 500px - but could not find the exact pic to find the photographer. :(

Love the look - almost like it's textured art. Photo is by Micche.

That made me drift to Koji Ikuta's boards!

More awesome looking texture - except this one is a fungus. Eek! Photo by Warren Krupsaw.

Photo by Alex Mustard. Unknown species of water want?

Ack, gotta go! Have an awesome Wednesday!

Monday, April 22, 2013

MInd Sieve 4/22/13

Good morning!

R.I.P.D. Trailer - this looks like it will be a ton of fun! Hee hee!

Star Trek Into Darkness Trailer 3 - starts out like some of the other trailers but it's new! Wait till you see the BIG SHIP! Holly molly!

Black Sails - a pirate show! Ooooo!

Screen Grab a New Simon's Cat! Woot!

Berlin - 12 Cellos and a Foot Drum from the Piano Guys. Love their work!

Red Wine and Dark Chocolate Are The Best Drugs! from James J Murray. No more guilt! :P

Ask Jami: WordPress Questions and Answer post by Jami Gold. She has classes too!

Facebook Adds Feelings and Actions: This Week in Social Media from Social Media Examiner.

Readers Owe Writers Approximately Zip Nada Zero from Chuck (NSFW) Wendig. He's totally right. I figure anyone who takes the plunge and takes the time to read one of my books or stories has already done a lot! Going any further is the reader being super awesome, but not in any way expected. :)

Humor is Everywhere - The Art of Being Funny - guest post by Leanne Shirtliffe at Kristen Lamb's Blog.

A bunch more entries to other blog posts can be found at Writing Resources 20 April 2013 at Gene Lempp's blog. (I've no idea how he finds the time! Eek!)

Have an awesome week!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Virtual Tourist - Angry Birds Star Wars and Star Wars The Old Republic 4/21/13


Angry Birds Star Wars
Asteroid Field

On this screen you can make the stalactites fall! Hee hee.



Ah yes, Dagobah...!

The piggies all look like wrapped mummies. Heh heh.

Yoda always hides somewhere on the pic.

You have to get rid of fake Vader to make the things he's holding up fall.

This one was truly evil, ingenious, and awesome! Took me a few minutes to realize what to do. Luke has to fly in time to reach the laser bolts then use his lightsaber to reflect them up at the pigs. Loved it!

New Bonus screen!

More weird gravity calisthenics. Hee!

Added a couple more characters to the sheet! Woot!

Star Wars The Old Republic
Jedi Consular

Picked up something nifty! Holographic instructors. Will prove useful as it's not always easy to find a teacher for new skills!

New pets! Far as I can tell, this little bugger has no real head or eyes. 

Hubby got another pet in a pack he brought with our included Cartel money.

One of the loose animals from the Corellian Zoo.

The Corellian Republic Museum currently occupied by the Empire.

The museum has not fared well. 

One of the few things intact there.

Made me think of the Twin Towers.

Off to a new section of the world. Whee!

May your Sunday be full of awesome discoveries!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Movie Review - Oblivion


Starring: Tom Cruise, Andrea Riseborough, Olga Kurylenko, Morgan Freeman, Melissa Leo, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, and more.

Directed by: Joseph Kosinski Screenplay by: Joseph Kosinski, Karl Gajdusek, and Michael Arndt  Based on the Comic Books by: Joseph Kosinski and Arvid Nelson Cinematography by: Claudio Miranda Original Music by: Anthony Gonzales, Joseph Trapanese, and M.8.3

Premise: Earth won a war against an alien race, but in doing so spoiled most of the planet. Humanity has no choice but to migrate to Titan. Yet in order to do so, the water of Earth  must be collected and turned into fuel. Safeguarding the suction machines from the remnants of the alien force are automated robotic guards. Jack Harper and teammate remain behind on Earth to make sure the robots keep functioning properly to defend the larger machines. But the attacks of sabotage by the Scavs seem to be getting more inventive. If only the weird dreams wouldn't keep plaguing Jack, he'd be better able to deal with these threats. (Rated PG-13)


1) Acting -  Total Thumbs Up: Tom Cruise gave a great performance as the curious Jack Harper. Andrea Riseborough brought a lot more into the film than is first apparent, giving greater depth to the truth's later revealed. Olga Kurylenko added her own sublime touches to the story as well. Morgan Freeman was his usual wonderful self.

2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: The special effects start from the moment the screen goes dark. When the Universal Logo starts, make sure to look closely. You'll see the orbital Tet and then the Earth itself transform into what it is in 2077. Made for a nice little touch.

The different vehicles in the film were a lot of fun. Jack's flyer is totally cool. The guardian robots were intimidating and fun to watch. They even seemed to have a little bit of a personality, intentional or not. I loved the scanner sequences. They did a lot of nice work with HUD displays and computer tops.

Some cool laser battles and explosions were spread around during the film. Nice stuff! And wait till you see the pool!

3) Plot/Story - Thumbs Up: Jack gets the audience 'up to speed' with a quick summary of how the Earth got to the state it is presently in. Then he mentions the fact he's been routinely mind wiped - a great trigger for letting the audience know things are possibly not what they seem. The repetition of certain phrases and actions hold more meaning than those doing them at times comprehend. Keep an eye on the character of Victoria - at a couple of spots her expressions tell whole stories on their own. Plus it is through and from her that little hints get dropped that all is not what we might think.

Overall, the story was solid. Several surprises show up twisting the story in directions that won't be expected. The science took a couple of hits towards the end of the film, however, as the typical Hollywood ploy of 'destroy the one big thing and it will make all others stop functioning' gets used, despite the actions and facts negating the feasibility of such a course actually stopping the action going on down at the ground. Still, that and the fact the ship wasn't scanned (or if it was, that it didn't pick up the energy signatures of the energy cores), only took away a little of the otherwise quite satisfying film. (Though  - if they'd shown the fighters try to shield the cores in some way, it would have totally fixed the issue.)

There are several bits of homage to older SF films in the movie, but also several to Tom's first big film"Top Gun." (Hint: The flyer has the first one.)

4) Stunts - Total Thumbs Up: Fun action sequences and stunts during the exploration of, and the combat at, the New York Public Library. The massive battle at the hidden base was also good.

Better still was the hand to hand fight in the radiation zone. Tom really does make combat look easy. The one point that impressed me the most on this sequence was the attention to detail on the angles. The moment the gun went off, the poised bodies tell you exactly where the shot went, even though it will be almost a full minute before they actually show it. (Not so exciting was the fact they used this old movie cliche, but at least they pulled it off well.)

5) Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up: Great use by Claudio Miranda of overhead sweeping shots. It  brought home the isolation of the task Harper and his teammate lived under, while also showing some truly gorgeous benefits of living there as well. It also was a great way to show the audience the huge amount of devastation the planet had suffered and how the events of over fifty years ago changed the face of New York. When Harper rides the motorcycle through the desert of beached ships, it was eerie and fascinating all at once. Seeing well know NY icons as they stand in 2077, made it even more disturbing.

6) Costuming/Makeup - Total Thumbs Up: The costuming and makeup departments did a lot of subtle things that really ramped up the overall feelings and impressions. There was the duality of opposite extremes created purely from the different states we found Jack and Victoria in. Jack toiled, he sweated, got hurt, became dirty. Victoria on the other hand usually looked fresh, rested, composed inside and out, even when being ignored or bypassed by Sally. This was defined even more when we get to compare the contrast between where Jack and Victoria live together to the little hide away Jack has made for himself on the ground.

Conclusion: "Oblivion" is a good science fiction film, actually bringing forth what SF does best. The few faux pas in the science toward the end are not too hard to ignore and don't take away from the enjoyment and the great plot twsists. Keep an eye on Victoria - her side of things will add a lot of meaning and depth to things revealed later. Make sure to pay attention when the Universal logo starts!

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

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Picture Kaleidoscope 4/17/13 - Blooms (The Most Evil Place in the Universe!)

This past weekend we went to a place hubby had seen in passing down in the Old Carrollton Town Square. I knew better, but we went anyway. It is a place of EVIL! Utter and total EVIL! Blooms - nostalgic candy and old fashioned soda.


So of course I had to take pics of the villany to share. :P

Zombie Brain Juice - yes, you read that right - ZOMBIE BRAIN JUICE!
Honestly they had all manner of insane candy, drinks, and gag packaging. 

Heck, they even had a whole shelf of nothing but Dr Who stuff! And Lunch boxes of all types and years. HUbby was drooling at the Bruce Lee one. 

You could even buy yourself a back of Crickets to eat. Right there, crickets. For! Hah!

But for those with a more particular palate, you could also buy Dried Zombie Skin and Zombie Jerky. You know you want some. Don't lie!

And these I'd even seen on a special on the History channel or some such - Scorpion Lollipops! Right next to the super hot chili lollipops. And yes, all real. 

Other goodies were things like Caramel Bacon, Milk Chocolate and Bacon, and Dark Chocolate and Bacon. At the top of the pic you can just catch a glimpse of Gummy Bacon. I even spotted some Bacon Soda Pop.

And look at this one (why yes, we bought some stuff...what?) Black Lemonade. I had a swig of it's lemony slap. This will grow hair on your chest!

Oh, and look at these lovelies! French Toast Chocolate, Ramen Noodle Chocolate, Tortilla Lime and Salsa Chocolate. They even had Margarita candies and chocolate.

I really should have taken more pics! We were just so busy gawking! lol. If you like Root Beer, they had at least 12 kinds. 4 kinds of Sarsaparilla. And all manner of weird flavors. The back wall was filled with cubbies of homemade taffy in a ton of flavors. They even had Moxie, a drink I'd just read about in Stephen King's time travel novel.

If you're looking for any old time candy, these are the guys to go find it. They had an awesome assortment of cool gag face glasses in the shape of wine glasses, beer mugs, DOMO, and more. Truly a cool place. BUT ALSO SO VERY VERY EVIL!

Oh, and did I mention they sell their stuff online? Bwahahahahaha!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Mind Sieve 4/15/13

Allergies are finally ganging up on me. Body is losing the fight...nooooo!
Let's see how far I get.

A Song About Someone by Charlie. Young cute!

"Scream and Shout" as Les Miserables "Dream And Shout" a parody from Rather cute and rather snazzy!

Ran across this by accident and sounded too weird not to check out. lol. Space Janitors Ep 1.

Da Vinci's Demons - new show on Starz this past weekend. We liked it!

Now You See Me Official Trailer 2 - should be a ton of fun!

Elysium Official Trailer - SF for the win!

How To Use The New Pinterest: What Marketers Need To Know from the Social Media Examiner. Nice, comprehensive, and detailed instructions! Yay!

4 Ways Google + Communities Help Authors Build Their Platforms - guest post by Marcy Kennedy at Gene Lempp's Blog.

Guest post by Robert Brockway over at TerribleMinds aka Chuck (Still NSFW) Wedig's blog - Writing Is The Easy Part. He's so not kidding...And actually writing a good novel is already hard! Oi!

Authors of the Digital Age - What It Takes To Be a Real Author CEO from Kristen Lamb. More truths and reality checks! Huzzah!

For even more sources of posts on all sorts of topics helpful to authors and more - see Gene Lempp's Writing Resources 13 April 2013 post.

Sweet! I was able to make it! Have an awesome week, everyone!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Virtual Tourist - Dishonored 4/14/13

Yay, got some game time in!

Boyle's Costume Party
Premise is to find which of the Boyle sisters is the one backing the assassination of the Empress and make her disappear.

I so totally loved this image. Full moon, clock tower, creepy bridge, and party to the right. :P

One of the obstacles keeping me from the party. Those walker things are just weird looking. (Keyboard went apoplectic so some of the pics didn't take right. Buttons have now been rearranged~!)

This is such a cheery city.

Floating lit balloons, fireworks, and decadence right next to closed off slums.

Loved the hot air balloons. (Don't try to jump on one. Won't hold you up. Nasty accident.)

Front door of the Boyle manor. The whale over the door is but the first of many they've used in their decorating. (A little disturbing, parading the creatures you so mercilessly (and inhumanely) kill for profit.)

This pic does not do the garden justine. Real nice spot. Too bad I end up having to participate in a duel there. 

Ah yes, more whale statues. And they throw confetti into the air every thirty seconds or so. Weird!

The glass ceiling is gorgeous!

Yes, this is one of the dinner offerings. *shiver* The artists though went one step further, but it didn't come out in the pic. The open side there shimmers from the escaping heat of the cooked fish. Nice touch! (Not that it made this fish any more appetizing! lol)

May your Sunday prove totally productive!
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