Monday, September 30, 2013

Mind Sieve 9/30/13

Got some cool goodies today!

Fan Fun

Thief is BACK! Yes, yes, yes, and YES! My favorite game series of all time. 1st Person Sneaker. Squee! Thief 4 coming in 2014. Booyah! (Why no...I'm not excited about this at all...) :P

Everquest Next Combat trailer - another highly anticipated game! Yeah!

New Trailer for Frozen - bizarre but fun looking plot!

Freebirds Trailer #2 - This does look funny. :)

Social Media/Author Platform

Facebook Enables Post Edits: This Week in Social Media by Cindy King at the Social Media Examiner. Yay! About time! I always mess up on those things. lol. The Audio Library from Youtube sounds cool too.

Branding 101: What is Your Brand? by Jami Gold. Man, she's been busting out some good stuff this week! Woot!

Writing Advice

What Do Your Characters Falsely Believe by Jami Gold. Some great thought provoking stuff!

Gene Lempp is back bringing us a ton of writing resources and more! Writing Resources 28 Sept 2013 and as a bonus 21 Sept 2013 (which I missed due to chaos!) Ya'll are gonna be SO busy now. Bwahahaha.

From Chuck (NSFW) Wendig - Dear Publishers... Great post!

Have an awesome Monday!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Virtual Tourist - Star Wars The Old Republic 9/29/13

Good morning, all!
Did finally figure out why SWTOR didn't take pics last time. As usual, it was user error. :P

Star Wars The Old Republic
Jedi Consular
Planet Makeb

Makeb has the most Earthlike skies. I also love the floating fruit from the trees.

The planet is becoming unstable. This is a cave in after the first large quake.

More quake damage

Some lovely unique architecture here too.

Got lucky on one of the packs I bought from the cartel with the monthly stipend for subscribers and got this beautiful skirt. You can see all the lovely detail from this pic

Recent earthquake damage. This planet has been mined out by the Hutt Cartel and is doomed.

Broken pipes, cracked roads, and this is only the beginning.

City of Talaos. Loved this gazebo!

A Talaos Police vehicle. Sirens and everything. lol.

Have a great day!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Movie Review - Austenland


Starring: Keri Russell, JJ Feild, Jennifer Coolidge, Bret McKenzie, Georgia King, James Callis, Jane Seymour, Ricky Whittle, Ayda Field, and more.

Directed by: Jerusha Hess Screenplay by: Jerusha Hess and Shannon Hale Based on the Novel by: Shannon Hale Cinematography by: Larry Smith Original Music by: Ilan Eshkeri

Premise: Obsessed with all things 'Jane Austin' and so far having little luck with love, Jane Hayes takes a risk and spends all of her savings on a trip to Austenland - a Regency Era themed getaway. Yet from the moment she arrives, matters don't exactly go in the direction she'd hoped. (Rated PG-13)


1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Keri Russell is just too adorable. You feel her excitement as she finally ventures to her dreamland, but also feel her rising disenchantment for what she's been inadvertently thrust into. JJ Feild as Mr. Nobley and inadvertent recreation of Mr. Darcy was a lot of fun to watch. Especially as his awareness of Jane grows, as her true persona begins to seep through the cracks. Jennifer Coolidge played being sweet, clueless, and driven with her usual aplomb. Most of the comedic moments come from her character's utter cluelessness of things English. James Callis playing the actor playing Colonel Andrews at "Austenland" was so very good at being bad.

2) Plot/Story - Total Thumbs Up: Most times we don't expect much from romantic comedies, so it was a nice surprise to actually have a couple of unexpected twists in the plot on this one. Even more fun were the layered issues in the film, most of which mirrored the same themes Jane Austen used in her famous novels.

While being even minimally acquainted with Austen or her novels is not a requirement to enjoy the film, I believe those who have at least some degree of knowledge in the area will get more joy out of "Austenland" than those who don't. Seeing all the correlations with Austen's works in the plot will increase the depth of entire story for them. There are many themes in the film which get used in her books - hypocrisy, judging others merely on what is seen on the surface, the strict roles expected of men and women, how those with money and influence are perceived as better than others, how perception is everything, and a few more.

For those who don't know Austen but know things about the British, there'll be plenty of jokes for them to be amused by. Most notably will be the character of Miss Charming, who uses accents of the lower classes and butchers standard British phrases while pretending to be a Regency Era rich socialite.

3) Locations/Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up: From the obsessive fan's bedroom to the gorgeous lands of West Wycombe, great attention to detail and mood went into the setup of locations and spanning shots. West Wycombe was a great place for conveying the look and feel of the Regency Era.

Even the sets for the mock play screamed of authenticity. It made a great backdrop to the fantasy versus the reality being played by those visiting there. There was also a lovely and telling contrast when we're shown the area where the actors and others who work at Austenland go to seek a little respite from being in 'character'.

4) Costuming/Makeup - Total Thumbs Up: The costuming department did an excellent job outfitting everyone with their different costumes, even the markedly different wear and hairstyles depending on your class and status. Intentional or not, I found much humor in Jane's first hairstyle and dress as it made her look a lot like a younger Sarah O'Brien from "Downton Abbey". Mr. Nobley was made for the wearing of Regency Era men's attire.

Conclusion: "Austenland" was a definite treat. The more knowledge on Britain or Jane Austen you have, the more you will enjoy the film. Make sure to stay through the end credits as there's a bonus bit for the audience that was a lot of fun. (And an interesting tidbit - Stephenie Meyer (author of Twilight) was a producer for the film.)

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

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Picture Kaleidoscope 9/25/13

Good Morning!

Chaos reigns once again. Must! Eek!

Such a gentle gradation of colors, no? Etosha Sunset by Morkel Erasmus at He's got really lovely stuff at his website as well.

The Dangerous Encounter by Roberto Moiola at The jellyfish really looks like it's leaving the water. Cool! He's got even more great shots at his site. Looks like some are available at ClickAlps too for Stock photos.

Love the composition on this one! Mesa Arch Sunrise by David Swindler at Lots of great goodies to look at at his site too.

Photog Sets Out to Document US National Parks With Her Pinhole Camera by David Becker at PetaPixel. Photography by Ashley Erin Summers. She gets some nice effects!

Stunning Skydiving Photo Complete With Rocket Launch in the Background by DL Cade at PetaPixel. Photograph by the US Air Force. Cool!

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Mind Sieve 9/23/13

Yeah... Things didn't go exactly as planned this weekend, so this will be the super abbreviated version? Heh heh

Stalingrad trailer - Looks like it could be very good. Has a strange artistic quality to it.

Big Sur Official Trailer 2 - A writer movie! Heh heh heh.

And that's all there is this week. Sorry!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Virtual Tourist - Angry Birds Star Wars and Neverwinter 9/22/13

Fall has Arrived!
Hopefully it will temper down the heat here but not get cold yet. :P

Played Star Wars, which hadn't happened in a bit, and none of the pics actually saved. Wahhhh. A setting must have changed somewhere. Darn...

Angry Birds Star Wars
Cloud City

Some of these puzzles are insane! Mind you, you have to use the air to get bounced around at times.


This one gave me fits, but was also fun. You could take pieces of the poles out of the two stormtroopers shooting and they'd turn. Heh heh.


New mount that's available. Unicorn! And it has fairies of light that dance around it. Squee!

Lovely floral arrangement. And hubby's sidekick trying to hog the lens as usual.

Great colors and clothes on these elves.

Off to a monastery area which is having some major issues at the moment.

Awesome gate.

Some huge statuary

Love these clouds!

Monastery is by a poor area. The people here are being used for experiments and threatened with deadly disease if they try to leave. Nasty!

This is what happens when I try to take a pic when combat suddenly ensues. lol.

Ming the Merciless, anyone?

This is messed up! Look how the super think walls are all akimbo. The land of Neverwinter really suffered from the quake.

Once more into the super roomy underground we go!

Miss Experiment with the Poor herself. :P Ugh!

Back into calmer areas. Though the glowing ground was interesting!

That's it for today. Have an awesome Sunday!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Movie Review - The Family

The Family

Starring: Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Dianna Agron, John D'Leo, Tommy Lee Jones, Jimmy Palumbo, Domenick Lombardozzi, Stan Carp, Vincent Pastore, John Freda, and more.

Directed by: Luc Besson Screenplay by: Luc Besson and Michael Caleo Based on the Book by: Tonino Benacquista Cinematography by: Thierry Arbogast Original Music by: Evgueni Galperine and Sacha Galperine

Premise: Adjusting to life under Witness Protection has not been easy for the four members of the Manzoni family. After being forced to evacuate yet another location, this time they end up in Normandy, France. Each of the family members try to do their best to fit in, but being normal is contrary to their natures and they get in trouble no matter what they do. Which might inadvertently call attention to them - and this could mean their lives. Don Luchese, the mob boss Manzoni helped put in jail, is desperate to find them to exact his revenge. (Rated R)


1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Robert De Niro was a lot of fun as the head of the dysfunctional Manzoni family. The tone he sets for the character and the reading of the memoirs he ends up writing were delightful. Michelle Pfeiffer clearly showed Maggie's disappointment with her current life, yet also the strong drive to make it work as best she can for her family. Even more fun was watching her subtle manipulations of the CIA agents assigned to them, so she can gather intelligence on those around them and more. Dianna Agron and John D'Leo just about upstaged their older counterparts. They were just too fun to watch. Tommy Lee Jones was a great foil for De Niro, their little conversations totally amusing. The family dog even had great parts.

2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: Though at first it might not appear to be the kind of film needing a lot of special effects, there were definitely a lot of them. Between three different explosions and a second invasion of Normandy, the department was kept quite busy.

3) Story - Neutral: The premise for the story is great. And plenty of issues are covered in the film - from Italian bias, to expected American excess, to making fun of the French (the book the movie is based on is French - and picks on his own people), to bureaucrats that hurt others more than the mob ever could. The relationships built by the story and the motivations of the characters and how they all intermingled was definitely entertaining.

The way the family gets found by Don Luchese and how it had absolutely nothing to do with Manzoni (despite Agent Stansfield certainty to the contrary) only served to show the weirdness that is life.

The film has many mafia movie related jokes. A lot of the cast is from tons of other gangster films. There are even some Scorsese in-jokes as well (He was the executive producer of this film).

Where I felt the film let the audience down was in how it kept building and building and building suspense as they teased the audience not only about the family being found, but especially about there being unusual reasons as to why a perfect mobster like Manzoni had turned snitch. And while the film has a great payoff with regards to the being found angle, they were either much too subtle in giving the answer to the second big item, or possibly never gave it at all. They'd done so much to make us want to know what had driven Manzoni to turn on his mob family, then it was yanked away as if it held no importance whatsoever. This was very disappointing. So much so, it almost ruined the film for me as a viewer.

4) Music - Total Thumbs Up: Though there doesn't seem to be an available recording (at least not any that I could find) the background music for the film by Evgueni Galperine and Sacha Galperine was perfect. Their tracks had lots of fun variations on mobster or Italian themes with some other flavors thrown in. Very nice.

Conclusion: A fun, dark comedy with a nice action payoff - as long as you don't mind being teased and not given an answer on Manzoni's motivation. Though if you go see it knowing they're not going to tell you, you might end up enjoying it all the better.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Picture Kaleidoscope 9/18/13

I'm late! Sorry about that. Been one of those weeks... :)

Now that the year is moving toward the end, I can start taking sunrise pics again! Sweet.

Some mornings are almost too beautiful to believe.

Texas has an awesome array of clouds and colors

Game of Thrones, anyone?

This is a pic of some construction in The Colony, TX. It's for a big project called GrandScape. The Nebraska Furniture Mart is going to be the cornerstone of the zone. 400+ acres! These pics are only of the distribution center and store for NFM. This project is just HUGE!


Have an awesome day!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Mind Sieve 9/16/13


Supernatural Season 8 Gag Reel and a cute article by Michelle Carlbert on it at

Homefront Official Trailer - Man, talk about something getting way out of hand. Eek!

Grudge Match trailer - oh yeah Rocky 30 lol. Actually this looks really cute. A ton of Rocky jokes and more too. Stallone vs DeNiro. Heh heh heh.

Escape From Tomorrow trailer - this one look WEIRD!

Facebook AD Changes: This Week in Social Media by Cindy King at Social Media Explorer. The part about Google and will probably make a lot of you very happy. :)

Why I don't Like to Negatively Review Other Authors' Books by Chuck (NSFW) Wendig. I have to pretty much agree with this!

And he's on a roll too! For here's his 25 Steps To Edit The Unmerciful Suck Out of Your Story from Chuck (NSFW) Wendig. Great stuff. I've had to set aside crits for weeks before I dared look again. It's always when you think the 'baby' is good that 'BAM - Surprise!' you find out it had giant holes all over it. Waaaahhhhhh!

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