Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Picture Kaleidoscope 12/30/13

On the eve of Halloween, let's see what can be found to astound.

Mountain Paradise by Chris Moore from What a beautiful composition of colors!
There are even more colorful items at his site. 

Prince Pier by Wolongshan at More awesome colors! He's got some great black and white as well as long exposure night pics at his flicker account. Nice!

Mother Turns Her Baby Boy's Naptime Into Creative Dreamland Adventure Photos - photography by Queenie Liao - article by DL Cade at PetaPixel. How utterly adorable!

One Year Later: Before-and-After Photos of Hurricane Sandy Damage and Recovery - article by Michael Zhang, photography by Natan Dvir at PetaPixel. Mr Dvir has a lot of interesting photos at his site as well. 

Great pic of The Baxter Village Halloween from their blog. Looks like they know how to have fun there!

Hope you have a spooktacular Halloween Eve!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Virtual Tourist - Dishonored - Dunwall City Trials 10/27/13

We were all sick this past week, so the tourism was curtailed more than usual this week...

Dishonored - Dunwall City Trials

The game has extra packs that can be purchased so one can play in the world some more. The first of them is the Dunwall City Trials. Small missions that are either puzzles, timed to achieve a goal, or stealth.
This is the 1st stealth one...Harder than you think too!

Trial 1 - you have to get 4 clues to figure out your target. Each time you play the target changes as well as the location of the clues. Eek!

Starting point for the 1st trial. Weird stuff has happened here!

This one has places to hide behind curtains. Though I still prefer the high road.

Worst housekeeper ever!

A portal. Found out that's where the target will run to escape if he/she is aware you are here.

Posh room! As you can see, things are NOT normal here.

That's it this time. Hope your sinuses are being nicer to you than mine!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Movie Review - Escape Plan

Escape Plan

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jim Caviezel, Faran Tahir, Amy Ryan, Sam Neill, Vincent D'Onofrio, Vinnie Jones, Matt Gerald, 50 Cent, Caitriona Balfe, and more.

Directed by: Mikael Håfström Screenplay by: Miles Chapman and Jason Keller (Arnell Jesko) Story by: Miles Chapman Cinematography by: Brendan Galvin Music by: Alex Heffes

Premise: Hired to break out of a new maximum security facility by the government, Ray Breslin soon finds out that matters aren't as they should be. And that someone has paid to have him kept there permanently. As his staff fruitlessly try to figure out what's happened to him, Breslin must find a way out on his own. (Rated R)


1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger together in a film, both with top billing - an action movie fan's dream come true. Stallone's closeups didn't do him any favors, the rheumy eye shots unflatteringly giving away his age, but Schwarzenegger looked great with the gray in his hair and the lovely sculpted beard. Watching the two trade quips and the occasional blow was most entertaining. Arnold had several great lines, and looked like he was really enjoying being part of the film.

Jim Caviezel was creepily delightful as Warden Hobbes. Faran Tahir was very convincing as both an enemy and later as a respected comrade in arms.

2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: "Escape Plan" doesn't have a lot of obvious special effects, but the few that made an appearance were good. The shaft leak and the consequences of same were very well executed. The look and feel of the hidden prison for the most part worked rather well. It very much had the look and feel of a place taken straight out of first person shooter game.

3) Plot/Story - Thumbs Up: In general, the plot was quite entertaining. The clever tactics by Breslin and the inventiveness of some of the sequences were very nice. The prison set up looked great, though in reality it wasn't actually practical. For a hidden prison, with no real ties to any government or morals, the display of following rules like the exercise yard seemed odd. The dehumanizing of the guards by having them wear masks, however, was a brilliant touch.

The biggest problem with the plot was the unconvincing (and therefore unsatisfying) reason for why Ray was betrayed in the film. Otherwise the movie moved at a good pace, had several great moments, and even a surprise or two.

Of some slight amusement is the fact that Jim Caviezel is the warden of this prison. The actor once played Edmond Dantes in "The Count of Monte Cristo" - a man who escaped from an escape proof prison.

4) Locations/Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up: The fact we see Ray break out of a normal prison at the beginning, made for a great visual contrast for when we're shown Hobbes' super facility. The sweeping shots once Ray is able to gleam a clue as to the prison's location did much to truly portray the utter isolation and impossibility of gaining his freedom from Hobbes masterpiece.

Conclusion: "Escape Plan" is a fun action film. It's totally worth going to see it just for the Stallone and Schwarzenegger team up. Keep your suspension of disbelief on the high side and you'll have a fun time.

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

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Picture Kaleidoscope 10/23/13

Running late!!!!!!

Patagonian Gales by Hougaard Malan at - almost seems like a pastel painting.

Patagonia Mountain Peak by Hougaard Malan. More pastels! Nice work! Check out his website to see more of his lovely work.

Behind The Scenes With 'Dancers Among Us' Photographer Jordan Matter - article by DL Cade at Peta Pixel. Some funky photography for sure!

Amazing Angkor Wat by Drew Hopper at Love the strange contrast with the rays of light. More great stuff at his site.

Think I'm trying to catch something, so this will be it for this time. Have a great day!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Mind Sieve 10/21/13

Flu season is upon us! Flee!

Fan Fun

Hercules: The Legend Begins Official Trailer - 300 meets Sparatcus meets Wrath of the Titans? Could be cool!

Avengers 2 Age of Ultron Teaser Trailer - Hmmm, I don't know Ultron. Ooo!

Fast and Furious 7 Official Trailer - can't say you can make out much from this...

The Invisible Woman Trailer - was not expecting this to be a movie about Charles Dickens! lol

Social Media/Author Platform

Twitter Changes Direct Message Rules: This Week in Social Media by Cindy King at Social Media Examiner. Huh, that sounds like a bad idea, and yet...

Writing Advice

25 Things You Need To Know About Writing Mysteries by Susan Spann at Terribleminds.

Writing Resources 20 October 2013 from Gene Lempp.

Time's up! Till next time!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Virtual Tourist - Dishonored 10/20/13

Weather is a changing!


Yeah, because obeying them has worked out so well. :P

I have to say that is a sentiment that's hard to argue with.

Not sure how they city will ever come back from this chaos

Carning was nice. Though it hales a place not so nice. A whale processing plant

Unusual graffiti. Warning of things to come.

This is such a sad view. :(

Turns out Granny is way more than I ever thought. She's been doing rituals too.

Her hidden altar to chaos.

Tried to take a pic of what was happening and ended up only with my hand. Solocov and the scientist at the pub really came up with something together! Knocked out just about everyone in the surrounding area. Sweet!

Where the traitorous bastards have taken Emily - the lighthouse. A super fortified and hard to get into place. 

View of the coast from the lighthouse.

View down from the lighthouse.

The rooms at the top of the lighthouse. The final reckoning. Yet also some surprises await.

I finished the game!  I did! Huzzah! Tried to take a pic of the final sequence (which will vary depending on how much killing you did or did not do) and then forgot to paste it. I'm happy to say, mine was the hopeful/happy ending. :)

Now to play a jillion missions on other two extra packs hubby bought me... Wheee!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Movie Review - Machete Kills

Machete Kills

Starring: Danny Trejo, Mel Gibson, Demian Bichir, Amber Heard, Michelle Rodriguez, Sofia Vergara, Charlie Sheen, Lady Gaga, Antonio Banderas, Walton Goggins, Tom Savini, Cuba Gooding Jr., Vanessa Hudgens, William Sadler, Jessica Alba, and more.

Directed by: Robert Rodriguez Screenplay by: Kyle Ward Story by: Robert Rodriguez and Marcel Rodriguez Cinematography by: Robert Rodriguez Music by: Robert Redriguez and Carl Thiel

Premise: After his lover is killed in a bust gone wrong, Machete is recruited by the President of the United States to return to Mexico and track down a man named Mendez. Mendez is a madman threatening to use a stolen missile on the US. A missile Machete's girlfriend got a look at before she was killed. So Machete returns to the land of his birth, and finds that the threat to the US is larger than anyone thought. (Rated R)


1) Acting - Thumbs Up: Danny Trejo reprises his role as the man who will not die - Machete. 'Deadpan' is his expression of choice. Demian Bichir was a lot of fun as the multiple personality, crime-lord turned freedom fighter Mendez. Mel Gibson spiced things up a bit, especially with all the great Star Wars references. Amber Heard was totally memorable as Miss San Antonio - she brought a lot of sizzle to the party. Antonio Banderas totally cracked me up. A native Spanish speaker, it was funny watching him play someone who doesn't really know the language. (A bit of inside humor?)

Special Effects Master, now actor, Tom Savini was back as well, having a ton of fun as usual. Rodriguez's twin nieces, Electra and Elise Avellan, also make an appearance. And a special 'thumbs up' to all the guys playing the many faces of El Camaleón - lots of fun!

2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: The main point of the Machete films is to emulate bad 70's and 80's action films. But one thing those old movies did well was flinging body parts, bullets, and explosions. The special effects team for "Machete Kills" has no problem keeping the old traditions alive and even creating a few new ones.

Desdemona's Double D toys rocked! The Swiss Army Machete wasn't, but there are other fun machetes that make an appearance. Voz has some cool weapons too. There's a gun that had yet to be perfected that turns things inside out - major gross quotient. Looked amazing!

3) Plot/Story - Thumbs Up: In 2007 Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino took film goers by surprise by making the two separate films and fake previews making up "Grindhouse" ("Planet Terror" and "Death Proof", with the fake "Machete" previews), picking up and using all the cheesy and gritty film making of the times and then taking it to extremes. He continued this tradition in 2010 when they actually turned the fake preview in "Grindhouse" to the movie "Machete".

"Machete Kills" has many of the same components as the previous films, but certain violent and sexual aspects have been toned down (so those who loved the previous films specifically because of those aspects may be somewhat disappointed), but all the fun poking at the old films and an attitude of having fun is still there. I even rather enjoyed the 007 feel added to this one. And all the Star Wars in-jokes were a 'hoot'.

The film opens with a preview of the next film supposedly in the sequence, called "Machete Kills SPACE!". (Very reminiscent of the "Jews In Space" joke from "History of the World: Part 1" by Mel Brooks) That alone was a riot. But pay attention, it's actually telling you all sorts of things. In some ways it could even be considered a spoiler, but it's also a puzzle. So tying the threads together of how they get from here ("Machete Kills") to there ("Machete Kills SPACE!") was rather fun.

Many of the aspect of the film are over the top, as they're meant to be, but the actual plot and progression of same was actually solid! Made for a nice surprise.

4) Stunts - Total Thumbs Up: Lots of gun play, crazy fights, and all manner of fun shenanigans. Good job!

Conclusion: If you're a 'hard-core' fan of "Machete", "Machete Kills" may seem too tame in comparison. But if you're just looking for a good time watching a spoof of 70's and 80's action films, "Machete Kills" won't disappoint. Looking forward to "Machete Kills Again... in SPACE!"

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

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Picture Kaleidoscope 10/16/13


Super colorful sunrise. 

The type vampires would fry in. Heh heh

Was stuck on an off ramp and looked in the side mirror and went 'Ooooh!' So I took a pic. lol. The color offset looked cool

Shafts of sunlight don't normally show, but I took several pics in case and - they came out! YES!

Love me cool shafts of light from darkening clouds. 

It's such a cool effect from nature. :)


Now it's raining cats and dogs around here! Stay dry!

Monday, October 14, 2013

MInd Sieve 10/14/13

Morning all! (Argh! It didn't post on Monday! Why?!?!?!?!)

Fan Fun

Kung Fu Piano: Cello Ascends from the Piano Guys. Nice mix of traditional oriental music and classical. 


Carrie Trailer #2 - Coming 10/18!

CGI VFX Spot - Cartier - Gorgeous CGI commercial. No words, just beautiful music and amazing visuals. Sweet!

Odd yet cool little animated Short called "Ark" by Grzegorz Jonkatjis

Because you knew someone was gonna do it - The Starving Games. ROFL.

Saw this ad in front of one of the clips and this was too bizarre/hilarious not to share! lol. Poo Pourri. (and it's a real product! lol)

The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug Official Main Trailer (and has Benedict Cumberbatch doing Smaug - squee!)

Sweet! Plant vs. Zombies 2!!!! Sadly, it's only for iPads, iPod, or iPhone. Waaaahh. (And they've got Adventures on FB, but we're not going there...Waaaahhh)

Social Media/Author Platform

Facebook Page Insights Updated: This Week in Social Media by Cindy King at the Social Media Examiner.

Writing Advice

Great guest post by Karina Cooper over at Terribleminds called - You've Submitted Your Book: Now What?

A ton of writing resources from Gene Lempp - 12 October 2013

And that's a wrap! Till next time.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Virtual Tourist - Neverwinter 10/13/14

I'm so sleeeeepppppyyyyy!


Nice presentation :)

Circle of power?

Almost missed seeing this. Turned out the sword was a quest.

Fairy companion! Neato!

Ghost made restless due to invadors

Closeup of said ghost. :)

I do like me some impressive doors

Super cool looking shield!

Hubby found a way up there but it didn't lead anywhere.

Nasty baddie. But his glowing red armor was cool!

Player character outfit - looks weirdly out of place, but very nice!

Beautiful fountain, no?

Demon thing in a magic circle. We help him get revenge, he helps us.

He tells us how to get things rolling.

Yep, this is where it's going down.

So gloomy.

Dead baddie demon thing. Yeah!

Stained glass window looked awesome.

Ah, the one whose been manipulating everyone. Nasty!

Funky figuring above our exit door.

May you get the rest you need today. :)
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