Monday, March 31, 2014

Mind Sieve 3/31/14

Morning all!

Fan Fun

Cool CGI animated short - Zodiac Evolution by Murat Sayginer

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Official Trailer - this is going to take some getting used to, I think...

Hercules Official Trailer - with the Rock. CGI looks awesome.

Social Media/Author Platform

Twitter Photo Tagging: This Week on Social Media at the Social Media Examiner by Cindy King. Some cool updates!

Looks like this is it. Weird interruptions and life. Like, don't they want me to finish my blog posts?!?! What's up with that? :P

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Virtual Tourist - Everquest Landmark 3/30/14


Well, they finally moved Everquest Landmark from alpha to closed beta so the whole family has jumped in with Settler Packs! Cool and different concept as you can create structures, change the terrain in your claim, and more. Think of Mine Craft but with more control though your creations will be contain in your own space (No road building for me! Wahhhh!)

This is me! Right now only humans are available.

This is the Lowlands (Tier 1) area. Materials are rated from Tier 1 to 4. 

Map of the area. The cubes areas means someone has laid a claim. Blue ones allow visitors, orange not so much. The other bits are resources. You cannot dig resources out of your claim area. Nice way to keep people from hogging resources by claiming them. :)

Just inside a friendly claimed area. At the top of the screen you see what they've named it and a greeting message. I believe we'll be able to "like" claims we like.

View down from one of the mountains. Dessert on the right, snow covered on the left.

Each zone has a spire. The floating rock is used to teleport to other zones. It also has a mailbox, forge, woodworking station, and a chest for retrieving founder items. LOVE the scrollwork on the pilons.

Me with my ax near a mineral deposit.

Look at that sun! Hubby is the one with the ponytail. 

Zone we all plain to put our claims. Grassy with jungle. Near what will eventually be a coast.

Light changes as days move, but it doesn't get terribly dark.

Map of the zone we picked. Already getting claimed like mad. (You can see all the orange flags). We're settling the southwest corner. 

Isn't the moon lovely?

I want to decorate with these flowers so bad right now. They are awesome!

Standing outside my claim. Love the gold border that lets you know it's yours. You pay upkeep to keep it going. Can attach more land. But need to improve my tools and get the ones to actually create buildings.

The potential on this is big. Hope I can scrape the time to make something. Don't expect much though! :)

Friday, March 28, 2014

Movie Review - The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Starring: Ralph Fiennes, Tony Revolori, Jude Law, F. Murray Abraham, Tom Wilkinson, Saoirse Ronan, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Mathieu Amalric, Edward Norton, Adrien Brody, Harvey Keitel, Bill Murray, and many more.

Directed by: Wes Anderson Story by: Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness Screenplay by: Wes Anderson Inspired by the Works of: Stefan Zweig Cinematography by: Robert D. Yeoman Music by: Alexandre Desplat

Premise: Jumping back from the 80's to the 60's then the 30's, a tale unfolds about the Grand Budapest Hotel, it's concierge M. Gustave, and the hotel's newest lobby boy, Zero. When one of the hotel's long time patrons dies, and she's bequeathed a priceless painting to the concierge, he suddenly finds himself accused of murder. (Rated PG-13)


1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Ralph Fiennes was captivating as the hard working, mature ladies man, and amazing concierge, M. Gustave. Tony Revolori turned out to be a perfect foil for Mr. Fiennes as the soft spoken, yet incredibly brave, Zero. And there were many well known and familiar faces in the rest of the cast, Edward Norton and Jeff Goldblum, but two of the throng.

2)  Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: The makers of the film went 'old school' and used stop motion animation to give the film a lot of its quirky feel. The large chase scene was done almost entirely with stop motion animation and looked great. Other special effects used in the film were visual or had to do with presentation. They were all really well done and did much to create a great atmosphere for the film.

3) Plot/Story - Total Thumbs Up: The story is told in a very unique way as we start in a small eastern country at a cemetery and a young lady who hangs an old fashioned hotel key off a pedestal with the bust of a famous author. Then we see said author alive in his later years and as he speaks, he leap back in time yet again to the 60's, and we see the Budapest Hotel as it was then. It is here that the mystery begins as author meets the widely known owner of the hotel. In the telling of how the owner obtained the hotel, we then leap back to the late 30's, where the Grand Budapest Hotel was at its peak yet about to begin its slow descent into obscurity.

In many ways the film reminded me of an operatic farce - with things overblown toward the absurd, but never entirely crossing the line. The prison escape sequence is a perfect example.

Watching all the different odd characters interacting was just too much fun. Yet there's also a depth and sadness to the tale as we see the world changing as war boiled up then ran rampant during that time. Even with our own worries, the world beyond moves on, and nothing is ever certain.

4) Locations/Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up: Filmed in eight different locations in Germany, many of them castles, there is plenty to 'feed the eyes'. Many of the rooms and hallways were fabulous. Some of the long shot angles gave many of the hallways an almost supernatural look. There's even a shoot out scene that will make you cringe every time a bullet hits the gorgeous hotel's columns.

Conclusion: "The Grand Budapest Hotel" is a lovingly quirky and quite entertaining film. It pretends to be light, but has a lot of unexpected depth behind it. It was also a lot of fun.

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

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Picture Kaleidoscope 3/26/14

Shoop shoop shoop shuwa!

I love the sun looking like a fried egg. Heh heh

Such subtle shades the sky has made, no?

Between the sun and the lights in the parking lot, there's a lot of different hues bandied about.

A Dr. Zeus character perhaps?

This is what happens when I can't see the little screen on the phone. Too bad too as the cloud looked like a Pegasus!

Sweevil, aka Chaos Kitten, aka Mystique - she does love laundry day. :)

The Throne by William Patino at - Such lovely colors!

Lots more beautiful stuff at his site. Impressive! This one is called "Meridian"

Enjoy your Wednesday!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Mind Sieve 3/24/14

As of a few days ago, it officially became SPRING!
Oh my aching sinuses! Heh heh.

Fan Fun

Dark Horse from Katie Perry. Song is fun but the video is cray-cray! Egypt has never been so colorful. lol. Love the old movie feel.

Human Revolution Trailer - due 3/25 from Moe Charif - based on the game Deus Ex. Could be fun!

The Maze Runner Official Trailer - looks interesting!

The Giver Official Trailer - YA Dystopian books to films continue!

Social Media/Author Platform

3 Ways To Improve Your Pins from the Pinterest Business Blog by Kevin Knight.

26 Creative Ways Brands Us Facebook Status Updates from Social Media Examiner article by Debbie Hemley

Writing Advice

In Writing, There are Rules, and Then There are "Rules" by Chuck (NSFW) Wending. Great insight!

Real Life Diagnostics: POV and Voice in a YA Historical Opening - Critique by Janice Hardy. This looked like something different to throw at ya'll! Heh heh.

Have an awesome week!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Virtual Tourist - Thief 3/23/14


City Streets and Extra Jobs
The Bank Job

I thought I'd mention controls real quick.
"E" is for just about Everything. "W", "S", "A", "D" do what they do in most games and then a little more in certain situations. The one control you'll forget about and which is NOT intuitive is the Right Click on the Mouse when you're looking through keyholes/peep holes or get put into any kind of puzzle/turn knobs situation. I've flailed once or twice forgetting about the bloody thing. On everything else you get key hints but that! (DOH!)

Oh yeah, See this obelisk? When you buy the wrench, go take a look. There's a plaque to collect from it but also a mysterious button that I expect will come into play later.

You can eavesdrop on the townspeople to get clues on where money and jewels may be hidden. (Turn on your subtitle option as the volume on some of these varies widely. Sound glitches?)

Isn't that pretty?

Local bar near your fence and the dude you buy stuff from. 

Mini map can be turned on on the right. Doesn't always help. You will get lost here. lol.

The Bank. Imposing, isn't it?
DO NOT try the bank until you've been able to buy the wire cutters, which help disable traps. Trust me on this.

Second floor interior.

And yes, they have alarm systems!!!! You can extinguish them with water arrows. Just make sure you are angled right. Had a blast knocking all these out. Bwahahaha

The Vault. You think getting past that means you're almost done. And that would be wrong!

This is inside the vault. A whole new set of alarms and TRAPS! Many traps. Focus came in handy here.

They're so sneaky! And when they say locker, they mean the small safe's before the big vault.

The trap I missed (cause I thought I got them all) did this. Two seconds later, I was dead. Look before you touch!

The collectible loot!

Trap mechanism up there.

This guy is everywhere! Talk about EGO

The poorer side of town. 

Creepy house.

Antlers and heads in all his decorating. Eek.

Have an awesome Sunday!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Movie Review - Divergent


Starring: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet, Ashley Judd, Jai Courtney, Zoë Kravitz, Ray Stevenson, Miles Teller, Tony Goldwyn, Ansel Elgort, Maggie Q, Mekhi Phifer, Ben Lloyd-Hughes, Christian Madsen, and more.

Directed by: Neil Burger Screenplay by: Evan Daugherty and Vanessa Taylor Based on the Novels by: Veronica Roth Cinematography by: Alwin H. Küchler Music by: Junkie XL

Premise: Years after a war that destroyed most of the world, Chicago continues to function due to a five category split caste system. Beatrice and her brother have reached the age of choosing and go have the test which will show them which of the castes they are more aligned towards. Except the test in Beatrice's case came out as inconclusive, something the tester makes sure she understands and warns her not to tell anyone about. As Breatice struggles to make a decision on who she wants to be, she also starts getting an inkling that the system may not be functioning like it's supposed to anymore. (Rated PG-13)


1)  Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Shailene Woodley does a good job as the spunky and fearless Tris. Theo James was delicious as the aloof, mysterious, yet slowly warming teacher named Four. Kate Winslet deftly sent mixed signals and kept the audience guessing in her role as Jeanine.

2)  Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: Most of the special effects are subtle and are mostly in the background - the ship in the middle of the wheat fields, the giant mesh wall around the city, the compact wind turbines mounted on the sides of dead Chicago buildings.

In the drug induced sequences the special effects play a bigger part, and with some nicely imaginative segues. Tris's initiation ride after the war games was scary fun.  

3) Plot/Story - Thumbs Up: I've not read the series of YA novels the film is based on, so I can't give any kind of opinion on how faithfully rendered the movie was. Although, from all the clapping and whistling during several points in the film, it appeared that many of the fans were pleased.

There were definitely several elements seeded over the course of the film that grabbed my attention and not only warned of possible troubles ahead for our heroine, but the society she'd been raised in as well. Hints and bits of the political and social order and the bubbling issues beneath the surface get flashed here and there, as we follow Tris through the typical angst caused by bullies and the not so typical stress of getting thrown into a situation from which she and others might not survive.

There aren't many surprises in the story, but enough stuff is going on to entertain.

4) Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up: The opening scene started with the mundane, then took a left turn. It spoke volumes without a single word being said. The sweeps of the remnants of Chicago were deftly done. The skyline seemed familiar yet also alien due to the broken spires and the turbines attached to them like extra growths.

Conclusion: "Divergence" was entertaining. The premise is unusual, although overall the plot was pretty standard. The visuals of the city and the imagery used in the mental tests for the choosing, and later to force the initiates to face their fears were rather cool.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating:  Worth Full Price of Admission)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

What would you do? (A Poll!)

Figured this might be a fun topic for a poll. Heh heh

TP Poll

The script I used won't work here, so just click on the image and it will take you there.

Should be fun seeing what people say. Heh heh heh.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Picture Kaleidoscope 3/19/14 - The AllCon 2014 Edition

Morning, all!

This past weekend was AllCon. Some cool costumes and other stuff going about, though for some reason we didn't see as much of it walk by as one would expect. Huh

Goth Batman and Robin!

Goth group of doom! Bats, Robin, Harley, Bane, Ivy. They looked great!

Grover and his girlfriend and their trashcans. He would pop out here and there. so Cute!

What a fearsome and disturbing sight! Can you imagine Ming The Merciless with the power of a Star Gate? Heh heh

They looked awesome! Flash...Ahahhhhhh!

Ninja Turtles! And Robin 2.5. :P

Look at those wings! They were huge! Her father said they were bigger but they'd cut them back a bit. Her armor looked awesome too. Never did see her Robocop costume. Boo!

Roses roses roses! Looked awesome.

The obligatory table pic.

I tried a couple of different set ups. Table was a little smaller than usual.

Marvel Earrings TM! The Hulk, Iron Man, and Captain America earrings! Heh heh

His armor was fantastic! The detail was amazing.

Gentleman from the Walking Dead, a zombie, and a zombie hunter. heh

Her makeup was done by one of the guests. Gave her a double mouth, so cool.

New project Drew finished while we were there. Doesn't it look fabulous?

Her friend Casey, encased. Heh heh.

Have an awesome Wednesday!
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