Sunday, November 30, 2014

Virtual Tourist - TERA 11/30/14



City of Allemantheia

Love the ornate style here

Fountains of magic power. Look at that detail!

Allemantheia HQ

The leaders of the city and more hang out here.

Hard to tell from the pick, but the glowing blue is flowing. Almost like looking at fluid stained glass.

Some awesome floor tile work!

Head honcho! 

Not the head honcho! Eek! This is part of a story on problems the elves are having with the magic flow.

They're mucking with the towers.

Not good news. 

On our way out of Allemantheia

Closer look at some of the magic towers.

Aren't they cool?

I love these too! 

New Zone but having a hard time finding it's name. Argh!

A little wild!

Pesky problems in the zone.

Well dressed Elven NPCs!

Too cute!

Have an awesome Sunday!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Movie Review - Penguins of Madagascar

Penguins of Madagascar

Starring: Tom McGrath, Chris Miller, Christopher Knights, Conrad Vernon, John Malkovich, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ken Jeong, Anne Mahendru, Peter Stormare, Andy Richter, Danny Jacobs, and more.

Directed by: Eric Darnell and Simon J. Smith Screenplay by: John Aboud, Michael Colton, and Brandon Sawyer Based on Characters Created by: Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath Original Music by: Lorne Balfe

Premise: Leaving the rest of the animals at the circus to go celebrate Private's birthday, the penguins's plans get interrupted when they're kidnapped by an unknown enemy. This turns out to be Dave, who has a problem with all penguins - Skipper and the others but the first of many. However, the four escape, taking with them the mutagen Dave threatened them with. They're handling their escape just fine until the arrival of the North Wind - a self proclaimed animal protection organization.  And they do not believe our four operatives anything but innocent, vacuous penguins. Will the two groups be able to acknowledge each other and their unique skills before Dave enacts his nefarious plans on penguin kind? (Rated PG)


1) Voice Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Tom McGrath, Chris Miller, Christopher Knights, and Conrad Vernon are just too fun as the four intrepid, and highly chaotic penguins. John Malkovich gave just the right amount of crazy to poor unloved Dave. Benedict Cumberbatch was fun as the much flustered Agent Classified.

2) Artwork/Animation - Total Thumbs Up: Dreamworks continues to prove they have what it takes to make animated films. Crisp colors, super attention to detail, and some awesome texture generation were used throughout the movie. Cheezy Dibbles are a major part of the film and they look crunchy, their cheese powder going everywhere, in effect totally convincing the audience they are the messy, noisy snacks they are.

Lots of cool vehicles and HUD screens. The North Wind has all the cool gadgets you'd expect from a top secret world organization. The penguins work the opposite direction, all their instruments made from what's around them - a pivotal part of their continued survival. (And a whole lot of luck!)

The entirety of the gondola chase scene in Venice shows it all. What an inventive and wild ride!

3) Plot/Story - Total Thumbs Up: The Penguins have always been my favorite part of the Madagascar movies. I fell even more in love with them in their Nickelodeon TV series The Penguins of Madagascar. So I was very pumped when the previews came out for this film.

The story actually picks up at the end of the last Madagascar film, after we go through a hilarious flashback of how the four intrepid penguins met and what set them on the path as international daring doers. There's a lot of tongue-in-cheek moments, like the dramatic dialogue of the documentary men over the young penguins's plight, then actually shoving them into it.

Skipper, Kowalski, Rico, and Private are all about saving the world, going on missions, and having fun doing it, so the adventure takes on the look and feel of a James Bond film while also keeping some of the problems being faced by the foursome closer to home.

A lot of themes are covered - family, finding ones place, trusting in yourself and those around you, not dismissing others just because they do not fit your mold of how they should be. If you've watched the TV series, the plot involving Private will seem a little heavy handed, but otherwise should flow flawlessly by.

The film is full of cute moments, jokes, slick maneuvers, and as always lots of penguin fun.

4) Music - Total Thumbs Up: Lorne Balfe did a fantastic job on the music score. Fast paced tunes with just the right tone for awesome spy daring do!

Conclusion: "Penguins of Madagascar" is a fun ride with plenty of fun for adults and kids alike. A little extra fun during the credits, but nothing more at the end - well worth staying for that middle bit though. Great penguin fun!

Rating: 4 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again.)

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Just wanted to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving! 

Pulled a back muscle last weekend, which is why you've not seen me for a few days. Hopefully all will be back to normal now. *fingerscrossed*

Have an awesome holiday weekend!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Picture Kaleidoscope 11/19/14

Morning all!

Weirdest thing ever at work. Minding my own business when in comes my boss asking me if I'd seen the Zombie car out front.

I'm like..."Whaaaa????" And followed him to take a peek.

This is what I found...  Zombie Response Vehicle...

Oh yes, fully decked out and everything!

Backed by the Umbrella Corporation - lol. Resident Evil fans rejoice.

Love the logo for the Zombie Apocalypse.

This lovely armament actually shoots flames! Pics at their facebook site show it working. Sweet.

A nice side view shot of the sucker. Nuclear Powered Flames anyone?

View from the back. Definitely look to be prepared for all sorts of trouble.

Love this logot! Heh heh

My favorite thing on the vehicle. Old bomber style pinup girl with a gas mask. Perfect!

I'm guessing they were probably at the commercial bakery next door. But they couldn't have picked a more perfect spot to park. You could see this ZRV in all its beauty right through HR's window. BWAHAHAHAHA!

Have an awesome day!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Mind Sieve 11/17/14

Another week...I just hope it's not as gruelling as last week. UGH....

Fan Fun

From the Piano Guys - Ants Marching/Ode to Joy - 4 guys, 3 minutes, 2 Cellos, 1 piano. They did this one all in one take. A fun bit of playing. Watch the credits as they show the four prop aerial gizmo they used to fly, yes FLY, the camera around to get these shots. Too cool!

The Cobbler Trailer - this should be FUN! 

Song One Trailer - will probably need tissues for this one. Eek!

Social Media/Author Platform

14 Ways to Make Your Twitter Updates More Creative by Aaron Lee at the Social Media Examiner

Book Promotion That Makes an Impression - Don't Advertise When You Can PADvertise! by Kristen Lamb. Hilarious! Wonder how many people will think she's serious and actually try this. BWAHAHAHAHA!

Writing Advice

Diversity in Writing: Researching Characters - post by Jami Gold and guest Melinda Primrose. Good stuff!

On the Destination of Your Manuscript: An Expedition Into the Dark, Tumultuous Heart of Authorial Self Hatred by Chuck (NSFW) Wending. Hah! Been there done that. :P

Have a great week! And wish me luck, haven't had time to write in almost a month. Work is eating me ALIVE! Waaaaahhhhh

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Virtual Tourist - TERA 11/16/14

Running LATE!!!!


Dark Cathedral (I think)

Big, isn't he?

Even bigger!

Some of the local nasties

Aha, now she's turned around. She wasn't cooperating.

Look at the awesome floor and walls, and the big basty too. lol.


So clear and blue!

Yes, yes, yes! Finally, a picture of the whole flying fish! Woot!

First peek at the High Elf capital.


It syphons and protects magic energy

That wall is HUGE

Magic water.

The plants look awesome.

Far off mountains.

Lots of cool architecture

And statuary


About to meet the powerful people. Eek!

Have a wonderful Sunday!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Movie Review - Interstellar


Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Mackenzie Foy, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine, John Lithgow, Anne Hathaway, Bill Irwin, Timothée Chalamet, Wes Bentley, David Gyasi, Matt Damon, and more.

Directed by: Christopher Nolan Written by: Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan Cinematography by: Hoyte Van Hoytema Music by: Hans Zimmer

Premise: Earth has been devastated by a blight that is slowly destroying different types of crops. It's turned much of the world into a dust bowl. With his dreams of space flight reduced to the high tech farming of corn, Cooper gets an unexpected opportunity when chasing down a weird anomaly in his daughter's bedroom. The coordinates from the anomaly lead him to a secret base, one where NASA is being pursuing two different plans to try to save the human race from extinction. And an old colleague has need of Cooper's unusual skill set, but it will mean leaving his family and no guarantee that he will ever see them again in his lifetime. (Rated PG-13)


1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Matthew McConaughey knocks it out of the park with his portrayal of Cooper, an ex astronaut turned farmer. His deep emotions when watching the videos from his kids are heartwrenching. Mackenzie Foy as young Murph makes the audience connect with her and Cooper, captivating our hearts for the ride ahead. Jessica Chastain as an older Murph ties it all together. Anne Hathaway did a great job as Brand and an even better ying and yang to Brand's father, played by Michael Caine. John Lithgow was endearing and quite amusing as Cooper's father-in-law, Donald.

2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: Most of the effects are quite subtle in nature, with very little flare except in a few spots. But it doesn't make the efforts any less grand. They even use actual real footage of space and weave it in with created content. The look and feel of the spaceships make the film feel like something that could happen tomorrow. The dust storm effects were very well done. And worked excellently with how the dust was used in Murph's room.

The worlds we see are cool in their contrast, even as they end up very much on the same par. The use of the blockish (and quite versatile!) artificial intelligences gave the film a very future feel, even as the AI's themselves grew more human by the moment.

There are several scenes that spin about for realism, but luckily they don't last too long and do give the film a fun and more realistic feel as they largely fit our current modes of space travel.

The wormhole and blackhole were nicely done - some lovely light refractions - but again are done in an understated way. They permeate everything yet aren't blaring. Everything felt very real. And wait until you see the special tunnel towards the end... Nicely done!

3) Plot/Story - Total Thumbs Up: Science Fiction is about social matters, emotion, and human change as well as science. "Interstellar" definitely fits the definition and even brings the heavy science into play without losing the audience. They bring in things like time dilation, the laws of relativity, and more. The film also explores family, the ties of love, loneliness, keeping or discarding our humanity, and plain human stubbornness - at times one of our best and worst traits.

There's not a lot of information on the Blight aside from quick bits fed to the audience throughout the film. Using interviews from those who lived through the real Dust Bowl was a nice touch and gave a bit of homage to those who experienced those hard times. Gave the whole film a higher level of authenticity.

Most, if not all, of the science was solid and explored a lot of fun bits having to do with quantum physics, gravity, and time. Several big unexpected surprises and lots of hard, emotional moments. If you've ever have gotten tearyeyed at a film, I strongly suggest bringing some tissues.

4) Stunts - Total Thumbs Up: Mad driving through cornfields, being battered around in space ships, some hand-to-hand fighting, the stunt department was not left without fun things to do.

5) Locations/Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up: In this too there was a lot of subtlety, but still made from some grandiose or beautifully spanning fields of view. The chase of the glider through the cornfields and the view bringing us close and also fanned out visually increased the excitement of the sequence.

Great open shots on each of the planets, making the small areas filmed look like huge open spaces that might never end. The views of the black hole as they neared the system proved again and again the epic scope of their mission. At other times the shots would focus on small details, like the clamps opening and closing as they're unable to lock in place, visual portents of what is soon to come.

Amazing job in setting the different moods as well. Hear, hear!

Conclusion: "Interstellar" has strong science elements going hand in hand with the emotions that drive us, Good and subtle effects make everything seem all the more viable. If you ever get teary eyed at movies, bring tissues! You'll need them! The film is 3 hours or so long, so no giant drinks. :)

Rating: 4.25 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Would Pay Full Price To See Again)

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Picture Kaleidoscope 11/12/14

Starting this one super early!
I will have a post, darn it! Booyah!

Rainier Snow Cave by David Swindler at It looks like Dr Who! lol. Really neat look to this.
Picture the Journey: Featured Photos &emdash; Scotland Sunrise

David's site is Action Photo Tours - neat concept! And isn't this one a beauty? Nice work!

Photo Explosion by Stan Newman at Neato effect!

Steve McCurry Retrospective Looks Back Over 40 Years of Iconic Work in 150 Portraits - article by DL Cade at Petapixel. Some truly striking work. Photography by Steve McCurry

Happy Wednesday! 

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