Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Picture Kaleidoscope 12/30/15

Morning all!

Lotus Garden by Drew Hopper at - such an unusual composition/situation just draws the eye, don't you think? He's got a lot of gorgeous pieces at his site!

Zion Oasis by Andre Schwabe at - love the color contrasts!

There's more of Andre's fabulous work at his site. More lovely color contrasts!

Bee Benefits by Linn Smith at - no website for her though. :( Lovely closeup! 

Orangutan in the Rain by Andrew Suryono - won honorable mention at the National Geographic 2015 Photo Contest - article and more photos at Peta Pixel's article Here Are the Winning Photos of the 2015 National Geographic Photo Contest by Michael Zhang.

Running late, but I still got 'er done. :) Have an awesome day!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Mind Sieve 12/28/15

Monday is here! Boo!

Fan Fun

Snow Cat - too cute!

Deadpool Red Band Trailer #2 (Not for the kiddos!)

Storks Official Teaser Trailer - this looks like it will be too cute! heh heh

Social Media/Author Platform

Facebook Takes on Yelp With New Service: This Week in Social Media by Grace Duffy at the Social Media Examiner. Lots and lots of changes going on. Ugh!

3 Essential Tips to Running Your Own Blog Tour [Updated] by Beth Barany at Writer's Fun Zone.

Writing Advice

Does Our Story Have Everything It Needs? by Jami Gold. Great points on her list! :)

FiYoShiMo Day 23 – Worldbuilding and Characters by John Adamus at The Writer Next Door.

Have a great week! 2015 is about over. Eek!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Virtual Tourist 12/27/15 - Final Fantasy XIV

The morning before having to go back to work. Noooo!

Final Fantasy XIV

Exterior shot of the city of Ul'dah

Entry back into the city.

Nearby environs to Ul'dah. Mining and blacksmithing can be learned in this city.

Small outpost just outside the city

Inside the city

They had some neat decorations for Halloween

Creepy, no?

Taking the airship

Golden Saucer

Heading to the Golden Saucer

The Golden Saucer is a place full of mini games where players can go to do something different.

You can get tickets from winning, which you then use to buy things.

Super colorful. 

Strength game

Just like being in Vegas. lol.

Have a restful day!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Picture Kaleidoscope 12/23/15

Running late as my back muscle continues to be a naughty spoiled brat. *sigh*

Cloud tidal wave! Look at the horizon. 

(It's rather sad that now that we're in a tall office building giving me a better vantage point for taking some cool pics, the lights and the windows themselves botch the opportunity) :(

The sky has been looking very dirty of late. (The reflection of the window make the pic look put together like a puzzle. No?)


Different angle, same sunrise. 

A gorgeous sunset. Too bad the colors get washed out due to the camera.

This one is slightly better. Gives it a little of a spooky feel.

This is a lot of clouds for Texas. :)  

Have a great day!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Virtual Tourist 12/20/15 - Final Fantasy XIV

The back muscle is on the warpath so this will be quick!

Final Fantasy XIV
City of Ul'dah

Sweet looking machine!

Very imperious no?

Love the Egyptian feel to this room.

That is one BIG turtle!

Dancing cacti. Kinda scary. :P

Ul'dah at sunrise!

Stay safe!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Movie Review - Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Starring: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Harrison Ford, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Lupita Nyong'o, Adam Driver, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, Joonas Suotamo, Simon Pegg, and many more.

Directed by: J.J. Abrams Written by: Lawrence Kasdan, J.J. Abrams, and Michael Arndt Based on Characters Created by: George Lucas Cinematography by: Daniel Mindel Music by: John Williams

Premise: Despite the death of the Emperor, years later, the Empire still exists, now called the First Order and led by Supreme Leader Snoke. The Republic has grown and secretly funds/helps the Resistance, who continue their fight against the Empire. Luke Skywalker has disappeared and the Empire wants him found and slaughtered so the extinction of the Jedi can be complete. An old colleague gives the Rebels a piece of a map showing Luke's whereabouts. But the Rebel is caught before he can escape with the information, so he leaves the map with his droid, BB-8. BB-8, a scavenger, and an AWOL stormtrooper will become embroiled in matters bigger than they ever imagined. (Rated PG-13)


1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Daisey Ridley as Rey and John Boyega as Finn end up doing a very nice job as the extremely reluctant heroes for the film. Harrison Ford shows he's still got it as he reprises his role as Han Solo. Andy Serkis makes for a rather creepy Supreme Leader Snoke. Adam Driver did a fine job as the mercurial Kylo Ren.

It was a ton of fun seeing so many of our old friends again. :)

2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: While we always expect larger than life special effects in the Star Wars films, this one wasn't as grandiose, but was filled with a lot of subtle, and no less impressive, effects. They fit so well, it makes them easy to miss. One super cool one was after Rey gets her quarter rations and sprinkles the content of one of the packets into a small bowl of water - and then before our eyes, the powdered dough coagulates and turns into a small loaf of bread she grabs and bites into.

There are several new creatures that get introduced as part of the scenery and the plot. There's a neat bird with an anvil like beak, tentacled monsters in the freighter, and a giant hog like creature drinking water at a trough in Jakku. The bar was also chock full of familiar and new aliens types to look at.

The ships haven't changed much, but we do see a few new ones both in the air and on the ground. Kylo Ren's shuttle is even more intimidating and grandiose than Darth Vader's, almost like he's trying to compensate for something. (*joke*)

3) Plot/Story - Thumbs Up: This story was better than Episode III Revenge of the Clones! Yay! Not that it would take much to be better than Episode III, but I was just happy it was. :P

The film is enjoyable overall and uses our fond memories of the original trilogy to rope us in - though they do get carried away a bit in that respect. (If you cry at movies, make sure to take a hankey with you!) The plot is basically Episode IV with some changes thrown in. Bits get pulled from some of the other films as well, especially Episode V.

The change about how clones are no longer being used for stormtroopers, but rather use newborns taken from their homes and trained from childhood, as well as brainwash them, is stated so quickly, you might miss it. Yet the information is actually an important point with regards to the plot and Finn. Also not stating the fact this was Finn's first mission until late in the film was a mistake - his reactions made no sense during the raid because the audience didn't know he'd never been on one of these missions before. They had other issues with little things like that - inconsistencies or items that didn't add up right or should have been mentioned for clarity. For example: if you're part of the sanitation crew of a large military installation, why would you also get sent out as a stormtrooper to subjugate a town? The First Order didn't look that short handed. And if your giant military installation has to move from sun to sun to get fuel, how do you have trees alive on the surface of it? Several other weird bits ran along the same vein.

They also somewhat spoiled the dramatic scene where Kylo Ren and his father meet up, mostly due to the fact they'd already had Ren take his helmet off when he was with Rey. Boo! And why, oh why, did they decide to make Kylo Ren so super powerful? There was really no need to have him be that ramped up. And  to make it worse, they then seem to forget his uber power later. Not once did he try to do to Rey what he'd done in the forest once before, and had worked so well. Boo! Though I did very much enjoy how it is Ren's own words that reminded Rey she's not alone and thus could get help to defeat her foe.

4) Locations/Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up: All the locations we see during the film were excellent. As usual, the integration of real places to those that are painted or computer generated were flawless. The cinematography combined with IMAX and 3D made the vistas lovely to look upon. Though with a desert planet, jungle planet, sort of snow planet, it almost seemed like they were trying too hard to tie back to the previous films though these were new worlds. :P They were still beautiful to look at though!

5) Music - Total Thumbs Up: John Williams is king! Was thrilled to see he did the work on the film score. A lot of the old favorites as well as new tracks! Yay!

Conclusion: Star Wars: The Force Awakens is an enjoyable return to the Star Wars universe. It'll bring back the feelings and emotions evoked on us by the first three original films. It was better than Episode III, so that's something! Heh heh. There are no extra bits at the end or previews for Episode VIII, which is due out in 2017.

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

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Picture Kaleidoscope 12/16/15


Drying Off by Christopher Schlaf at - He looks more like he's clapping, no? :) His big red eye is a little creepy when you look at a bigger version of the picture. Heh heh. He's also got landscapes, pets, macro, and all manner of other photography at his site. Nice!

Shooting Mountain Biker Silhouettes Against an Epic New Zealand Landscape by Michael Zhang at PetaPixel. Photography by Miles Holden. Terribly cute idea! More gorgeous shots at his Instagram site. :)

This is a Norwegian Camera Shop’s Christmas Photo by Michael Zhang at PetaPixel. Very inventive! Stavenherfoto - too cute!

Have a great day all!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Mind Sieve 12/14/15

Let's see how much trouble my back let's me get into... :P

Fan Fun

X-Men Apocalypse Official Trailer - ooh! Should be messy. :P

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows - oho! Arrow is Casey Jones?! lol. 

The Legend of Tarzan Teaser Trailer - I can't resist Tarzan movies! heh heh

Jane Got a Gun International Trailer - western! Looks messy. :)

Social Media/Author Platform

Facebook Brings Facebook Messenger to Websites: This Week in Social Media by Grace Duffy at the Social Media Examiner. So much to keep track of, argh!

14 Video Tools for Social Media Marketers by Mari Smith at the Social Media Examiner. Ack! Too many options!

Writing Advice

Fran Wilde: Editorial Marks, Explained! by Fran Wilde at Too cute!

Discovering Our Writing Processes by Jami Gold. Some totally good advice here!

Wish me luck! And have a great one!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Virtual Tourist - Final Fantasy XIV 12/13/15


My back muscle went crazy during the week. Totally kiboshed everything. :( Got meds now, so hopefully things will go back to normal. Always something new to deal with. :P)

Final Fantasy XIV

Zephyr Drift

Such lovely complex structures

See the glowing crystal on the one building?

Mermaid damsel

Same crystals at night. Such a cool looking thing!

Dragon mount! 

Totally cool!

Neat little lighthouse.

Giant baby chocobo mount. That is one big chick.

Look at all those stars!

Hubby's new armor. He's so cute!

Now this is a cool looking armor ensemble! Drool


Ticket counter at Ul'dah

Love that fountain's waterfall. :)

Hope you all have an awesome day!
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