Monday, February 29, 2016

Mind Sieve 2/29/16


Fan Fun

Taboo Official Trailer - FX Show that is coming. Looks dark!

Pete's Dragon Teaser Trailer - whaaaat? Oh I am there! :) Looks like a more grownup version. No singing either - too bad...

Social Media/Author Platform

Facebook Launches Canvas: This Week in Social Media by Grace Duffy from the Social Media Examiner. Dang there's a lot of new stuff this week! Eek!
 How to Promote Your Blog Posts on Twitter by Lauren Dugan at Social Times.

Writing Advice

 Writing Skills: Beginner vs. Advanced by Jami Gold.  
 How to Make EVERY Page of Your Story Interesting by Alex Limberg at Kristen Lamb's blog. 

Have a great week! :)

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Virtual Tourist - Final Fantasy XIV 2/28/16

Halloween Quest
Another child about to be saved! He has no idea of the trick played on him. :P Probably for the best!
While we don't have the permanent skill for mounts at this point, we did get to ride brooms for the quest! yay!
Close up of my witch costume. And you get to keep it! :)

Western Thanalan
Ruins in Western Thanalan on the way to Vesper Bay.
Closeup of one of the broken statues at the oasis.
Vesper Bay and The Waking Sands
Our first look at Vesper Bay. Neat little place! (Now if I could have remembered to remove the UI. DOH!)
Tataru - the cute little secretary at The Waking Sands.
The Scions of the Seventh Dawn - my first time seeing them together. The Waking Sands is their HQ.
Minfilia - leader of the Scions of the Seventh Dawn.
A close up of Minfilia. She's cute! :)

Wall of thorns I encountered on the way to complete my Lancer Class quest. Intimidating, no?
Aha! Once again the rogue lancer has come to meddle in my class quest. He does not get the hint! :P
Creatures that will be part of my class quest. 

Stay healthy and have a great Sunday!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Movie Review - Gods of Egypt

Gods of Egypt

Starring: Brenton Thwaites, Courtney Eaton, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Gerard Butler, Elodie Yung, Chadwick Boseman, Rufus Sewell, Bryan Brown, and many more.
Directed by: Alex Proyas Written by: Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless Cinematography by: Peter Menzies Jr. Music by: Marco Beltrami
Premise: In ancient Egypt, the gods walked the earth. As Osiris prepares to hand over the kingdom to his son Horus, his brother Set has other plans. And it is the humans who will pay the greatest price. (Rated PG-13)
1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Brenton Thwaites is fun as the plucky mortal, Bek. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau was perfect for the role of the spoiled prince and later the bereaved god Horus. Gerard Butler brought a nice manic intensity to his portrayal of Set. Courtney Eaton was adorable as Zaya, with Elodie Yung as a very independent Hathor.
2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: Lots and lots of CGI and fun effects in this film. Egypt is amazing to behold! All the locations depicted were full of detail. There are a ton of little touches that tie back to individual gods giving them their own little bits - like Set's chariot being pulled by giant Egyptian beetles or Hathor's flying carriage pulled along by flocks of birds.
To make sure viewers can tell the difference between the gods and the mortals, they did a size difference thing similar to what was done for the Lord of the Rings films but bigger. Makes for some neat visualizations when the gods and mortals interact together. And gods bleed gold!
Some of the most amazing visuals were simple, and made all the more awe inspiring because of it. The high peak with the large ring shaped like the sun. The dried out gardens belonging to Osiris, and the brief glimpse of what they'd been like as Horus recalls it to his memory. 
The transformations and cool weapons were nicely handled. The creatures and traps were great. Lots of food for the eyes in this one.
3) Plot/Story - Thumbs Up: A piece of the basic premise/plot comes from actual Egyptian mythology. The stories of old are based on how at one time the gods did walk the earth with mortals. As in the mythology, Osiris is murdered by Set and split into 14 pieces, though Isis did not give birth to Horus until after she'd put her husband back together again. So while some details have been tweaked for convenience, there is still a bit of the old legends in there.
I liked their take on the core of a god's power being an object. Made for some interesting twists as things moved along.
Jealousy, love, light and darkness, loss, revenge, wisdom -- all themes common in many old and new stories. And they still managed to sneak an unusual spin here and there. This is an adventure, so it is pretty simple and straight. Set obviously spent way too much time in the desert and it fried his brain. But it still made for a fun ride.
4) Stunts - Total Thumbs Up: Mostly CGI, we still got some smacking and throwing around of actual people. The two were integrated very well, making for several fun battles. Even the giant snakes fit right in. :)
5) Locations/Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up: If I had one complaint about the cinematography, it would be that they didn't let us see enough of some of the locations! I wanted more of a tour of some of these place! :) The sweeping images of the prosperous capital were lovely. Horus' temple was a gorgeous work of dark stone. The summit where Horus goes to pray to Ra was awesome in its grand simplicity. 
6) Costuming/Makeup - Thumbs Up: Strangely, I thought they 'dropped the ball' a little with the costumes. While Bek's and Horus's costumes fit overall (and Thoth's!), and they had neat head coverings/hats that looked wonderful, the women's clothes, especially Hathor's, seemed totally uninspired. :( Even the head builder was dressed better and more fitting of the theme than most of the ladies. made me sad. :( 
7) Music - Total Thumbs Up: The score by Marco Beltrami fit perfectly. Gave the film a theme of its own, yet filled it full of the sounds we think of belonging to ancient Egypt.
Conclusion: Gods of Egypt is a lovely visual fantasy. A fun adventure of mortals and gods.
Rating: 3.75 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission)

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Picture Kaleidoscope 2/24/16

Project at work is still beating me down, so this will be a quick one. Sorry!

Admiring of Red by Linn Smith at Lovely reds and greens! No website for her though. :( 
Fire and Ice by Kevin D. Jordan at Love the added splash!
Kevin D. Jordan has lots of lovely shots at his site to feed your eyes with. :) 
A Starry Fairy Tale by Yi Jiang at It really does like one, doesn't it? Lovely!  More lovely stuff at his flicker site. :)
Have a great day!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Writers of the Future and 4 Star Stories!

Figured I'd share some stuff with ya'll today. :)

4 Star Stories

They've just released issue 16. Stories this issue by Preston Dennet, James Lecky, James A Miller, and Steve Rodgers. From what I understand, there's also a bonus story this time around! And the stories are free! So if you need a little fiction this morning, you might give them a peek. :) 
They even have a Spaceship Rocket Primer for us writer types! Nice!

Writers of the Future Annual Awards Ceremony

Writers of the Future 2016 Awards

Pass it on! :)

Monday, February 22, 2016

Mind Sieve 2/22/16

I started this early to get a full post out this week!

Fan Fun

Dare Devil - Season 2 Official Trailer 1 - enjoyed 1st season so looking forward to this! :)

Midnight Special - Trailer 2 - now this looks quite interesting! Nice!

Social Media/Author Platform

Medium for Business: The Complete Guide for Marketers by Kristi Hines at the SocialMediaExaminer. Ack! More stuff to setup and learn! :P

Writing Advice

How to Make Beta Reading Work for Us by Jami Gold. Good things to keep in mind here! 
Scream it until Their Ears Bleed: Pay the F****ng Writers! by Chuck (NSFW!!!) Wendig. (Don't read if offended by strong language - though I have to say the topic definitely deserved some choice words! :P)

Have a great week!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Virtual Tourist - Final Fantasy XIV 2/21/16

Final Fantasy XIV
Ul'dah - Main Storyline
All is not well in the city of Ul'dah. They have a lot of refugees from the cataclysm and other issues. This merchant has decided bullying the poor refugees is great sport. Boo!
Part of the refugee camps set up outside the city walls.
A concerned citizen. Love his turban!
Latest set of armor (back when this was taken anyway :) ). Very Japanese like, no?

New Gridania Area
Halloween event
Isn't that the cutest cottage and waterwheel ever? :P
Lying in wait to get a look at the Halloween pranksters.
Aha! One of the culprits? No! She's one of the good guys!
This one is an illusionist and one of the culprits! 
The illusionist and one of her evil helpers.
Hubby and I in our Witch disguises. At the end of this quest you get a flying broom! (We were not yet high enough level to ride it though. Boo!)
One of the kids who'd been turned into a monster. The change (unbeknownst to them) was to be permanent!
Another victim. She'd been turned into an imp. :P

Have a great Sunday!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Movie Review - Zoolander 2

Zoolander 2

Starring: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell, Benedict Cumberbatch, Penélope Cruz, Kristen Wiig, Milla Jovovich, Billy Zane, Cyrus Arnold, Justin Bieber, Sting, Kiefer Sutherland, and many more.
Directed by: Ben Stiller Written by: Justin Theroux, Ben Stiller, Nicholas Stoller, and John Hamburg Based on Characters Created by: Drake Sather and Ben Stiller Cinematography by: Daniel Mindel Music by: Theodore Shapiro
Premise: After the death of his wife and loss of custody of his son, Derek Zoolander hid himself away from modeling and life. He's brought back into the modeling scene after Billy Zane delivers an invitation from the current fashion diva, Alexanya Atoz, to come to Rome. Dealing with his own issues of a scarred face and the possibility of his being a father, Hansel receives the same invitation. Yet all is not as it would appear, as a rash of deaths in the music industry and cryptic photos by the murdered victims lead interpol fashion police officer Valentina straight into Zoolander's path. (Rated PG-13)
1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: I've yet to see the original Zoolander (my bad), but it was obvious from the start that everyone, from the main leads to the zillion cameos, that everyone had a ball being a part of this film. And while I heard there was some unhappiness from fans with regards to Benedict Cumberbatch playing All, I am not sure why they were displeased. He was fabulous in the role! And looked to have enjoyed every moment of it. He was perfect for the character. And his sweeping in to whip two Mork from Ork clones with vengeful fashion wrath was hilarious! (Wished they'd let him do more! :P)
2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: They did some very 80's and also some cool futuristic looking effects in the film. Interpol was super high tech - loved the screens. There was also a lovely chase scene with some Matrix like hijinxs to grab our attention from the very beginning that were nicely done. 
The jail for the criminally fashion insane was a giant thimble and needle - genius! And the prison cell holding Mugato was outstanding.  Several of the locations got spruced up with special effects magic so you got a combination James Bond and 80's MTV video effects here and there. :)
3) Plot/Story - Thumbs Up: I'd heard of Zoolander and learned about the Blue Steel look when all the celebs were doing it. But I'd not gotten around to seeing the first film. That being said, anyone who hasn't seen it doesn't need to worry about not knowing what's going on as they do a nice quick recap and even fill in the intervening years to throw wrenches for the upcoming plot.
Zoolander and Hansel go on a true trip of discovery - one to help them find out who they are and also what others mean to them. Rolled up in this are the themes of family, connecting, and acceptance. And of course 'looking cool' and what that really means.
No real surprises on the plot, but with the lack of mental capacity from the heroes, they couldn't make it too hard on them. lol. My two favorite spots were the beginning James Bond like sequence and the scenes with All. And Keifer Sutherland is pregnant?
There are all sorts of in-jokes thrown all over the place as well. Trying to catch them is rather fun. :) Oh, and the whole serving tea with the feet scene? Awesome! :P
4) Stunts - Total Thumbs Up: Some physical and some CGI stunts. This is a comedy so some bits go beyond human boundaries, but that's part of the fun. (Who knew Will Ferrell was so flexible?) And one of the longest car rolls EVER!
5) Locations/Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up: From the desert outside Malibu to the Northern reaches of New Jersey, they really picked some great locations for the film. All the spots in Rome were fantastic. And the views! 
Heck, even the weird locations like the dolled up medicine factory/toxic waste dump/fashion party were nicely done. Lovely cinematography.
6) Costuming/Makeup - Total Thumbs Up: Loved loved loved the Dr. Strange look they gave Zoolander when we find him in his hermitage in the cold north! Hansel's quarter mask was also adorable. Make note of his scar after the first look and see what/who it reminds you of. :)  
And the amazing (and horrifying) things they did to Kristen Wiig! OMG! Creepiest looking character ever! lol. I swear there were several characters from some old movies squished together to make her up. (Dug back up?) :P 
And since the film is about models, there are costume changes for just about every scene! Having to come up with all these clothes must have driven the wardrobe people crazy. Using tattoos as part of Hansel's costumes was a great move.
7) Music - Total Thumbs Up: I have to say half of my enjoyment of the film was from the great background score by Theodore Shapiro. A very spy/thriller type sound with lovely changes for different areas that set the perfect mood from the start. :)
Conclusion: Can't say if it is better or not than the original Zoolander, but Zoolander 2 was fun. Everyone looked to be having a ball. So if you're looking for something silly, light, and very well done with cool locations, look no further. Zoolander 2 will take you there. :)
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Better for Matinee) 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Picture Kaleidoscope 2/17/16

Have a BIG project at work, so this will be quick! Apologies!
San Francisco Sunrise by Mike Zampelli at  Look at those awesome colors! 

Underneath a Frozen Lake by Victor Liu at More awesome colors!

Vermilion Lake in Winter by Carl Pan at - dang! More awesome colors! Woot!

Okay, gotta go! Have a great one!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Virtual Tourist - Grim Fandango 2/14/16

Morning! And Happy Valentine's Day!

Grim Fandango

Side view of Manny's building. Open window he's standing in front of is Don's office. You can see one of the skeletal pigeons on the ledge. :)

Back in the Secret Base! I finally figured out (cheated) how to make a copy of my teeth.

Secret tunnel out of the city!

Exit of the secret tunnel. The city is in the background. Nice mood shot! :)

My buddy's elemental heart. Which he ripped out himself. Have to say that was one weird sequence. lol.

Some of the denizens of the forest. Creepy little buggers!

Where the heart ended up after my buddy's impassioned soliloquy.  He's so crazy. lol.

Don and in the shadows - the true power behind what set all of this in motion. He is not pleased by current events.
A tree marrow sucking plant. Took me a bit to get a clue about what to do here. (More cheating!)
My buddy is going for an unexpected ride. Heh heh heh.

From plain 40's black car to super souped up ride! Sweet! 
Demon Fire Beavers! And they eat bones. Eek!

Have an awesome Valentine's Day!
Happy Valentine

Friday, February 12, 2016

ConDFW 2/12-2/14/16 - Schedule!

Morning, all!

This weekend is ConDFW!

I'd meant to put up my schedule earlier, but life has been pure chaos lately. DOH!



PROGRAMMING 2 (MADISON) Friday, 3pm: Google Maps is Your Urban Fantasy Guide Panelists: Gloria Oliver (M), Seanan McGuire, Paul Black, Sue Sinor, Bradley H. Sinor Looking for a good location, and can’t remember clearly where you grew up?  Trying to figure out how long it takes to drive from Houston to Dallas when you’re riding the Great Hunt?  It’s amazing what technology can show you these days, and learning a neighborhood can be a little safer if you browse from the computer (at least at the beginning).  Our writers talk about finding the perfect location for their urban fantasy stories.


READING (ADAMS) Saturday, 12pm: Gloria Oliver, T. M. Hunter

MAIN PROGRAMMING (JEFFERSON) Saturday, 4pm: Magic vs Technology II: Exploring Technology in Urban Fantasy Panelists: Gloria Oliver (M), Seanan McGuire, Carole Nelson Douglas, P.N. Elrod, C. Dean Andersson, Mary Gearhart‐Gray Last year we looked at the effect of technology on magic in Urban Fantasy.  This year we flip the sides and look at how magic effects technology.  A perfect example of this is in the Dresden Files, where magic can actively destroy modern technology by being used nearby.  Does modern technology replace magic?   Can it coexist?  How modern should tech be so it isn’t mistaken as magic itself?  Our authors explore this knotty problem with SCIENCE!

PROGRAMMING 3 (HAMILTON) Saturday, 5pm: Where do Heroes Go to Die? Panelists: Tracy S. Morris (M), Barbara Ann Wright, Patrice Sarath, Gloria Oliver, Michelle Muenzler Last year we heard that Arnold Schwarzenegger is doing Legend of Conan (eventually?  Maybe?  Now it looks like November 2016) as a direct sequel to the first Conan, where it ended with him being King, old and grizzled.  As a concept, the idea is neat, and is something that Howard dealt with in his original stories as well.  Just how do you write old heroes?  Our writers of sword and sorcery discuss these topics and more.


PROGRAMMING 2 (MADISON) Sunday, 1pm: Interstellar Archaeology: Part Two – The Debunking Panelists: Mel White (M), Chris Donahue, Gloria Oliver, Teresa Patterson, David Doub, Stina Leicht The second of two panels where we inflict discover startling artifacts of OBVIOUS alien origin.  Our experts tell us how wrong the previous esteemed panelists were!  Last year, Sunday’s panel thoroughly debunked Friday’s experts.  Help us, they can!  Confuse us, they will not.

Hope you come! I'll also have a table in the Dealers Room. :)
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...