Monday, May 30, 2016

Mind Sieve 5/30/16


Fan Fun

The Space Between Us Official Trailer - looks so cute! Hanky time! 

Sing Official Trailer #1 - looks fun! And possibly also a hanky movie. :P

Beauty and the Beast US Teaser Trailer - redoing the Disney film as live action! Looks gorgeous!

Social Media/Author Platform

4 Tips to Improve Your Pinterest Exposure by Carla Gadyt at the SocialMedia Examiner. Weird that one needs to go to this much trouble? Surprised about needing to delete pins.

Have a great one!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Virtual Tourist - The Vanishing of Ethan Carter 5/29/16

This is SUPER late! Sorry!
Still having problems with the gallery and it locks up the whole site so I can't post anything until it snaps out of it. :( 
Anyway, started a new game to give me (and you) something different.
Gorgeous! Gorgeous! Gorgeous graphics on this game! *drool*
Beginning screen
We start in a dark train tunnel
It's like we pass a barrier!
Look at that detail!
The wind ruffles softly through the leaves
Pieces of clues from a hidden trap in the forest.
Trail off to the side of the railroad tracks. First peek at the lake.
Look at those clouds! The leaves floating in the wind!
The light fog over the forest.
Love love love the amazing skies in this thing!
Hope you are having a fabulous Memorial Day weekend! 

Friday, May 27, 2016

Movie Review - Alice Through the Looking Glass

Alice Through the Looking Glass

Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, Sacha Baron Cohen, Rhys Ifans, Matt Lucas, Lindsay Duncan, Leo Bill, Alan Rickman, Geraldine James, and more.
Directed by: James Bobin Screenplay by: Linda Woolverton Based on books by: Lewis Carroll Cinematography by: Stuart Dryburgh Music by: Danny Elfman
Premise: Alice comes home from China to find that things are not as she left them. Stepping through the looking glass, she learns matters aren't any better on the other side. To help the Mad Hatter, she must go back in time and find out what happened to his family. Yet there's more danger in her mission than she realizes. A lot more. (Rated PG)
1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Mia Wasikowska reprises her role as the spunky Alice to good effect. She appears a lot more comfortable with her role than in the first film. Johnny Depp gets to explore some unexpected sides of the Mad Hatter. Leo Bill was fun as the extreme Hamish. Sacha Baron Cohen was fascinating, and fluid, as Time. Helena Bonham Carter was fun as always as chaotic Iracebeth.
2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: If you can manage it, try to see this one in 3D or IMAX if at all possible. The special effects will make it totally worth it. From the mad dash of the Wonder through shallow waters to the Chronos Orb eye popping voyage over the seas of time. Lots and lots of amazing sights await. 
Especially cool were the Grand Clock and the Chronos Orb itself. The Mad Hatters' transformations from his illness were lovely. Time was amazing! The actor moving here and there and the audience seeing the machinery sticking out from the back of his head. It truly looked like it was a piece of him. Fabulous!
The vegetable people and the clockwork people looked awesome. The upright fish people were also rather interesting.
And if you enjoy the neat, unfolding buildings in the beginning of Game of Thrones, you'll like the cute unfolding little tales during the credits.
3) Plot/Story - Thumbs Up: I enjoyed this second film a lot better than the first. The plot seemed more solid and fascinating. Life on both sides of the looking glass showed different facets of the same problems.
Friendship and family were the main recurring themes. And like the first film, it hints at how a small thing can begin a chain of events that end in unforeseen and even tragic results. Bits of darkness, than in and of themselves don't seem like much, but can fester and grow until they are out of control.
They have some rather cute after moments that run through the credits, too. Like extra bits from after Alice's visit. 
4) Stunts - Total Thumbs Up: Lots of tumbles, crashing, jumping. A few of the landings from both the Chronos Orb and Time's other machine looked like they hurt! :P
5) Costuming/Makeup - Total Thumbs Up: The period costumes were very nice. And I loved the female captain uniforms. I also thought that Alice's oriental dress was gorgeous. The makeup work on the Mad Hatter was superb, especially as it kept changing. They even used the makeup for some subtext with regards to Iracebeth as well.
Conclusion: Alice Through The Looking Glass is a fun ride with lots of gorgeous special effects. Definitely put the Wonder in Wonderland. :)
Rating: 3.75 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again!)

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Picture Kaleidoscope 5/25/16

Morning all!
Yosemite Falls Under Moon Light by Ning Lin at - looks great! I am assuming the reflection is photo manipulation? I don't see a lake. But still very cool! You can see more of his work at his flickr account. :)
Mountain Monastery by David Lazar at - awesome view! He's got even more fascinating pictures from around the globe at his site. :)
Owens River Valley by Harry Lichtman at - loved the subdued pastels. Very soothing, no? His site has other pics with colors so vibrant they feel like a punch! :)
Sunrise Las ColinasSneaking in one of mine. Found a new vantage point where I can take pics without the window reflections. What do you think? :) Sunrise in Las Colinas.
Have an awesome day!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Mind Sieve 5/23/16

Had a website server fail on Sunday. Still not sure if it was me or my host. Had some new pics from a new game to share too. :( Still can't do posts from work, so schedule is super tight. Let's see how far I get! :P

Fan Fun

Star Trek Beyond Official Trailer 2 - looks fun! *fingerscrossed*

New Star Trek show teaser coming from CBS. But it's only going to be on paid access. :( (1 episode on regular free CBS TV to work us up. Boo!)

ICKERMAN Official Trailer - the visuals look super awesome! 

Social Media/Author Platform

14 Tools for Bloggers by David Sawyer at the SocialMedia Examiner.

Writing Advice

Character Dead-Ends by John Adamus - great things to keep in mind when writing characters. The WHY is important!

Have a good one!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Movie Review - The Angry Birds Movie

The Angry Birds Movie

Starring: Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph, Bill Hader, Peter Dinklage, Sean Penn, Keegan-Michael Key, Kate McKinnon, and more.
Directed by: Clay Kaytis and Fergal Reilly Written by: Jon Vitti Music by: Heitor Pereira Art Direction by: Pete Oswald
Premise: An orphan and with unusually large eyebrows, Red has always had a hard time fitting in, all the kids making fun of him because he's different. As an adult, things have not gotten easier, his streaks of bad luck not helping to keep him from getting angry.  Then the pigs arrive. Red tries to tell the village that there's something not right about them, but the smooth talking Leonard has a rebuttal for everything. Do the pigs have an ulterior motive for coming to the island or is Red just being paranoid? (Rated PG)
1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Jason Sudeikis does a great job as the pragmatic and unlucky Red. Josh Gad is a blast as super fast Chuck. Danny McBride did a nice job as the awkward Bomb. Peter Dinklage as the Might Eagle was hoot. :) Bill Hader had way too much fun as Leonard. Maya Rudolph added a lot cute bits as Matilda. Sean Penn doesn't say much, but his character Terence brought some definite fun to the table.
2) Artwork/Animation - Total Thumbs Up: Rovio Animation has taken the beloved little game of Angry Birds and made it into a fun film. The textures are nicely done, giving a different look and feel not only to make our feathered friends look fluffy, but even differentiating between the different feather types on their bodies. Nice work!
Bird Island and Piggy Island each have their own distinct look and feel. They even worked the loosey-goosey building style the pigs use in the different incarnations of the game on the pigs' city. 
This loosey-goosey style is also extended to their technology, which makes for a lot of fun. That they haven't blown themselves up before this point is amazing! :P
If you go see it in 3D, they have several cute gags they use the 3D on for good effect. :) And Terence is awesome. Speaking volumes with but a look. 
And they could not make the bird kids look any cuter! OMG! If they ever make plushies of the kids, I'm not going to be able to help myself. They are so CUTE!
3) Plot/Story - Thumbs Up: I have to give some definite praise to Jon Vitti for taking the premise of the Angry Birds game and actually building it out into a full plot for a movie. Thankfully animated films are expected to be 'fantasy' so that helped as well. Best not to look behind the curtain - as they say.
Red has anger issues, but he's come by them honestly. Though the island purports to only bring happiness, the adults tends to ignore things they don't like, and so poor Red was made fun of by his classmates for not knowing things and for looking different without anyone intervening on his behalf. Add his streaks of bad luck and I don't blame him for being angry. Several themes revolve around Red and friends - community, social blindness, suppressing feelings, individuality, and several others.
They make sure we know the birds in this universe do not fly - that only the Mighty Eagle can - and most think him but a myth. I found it quite amusing that the pigs are the ones who introduce them the idea of the slingshots. Their hubris was also their undoing.
Some of the characters and who they represent in the Angry Bird game universe are obvious, some less so. Half the fun is watching them do their thing. And the pigs are a riot! lol. 
Make sure to stay through part of the credits. Super cute scene with the triplets. :)
Conclusion: The Angry Birds Movie is a must for anyone who has ever enjoyed the Angry bird games. Prepare yourself for large dozes of cuteness, some crude humor, and fun.
Rating: 3.75 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission)

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Picture Kaleidoscope 5/18/16

Sorry about the lack of post last week. Normally work on that the morning off at work (before work time) but I tried to do a site backup and ever since then, I've been blocked. Need to talk to IT and see if I can get that fixed or just need to make sure to do the post early! (Easier said than done though! Whee!)

Did run into a new place people can exhibit photos and a great place to find stuff to share. Called Unsplash
Lovely shot by Joe Reed. Looks awesome screen wide. :)
Photo by Geoffrey Arduini - love the whole white out effect from the snow. He's got lots of other fun stuff to share on his flicker account. :)
Another of Geoffrey Arduini's pics. What a view! 
Pic from Dumbo, NY by Valor Kopeny - love how the buildings force you to focus on the lighter colored bridge. Nice! He does wedding and engagement photos as well. :)

Have a great one!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Mind Sieve 5/16/16

Feeling poorly so this will be a short one. Sorry ya'll!

A new Simon's Cat! Field Trip

The Jungle Book (Sarabande) from the Piano Guys. Really cool location! 

Assassin Creed Official Trailer 1 - looks awesome! Couldn't play the games because of the low refresh rate in the future room. :( Make me dizzier than spit. But loved the concept!

Have a great one!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Virtual Tourist - Final Fantasy XIV 5/15/16

Final Fantasy XIV
Highbridge and Remembrance Day pics
Inclement weather - nicely detailed too!
Outside Highbridge. Love the cave entrance and cave windows!
The arches and tile work really spice up the place, no?
The true leader of Ul'dah during Remembrance Day. So cute!
Ul'dah's leader and her general
The Twins - they know a lot more than they tell. :P
More awesome tile work. The little windows are also fab!
Stage area in New Gridania
Cute waterfalls in New Gridania
Wasps and carnivorous plants. Eek!
Masked people in the middle of the forest - can't be good!
Hope you have a fabulous day!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Movie Review - Money Monster

Money Monster

Starring: George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Jack O'Connell, Caitriona Balfe, Dominic West, Giancarlo Esposito, Christopher Denham, Lenny Venito, Chris Bauer, Dennis Boutsikaris, Condola Rashad, Emily Meade, Aaron Yoo, and more.
Directed by: Jodie Foster Screenplay by: Jamie Linden, Alan DiFiore, Jim Kouf Story by: Alan DiFiore and Jim Kouf Cinematography by: Matthew Libatique Music by: Dominic Lewis
Premise: After a seeming computer glitch loses owners of Ibris stock 800 million dollars, an unhappy New Yorker decides to take a stand - he decides to hold a TV host on a stock show hostage, hoping to also snare one of his guests, so he can make them tell the world on live TV how it is that they cheated him and many others out of their money. (Rated R)
1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: The film is filled with a lovely powerhouse of actors. George Clooney and Julia Roberts are pure magic as Lee Gates, the show's host, and Patty Fenn, the director of the TV show Money Monster. Jack O'Connell adds in a nice counterpoint of chaos to their otherwise predictable lives. All the characters, large and small, contributed something. Some lovely acting work all around.
2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: While there are no giant explosions, alien invaders, or gigabytes of CGI, we still got a nice share of special effects in the film. The opening sequence showing the electronic workings of stocks was visually fun. Lots of lovely video effects for the show, even some great bits of what "normal" people would have made with regards to a piece of footage at the end. Too darn funny!
3) Plot/Story - Total Thumbs Up: Hubby knows a lot about stocks, so I know if the premise and mystery had seemed to be out there he wouldn't be shy about saying so. But he enjoyed the film as much as I did. I've watched Mad Money with him at home, so we loved their taking Kramer's show one step to the side and three steps up - making it that much more fun. George Clooney can definitely ham it up. :)
While the main plot of the film seems straightforward, there were still several unexpected and lovely surprises. The motivations and moves are well supported, even the ones that seem a little crazy. I loved that even while doing things in a way to make them seem bigger than life, reality kept asserting itself into the equation keeping it 'real' - whether the characters liked it or not. :) 
Multiple themes are explored - most centering around those caught in the middle of the madness. Friendship, leadership, the little things we hide from ourselves and others, taking things for granted. Trust - gaining it, respecting it, destroying it - was definitely a major theme in all manner of forms. Making human connections - even despite ourselves. Lots of great dynamics were involved.
Loved the snide, soft glimpses into our lives and attention spans, and how much social media and our phones are a part of everything. The world gets smaller everyday.
4) Locations/Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up: The story spans wide so we get all sorts of location shots from around the world. Also a lot circling around the small world of the studio and those who spend most of their lives creating entertainment for the masses. And how those self same masses will do anything if they feel it will be entertaining. :P
Conclusion:  Money Monster is filled with layers and not all of them centered on the main problem at hand. Strong performances and unexpected surprises made it a very fun ride.
Rating: 4 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Paying Full Price to See Again!)

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Cover Reveal - Charity and Sacrifice

The final cover for Charity and Sacrifice has been approved! So that means I can now share it!

The 10K word novelette, which will be published by Uncial Press, will only be available as an ebook. The cover looks pretty snazzy though!

I love the big, fat X on the husband. Bwahahahaha!

They'll be sending the novelette out for reviews soon. So I will share those as well as they become available. Publish Date is still set for Oct 2016!

I've added the blurb and an excerpt again to keep the it fresh in your minds for the future. BWAHAHAHA!

Trapped in a loveless marriage, will Elizabeth’s sacrifice to regain Robert’s love be in vain?

All Elizabeth hoped to do was to rekindle the love in her marriage. Yet despite ignoring her social obligations and immersing herself in her husband’s important work, somehow this only made things worse.

Her last hope is her unborn child — a source of unrequited love to fill the void inside her. But that too is taken from her. How? Why?

Her doctor avoids her. Her husband berates her. And there are whispers — whispers telling of things that cannot be.

Yet the more Elizabeth ignores the rumors, the more they press on her to seek the truth, so she concocts a plan to find it. To find it and hopefully exonerate both Robert and herself. To discover the reason she’s lost all that’s dear to her. And she will do it, even if she must venture into Whitechapel to do it.


“Dear, you have to eat something. Don’t you want to get better?” Ada once more offered a spoonful of porridge.

Propped up with hard pillows, Elizabeth could sit at an angle. Millie, her personal maid, had come by earlier and brought her a proper dressing gown as well as a brush and pins. The proprieties must be maintained despite the tragedy. She knew Robert would expect it. And it was the only armor left to her at present.

Chastised, she opened her mouth to take the offered food, though she wasn’t hungry and felt mortified to be treated like a child. A child…

Elizabeth’s eyes teared up but she refused to be embarrassed further by her own weakness.

“Has he been to see you yet?” The nurse’s eyes gleamed with curiosity.

“To whom do you refer?” She suspected, but she wouldn’t help feed the rumor mill any more than necessary.

“Lord Stainton, your husband.”

Elizabeth refused to meet her gaze. “I’ve been sleeping a lot, but I am sure he’s come. He wouldn’t wake me, knowing I need the rest.”

Ada’s eyes widened with feigned surprise. “Oh, that could be it, couldn’t it?” She fed Elizabeth another spoonful.

“He’s a very busy man.” Elizabeth wanted to bite her own tongue, knowing the excuse for what it was, and well aware the nurse did as well. “I’ve had enough, thank you.”

“Are you sure, dear?” Ada leaned forward as if to feed her again, except she left the spoon in the bowl. She stared intently at Elizabeth, her next words voiced in a whisper. “There are things you should know that you’ve not been told.”

Elizabeth’s eye twitched. The hollow hole inside her pulsed with need and apprehension. She presumed he was receiving news of her condition from the nurses as well as using them to pass on his orders.

Her gently worded requests for him to visit were just as gently denied. The suspicion something was being hidden from her had hardened into solid fact. Yet she still possessed no information.

To be forced to gain it from the likes of Ada … Everything that ever poured from the woman’s mouth was suspect. She’d watched her long enough to learn that much.

But how else was she to even glean a hint as to what was being kept from her? “Is that so?”

Ada leaned forward a little more. “I could get in trouble sharing what I know.” The nurse smiled at her, expectation tightening the lines on her face. “But a token, a valuable token, would go a long way toward easing my concerns. Think of it as a bit of charity to someone less fortunate than yourself.”

Charity? Extortion was more like it. Elizabeth wanted nothing more than to grab her bowl and shove its contents in the old hag’s face. Yet something in the back of her mind niggled at the word. It had been used in her presence recently… “I might have something at home which would satisfy you. I’ll have it brought for the morrow.”

Ada stood up to go. “My old heart bleeds with gratitude, milady. I’ll be sure to tell you all I know, once your charity has been received.”

Elizabeth clutched her blanket until her hands went numb, sure the nurse was laughing at her as she bowed her way out.

Coming Soon!

Monday, May 09, 2016

Mind Sieve 5/9/16


Fan Fun

ANDRON Official Trailer - Hunger Games meets Reality TV? :P

Tulip Fever Official Trailer - looks interesting. Just who is playing with whom? :P

Social Media/Author Platform

Social Media Visuals: How to Easily Create Visuals Without a Designer article by Michael Stelzner at the SocialMedia Examiner. Some neat stuff, but "earier" is relative. :P

Cool photo resource named Unsplash! Some truly gorgeous stuff in here.

Writing Advice

The Lessons of 400 Posts by John Adamus. Nice advice in here!

What’s the Difference between Plot and Story? by Jami Gold.

Have a great one!

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Virtual Tourist - Grim Fandango 5/8/16

Morning! And Happy Mother's Day!
Grim Fandango
Year 1
Famous racing cat! Big sucker, no?
Lowest level of the coliseum tower.
Long view of the dock and blimp. Cool stone engravings.
End of the dock. Staring out to see. Oh, Meche!
Tattoo parlor down the way. Weird setup, no? :P
Finally get to pump security for info. :)
The Blue Casket joint. Isn't the poster just too cool?
Interior of the Blue Casket. Very bohemian. :P Also full of revolutionaries. 
The owner reciting poetry. 
Back at Manny's bar pumping an old client for info. Note the awesome mural. Why did I not take a better picture of that? Huh huh huh?
Not sure what happened here. Though it appears I am taking the elevator.
A more lively area of the docks. Worker bees trying to keep warm.
I got them riled up with revolutionary rhetoric but unfortunately the cops clamped down on the main bee. Boo!
Lovely lighthouse at the end of the bay.
Have a great day!

Friday, May 06, 2016

Movie Review - Captain America: Civil War

Captain America: Civil War

Starring: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, Emily VanCamp, Tom Holland, Daniel Brühl, Frank Grillo, William Hurt, Martin Freeman, and more.

Directed by: Anthony Russo and Joe Russo Screenplay by: Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely Comic Book by: Mark Millar Based on Characters Created by: Joe Simon and Jack Kirby Cinematography by: Trent Opaloch Music by: Henry Jackman 

Premise: The United Nations has introduced a measure to make the Avengers missions fall under an oversight committee. Split on whether this would be a good thing or not, the team suffers a further rift when a bomb explodes during the UN meeting to ratify the measure and a grainy picture of someone resembling Bucky is caught on camera. The UN puts out a find and kill order, but Cap wants to try to bring him in alive. But there's more going on than any of them realize. (Rated PG-13)


1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Lots of our favorite people are back and we meet some new ones as well. Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. are great together as their characters' strong wills clash even as they desperately try to cling to their friendship. Scarlett Johansson can speak volumes with a raised eyebrow! Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa was a great choice. And loved to see Martin Freeman thrown into the mix as well. (Especially since his partner Sherlock will be the next Dr. Strange!)

2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: Lots to love from the special effects department! The sequence with Tony Stark as an eighteen year old looked just like him! Amazing work.

All the mix of tech and super powers in mass battle looked awesome. Especially with Antman's couple of surprises at the airport. Talk about a battle! Ant-man playing inside Tony's armor? Priceless.

The russian lab and the underwater supermax prison were very cool. Both look super tough. And all of Falcon's awesome toys - I want them! Drool.

3) Plot/Story - Thumbs Up: I'd worried a bit about the plot from what I'd seen in the previews. But overall it wasn't as bad as I'd feared it might be and they did have several surprises. As usual, though, the devil is in the details - and the details tend to be the first thing ignored when it gets in the way of causing trouble. One grainy photo and no one bothers to do actual research and police work? Please. Later it happens, but not where it should have. Most won't notice the oversight as the non-stop action goes at super speed.

Another minor issue is lack of communication - even amongst willful guys. It was yet another convenient item left out until too late - no one even tried saying Bucky didn't do it even after he told Cap as much. They were busy, but not that busy. And no one even tried to prove it one way or the other.

A lot of the driving force on the plot is the first initial rift with regards to the UN and the perceived lack of caring by the Avengers. While all these items kept getting brought up about how people were killed and things were destroyed, not once did anyone even try to point out how many more would have died had Wanda done nothing, or how many thousands would have been hurt or killed if they'd let the bad guys run off with the infectious disease they stole. Ultron or the aliens - hundreds of thousands to millions of dead if gone unchecked. While I grieve, and so do the heroes, for the deaths of the innocents, how many more would there have been if the Avengers did nothing? Reality bites, but the facts should not be ignored either.

Aside from that, the driving emotions and personalities seemed pretty spot on. Though the fact they wait to the very end for someone to finally mention Bucky is a VICTIM was yet another omission for convenience. So while I understood Tony's rage, I couldn't quite see that he'd go as far as he did because he knew about Bucky's brainwashing. But for whatever reason friends against friends seem to be the thing in all the plots lately.

Ton of fun moments! Ton of awesome one liners! Great introduction for the Black Panther! Lots of fun interaction between the characters. And I loved Cap's note to Tony at the end and Tony's indirect, yet totally meaningful response.

Oh, and Spidey's suggestion from that "old movie" and them doing it? Awesome!

4) Stunts - Total Thumbs Up: Between the hand-to-hand combat, car chases, stairwell chases, air chases, and more - there is a ton to love from the stunt department. Real and imagined. :)

5) Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up: Lovely job on the cinematography. Cool angles and some lovely sweeping scenes so we could enjoy the action from any number of vantage points. Nice!

Conclusion: "Captain America: Civil War" is filled with awesome CGI work and magnificent battles and chases. A few bits were a little contrived, but they were in the minority and there were definitely unexpected surprises. This was a fun ride! (Two extra scenes so stay all the way through the credits!)

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