Monday, November 28, 2016

Mind Sieve 11/27/16

Morning, all!
Well, despite my success in having created one full Mind Sieve blog post a couple of weeks ago, work then threw me a curveball. As the saying goes - one step forward, two steps back. (Every time I think I see the light at the end of the tunnel - WHAM! It's getting very old...) :P

A Series of Unfortunate Events Official Trailer (2017) Netflix Series HD - YES! This looks awesome! The original film in 2004 was fabulous and the kids great. But it got ignored for Narnia (which had some of the worst acting ever!). So I am so glad to see someone else is going to give it a go. And with Neal Patrick Harris! Squee! 

Rogue One - A Star Wars Story Trailer #3 - hoping they come through with this one! Woot!

Mindgamers Official Trailer - should be trippy! 

Have a good one!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Virtual Tourist - Deus Ex: Mankind Divided 11/27/16

I think I've finally gotten the upload issues resolved, even if it was like pulling teeth. :P Yay!
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
Prague - Jensen's place
Jensen's bedroom in his apartment in Prague.
A good view of several of his augmentation. (We get a shower scene if you have him turn on the shower! hee!) There's a lot of appliances you can turn on and off in the game. (Sometimes it opens things!)
Full view of his bathroom and him in the shower. :P His is one of the nicer ones you'll come across.
The view outside from Jensen's sink. Love the old European flavor. (All the red symbols on my stuff is showing damage I took from the bombing. Jensen is not doing well at the moment.) (All the awesome augmentations you just got used to in the beginning mission are gone! Wah!)
View into the dining and living areas of Jensen's apartment. Loved the cool sunlight striation as it flows into the room. 
Jensen is sitting down to watch the news and enjoy some coffee.
The Picus Group still controls all broadcast information and likes to spin them any way they like. Eliza is back, but this one is NOT our Eliza. She's 2.0. (In the last game, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, the AI started thinking on her own and tried to help me.) (One of the side missions this time around, gets them reacquainted. So, if you see one of the electronic posters glitching, make sure to check it out! :))
Jensen's TV can also be used for phone calls. Sarif is Jensen's old boss. He didn't make good choices last time, but this time seems to want to make it up to me. :)
Jensen's apartment building. Most of the tenants are augmented. They've not been having a lot of luck lately. 
Just put a drug dealer down with my tranquilizer rifle. (My favorite weapon aside from the "Q" takedown.) He landed in such a weird position I had to take a pic. Heh heh. Can't say his decor is overtly appealing. Hee! Here's where you start hearing things about a drug called neon.
Local thug and black marketeer. Go to guy for buying and selling stuff. There are other people you can buy and sell to in the different city areas. Not everyone has the same stock. But he lives in my building, making for convenience!
A high view of my street. :)
Hope you have a great Sunday!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Promoting Small Business Saturday 11/26/16

Greetings all!
11/26/16 is Small Business Saturday. A day to support and celebrate small business all over the US. You can get more info from the official site here.
As a small press author, all my publishers are small businesses. So I figured I'd go ahead and highlight them here as part of the celebration! (And so you know who to blame for what. Heh heh.)
Small Business Saturday - HardShell Word Factory
Hard Shell Word Factory (Now part of Mundania Press)
Cross-eyed Dragon Troubles by Gloria Oliver - Young Adult Fantasy novel

Small Business Saturday - Mundania Press
Inner Demons by Gloria Oliver - Urban Fantasy novel

Small Business Saturday - Uncial Press

Charity and Sacrifice

Small Business Saturday - Yard Dog Press

Houston: We've Got Bubbas AnthologyFour Bubbas of the Apocalypse Anthology

In the Service of Samurai by Gloria Oliver - Young Adult Fantasy novel
Vassal of El by Gloria Oliver - Fantasy Novel
Willing Sacrifice by Gloria Oliver - Young Adult Fantasy novel
Price of Mercy by Gloria Oliver - Fantasy novel
Jewel of the Gods by Gloria Oliver - Fantasy novel

Please help support small businesses wherever you find them! It's their fighting spirit that keeps us from only having cookie-cutter choices in what we read and enjoy! :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Movie Review - Moana


Starring: Auli'i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson, Rachel House, Temuera Morrison, Jemaine Clement, Nicole Scherzinger, Alan Tudyk, Oscar Kightley, Troy Polamalu, Puanani Cravalho, and Louise Bush.
Directed by: Ron Clements, Don Hall, John Musker, and Chris Williams Screenplay by: Jared Bush Story by: Ron Clements, John Musker, Chris Williams, Don Hall, Pamela Ribon, Aaron Kandell, and Jordan Kandell Music by: Opetaia Foa'i, Mark Mancina, and Lin-Manuel Miranda
Premise: Moana has always been fascinated by the ocean and what might lay beyond the protective reef around her home. As the chieftain's daughter and heir, however, she tries to put those desires aside and learn how to become a good leader. But when pestilence and lack of fish begin to plague her island home, Moana realizes she must go and find the demigod Maui and get him to make things right again. (Rated PG)
1) Voice Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Auli'i Cravalho as Moana was a treat. Her boundless energy comes across in every line. Dwayne Johnson is a hoot as Maui. The two worked well together, and you could feel the bonds growing between the characters. Alan Tudyk as Heihei was a surprise, but what fun! (Especially as it isn't a speaking part.) Rachel House and Jemaine Clement added some additional angles to the scope of the film as well. (Clement's final line after the credits is awesome! :P)
2) Artwork/Animation - Total Thumbs Up: Walt Disney Animation Studios outdid themselves with Moana. The film is gorgeous! Fantastic textures, colors, and they do awesome things with the water. The section where Moana is at the beach as a baby was sublime. It will make you feel like you're actually in Hawaii. 
A ton of attention to detail on all things. They use the 3D to full advantage, even making facial crinkles and wrinkles. Moana and Maui's hair would make anyone jealous! 
Heihei fits the "too stupid to die" type character category. They have so much fun with him! Maui's tattoos are awesome. His mini tattoo version of himself is great. Like a living conscience. When Maui shapeshifts, stay on the lookout for the fishhook and how it's incorporated into each of his forms. Nice little detail. :)
The island goddess and the lava monster were excellent. The cooling lava and resulting igneous rock turned out fantastic. The monster zone and the Kakamoji peoples and boats were fascinating.
3) Plot/Story - Thumbs Up: While the film has the look and feel of Hawaii, after doing some quick research, it doesn't appear that the tale told has anything to do with the legends of the chain of islands. Despite that, it does hold a lot of the trappings of stories dealing with humans and gods. It also definitely has a Hawaiian feel to it.
A lot of themes run through the film. Responsibility, dreams, finding who you are, and more.  
The film uses some anachronistic terms/dialogue. But though out of place, some of it is quite humorous. Several in-jokes are tucked away here and there. For example, Maui moving his mini tattoo from one side of his chest to another by muscle movement. A move we've seen Dwayne Johnson do in other films. :P (There's a big in-joke at the end of the credits, too! Relates back to the Little Mermaid. :))
Conclusion: Moana is a gorgeous film. Would recommend seeing it in 3D for the spanning views alone. Lots of fun moments and has plenty to keep the kids and adults well entertained. 
Rating: 3.75 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission)

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Virtual Tourist - Deus Ex: Mankind Divided 11/20/16

Work overflowed this week. I'm behind again. :( (And this one blew up and never did post. So I am posting it now. Wah!)
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
Had hoped to merge pre-new graphics card photos with post-new graphics card photos when I posted them but I failed. So here's some pre ones for when Jensen first for to Prague. 
Overhead view of the trains in Prague.
First look at Prague at the station. Eliza is back. Or is she? :P (Eliza 2.0)
Is that Koro Sensei in the background? :P You can see how the entrance to the central station have been segregated for augs and natural. Yes, things have gotten pretty bad since the incident.
Mid explosion at the station. This is the starting point of a whole heap of trouble.
Took a similar pic the second time around, but this one is way better. Truly poignant scene.
First thing Jensen sees when he wakes up in his apartment in Prague.
Ack, now the uploader is giving me issues with the site. Guess this will be it for this week! :P

Friday, November 18, 2016

Movie Review - Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Colin Farrell, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Samantha Morton, Ezra Miller, Alison Sudol, and more.
Directed by: David Yates Written by: J. K. Rowling Cinematography by: Philippe Rousselot Music by: James Newton Howard (Main Theme by: John Williams)
Premise: A socially awkward wizard from Brittain comes to New York on an errand. Unbeknownst to him, there is a lot of unrest in the city as various unexplained phenomena have the citizens growing ever more alarmed. This, in turn, has raised tensions amongst the wizarding world as they fear they'll be exposed to the no-mags (muggles) - something that could very well lead them to war. (Rated PG-13)
1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Eddie Redmayne was adorable as Newt Scamander. Despite his awkwardness around people, it's fun watching him get pulled out of his shell by a most unexpected acquaintance - the muggle Kowalski. Dan Fogler does a great job as Kowalski. The audience shares his wonder and awe as he's shown the secrets of the wizarding world. Watching his relationship shift and change with Newt, Queenie, and the animals is a lot of fun. And he'll steal your heart when you're not looking. Katherine Waterston as Tina did a great job as well. Her focus shifts and changes as she follows her heart despite all she's done to do the exact opposite. Alison Sudol as Quennie added a lot of charm and a smile with a ton of wattage. Colin Farrell was slick and oily as the head Auror Graves.
2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: The special effects for the film were lovely. All the creatures were fascinating, and several tried to steal the show. :) Lots of creativity went into them. Some resembled familiar animals while others were different from anything seen before.
The inside of Newt's suitcase was a wonder all by itself. Somewhat like the owner, a shabby exterior holding endless wonders within.
Several cool sequences of repair magic. The cooking scene in Tina and Queenie's apartment was super neat and warm.
The rebuilt New York of the late 20's looked fantastic. And expect even more once you go into the wizards' government building!
3) Plot/Story - Thumbs Up: The film contains all the things we've come to know and love about J.K. Rowling's universe. Loveable underdog characters, sinister plots, hidden social commentary.
The film explores multiple themes. The disappointing second child, social awkwardness, being taken advantage of, getting condemned without being heard or understood, and more.
A ton of red herrings and several surprises abound. Watching the chaos and funny antics by Newt's charges are half the fun.
4) Locations/Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up: Awesome work on all the locations real and imagined. Beautiful shots of the city, underground areas, central park and more. I loved the recreation of the New York Zoo. The shots inside the wizarding building were also quite amazing. The varied fake worlds inside Newt's suitcase, even more so.
5) Costuming/Makeup - Total Thumbs Up: The hair styles, the clothes were all very 20's. Great job with the look and feel. The makeup work on Credence Barebone and Grindelwald were very apt and creepy as well. :P
Conclusion: Fantastic Beasts and Where They Come From is a great addition to the Harry Potter Universe. Strong enough to stand on its own as well. Very enjoyable.
Rating: 3.75 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission)

I would also highly recommend the movie "Arrival" - got super dizzy from a bad case of sinus so didn't get to post a review! Great SF! 

Monday, November 07, 2016

Mind Sieve 11/7/16

Fan Fun!

Wonder Woman Official Trailer 2 - I am so looking forward to this! Themyscira looks awesome!

The LEGO Batman Movie Trailer #4 - this looks like a hoot! lol. 

Arrival Official Trailer 2 - Looking forward to this one! Woot!

Social Media/Author Platform

10 Ways to Grow an Organic Instagram Presence by Julia McCoy at the Social Media Examiner. 

15 Browser Extension to Increase Productivity by Lilach Bulloch. So many extensions...So little time! :P

Writing Life/Writing Advice

13 Reasons Authors are Mistaken for Serial Killers by Kristen Lamb. Bwahahahaha!

Do Your Settings Contain An Emotional Value? by Angela Ackerman at the Writers Helping Writers Blog. 

Have a great Monday!

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Virtual Tourist - Final Fantasy XIV 11/6/16

Final Fantasy XIV
La Noscea
God's Grip
Desolate looking, isn't it?
A new mission!
My mismatched armor. lol
Look at that view!
It's like we've gone to West World. :P
Nice symbols! The town is inside a small cave system. Easy to get lost even though it's not that big! :P
Head honcho of this desolate place. 
Small little garden inside the town.
Eerie looking. Has no bottom.
Meeting my evil boyfriend one last time. The mystery of why he is like he is is revealed! Poor sod.
Have a beautiful Sunday!

Friday, November 04, 2016

Movie Review - Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange

Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Tilda Swinton, Mads Mikkelsen, Benedict Wong, Michael Stuhlbarg, Benjamin Bratt, and more.
Directed by: Scott Derrickson Written by: Jon Spaihts, Scott Derrickson, and C. Robert Cargill Based on the Comics by: Steve Ditko Cinematography by: Ben Davis Music by: Michael Giacchino 
Premise: A world famous surgeon loses the use of his hands after a terrible car accident. Determined to find a cure, he eventually ends up in Kathmandu, Nepal where he meets the Ancient One. Driven to succeed so he can go back to his old life, Strange finds himself embroiled in a conflict that could well decide the fate of the planet. (Rated PG-13)
1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Benedict Cumberbatch did a great job as Doctor Stephen Strange. Cumberbatch took the character and made it his own. Though he's played many roles with ego filled men with hearts they deny, he still found a way to make Strange unique from all his other performances. Kudos! Tilda Swinton  was quite convincing as a female version of the Ancient One. Mads Mikkelsen was wonderful as Kaecilius. His conversation with Strange in the NY Sanctum was wicked and fabulous on so many levels. Not to be outdone, Chiwetel Ejiofor holds his own as Mordo. (For those who know the comic series, they do push him in the right direction by the end, so go with it.) Benedict Wong (I swear they made an in-joke of the fact they had two Benedicts) was a perfect and fun foil for Strange. Rachel McAdams was fun as Christine Palmer. Her reactions at a couple of places were priceless! :)
2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: If you can possibly see this film in IMAX 3D I would urge you to do so! I get motion sickness easily, but didn't have trouble with the film, so I think it should be safe for most people. All the warping of reality looked spectacular! 
The special effects team also handled a silent actor who just about stole the show - the Cloak of Levitation. Totally unexpected handling of the ancient artifact and it worked so well! Loved what they did with it! 
The mirror universe, Dormamu's universe, and all the weird manipulations of reality were fantastic. Dormamu himself, which you get a hint of during Stephen's first introduction to the unknown, looked fabulous! Wish we'd gotten a look at the Mindless ones, but I'm sure they're saving those for later. :P 
The spells themselves were super cool. The physicality added to them made them seem more real, which added more to the film than just straight visual effects would have. Awesome choice.
The Eye of Agamotto doesn't much resemble the iconic image used in the comics, but was still very cool. And wait untill you see the astral fight through the hospital! Fab!
And wait till you see what they do with the apple. Fantastic! And the backwards while still going forward combat was sublime!
3) Plot/Story - Total Thumbs Up: This is an intro story and most of the important facts fit with the stated mythology from the comics. Doctor Strange is hubby's favorite all time comic book hero so he's been slobbering to see it. :P And he was quite happy with the treatment. 
Three major changes from the comics  were in the film. The Ancient One is now female - though it was pulled off quite nicely. The second was the introduction of Kaecilius as Stephen's first nemesis. But that's only so they could build up what they'll be doing with Mordo later. Bwahahahaha! (Ahem...) The third was the addition of Christine Palmer into the origin story. But she made for a nice counterpoint with Strange. In essence, all the best parts of what make up Doctor Strange were definitely there.
The film had a lot of interspersed humor. It was quite a surprise, but it added a nice layer of fun to the film. 
4) Stunts - Total Thumbs Up: Between the training, the fighting and the effect of magic on others - the stunt team was kept very busy. Fights weren't on just the usual planes of existence anymore. This made for some challenging hand to hand combat! Even escaping was a major stunt trial. lol.  
5) Locations/Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up: Both the real and the imagined locations were great! They had great flavor. They even used a couple of places where you saw one thing, but heard another, throwing the whole into a new context. What fun! Filming occurred in the real Kathmandu, Nepal. Also in Hong Kong, London, New York, Los Angeles and more. The addition of the Avenger's tower outside of Stephen's view was a nice touch.
And wait till you see the New York Sanctum. Sweet! 
6) Costuming/Makeup - Total Thumbs Up: Major kudos to the makeup department, Benedict Cumberbatch, and the special effects group with respect to Stephen's messed up hands. There was no doubt in anyone's mind that they weren't the same as they'd been when he wakes up in the hospital after the accident. And later you can see the scars from the repairs and additional surgeries he had performed in an attempt to get them fixed. A constant reminder of his loss.
The group also did a fabulous job recreating Strange's unique look from the white in his hair to the blue gi like uniform. Great attention to detail!
Conclusion: Doctor Strange is an awesome rendition of the famous comic series. Fans will be please with how technology has finally caught up enough to bring this fabulous character to the world in the right way. There are two (yes two!) extra scenes during the credits. So stay all the way to the end! Stan Lee also has a cameo! (I know - like DUH!) :P
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again!)
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...