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Virtual Tourist – Deus Ex: Mankind Divided 2/19/17

Ugh! Missed posting since I was at ConDFW last weekend and this time it was due to a 14 hour day at work! Boo. Hiss! Hiss!

Anyway….

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Magic shop! A cool place and also has vital info for one of the sewer adventures. 😛

Here’s a pic of the inside. Notice the magic fortune machine to the right.

The shop owner and former hypnotist.

Entrance to one of the subways. See how it’s a credit card ad? Hee!

Kidnapped and imprisoned paper forger. If you look closely at her shoulder, you’ll see she’s wearing plastic see through sleeves!

You can see them even better here. Almost looks like a mirage. 😛

Statue sitting outside one of the other subway stations. Love the clock tower!

Love that poster! lol. And the super modern look of this station.

This view is looking back at the station from the outside. Better view of the statue too!

No, he’s not dead. Couldn’t figure out a way to talk to him, though, so had to knock him out. The guy on the floor is the master brainwasher of the sewer cult.

Hope your Sunday is peaceful and fruitful!

ConDFW Panel Schedule 2/10-2/12/17

Yo!

Here’s my schedule for ConDFW that’s coming up this weekend! If you’re in town, interested in writing, or just talking to other fans about books, science, and more, come on down!

ConDFW 2017

Friday

PROGRAMMING 2 Friday, 3 pm: Brass Technology and Steam Power

Panelists: Julie Barrett, Rie Sheridan Rose, Gloria Oliver, Julia S. Mandala

The genre of Steampunk has always featured unlikely brass gadgets and powered by steam. Whether realistic or fanciful, these gadgets define a look which is unique for both costumers and writers. We gather our panelists to talk about how to bring these gadgets to life – and what lies in the future for Steampunk.

PROGRAMMING 2 Friday, 5 pm: Interstellar Archaeology: Part One – Initial Findings

Panelists: Mel White (M), K. B. Bogen, Scott Cupp, Ethan Nahté, Gloria Oliver, S. Boyd Taylor

The first of two panels where we inflict (discover) startling artifacts of OBVIOUS alien origin and our esteemed (and indeed, TRAINED) archeologists, in turn, tell us what the artifacts are. Light hearted fun, and bring ear plugs! This year we will take a mystery slant and see what story they come up with!

Saturday

MAIN PROGRAMMING Saturday, 10 am: Unlikely Sources of Inspiration

Panelists: A. Lee Martinez (M), Gloria Oliver, Lillian Stewart Carl, Rhonda Eudaly, Patricia Burroughs, William Ledbetter

In this day and age of the Internet and wide exposure to many cultures, there are plenty of strange and unlikely sources to inspire you to write, draw, costume or even perform. From anime to webcomics to taking bus trips to strange locations, the human condition can express itself in many ways. Our panelists relate some of the more unlikely ways they get inspiration.

MAIN PROGRAMMING Saturday, 3 pm: 2017 Movie Forecast For the Geek Nation

Panelists: Mark Finn (M), Michael Ashleigh Finn, Ethan Nahté, David Doub, Gloria Oliver

Our panelists talk about upcoming films for the coming year – what is coming, what looks to be exciting and what moviegoers should watch out for.

PROGRAMMING 2 Saturday, 6 pm: The Survivor’s Guide to the Supernatural

Panelists: Melanie Fletcher (M), Sue Sinor, Gloria Oliver, Marshall Ryan Maresca, David Doub, Michelle Muenzler

If you were ever concerned about living in a world with supernatural heroes and villains, this is the panel for you! How can you survive in a world with mutants? Our survival experts try to guide you through the chaos. [Note: Survival is not guaranteed by attending this panel]

PROGRAMMING 3 Saturday, 8 pm: Yard Dog Road Show!

Panelists: Christopher Donahue, Linda Donahue, Rhonda Eudaly, Melanie Fletcher, K. Hutson, William Ledbetter, Julia Mandala, Tracy Morris, Ethan Nahte, Gloria Oliver, Teresa Patterson, Dusty Rainbolt, Rie Sheridan Rose, Bradley Sinor, Sue Sinor, Mel White

The fantastic authors of the Yard Dog Press put on their always entertaining Road Show! Make sure not to miss this.

Sunday

MAIN PROGRAMMING Sunday, 1 pm: The Science of Space Flight

Panelists: William Ledbetter (M), Karl K. Gallagher, William C. Seigler, Frances A. May, Gloria Oliver

What is the state of flight these days? Pictures of possible space ships notwithstanding lets get down to brass tacks on what can and can not be done right now. Our scientists will mull over these issues and answer questions.

PROGRAMMING 2 Sunday, 3 pm: Worlds of Imagination

Panelists: A. Lee Martinez (M), Tex Thompson, Teresa Patterson, Heather Schwartz, Gloria Oliver

In “A Monster Calls,” a world out of a boy’s head comforts him as he deals with his mother’s cancer. The movie’s imagery is what calls you – seeing the gravestones, feeling the parsonage smash, it is very visceral imagery. Our panelists talk about worlds of fantasy that are in our heads – and how to bring them out.

 

Should be a blast! 🙂

Mind Sieve 2/6/17

Morning, all!

Well, looks like it will be another quick one this week. Sorry!

If you’re in Dallas/Ft Worth next weekend, make sure to check out ConDFW! First SF/F Convention for me for 2017! Lots of fun guests and peeps. This year’s Guest of Honor is RACHEL CAINE!  Woot!

Fan Fun

This was the intro cartoon for a recent animated film (Drawing a blank!) and is was so lifelike and so utterly ADORABLE! Ran across it and had to share! Piper from Disney Pixar.

Ghost in the Shell Super Bowl Spot Trailer + has new and old scenes. Saw the anime movie recently, the fight with the guy in the water came straight from it. Looking forward to this!

Simon’s Cat – Looking For Love (A Valentine’s Collection). So cute!

This Beautiful Fantastic Official Trailer 1 – looks like it might be fun. 🙂

 

Have a great week!

Virtual Tourist – The Testament of Sherlock Holmes 2/5/17

Morning!

Touring an older game today – The Testament of Sherlock Holmes. I’d played the game after this one a year or two ago, so when it’s predecessor came up on super sale on Steam, I couldn’t resist. It’s taken me a whole other year to get to play it! Gack!

This is Sherlock. Currently at the house of a Marquis looking for a missing necklace. A simple case that ends up getting complicated after it’s solved. Dum dum DUM!

The game has voice over and text. Plus each conversation is saved and can be looked at again if needed. I love all the awesome detail. 🙂

The game gives tips during this first crime, which is very nice! (Coolest aquarium ever right?)

So pretty!

And analyze you will!

Player Interface screen. It is currently showing the city map. You click on the round icon to choose to go there.

Watson is there as well. You sometimes get to move him around instead. And there’s also Toby! Woot! (Something I loved from the previous game I played – you get to be the hound for a case! Heh heh)

Murder of the Bishop. The plot thickens!

Such lovely stained glass windows! And the solar is beyond the doors.

Hope you have a productive Sunday!

Movie Review – The Space Between Us

The Space Between Us

Starring: Asa Butterfield, Britt Robertson, Gary Oldman, Carla Gugino, BD Wong, Janet Montgomery, Peter Chelsom, and more.

Directed by: Peter Chelsom Screenplay by: Allan Loeb Story by: Stewart Schill, Richard Barton Lewis, and Allan Loeb Cinematography by: Barry Peterson Music by: Andrew Lockington

Premise: An accidental pregnancy discovered after the launch of a mission to Mars, becomes a secret to avoid scandal and the withdrawal of funding. Sixteen years later, Gardner’s existence is still a secret. But when he finally gets a hold of his mother’s belongings in storage, he longs to follow the clues she left and see his father, if only for a moment. So when he has the opportunity to go to Earth, he escapes the facility to meet his only friend on Earth and track down his missing parent. (Rated PG-13)

Review:

1) Acting – Total Thumbs Up: Asa Butterfield does a marvelous job as Gardner. His wonder at seeing what Earth has to offer is infectious. Britt Robertson as the thick skinned Tulsa was perfect. It was fun watching her well placed and shored up emotional walls slowly come tumbling down. Gary Oldman as Nathaniel Shepherd was poignant as a man who’d lost sight of what the dream was about. Carla Gugino gave depth to the awakening of Kendra Wyndham’s feelings and realizations about her charge.

2) Special Effects – Total Thumbs Up: The film begins before Gardner is born, so we see the actual launch of the mission to Mars. The take off sequence looked great. The views of Mars and later Earth from orbit were fantastic.

Since the story is set several years in our future, there were lots of little technical upgrades to everyday life. The crystal/glass computers looked super cool. Centaur, the robot on Mars, looked like something a kid would make. The kick me sign on the back of his head was hilarious and also reminiscent of the cool SF film called “Moon.”

The barn explosion was BIG! A little overdone, but they did do a great job with the wind and smoke to obscure the view from those spying from above. 😛

3) Plot/Story – Neutral: This is one of those films where you don’t want to look too closely at what is being told, or it starts falling apart. Overall, the concept is fun and entertaining, and it even has a couple of twists. The growing relationship between Gardner and Tulsa and their trials are what keeps us interested. Yet the film also took a few corners by omission and some of the science is ignored, so they don’t have to figure out a way to work around it.

The primary driver of the film is how Gardner can’t handle Earth gravity. And they did take the time to introduce a way to help his bones stand up to the higher gravity, which was great. What they ignored is the fact that going into orbit or into space, multiplies the gravity, which would, in turn, kill Gardner outright. They could have used a gel container or even a water tank to help offset some of the effects, but they didn’t use anything at all.

They also ignored some facts with Sarah getting pregnant in the first place. No woman who fought and clawed her way to being the leader of a four-year mission to Mars would then blow it all away by getting pregnant. Birth control would have been the first thing she would have taken care of. To spend so much time and effort to gain her position, she wouldn’t have just thrown it away. (And they never have the decency to tell us what she died of! Argh!)

The same lapse in mentality shows up again when Gardner and Tulsa have a “night” together. As a child in foster care, she would be very aware of the type of situations which might have been the reason she got into the system. I doubt she’d be wanting to make the same error to another child. (And there’s also the fact with Garnder’s health problems, he would have probably died from the act due to the stress on his enlarged heart, but we won’t go there…) 😛

A couple of more nitpicks. 1 – Things Gardner found unfamiliar didn’t quite work. Since he had access to entertainment on Mars, it’s hard to believe he didn’t know what streets were, or horses, even dogs. It would have been more fun for him to know what they were but touching them, smelling them, that part that would have been new and would surprise him. Much like the fun scene at the bus stop in the rain. He knew what it was, but actually experiencing it was something else altogether. We needed more of that! 2 – If Gardner had access to social media/chat rooms – why was Tulsa his only friend? 3 – Communications between Earth and Mars were pretty much instantaneous. Yet nothing was said about how this is possible. Especially since lag times currently run from four to twenty minutes each way!

4) Cinematography – Total Thumbs Up: The cinematography on this film was fantastic. The shots are themselves a love story of sorts. One to get the audience to see and fall in love with our planet as much as Gardner does. So many gorgeous shots!

Conclusion: An adorable love story with bits of mystery carried forward by a great cast. As long as you don’t look too closely at the details and science, you’re in for a nice ride.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission)

Mind Sieve 1/30/17

Morning!

Short one this week as I had to log into work on Sunday. Boo!

Planetarium Trailer – looks funky!

Brimstone Trailer – looks harsh! Dang!

King Arthur Official Trailer # 2 – There’s a short one and then a longer one in the same video. Magic looks spiffy!

Have a fun week!

Virtual Tourist – The Vanishing of Ethan Carter 1/29/17

Survived another week, yay!

Realized I’d forgotten to share more pics from this game.  Can’t have that! It’s so pretty!

Vanishing of Ethan Carter

They do have the most gorgeous skies ever!

A flashback into Ethan’s past. Kid’s fort now turned super creepy.

The woods that are in the back of the small town.

An odd cemetery and church nestled in the woods.

The side of one of the crypts.

Front of the crypts. With all the rocks it looks like graves were hard to do, and so they created vaults?

A vision of the cemetery. There’s something I need to find.

The church by the cemetery. It has a Viking vibe to it, no?

Grave marker?

Front of the church. With a good view of the bell tower.

Hope you have a fruitful day!

Movie Review – Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

Starring: Milla Jovovich, Iain Glen, Ali Larter, Shawn Roberts, Eoin Macken, Fraser James, Ruby Rose, William Levy, Rola, Ever Anderson, and more.

Directed by: Paul W.S. Anderson Written by: Paul W.S. Anderson Cinematography by: Glen MacPherson Music by: Paul Haslinger

Premise: Having survived a trap in Washington, D.C. Alice gets contacted by the Red Queen – Umbrella’s AI Computer. She warns that in 48 hours the three thousand plus humans left on the surface of the planet will be exterminated. Their only hope is for Alice to come back to the Hive to retrieve the antidote for the T-virus. One the Umbrella Corporation has kept hidden from the world. The ultimate secrets are about to be revealed. (Rated  R)

Review:

1) Acting – Thumbs Up: Familiar and new characters fill the cast. Milla Jovovich, Iain Glen, Ali Larter, and Shawn Roberts reprise their previous roles in the Resident Evil universe. A couple of them get to play more than one. 🙂 Milla Jovovich continues to give Alice some nice layers with what little she’s given to work with. Iain Glen looks to have had a lot of most fun playing multiple roles in this one.

2) Special Effects – Thumbs Up: It’s hard to say if it was due to budget cuts or the direction the group was ordered to follow, but some of the filming choices made a lot of the special effects look cheap or mediocre. Which is a shame, because there were some neat effects in there.

The first creature that attacks Alice is filmed in such a way the audience can’t get a sense of what it look like. All you see is a blurred, giant blob of flesh. Between all the shaky cam and giggling, weaving viewpoints. They did slightly better with the next creature, but even that one the good glimpses seemed doled out rather than consistent.

Great work on the zombies. The ones hung from a bridge and only reacting when the trucks drove beneath them were an awesome detail. There’s one that shows up in the Hive that gave it all he had despite being hung to dry, poor thing. He looked great!

The Hive itself was fab. The recreations of several familiar places and the transformation of others were well done. The evil laser corridor makes a comeback. Bwahaha! The bridge/walkway coming up out of the water was awesome.

3) Plot/Story – Thumbs Down: Hubby has loved this franchise since day one. I’ve gone and seen all of the films with him. Some have been better than others, yet you don’t tend to expect too much in that department. The action and special effects are what people truly come for, and they usually deliver quite well on that aspect of things.  This time, though, they failed at both. 🙁

The plot was awful. Too much of it was contrived for convenience. No real surprises.

It was bad enough that the audience gets thrown into the deep end with little explanation. (And with information that doesn’t match info previously given in other films!) Then we’re “told” Alice survived a trap in D.C. but got to see none of it. New characters are thrown at us, but the audience is given no time to get to know them. Yet we’re expected to care when they die…

Alice has 48 hours to get the antidote and save humanity. Yet the story has the characters waste hours upon hours preparing for a coming attack on the human “stronghold” rather than just go to the Hive to save what little of the human race is left. Instead, Alice leaves herself two measly hours to break into and infiltrate a giant underground facility and find the elusive antidote. One that could be locked up anywhere in the facility and not easily accessible. Right…

Wesker’s job is to keep people out of the Hive. He knows Alice is coming. He and Isaacs keep talking about doing lockdowns and having all the security primed. So what does he do? He keeps the giant door leading into the hive WIDE OPEN! Even taking into account the supposed “power grid issues” he still had plenty of time to close the thing but doesn’t. (What’s hilarious about the super convenient “power grid issues” is that if they truly had rolling power outages, all of the people in the cryo tubes would be DEAD!)

Don’t get me started on how the “power grid issues” get used to make convenient problems for the infiltrators. Ugh.

As if the plot issues weren’t bad enough, they ruined most of the action shots with shaky cam, blinking lights, wobbly angles and any excuse to not get a good clear shot of the action. Made no sense. You’d get one impressive bit of fighting, then a ton of jerky crap you couldn’t keep track of. *sigh*

4) Stunts – Thumbs Up: Lots of stunts and neatly choreographed battle scenes. But they too suffered from the horrible shaky cam, wobbly angles, and strobe light effects. Boo! It was frustrating to get something super cool and then something almost unrecognizable. Double boo!

5) Music – Total Thumbs Up: The one bright spot of the movie was the music. Paul Haslinger’s “A Force so Evil” track which is used as the film opens got the blood flowing and built a growing sense of excitement. Too bad the plot and bad filming couldn’t follow through on what he created with the score.

Conclusion: The final installment in the “Resident Evil” saga will not leave a good impression overall. Bad plots might be expected in films like these, but when they muck with the action, they’ve drained what little fun could be had at all.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 (Hubby’s Rating: Better for Matinee.)

Mind Sieve 1/23/17

Happy Monday!

Fan Fun

The LEGO Batman Movie Trailer #5 – uh oh, a ton of villains!

Logan Trailer #2 – looking forward to it!

Wonder Woman Trailer #2 – Can’t wait!

Social Media/Author Platform

Facebook Community Development: How to Cultivate Loyal Fans by Michael Stelzner – I need like 10 clones now. Lol.

 

Writing

The Ultimate Guide to Pitch Writing by Jami Gold. Just in time! The edit for “Alien Redemption” is done so I need to start shopping it. 😛

5 Things Psychology Can Teach Writers by Angela Ackerman and Tamar Sloan.

 

 

Virtual Tourist – Deus Ex: Mankind Divided 1/22/17

Morning!

Year End work stuff has been messing up my schedule. Flip-flopping Texas weather has been messing up my sinuses. Between the two, I can’t get blog stuff done. Waaahhhh!

Dues Ex: Mankind Divided

The leader of the underground cult and a total brainwasher. He’s excellent at it.

He’s messing with my mind! I don’t entirely succumb, but it affects me plenty.

A podium with a microphone so his people can speak with him, except it’s not plugged in. He’s a nasty piece of work! lol. Need to get my inside’s fixed before I tackle the rest of this one.

Subway station. Love the movie poster. Hah! The place is segregated between naturals and augmented zones.

Inside the subway car/tram.  The sequence made me woozy, so every time I got on, I had to look somewhere else for a minute. Wheee!

Station on the other end. There are four or five locations you will take the subway to get to. Each is slightly different. This angle is from the Aug side of the station.

One thing I love about this game is all the awesome detail. Even the drink dispensers take sides. lol.

Outside the station. Gorgeous and so modern!

The plaque is about the incident resulting during the end phase of the previous game. It truly messed up the world. But could have been so much worse!

Totally loved this 3D ad for the store Tech Noir.

Have a great Sunday!