Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Geek Girl Penpals

Remember sitting down and writing a letter? That went through the mail? And wasn’t part of a birthday card or Christmas card? Yeah, it’s been a while for me as well. I have also really wanted to have a penpal for some time and meet some other geeky women. Then I found the International Geek Girl Pen Pals Club.

So here is the dealio on it. It was founded only this past March by a couple of gals who are trying to revive the lost art of letter writing. They are looking for women who love to write and send letters, who want to find new friends who are as geeky as they are. So one a month they have signups and attempt to match you up with your International Geek Pen Pal soul mate. And each round there is a theme (my initial one is all about sugar and spice and something nice). Anyone 13 and over can join up, there is a great little geeky community online with a forum, meet-ups, activities and more.

I know I am quite excited to break out the stationary, do a little papercraft, find some cool local postcards and make a new buddy. Maybe you might be too. So go on over and check it out and maybe make a new friend.

TUESDAY TRAILERS: PACIFIC RIM

Pacific Rim looks awesome. Its my Godzilla popcorn movie of awesome and directed by one of my favorite directors Guillermo del Toro. When I think about summer movies, i want to go sit in a darkened theater that has a nice air conditioning, sit with my friends or honey and just escape into entertainment happyland for two hours. This looks like one of those films. I am not expecting it be an Oscar nominated film. I am not expecting it to make me think (though inevitably his movies will probably end up with a nice discussion over drinks afterward). What do you think? Are you excited to see it?


Summary: When legions of monstrous creatures, known as Kaiju, started rising from the sea, a war began that would take millions of lives and consume humanity's resources for years on end. To combat the giant Kaiju, a special type of weapon was devised: massive robots, called Jaegers, which are controlled simultaneously by two pilots whose minds are locked in a neural bridge. But even the Jaegers are proving nearly defenseless in the face of the relentless Kaiju. On the verge of defeat, the forces defending mankind have no choice but to turn to two unlikely heroes—a washed up former pilot (Charlie Hunnam) and an untested trainee (Rinko Kikuchi)—who are teamed to drive a legendary but seemingly obsolete Jaeger from the past. Together, they stand as mankind’s last hope against the mounting apocalypse. Read more over at ComingSoon.net. Opens July 12th, 2013.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Oblivion: A Review

Oblivion (2013)
Directed By: Joseph Kosinski
Written By: Karl Gajdusek, Michael Debruyn
Genre:SCIFI/ACTION
Rated: PG-13
Time: 126 min
Starring: Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko, Andrea Riseborough, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Melissa Leo

Plot: On a spectacular future Earth that has evolved beyond recognition, one man's confrontation with the past will lead him on a journey of redemption and discovery as he battles to save mankind. 2077: Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) serves as a security repairmen stationed on an evacuated Earth. Part of a massive operation to extract vital resources after decades of war with a terrifying alien threat who still scavenges what's left of our planet, Jack's mission is almost complete. In a matter of two weeks, he will join the remaining survivors on a lunar colony far from the war-torn world he has long called home. Living in and patrolling the breathtaking skies from thousands of feet above, Jack's soaring existence is brought crashing down after he rescues a beautiful stranger from a downed spacecraft. Drawn to Jack through a connection that transcends logic, her arrival triggers a chain of events that forces him to question everything he thought he knew.

Comments: As much as I may not like Tom Cruise as a person, I do tend to enjoy the movies he is in. Oblivion looked interesting when E and I saw the trailer and it just looked pretty. Plus it had been a while since we had watched a good sci-fi film. My expectations were low, as they usually are when I go to the cinema so far this year (sorry 2013 too many duds and not enough awesome), but I was pleasantly surprised.

This was a movie to see on the big screen. Sweeping shots of a world we know and yet so different, shots of the destroyed moon, of living spaces so clean and minimal that it is hard not to want to imagine this future. It is a beautiful thing this destroyed Earth, waterfalls tumbling from vast empty skyscrapers, sunrise from the top of cloud cover, empty arenas and great sand dunes with the carcasses of old ships. And our cinematographer does a great job at taking us through all of this beauty. But its more than just the scenery. I love Vicca’s dresses. I loved the drones. I loved the scavs and how they looked. I loved the look of everything really.

The cast is small and I like that. Tom Cruise, Olga Kurylenko (Quantum of Solace), Andrea Riseborough (whom I saw last in the Devil’s Mistress), Morgan Freeman and just a few others. We focus on them, on the characters and it is the small subtle things, the way Victoria’s breath hitches when Sally asks if they are effective team, the way Jack cares for a small plant that try and grab a connection with me. I think one of the great things about this film is it relies on the characters and the setting to tell a story instead of all the great sci-fi explosions and things we have begun to expect out of an action film. And while yes many of the plotlines have been done before and the ending predictable, I didn’t care. I was entertained for 2 hours.

There are flaws, the action takes too long to really get started, and as I said many of the story elements have been done before. Plus there are some plot holes (such as two person team maintaining the entire Earth, let alone just the US), but you suspend your disbelief. And you have to in order to really enjoy it. And there is also something just missing that made me really really enjoy it as in must buy when it comes out, but it was enough. While Iron Man 3 is really the start of the Summer Blockbuster Season, this was a nice opening act and one I am glad E and I didn’t wait to grab on Redbox.

Rent/Cinema? Cinema


3/4 popcorns

MONDAY MEME: Fair Question

Sunday, April 28, 2013

SUNDAY SEVEN: MAG LOVE

I have magazine love. While I currently subscribe to only 2, I have been known to make monthly trips to the local store to go and indulge my monthly issues of my favorite mags. Most of them are geeky in nature, but I am curious to see what your favorite magazines are. Here are my top Seven. What are your go to magazines?

Geek: A few years ago I fell in love with Geek Monthly. It was what I wanted in a magazine: science, and tech, comics, gaming, movies, etc. And then the publisher closed and I was a wee bit heartbroken. Luckily about a year ago, the magazine came back and for me better than ever. The latest issue has everything from a review and an insider’s guide to the tv show Revolution, to training tips for Jedis. There are also articles on Gears of War, exo-planets, the subculture of itasha and itachari, a discussion about Superman: Unbound, and so much more. If you are a geek, you will probably enjoy this bi-monthly mag. I know I do. Plus several months back they had Nathan Fillion in a Tux ala Bond on the cover and my ovaries may have twitched a bit.

Mental Floss: I love learning new things. In fact if I didnt have to have a job and had the funds to do so I would either collect hobbies like Penelope does in the Brothers Bloom or I would be a student pretty much all of the time. I dig trivia and useless information. These are the things that make me happy and there is a magazine for that. Devoted to trivia and knowledge junkies such as myself, the mental floss monthly magazine features little factoids from pop culture and then everything else you can think of. And it’s all done in a great way from graphs to quizzes to articles. I kind of dig it.

Wired: A must for any techno geek out there, Wired is all about the science and technology we use or really want to use every day. You don’t have to be a computer geek to enjoy it and I love that articles range from philosophy and art to the new advances in hardware or even social network etiquette. It is all about how technology changes us as a society and just humans in general. Well written articles, new things for me to understand and enjoy ...all in a pretty magazine.

Entertainment Weekly: This one is fairly self-explanatory. As a pop culture junkie, this is my go to magazine and one of the two that I actually have subscriptions for.

Make: Ah the magazine for all things crafty and for everyone. We are talking the CRAFT side of things which is sewing, jewelry, etc and then we have the original magazine which can help you build your own robot or create a lamp. It’s a lovely magazine, though admittedly I tend to buy Make: Craft more than anything when there are issues (it’s been a while, but it’s coming back)

Bust: BUST is a groundbreaking, independently run women's lifestyle magazine that connects with bright, cutting-edge young women. Fierce, funny, and proud to be female, its revolutionary editorial mix addresses a variety of women's interests, including pop culture, crafting, music, fashion, sex, news and celebrity interviews. What can I say I dig fashion and all those things that Cosmo wants me to like, but I want it for me and things I like. I want real sized models and articles about women and not 50 ways to get your man. For me this is Sassy all grown up and I love that.

National Geographic: Who doesn’t love Nat Geo? Want to learn something, here is your magazine. Glossy pictures, lovely things that make me want to explore the world and become a full time student, to become a photographer and a researcher. It’s a magazine that makes my brain all warm and fuzzy and I steal the old issues when my dad isn’t looking.

Honorable Mention:Discovery, Empire, Mollie Makes, and Rolling Stone.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

THURSDAY CRUSH: Garrus

Name: Garrus Vakarian
Born: Unknown
Played By: Brandon Keener
You Know Him From: The Normandy
Geek Cred: Part of the Mass Effect game series

“It's so much easier to see the world in black and white…. Gray? I don't know what to do with gray….”


We can all probably remember our first video game crush. Now Bioware does a great job when it comes to its romances. This is due to amazing voice acting, brilliant dialogue and giving all sorts of players someone that they would like to romance. And of course lots and lots of choices. For me one of the best crushes and romances I have had in recent years was a certain scarred turian. That’s right we are talking about Garus Vakarian.

Ah Garrus Vakarian, turian bad ass and love interest all through my Mass Effect trilogy play. For those of you who haven’t played Mass Effect you first meet Garrus when he leaves C-Sec to help you defeat Saren and the geth. I loved him because he was sweet and courteous, a bit noble even but absolutely ruthless when it came to battle. He was eager to be the hero and right all the wrongs in the world and annoyed as all hell that bureaucracy was preventing him every which way he turned. Plus it was nice to have a sniper on the team. Of course as Femme Shepard I could romance him and did in the second installment. There was something about him. Maybe it was quotes like, “Your, uh, hair looks… good, and your waist is… very… supportive.” I think it was the sweet awkwardness, the nervousness and let’s face it Garrus is pretty cute for a member of an alien race. And the voice. You got to love that voice (thank you Brandon Keener).

The whole courtship is cute really and as I played the trilogy, I became more and more attached to my man in blue. I became emotionally invested in that game, a rare thing these days. I liked Garrus as a character overall. He’d been hurt and betrayed, seen a lot of loss and “my” character just wanted to offer him something more, a slice of happiness in all that destruction (great writing by the way peeps). In the last game the parting words between my character and his was enough that I really really didn’t want to go into the battle. I was worried about the loss of him as such things could happen and worried that I would be up in that bar in heaven waiting without him.

“Forgive the insubordination, but your boyfriend has an order for you...come back alive. It'd be an awfully empty galaxy without you….
To this day Garrus is one of my favorite video game characters and one of my favorite video game boyfriends. Who is yours?

Monday, April 22, 2013

TUESDAY TRAILERS: ELYSIUM

While I wasn’t completely enchanted with District 9, I did recognize its merits. From this trailer it looks like Elysium may do what that film did which was put a very decent political and societal commentary in with a pretty cool sci-fi film. This time it is class warfare instead of apartheid. It looks pretty decent and I am a total sucker for most things Matt Damon is in. Also Elysium totally reminds me of the Citadel from the Mass Effect series. What do you think?

Summary: In the year 2154, two classes of people exist: the very wealthy, who live on a pristine man-made space station called Elysium, and the rest, who live on an overpopulated, ruined planet. The people of Earth are desperate to escape the crime and poverty that is now rampant throughout the land. The only man with the chance to bring equality to these worlds is Max (Matt Damon), an ordinary guy in desperate need to get to Elysium. With his life hanging in the balance, he reluctantly takes on a dangerous mission – one that pits him against Elysium's Secretary Delacourt (Jodie Foster) and her hard-line forces – but if he succeeds, he could save not only his own life, but millions of people on Earth as well. Opens August 9th, 2013.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

TECH SPPORT FOR MY DAD

Have you tried turning it off and on again? I love my father, but technology is not his best friend. I know I am not the only one who somehow, without realizing it, has become the IT support of your family. My father loves his technology and embraces each new thing whether it is a kindle, a mac, the newest and greatest in tv sets, etc. However, my father also does not know how to use any of it. And actually reading the directions is a wee bit too hard to do. Use a DVD player? Call your daughter. How to scan a photo? Call your daughter. Not sure how to turn the ringer on or off on the cell phone. Yep. Call your daughter.

Today I helped my father with his homework. 

He has been doing a master gardening class at the local university and needed for me to come over and show him how to cut and paste a photo for a homework handout he has to give to everyone in class tomorrow. It’s kind of cute. I never thought I would be the one person in the family that everyone comes to when it comes to the little gadgets we use in everyday life. Especially since I don’t think I am all that tech savvy. Sure I have a computer, a kindle, etc but I couldn’t tell you the specs on any of them other than color maybe.

It’s funny and I know I am not the only one. My generation and those below me are used to this trend amongst our mom, dad and grandparents. And let’s face it, it would be mean not to support them as they probably got you your first computer in the first place. I just wish I was the tech support guru that they think I am. Admittedly it can also can a bit tiresome having to interrupt your weekend schedule to go help though. But I love them and let’s face it they make you feel like a god sometimes when all you did was reset the wifi router, but for them you did something miraculous.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Ashes and Honor: A Review

Ashes of Honor
Written by: Seanan McGuire
Softcover: 353 pages
Publisher: DAW
Language: English
September 2012, $7.99
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Toby Daye #6

It’s been almost a year since October “Toby” Daye averted a war, gave up a county, and suffered personal losses that have left her wishing for a good day’s sleep. She’s tried to focus on her responsibilities—training Quentin, upholding her position as Sylvester’s knight, and paying the bills—but she can’t help feeling like her world is crumbling around her, and her increasingly reckless behavior is beginning to worry even her staunchest supporters.

To make matters worse, Toby’s just been asked to find another missing child…only this time it’s the changeling daughter of her fellow knight, Etienne, who didn’t even know he was a father until the girl went missing. Her name is Chelsea. She’s a teleporter, like her father. She’s also the kind of changeling the old stories warn about, the ones with all the strength and none of the control. She’s opening doors that were never meant to be opened, releasing dangers that were sealed away centuries before—and there’s a good chance she could destroy Faerie if she isn’t stopped.

Now Toby must find Chelsea before time runs out, racing against an unknown deadline and through unknown worlds as she and her allies try to avert disaster. But danger is also stirring in the Court of Cats, and Tybalt may need Toby’s help with the biggest challenge he’s ever faced.

Toby thought the last year was bad. She has no idea.
+++++++++++++

I love the feeling you get when you truly become invested in a series. A couple of years ago I am not sure if I would have given Toby and her world a shot. But I did and I absolutely love it. It helps that I love anything fey related. I can’t help it. It reminds me of my mom telling me stories from Celtic mythology and all of the creatures that inhabited the world. When I was growing up I would leave milk and honey for the wee ones. I imagined that there kelpies and pixies and the sidhe.

As the series has continued I have managed to gobble them up in a short amount of time as I was a bit late to the party. Some of the books have been stronger than others but even the “weak” ones have something spectacular amidst its pages whether it is character development or plot development.

Things I loved:I love Toby. I love that she is reckless and jumps first before looking. It’s part of who she is and let’s face it half the time her recklessness is the only reason why people make it out in the first place. She is forever the hero, sometimes so much so that she is putting those she loves in danger. I imagine she can be quite frustrating. Always wanting to go in solo because she doesn’t want anyone else to get hurt, which means they usually do.

It’s been a year since One Salt Sea and Toby kind of went through the ringer in that one. She still hasn’t recovered even after a year and it is starting to take a toll not just on her but everyone around her. Oh she is breathing and such, but she isn’t really present. I know how that works, going through the motions hoping you can find your way back, but not sure if you can remember or find the way. She has closed herself off and who can blame her because somehow the people she loves keep dying whenever she is involved. She is scared and lost. She’s never had a family like she has now and its scary as much as she loves having them in her life. It isn’t until this book that she really begins to understand that those characters around her won’t leave her when things get tough. They will stand beside her and fight just as hard.

Admittedly the plot of kidnapped or missing children is getting a bit old, but originally I did like the idea of how children (either fey or human or maybe a bit of both) have learned to survive in this world. And yet somehow despite this plotline that is awfully similar to others, it is unique in its own little ways. Chelsea is a great character, a young girl who is more than she ever thought and part of a world that is supposed to be the stuff of fairytales. And Chelsea is a great reminder why the changelings are not loved amongst the fey because they represent danger. Toby knows this. She knows how she was treated as a child and she knows the choices she had to give her own daughter because of her parentage of all things.

I think one of the main reasons I really liked about this installment is all of the character growth. I love that every time we get to hang with the Luidaeg we learn more about her. In Ashes we discovered more about the Court of Cats and how not everything is going swimmingly. We discover how Tamed Lightning is faring among other territories so it is not just Toby who is evolving, but the entire world and all of the creatures and characters that inhabit it. Each time we get to visit and explore with Toby we learn a little bit more about her world and I absolutely love that.

Speaking of Tybalt and the Court of Cats. Whoo hoo! Finally and yet I am so happy that it took this long. They are a great couple and it was really nice to see some vulnerability from Tybalt. He put it all out there and came clean about some things, but he needed to, had to let Toby she has not been alone for some time. I have loved watching their relationship build and grow, like a real romance. it didn’t happen overnight and there were others involved. And then you find home.

Things I didn’t love so much: The plot as I said is a bit familiar and not as strong as in other books, but that is not why I loved this book. of course because this book is more about character and world development from previous books, it is not recommended for someone new to the series to start here. It would be like starting to watch Friends after Rachel was pregnant.

Buy or Borrow: Buy. If you have liked any of the other books in the series, you will like this one.

Part of: a Series. The Toby Daye series beginning with Rosemary and Rue

Also Recommended: For well fleshed out worlds I would try the world of Matthew Swift (Madness of Angels by Kate Griffin), Felix Castor (The Devil You Know by Mike Carey) and Harry Dresden by Jim Butcher. For great female leads Kate Daniels by Ilona Andrews and Mercy by Patricia Briggs. For more fey whoo hooness The Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr, CThe Modern Faerie Tales by Holly Black, and the Merry Gentry series by Laurell K Hamilton

3.5 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks 

My Read Shelf:
Smirking's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)

TUESDAY TRAILERS: NOW YOU SEE ME

There are some movies where I just turn to Finn or E and nod my head, yes we are going to see it because the trailer was frakking awesome. I think I like this one because I love illusionists, magicians, etc. I love to go to the Magic Castle and let’s face it looks like this is a heist movie with magic. Ooohh. It has an amazing cast. And also can I be in the audience when the money rains down? What do you think?

Summary: "Now You See Me" pits an elite FBI squad in a game of cat and mouse against "The Four Horsemen," a super-team of the world's greatest illusionists. "The Four Horsemen" pull off a series of daring heists against corrupt business leaders during their performances, showering the stolen profits on their audiences while staying one step ahead of the law. Opens May 31st, 2013.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Confessions of a Part Time Sorceress: A Review

Confessions of a Part time Sorceress
Written by: Shelly Mazzanoble
Softcover: 192 pages
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
Language: English
September 2007, $7.99
Genre: Non-Fiction/Humor/How To

Most Dungeons & Dragons game players are men, yet storytelling and roleplaying come so naturally to women. So where are all the female gamers? The answer is - everywhere!

Confessions of a Part-time Sorceress is a smart, humorous examination of the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game from a female gamer's point of view. The book delves into the myths and realities of gamer stereotypes. It explains how to build a character for a D&D game, how to shop for gear, how to play, and how to find the perfect gaming group, all the while exploring the things that make the D&D game a rewarding and recurring social experience for both men and women
+++++++++++++

I still remember one of my first tabletop D&D sessions. It was something I had always wanted to play but my brother was never into it and growing up it was bad enough that I was the smart girl, but trying to find peeps in school who would play D&D with me? Didn’t happen. So it took me until university before my roomies boyfriend decided to be patient enough with four girls (thank you Jer) and knew them well enough that he created a story for us.

We were so excited. We went and got dice, pewter little figurines to represent our characters and were set to play something that was still (at that time) for boys and certainly not a gaggle of girly girls. It was one of the best times I ever had gaming and I still remember it fondly after all of this time. Of course now 15 years later I have done more than D&D. I got into White Wolf’s creations for a time (even LARP’d at a Con with Vampire: the Masquerade), but there have been others such as Feng Shui, Warhammer, a Lovecraft based one, and even BSG and Buffy.

There is something really fun about sitting around a table with your friends, glass of wine and snacky type treats and then just losing yourself in a game. It’s fun. You laugh. You want to rage cry when you roll horribly. I really miss it actually. I keep trying to get Hailey to be a DM and for us to begin playing every other Sunday (she would be a great DM as she is an amazing storyteller), but nothing has manifested thus far.

Ah so yes the book. A friend gave this book some time ago, but it has been sitting in one of the umpteen TO BE READ piles that I have lying around at the house until just a wee bit ago. Love the cover by the way. Yep the pink kind of makes me smile.  

Things I didn’t love so much: The point of the book was to demystify the game of Dungeons and Dragons and those that play it. Basically Shelly was trying to set out and prove that it is fun for everyone to play...*gasp* even girls. Which is nice. However, in the book girls are kind of vapid and I wouldn’t want to play with them. Apparently if you are a girly geek you are therefore completely obsessed with clothes, shopping, shoes, makeup, chocolate and any other stereotype you can think of. Apparently we also cant immerse ourselves in a game and must bring up shopping of the Chanel variety when we are playing a game set in a fantasy world where such a thing does not exist. Now I am a girly girl in that I love dressing up in skirts and dresses (when it isn’t snowing in April...really PTB? Really?), wear makeup, love shoes, etc. Though to be honest I kind of hate shopping, wish my hair would magically coif itself without me having to do it, and need a bigger closet if I am going to have more shoes. But I have an imagination and I can immerse myself into a setting without bringing up does this nail polish match my armor? In short I am fairly low maintenance because let’s face it I can’t be bothered to be high maintenance nor do I have the fundage to be so.

But maybe, just maybe I am not as girly girl as I thought. I do love horror films, am not really afraid of spiders and am not completely fashion obsessed. So I am probably not her target audience when I come to think about it. I have too much of a nerd in me. This is why, like I said, that the rogue "picks a lock with his Amex card and uses charm to avoid paying late fees" and where shopping to equip your adventure involves going to the Nordstrom and Cheesecake Factory and ultimately picking up a Balenciaga clutch and three pairs of Jimmy Choos. Really? Now I know that not everyone you play with will choose to do an accent or really get into character, but I think we can all agree (even those high maintenance girly girl types) that such things would not happen in a Lord of the Rings film. And that’s kind of where you are putting yourself. You are just doing a disservice for women and basically saying we are vapid, so no points for your House there.

Things I loved: I do love that there are some nice tips for those who have not played the game such as stats, armor classes, what the die rolls mean, etc. These are nice things for a new gamer and would be quite helpful. Plus Shelly really is funny when it comes to some of her anecdotes and commentary on the game in general. I really did like the diary entries from Astrid, her character. In fact they were some of the most amusing bits and where I wasn’t constantly wishing the author would run herself into the clue wall repeatedly.

Plus she reminded everyone that RPGs are storytelling with rules. And let’s face it most women are amazing with the storytelling. We had the backstories for each of our Barbies or My Little Ponies when we were kids (or maybe that was just me). The point is we would do well in tabletop gaming if we would just give it a chance. Hell we might even have fun.

I only wish that in dispelling the mythos and stereotypes surrounding the game, that she would dispel some of her own when it came to being a girl.

Buy or Borrow: Borrow. If you want to get into tabletop gaming, instead just ask the peeps at your local gaming shop or heck even ask me.

Part of: Standalone

Also Recommended: Try your tabletop gaming with something you really like perhaps. There are Buffy, BSG, and even Firefly and Harry Dresden RPGs. Try them out first with a genre you love and get the feel. Then head back to the Middle Ages for some D&D or perhaps another Forgotten Realm.

2.5 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

GAMER GIRL WEEKENDS: From Dust

E and I love Steam. We are both gamers and it keeps our gamer geeks happy. Recently he picked up From Dust for me. It looked interesting and visually quite pretty plus I love the whole world building thing. With obstacles.

FROM DUST is as follows: "From Dust is the latest original game concept by Eric Chahi, creator of the cult classic, “Another World / Out of this World”. Immerse yourself in a world as exotically beautiful as it is dangerous! You control the destiny of a primitive tribe against the backdrop of a world in constant evolution—a universe where mighty Nature reclaims what is hers; and your mastery of the elements is your people’s only chance of survival...

Ground-Breaking Technology - Play in the sandbox of one of the most advanced real-time nature simulations, where everything you see and interact with evolves dynamically, offering a constantly renewed experience.

Unique Art Direction - Discover a large variety of environments: Tropical islands, volcanic landscapes, deserts and so much more.

Rich Story Mode - Explore 13 breathtaking territories of emergent gameplay. Master the natural forces at play on a mysterious archipelago and help a primitive tribe to recover the lost powers of their ancestors.

Confront Mighty Nature - Protect your tribe against Nature's most devastating attacks. Face down tsunamis, wildfires, earthquakes, volcanoes, torrential rains Master Godlike Powers . Control the forces of nature to sculpt the world in your image. Hold back lava, stop raging waters, empty lakes, grow forests and raise mountains!

Live Up to the Challenge - Race against the clock on 30 additional maps in Challenge Mode. Each scenario is a puzzle-like challenge where time is of the essence.


My thoughts: I really quite enjoyed this one. Basically you are the tribe deity with the power to help your followers survive. You are the breath and you have the ability to shape the world for your followers. You begin with the ability to create mountains, hills or beaches by moving the earth as well as the ability to siphon water away from your followers. As your worshipers develop little villages and grow as civilizations this allows you to have other powers such as solidifying water, putting out fires and repelling liquid hot magma.

I think it is the graphics and physics of it all that make it worth playing. I loved creating these hills and valleys, watching how rivers were created or tide beds. Seriously I would be content just playing with that for a bit. Over time you have the effects of erosion, the destruction caused by tsunamis or volcanoes. I really did love the mechanics of the water, earth and lava. Sometimes water can put out fires, can create lush areas of vegetation in what seems like a barren desert bringing game for your villagers (which look like cute little trilobites) to eat and thrive on. But it can also wash away your soil and earth and create impassable rivers. Lava can create soil, new islands to connect your villages and craters which can become lakes, but it can also start fires and create impassable mountain ranges.

There are some problematic things that can be frustrating, such as the tribal AI. Seriously some of my followers were dumb as bricks. Why take the easy way to the next destination when they can go the long and dangerous way instead. Admittedly sometimes I sucked at being a God. My villagers kept getting swept away by floods or I didn’t quite work a volcano just right so it burned down villages once it hit vegetation. Seriously sometimes that little clock that signaled the next great flood would send me into rage fits as I couldn’t seem to get my dumb little followers to head the easy way to the next totem. But it made the game challenging and for that it gets a star.

3.75 out of 5 controllers.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Tucker and Dale vs Evil: A Review

Tucker and Dale vs Evil (2012)
Directed By: Eli Craig
Written By: Eli Craig and Morgan Jurgenson
Genre: COMEDY/HORROR
Rated: R
Time: 87 min
Starring: Tyler labine, Alan Tudyk, Katrina Bowden, Jesse Moss
Plot: Two lovable West Virginian hillbillies, are headed to their "fixer-upper" vacation cabin to drink some beer, do some fishin', and have a good time. But when they run into a group of preppy college kids who assume from their looks that they must be in-bred, chainsaw wielding killers, Tucker & Dale's vacation takes a bloody & hilarious turn for the worse.

Comments: E and I were looking for something to watch last night and we both had heard good things about the film and so decided to watch it on the ole Netflix. And I loved every bit of it. Now most of you know I am a bit of a horror fanatic and I would rather take my monsters, gore and thrills than a romantic comedy any day (that’s because I am odd...in a wonderful good way). So I know the tropes. And most of us have seen them before. You have the good looking college kids who are all about drinking, frakking, and smoking their way through a weekend in the woods. What could go wrong right? And what about those weird hillbillies laughing and smiling as you load up your suburban at the dilapidated gas station?

Except those two weird hillbillies are Tucker and Dale who just spent all their money on a vacation home in the woods. They are good guys so much so that they try to save one of the girls when she falls and hits her head during a midnight swim. Of course that isn’t exactly what her friends see and as they embark to save her, a clash between the two groups ensues. Oh and also hilarity. That ensues too.

I love Alan Tudyk (Wash of Firefly fame) and Tyler Labine (Reaper) and they are absolutely perfect as Tucker and Dale. I love that this film wasn’t too over the top when it came to the satire. Scary Movie this is not. It was just the right amount and it had me thinking about films like Wrong Turn or any other kids in the woods horror films. Maybe it was all a misunderstanding? Maybe you just had kids off of their meds just committing suicide around their vacation homes. It’s all just miscommunication.

We seriously haven’t laughed this hard, used quotes as much afterward and still got our bits of gore and horror thrills in a long time. I am still so surprised that this film didn’t make it on the big screens, because it is a hell of a lot better than a lot of films I have seen in the past few years. And I love that it played with the whole horror genre. And beyond all that it’s all about not judging a book by its cover and that is incredibly sweet and unexpected. The film is messy, its clever, it’s hilarious and absolutely worth watching.

Rent/Cinema? Cinema


4/4 popcorns

Thursday, April 11, 2013

THURSDAY CRUSH: RIPLEY

Name: Ellen Ripley
Born: January 7th 2092 
Played By: Sigourney Weaver 
You know her from: The Nostromo 
Geek Cred: The Alien Films 

Ripley is a bad ass. From the first moment we see her in Alien, I knew I was going to like her. There is a reason why Ripley is on so many pop culture lists of awesome. Entertainment Weekly likes her because she is not “defined by the men around her, or by her relationship to them.” John Scalzi says that “she’s not a sidekick, arm candy, or a damsel to be rescued.” Damn skippy she is not. She is a warrior.

Warrant officer Ellen Ripley beat the odds and the galaxy’s ultimate predator. Not only did she survive the xenomorph, but she saves Newt as well. She is not your typical heroine. She isn’t a great and terrible beauty, not full of hyper stylized kick ass moves and stereotypical personality. She is flawed and she certainly isn’t idealized. She wasn’t always liked, but she did her job. She made logical decisions and she did all of this while being aggressive, smart, injured, tired, maternal and sympathetic. She doesn’t wear makeup or have the perfectly coifed hair as she battles the big bad. And yet she is the biggest bad ass. You cannot help but sympathize and relate to her. And she was ever so lucky to be played by Sigourney Weaver who I have tons of respect for (whoo hoo for tall women).

There is something incredibly empowering about Ripley. Something that lasts even now after all of this time that still resonates and when I think about my favorite female characters, she is still one of them. Hence the crush of the week.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

TUESDAY TRAILERS: Carrie (2013)

I am not always a fan of re-boots as I usually like the original just fine, but on occasion sometimes it is worth it (Star Trek).  I do like the cast that is in it and I am kind of okay with how this trailer looks.  Plus I am always up for a good horror film.  how about you?  What do you think of Moretz as the new Carrie?



Summary: A reimagining of the classic horror tale about Carrie White (Chloë Grace Moretz), a shy girl outcast by her peers and sheltered by her deeply religious mother (Julianne Moore), who unleashes telekinetic terror on her small town after being pushed too far at her senior prom. Based on the best-selling novel by Stephen King, "Carrie" is directed by Kimberly Peirce with a screenplay by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Gunmetal Magic: A Review

Gunmetal Magic
Written by: Ilona Andrews
Softcover: 326 pages
Publisher: Ace
Language: English
July 2012, $7.99
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Kate Daniels series 5.5

After being kicked out of the Order of the Knights of Merciful Aid, Andrea's whole existence is in shambles. She tries to put herself back together by working for Cutting Edge, a small investigative firm owned by her best friend. When several shapeshifters working for Raphael Medrano--the male alpha of the Clan Bouda, and Andrea's former lover--die unexpectedly at a dig site, Andrea is assigned to investigate. Now she must work with Raphael as her search for the killer leads into the secret underbelly of supernatural Atlanta. And dealing with her feelings for him might have to take a back seat to saving the world...
+++++++++++++

Sometimes when you read a book series you get completely sucked in. You imagine yourself in the lives of those characters. It’s this perfect little movie series in your head and it’s a wonderful place to get sucked into. A really good author and book series not only creates a full-fledged world with its own rules and structure but it creates secondary characters that you grow to love just as much as the primary character (kind of like how the Scoobies are just as important and fun to get to know as Buffy was). There aren’t too many authors who do it well but my favorite writing duo of Ilona Andrews makes me want to get to know more than just Kate Daniels and Mr. Kitty himself, Curran. I want to know more about Andrea about the other members of this great Atlanta that I have grown to love. But more importantly I want to know about shapeshifter politics. How different clans work because I think this is something that Ilona Andrews has managed to do fairly well within its mythology.

So when I saw that there was another book set in the same universe and it was all about Andrea, I was excited. Though admittedly a bit worried that it might be a little heavy on the romance the way that the Edge series. But since I can’t have more Kate adventures until July of this year, I decided to pick it up.

Now poor Andrea hasn’t had the most amazing past couple of years. In short she has kind of been life’s bitch. After her last job discovered that she was a shapeshifter they kicked her out though of course said it more nicely citing PTSD as well as a number of things that meant she could no longer work for them. For Andrea being a knight of the Order was the one place where she had control. She felt peace and was definitely at home with all of the guns and weapons. But now that is gone. She is having nightmares from when she was a child now that she is being forced to choose of joining the boudas or leave their territory. And she is no longer with her mate Raphael.

But she does have her best friend Kate and their business Cutting Edge Investigations and that seems to be without troubles save for the no cases bit. When she is approached to do a case involving one of the Pack’s businesses being hit and leaving members dead, Kate is not around to take the lead. Andrea steps up even though the business is run by her ex Raphael. She will solve this case on her own, and with a few friends along, even if it kills her in the end.

Things I loved: I like Andrea. She is different than Kate although they are both awesome kick ass and often snarky chicks. But it makes sense that she and Kate are close. However, like I said, they are also different. Kate can be impulsive and she thrives on chaos as much as she may deny it. Andrea, on the other hand, needs order and is definitely more reserved and plans her attack rather than rushing in. She is tough and organized, methodical when it comes to certain things and I can appreciate that. She is only rash and impulsive when Raphael is involved. Can you blame her? Love makes you do the wacky.

But I think one of the reasons I like Andrea is how much she has been through. In a way she is like my Kara Thrace and apparently I like the beautifully damaged. We are seeing Andrea at a pretty low point in her life. You feel for her and I can relate to her. It’s hard when you throw everything into one area of your life, the one that makes sense and the one you thought you could control and then it betrays you. Then again sometimes giving up control or exploring those other parts of your life that scare you can be a good thing. And it certainly is for Andrea. It’s not healthy to reject parts of yourself. We are who we are because of the whole not just the individual parts.

I think maybe that is why I like Andrea. I saw her pick up the pieces in this novel, though admittedly I would have been okay to have it be gradual instead of quickly in the span of just one novel. Ilona and Gordon have to be given a shiny gold star for making Andrea and Kate two different people. In the end sorry Andrea, but Kate wins. However, I can relate to Andrea a bit more and we both can have Kate as our bestie.

Now Raphael. I know some readers have never really liked him. He’s too pretty, too much of a player and yet I loved their romance in the Kate books. While yes he did a bad thing by making Andrea choose and now that we know her background can you blame her for her choice? But Andrea was just as at fault. I cannot imagine not knowing what has happened to someone, constantly searching hospitals and morgues, praying that the love of your life is not there.

Now he didn’t get any points at the beginning of this book and I was Team Andrea all the way. I was even Team Roman (snarky, charming, adorable dark magic volhv that he is). Seriously aren’t there any normal looking peeps in urban fantasy anymore, but that’s a tirade for another time. But then I learned where Raphael was coming from. And he learned where Andrea was coming from. Seriously, I hate the Boudas, especially Raphael’s mother Aunt B. And yet I can also understand why B is the way that she is as well. Pack society is just interesting. I must admit that while I still dislike Aunt B, I also understand things a bit more and some the scenes between Andrea and Aunt B were quite funny.

Like the Kate books, this well written, nicely paced and I enjoyed the overall plot, though admittedly seems like a re-tread of something Kate has faced. But points for trying.

Things I didn’t love so much: While a bit heavier on the romance and more akin to the Edge series on that particular bit just set in the Kate verse, I still liked it. Admittedly it was a bit more flat compared to Kate and I can’t really put my finger on why. I think maybe it was because the romance was a bit heavier and both Andrea and Raphael made me want to hit them with something heavy on occasion. It also felt rushed and was missing the spark that the Kate books have.

While I like the fact that newcomers to the Magic series can kind of just jump in and read this one, as it feels very much like a monster of the week episode in the overall series where the lone gunmen are forefront instead of just Scully and Mulder, it also took a bit for it to reach its stride. The beginning really does feel like an alterna Kate and it wasn’t until the latter half of the book where I felt that Andrea really became her own person and Raphael wasn’t just a Curran copycat.

I also think that while I enjoyed the plot, it was too easy. Here was a bad guy who shouldn’t have been so easily vanquished and too complex for the monster of the week feel that the book felt like. While the pacing was nice, it was almost too quick as we neared the end.

Buy or Borrow: Buy. While yes I have complaints and though not as strong as when Kate is the lead, this was a nice outing to get to understand and learn more about a character I do enjoy. Worthwhile if you are a completest like me when it comes to your series.

Part of: a Series. The Magic ______ series also known as Kate Daniels.

Also Recommended: Of course if you liked the romance bits, I would recommend the other series by Gordon and Ilona with the Edge series. If you like your plot more than your romance I would recommend the Mercy series by Patricia Briggs. Other great Urban Fantasy that isnt just vampires and werewolves are the Toby Daye series by Seanan McGuire and the creatures that exist in the cities of Matthew Swift (Madness of Angels by Kate Griffin), Felix Castor (The Devil You Know by Mike Carey) and Harry Dresden by Jim Butcher.


3.25 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

THURSDAY CRUSH: FITZWILLIAM DARCY

Like most women who have read Jane Austen or a love for Colin Firth, we find a certain tall, dark and brooding man to be quite delectable. So why the love for the dashing Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice? How has he become the go to man of fiction? Here are my reasons why.

Admittedly I fell in love with Colin Firth’s version of Darcy and since then I have watched and rewatched The BBC set a hundred times. I’ve read the book countless times and Elizabeth and Darcy have helped me through breakups and bouts of the flu. Shirt soaked Darcy has the ability to make me swoon and be that girly girl romantic.

Now we all have our faults and Darcy has them, but in the end he saves Elizabeth’s family and keeps it a secret, refusing to be rewarded for being a hero. He is proud, arrogant and so sure of his wealth and position. So much so that he cannot possibly chat up the pretty Miss Elizabeth Bennett and her poor family. But then he falls for her and he falls hard. Despite his best efforts to keep her at a distance he finally tells her how much he is in love with her, “In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” he says that and rejects him, cruelly, but still he saves her family at great cost to himself because of how much he loves her. He is transformed by love and I fall for it every damn time.

I love women’s lib, but there is something about wanting someone to protect and love me despite the fact that I am an independent woman and I don’t really need a man to save me. I love that idea that your partner wants to help not because he is the decision maker or the head of the household, but because he loves you and he wants you to be happy. I love Darcy because he tells Elizabeth exactly how he feels about her and yes I completely dig that. He woos her in his own way and it is the furtive glances and the touch of a hand that makes me all warm and fuzzy.

So I guess that is why that 200 years later we still love Mr Darcy. It helps that his description is vague so we can put our own Fitzwilliam ideal in our heads. And frankly I love the whole Elizabethan age, cute dresses and in Austen’s world I can apparently be poor and still have a house to myself and no need to have a job. I could just garden and read and be all crafty like.

I am off to go watch the Keira Knightley version now. Cheers!