Quick Review of Gravity + Link to Vidcast Discussion

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Anti-Health, Movies, Podcast, Too Long For Twitter

 

I saw Gravity in IMAX 3D specifically for a Google Hangout with friends where we planned to geek out on it and other stuff. I highly recommend it in that format if you can swing the funds. I have been (I know, I know, I brought it on myself.) spinny and nauseous since about 5 minutes into the trailers (that was hours ago. *burp*) with a migraine bearing down, but it’s totally worth it. If you can’t swing the funds, please, see it on the big screen however you can. I think it really matters on this one. 

The giant wall of blackness and silence in the theaters as you feel like you sit amongst the stars. I caught myself at one exciting moment having to force my hands to stay down, so strong was my urge to reach for hands of the actors as they swung around in space, desperately seeking purchase. The movie immediately immerses you into what truly is (as expected) a breath-taking movie with a beautiful story.

Seriously, beautiful. There’s no feel of a “Wouldn’t that be cool visually? Yeah, let’s write a script to explain THAT.” I just hadn’t heard about the emotional punches to the throat, other than those expected by knowing the premise from the trailer. But, WOW. I finally like Clooney again and Bullock outdoes anything I think I’ve ever seen her in. And I’ve seen a lot of them (fan girl). She is amazing in what must have been a solitary and physically taxing role, and her face frequently made me forget that behind her there were sights of Earth and space that should have held my attention over anything else. 

Take tissues – you have been warned. Your mileage may vary, but this movie was heartbreaking for me and I want no bitchin’ later. 

Per minute entertainment may have been pricier for the IMAX 3D price tag since it’s only 90-ish minutes, but we also saw the Ender’s Game trailer, standard, (which is coming out on our 10th anniversary!)
AND
The Hobbit:2 trailer (in 3D) with a December release date. And I don’t feel cheated either. I’m just super glad the Furlough ended so we could finally expend the funds to see it. Don’t get me started on the furlough… 😉

If you’d like to hear a lengthy discussion, where Chooch, some friends and I attempt a Spoiler-Free(-ish) chat, followed by a Spoiler-Rich segment, check out the following deets:

WARNING: I say attempt, because we’re not vetting each phrase and sometimes we realize too late that we’re in Spoiler-Rich territory. No bitching, you’ve been warned.

For the vidcast, you can catch it now at the SpecFicMedia YouTube channel.

If you’re audio ‘cast only, then there will be a wait as the audio gets spiffied up for posting, but you can grab previous episodes (this was number 10) at the site, in iTunes or whatever witchcraft you use for your RSS goodness.

From the Mouths of Podcasters

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Books, Chooch, Friends, No Whining, Podcast

As I’ve mentioned here before, I’m part of a group of podcasters talking about the HBO Game of Thrones series, called SpecFicMedia Presents: Beyond the Wall, A Game of Thrones Podcast. Oi, what a mouthful. I’ll just refer to it as BTWPodcast forever more in my personal blog.

As the HBO series season has ended, so has our podcast. For now. During one of the episodes, P.G. Holyfield made an observation about all the plotting and planning over the span of years being undone in an instant by a random and unpredictable event. While I agreed with the point at the time, it didn’t really sink in.

While running and doing a QA listen to the podcast before posting, it hit me like a brick wall. Rather than just knowing that as a fact of life, the concept has been brought home in a very painful way and absolutely resonates with me. No matter how sure your footing, with no regard to the most honorable of your intentions, things happen that can change things forever. If you’re very very lucky, you can recover. If you aren’t, then you have to find a way to move forward, if possible. In both cases, there is likely a price to pay.

Happily, unlike many events in the the book and series, we have landed in a safe and loving place. And while things are not perfect or what I ever would have imagined for myself at the age of 42, I have to say that I think we are recovering pretty well.

Balticon 45 Schedule

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Convention, Convention Attendance, Cool Links / Clicky Linky, Podcast

The schedule is not in its final form yet, but here is my schedule as it stands right now.

Note: ALL of my events are on Sunday!

Noon in the Chesapeake ~ Paulette Jaxton’s book launch for The Empress Sword
Recently published by Dragon Moon Press, I’ll be helping Paulette serve up tasty nomz inspired by the book and there will be a reading from the book by Nathan Lowell!

6PM in the Chesapeake – Girls’ Rules Live! ~ Women in the Gaming World
I’ll be joined by Laura Burns, Christiana Ellis, M.A. in PA, and Jett Micheyl. I’m also hoping for a special guest!
It’s not just Felicia Day having fun in the diverse world of gaming, it’s women from all walks of life. Join this all-female panel discuss their experiences after years of gameplay. We’ll discuss all manner of gaming, as this panel reveals what it’s really like when boy discovers that “girl” doesn’t always mean Guy In Real Life.

7 PM in the Chase (lower level) ~ Reading from my Mom’s short story, “Grandma.”
This story is the inspiration and centerpiece for a (Breast) Cancer Anthology I’ll be publishing in time for her birthday in 2012. I’ll be requesting submissions for written works and artwork for the collection and will be paying for accepted works. All proceeds from the book will go to established cancer charities.

9 PM in the Chesapeake – Into the Blender Live: Take My Geek Card (I Dare You!)
Guests include: P.G. Holyfield, Marc Bailey and Rich Sigfrit
This time we’re taking on a touchy subject: There are countless arenas of geek affection, but some seem near universal: movies, television, and books. Whether it be Star Wars or Firefly; Lord of the Rings, or Buffy; Gaiman or Pratchet – there are things you are SUPPOSED to love as a geek. Well, we don’t love them all and I bet you don’t either! Come compare your likes and dislikes with an assorted panel of lovers and haters of every genre.

10 PM in the Chesapeake ~ Geek Parenting in New Media
Our panel of geek parents chime in with their thoughts on raising young geeks. What is the right age to show the kids Star Wars? Do you show them all 6 or only the good ones. What websites are good and safe for kids at what age? How do you teach your kids about Internet privacy? How do you prepare them for “Greifers” on gaming systems? When is it OK for them to use their real name?

I’ll then be attending the remainder of the Time Traveler’s Ball, hosted by Christiana Ellis in the Garden Room!

And if you are in need of promotional buttons NOW is the time to order them! There is no delivery charge for buttons delivered at Balticon. I will be taking my equipment to Balticon, but will have to charge a higher rate for any I craft while at the con due to time constraints. For information, check out my site, VividMuseCreations.com.

Chooch and I came up with this little helper to expand your social media dynasty ~ fully customizable w/your QRCode, $2 if ordered by noon Wednesday, $5 if made at Balticon. Viv@VividMuseCreations.com

 

Roller Coaster Day, Part Two

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Chooch, Cool Links / Clicky Linky, Dizzy, Friends, Music, Podcast, Too Long For Twitter

I finally got the message we were waiting for from the Realtor since we listed our house for sale on Friday, that someone was coming for a look. I know that the first buyer won’t put down a contract, but I’ve been terrified about the market. Just knowing that there’s an actual market for our home is reassuring.

After we left the dentist appointment, we returned home and sure enough, someone had indeed been there. What a relief! We then headed out for our planned outing with our dear friend Philippa Ballantine, her parents visiting from New Zealand, and the spectacular Sonic Boom (daughter of Tee Morris). Pip’s dad had business nearby and we were invited to join them for lunch and for me to make good on my long-promised pottery painting trip with Sonic Boom.

It was a sorely needed break in the day for Chooch and I, as we were able to put the other stuff to the side for a bit and just revel in their fine company.

After lunch, Chooch had to return to work, loathe as he was to do so. We jumped in the limo (why yes, I did say limo! The Ballantines travel in style!) and went to the pottery studio. I had promised a pottery painting trip to Sonic Boom as her birthday present last summer, but was then shocked to find that the three pottery studios I knew of had closed, including one by her house and two by mine. I happily discovered that one studio by me had actually just moved and that’s where we headed.

It was delightful seeing Sonic Boom’s excitement, even though she’d already done it before. She took her time picking out just the perfect piece and paint colors. As she painted, Pip and her mother painted a lovely piece together, and Pip’s dad impressed us all with the bold design he painted on his piece. Sonic Boom worked very hard getting her work exactly the way she wanted it, until she spotted the studio cat, Whiskers. She was a bit distracted after that, but who can blame her? He’s a lovey cat that just wanders around jumping into unsuspecting laps for scritches and such.

Happy with all the work done, we jumped back into the limo and they took me home. Everyone piled out for a pit stop before they headed back home, and ended up staying and visiting before waving goodbye to Chooch as he was on a conference call.

I had a wonderful time over lunch, and it was absolutely delightful meeting Pip’s parents. They are just as you’d expect of the people that raised her: intelligent, extremely kind and very funny. Keeping up with Sonic Boom is just as fast-paced as you’d imagine, and I was fairly exhausted from all the fun and laughter we shared.

After they left, I started trying to get caught up on the work I’ve been unable to do for the last few weeks. It was pretty hectic and I wore myself out, but got a lot done, including a quick 5 minute recording that took over an hour to get done. That’s right, an hour, thanks to a crashing computer. As usual, it took Chooch 5 minutes to figure out and fix the problem and I was able to get it done and sent off. By that time, I was extremely stressed and cursing (sorry for that, fine Twitter followers) and my jaw was killing me.

We got in the car to head to band practice, and I medicated the pain and worked on the laptop on the road. I love being able to take the work with me, but I most enjoy the drive when Chooch and I just get to chat.

At Phil’s, we headed down to the band lair and relaxed and chatted with the band while waiting for Dennis (guitarist) to arrive. I was finally able to exhale for what felt like the first time in a long time, and I believe Chooch felt the same way. I still can’t believe how well everyone meshes together and I love spending time with them, whether it’s watching them play or chatting about clothes, kids and pasta makers.

They made amazing music, as always, as they ran through the set list for their show at Axum on Friday night. They are playing two sets, as they were bumped up to headline the show. So they’ll be playing later (11 pm) but longer, which thrills me.

The door proceeds for the band are being split between my Breast Cancer fund-raising efforts for the Richmond Race for the Cure, and between another woman’s efforts for the Komen 3 Day. I’m still blown away that the band offered to do this, and will be there to support them no matter how late they play.

I hope you can join us, as it will be a fun-filled night. Details are posted in Facebook.

Home now as I finish up this post, and I’m glad the insane day is over. It definitely felt as if I was strapped on a roller coaster with all the highs and lows. I’m happy that there were more good things then bad, but the sleep I’m about to get is well deserved.

Goodnight, Dear Readers!

Definitions You Know: Patience

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Definitions You Know, No Whining, Podcast, TV

I’ve always known that I’m an impatient gal. I hate waiting on people. I hate waiting on things. I even hate waiting to get somewhere and will leave extra early to make sure the drive doesn’t delay me from what I’m doing. And I get anxious from the anticipation and have to fight to keep my expectations from growing beyond possible reality. I’m even impatient for something I didn’t even want.

Game of Thrones, the first book in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, was picked up by HBO for a new series. I was infuriated, even though I think that HBO does a fine job with their original programming. I railed against the idea that any could be so presumptuous as to try and bring what lived in the pages of his books and my imagination into some tangible experience. I knew it would fail to live up to even HALF what the series represents to me. Then I started seeing the casting, and I started to get excited. Over the months, my excitement has continued to grow to see if they can, in fact, pull it off.

In this and many other things going on in my life right now, I’m spending a lot of time learning patience. It’s about time, but is torturous nonetheless. Two weeks ago, HBO aired the first 15 minutes of the first episode as a special sneak preview and we watched it. I only have one more day to go, and my patience will be rewarded.

Who else will be happily watching the debut tomorrow night? HBO means no commercials and no need for a buffer to skip through them. Come back and tell me what you thought of it, if the mood strikes you.

pa·tience

[pey-shuhns]

–noun 

  1. the quality of being patient,  as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like.
  2. an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay: to have patience with a slow learner.
  3. quiet, steady perseverance; even-tempered care; diligence: to work with patience.
  4. Cards (chiefly British ) . solitaire ( def. 1 ) .
  5. Also called patience dock . a European dock, Rumex patientia,  of the buckwheat family, whose leaves are often used as a vegetable.

Obsolete:  leave; permission; sufference.

Origin:

1175–1225; Middle English pacience  < Old French  < Latin patientia. See patient, -ence.
And if the mood strikes, check out the new podcast that my husband and I are on from SpecFicMedia, Beyond The Wall – A Game of Thrones Podcast.
I promise, the audio will be vastly improved on the next episode. And promise I’m not a cylon. Pinky swear.

New Podcast – HBO Series “A Game of Thrones”

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Chooch, Friends, Games, Podcast

 

Last night Chooch and I recorded Episode 0 of SpecFicMedia.com Presents: Beyond the Wall – A Game of Thrones Podcast with SpecFicMedia founder and Murder at Avedon Hill author, P.G. Holyfield. Rounding out the panel is Nuchtchas Nimalas of the Nutty Bites Podcast.

*Phew* That’s a lotta linking! Now that’s done, I can tell you that the podcast will be recorded every Monday after the Sunday night airing of the HBO series “A Game of Thrones and we will discuss it, along with the book. The podcast should be released by Thursday of each week.

From the announcement on the SpecFicMedia site, “While we’ll be focusing on the television series, we’ll also spend time on most of the other forms of media tied to the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin, including (of course) the novels, the RPG and board games, and anything else we can sink our respective direwolf-loving teeth into.”

“Winter is Coming,” indeed!

Joyful After Losing My iPod

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Chooch, Consumer Info, Droid, Household, Podcast

When I searched repeatedly and couldn’t find my Nano a few weeks ago, I finally took up the initiative to start using my new Droid X as my mp3 player. I was willing to do so because Chooch related he was having so much luck with his. I’m using the app he recommended, called “Listen” in the Droid store, and it is so simple even a techtard like me can use it. It uses Google Reader to manage the individual RSS feeds (subscriptions to text, video and audio posts) and syncs immediately without needing to connect to your computer. It’s managed remotely, updated as often as you tell it and the episodes are either streamed or downloaded to your device.

With Google Reader, I still have a desktop option for loading the X with all the tasty podcasts and novels that I listen to. Even better, I no longer have to wait until I’m home to add something. This has already proven useful as I always had trouble remembering what I wanted to add by the time I made it back to iTunes on my desktop, and my phone is almost always at hand.

By the way, it turns out that “lost” was an overstatement. I later found my iPod in my purse even though I’d searched it several times. Yes, my purse is too big but comes in handy when I need a notebook to track things for my failing memory; when I need to drag the H4N recorder around and when I taking the better and larger digital camera. Plus, batteries for the last two items.

Since finding it almost immediately after loading up the X, I’ve only used it a handful of times. I won’t be going back. Until I get a secure strap of some sort for running, I’ll continue to use my iPod. Beyond that, I can really see no reason for switching back. By streaming podcasts instead of downloading them, I have TONS of space available for music, at least as much as is available on the iPod.

So farewell, Uncle Steve. This old girl is finally able to move on from well over five years of crappy experiences in iTunes. You’ve made plenty of money off of us and our kids, and now it’s time to say goodbye.

*waves gleefully*

Cherpumple Exploits

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Anti-Health, Cooking, Cool Links / Clicky Linky, Dessert Hacks, ExperiMENTAL, Family, Firsts, Friends, Our Kids, Podcast

Fiddle dee dee. I came to post an update on my cherpumple exploits only to discover that I never posted anything about it here. Shocking!

A cherpumple is a dessert phenomenon that I first heard about thanks to J.C. Hutchins, when he tweeted a link to a picture of it either at the end of July or beginning of August. Intrigued by the link, I naturally googled it and found a video showing how to make your own.

Chooch and I were amazed, and discussed possibly making it for BlenderCon, our annual party that was coming up a few weeks later. We got the name BlenderCon from the name of our blended family podcast, Into the Blender. We decided against it because we’d already spent quite a bit on what was needed for our chocolate fountain, which has been a part of the tradition since we held the first BlenderCon in 2008.

A week or so later, I was listening to Jared Axelrod’s Fables of the Flying City and he was discussing the sixth anniversary of podcasting. (No, August of 2010 wasn’t the fifth anniversary as Apple celebrated. It was just the fifth anniversary of Apple listing podcasts in their iTunes store.) Jared felt strongly that something needed to be done in August to celebrate it, and I realized, hey! We’re doing something in August! And Jared’s coming to it! We should make the cherpumple! Sixth anniversary, six desserts in one! Perfect!

I baked it the night before the party, and stressed because it was not as pretty as I’d hoped, mainly because of the cream cheese frosting I used (very sticky and unforgiving), as recommended in the video. In spite of the imperfections, the dessert was a hit. It’s definitely more of a spectacle than a dessert, but was enjoyed by all. Our dear friend P.G. Holyfield even took up the challenge I laid down to combine cherpumple with chocolate fountain. I’m happy to say he survived the sugar overdose and has mostly recovered. Mostly.

For further explanation, a cherpumple is a three layer dessert that includes a cake and a pie in each layer. The top layer is yellow cake with an apple pie baked inside; the middle layer is a white cake with a cherry pie baked inside; the bottom layer is a spice cake with a pumpkin pie inside. Once baked, you stack and frost as you would any layer cake. It was re-named the CakePieCakePieCakePie that night, and our friend Dr. John Cmar announced that 5 diabetics living nearby had just dropped dead because of the amount of sugar in the dessert. I’m pretty sure he was kidding.

Paul Fischer blew out the number “6” candle on top since he was the person in the room that had been podcasting the longest, and then we started carefully cutting slices. It’s as difficult as you might expect. Most people doubled up and really just wanted to taste each of the levels. The best flavor, as we were told by most guests, was the spice cake/pumpkin pie layer. I’d have to agree. The two flavors are perfectly suited and completely enjoyable.

It was such a huge hit, that when we were planning my son’s farewell party a month later we decided that I should make it again. I made a few changes, such as making all the layers 10″, instead of 8, 9 and 10″. More importantly, I dumped the cream cheese frosting in favor of vanilla frosting. It turned out much prettier and the flavor didn’t seem different at all. Besides, most folks were diving straight into the layers without going near the frosting.

When Chooch lifted the cake to move it before the party, he decided we needed to weigh it since it was so heavy. It tipped the scales at 17 pounds. I started to feel really guilty at that point.

It was again, a huge success. Just like before, everyone just wanted to try each of the layers and most ended up in the trash. The majority again held that the pumpkin/spice layer was the best.

I’ve sworn off making the full, three layer monstrosity. We’ll see if that sticks.

Review of 12 Angry Men (87)

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: AFI's Top 100 Movies, Movies, Podcast

I’ve been really looking forward to this movie, as I’ve always heard of it in such awed tones. We watched the trailer, and I have to say I doubt it would have urged me to the theaters. It’s overly dramatized and under represents this subtle and powerful film.

I also believe it’s the only Henry Ford movie I’ve seen, other than On Golden Pond, and I loved him in that. How could you not?

It also stars Jack Klugman, (who I’ve had a crush on since Quincy), Jack Warden, E.G. Marshall and Ed Begley’s Jr’s dad, Ed Begley. Obviously there are other men in the movie, but these are the actors that I recognized from other movies.

Last but not least of those recognizable, is the man whose face I didn’t recognize but his voice is one I could never forget. John Fiedler is unforgettable as the voice of the sweet and lovable Piglet in all those Winnie the Pooh movies you’ve seen. In checking his IMDB page, I’m sad to say he passed away in 2005.

As for the movie itself, the first thing thing of note was the way many of the jury members stared down the accused. It’s pretty clear their minds were already made up on his guilt. As they file into the room in orderly fashion, we see these formal men relax and get comfy in the deliberation room.

We are immediately introduced to the camaraderie of the jury room, save for one lone man standing by the window. Henry Fonda stands separate from the rest, smoking a cigarette. It’s a simple yet powerful way to differentiate him from the others. Most of them, maybe all, are already stating the defendant’s guilt and he stands silently at the window.

Many times during the film I was struck by the casual and friendly interaction between the men, other than when they were in conflict over the votes to decide guilt. It makes me wonder if that was always the way it was when white men were gathered together. It almost seems as if there was a short hand based on their apparent standing in society.

The balance of tension in this film is masterful, ranging from a tangible suspense that is broken up with some hilarious one-liners. The casting is meticulous and the actors are completely immersed in their roles. They are completely believable as one by one the jurors change their votes after various personal epiphanies regarding the case. One of the most powerful scenes is when one of the jurors raves about how despicable the lower class is, in his opinion. Seeing almost every man silently stand against his comments was a powerful statement in this group of men that at once seemed so unified.

I’m thrilled to see a film that unquestionably belongs on this list, and I won’t be too surprised if this movie is higher on my personal ranking than 87. If you haven’t seen the film, I cannot recommend it highly enough. There are no car chases or sex scenes, but it is a purely enjoyable film with great depth.

Favorite line: “He’s a common, ignorant slob. He don’t even speak good English.” Another gem is “Let’s throw it on the stoop and see if the cat licks it up.”

On a related subject, Christiana Ellis started a 24 hour gaming session in support of The Children’s Miracle Network. I can think of no better person to take on this challenge and OWN IT. So far, she’s raised $696 for this amazing and deserving charity. If you can spare a couple bucks, please make a donation to the cause. While gaming for 24 hours straight sounds awesome, it’s no easy feat, and I applaud her efforts.

And if you haven’t yet, check out the podcast that Christiana and Mike Meitin are doing as they go through the AFI Top 100 Movies. They are the inspiration for this blog series after all!

Now, pardon me as I go through culture shock. Chooch has fired up the next disc in our mainlining of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. The title of the episode is “Who Pooped the Bed.” Yup, you read that right.

Our Place in the Hundred Acre Wood

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Chooch, Friends, Podcast, Soulful

This is a blog post I started ages ago, which then became a conversation with Chooch that we ended up recording. It seems redundant to go into more detail here since we just posted it on Into the Blender.

I will say that there isn’t any specific person that was the inspiration for this dialog.  So if you think it’s about you, it’s not. I do think it’s great that you have such a healthy measure of self-esteem, and I’m sorry to disappoint. This was actually inspired by jumping from stream to stream and seeing a continuous tone within each stream, including my own.

Into The Blender: Episode 49: The Tao of Twitter

It’s not our normal format or recording set-up, which we explain in the intro. Apologies if the background noise is too distracting, if we do this type again we’ll try to make it quieter.