Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Thursday, November 7, 2013
"Rachel was quite young when she lost her parents," according to the casting sheet. "With no other family, she was forced to make her way in a tough, dangerous town. Now 17 she has become street smart and strong."
Saturday, October 26, 2013
Episode VII Movie News Summary
Okay, apologies all around if anybody was expecting me to live up to my word about sharing Episode VII news. Between writing, audiobooks, junkets, and weddings... I've been a tad busy. I'm not going to promise anything, but I will try to keep an update once a week from here on out.
So, the big news of the week came yesterday (Thursday, October 24, 2013) when Lucasfilm announced that Michael Arndt was out as writer of "Episode VII" and J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan were in. Also buried in the press release was the fact that Ben Burtt is returning. Here's the press release:
As "Episode VII" continues pre-production, Lawrence Kasdan and director J.J. Abrams have assumed screenwriting duties for the film. Kasdan, who has been serving as a consultant on the film, is a veteran of several classic Lucasfilm productions, writing the screenplay for "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and serving as co-screenwriter for "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi." Acclaimed director and screenwriter Abrams' credits include "Super 8," "Mission: Impossible III," "Fringe," and "Lost."
"I am very excited about the story we have in place and thrilled to have Larry and J.J. working on the script," states Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy. "There are very few people who fundamentally understand the way a "Star Wars" story works like Larry, and it is nothing short of incredible to have him even more deeply involved in its return to the big screen. J.J. of course is an incredible storyteller in his own right. Michael Arndt has done a terrific job bringing us to this point and we have an amazing filmmaking and design team in place already prepping for production."
Location scouting, production design, casting, and costume design are already underway on "Episode VII." A team of gifted artists are working to bring the latest installment of the "Star Wars" saga, including director of photography Dan Mindel ("Mission: Impossible III," "Star Trek"), production designers Rick Carter ("Lincoln," "Avatar") and Darren Gilford ("Oblivion," "TRON: Legacy"), costume designer Michael Kaplan ("Star Trek Into Darkness," "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol"), special effects supervisor Chris Corbould ("Skyfall," "The Dark Knight Rises"), sound designer Ben Burtt ("Lincoln," "Star Wars: Episodes I-VI"), re-recording mixer Gary Rydstrom ("Jurassic Park," "Saving Private Ryan"), supervising sound editor Matthew Wood ("Star Trek Into Darkness," "The Master") of Skywalker Sound, and visual effects supervisor Roger Guyett ("Star Trek Into Darkness," "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End") of Industrial Light & Magic. Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams, and Bryan Burk are producing, with Tommy Harper ("Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol," "Star Trek Into Darkness") and Jason McGatlin ("Tintin," "War of the Worlds") serving as executive producers.
John Williams is returning to score Star Wars: Episode VII.
Shooting is scheduled to begin Spring 2014 at Pinewood Studios for an expected 2015 release.
Special thanks to comingsoon.net for compiled information.
Sunday, September 29, 2013
(5 STARS) Pie, a ranch horse, suffers from an external mid-life crisis where he is injured after a brief encounter with a rowdy bull. Too damaged to continue his work, he is “put out to pasture” where the second phase of his life begins, which is surprisingly better than his first.
Pie is a multi-layered memoir about second changes, perseverance, and the power of bonding. Author Scaramuzzo has craftily managed to write an effective, feel-good book despite highlighted tragedy throughout. Told entirely through the point of view of Pie, this ordinary old brown horse shares his optimistic outlooks, fears, and subtle humor, as though the reader had stumbled upon his personal diary that he kept hidden at the back of his stable. Along the way, he meets a cast of characters, both human and animal, where they inspire and enlighten each other’s worlds.
This is not only a remarkable story on its own, but any lover of animals who understands the personal connection that is shared between pet and owner will have a heightened appreciation as Scaramuzzo expertly focuses on the importance of connections and interactions that both animal and human inherently give to one another. Pie is a regenerative tale for all ages.
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
I love Red Lobster's Cheesy Biscuits. Do you hear me? I L-O-V-E them!!! The hint of garlic, the cheese, and biscuits--which are just about the best damn food ever created anyway. Well, today I found this post on how to make your own cheesy biscuit loaf. Now, I haven't tried it yet because (as per my previous post HERE about desserts) I'm on a diet. But if there is anyone who is as obsessed over these little fluffs of miracle as I am, I share with you...
3 cups flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
4 ounces cheddar cheese, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1 1/4 cups milk
3/4 cup sour cream
3 Tablespoons of butter, melted
1 egg, lightly beaten
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×5 loaf pan with oil. In a bowl, whisk together the first 5 ingredients. Carefully stir in cheese cubes until covered in flour mixture, this will help prevent your cheese sinking to the bottom of your loaf of bread.
In a different bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients. Fold the wet mixture into the flour and cheese mixture, stir until just combined, do not over stir. Spread the mixture into the loaf pan. Bake for 45-50 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes and then remove from pan. Allow to cool for one hour before slicing and serving.
If you try this recipe, please post below how it turned out. I'm dying to know!
Monday, August 19, 2013
Now, just one of the reasons why my weight has flip and flopped like a short stack (yummm.... pancakes) is because I have a relentless sweet tooth (of the few food posts I've posted, over half are sweets). I am always looking for the perfect cakes, pastries, cookies, candy, etc. that I can get away with eating with minimal guilt, and recently, I have come across these two little gems that I wanted to share:
The 3-2-1 CAKE
What you'll need:
1 box Angel Food cake mix
1 box any flavor cake mix
2 Tbl. water
Using a large bowl with a tightly fitting lid or a large zip lock bag, combine the two boxes of cake mix stirring or shaking well.
For each individual serving, take out 3 Tbl. of the cake mixture and mix it with 2 Tbl. of water in a small coffee mug. Microwave on high for 1 minute. You now have your own instant individual cake and it is warm and inviting. You can top with a dollop of fruit or whipped topping if you like. (even frosting)
Try various flavors of cake mix but it must always be combined with an Angel Food mix.
Keep the mix tightly sealed in an airtight container or Ziplock bag until used.
In addition to being fast, cheap, and easy, this is also perfect for dieters because it creates the perfect portion size (as long as you don't make another, or a double-layer cake... or triple)
THE ONE-MINUTE COOKIE
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Author Cozean hits the nail on the head with every word, right down to the brief moments of honest, yet silent, thoughts he allows himself to have before trudging on as a caregiver, heroically. I believe My Grandfather's War is a better book than anything I planned on writing if given the chance before my grandfather unexpectedly passed, because where I already had a solid and open relationship with my grandpa, Cozean not only takes a self-discovering journey in this memoir of the immense responsibility bestowed onto him during his "Papa's" recovery but builds a deeper and loving relationship with him that is just as intriguing as the stories of his grandfather's time being the Nazi's POW.
Filled with moments of grief, empathy, and humor, there is a little bit of everything in My Grandfather's War. Each transition moved seamlessly from one moment to the next, but what I especially liked most was the interludes into our nation's history and the retelling of America's involvement in World War II - brief, yet very important information in understanding the background and reasoning behind the motivation, influence, and abuse by all sides. In all honesty, I think I may have learned more about this devastating war in these 200 pages than I had during my 11th grade World History class - and then some - which was more enjoyable this time around because Cozean made sure the information was an exciting and intriguing read.
Finally, I could not agree more with the subtitle, which reads: "A Young Man's Lessons from the Greatest Generation". Even before reading My Grandfather's War, it had amazed me what my grandparent's generation accomplished and endured at their young age, and I wonder if our current generation would be capable of the same if put in the same war… a question similarly posed to Jesse by his Papa, and I believe answered honestly.
I look forward to more by this author in the future.
Saturday, August 10, 2013
8/13/13 UPDATE!!! - You can follow this link to additional details about the event, as well as pictures - http://thedisneyblog.com/2013/08/11/d23-expo-live-action-movies-from-marvel-and-disney/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TheDisneyBlog+%28The+Disney+Blog%29&utm_content=Yahoo!+Mail
Monday, July 15, 2013
(3 of 5 Stars) As suggested in the title to meet "Odd Thomas", the primary focus of this book is on the lead character, Odd, and everything he has in his life: his friends, his family, Pico Mundo, and an unique gift, which happens to reveal the looming horror of an upcoming event of tragic proportions.
Focusing so intently on the day in the life of Odd and journeying with him as he visits friend then family then friend while slowly attempting to solve a potentially apocalyptic mystery (at least for the town of Pico Mundo) made it difficult for me to get involved with this story. Although the ending was satisfactory, this book moved too slow paced for my liking, and unfortunately, did not quite pique my interest to move on with this series, which I was really looking forward to spending a lot of my time on.
Having said that, I am a fan of Dean Koontz and of the handful of books of his I have read, I would highly suggest, Lightning. I was obsessed with this book back in the late 1980's--the first and last time I read the novel. I do not remember enough about the book to write a review, but I do remember my overall feeling of never being able to put the book down and wishing it had been as lengthy as War and Peace.
Monday, June 10, 2013
Catching Fire spreads its wings beyond the annual Hunger Games and encompasses the suppressive world and their districts lead by a Nazi-like ruler, President Snow. I found this to be a more appealing story. The Hunger Games are still prominent, but this time, they are told in a way that doesn't have me question my own morals about being entertained by youth violence. But that is not to say the Games are without another - different - moral compass that brought its own special brand of tension. The somber romance of the original story returns on a slightly grander scale, as well as a cast of interesting new characters. Some of my favorites: Johanna, Finnick, and Wiress.
Overall, a very good story that gives a clearer understanding of the world they have to survive in whether it is inside or outside of the arena. I did come across a few minor plot holes or "far reaches" that momentarily knocked me out of the story, but none were major and I found it easy to get back into Collins' dystopia. I am looking forward to reading Mockingjay (Book 3) and will not be waiting a year to do so.
To begin with the negatives, the story did not evolve with the same excitement that only this dystopia could create. This may be partly because the writing was not as precise as its predecessor, but that point is completely subjective to the reader. Normally, the third act of a trilogy that is centered on violence and oppression is filled with more tension, better excitement, and parallels of the inciting moment of the first book. Though there were reminiscences of Suzanne Collins attempting to achieve those occasions, they were not present. There were moments when I struggled to keep my eyes open while reading.
But as for "Mockingjay"s positive points, the relationships between Katniss, Peeta, and Gale were worthy of a final installment, and the torment of what Peeta goes through after the end of Book #2 was imaginative and unpredictable; a story highlight. Additionally, there did not appear to be any unanswered questions or gaping holes in the plot once the last page was turned. The series ended wrapped up in a tight package, I just thought it could have used different wrapping paper.
Overall, there was much more to be expected from a series that has been so widely received. Although I would recommend this read, I would do so with a cautionary suggestion for the reader to ignore all the hype and add some leniency to their expectations. Perhaps the movie will be more entertaining.
BORN IN BLOOD
Born in Blood by Kate Paulk. $1.99 from Smashwords.com
Vlad Dracul, known later in life as Vlad the Impaler, suffered more than any should at the hands of Mehmed, son of Sultan Murad. Of all the pain and indignities brought upon him at the behest of the future ruler of the Ottoman Empire, the curse was the worst. All the young Vlad can do is try to survive and plot his vengeance.