Wide-Eyed Wonder: A Review of Tomorrowland

spa224653LARGEWhen Walt Disney Studios revealed that coming to theatres this summer was a movie called Tomorrowland, a feeling of dread (equaled only by my level of anticipation) welled inside of me. Tomorrowland—the park, not the movie—was a place that, even in my teenaged visits to Walt Disney World, I would hold my breath, make a wish, and lose myself in science fiction come to life. Tomorrowland was not just a special place, it was sacred. I remember visiting Walt Disney World when Space Mountain was under construction. (I’m old. Shut up.) I remember when their first spaceflight simulation “A Voyage to the Moon” convinced me had launched from Orlando and were en route to Tranquility Sea. Yes, I know—Walt Disney World is an amusement park. An expensive amusement park. Walt Disney World, I’ve always believed, has been less about the rides and more about the experience; and for me, nowhere else in the park embodied that more than Tomorrowland.

Now, it was a movie with George Clooney at the helm. And all I could think about was The Haunted Mansion.

Oh. Crap. Continue reading

Google Glass: Not Quite Ready for Prime Time

20140917_074443_805_xGoogle has announced they are halting the sales of Google Glass, the highly experimental, highly controversial eye-gear that looks like something straight out of Star Trek. (See “The Game” from Season 5 of Star Trek: The Next Generation.) Synonymous with “Wearable Tech” Glass promised a future seen only in video games: personal heads-up displays (or HUDs) for its users—sorry, wearers. Since its introduction in 2012, Glass won attention for its groundbreaking technology and application; but since then, popularity for the technology turned. Restaurant and movie theatre bans and certain infamous endorsements did little to raise its popularity; and with this recent announcement, tech experts are speculating as to why Glass did not take off:

The cost. Let’s see, I can either buy a new computer, or get a pair of Glass.

The aesthetic. Seriously, I look like I feel. Awkward, but empowered.

Privacy. When wearing Glass, I’m sharing my experience with the world…and that doesn’t need your consent.

I have an idea why: Glass isn’t all that. Continue reading

If You’re Reading This Blogpost, I’m Down Ten Pounds. #ThanksFitBit

chubby_teeFebruary 4, 2013.

That was the last time I really gave a damn about my health.

What happened? Well, if you read that blogpost, you heard my mea culpa on how I had successfully gained all the weight I had lost back in 2007. While pictures, thanks to Photoshop, can lie; it was the steampunk outfit I attempted to get into at the Emerald City Steampunk Expo that did not lie. This was when I returned to MediFast. I blogged on February 4 how happy I was on my progress. Down twenty pounds. I was thrilled.

Then, a week after that post, I went from thrilled to unemployed.

So what did I discover in 2013? Tee Morris, award-winning author, podcaster, and unbelievable beer snob is a stress eater. And yes, it’s a real thing. And yes, I’m really good at it. Continue reading

Stranger on a Train XXIX

Four days of Photoshop. Eight lessons with a few bonus skills added into the mix. I have to work a bit on Day One of Level 2; but once I took a lesson from Kacy Catanzaro and took a steadier pace, Day Two more than made up for my stumble.

Did you see this woman rock the American Ninja course? #MightyKacy indeed.

I’m digging Photoshop CC a lot. Good program. Now I need to take a serious look at Lightroom. I’d like to see if we (that’s Mike Witherall and I) can turn it into a class. I don’t see why not.
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So the people behind Snowpiercer‘s Facebook page put that image online this morning. It’s a stitch, especially when you consider the film. Lot of “in” jokes here, so kudos to the fan who created it. Inspired works like that just remind me of how incredibly talented people are everywhere, and I’m lucky enough to get to share my stories. I’m gearing up to do it again, too. The edits for The Diamond Conspiracy arrived today, so it’s time to level up and work on the next adventure of Books & Braun. We are dealing with a lot in this one, so I look forward to returning to that world…

…Monday.

First, I need a nap. A really big one. Photoshop is a demanding mistress.

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Hybrid Authors: The Best of Both Worlds

Depending on who you talk to, stepping into the publishing industry today is something akin to tap dancing in a mine field. There are the seasoned veterans who are struggling along with some publishers against changing technologies and market demands. Meanwhile, the independently published continue to rattle their sabers and proclaim without question “Our way is the only way!” in an militant fashion frighteningly similar to the traditionally published authors of less than a decade ago.

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As for myself, I have seen this “Us Vs. Them” nonsense back when “Social Media” was referred to as “New Media” and the ambitious creators behind this bold, cutting edge content were aiming to topple Old Media. I remember these days well as Apple had just opened the door to podcasters and it looked like these mavericks of media were going to fulfill their self-proclaimed prophecy as the featured podcasts were all people I knew, all shows either on my iPod or in my listening cue.

Within a year, the Featured Podcasts on iTunes were HBO, Discovery Channel, ESPN, and Oprah Winfrey. Oh, and those mavericks were either working for Old Media or contracting with them.

I look at what is happening now in publishing and think “Good Lord, here we go again.” Continue reading

Tales of a Shock Jockey: 6 Misconceptions about Electric Vehicles (and Those who Drive Them)

EV-carsI tend to get a lot of playful (and in some instances, not-so-playful) ribbing about investing in an electric car.  Potshots range from my overreaction to the state of planetary resources to my tree-hugging, liberal opinions. The joke of the night at my last family gathering was “The problem with Tee’s new car is the plug doesn’t reach all the way from D.C. to Richmond.”

That’s my brother. He’ll be here all week. Don’t forget to tip the wait staff. Try the veal.

My sister-in-law and teenage nephew, however, were asking legitimate questions about the range of the LEAF, how running other systems like climate control or the entertainment system affected the drive, and what I needed to recharge an electric car. These were questions that I really hadn’t considered when deciding to drive green. It wasn’t until I read this article about misconceptions around electric cars that I started to pay closer attention to what people were asking me, and started to notice the same questions and statements coming up, all centered around similar assumptions. Continue reading

Endless Possibilities Blog Tour 2014: Stacia D. Kelly on Setting Stages and Creating Worlds

If you are new to my blog, having discovered me following my Post Mortem on True Detective, welcome. You have a lot to read here, especially as I’m in the final week of the Endless Possibilities Blog Tour. This is the final week of featuring exciting, new voices in and out of this genre, all of whom are located here in Prince William County. Last week, you met my buddy, Nick Kelly

Now, meet his better half.

Stacia Kelly is very much like Nick, and you’ve already met her if you’re a listener to The Shared Desk. She is a bodybuilder, a health advocate and consultant, and a talented writer. Tonight, Stacia bring to you all her take on world building and setting the stage for your characters.

SDK_DarkHair_Jan2010Thank you, Tee, for letting me come share my love of world building with your readers. I write Urban Fantasy with my husband, Nick Kelly, and Paranormal Romance with the voices in my head. It can get a little crowded unless I get the words on the page.

It’s very rare I set my characters in a familiar environment; instead, I take delight in creating my own realms. I think that’s what really drew me to sci-fi/fantasy when I was a kid. You can lose yourself in the creation of a world all your own. I get to create the mountains, the valleys, oceans, and everything in between. Of course it took me years to understand that I had to include the laws of physics for my realms. Yes, I can include two moons I just have to make sure the explanation is accurate or plausible for the reader. And, as we learned during a brainstorming session with my 10-year-old son on his screenplay if we’re going to explode the Sun we can’t go to Jupiter as a new home, physics requires we jump solar systems. Continue reading

You Know I Can Hear You, Right? — Revelations about the Internet and the Lesson of St. Fu

“I think the Internet is a grand arena for poorly thought out words.” — Philippa Ballantine, 2/18/2014, on Facebook

1000px-Train_wreck_at_Montparnasse_1895Presently, The Science Fiction Writers of America are at odds with one another once again, its members still in a brouhaha over the divide between men and women in the business. It’s hard to say when this rift started. I know this debate has raged for a long, long time as I remember people engaging in spirited conversations about this when I first entered the publishing game in 2002. There’s been a lot of back-and-forth about feminism, misogyny, old guard mentality, new blood in SFWA, and the like, especially in the wake of the 200th issue of the SFWA Bulletin which attempted to harken back to nostalgic days of the Red Sonja-esque fantasy covers.

It all boiled to a fever pitch yesterday when John Scalzi posted this quote on his blog:

“The problem is that the ‘vocal minority’ of insects who make up the new generation of writers don’t scramble for the shadows when outside lights shines on them—they bare their pincers and go for the jugular. Maybe it is a good thing that SFWA keeps them locked up. The newer members who Scalzi et al. brought in are an embarrassment to the genre.”

— (name withheld) on SFF.net, during the recent unpleasantness.

 Wow. Just…wow.

I have a lot of opinions about SFWA, about the Bulletin, SFF.net and LiveJournal (where a lot of this discussion has raged), and about women in the business; but that is not what is driving me bananas. What I find to be completely and utterly nuts is this fallback position “professionals” (and when you think comparing your experiences with a celebrated Science Fiction author to “your irrational fear of dogs” is a good analogy I use the term “professional” loosely.) are taking. These defensive crouches range from a First Amendment-“I have the right to freely express my opinion on this…” argument to “I’m calling my lawyer!” which, I bet, the lawyer is thrilled to know you’re pulling them up on speed dial.

I have a piece of free advice for these professionals: Please, for the love of God, shut the fuck up. You’re making asses of yourself on many levels, the highest of these being—and let’s be blunt—that you honestly don’t know how the Internet works. Continue reading

Tales of a Shock Jockey: A Decision to Drive Green

EV-carsWhen it comes to celebrating Earth Day and working towards green initiatives, Pip and I do what we can. I don’t think I’ve become completely and totally green, but I do think my carbon footprint has gone down a few sizes. We’ve got the dual trashcan for our recyclables. We’re turning off lights and conserving power when we can (although being the digital family that we are, that’s a challenge); but since a Plug-In Day event held in Manassas, I had been wanting to go all in. That was why when, back in November, it was time to seriously start shopping for a new car, I said “I want to go electric.”

At this alternative fuel event sponsored by Plug In America, the Sierra Club, and Electric Auto Association, I got a closer look at the rock stars of consumer electric vehicles (or EVs, as they are commonly known by) which included the Tesla Roadster and Coupe, the Chevrolet Volt (an EVs that had a nine-gallon gas tank as a “reserve” for when the battery is low), and the Mitsubishi MiEV. While I didn’t find the looks of Mitsubishi’s EV appealing, they were offering test drives so I took the MiEV for a spin. The first thing I noticed — the car truly sold itself, not just in how it handled but in how quiet it was. I mean, whisper silent! (A little unsettling, but in a really good way.) Continue reading

Untappd: A Social Network for Beer Snobs

I’ve been wanting to do app reviews on Imagine That! Studios alongside my bits of social media advice appearing there, but the first app I wanted to review really seemed more appropriate for my personal blog on account of the subject matter: beer. More to the point — living the lifestyle of a beer snob.

IMG_7501Untappd is a social network for those who love beer. It’s not just for beer snobs like me but for lovers of beer on all levels. Whether you are happy and content with your Budwiser or Miller Lite, or if you are an adventurer in sampling unique brews from across the country and around the world, Untappd connects beer lovers, breweries, and ice cold brewskis. At the core of the app are the reviews. When your first round arrives, you search for your beer in the Search bar across the top. Once you tap your beer, you select “Check-In” and are offered a field where you can type in a brief review (140 characters), add a photo of either what you are drinking (or who you are drinking with), rate your brew (and the slider allows for 1/2-star reviews), and add in your location. If you sync up your Twitter and Facebook feed with Untappd, you can send out your review and photos by tapping the Twitter and Facebook icons. On tapping “Confirm Your Brew” your review is shared online. The more reviews you share, the easier you can connect with friends on your respective social media networks.

UPDATE, 20 April, 2013: Untappd also recognizes cider and mead, so if you are more into those libations, you can find them in Untappd, or create your own custom entry. Continue reading