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Sunday Playlist 04/08/2018

Sorry for not posting last week. The night before, a friend passed on and I really didn’t feel like blogging. I decided to take the entire week off.

Well, this week’s playlist is a collection of weird and wonderful music that evoke other times and places. It is a bit different from my previous playlists but I think it does a great job of showcasing some hidden gems from various genres. I hope that you enjoy these tracks as much as I did.

  1. The Division by Killo-gram [UKR]
  2. Creamy Story by Kognitif from Monometric (album) [FRA]
  3. Blueberry Hill by Boogie Belgique from Blueberry Hill [BEL]
  4. Soul Key (Cuts by DJ Crabees) by ProLeteR from Curses from Past Times (album) [FRA]
  5. Pressures by Becays from Pressures EP [FRA]
  6. Autumn Girl by Hot Fiction from Dark Room (album) [GBR]
  7. Over by Heartskin from One (album) [RUS]
  8. Chestnuts (instrumental) by Soundatelier from Doberman (album) [RUS]
  9. Skeletons by Heifervescent from Logic Decimator (album) [GBR]
  10. Piccolo by Jarek Laaser from Shadow in Silence (album) [DEU]

You can find the playlist here.


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Video of the Week #028

This week’s video is a demonstration in error-finding by Marcus du Satoy for The Royal Institute. For those unaware, The Royal Institute has been around for hundreds of years, encouraging children to take up the scientist’s coat through their ongoing series of lectures. You have the likes of Richard Dawkins speaking at events such as their annual Christmas lectures.

I encourage you guys to think about how you go about analyzing your own conclusions. How do you establish whether premises or conclusions are correct? Are you able to learn from those mistakes that you’ve been made aware of? Why not? How much does ego play a part? How could you do better?

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TV Review: Goblin Episode 05

Year: 2016 – 2017
Other Names: The Lonely, Shining Goblin; Guardian: The Lonely and Great God; Prince Maker; Mr. Sunshine
Online: WikipediaMyDramaList,  HanCinemaKoreanDramaAsianWikiDramaFever
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Drama, Romance

After helping out the ghost of a recently deceased student,  Ji Eun Tak (Kim Go Eun) is asked by Kim Shin (Goon Yoo) to move into his place. After returning to the bridge where she first met our resident amnesiac Grim Reaper (Lee Dong Wook), Sunny (Yoo In Na) is finally able to go out on a sort-of date with the clueless immortal. This, unfortunately, results in him feeling more and more out of sorts as he had no name to give her. With Ji Eun Tak’s arrival comes the requirement for both Kim Shin and the Reaper getting a mobile phone for the first time.
Reaper enlists Ji Eun Tak’s aid in creating a name for himself to go by. Over the following days, we see Kim Shin’s growing jealous over the short periods of time she spends with Reaper. It brings to a head an argument between Ji Eun Tak and Kim Shin that adds to Kim Shin’s already difficult problem in being in love for Ji Eun Tak, the Goblin’s destined and the catalyst for his death.

Episode 5 sees the focus moving towards Sunny and Reaper’s relationship. It was neat seeing the awkwardness of Reaper’s character, showing just how inexperienced he is in dealing with living, breathing people. His issues with the forgotten bits of his past life make him a genuinely sympathetic character. He doesn’t know what actions caused him to not move on and therefore cannot make amends. The previous episode also showed that he is capable of being kind to the souls that he acts as a facilitator for. Sunny’s character is still a bit of an enigma but there have been hints from previous episodes that the Samshin Lady has some purpose for bringing the two together. The more that I watch the series, the more that I am convinced that it is less vindictive than I initially believed.
As for Kim Shin, we see his own awareness of his feelings for Ji Eun Tak becoming more and more difficult for him. However, this also makes the choice easier for him. He wants Ji Eun Tak to be happier and the last few scenes of the episode give the audience the impression that there is likely a lot of other stuff that is happening off-screen. We got a glimpse of this during the previous episode as well, with Kim Shin enlisting the aid of Reaper to speak with one of his wards for the last time. I am hoping that the focus on Sunny and Reaper’s relationship allows us a reprieve for a while as Kim Shin’s situation is dragging on a bit.
For the previous four episodes, we’ve seen both Reaper and Kim Shin continually using magic to move around. In this fifth episode, we learn the major problem that both face in regards to the house. Reliance on their magic has resulted in them ignoring simple things like remembering the security code for the house. In Reaper’s case, we also see a steep learning curve when he receives his first phone. As amusing as this is, the odd nature of these two immortals does threaten to distract from some other aspects of the story.

Whilst I enjoyed this episode, some things about it concerned me. This is less about what happened and more about my anticipation about how the writers will address the next half of this series. I am worried that some stuff will be dragged on for too long thus undoing some of the entertainment value of the series so far. I suppose that I will just have to trust that the writers had enough sense when they planned out the main arcs of the story.  Regardless, I will continue watching this series because there is so much to love. It is the attention to small details, the ability for those small details to tell us so much about the characters and their situation.

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World of Keiko 2018-03-26

Hello again! Another week has passed and I am a little disappointed with my progress on several fronts. Whilst I did get some stuff achieved, the end of the week was a mess. All of my own creation, I’ll admit.

On the exercise front, I only managed to get three days of exercise (Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday) in due to visiting Mackay on Friday. I was going to make up for the missed day on Saturday but realized that it might result in an endless, vicious cycle of catch-up, a road that I’ve traveled before. I decided to use the day to do some other stuff instead. On Sunday, I noticed sore legs as well. It was unusual because I hadn’t noticed it the previous two days. I also missed today exercise as the day just got away from me. I fell victim to the timesink that is Twitter. I think I will have to start restricting my time on social networking again in order to be more productive.
Whilst I didn’t get as many exercise days in last week, I did manage to increase my base repetitions overall. Part of this was on account of the previous week but I also think the mindset that I would be doing the last set close to failure also put me into a more aggressive mindset. I just need to keep the momentum going.
I also started intermittent fasting using the 18:6 split on Friday. I did well for the first few days but began to lag on Sunday. I cheated by eating a piece of leftover chicken a small duration into my fasting period that afternoon. I cheated today as well, in a big way. I’ll need to get back into the right mindset tomorrow because I don’t want to ruin any progress I have made. I am also trying to develop lifelong habits here in order to get healthier and fitter.

Gaming? I have only spent about an hour in FFXIV during the past week. It is becoming more and more difficult to log in. I feel my husband’s lack of enthusiasm as he plays through Elder Scrolls: Morrowind, Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, Final Fantasy XII (now finished) and his toes into Final Fantasy XV. I also find myself doing other stuff instead.

On the education front, I finished the first course in the Improve Your Drawing Skills learning pathway late last week. It was nice going over some of the stuff that I did in high school and touching on some new techniques. It did result in me pining for the art group that I used to go to back when I was living near Gympie. That being said, I have to be self-motivated. I rely too much on other people already.
I am doing well as far as my French lessons at Duolingo are concerned. It is one of the things that I haven’t slacked off on actually and it is beginning to really pay off. It will be a while before I am able to hold a conversation in French or be able to understand some of the music that I listen to but I am beginning to see real progress. That encourages me to press on even more.

I didn’t do much in the way of planning for my Camp NaNoWriMo project this past week. I don’t have any good excuse as I allowed myself to get distracted with too many things. I’ll have to kick things up a notch over the next few days as Camp NaNo begins on Sunday.

What have I been listening to this past week?

I haven’t done much reading over the past week. It is a little lame, I know, but it is what it is. I’ll just have to get back on track.

Well, that is it for this week. Thanks for stopping by. Feel free to say hello and tell me a little about yourself in the comments section. I look forward to hearing more about you guys. In the meantime, I leave you with the following nightcore song courtesy of the Astyles Music channel over at Youtube:

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Movie Review: Dredd (2012)

Genre: Science Fiction, Action
Online: IMDB, Wikipedia
Cast: Karl Urban (Judge Dredd), Olivier Thirlby (Cassandra Anderson), Lena Hedley (Ma-Ma)

Dredd is the newest film adaptation of one of several comics serialized in the British comic anthology 2000 A.D. The first time that I laid eyes on a volume of 2000 A.D. was back in high school during the early to mid-90’s. I was rummaging through the book section of the local Lifeline store for something new and interesting to read. There, sitting on one of the shelves was a stack of large comics, a new arrival that immediately intrigued me. 2000 A.D. was printed right at the top. Given my interest in comics, I began to flick through. Not far in I was introduced to Judge Dredd, an imposing figure that left a lasting impression on me. Overall, I loved the art style of 2000 A.D. and made a mental note to have enough money to get the volumes when I returned. Alas, the next time I visited the shop, the volumes were gone. Oh well.

Mega City One is one of several mega-cities created to protect humanity from the irradiated wastelands outside. Home to more than 800 million people, the government has brought into effect the Judge system for the worst crimes. These wandering judges are only able to deal with around 6% of applicable crimes, resulting in many crimes going under the radar.
Judge Dredd is one of a small number of judges assigned to his district. After coming back from a job involving dangerous driving, he is assigned by the Chief Judge (Rakie Ayola) the task of seeing if a new rookie’s insight and psychic ability are enough to make up for some poor grades. Enter Cassandra Anderson, one of the most powerful telepaths on record. Anderson is an orphan with a vested interest in looking out for parts of the city that would otherwise be overlooked. As such, she decides to pick a job at one of the worst buildings in their district for their first job. The job turns out to be a lot bigger than the two anticipate.
Three men have been skinned and thrown to their deaths at a mega-apartment structure. The two judges quickly learn that it is home to one of the biggest drug lords in Mega City One, a former prostitute named Madeline Madrigal, otherwise known as Ma-Ma. What they initially believed to be a simple job result in them being pushed to their limits as they attempt to fight off hundreds of murderous criminals. Many will be killed before the night is through.

The screenplay for this film is apparently adapted from a miniseries that was serialized in the 2000 A.D. comic. The film begins with a quick overview of what has become of the world which leads to seeing Judge Dredd dealing with a job. In this simple sequence, we see how bleak the world is inside of the protective wall of Mega City One, are shown what a Judge is allowed to do and are also given a glimpse of the world of a Slow-Mo user. We later learn that Slow-Mo is the drug that Ma-Ma’s gang manufactures and peddles from their base of operations.
The action and gore are initially confronting but it is appropriate to the dark and gritty world setting. Innocents often get hurt and judges aren’t able to protect everyone. The role of a judge is not pretty because the world is not pretty. They have to make hard decisions and mete out judgment on the spot in most cases. The plot does an excellent job of emphasizing this in several of the scenes without being on the nose.
The film does a great job of making efficient use of each scene. None of the scenes felt wasted or contrived but instead helped moved along the story of this day in the life of Dredd and Anderson. The dialogue was also well-done, showing distinct differences in personality for each person. Dredd tends to internalize his thoughts whilst Anderson tends to be more open. There is a bit of a brain versus brawn thing going on but both characters still come off as perceptive and intelligent. We also see a certain amount of growth for the two main characters over the span of the movie as well.
The action scenes and special effects are well done, showing us some of the tools available for both judges and criminals. Technology such as implants, high-tech first aid kits, gnarly weapons and DNA-locking for judge weapons are all cool but they didn’t distract from the story. Tools and equipment were viewed as simply that. We also see these tools having limitations that Dredd and Anderson have to negotiate as they fight more and more members of Ma-Ma’s gang.
How was gender/sex dealt with in this film? It was refreshing seeing a movie showing a strong female character rather than telling. The reasons for Anderson’s badassery was four-fold. First up, she had training. Second, she was a psychic. Third, she had a unique perspective, allowing her to think outside of the box. She contributed because she felt an ethical responsibility to society to be a judge. Fourth, she was also willing to work with Dredd and take on board his advice without being dependent on him at all times. It didn’t matter that she was female either because she was such a well-rounded character.

All in all, the film has moved into my top ten favorite movies of all time. It is such an awesome film and I highly enjoyed it. I highly recommend this to anyone with a love of science fiction action stories. Given the strategic nature of some of the sequences, fans of Military Science Fiction will likely appreciate the film as well. You also DO NOT have to be a fan of the comics to enjoy this film. I also highly recommend that you check out the CinemaWins video on the film.

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Sunday Playlist 03/25/2018

Hello again! This week’s playlist is a collection of tunes from across the rather expansive sub-genres of rock. You’ll note some familiar faces, such as Australian band Kinematic and The Gasoline Brothers from The Netherlands. I’ve also added in some newcomers such as Always the Alibi and Whalers from the USA. I hope that you guys enjoy this week’s playlist.

  1. Summer by Rusty Tea Makers from Show It To Your Mother (album) [RUS]
  2. Watch the Fireman by The Gasoline Brothers from Tsk! (album) [NLD]
  3. One Last Time by Final Round from None of Us Will Ever Leave a Legacy (album) [USA]
  4. Peyote by Kinematic from Kites (album) [AUS]
  5. After All I’ve Done by Always the Alibi [USA]
  6. Live Fast Lie Down by Beat Six from When the Chemicals Ignite (With Fuel) (single) [UK]
  7. Silent Prison by Retrosonic from Ties, Cardigans & Other Cool Stuff (album) [ITA]
  8. Mag-alay sa Bayan (feat. Saivitir) by Karl Ramirez from Sulong (album) [PHL]
  9. So Practical by Amelie from The Same Old Joke (single) [ITA]
  10. Cheat on Each Other by Whalers from Paddle Easy [USA]

You can find the playlist here.

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Music Review: Everything You Should Know by Silence is Sexy

Year: 2008
Tracks: 12 (this release)
Genre: Indie Rock, Alternative Rock, Pop Rock, Rock
Similar Artists: Coldplay, Radiohead, Monoral, Screaming Trees
Online: Facebook, Jamendo, Bandcamp, FreeMusicArchive

Dutch band Silence is Sexy is one of the earliest bands that I came across on Jamendo. Whilst the members seem to have moved on to other projects, their several albums remain among the personal favorites of my music collection. Today, I will be focusing on one of the earliest of their releases, Everything You Should Know. Please note that this album is what led to me becoming a fan of their music in the first place. Today’s review is going to be short but I hope it is helpful.

Everything You Should Know is a collection of twelve songs with a gritty acoustic sound that contrasts pleasantly with the occasional orchestral elements. The compositions are solid, backed up by excellent instrumental work and crisp sound engineering. Whilst the rest of the Silence is Sexy catalog is enjoyable, I consider this album to be their best so far.
The album begins on a strong front, with the song This is Our Start?. This track sets the stage for the rest of what appears to be an anthology of musical stories. Whilst the album contains more melancholic songs, we see glimmers of hope throughout. This is made very clear with the second track Stories Yet to Come, the declaration that moments of sadness are not the end as much as it feels like it at the time.
Do have any favorite songs on this album? Yes. The eighth track Reptiles is energetic and a lot of fun to listen to. It is hands-down my top pick for the album. The song resonates with me and I find myself listening to it on its own time and time again.

In conclusion, I really enjoyed this album. If you a writer looking for a soundtrack for a modern-day drama or urban fantasy character-driven story, then this album is a solid pick. Artists looking for some melancholic and reflective songs to help with their own projects should probably check out this album as well. I also recommend checking out the album if you are a fan of the musical genres listed above.