Keiko Online

Blog Home of D.L. Owens


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Pimp a Patreon: Godless in Dixie

Neil Carter Online: Facebook, Twitter, Patreon, Patheos

In this second installment of Pimp a Patreon, we are taking a look at Neil Carter’s Godless in Dixie patreon. As some of you are already aware, I am an atheist. Though I won’t be focusing much on this aspect of my life in this blog, I feel that it is important for atheists living in fundamentalist religious areas to get the support that they need. Whilst Neil’s patheos blog posts do a great job of offering some insight into the life of an Atheist living in Mississippi, there is still some ways in which he’d like to contribute further. I highly recommend that folks check out the Patreon and his other manifestations online to see if you’d like to contribute to the cause. Even if you don’t end up offering financial support, you’ll likely find his blog posts to be thought-provoking and relevant.


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Changes to Social Networking

A few days ago, I made a major decision about how I use social networking. It was a difficult decision, but a decision that I’ve been considering for several months. This requires me to unfriend and unfollow a bunch of people in order to free up time for personal projects. It is in no way about angst or some crazy political agenda. It is not about my atheism either. It really is about making better use of my time.

I will not be unfollowing family and folks that I have actually met. I will primarily stick with only a few writers, podcasters, musicians, artists and educators that I have regular contact with. I will not be continuing contact with folks that post nonsense, hate and hypocrisy because that is exhausting. I am tired of seeing material that can easily be debunked, of which I have noted some repeat offenders in recent months. I really can make better use of my time and I doubt that the folks that are affected want to see my lengthy posts anyway. This obviously includes pages for journalistic websites and blogs. As for religious stuff, I doubt that there will be any major issue given that most of my theist friends don’t post the sort of rubbish that that I am referring to.

I feel a little guilty about this change but it can be a real pain going through lengthy feeds. I have made a start on Facebook but will hopefully start work on twitter contacts soon. It will take a bit of time to make a lot more time for myself in the long-term. I am looking to have at least a first draft of a fantasy novel finished by the end of the year.


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Pimp a Patreon: Chris A Moody

Chris Online: Official WebsitePatreon Page, Steampod

In the first in a series of posts featuring promising and worthwhile Patreon pages, we are taking a look at that of long-time writing buddy and podcaster extraordinaire, Chris A Moody. Chris has been writing and podcasting for a while now and has shown himself to be driven to create unique stories. His Patreon page is a way to further finance his speculative fiction writing endeavors. He’s posted samples of his writing on the Patreon page. I highly recommend that you guys visit and read the samples to see if you’d like to help finance his dream.


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Introducing Herb Q Kendrick

Name: Herb Q Kendrick
Herb Online: Right Moods, Right Moods @Twitter, Right Moods @FacebookHerb Q @Youtube 

 I first become acquainted with Herb Q Kendrick on Facebook several years ago, back when he was living in Tokyo. At the time, he was performing comedy and music at various clubs, and also taught English to Japanese students. He produced a couple of podcasts on the side, one of which discussed Japanese snacks. He did voice work that included Romanov Higa ‘s CATBLUE: Dynamite [clip] [summary] and some voice acting for the English version of Kenta Fukasaku’s Battle Royale 2 Director’s Cut. I would find out later that he was also a fiction writer and more recently decided to focus on drawing. Whether he is working on an oil rig, chef, singing, writing or drawing, Herb is a highly motivated, talented dude.

Herb Q rocking a Marvel t-shirt

Herb Q rocking a Marvel t-shirt

Herb’s new project is Right Moods, a website that is home to his limited edition digital artworks. The work ranges in style from scenes inspired by the various cultures of Africa to the other side of the world in Japan. You’ll also find some other works that don’t fit into either but you’ll note that rich use of reds and blues throughout his entire catalogue. I seriously recommend that you guys check out the website and consider purchasing a piece.

I also recommend folks check out Herb’s Youtube channel. Soon after returning to the USA, he reunited with some musicians that he played with before he moved to Tokyo. Fatjoy band is a group from Greensboro, NC that performs covers of funk, R&B and soul. You’ll find a bunch of their performances posted on the channel along with some other material on the channel.


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World of Keiko 07/05/2015

Its been a few weeks since my last post. Stuff has progressed since the last update, but I will wait until hubby and I have told our families some stuff before letting you guys in on those details. Suffice to say, it is good news.

I have been playing some Marvel Heroes, but I was distracted waiting to hear back about hubby’s job applications. In spite of this, I have managed to get all but 5 of my toons over level 30. I still need to get Black Panther, Gambit, Jean Grey, Spider-Man and Storm to the point where they give at least one synergy. As for collecting heroes, I still have a large grouping of characters that I still haven’t unlocked.

I also removed all intake-based enrollments in order to make time for writing and editing. Assignment deadlines were becoming more unmanageable over time. Study was always meant to help with other aspects of my life but it began to take over. Given that my first love is storytelling, I needed to make writing a priority again.

I am back to walking the 7.5 km circuit. It is still early day and I am not confident enough with the strength of my ankle to do running. It doesn’t help having those extra pounds either, but I will get there. I just need to develop that habit because sporadic bursts of exercises do not allow for consistent improvement.


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World of Keiko 06/20/2014

Its been a while since my last update and things have become a little anxious as my husband and I wait to hear back on some of his job applications. Regardless of which position that he ends up getting, we will have to move to a different area and likely more than a few hours away. What this means is improved working conditions for my best friend and the chance to improve his health. The health thing is a pretty big deal as the manner in which shifts are dealt with at the current station lead to an inability to fall into a good sleeping pattern. It also plays havoc with the ability to exercise. The new place will also have housing provided, with the more remote locations getting special incentives because of proximity to services and real supplies. The latter will likely be a non-issue given that we have the requirement of broadband and the more remote places usually lack that simple requirement. The whole thing is causing me lots of stress because I have grown strangely attached to where we live (mostly animals that live around here) and hate moving, yet know that it isn’t about me. Wherever we go, he will also consider my needs as well.
We have pretty simple requirements. Internet is obviously the big one. We both use it for watching videos and doing research. In my case, it has allowed me to make connections with some pretty awesome people and has opened up learning opportunities that I would otherwise not have. If we live out in the sticks, it will also give us a means to order things without long trips to another place for shopping. Furthermore, we do a lot of online gaming. This latter example also ties in to my need for socialization.

In a slightly unrelated note, a gorgeous black cat has been visiting of late. I had seen it wandering about the street before, but finally made contact after hearing it meowing in our shed. I had unknowingly locked it in the shed. I gave it some tuna and lots of cuddles before my cat allergy kicked in with red, weepy eyes and stuffy nose that lasted for at least eight hours. I love kitties, but this allergy makes having a feline buddy a real issue. Rabbits and Ferrets are illegal pets in my state, as are many other potential buddies. I am not a big fan of guinea pigs as my previous experiences have shown them to be quite skiddish and prone to great escapes as well as having the tendency to die from mild changes in temperature. I considered a chicken buddy, but hubby has a deep-seated hatred due to childhood egg-based trauma. (It is actually kind of funny, but I am banned from telling the story.)

GAMING
I am back to playing Marvel Heroes, a game that I return to time after time. It has plenty to offer hardcore players of ARPGs whilst also giving plenty for casual players such as myself to do. TERA is sort of lingering as the go-to MMORPG, though I am inclining more to Marvel Heroes. The recent second anniversary for Marvel Heroes is also giving away a free potplant Groot companion that can be moved between character, which is adorable and avoids that messy issue of having to save up large amounts of credits to begin with. Best of all GROOT!
It turns out that Infinite Crisis was cancelled after only a few months after release. Something about the game closing down in August. In any case, I decided to uninstall the game as soon as I heard the news. It is sad, but I have other neat MOBA games to play, such as Supanova, DOTA2 and Heroes of the Storm.
What is Supanova? It is an sci-fi RTS/MOBA crossover. One of the first things that jumped out at me upon playing my first game was fond memories of playing Starcraft. The art style for Supanova does a great job of providing that classic RTS experience in the form of choosing which creeps are built, whilst at the same time allowing you control over a single champion. I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve seen of the game so far and look forward to seeing how the game goes after it goes out of beta.

EDUCATION
I’ve finished a couple of courses of late, but have had to drop a bunch of enrollments to make way for more writing time. Yes, it was already pretty low, but it needed to be lessened even further. There are still a bunch of self-paced courses on offer, which makes things a lot easier given my schedule. Here is the list of courses that I completed:

  • Making Sense of Climate Denial by UQ at EdX (Psychology, Environment Science, Science) **** [It discussed the psychology underpinning climate change denial along with some info on what information that those people discussing climate change draw from when they call for action to address the problem]
  • Think. Code. Create. by University of Adelaide at EdX (Computer Science, Programming, Processing Language) **** [This course was a whole lot of fun, with students creating some wonderful artworks using the programming language]
  • The Rise of Superheroes and their Impact on Pop Culture by Smithsonian Institute at EdX (History, Pop Culture, Writing, Art) **** [This is a must for anyone interested with pop culture, history, the arts and supertights]
  • Introduction to Steel by Tenaris University at EdX (Science, Metallurgy) *** [This was a great introduction to the subject of the steel industry but was a tad short for my liking]
  • Dyslexia and Foreign Language Teaching by Lancaster University at FutureLearn (Linguistics, Neuroscience, Psychology, Teaching) **** [I found this course to especially relevant given that I know a few people that live with the learning challenge]
  • Understanding Language by University of Southampton at FutureLearn (Linguistics, Teaching) ***** [Some wonderful insight into what techniques more readily facilitate the learning of a new language]
  • Lips and Teeth by Yonsei University at FutureLearn [History, Asia, Korea, China] **** [This course is a wonderful addition to studies in Asian history, focusing on the historical relationship between China and Korea]

I am currently enrolled in the following intake-based courses, some of which I may end up dropping due to conflicts with writing time:

  • Paradox and Infinity by MIT at EdX [Philosophy, Logic, Mathematics] (I am seriously digging this course so far]
  • Psychological First Aid by John Hopkins University at Coursera [Psychology, Counselling] (It is the last week and I need to catch up in order to pass.)
  • The Bilingual Brain by University of Houston at Coursera [Linguistics] (I am attempting this a second time around. I dropped it first time due to some personal stuff that got in the way of deadlines)
  • The Genomics Era by Saint Georges, University of London at FutureLearn [Science, Genetics] (Quite interesting so far, but I need to memorize the various terms used in order to avoid misunderstandings.)
  • Modern Korean History by Yonsei University at FutureLearn [History, Asia, Korea] (I haven’t started the first week yet, but I expect good things from the university given my enrollment in Lips and Teeth.)

I ended up dropping Magic in the Middle Ages because of some flawed premises. I felt dumber for the first few videos. The quality of the material (not video quality because that was actually quite reasonable) does not bode well for any future studies with the University of Barcelona, which is a pity given that it has a decent reputation.
I dropped Introduction to Human Evolution because of the workload, but intend to enroll in a future intake. The format was solid and the material varied enough to give students some good insight into the nature of evolution. Jerry Coyne would be quite happy. For those that don’t know, Jerry is the University of Chicago professor that wrote the book “Why Evolution is True”, an excellent book that does a great job of debunking evolution denial whilst staying respectful of theists. It is conversational rather than confrontational in tone.

READING
I only managed to finish three books since my last update.

  • A Sound of Thunder by Ray Bradbury (sci-fi short story in text) ****
  • All You Zombies by Robert A. Heinlein (sci-fi short story in text) ****
  • Universal Warrior: The Ring of Asarra by Avery K. Tingle (fantasy novella in audio) *****

 

The first two were short stories used as examples for the Paradox and Infinity MOOC, bringing to light the thought experiment of paradoxes as they relate to time travel.  The third was a present given around my birthday and it was a lovely addition to a setting that I am quite fond of. You can find my reviews for each via my Goodreads account.

WRITING
Its been an odd six weeks.
First of all, a friend asked me to co-edit a steampunk blog, which is a totally foreign experience for someone used to working on my own. I’ve never been an editor or co-editor before, and the whole thing is a little intimidating because of that lack of experience. I suppose that I won’t get experience unless I actually do the work.
The second is doing a voice chat with a writer / musician / artist / comedian / podcaster / etcetera… friend regarding his new project. It was a really fun conversation in which I learned a bunch of stuff about him that I was completely unaware of. I finally sent off the first draft of the article for review this afternoon. Once the short article is finalized, I will need some bling for the post to give a more human feel.
The third is opening some old manuscripts on one of my HDDs to find a Steampunk-ish project, I found another story that I had completely forgotten about. Heaven is a fantasy set in the world of Telluria, where the church were abandoned by the Creator due to willful corruption. It focuses on a young woman named Hella who is what is referred to as a Binder, a person that can imprison an Angel or Demon in her mind. I have been hard at work these past three days doing some mild world-building such as detailing the nature of magic in the world and information on geography, all of which are based upon the four chapters that I had already written. Its been fun, though I seriously need to do some more plotting in order to avoid continuity and logic issues. I will keep you posted on the progress.
Also, I have decided to start a new series of posts where I pimp out a Patreon. The idea is to post a new article either weekly or fortnightly, with fortnightly being the most likely scenario for the next few months as my hubby and I figure out where we will be staying for at least the next three years. I have three that I have already decided on and need to follow up with the owners, but I welcome folks to submit their own Patreon projects for consideration via the contact page (sends the message to my email), Facebook messaging or my email.

HEALTH & FITNESS
Hubby and I still have a lingering cough from the flu that we contracted a couple months back. Neither of us have has symptoms of the flu for this long before, but I suspect that it doesn’t help that we are both overweight and unfit from lack of exercise. I had planned to use the time while I was sick for productive purposes, but that just didn’t work out.

TV
I finished and loved both Daredevil and Sense8. iZombie is quite entertaining, though some people are hating on the show for apparent diversions from the core material of the graphic novel series.


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World of Keiko 05/07/2015

I have been somewhat quiet of late. I have attempted to draft several updates to let folks know what I’ve been up to, but this resulted in moments spent staring blankly at the post editor. Has this been due to lack of confidence on my part as to what readers might find relevant and/or interesting? Of course it has. I suppose that each creative has moments throughout their life where they wonder what they are offering the world. That feeling is often something not grounded in reality in any shape or degree. We can be busy creating things, studying and whatnot, yet still be wracked by a sense that we may not have something to offer.
So, what can we do about it. Sometimes the solution is to keep talking to other people, trying to assist where we can. The answer may not be blogging about something but actually interacting with others. In writing, this is referred to as “show, don’t tell.” It also helps nurture those relationships with others. What do you do to deal with a lack of confidence?

GAMING
I have been busy leveling characters on Rift. Its been a fun time, but I’ve taken time away from the grind to recharge. I’ve played some Infinite Crisis, Triad Wars, Trove, Marvel Heroes, Sweezy Gunner, One Finger Death Punch and Penguin’s Arena: Sedna’s World. I am currently downloading the steam release of the action-MMORPG TERA that went live a few days ago after its December 12 release was postponed for various reasons. Still no luck in downloading the beta of Otherland, but it looks rather promising as well.
*Infinite Crisis is a MOBA set in the crisis timeline of the DC Comics universe. The tutorial offers a few free heroes, such as Gaslight Batman, Green Lantern and Wonder Woman. There are also some incentives for daily log-ins, such as Joker for day 7. I doubt that it will knock DOTA2, League of Legends or Heroes of the Storm from the map, but it does have a sizable and active community of players so far for a solid game with plenty of shinies. Note that ranked play was released over the past few days.
*Triad Wars is a f2p MMO using some of the content from Sleeping Dogs. It is currently in beta, but it does offer a lot of neat little features based on what I’ve played so far. Think martial arts crime RPG in the vein of GTA. You can pick from one of about 3 groups so far, though your character customization is quite limited. I don’t see myself playing the game too often as the multiplayer options are also quite limited at present, but it does have a lot of potential.
*Marvel Heroes is the go-to of hubby and I. The game is a f2p action-MMO created by some of the team involved in the Diablo franchise, but set in the Marvel universe. There is a story and lots of extra content, but I find myself cackling with glee as you take down hordes of Moloids or Frost Giants as Ms Marvel or Rocket Raccoon. You can unlock a bunch of content such as heroes during gameplay, but STASH space is pretty much limited to purchases using premium currency. Another plus is the gratification from destroying various parts of the environment. Michael Bay – ‘splosions!!!
*Sweezy Gunner is a neat little indie bullet hell game where you play a Sweezy tank driver sent to look around a planet infested with bugs, sentient CDs and other oddities bent on murdering you. The graphics are lo-fi but that added a certain charm. The game is pretty solid and highly addictive.
*One Finger Death Punch is a fast-paced indie fighting game. You play a stickman warrior, where direction keys struck at specific times allow the character to perform certain moves, such as picking up weapons, blocking and striking foes. It is lots of fun and surprisingly addictive.
*Penguin’s Arena: Sedna’s World is supposed to be a kid game. However, there is something so satisfying about hitting opposition penguins in the face with snowball. It is also a means to feed starving killer whales patrolling around fighting platforms. It is an older game, but the gameplay and graphics still manage to hold up well.

EDUCATION
I’ve lessened my courseload in recent months, but has still managed to complete a few courses:

  • Forests and Livelihoods in Developing Countries by UBC at EdX ****
  • Introduction to Environmental Science by Dartmouth University at EdX ****
  • Jazz Appreciation by UTAustin at EdX ****
  • Objects the Define America by Smithsonian Institute at EdX ***
  • In the Night Sky: Orion by The Open University at FutureLearn ****
  • Elements of Renewable Energy by The Open University at FutureLearn ****
  • Shale Gas and Fracking by The University of Nottingham at FutureLearn ***

I am currently studying the following courses:

  • Making Sense of Climate Denial by UQ at EdX (week 2/7)
  • Think. Code. Create. by University of Adelaide at EdX (week 1/6)
  • The Rise of Superheroes and their Impact on Pop Culture by Smithsonian Institute at EdX (week 1/5)
  • Introduction to Human Evolution by Wesley University at EdX (week 1/12)
  • Magic in the Middle Ages by University of Barcelona at Coursera (week 1/6)
  • Dyslexia and Foreign Language Teaching by Lancaster University at FutureLearn  (week 3/4)
  • Understanding Language by University of Southampton at FutureLearn  (week 3/4)
  • Lips and Teeth by Yonsei University at FutureLearn  (week 2/6)

On a good note, I am nearly finished all of my coursework for the week – yay! *runs about like muppet*

What have you been studying of late? It doesn’t have to be a course either. It can be something as simple as watching short topical videos or tutorials.

HEALTH AND FITNESS
Somebody in our household brought home a strain of the flu about a month ago. I am still having to deal with the “mucous monster”, which is a pain in the butt when you want to go for a long walk but can’t walk short distances without large amounts of coughing from clogged breathing passages. It seems that at least one of my friends in the USA had something similar a month or so ago but has since sent the flu packing. I just wish that I was well enough to spend some time outside, but I suppose that this gives me time to study, read and catch up on anime.

READING
I haven’t read anything in months, but I have finally managed to work out how to add iTunes podcasts to my Lumia 930 windows phone. This will allow me to listen to audiobooks and podcasts when I am finally well enough to go walking and running again. I will need to get headphones that fit the headphone jack first though as my iphones headset doesn’t fit properly.

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