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TV Review: Goblin Episode 03

Year: 2016 – 2017
Episode: 3/16 completed KDrama series (English sub)
Other Names: The Lonely, Shining Goblin; Guardian: The Lonely and Great God; Prince Maker; Mr Sunshine
Online: WikipediaMyDramaList,  HanCinemaKoreanDramaAsianWikiDramaFever
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Drama, Romance

I watched this episode more than a month ago and never got around to review it. Because I wanted to discuss it with the instalment fresh in my mind, I decided to rewatch it today. It turned out to be just as enjoyable as when I first watched it.

N.B. Spoilers below.

After being kidnapped by debt-collectors of her horrible aunt, Ji Eun Tak (Kim Go Eun) is rescued dramatically by Kim Shin the Goblin (Goon Yoo) with the resident Grim Reaper (Lee Doon Wook) in tow. Over the span of the previous two episodes, Kim Shin has taken a liking to the young woman but has to deal with her attempts to not get her hopes up by relying on him.
In the midst of this, the resident Grim Reaper is reminded of his own situation. We also get to learn more about the organization that he works for, including talk of an upcoming Grim Reaper workshop and reunion. As Ji Eun Tak makes sense of how she feels about Kim Shin leaving for Canada, Grim Reaper meets Ji Eun Tak’s boss Sunny (Yoo In Na) at the stall of the magically disguised shaman lady that protected Ji from the Grim Reaper years before, making it apparent that she has her own plans for the pair.

This episode does a great job of kicking the second major arc into gear. Whilst we got to see the old shaman lady in passing over the previous episodes, we now get to see what she is up to. We also know that it has something to do with Sunny and Grim Reaper. There is also an emerald ring involved, something that is likely related to both of their past lives.
We also get to see the developing friendship of Kim Shin and Grim Reaper, after years of being at each other’s throats. We see that both are capable of kindness and that they heavily misunderstand each other. There is some nice commentary from the older of Kim Shin’s servants talking about how the two need each other in spite of their reluctance to accept this fact. Whilst Kim Shin has servants and memory of his life, we see the loneliness and frustration of the amnesiac Grim Reaper. Now, if only they’ll put aside the childish bickering…
As for Ji Eun Tak, we see her grow heavily during this episode. Her attempt to not rely on Kim Shin is endearing as it comes from multiple places: she doesn’t want to be an imposition on Kim Shin and she is also concerned that relying on other people will likely end badly. And yet, she makes a decision this episode that shows a clarity of purpose. She wants to be with Kim Shin. This decision also results in the confirmation of something that we have known for a while, that Ji Eun Tak is Goblin’s bride, the priestess that will be able to remove the sword that keeps him alive.

In conclusion, this episode knocked it out of the park. The character development and plot are moving along nicely, with some genuinely funny moments that add to the story rather than subtract from it. This continues to be an enjoyable series and I look forward to watching more episodes.

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Manga Review: Before Daylight Love

Year: 2010
Author + Artist: Mitori Fujii
Version: Dangerous Pleasure Scanlation Group
After Morning Love Online: MyAnimeListMangaFoxKissManga
Genre: Yaoi, Drama, Slice of Life, Romance

Back in June, I reviewed a short-run series called After Morning Love. Before Daylight Love is a follow-on story to the series, focusing on the characters of Tatsumi (Yakusa guy) and Daiki, the guy that is Rin’s boss at the bar. While we did get to see a bit of Daiki in the first series, it barely touched on Tatsumi’s situation.

After years of providing a safe haven for Tatsumi at his bar, Daiki is injured by thugs looking to kill Tatsumi. It leads to the realization that Tatsumi sees him as much more than a protector.

Whilst this series is cute, it wasn’t anywhere near as enjoyable as the first series. I would have preferred getting to know the two characters rather than be dropped into the middle of the situation. I like that sort of progression and it was done right in After Morning Love. I suspect that this choice was probably due to the chapter limitation. It also makes the assumption that we know a bit about the characters already. This is not a good idea if you hope to draw in new readers.
I like the characters overall, just as I did in the original series. Whilst Daiki is outgoing, Tatsumi is understandably reserved due to the need for secrecy in his criminal organisation. Their relationship feels right as well, with the two complementing each other well. Yes, there are some naughty bits, more than the previous series. Nothing explicit, mind you, and it certainly doesn’t fall into porn levels seen in some other Yaoi series. It focuses more on storytelling and character development.
Unfortunately, this story suffers from a bit of “telling, not showing”. This made it difficult for me to genuinely feel tied to their plight. It seemed like the characters were constantly trying to convince the reader that the situation was life-threatening rather than giving us a glimpse of the carnage going on when Tatsumi was out and about doing his thing. Much in all as this isn’t an action series, more violence would have shown the genuine threat that Tatsumi was facing.
Before Daylight Love also includes a continuation of the Animal Ears bonus story seen towards the end of the previous series. I would rate it as a “meh”. It was fluff then and this new instalment feels flat as well. For me, the bonus story would have been better omitted from both series altogether.

In conclusion, as much as I like this story, it wasn’t as good as its predecessor. I felt removed from Daiki and Tatsumi. It was a bit of a let-down for a series that had so much promise.


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World of Keiko 2017-10-30

I apologise for yet another long hiatus from blogging. I’ve been slack, I admit it. I will try to get back into a regular blogging routine again. However, I may take more hiatus in future. Sometimes you just need a break to deal with life stuff and occasional overload. So, what’s been happening of late?

I’ll start by summing up the news. As many of you know, Australia recently had a postal plebiscite for marriage equality. The Census will release the data soon. What happens after the data is released is another thing altogether. The government will have grounds to hold a vote should the results overwhelmingly support the move. The plebiscite will potentially force the hand of those that are against the vote to support it. This is dependent on several things, including members of each electorate petitioning their local member to vote in favour. Given some of the connections of several parties to religious groups, a conscience vote may lead to them voting no instead. There are a few other things to consider. How did I vote? I voted yes. I wasn’t voting on specific legislation, merely whether I support marriage equality.
In other political news, the government of Queensland called the state election a few days ago. It will be on the 25th of November. The politicians have moved to the caretaker mode and are no longer holding state parliament meetings. After the election results come in, the politicians will then have a month or two over the holiday to adjust to new positions, portfolios, etc… Pretty much standard stuff, but I am really glad that we don’t have to deal with the year or so of nomination process like in the USA even for the federal election. There are time limitations that politicians have to abide by here. Some folks have also discussed the value of Question Time for the federal government. Is it perfect? No. But at least Question Time allows politicians to be questioned. To me, that scrutiny can be a good thing.
The nation of Lebanon won their first ever game in the Rugby League World Cup. West Indian cricketer won a defamation case against Fairfax Media. I heard about the case a while back and it was clear from the case and the history of how Fairfax Media operates that he would likely win. There were several bombings in Somalia resulting in several deaths. The Catalonian independence situation has gained an understandable amount of coverage given how messed up it is. Unfortunately, folks have somehow completely forgotten about the Kurds having their own independence vote around the same time. We also saw a deluge of people come out with sexual assault and harassment allegations. It has been an eventful few months.
Now to the part where I go over what I’ve been up to…

I did my first bike lessons off-road recently. Some people up the road were kind enough to give hubby and I permission to use their property for practice. They are really nice people and I really need to spend more time with them. We also have a few other people that have given permission for us to practice on their land as well which makes it easy to find a place to learn and master riding skills.
What were my thoughts on the first few lessons? The first one freaked me out because I nearly had an accident in the first few minutes of the session. I won’t go into details but suffice it to say that if I was lucky not to hit a vehicle. The motorcycle fell on me as well, causing some bruising to my left knee. The bruising was bad enough but the weighted squats (25kg dumbbells on each arm) did a serious number on my knees and I am still healing up. After the mishap, we went elsewhere and had my first lengthy (if assisted) ride. I was still dealing with the nervousness of that earlier mishap and ended up calling it quits early because I was a mess. A few days later, we went out again and I was in a much better state.
The second lesson also made use of a wet dirt road, allowing me to get some mild idea of what to expect in even mild conditions. I rode over a stream crossing the road at one point. It was a confidence builder, with me focusing on throttle control. In spite of hubby encouraging me to do so, I kept in first gear. I figured that the jumps and lurches caused by throttle changes are more noticeable in first gear and therefore useful in practising throttle control.
What do I need to improve first? Well, I still have issues with throttle control and will need to address this in a timely fashion. I also need to address changing gears. This is something that will become more comfortable over time but the throttle is likely the most important thing to focus on at present given how many accidents are caused by poor throttle control. We also have a cheap Chinese dirt bike on the way. I’ll ride it while hubby rides behind in future lessons. It is less heavy and has less horsepower than the Husqvarna at 125CC. It will be a slightly Over time, I will build the muscles necessary to use both bikes with ease.

On the exercise front, I have been experimenting of late. One of those experiments was getting a feel for a 100 push-ups a day exercise challenge. Whilst I haven’t dedicated to doing the challenge, I did try to do 100 pushups two consequent days. The first was fine and as expected, my muscles were having issues due to muscle-tearing the following day. I wasn’t able to do the quota two days in a row.
One of the major problems lies in under-developed Triceps. I will address this using Tricep Dips. I did 100 Triceps on the third day instead of the pushups and noticed a manageable amount of resistance and soreness.
It got me thinking about some of the other programs that I have seen over the last few months. A lot of programs include specific parts of the body addressed on certain days of the week. For example, on one day, arms will be targeted. On another, Abs. You get the picture. While I wait for my knee to completely heal, I will think further about what I want to achieve and try to nail down a game plan. In any case, I will be focusing on my health in November.

What about that writing stuff? I have not been making as much progress as I’d like but there are only so many hours in the day to do all of the stuff that I want to achieve. We all juggle a bunch of stuff each day. Sometimes we sacrifice one thing in order to make room for another. Everything has a cost in time and other resources. To think that you can have it all is delusional.
At some point, I would also like to reboot the serial that I started earlier this year. The major hurdle is that I am also juggling the world-building of some other projects. This includes the rather large world setting of Loquis. It is a big world, so large that it might take me years to start working on the planned series. I’d also like to work on Ghoul West (a new-ish project) and Elven Gunslinger. I did, however, notice that I didn’t make OneNote notebooks for Lio, the setting for Eleven Gunslinger. That will mean that I will have to create one and do the annoying task of adding the notes that have managed to survive several hard drive changes. This is a rather annoying task but I need to get it sorted.

Well, that is it for this week, folks. A big shoutout to my new followers before I go and I would like to thank long-time followers for their ongoing readership of this blog. I leave you guys with the following clip:

 


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Sunday Playlist 10/29/2017

Hello again, folks! After a lengthy hiatus, I am back with another Sunday Playlist. This week, I have a collection of rock tracks from Germany, Italy, The Nederlands, Russia, Spain, Ukraine and USA. If you have any recommendations for other decent rock bands on Jamendo, be sure to let me know.

  1. Army of Soldiers by Studebakers Blacksmith Shop from Studebakers Blacksmith Shop EP [DEU]
  2. Thoughts on Sympathy by STEEP from New Horizons [DEU]
  3. Gimme, Gimme by Houdini Roadshow from Are You Ready? [DEU]
  4. 120 Miles Per Hour by State Shirt from New Planet [USA]
  5. Get Out of My Mind by Singleton from The High Seas [UKR]
  6. Take Me There by Silence is Sexy from Modern Antiques Vol.2 [NLD]
  7. Warmachine by Shearer from Duck on Cover [DEU]
  8. Hello by Rusty Tea Makers from Show It To Your Mother [RUS]
  9. Good Times by Black Bones from Pirates of the Coast [ITA]
  10. X by Some Noise from Some Noise [ESP]

You can find the playlist here.


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Music Review: My Yellow Microphone by Fresh Body Shop

Year: 2011
Genre: Indie Rock + Gothic Rock + Synthpop + Electropop
Similar Artists: [Earlier material: Nine Inch Nails, The Cure]
Online: BandcampJamendoSoundcloudFacebookTwitterYoutube
Tracks:

  1. Mind Healer
  2. Naked
  3. My Yellow Microphone
  4. Ted
  5. Stop For a While
  6. Burning Keys
  7. Come Get Some
  8. Dusty Tapes
  9. Mind Healer (CIRC Mix)

As a long-time fan of Fresh Body Shop, I decided to review another album this time around. My Yellow Microphone is one of several albums that Pedro released back in 2011. 2011 saw the beginning of a more electronic, disco and funky sound whilst surprisingly managing to keep some of the Gothic Rock edge that led me to become a fan in the first place. The album has a bit of an experimental feel to it, with Pedro trying new things. It worked and I find myself listening to the album on a regular basis.

Do I have any favourite tracks? It is a tie between the title track My Yellow Microphone and the seventh track Come Get Some. These offer a glimpse into the transition to the slightly different style that began that year. These songs are also really fun to listen to and repeatable.

In conclusion, this is a must-listen for folks that love FBS’s music. If you are unfamiliar with Fresh Body Shop but have a love Electropop and Synthpop, then I highly recommend that you give the album a listen over at the hub of your choice. If you like what you hear, be sure to tell others about it.


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World of Keiko 2017-09-19

Hello again, folks! Sorry about the delay in posting this update. It was delayed due to a post-holiday recovery from a junk and fast food coma, as well as my desire to indulge in a short hiatus from blogging. Not the best excuse, I know, but I am trying to be honest here.

You’ve likely noticed that I just finished the Publish an Ebook learning pathway at LYNDA. As with originally planned, I started the first course in the Improve Your Drawing Skills learning pathway soon after. Then, I got distracted. Okay, maybe “distracted” isn’t the best word. Due to hitting a wall during the plot and world-building revision for Freak, I decided to work on something else instead and settled on the Loquis world setting.
Loquis is the closest thing to a Steampunk setting. It isn’t hard steampunk but does have some technology such as airships and trains in a world where prayers are sometimes answered and magic is real. I’ve done a bit of work on the setting on the years but wanted to create a working world map based on where some of the places are. So, I started digging around for free resources online, with the intention of using GIMP2 software for editing the image after I have the foundation down. I didn’t want to have to trace or hand draw the land masses if I could avoid it.
After trial and error on several online tools, I settled on one in particular. Roll For Fantasy has a neat Map Creator tool that worked like a treat. I generated several 25 by 15 maps until I found a good base to work with. I tweaked it via the online interface. Coastlines were edited, islands were added and lakes were introduced until I had a world map that I was happy with. It took nearly three hours between the random generation and tweaking. However, I didn’t add in features such as forests, mountains, dunes, or other features due to some of these tiles completely over-riding the cell which could remove coastlines and other features in the process. I intend to create reusable tiles and brushes for this purpose later on.
I also went about looking at some tutorials for map-making with GIMP. The best collection of videos that I have come across so far is by YouTuber The Coffee Bean GM, entitled Gimp Mapping. It covers both world maps and smaller maps for roleplaying, such as Dungeon maps. I’ve already played around with some of the features that he covers in the playlist and found his method a great way to also create random maps that you can customise with whichever terrain and features that you see fit. Is it the quickest and cleanest method? I have no idea, but I do know that I learnt a lot and like the result whilst tinkering.
This brings me to my newest course undertaking. Whilst I will be doing the Improve Your Drawing Skills learning pathway at LYNDA, I checked out what the site had in the way of GIMP offerings. The lone offering is GIMP Essential Training by Mike Rankin. The course was released in June of this year and is pretty good so far. I am still in the early parts of the material but the future chapters cover a lot of the features that I haven’t used yet. It will be a bit of a learning curve, but I anticipate that it will be worth it.
I have also begun creating templates for flags in GIMP using the GEGL Operation. The Checkerboard function makes it easy to make some of the basic layouts but isn’t the be-all and end-all. I will have to create other artwork such as symbols and elements such as Cantons. This doesn’t include work that I will need to do on crests and coat of arms for the various groups but it is do-able. I want to learn and I am willing to put in the time to create this extra material. I also think that it will be helpful in keeping visual references. It is nowhere near finished but I am having a lot of fun.

In other news, hubby was kind enough to get me a compound bow on the way back from our trip. I did archery in high school and have had a desire to get into the sport in the decades that followed. We’ve now got targets set up and I find myself looking forward to each practice session. It is still a lot of fun. Hubby likes it as well, but it is a pain in the ass to change the bow draw and poundage every single time that he wants to practice. In a few months, it is likely that I will be getting a new bow and he will be inheriting the old one. This is all dependent on me getting better at archery and healthier. Hubby is now talking about getting a gun for sports shooting…
Hubby is currently waiting on information regarding some possible car parts for the beast. This will be an expensive purchase but it will result in an Autocross-fit vehicle in next to no time. If you don’t know what Autocross is, I highly recommend that you look it up. Those vehicles are nimble AF.
On top of this, hubby is talking about getting some half-half motorbikes and I find myself excited about it. I don’t have a license for either a car or a bike, meaning that I will have to get learner’s permits for them both. I’ve been wanting to get a driver’s license for a while now, but it was continually been put off over the years out of slackness. This will be a good incentive to get one for both vehicle types. I now have to get to a healthy weight in order to be able to pick up and manoeuvre a motorcycle.
All of these things cost money. However, such purchases remove a barrier to entry and create a means for ongoing entertainment that also gets both of us out of the house. We don’t have much in the way of vices, with our computers and mobile devices being an ongoing consideration. This lack of expenses obviously makes it easier to budget for these sports. I anticipate that the purchases will be worth the investment and am looking forward to learning (and doing) new things.

So, there’s been a lot going on with me. How about the rest of you guys? Have you done anything interesting? Made any life-changing decisions? How about your health? Read any good books or watched any good shows? Feel free to let me know about it in the comments section as I am genuinely interested in seeing what you guys are up to. I leave you guys with the following clip.


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Course Review: Ebooks: Distribution and Marketing

Teacher: Dave Wogahn
Length: 3h 16m
ProviderLynda.com (course link)

In this course, Dave Wogahn goes over the various things that you’ll need to consider when you distribute and market an Ebook. This includes sales trends, search trends, market analysis, market history, promotional materials (press releases and book synopsis), promotional methods (social networking, blog networking), reviews, direct distribution versus aggregation services, pricing, and several other things worth taking into account. It was a lot to go over but it was well-worth the undertaking.
However, I will point out is that the course was produced in 2013, making several services obsolete, such as the now-defunct Shelfari. In this regard, you can use the course to teach you what to look out for when deciding the route that you will take with your Ebook. It will also offer a checklist of steps to take as well as some other relevant information to keep on hand when you are about to release your Ebook.
I highly recommend this course to anyone looking to distribute and market an Ebook, as well as those curious about what to expect from the process. If you do decide to release an Ebook, then I wish you the best in the undertaking. Just make sure to release a polished product.