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World of Keiko 2018-01-15

llo! It has been another week. I would be lying if I said a lot has occurred over the last week. Things have been pretty relaxed here. No drama. No fuss. It has been a lot of the same overall. To be honest, I am cool with that. I know a lot of people that prefer the drama and the chaos, which just seems strange to me. Perhaps I am a bit weird that way. For me, chaos has to be meaningful rather than for chaos’ sake. Such is my main issue with a lot of new sources. (Time for a rant…)
It is not uncommon for news sources to make a mountain out of a molehill for the sake of ratings and clicks. A good example is the use of social networking posts from public figures, including the now Voldemort-esque Donald Trump, because it will get lots of traffic. This makes use of a sizable popularity to criticise such individuals in order to send traffic to their platform. Traffic means money as a lot of these sources get money from clicks and from sponsors seeing high levels of traffics visiting said platform as it is cost effective for promoting their product. It is not wrong to want to earn an income. Pushing nonsense, whatever that nonsense happens to be, shouldn’t be considered journalism. (Rant ended.)

I ended up giving up on trying to read that book on the Dramatica writing system around the halfway mark. The book was available free of charge and is used in part, to promote Dramatica outlining software. I tried, I seriously did. I had numerous issues with the book. The biggest one is trying to rename existing words. To me, this seemed more of a money grab and didn’t offer anything new. I have seen this a few times over the years and it irritates me.
To release a product that offers merely a renaming of existing terminology and methodology seems predatory. Writers tend to be seekers. Many want to hone their craft in order to become better storytellers. That being said, consumers should be mindful to research a product beforehand so that they don’t waste money or buy into crap ideas.
The book that I have moved onto is Beginnings, Middles and Ends by Nancy Kress. It is one of the books that keeps being recommended online, along with several others by the same author. The synopsis and the book preview that I looked at ahead of the purchase were no-nonsense. Here’s hoping that it is worth the purchase. (I am hopeful but I have been burnt before.)
Author Level Up released a video last year that gives a quick overview of ten outlining methods. It is a great launch point for looking into other ways to outline your story. You might find a method in there that is interesting enough to research further. I highly recommend you guys give it a watch.

I’ve begun the time-consuming task of plotting a book using yWriter5. It isn’t time-consuming because of the software but due to the fact that I have to build it from scratch. Some of the ideas that I have considered using for the story previously just don’t fit and I now have to rebuild it from the ground up. Two out of fifteen chapters have been plotted so far, with the goal of finishing the plot outline within the next five days. (I have a self-imposed seven-day deadline.) So far so good. I’ll let you know how it pans out.

What have I been listening to over the past week?

  • Bye Bye Bluebird (album) by Barefoot McCoy [2017] [Jamendo] [Country]
  • Fangs (album) by Great White Buffalo [2015] [Jamendo] [Indie Rock]
  • Nest [album] by The Grus [2015] [Jamndo] [Trip Hop]
  • Nordic Heart {EP] by Maze [2015] [Jamendo] [Rockabilly]
  • The Rock and the Hard Place [EP] by McKinney Griffin [2015] [Noisetrade] [Pop]

That is it for this week. A big thank-you for the support of readers both old and new. I appreciate it and will be posting a lot more from next week on as I will be busy with outlining this week. I leave you guys with the following clip by Danish indie rock group Mew:

 

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World of Keiko 2018-01-08

Hi there! It has been several months since I last posted. It saw another Christmas season and the passing over into a new year. I hope that each of you enjoyed the holiday season. Here’s hoping that you have decided on achievable and meaningful resolutions for the next year. Even if you don’t manage to achieve some of them, goals are important. That energy has to go somewhere but don’t forget to nurture your interpersonal relationships in pursuit of your goals.

Time for the customary overview of the past year for yours truly. 2017 began on a high note. I was posting regularly and had a bunch of ideas. However, around April, I was met with numerous dilemmas. Hubby and I ended up making the move from buy-to-pay microtransactions of Black Desert Online to the subscription model of Final Fantasy XIV. It is a move that neither of us regrets even if we did take a few months off in the middle.
I also found myself blogging less and less over time as it began to feel more like a chore. I found it difficult to keep up with the schedule I’d set for myself after a while. I also found my attention directed elsewhere by other interests and drama.
Due to the numerous distractions of the past year or so, I wasn’t spending a lot of the time writing fiction. Projects remain unfinished, in spite of the resolution to finish at least one book in 2017. I just didn’t put the time in, something that you really need to do if you want to write a book. And with each year that I don’t finish a book, it becomes harder as I am not nurturing the writing habit.
I also feel into the social networking trap that so many people fall into. I ended up taking a month or so hiatus from social networking in December for a necessary “detox”. It offered a well-needed reprieve from some nonsense in the sceptic community that became public at the time. It had the added benefit of giving me time to play games, catch up on chores and reflect on other stuff.
Exercise fell by the wayside due to general laziness. However, I am working to remedy poor health and fitness with work on the treadmill. The summer heat doesn’t help but I need to just put in the time and drink enough water to keep hydrated.
Most, if not all of the problems that I dealt with and continue to deal with, were self-created. If you spend time on one thing, it inevitably leads to less time spent on the activity that you used to spend that time doing. There is a cost for certain decisions. When you spend lots of time on say posting on social networking, that is less time spent creating things or catching up on chores. This is just one example of a choice that has a noticeable choice but is by no means the only one.

As for an overview of the year as a whole, some people passed on, some stuff happened and people said some stuff. I won’t tell you what to care about. We each have our priorities, things that we care about and are willing to place emotional energy into. Some are more logical than others. Some of the things that I care about seem illogical to others because of the rules that I use to determine meaning or value. And yes, some of those things are based purely on taste as well. Even within sports, there are numerous different sports that people are interested in. Same with music, television and film. However, most people can agree that small fluffy animals have some level of “cute factor” even if they are poop factories.

I ended up spending much of the Christmas season playing Final Fantasy XIV. This culminated in me finally reaching the Heavensward storyline on the first of January. The regions and storyline opened up by Heavensward are engaging and interesting but there is a bunch of content for FFXIV: ARR that I still haven’t played. Heck, I still haven’t jumped into any of the PvP content due to lengthy queues. I am still enjoying playing the game and have somehow managed to enable my husband’s MMORPG addiction in the progress. He looks a lot happier these days as a result of finding a game that he loves.

Gillana as a level 50 Bard in Rainbow garb.

What music have I been listening to of late? I have been listening to the following releases a lot of late:

  • From Now On (album) by Azwell [2016] [Jamendo] [Easy Listening]
  • Medicine Man (album) by The Bamboos [2012] [iTunes] [Soul + R&B]
  • HighLife (album) by Auquid [2015] [Jamendo] [Electronic + Electronic Dance]
  • The Thought Chapter (album) by Color Theory [2008] [Bandcamp] [Electronic Pop]
  • Atlas (album) by FM-84 [2016] [Bandcamp] [Synthwave]
  • Further Adventures in Monkeyland [album] by Heifervescent [Jamendo] [Psychadelic Rock]
  • Time and Place (album) by Kinematic [2015] [Jamendo] [Indie Rock]
  • Move (album) by Zamza [2016] [Jamendo] [Funk]
  • Eve (album) by Shearer [2008] [Jamendo] [Rock]

Books? I am currently reading Dramatica: A New Theory of Story by Melanie Ann Phillips and Chris Huntley that I downloaded from their website years ago. The book outlines an approach to outlining a story, regardless of length. Here’s hoping that I manage to finish this one, unlike the numerous books on writing that I’ve started reading but haven’t managed to finish. Why are so many technical books so boring? I can probably count on both hands how many technical books that have been engaging enough for me to read to the last page.

What are my plans for 2018? I plan to write more, to exercise more and to blog more, as well as enjoy gaming time and to nurture my interpersonal relationships. Pretty standard stuff, to be sure, but I care about these things in particular. What are your plans (if vague) for the next year?

Anyway, that is enough waffle from me. I’d like to offer a big thank-you to followers both new and old for their support. I leave you guys with the following video clip and hope to post more regularly from now on.


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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.