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World of Keiko 2018/04/10

Here are the past week’s posts:

Okay, I guess the word “post” might be more accurate. I know that it wasn’t much but compared to the lack of reviews the previous week… Anyhoo, the series is really promising so far.
I was going to post this week’s update sooner but time got away with me and the internet went down whilst there were upgrades to our telecommunications infrastructure. I suspect that there might have been hamsters involved but the technicians are keeping it under wraps due to the pesky varmints being illegal in Australia. In any case, time will tell if the overall service improves. I hope so.

ANIME & MANGA
I didn’t watch much anime this week other than catching up on my weekly fix of The Rise of the Shield Hero. I did, however, manage to do some research on some promising anime and manga series via Youtube on top of my usual scan of manga fansubs for anything interesting. This was a motivating factor in me reading the first volume of After the Rain. Feel free to read my review (linked above) if you are interested in my take on the series.

READING & WRITING
I dived back into the book Story Structure Architecture this past week, going over story beats based on genres (and “situations”) I am currently working on. It is one of the best books on story structure I have come across in recent years. The use of examples and quotes provides further insight into the mindset behind specific structures. Another good book is 5 Secrets of Story Structure by KM Weiland. If you aren’t familiar with KM’s book catalog (fiction and non-fiction), podcast, vlog or articles on writing, then I highly recommend you check out her website for more info.
I also spent a lot of time watching more videos on writing this past week. It moved from structure to screenplay stuff as one of the things I got stuck on was geared toward this structure. A lot of the material can be easily translated to text-based fiction. Two videos by an acting coach John Windsor-Cunningham proved to be especially useful. Yeah, yeah. I know that the exercise mentioned in the first video is pretty standard, but sometimes you need to go over these foundational exercises every so often to get back to basics. If you can’t get inside the head of a character, how can you perform them or write from their experiences, fictional or otherwise.

I actually got quite a bit of world-building done this past week. Unfortunately, I hit a snag on one of the projects and have decided to give myself a break on it whilst I work on something else. The idea of hitting my head against a wall might appeal to some people but I figure that the answers will come to me later on. In the meantime, I can use some of my creative energy to work on something else. In this case, it is back to Wilhelm and the Elf with me. The amount of work that has already gone into the world and plotting the various series set within it has been monumental.

MUSIC
What have I been listening to this past week? A bit of electropop, sythwave, synthpop, electroswing and hard rock. I know that hard rock and electroswing might seem a bit removed from the sythn stuff, but… I have unusual tastes. In a single sitting, I can go from bubblepop to thrash metal. Music is a great way to artificially evoke moods, which makes it useful in the writing process. However, you need to mix things up a bit if you hope to manage those associated highs and lows.

Anyway, here are some of the repeats listens for the week:

  • Ultralife (album) by Oh Wonder: I heart the crap out these guys. They always manage to lift my mood.
  • Survival Sounds (album) by Rubblebucket: Quirky alternative band. They might have been abducted by aliens at some stage.
  • Meaning of Life (album) by Kelly Clarkson: Well, I am a sucker for her music…
  • Delirium (album) by Lacuna Coil: Evokes the darkness of Wilhelm and the Elf book 1.  I heart the crap out of Alyyri and Wilhelm, but necromancers suck ass.
  • Turbulence (album) by Monoral: Whenever I am reminded of the anime series Ergo proxy, I bring this sucker out. The song Kiri is one of my personal favorite intro/outro tracks. It perfectly evoked the unspoken connection between the two protagonists. The transition and build-up, then reflection after resolution… what you’d expect from a good story.
  • Come to Life (album) by Natalie Imbruglia: Another old album but it has so many lovely tracks on it. This album from 2009 delivers such lovely tracks, not overly surprising for Natalie Imbruglia, an artist I have been a fan of for over a decade.
  • Endless Summer (album) by The Midnight: Anyone that loves synthwave has likely heard of The Midnight. Even their sadder tracks have that element of hope within, the notion that the darker, sadder moments are not the end. They also collab with artists like Nikki Flores, with that trademark saxophone playing in the background.

Film clips? Why the heck not?!!! Here goes:

Okay, that was a bit of a troll on my part. Tiny Tom was awesome, his comedic performances show just how well a performer can keep a straight face. The song, oddly enough, gained him quite a following back in the day. It is silly and fun, with the nice pairing of high 1920’s vocals and ukulele. Each time I listen to it, I find myself giggling. The ’60’s and ’70s saw quite a few comedy song releases, including Shuddupayaface by Joe Dolce. The idea that music isn’t just love and heartbreak is nothing new, but recent years have seen a steep decline in comedy songs. Tracks like What Does the Fox Say? give a glimmer of hope but not enough artists are up to the challenge. We need the Weird Al Yankovic’s and The Lonely Island to give us a semblance of what it is to get a Dick-in-a-Box whilst we are living in an Amish Paradise. We need

Time for some real clips. I’ve decided to embed several versions of SYML’s song Clean Eyes to show how much production and arrangement can change how a song sounds. I initially listened to the mix by The Midnight, then decided to check out of the original. Add the acoustic version to the collection and you have three completely different listening experiences.

GAMING
I played a bit more Path of Exile this week. It felt a bit less of a chore but I still found my head wandering to writing-related matters. It is a little distracting when you are mapping and your brain decides it is a great time to deal with some world-building. Both avenues can be a lot of fun. And yet, I find myself wanting to play an otome or other visual novel game as far as my gaming is concerned. Some of the creators of these games have some interesting ideas as far as storytelling is concerned, which often translates into some entertaining, interactive storytelling. I won’t go into further detail, but suffice it to say that I really like the game format.

OTHER
There have been noticeable signs that autumn frosts will soon be upon us. However, the pumpkin and cucumber vines perked up with a bit of run that we had halfway through last week. No, they don’t have any female flowers and likely won’t have any before the frosts arrive. The sweet potato vines have been consistently flowering, which is neat. I love those lovely purple flowers but I hear that they are poisonous to some animals.
I am still trying to decide whether to plant tomatoes in the garden bed under the front steps. I find myself annoyed with how much effort it has been to keep the weeds down. I really should place cardboard down to suppress them but even that seems like a chore. At least the worms seem happy. The wee worms have been digging the occasional watermelon skin I’ve been throwing into the Worm Cafe.

Well, that is it for this week. I hope that some of the links and subject matter has been of some interest to you. I don’t claim to be an expert on any of the subjects and highly encourage you to point out if I have said anything in error. I also encourage you to offer your own rebuttals and/or takes if they differ from my own as I am always up for a discussion. I suppose it is time to leave you with the word of the week. Which one to pick…? Okay, got it! The word for this week is… Vanner. Be sure to look that sucker up.

Here’s wishing you an awesome week!

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World of Keiko 2018/04/02

Sorry for posting this entry a day later than the usual schedule. I spent a good portion of yesterday listening to hubby talking about PoE builds, which was mostly me humouring him. I suppose that makes me a kind waifu. Whilst this post was mostly drafted on Sunday, I didn’t get around to posting it until this afternoon.
Unfortunately, I didn’t post any reviews during the past week as I was busy doing research. It was time well-spent fleshing out characters and plot, on top of consuming new content. Whilst some of that content was complete and utter crap, it was still a learning experience in how not to do things.

READING & WRITING
I actually spent time reading text fiction this past week. It was mostly romance and erotica disguised as romance, which was a little disappointing given that I was looking for character-driven rather than sex stories Oh well. Anyway, the stories I read were as follows:

  • Chasing Sunset by Sami Lee (meh. a lot of missed opportunities due to the focus on sex scenes instead of character development)
  • Schooled by Piper Lawson (this romance novel was actually quite enjoyable, with some nice banter and chemistry between the male and female protagonists. a pleasure to read)

On the writing front, I have done a bunch of outlining for the project I mentioned last week. I had to move scene outlines around to fit the focus on Action, Reaction, and Action+Reaction chapters. A few online writing mentors have suggested separating chapters based on these elements, which makes sense given the traits of a good scene. Scenes need to be active rather than passive otherwise they tend to be boring. But “active” doesn’t have to be fisty-cuffs or running away from dragons. It can tell us something important about the characters.
Alas, I dived headfirst into outlining and fleshing out another project towards the end of the week. It is a different urban fantasy from the other series I discussed a few weeks ago. The structure is closer to a TV show with season-long arcs relating to a group of college students dealing with monsters. No, it is not Buffy. Yes, it will be a kissy series. (Most of my stories have a kissy element to them. I am not ashamed.) Let’s just say that the cast is already quite large due to the setting. I sort of like the idea of having the main conflict also reflecting some of the sub-plots as well. Jenna Moreci discussed the subject in one of her videos a few years back if folks are interested. Here is the link. I highly recommend folks also check out her other videos on writing if you are looking to either start writing or improve your own writing process.
Can both projects coexist? Yep. However, I will need to completely ignore one whilst I am in the midst of the drafting process. It seriously need to work on improving my willpower otherwise I won’t get anything done.

Anyhoo, I also spent Tuesday and Wednesday watching and rewatching videos on the writing process. Going over content I’ve seen over the past few years was a great refresher and also allowed me to notice stuff I’d missed during previous viewings. I managed to come across a few YT channels that produce interviews with screenwriters, which I found quite useful. In any case, I decided to curate a playlist for videos on writing. For those interested, here is the link. The playlist is subject to change, as I will continually be going over more content in the future. In any case, I hope that you get something out of the playlist.

MUSIC
This week, I discovered The Wombats and Bleachers, whilst I rediscovered The New Pornographers and Two Door Cinema Club. My favorite jams of the week are the following:

  • Whatever It Takes by Imagine Dragons from Evolve (very positive and hasn’t lost its gleam in the year or two since the album was released. The entire album is awesome.)
  • Silhouette Palette by Agent Fresco from A Long Time Listening (reminds me of something that would be playing at the climactic final battle of an action-packed anime series.)
  • Turn by The Wombats from Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life (uplifting and lovey-dovey)
  • The Lost Souls by Asking Alexandria from The Black (I love a lot of their music. I think I love this track in particular due to how it relates to one of my characters.)

Time for a music video. Given that there was a recent Eurovision, which I have been following for over a decade, I decided to sift through some of this year’s contestants. There were a lot of strong contestants this year, making the choice difficult. We saw the energetic Miki’s La Venda, John Lundvik’s soulful Too Late for Love and Eliot’s emotional Wake Up. In the end, I settled on Belarus’s entry of Zena with her live performance of Like It. Be sure to check out the official Eurovision channel for some more videos from this year’s contestants as well as content from previous years.

GAMING
I didn’t play a lot of Path of Exile this past week. It was a mix of being interested in doing other stuff and having to listen to nearly non-stop commentary on hubby’s characters as he was testing builds. It was very frustrating overall. Whenever he gets this obsessive, it often leads to me getting burnt out of a game because he never does things in halves. And this, people, is why it is a good idea to have multiple interests. 

OTHER
We had three days of rain this past week. It was a welcome change but it took a while for the ground to dry out enough to use a ride-on mower without leaving large grooves in the lawn. Hubby made quick work of some long grass with a whipper snipper as well but surprisingly did not cackle while he did it. How on earth is he going to become a super-villain if he doesn’t practice his maniacal laugh whilst decapitating grass? Oh well, I will just have to enjoy indulging in some primate grooming exercises instead. I hear that all of the cool kids are doing it these days. Joke-joke… Or is it? Yes, it is a joke.

Well, that is it for this week’s update. Here’s hoping I have some more posts for you over the next week. I leave you with the following word: montivagant.


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World of Keiko 2018/03/25

I didn’t post a lot this past week as I have been a bit busy with other stuff. Anyway, here the past week’s posts:

ANIME & MANGA
I finished Kare wa Diablo this past week. As mentioned in the post reviewing volume three of the series, I will not be writing a review for the entire series. I also decided to call it quits with Butterflies, Flowers. Most of you saw it coming. However, I hate not finishing a series when I made it to the halfway point. However, I cannot justify spending time on it anymore. I am not a masochist and I doubt any of you want to read more rants about how much it sucks as a series. Here’s hoping that you are getting something out of my reviews for other titles.

READING & WRITING
I didn’t read any text-based stories this week. I should probably rectify that. If any of you know of some podcasts featuring fantasy short stories (I am aware of CastlePod already) and/or romance (I read a lot of Harlequin’s Online Reads), then let me know as seeing how other people address the various themes and craft a story.
Whilst I made the declaration last week that I had settled on a series to work on next, it seems that I was over-zealous. Looking over the material that I have written up already, it requires a lot more work than I originally thought. As such, I have decided to work on something else in its stead and look forward to working on it in the not-so-distant future. I do, however, you guys check out the webtoons I mentioned in last week’s update post.
So, what will I be working on? Well, it is another series that I started working on recently. It is a series that I’ve also started writing scenes and have quite a bit of the worldbuilding done for. Genre? Fantasy+Action+Romance. I started working on it before I began reading the manga series Okobore Hime to Entaku no Kishi, a series that shares some elements in that the central character is a female royal. The themes of my own project will be quite a bit different, incorporating religious themes, more magic, human experimentation, and other stuff. It also features sex scenes.

GAMING
In Path of Exile, my main character in Synthesis league is now at end-game. Whilst I haven’t made much headway in the Atlas content, I have done a bit of delving. At some point, I need to spend more time with the Memory Nexus content for some of the league achievements. It is, however, one heck of an undertaking and I also have other stuff I want to do with my time.

OTHER
I harvested the pumpkin I grew yesterday, which had a few peck marks in the side. It is the final fruit of the season as the rest have either died or been attacked by critters. Still, I look forward to eating my first home-grown pumpkin. There is a level of pride that comes with growing your own produce. I didn’t spray herbicides or pesticides, and just let the plants do their own thing. Whilst the lack of ground preparation hurt production, I still managed to grow quite a few vegetables. It was a great learning experience.
In lieu of the reduced rainfall, the bush turkey has started digging things up again in search of food. Ahead of winter, I need to think of ways to cover any plants I grow. I might also mulch with cardboard and compost. If my budget allows, I will try to get bales of hay and whatnot to cover and amend my growing spaces.

Well, that is it for this week. Here’s hoping that I make more headway with my various endeavors. I wish you the best with your own goals this week. With that in mind, I leave you with the following word: jasperated.


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World of Keiko 2018/03/18

Ahoy there, maties! I hope that you guys had an awesome week. Feel free to let me know what you’ve been up to in the comments section. Me? I’d say that I had a pretty productive week overall.

The past week’s posts:

ANIME & MANGA
I didn’t get around to watching any anime this past week, but I did have a lot of fun reading various manga series. Whilst I reviewed several, I also skimmed through a few other series to refine my list a bit more. There were some series that I almost immediately dismissed due to various issues.

Small RANT: One big issue that I have is romance series that focuses more on physical intimacy than “coupling”. I know that I’ve said it before but romance is not just about physical intimacy. If the focus is the physical than a relationship has no long-term viability. (There is only so far that I can suspend reality when the primary element of a genre is dismissed.) If you can swing both in a story, then awesome. Alas, some folks merely want to write sex scenes due to the desire for immediate gratification. This is part of the reason why I like “slow burn” HEA (Happily Ever After) titles. This counts for both text-based and graphic storytelling.

For those interested, I changed around the Manga Reviews page to make it slightly easier to navigate. As it was, the page looked like a bunch of titles and bulleted lists were puked upon the page. That description too graphic for you? Sorry, but it seemed like the most fitting way to explain the poor organisation on the page. It sucked from a UX (User Experience) standpoint and needed to be addressed. Sorry for taking so long. If you guys have any further suggestions to make it easier to navigate, then don’t hesitant to let me know and I will consider them.

READING & WRITING
I think I have made my decision as to which project I will focus on next. It is the story that most resonates with me but this urban fantasy series will need some work to get “up to snuff”. I will have to do research, which includes consuming stories with similar elements and reading up on subjects such as magic systems and mythological creatures.
So far, I have come across three webtoons that come close to the writing style I am hoping to emulate. These are as follows:

  • Lost and Found by Amapora and Saza [complex human emotions and situations] 
  • The Lady and Her Butler by Jade [broken characters looking to start over after a bad situation]
  • Siren’s Lament by InstantMiso [attitude of main character rocks]

Feel free to look up these series on the interwebs. All going well, I will be working on the first draft of book 1 by this time next month. Fingers and toes crossed on this one.

GAMING
I didn’t play much of Path of Exile this past week. However, hubby convinced me to try out a Herald of Agony Rain of Arrows Occultist build a run. I tried it out for the first time on Friday night and seriously dig it so far. It is a seriously chill yet powerful build. I can seriously see myself enjoying and having it as my main for the remainder of the Synthesis League. Whilst the cyclone build was okay, I can’t really see myself enjoying it near as much as “Celestial Bob”. In any case, feel free to take a look at the link above for an exhaustive overview of the build. If you like it, consider giving it a run.

OTHER
It looks like my vines are truly near the end of their lifespan. I enjoyed a lot of cucumbers during the growing season but all good things come to an end eventually. I learned a lot from growing these plants and look forward to growing them again next time around.
On Friday night, I started getting a nasty headache and a toothache as well. By Saturday, the toothache (wisdom tooth related) had got worse, the headache hadn’t subsided and I started feeling other symptoms late afternoon. Hubby was suffering worse versions of most of the same symptoms as well, but to think that I would get a toothache at the same time is a real annoyance. Whenever I deal with wisdom tooth problems, they linger for a few days, being a real pain. One of the biggest problems is getting to sleep because I am a side sleeper. It would have been a lot less of an issue if I could comfortably sleep on my back. Oh well… On Saturday evening, I began to suffer from nausea and dizziness. I decided to sleep a bit on Sunday and was feeling significantly better by Sunday evening.

Anyhoo, that is it for this week’s update. I hope that you guys take care of yourselves over the next week. I leave you with the following word: machicolation.


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World of Keiko 2018/03/11

This week’s posts: –

Sorry that I haven’t posted much over the past week. I had to do some personal stuff on Friday and on Saturday, the new Path of Exile league Synthesis, started.

ANIME & MANGA
I started and enjoyed a few new manga series this past week. Whilst many of them are older titles, they still provided hours of entertainment and gave me a well-needed “change of scenery”. I also noticed that Skeleton Soldier Couldn’t Protect the Dungeon had a bunch of installments drop over the past few weeks. This is a good thing, in my personal opinion, as I have been trying not to read the chapters of this charming series too quickly.

READING & WRITING
This week, I came up with one throwaway idea and another that
The templates that I’ve devised over the past month or so have proved to be quite useful over the past seven days. They’ve allowed me to quickly get down a few new ideas whilst also helping me refine some older ideas. I also managed to transfer a few notes from some old projects from open office and word to OneNote. I’ll do what I can to create a few more useful templates in the coming days but I think I am close to a layout that I can make quick use of. I do not discount the possibility that I will change it again in the future, but that is a part of the process, I suppose.
Given the huge variety of different ideas that I’ve come up with of late, I need to decide which story to start drafting soon. I think that I will give it until the end of the month before I settle on something, giving myself time to mull and play. After that, I intend to have a plot outline completed in a fortnight and then get to work on whatever I have decided to focus on. It will definitely be something either fantasy or urban fantasy, I know that much. I will also have to write something that I have at least some idea of the long-term arc as I want to avoid unnecessary rewrites.

GAMING
Due to the new PoE league starting, I spent several days gaming and planning with the other half. Whilst I won’t be spending large amounts of time gaming this league, the current league already feels significantly more enjoyable than Betrayal league. This time around, I wasn’t constantly on edge to see if some piece of content was going to interfere with normal gaming. To me, this extra content is best added to end-game, preferably with its own instances. Unless, of course, the extra content is subtle enough, as was the case with the changes to crafting. Let players engage in the content they want to play rather than throwing four types of content at them. That sort of defeats the purpose of the content in the first place which is to provide optional “other” content.
That being said, Grinding Gear Games has proven time and time again to have some good ideas and regularly produces new content, which includes large amounts of new mechanics, with each new league. This is something that cannot be said for numerous other gaming companies. This willingness to regularly provide new content inspires confidence in their product when coupled with good community support.
For those interested, we are both playing Cyclones builds for the Psion class. It seriously rocks. Whilst his Ice Spear and Vortex build for the Witch class deal large amounts of damage, it is way too squishy for my lazy-ass tendencies to enjoy, which makes the Cyclone Psion build a better choice. My reaction times tend to be a bit sluggish, making a tanky build a lot more enjoyable long-term. We will, however, see if this hold true as the league progresses.
Anyway, the biggest side benefit of these sessions was calling hubby “bunny-sama” to the name he chose for that character. He figured that his choice of the leap slam ability was sufficient enough to include “bunny” in the name. I think that he might have got a kick out of hearing me call him that name as well.

OTHER
We got quite a bit of rain this past week. Whilst I still have a few cucumbers growing on the vines, some bugs are doing a number on the leaves and at least one of my fruit appears to be rotting at the base. I will have to keep an eye out in the coming days but I suppose that the toads will likely eat some of the critters affecting my plants. I know that some of my fellow Aussies are in shock over my statement on the usefulness of toads in pest removal. However, toads are all over the place so I might as well take advantage of this peculiar resource for chemical-free pest control. I only wish they liked eating grasshoppers significantly enough to keep the little buggers from stripping some of the leaves from my cucumbers and pumpkin vines. This has become a noticeable issue in the past week, leading to issues with flowering and production of sugars for developing fruit due to reduced photosynthesis.

Anyway, that is it for this week. Here’s wishing you a healthy and productive week that is absent of rampaging monkeys. I leave you with the following word to mull over as you contemplate how best to discuss lawn bowls with aliens over cheese and wine: Ultracrepidarian.


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World of Keiko 2018/03/04

Hello again! I hope that you guys had an awesome week. What did you guys get up to?

Here are this past week’s posts:

I didn’t post as many reviews this past week because I was busy with other stuff. However, it brings me up to date as far as the anime reviews are concerned. I am pretty happy with not having a backlog to distract me from actually watching anime. I am really looking forward to getting stuck into some Asian drama as well this week, which includes the KDrama series Item which I watched (and enjoyed) the first few episodes of last week.

ANIME & MANGA
I actually managed to watch a bit of anime this week compared to the atrocity that was last week. I caught up on some of my seasonal shows and hubby also started watching the old Disgaea anime as a supplement to playing the PC version of Disgaea 2 and 3. The anime is still adorable more than a decade since it was first released. I might get around to binge-watching it sometime down the track as I keep missing episodes. Anyway, I finished the following series and even got around to reviewing them:

  • Gamers!
  • Re:Zero

On the manga front, I didn’t get around to reading anything. Whilst I didn’t subject myself to more installments of Butterflies, Flowers, I also didn’t read any of the other series that I am actually enjoying. I guess I will have to see how the next week pans out.

READING & WRITING
I got a bit done on the writing front this week. It is just a pity that the efforts were heavily divided between multiple projects. No matter how much I try, I have to contend with the fact that I am easily distracted. I just need to manage my low attention span in order to get something finished. Oh, look, a spell-flinging poodle…
On Monday, I watched the beginning of the film Hell or High Water and got an idea for a story with the inciting incident being the death of a woman during a bank heist. I started bouncing ideas back and forth with my hubby and we came up with an overview for a three-book series. We came up with numerous character arcs and whatnot. I then spent three days heavily invested in the worldbuilding and research, as well as writing up quick overviews of chapters. Whilst the plotting and worldbuilding aren’t finished, I have a bunch of stuff fleshed out. Seriously, how the heck did that happen? I suppose that this is what happens when I spend time chatting with the other half. I also had an idea come to me this morning for an urban fantasy story. I made notes in OneNote as soon as I got up.
On the subject of OneNote, I have substantially refined my writing templates in the past few weeks. This should help make the management of new ideas a lot easier and quicker. Including indicators such as “Action” or “Reaction” at the beginning of a quick overview of a chapter should get me in the right mindset when writing scenes as it gives a focus. I think I might also need to change the way that I expand upon my scenes, however, as I find myself being bogged down by my current template, one that I have been using for over a year. Sure, the current template (a breakdown of each chapter into individual scenes) potentially provides lots of information, but it has become more of an annoyance than of assistance.

OTHER
The weather has been all over the place this week. We’ve had what I can best describe as “half-hearted” rain. The clouds have rolled in on several occasions and drizzled for short periods of time. Hubby and I have been trying to do yard work the past few days but the weather has unreliable. For example, today we kept on going outside to do yard work on about five separate occasions. Within a minute, it began to rain. It was a tad annoying but at least it has been cool today.

Anyway, that is it for this week’s update. Unless something happens, I should have some more anime and manga reviews posted over the next week. Here’s wishing you an awesome week! I leave you with a final word: clepsydra.


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World of Keiko 2018/02/25

Hey, guys! I hope that you guys have been keeping happy and healthy. What have you been up to this past week?

This week’s posts:

It was another busy, productive week even if the last few days were a little “meh”. I am certainly not complaining because I did have fun and get a lot of stuff done. I did a few chores that have been on the backburner for weeks, but I still have a backlog of things I need to do. It isn’t a big deal because I’ll always have something around the house that needs to be sorted.

ANIME AND MANGA
I read a lot more manga than I watched anime this week. Whilst I enjoyed some of the manga, one of the series left a bad taste in my mouth due to the complete change of focus. (FFS Butterflies, Flowers!) Whilst a change can sometimes make a series interesting, breaking promises made at the beginning of the series is a break in trust with the reader. It ended up ruining my momentum for the rest of the week. I might give it a miss next week or leave it to last.
I did, however, manage to finish my rewatch of Monthly Girl’s Nozaki-kun, a series that has this ability to cheer me up. I will be posting a rewatch review of the series in the next few days. Man, I ❤ that show!

MOVIES
This week, I watched The Mist (2007), Rampage (2018), The Meg (2018), and Upgrade (2018). Oddly enough, how I listed them happens to be in the order of most to least liked.

  1. The Mist (2007): Science Fiction, Horror. Steven King’s The Mist is a little long in the tooth but manages to hold up pretty well considering. The good casting and use of effects both CG and otherwise, manage to do a great job of drawing the viewer into the odd drama occurring inside of a supermarket after a military experiment creates a portal to another dimension allowing horrific monsters to enter this world. Even the stupid ending seemed to go with the theme of humans being their own worst enemies.
  2. Rampage (2018): Science Fiction, Action. When three canisters of mutagenic material from a space station fall to the earth after an accident, a former military guy working with primates finds that his best buddy, a smart ass gorilla, has started growing at an unprecedented rate. As the three products of the experiment grow larger, grow more aggressive and develop other odd traits, they are drawn to Chicago by the mega-corporation that created the experiment for an epic showdown of daikaiju proportions. Awesome and fun stuff even if some of the scenes were a tad silly.
  3. The Meg (2018): Science Fiction, Horror. One of the numerous prehistoric shark movies, this is one of the better films featuring a megalodon as the main threat. Good technology design, even if the plot overlooked a bunch of things. However, the film still managed to be quite entertaining.
  4. Upgrade (2018):  Science Fiction, Action. When I first saw the trailers for this film more than a year ago, I was excited. Alas, about all the film had going for it were the gory action sequences. The plot was weak, with telegraphed twists and a host of baffling moments. It was a huge letdown, with easily rectified problems.

READING AND WRITING
Of late, I’ve wanted to up my lovey-dovey writing game, which has led to me looking for some good examples of romance writing. Whilst the goal is not necessarily to write strictly romance, I do want my stories to include the development of romantic relationships. On Monday, I spent a bit of time reading some Harlequin Online Reads in the “Let’s Fall in Love” category. I got lucky and found two that had a pretty good synopsis backed up by writing that mixed the right amount of drama with a decent payoff without relying on sex scenes. (Sex scenes used appropriately can help move the story along and show us more about the cast. However, a lot of romance titles tend to use them predominantly as filler.) It was time well spent as it was exactly what I was looking for in the way of examples. These were:

  • Husband Material by Melissa McClone
  • A McCabe Proposal by Cathy Gillen Thacker

I got a lot done in the way of planning and organization of my writing notes. Whilst Saturday morning was spent consolidating my OneNote notebooks into genre-based notebooks, the rest of the week was spent updating notes and researching. At one stage, I was worried that I had lost a bunch of notes. Thankfully, I didn’t lose a bunch of notes for an old project that I have spent months working on over the years. But it certainly did give me a fright. Anyway, the process of consolidating notes was a lot of fun if occasionally frustrating. I also wrote a few scenes to get them down before I lost momentum due to other matters.
One thing that I did come up with is the origins of an artifact book possessed by a character in one of the worlds that I am currently heavily invested in. Given that her story touches on the adventuring career of her paternal grandparents, it occurred to me that the origin of their own relationship was worth writing about in a short series. They were, after all, a bi-racial couple (male human and female elf) whose lives have been quite colorful, if grandpa Wilhelm’s stories are anything to go by. It got the cogs turning and the answer became clear. I like tying all of these elements together and the solution made sense given the quest Wilhelm was on when he first meets Alyyri. If I can put most of the pieces together ahead of time, it will hopefully avoid unnecessary work in the future. But hey, only time will tell. I will try not to get too cocky but I feel confident at present.

OTHER
Starting Friday, we had a bit of rain after a dry spell. The dry spell resulted in the foliage dying off a bit. This should help with the development of the cucumbers growing on the vines, as well as the general health of the vines. I still have at least six more cucumbers growing on the vines and the single pumpkin growing nearby is now the size of a mid-sized cantaloupe. The latter is probably a month or so away from being harvested. It won’t be long before the growing season is finished.
Whilst I am feeling happy about the success of these vines, I still feel like I missed out on a few opportunities. I was, for instance, hoping to establish some large Birdseye chili bushes along the front fence before the cooler months set in. I think that I have missed the chance now as I never managed to get the seeds. Oh well, there is always next year.

Anyway, that is it for this past week of updates. Here’s wishing you an awesome week in the days ahead. I leave you with a final word: Banana.