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World of Keiko 2018-03-26

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

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

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

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

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

What have I been listening to this past week?

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

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


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World of Keiko 2018-03-19

Another week has passed and in an attempt to regularly analyse my own progress, I am back with another overview of what I’ve been up to. This past week has been quite busy… in a good way. I’ve made some decisions and put some plans into motion, all while keeping up with my blogging schedule. That is a pretty big deal for me, especially how inconsistent I’ve been over the past year. During that time, it has been a lot of false starts in my attempt to get back to my blogging schedule before Cyclone Debbie. In any case, I will take a moment and try to continue one day at a time.

On the exercise front, I have been watching a lot of legitimate videos on YouTube in the hopes of more efficiently meet my health and fitness targets. I’ve been keeping up with my push-ups, squats and sit-ups, taking necessary rest days. The game plan is to have two days on, a rest day and two days on followed by the weekend off. That should give me plenty of time for recovery.
Today, I introduced something new to the routine. Whilst the first four sets of each exercise are a set number of reps each, I decided to exercise close to failure on the final sets. The rationale is to see what I can do and to push myself a little bit more in order to build muscle. For those interested, I highly recommend the following YT channels:

You’ll probably notice that three of the channels focus on Calisthenics. Body weight exercise make perfect sense for my current health and fitness goals. I am also interested in doing bar work. Hubby and I will likely purchase the related equipment and make any necessary installations when it becomes relevant.

Gaming? I haven’t legitimately played FFXIV in nearly a week. I don’t necessarily consider this a bad thing given that I am enjoying the other stuff that I’ve been up to. I anticipate a decrease from the hours that I used to spend in game when I get back to it. For now, I’ll be focusing on my retainers and maintaining my gardens.

On the subject of gardens, an old gentleman up the road dropped off some avocados and dragon fruit last week. Today, I discovered that one of those dragon fruit is the red flesh variety Hylocereus costaricensis. In lieu of a recent desire to set up a fruit and vegetable garden, I took time out to dry some of the seeds and store them for later use.
The avocados that I started growing from seed last year are currently in small pots and a little shy of a meter in height. I can’t help but smile when I look at them. However, I really need to get some potting mix and other supplies next time I visit Bunnings as I would like to transplant them into large terracotta pots that were here when we moved. The plants deserve a home and those large pots are suitable for growing a large topiary tree.

On the education front, I am back to work on my French lessons at Duolingo and the Improve Your Drawing Skills learning pathway at LYNDA. I find it curious that I’ve changed the way that I approach my language lessons. It might be some time before I am fluent but I am enjoying doing those lessons every day. I’ll try to stay consistent with my lessons and find some way to apply what I am learning.
As for the learning pathway at LYNDA, I am noticing that the current course that I am doing covers some material that I never got to during my year nine and ten art lessons in high school. I have reached some obstacles in my learning due to lacking some essential equipment. This means that I am unable to practice some of the principles covered in the coursework.
The goal for my language lessons is to do lessons each day to keep the material fresh in my mind. As for my other coursework, the goal is to complete one course a week. If I don’t manage, I won’t be overly worried but I do think that doing coursework to refine my art skills will be helpful in designing both my fictional characters and worlds.

Writing has seen some major changes. Although I was working on my modern romance story, I’ve decided to put it on hiatus until after the upcoming Camp NaNoWriMo beginning on the first of April. During this time, I have decided to work on an old project that began as part of my old Eternus Divum blog. Eternus Divum was a blog where I used to post stories inspired by classical artwork. It was a lot of fun and I came up with a bunch of ideas during that time.
For Camp NaNoWriMo, I’ll be working on a story that became a bit of a serial during the short-lived blog experiment. However, I’ve made significant changes to the plot, fleshed out the world and made necessary changes to several of the characters, including the protagonist. I still have a little over a week before Camp NaNoWriMo begins and a lot more work between then and now, but I have made significant progress. I just need to put in the work and figure out some ways to deal with distractions during Camp NaNoWriMo.

What have I been listening to over the past week?

My reading has been nearly exclusively related to writing articles. Here’s hoping that I can apply some of the principles when I am ready to start my next project. I’ve taken a liking to Reedsy‘s ten-part mini-courses and the articles posted on the NY Book Editors website.
That being said, I did get some manga reading in last Tuesday. I might try to pick a genre closer to my next writing project for my next weekly manga review. It should help me stay in the right frame of mind during the planning process.

Well, that is it for the weekly overview of what I’ve been up to. I’d like to say thank-you to long-time readers for your ongoing support of this blog. I’d also like to offer a big hello to new readers. I leave you with the following film clip by The Slants:

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World of Keiko 2018-03-12

Hello again! A big shout-out to some new followers. I hope that you guys are doing well. Me? The past couple of weeks have been quite odd. I’ve started a new modern romantic drama story, am currently sore from exercise and am currently trying to unravel the odd problem of having so many interests. A first world problem, I know, but I am trying to find a way to make the most out of my time.

On the writing front, the new standalone story is moving along as best as can be expected. I finished the prologue which was about five thousand words altogether. As I thought on what I had already written, I realised that I needed to make a LOT of changes to it before I moved onto the first chapter. The prologue introduces several major characters, which lays the groundwork for later. The first chapter picks up about six years after the end of the prologue and a lot of things have changed for the main character. I could go into it further, but suffice to say that I have redone the plot outline for the prologue and finished the first scene, which is the first of several that make up the newly revised prologue. I’ll keep you posted on how it progresses.

I began my new exercise schedule on Saturday. I decided to go with push-ups, squats and sit-ups because of some reading that I’ve been doing on super-sets. From what I can understand, super-sets are exercises that partnered up in order to work different muscle groups in order to make the most out of a session. The idea is that doing set after set of the same exercise is usually coupled by lengthy rest periods in between. Chaining exercises that work different muscles reduces the need for these lengthy breaks because you are giving certain muscles a break whilst working another muscle. After you finish one set of each in the routine, you typically take a short break of around 45 seconds.
The super-set idea seemed logical so I decided to give it a run. Whilst the typical routines work say biceps and triceps, I’ve gone for three exercises that work significantly different parts of the body via push-ups, squats and sit-ups. The first day involved five sets of 10 push-ups, 20 squats and 20 sit-ups on the sit-up bench. On the second day, as expected, I was quite sore. As such, I was only able to get two sets of each done at the same number of reps. I decided to have a rest day today but intend to get stuck in again tomorrow. I am looking forward to it but am trying to be mindful of stuff such as muscle fatigue and the need for healing of those tears in my muscles so as to create muscle. 

What music have I been listening to of late?

I haven’t really been reading any books of late but I have been reading articles on writing and some news articles that spurred some interest. There are so many websites that offer solid writing advice, sites that I really need to frequent more often. I will have to rectify this because I get a lot out of reading up on stuff like story structure.

Well, that is it for this week. Thanks again for following this blog and I invite you to drop me a line to say hello. I leave you with the following music clip by Empire of the Sun:

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World of Keiko 2018-02-13

It has been a long week. After grandpa’s passing, we had several days of pleasant weather. Then came stinking hot days along the east coast. Some relatives in Brisbane had their own complaints about the heat. I found numerous dead frogs, leading to a sinking feeling. I suppose that the frogs aren’t dealing with the weather very well either.
The duck and the bush turkey made a few appearances after not being seen for weeks. The duo brought a smile to my face, as did some finches that were nomming on grass seeds in the yard mid-week. Hubby’s pseudo-vendetta against the bush turkey continues. He makes out that he dislikes the bird but I know that he kind of digs having the silly bird visit on occasion.
In the early hours of today, we had a power outage listed on the Ergon website as “fallen trees”. Thank goodness for generator power, as it was another hot day today. The outage occurred around 2 a.m. and finished around twelve hours later but felt longer than what it was. At least it finished a few hours earlier than the 4 p.m. estimated fix time because there was likely a few other people in the area that were also put out by the outage. At least we could tether our phones for internet during the outage.

There isn’t much to add on the writing front. I was heavily distracted all week and in some sense distracted myself with things such as conversations on Twitter in order to not think about Grandpa. That led to an unproductive week overall.

After playing a lot of FFXIV over the past few weeks and finally getting our FC house last week, I decided to take a break from gaming over the past few days. It will likely be another week before I get to the Stormblood storyline as I’ve decided to focus on some other content in the meantime.

That is it for this week’s update. Thanks again to older subscribers to this blog and a big shout-out to some recent newcomers. I leave you guys with the following lyric video by Caleb Hawley:

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World of Keiko 2018-02-05

I don’t have much to report this time around. I haven’t finished the outline and have made the decision to do incremental outlining as I go in order to finally get stuck into the first draft. I’ve been spending time with hubby while he deals with a backlog of paperwork. I also didn’t didn’t get many exercise sessions in. I did manage to finish the base Heavensward content for FFXIV but find myself playing with the various optional systems such as Custom Deliveries. I made a start on getting my alt characters sorted. However, I still haven’t found a method for dealing with their retainers and levequest allowance efficiently.

Probably the biggest thing that happened this past fortnight occurred last night. My mother messaged me to inform me that her father had passed on half an hour prior. The family had known that he wasn’t long for the world for years. A few months ago, his situation took a turn for worse. Family members went down to see him and to reconnect.
I was initially numb but it wasn’t until hours later that it really hit. I left the loungeroom multiple times to have a cry. I didn’t want hubby to have to see me blubbering like an idiot. I was a grumpy woman all night. He eventually disabled my crappy mood by way of a belly raspberry. Yes, it is a simple and childish thing but it interrupted my mood long enough to put things into perspective. Even as I write this, I am tearing up. However, I am a lot more functional.I am not snapping at the slightest thing.
Bill was my last grandparent, a man that I spent a lot of time with as a kid. Although I haven’t spent much time with him as an adult, those times spent with both Bill and Joyce were some of the best times of my childhood.I spent a lot of time as a young child going to Brisbane for a hearing specialist and my mother and I would always visit the pair in Beerwah. I remember hanging out with grandpa as he took care of the lawn next to his large fruit and vegetable garden. I’d pretend I was mowing as well and he would grin in amusement.
My parents broke up when I was in high school and I found myself seeing my grandparents a lot less. When they moved to Maryborough for several years, I visited them periodically, walking to their house after school on Friday afternoons. They had this ongoing rule about not watching television whilst eating, which gave the household and their guests a chance to talk about things going on in their life.
There are some other things that I can say about the time that I spent with my paternal grandparents but I think that it can be best summed up with this: They were kind, thoughtful and silly, if flawed. Joyce passed on a few years back, leaving grandpa a widow. He leaves numerous children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.

Sorry to post something that is a little bit of a downer this time around. For me, it is a big deal and I needed to put into words some of my thoughts on grandpa. It also brings forth the question of what legacy we will leave others when we pass on. Many people think of their afterlife because they have some religious belief on the subject. However, as an Atheist I find myself not being able to rely on such things.
I turn 40 this year and the question becomes even more pressing. What do I want to leave behind? This is a call to decide on what I care about and to work towards this. It is about meaning and purpose that has an impact but doesn’t have to be a big goal either. I will have to consider this over the next few months.

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World of Keiko 2018-01-24

Hello again! Sorry for being a few days late in posting this update. I was planning to post on Monday but a few things (predominantly writing related) came up over the weekend. I also learned that patch 4.2 for FFXIV comes out in a week.

To the writing thing, I haven’t been able to get the outline finished by my self-imposed deadline. There were a few issues.  The biggest issue was implementing clues for the main character to follow. I spent nearly an entire day trying to figure out the passage of times for one of the central events in the story. It led to me realising that I needed three new characters, even if those characters will only appear for a short period of time. These characters all needed their own motivations, enough to make use of them in the brief period in which they will be part of the story. That was time-consuming in of itself. Then came a few write-ups for places featured in the first few chapters.
Though not complete, I am about a third of the way outlining this sucker. I expect to be finished outlining in a fortnight from now, barring any unforeseen circumstances. I’ll continue to keep you guys updated on my progress.

As for the patch, it is a pretty big deal for players due to some of the features it will be implementing. On top of new quests, dungeons, raids, inventory improvements, PvP changes and class updates, the community will be given the change of buying housing in six new shards for each housing area. Given that both hubby and I both want a Free Company house, I’ve been hard at work getting the bare minimum funds to purchase a medium house for our two-player free company. I am at 4m of the 15m required. I am unsure of how much money he will contribute to the pot, but having an FC house will allow us access to a workshop. I will definitely be able to get a small house by the time the patch goes live. I hope that we will have enough for a medium house instead as it is a better option for us both. I am also unsure if a small gives us access to a workshop for building vehicles.
Free Company housing opens us some options otherwise unavailable for normal housing. The big one is an FC workshop. Workshops allow you to build an airship, with the new patch opening up submarines. Airships give you access to FC privateer missions which can be quite lucrative given the badge turn-ins and various seeds for either using for the Curious Crop Exchange or for selling on the marketplace. An FC house will allow us joint stable as well as joint farm plots. Medium housing gives us two farming plots, allowing us to play around with the crop breeding system if we feel so inclined. If you have an apartment in an apartment building, you only have access to a maximum of two pots, which also makes breeding impossible.
I still have a way to go as far as funds are concerned, but I suspect that I should have a shot at getting a medium FC house if I make smart choices and make use of my alts for selling on the marketplace. I’ll let you know how it pans out.

What have I been reading? I managed to finish “5ooo Words Per Hour: Write Faster, Write Smarter” by Chris Fox and made sizable progress in “2,000 to 10,000: How to Write Faster, Write Better and Write More of What You Love” by Rachel Aaron. Both offer some really good advice on writing more efficiently and meaningfully but make it abundantly clear that there are dependencies to get to the level of wordcount that each is discussing. An example of this is using tools to improve your base typing speed. Base typing speed is an area that I need to work on.
What have I been listening to? I have been listening to Michael Ellis a lot over the past few days. He is one of the artists that I discovered on Jamendo a few years back and I really dig his music. You’ve likely noticed a few of his songs on some of my music playlists. I’ve also been listening to Ocean Jet, Sounds Like Chicken, Pixelplants, Roller Genoa, Shearer and Silence is Sexy, all Jamendo artists.
I managed to get in a few lengthy sessions on the treadmill and one session cut short due to poor planning on my part. (2x 6km days and 1x 2.2km day) Unfortunately, I keep cheating on my diet. I have tried to make my portions smaller at least but the cheating is a huge problem. I’ll need to hook up the Wii to do regular weigh-ins. We unhooked it back when we were trying to figure out how ants were accessing the table where the television resides and just haven’t got around to setting it up again. I’ll need to sort it in the next week as that will enable me to track progress.

That is it for this week. I will keep you updated on how things pan out. For now, I leave you with this video clip:

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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: