Something about this bloggie

Ok, I admit that I've failed somewhere before. But anyway welcome. Just a brief intro on what you should expect here:
1. Football. Not gonna post much of that any soon since season is over. :S
2. Anime, Games, etc. Just abt anything conceivable under the Japanese radar barring anything and everything Rule 34. Now that's illegal. Period. -.-;
3. Music. Everything to do with it is listed under the tab.
5. Unacceptable humour: Anything and everything is fair game here. As long as I don't get rounded up by the ISA. -.-'

The Known World=Fantasy world building in process. I: Used to be glossary, now devoted to random rambling; II: Character Concepts; III: Lore.
7. der Wolf=my Fictionpress account under the moniker Tsumujikaze no Soujutsu. A Ranger's Tale is hosted under this page. :)
8. New section now upped. Maybe I should also gun for upping A Ranger's Tale here since I do have this funny feeling that traffic coming to here is way more than whatever I'll get in FP.

Statement of intent: Everything said here is a figment of personal opinion, be it me or anybody commenting. I try to be responsible, but my parents=/=parents of the world.

@Druid of Luhn: Crap. Should have remembered far earlier to give you the credit for your CSS text box code. :(

A/N: But sadly, it seems that your CSS text box code has now been halved efficiency wise. :(

That most important note I should have added: Any images posted in this blog are NOT my own stuff. I got them from Google image search, I don't earn any shit by being a thief and liar. Those responsible for the pictures, rest assured that you all are great artists in your own regards. Sadly, we all know what limited space means in terms of posting.

Latest Note: Changed alignment for my page widgets due to my worry that I can't centre align the thing.

Note on A Ranger's Tale: In case any complaining fella wants to have a legal case with me, let this be known that A Ranger's Tale is rated M by default. I've upped the swearing and somewhat a bit on the dark/gritty factor. You all have been warned, let no little boy and girl enter the forbidden realm.

Latest on ART: A Ranger's Tale now starting to kick back in gear. But I really hate the insanely fluctuating climate here in S'pore.

P.S: Oh, and one more thing. Vid below is yet another ideal OP for A Ranger's Tale.

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Lore: The Furthest East (Part 1)

Note to all (and self)-Due to many stuff deemed legit for this blog, I realized that I'm pretty much hard done when it comes to post scheduling. Thankfully, I'm able to differentiate the posts accordingly. Originally wanting to finish the Part 3 of my current Rogue Economist column, but it seems that the engine might have stalled again.

A/N: 4 lurker(?) hits from S.Korea and 1 lurker(?) hit from Japan. If I never up any visual proof, be very sure that's me challenging you all on whether I'm a liar or not. :P

INTRO: The lands of Furthest East is fraught with unknown dangers, yet promising much treasures and wonders. Many are those arriving at its shores unannounced, few are those returning to tell their tales. Most of whatever said is filled with excitement and enthusiasm, but ask about their companions and they will remain hushed. For those allowed to trade however, they could only regale their kinsfolk with many a joy, but nary a tear.

Mostly covered by fertile plains well watered by the three main rivers, the homeland of every Cinha still boasts of numerous high ground and lush forests. Arguably the first explorer ever to set foot, Erasmus Eliaden had this to say:

All over the Furthest East, I can only see diligent farmers and studious scholars. The farmers would always be the soldiers, the scholars being the commanders and generals. Wherever I go, it seems that agriculture is arguably their finest talent. I once greeted a villager upon the highest peak and in return, he regaled this humblest visitor on how his people managed to cultivate hardy crops under the hardy skies.

I can never tell any who cares to listen on how much of this land is made of fertile soil, but surely I have seen forests perched upon mountains high and sparse marshlands sprinkled all over this massive realm. Alas, this is also where only the strong can hope to survive and the wisest enjoying prosperity everlasting. Truly I can feel the Furthest East laughing at our Greater North.
~The Grand History [written by Galus Tibiers]

There are only three deities worshiped by the Cinha, namely He-Who-Must-Be-Given-Praise, She-Who-Is-Wise-And-Beautiful, and He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Revealed. According to the Cinha's historical text brought back by Erasmus (later honored posthumously as Hand of the Empire), then Senator of Intellectuals, Dranthe Aliege had this to say:

It seems to the entire Intellectuals Ministry that the Cinha enjoy extolling their brand of freedom to all passers-by who may not even care to listen. From what we gleaned thus far within an hour and half, it is to my unwilling respect that these unknown people are much more civilised than say, our brothers towards the west and cousins further up north.

What is truly disturbing, however, was the fact that they credited their freedom to whichever gods worshiped. Three in fact and therein I give every Kalaran wise and discerning their names and shocking exploits:

Tsurugi no Gou'Ryeo is their bloodthirsty god who would stop at nothing to exact vengeance and victory. While he is credited with repelling the denizens known as Oni, it is to my understanding that the Oni were no less humane than us. Riding without armour is not only folly, but also a sign of arrogance. As for his weapon, Lord Erasmus actually stated that the yedo is a single edged sword mainly used in cavalry and skirmish warfare.

Mirai no Silla is without a doubt a goddess of lewdness, her flagrant nudity depicted is an affront to every decent man and woman. Using wits and guile is nevertheless acceptable, yet dare I ask what manner of people would associate a positive trait with a harlot's breasts? From Lord Eliaden's description, I must say that their women are full in bosom, narrow in waist, and shapely in hips. Definitely unworthy of decent marriage and worthy of seductive schemes.

Lastly but not least, we have their disfigured boy god. Rounin no Baekje is an orphan taking after his parents. Without any love from the aforementioned two, it could only mean one thing. This boy god is nothing more than a depiction of these heathen people's heart, mayhap even children young as seven are forced into knowing slavery.

Hence I beseech Your Holiness to declare a state of second level alert, for who knows when we must fight this insidious race? Better for them to come rather than for us to go!
~The Grand History [written by Galus Tibiers]

Interestingly, the First Patriarch of House Eliaden chose not to remain silent before Senator Dranthe. This was what the historian Galus Tibiers had written thus:

In a sudden anger akin to the most violent storm, the Emperor's beloved Hand stood up to attack the Senator of Intellectuals and all those agreeing with him. Never before did the Romus ever witness such heated argument, for in the same way Dranthe Aliege launched his scathing scorn did Erasmus Eliaden do the same. His hand at last forced, His Holiness Franstatis ordered a halt. Indeed if not for His Holiness, surely the First Patriarch of House Eliaden would have cut down half the Senate with more than mere words alone.
~The Grand History [written by Galus Tibiers]

To be cont'd...

Monday, 30 December 2013

Kork M. Hancock, Rogue Economist: Regional crisis and global economy (Part 2)

We at the IRE are happy to congratulate the finest local talent our country has ever seen. Due to fame attracting paparazzi like flies to shit, we are obliged to make an example out of this stupid columnist here. There is nothing wrong with Mr. Beh winning many nominations at the Golden Pony Award, but it should be our concern that no one, and I really mean NO ONE, deserves to say he/she is better than Mr Beh. In short, we're worried about this lobo moron's mental welfare, therefore we demanded him to add this in. If you do movie, you do your very best. If you do satire, you do your very worst. Period.
~ Sincerely yours, Institute of Rogue Economists
Signed by High Dean, Highest Prof Simisai

Part 2: Preface and Disclaimer
I firmly believe my boss is being over paranoid here, but I also believe every man has his part to play. Not to mention every woman as well since men don't carry babies. Regardless of whatever plans my colleagues have in store, it should be of highest paramount that I continue doing this. Below statement is IRE's stance on privacy:
Due to the most recent Watchergate scandal purportedly started by an unnamed descendant of some deposed president, I am not allowed to reveal any names which might expose any country or major city. However, IRE has been given the green light to reveal names deemed relevant to topic at hand.

How regional crisis can further global economy via celebrated means
Holywood, the promised land of every aspiring star. Some made it big, some made it bigger. After all, there will always be stars higher than the many more below.
~Leonardo Dicapricorn

Holywood the promised land of fame and wealth, who doesn't want it? Whenever we think back on Leonardo Dicapricorn's words, I believe we all will agree with him. The only blind spot? There's a difference between hindsight and first person.

"The biggest problem with human beings is the problem of oxymoron. Whenever someone said to me 'See, I told ya!', I asked him whether he or she was around. The answer would always be no. When I asked the person next whether he or she was the one committing the act, everybody would end up cursing my father and mother instead of a living man."

Above statement was quoted by moral evolutionist, John Cavalier (1800-1899). Unto his words, renowned king of bloggers, Pervez Hilton, has this to say:

"I've always enjoyed reading Mr Cavalier's works and nothing is truer than his view on actual oxymoron. Let's ask, for example, whether it's acceptable for a girl to exhibit disturbing actions in front of public. I'm pretty sure the answer is yes. However, research has also shown that many unspeakable things are actually done in the name of privacy, hence rendering such practices acceptable unless exposed. In fact, I've heard some interesting rumors on Leonardo Dicapricorn's life when it comes to whether his current girlfriend is that hot Jewish bikini model. Not that I care about that lucky bastard anyway..."
-from his blog: I Know What You Did Last Winter; dated 24th December 201*

So what does Pervez Hilton and John Cavalier have in common? Nobody knows, but this is beside the actual topic at hand.

What truly happened last Christmas
Nobody had foreseen this happening even though the focus of global attention was (and still is) anything but sugar and nice. Ever since the Honey Daytona series reached its last season six years ago, Miley Citrus has been making the headlines for all the controversial reasons. Why I use the c-word here is due to an innate understanding on basic PR fundamentals within the entertainment circle. But enough about clarifications, let's summarize what exactly went on during the X'mas Music Awards (abbrev: XMA).
Above image is NOT a literal portrayal of the actual situation, this I must make it clear. Figuratively, however, this is what caused a Citrus tsunami. In her latest interview less than 24 hours ago, Miley Citrus has this to say:

"C'mon, you prudes. Where were you all during the previous XMA? Remember Aram Lambast? Yes, all you people were demanding his removal after you saw what he did last winter. Now that I've managed to give Lambast some one-upmanship, where are all you anti-Lambs? I'm not blind, I know where you are. And I will find you, I will **** you."

Prior to this interview posted in YoloTube, her relationship with the public has always been a controversy by itself. After said video was upped, the spokeswoman for YoloTube has this to say:

It is to our regret that Miley Citrus' interview clip had successfully crashed our global servers. Despite the possibility of moral hackers still at large, we at Yolotube have decided to upgrade every country's servers in order to cater whatever future demands available.

Indeed not only did Miley Citrus' antics managed to captivate the global audience, even Aram Lambast was no less utterly impressed.

"Back during my outrageous gig, I thought nothing about how people perceived me. Now that I've seen Miley Citrus performing to the max, I realized some individuals are born to be queens and even fewer meant to be goddesses. I feel sad for Robbo Dick though since he's already married."

Momentum effect amounting to global money making
Just three days ago, I chatted with a colleague who happened to be the Head of Internship Faculty. As he sipped his local black coffee without sugar in the cafeteria, Peh Lloyd has this to comment:

"Eh, Kork. You know one thing about money making? Very easy one, I tell you. Want get payload, make sure you make people angry first. Once they all start raging over what kind of bugger you are, you will see many more people supporting you. Then you devise your own product, hard sell your brand, and voila! Double confirm sure dio paydirt one!"

This is indeed the case with Miley Citrus. In fact, insiders claimed that Aram Lambast's daring stunts was the reason why she was inspired to do the same. Aram's album sales managed to hit a record high, beating the likes of more popular singers like Sealed, Taylor Rift, and hip hop quartet, Chinese Lime. In fact, Aram Lambast still remains the indisputable King of Rock in spite of recent upstarts like Once Directed and Justin Bebe. Only the evergreen rock band, Beaver and Butt, managed to pose a close challenge to Aram's current throne.

Interestingly, what raked in big bucks for Miley Citrus if Aram Lambast's success means an everlasting status in the music scene? Many were fascinated by the gigantic finger she used in her performance, something previously little known becomes a global brand. According to renowned South Korean psychologist, Eric Jang Geun Soh, this is what psychology science termed as "poking the box".

"Originated from the term 'thinking out of the box', this marketing strategy implements the usage of reverse psychology. Many a family enjoys using reverse psychology to educate the child. Say for example you tell your son not to read books. What would your son do? Theoretically, he would have shy away from books. In reality, he would be ten times more studious than his peers. Every adult has to go through a certain phase, people call it self-discovery. Psychologists prefer to call this experimenting. So long as nothing bad happens, every experiment is legal."

In a global research conducted by global surveying firm, Chris Kimpossible, it was revealed that:

1. Three out of every ten fingers sold are used for everyday sporting events amounting to plain cheering from the stands.

2. Five out of every ten fingers sold are used for biological education.

3. Nine out of every ten fingers sold are used for recording various genre of self-made videos.

4. Sales of the gigantic fingers, later trademarked as Citrus Fingers, contributed to 40% of global money earned.

5. Originally something which existed beforehand, Citrus Fingers actually managed to monopolize 90% of the sales with Miley Citrus' record label, Wrecked Balls, raking in 10% commission.

To be cont'd...

Onto 2014... (Part 3)

Let's see if I can continue writing this mini series lol! Either that or I might finish my Trinity Blood post(s) next. Before I start, however, I suddenly realised that certain East Asian nation below managed to stoke my inner fiery muse.
Note-That was like 2-4 days ago lol!

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Lara von Dirkwind
Word of Creator:
I'll have to admit I'm guilty of creating many a whim character. Since I enjoy doing pointless inspiration, might as well make the most out of nothing, ne? Apparently, I seem to enjoy creating seductresses. After Sarel Aphros, we have Lara von Dirkwind. tbh I actually enjoy creating such characters compared to the spoilt bratty ones (sorry, Joenne) since it's really fun to create strong female characters defying the standard heroine cliche.

Value Factor:
A vital side character come A Sea of Arms and Craft? I believe I did promise an unbelievable promise that I will pull off something like this one below:
Trolling(?) aside, one interesting add-on I did on Lara is her ability to blink/warp/teleport/whatever you call that. This is something unique to Rangers, so does it mean Aeranath have a hand in this? Well, given his heck-care attitude, I doubt so. Yet, it must also be added that Moggray knew her. Not in a romantic sense ofc, but from how a fellow warrior knows another. Case in point: I doubt Moggray actually knew Lara that well.

Hence Cupid's arrow beckons-Joenne Nances
I find it quite interesting to create and try fleshing out a bisexual. Not many fantasy works actually touched on that despite my perception that bisexuality is perfectly fine when it comes to romantic novels. In particular, Joenne's small bust actually *compliments* Lara's *assets* finely. Not in an erotic sense (although the erotic factor is indeed there), but rather a symbol of her sexuality. Yes, I know guys enjoy drooling over two lesbians blessed with hourglass figure, but forgive me when I say reality is my BFF.

Hence Cupid's arrow beckons-Guy Cody
In spite of confidence and maturity newly found, it seems that our resident lion will forever be a cub before the fairer sex. Not that Lara should be considered "fairer sex" though since this is a character not above in using sex to further whatever agenda or aim. Then again, I blame not anyone invoking the word "nymphomaniac".

A redhead blessed with an hourglass figure, it's quite clear on where I intend to take this. Her general look is based on how I'd envision a female Half-Elven pirate on generic basis. The fact that I used an eye cloth/bandage instead an eye patch was pretty much because I really like a particular artwork of Xiahou Dun for Sega's Sangokushi Taisen series (the artist in question was Mashima Hiro whose claim to fame is Rave and Fairy Tail). In fact, I realised that if Kiera Knightly was a real pirate, this should be how she looked like.

Banphrionsa parallel: Rán
Visual anime: Revy (Black Lagoon)

Yes, I know the persona doesn't tally up, but somehow that's what I can find.

Sarel Aphros
Word of Creator:
Inspired by Sally Whitemane, the intent was to create a strong female character who is capable of anything and everything to get her way. Interestingly though, Sally Whitemane's status as my visual muse only stepped in during the second draft (which to be fair, the first version nvr got this far anyway). A bisexual like Lara, Sarel was the one character convincing me to go full throttle in this area.

Value Factor:
'Tis a no-brainer to say that she's the second most vital female character after Ales. Quite obviously one of, if not the most broken female characters thus far. Like Lara, she won't hesitate to use sex as a tool (case in point: Guy Cody). However, one could also say she's much more of a certified nymphomaniac compared to Lara due to blatant in-plot evidence.

Hence Cupid's arrow beckons-Guy Cody
In the first arc, we all knew what happened (although to be fair, I realised I can't do graphic scenes even just to save my own life). It's apparent that she wanted to make use of Guy and what's the best way to do it? Even though her plan was considered a failure in terms of letting him got away, we must also understand that her initial plan all the while was arranging a fatal duel between him and Aera. This is one hell of an interesting area to flesh out especially since this involves Guy Cody's future as a vital player. 

Hence Cupid's arrow beckons-Aeranath
Only exposed towards the end of The Wolf, the Boy, the Maiden Fair arc, we can see from a bloody mile away that she really has case of hopeless infatuation. Interestingly, it seems that said affection might have been tampered by her own joyful past. With Hyo'Ah, Lars, and of course Aera himself. In fact, I might be trying some stunt(s) on her original name, Nanaya no Geun'Jin, in the future due to whatever superstitious implication(?) behind this name.  

White hair reaching till her shoulders, an hourglass figure, a seductive pose 24/7... all these point to the femme fatale trope. Also, her crimson red eyes was also something taken (pardon my pun pls) from Sally Whitemane as well. iirc what truly sealed th deal was Sally Whitemane being every Warcraft fanboy's greatest (wet)dream. 
Source: WoW Wiki

Banphrionsa parallel: Clíodhna
Visual anime: Canaan (CANAAN)

Again a mismatch on many factors, yes I know that.

Kagetsu no Hyo'Ah
Word of Creator:
Inspired by some real life celeb named BoA, I believe any and every K-pop fan knows who she is (even though I've now grown cold over 90% of whatever mainstream stuff). However, it seems that visual inspiration ain't enough, that's where Ned Stark's deceased sister came into the picture.

Value Factor:
It felt surreal to create a female character along Lyanna's archetype, I find it a coincidental irony to note that the Starks' symbol being a dire wolf (note-Aeranath's symbolic animal is a wolf). Freak things happening aside, one could call Hyo'Ah a she-wolf. We all know the mama grizzly trope, why not create a wolf version? Fiercely protective over people around her, I'll have to say she's blessed with a maternal tendency despite single and available. Oh, and did I actually mention this creator here ended up offing her character off-screen?

Hence Cupid's arrow beckons-Aeranath
'Tis my worst kept secret thus far, that without spilling the beans I've already outed this romance. Yet, I'm still hell bent on creating a vital plot point where this tragic romance is concerned. Ambitious, yes. In fact, seeing G.R.R Martin doing a literal Rhaegar-Lyanna made me wonder whether I can create my own version albeit a figurative variation.

Hence Cupid's arrow beckons-Lars Alterfate
Same as above, only 'tis no secret to guess Lars was truly a sad lovelorn bastard lol! We all know A Ranger's tale is brimming with potential character rivalry 日本 スタイル, this one ain't no different. Have to admit many an important detail is still lacking, the most notable being what actually caused Lars' self-guilt and Aeranath's hatred towards him. Sounds like Rhaegar-Lyanna-Robert subverted? Sorry hor, I where got so smart one!

Long black hair reaching her upper waist and quite a beautiful girl, the fact that she's a Cinha might have upped the ante (note from limpeh-Cinha=East Asians). She's a good singer (or at least implied to be so), a fine dancer (or at least implied to be so), and a kind hearted lass who somehow would never fit into that cynical world better known as The Known World (wow, is that a multiple pun-job I'm doing here?)

Banphrionsa parallel: Brigid
Visual anime: Rem Saverem (Trigun)

Alestrial Eliaden

Value Factor:
Every drama must have a female lead alongside the male protagonist, Ales is definitely it. Now before people start second guessing what kind of drama, let me kill off any speculation by saying any and all. Jokes aside, I do find it a blast to create yet another character who doesn't really fit in, The Known World wise. Refer back to Hyo'Ah's part and you'll know why I'm saying that. I find it fun to create Alestrial first, then Hyo'Ah. To be honest, Alestrial actually popped up much earlier than her timeline predecessor and it really sounds ironic from a story teller's point of view (read-could I have created Hyo'Ah first in my brain?). The Wolf, the Boy, the Maiden Fair was all about a semi-naive Ales where she knew what's wrong with her surrounding world. Whether such logic extends to anywhere beyond the Kalaran Empire remains to be seen, but I believe deep in her heart, saving people remains a dream still attainable. Of course I don't have to elaborate on what a certain evil gay Elf did to her, the most interesting question right now is whether she's still able to perceive the world by her original standard. Or rather perceiving herself perhaps?

Hence Cupid's arrow beckons-Guy Cody
First arc was all about her relationship with this dumb sandy blond. Yet, this romance was also intended as a conflict between living in a luxurious prison or running free without actual assurance. The former signifies stability and inner slavery, the latter representing unknown risks and outright liberation. I find this "versus logic" to be quite enjoyable as in this is something every human being has to face 24/7. Note that this portion of my talk should be seen as something abstract, so please don't get me into any trouble if you feel like worshiping the unnamed gods of anarchy.

Hence Cupid's arrow beckons-Aeranath
This is the black bloke symbolising Ales' only dream. While it's too early to deduce any potential romance (or maybe the lack thereof depending on your guessing), 'tis without a doubt that Aeranath's current predicament is that of an inner hell. We all know the term "living hell", Aeranath is indeed living in hell. It's like a little girl seeing an injured puppy abandoned in the wilds. Despite whatever danger and objections faced, there's no way this little girl would back down. Why? Because she's born this way. Why all the talk on danger and objections? Because said pup was a wolf cub and no one would ever love a wolf (read: Man vs Nature).

Initially a Cinha girl dressed like a lady she was, I decided to create a massive change of sorts come A Sea of Arms and Craft. This is due to plot necessity and character development amounting to outright BSOD. In The Wolf, the Boy, the Maiden Fair, her hair was long and curly/wavy. Come A Sea of Arms and Craft, her hair was cut short. In Eliador de Lioncourt's own words, "a harlot's look". I find it ironically true given what happened on that Dwarven ship. Nearly became a given whore, currently no different from one. Well, I never said I'm guilty of playing nice, 죄송합니다.

Banphrionsa parallel: Áine
Visual anime: Arturia/Sabre (Fate/Zero)

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Friday, 27 December 2013

~~you're getting sacked in the morning~~

Okay, I know this sounds way too cruel for a manager who deserves at least respect and dignity. In fact, I find it a travesty of justice to imagine euthanasia being far more humane by comparison. Therefore, I deem it a must to necro die Führer himself...

Once upon a time in Wales...

...someone of non-Welsh descent received a statement of censure.

Yet, patriotism understands no boundary nor race and religion.

And therein hailed in primam causam...

[No longercont'd...

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Onto 2014... (Part 2)

So now I made a promise with myself: that from tonight onward my only resolution for X'mas and New Year is to stay disciplined and focused. Apparently, one less distraction can do many wonders. :)

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Joenne Nances
Word of Creator:
Most definitely the most annoying female character I've created thus far. To be honest, I won't blame any haters for wishing some horrendous end where she's concerned, but that's because I've been through the whole fanboy hate (trust me when I say I really hate that Ana(l)kin Skywalker in the SW prelude series). In fact come to think of it, she's actually twice as annoying in my initial draft.

Value factor:
Initially deemed an extra, now still remains as one. However, her friendship with Ales shouldn't be discounted. While I've yet to 100% map out her actual role in A Sea of Arms and Craft, I'll have to say that whatever planning is already like 40% done. Remaining 60% are mostly important details yet to be thought out.

Hence Cupid's arrow beckons-Guy Cody
In the first draft, she also had a thing for Jase Steele. However, I decided to scrap this part due to the risk of pointless bullshit (read: filler scenes doing nothing next to shit on exploration/development value). Guy Cody is another issue altogether though due to his romantic ties with Ales. Let's get this straight, folks: together with Karen Tenias and Ales, they're pretty much the Three Beauties of the North (or so I remembered thus far where whatever relevant chapter[s] is concerned).

A willowy frame with short wavy hair reaching her shoulders, quite obviously this brunette has certain, erm, shall we say, lady issues. 'Tis a no-brainer when it comes to her flat chest, this was something inspired (?) by Tohno Akiha of Tsukihime. Funnily enough, I wasn't thinking clearly when I created her short haired image. Why? Because much earlier on, a certain evil gay Elf actually commented that having short hair means being a prostitute. Therefore, either I'd have to do a minor retcon or I could choose to be a stubborn jackass while devising ways to wriggle my ass out of this retarded oxymoron. No prizes for guessing the correct answer.

KPI Féminin: C+
Flower parallel
Geranium: "folly"

Yeras Wynda
Word of Creator:
Initially another Joenne, I decided to create a darker twist to her character. This is not because I'm a jerk, but rather because I see myself as a story teller. Therefore, no one should ever tell me to run for political office.

Value factor:
'Tis a no brainer to know by now that she's nothing more than  broken toy. While retaining her own sense of self-awareness, I'd have to say poor girl is already scarred beyond hope. However, this only heightens her character stock. Where she will go in A Sea of Arms and Craft remains a big question mark. Yet, it must be stated that no matter what, Ales' decisions will define what we term as make-or-break.

Hence Cupid's arrow beckons-Lukas Brun
Nothing much is revealed about this surreal relationship so far. In fact, I can't even be sure whether I should do a convoluted romance between the two due to Lukas' sexuality. Not that I'm homophobic anyway.
Note-it must be said Yeras is the only named female character so far 100% comfortable around a homosexual.

Hence Cupid's arrow beckons-Guy Cody
This is where the fun starts. Apparently. there's something about Guy which captivated her eyes. Unlike Joenne who only noticed how sexy he is, her attraction stems more likely from emotions. Can't reveal anything more though unless people want to speculate how this will affect Ales' character and the relationship between the two.

Hence Cupid's arrow beckons-Moggray Tonn
Implied to be 200% plot-centric, I can only say this much. And it seems that Moggray grieves a lot over his past eighteen years ago.

Freckles and with fiery hair, Yeras' look is intended to give us an innocent lass image. At the same time, I also feel the need to hammer home her boisterous nature.

KPI Féminin: B-
Flower parallel
Anemone: "forsaken"

Word of Creator:
This is a character arguably created out of the blue. Initially, there's no such character on the roster. That was before I really got myself started into the story. Then again, same standard applies for many other named characters also.

Value factor:
At first, I created her as an object of sexual tragedy. Then I decided to play around with this trope. In short, the current Ceres is much better off compared to before. However, my plans for whatever "past" relevant still stay unchanged. Oh, and current version is capable of speech unlike whatever you've seen in the first draft.

Hence Cupid's arrow beckons-Arondight
There's something in her which invokes in this Berserker painful memories from the past. Suffice to say, Arondight's Ceres didn't exactly end up happily ever after with whichever deserving gentleman. Failed to make another appearance so far bar a minor scene with the Fianna in the beginning chapters. Can't say the same for future chapters/arcs though.

Like Yeras, Ceres is also a redhead albeit I do see her hair colour as a duller shade of auburn. Quite beautiful, but too many unknown factors otherwise.

KPI Féminin: B+
Flower parallel
Acacia blossom: "concealed love"

Word of Creator:
Arguably the first character created out of the blue (hey, I never said Ceres was the first!), I find it surprisingly easy to define her character. While I already had my own image of her down pat, trying to devise a clear-cut personality was another story altogether. Joenne's situation is more of me messing around at first, but Lolyx is different scenario. Hey, the fact that I created a character out of nowhere doesn't mean anything, okay?!

Value factor:
On the first glance, Karen might seem to be the most vital supporting girl. However, it's also easy to have neutrals and fans alike saying Dany is the Prince that was Promised where in fact, Jon's claim to being Azor Ahai reborn is arguably stronger via proof thrice as subtle. I find it to be a freak coincidence that Jon's dream in A Dance with Dragons actually held a similar impact to Lolyx's otherworldly vision. As I said, 'tis a freak coincidence. In the words of my secondary school science teacher during the batshit crazy era of Class 2H, sometimes freak things happen (that was pertaining to understanding why twins can be conceived rather than just one child at a time).

Hence Cupid's arrow beckons-Lars Alterfate
The tsundere trope is something widely used in Japanese creativity, I'd be a liar to say everything A Ranger's Tale starts from A Song of Ice and Fire, Elric of Melniboné, Discworld, Arda/Middle Earth, etc. I prefer to blame VNs with eroge elements despite having 0% in actual experience. More specifically this and that. At the same time, it must be mentioned that whatever potential romance on the cards would only mean one simple term: major plot point. I'm pretty sure many (or more likely verily few) people keeping tabs on this story will recall what she saw two times in a row.

I think she's the only Cinha in this post. Due to my insistence on creating an East Asian people for The Known World (note-I use this term instead of the story title due to that most obvious pride every creative bastard is renowned for), I ended up creating a tanned girl instead of a fair one. Nothing can be more absurd than stupid arguments on whether Asians are descended from Ham or Japheth. 喂, てめ達! 이 참조! Verbal abuse aside, I suddenly realised that if you're tanned and dusky, it merely means society shouldn't be working as a tanner. I may be a half-cynic, but even the beast or a frog can turn out to be a prince, no?

KPI Féminin: B+
Flower parallel
Dandelion: "happiness"

Karen Tenias
Word of Creator:
Despite me having nothing near to shit on actual experience, I still do enjoy dissecting G.R.R Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire, better known as HBO's Game of Thrones. Yes, I'm guilty of uploading many a YouTube clip, but believe me when I say I've yet to expose myself to Westeros. Half figuratively and half literally (to Kiel: Renly is officially dead, Loras is still alive. Don't make me repeat this again). So what does Lady Karen have to do with ASoIaF? Watch the space below, peeps.

Value factor:
Granad Tenias isn't a statement of hate towards any family. I need to make this clear because in my veins run the fiery blood of North East football. In short, I know which family owns Granada CF, I can only express respect and heaviness towards Gianfranco Zola resigning the Watford job. At least no one forced this foreign talent away, I call this reserving the harshest standard for the self. With that being said, Granad was inspired by Walder Frey. What it means for Karen at this point is very simple: Edmure Tully, you're surely one hell of an enviable bastard. It's quite exciting to know that I might be thinking out of the box when it comes to using potential romance to further anything but romance, hopefully I will one day say "totes worth it". :)

Hence Cupid's arrow beckons-Jase Steele
Fiercely protective towards his beloved Lady Karen, 'tis my intent right from the beginning to portray him as some overprotective secret admirer. Or is he? Regardless of random questions bandied around thus far(?), I find it amazing that House Steele being part of the elite nobility was actually an idea coined AFTER his introduction. Let's not forget how much Granad hates Louthes, shall we? After all, making war is something mutual nine chances out of ten.

Hence Cupid's arrow beckons-Aeranath
Pretty sure nothing will happen out of this albeit a wild card can either be a red herring or a big fish waiting to be fried. In particular, the eerily similar manner where Aera saved Karen was something deliberately planned by yours truly. ;)

Hence Cupid's arrow beckons-Guy Cody
I really enjoy doing the part where our beloved lion in red saved the day once again. He's done it before (where Mayweather Lucs was concerned), so why not do this the second time? It must be said that Karen has always been her own lady, she's not someone believing in fairy tales and malicious rumours. In this sense, she's another Ales. Therefore, whatever torch she's been carrying for some insignificant smallborne shouldn't be dismissed as something we're used to seeing in every given K-drama (or the entire Twilight series as well to be brutally fair).

Hence Cupid's arrow beckons-Kerstein de Bladefort
Yet to make his official debut, let us all play the guessing game over a pint or two. Oh, and he's already been mentioned in the same chapter where Tristan Ajax finally made his debut.

An absolute stunner apart from having a petite build instead of statuesque, I find it enjoyable to create a character whose looks actually contradicts her real self. Apart from having small breasts (wait, that sounds so perverted for no apparent reason... -_-), everything about her just screams "smoking hot!" especially her, erm... derrière. Is it any wonder to see her facing the constant danger of rape? Ironically, said danger seems to hail its source from her father more than her looks (cue whatever unintentional consequences resultant-House Frey and the Red Wedding).

KPI Féminin: A-
Flower parallel
Daffodil: "unrequited love"

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A/N: Whatever flower info bandied here is NOT me doing this. Period.

Monday, 23 December 2013

So tomorrow is...

...Christmas Day Eve. Then come the day after next, Christmas will be officially welcomed. Thinking about this, I suddenly have a surreal feeling because it seems that Jesus has been my only friend for the past 10+ years. Maybe that's why I enjoy commenting/liking/sharing FB posts on Christianity? Well, guess this will continue for the next 5-6 years, at least it's heartening to know that your only faith is the only reason why you only ended up with cracks rather than absolutely shattered.

Erm, so what are you trying to say?
No, I'm not going to evangelise anyone. Rather, I suddenly have the urge to do something on anime/manga. Okay, I'm talking about a particular title, not something too generic. I can't really remember when, but for sure I was in my early twenties when I came across this manga series. Let's just say that it's not just about vampires or even your typical Stoker-esque archetype.

Suffice to say, I was attracted by the plot and characters right from the bang. The characters are 100% realistic (apart from your customary anime/manga tropes being spammed) with the main protagonist so much more than a monster. And speaking of main protagonist, I hereby present you...


Before I start however, allow me to up this particular clip.

On the first glance, Abel seemed like you everyday klutz full of accidents and horny impulses. However, we must understand that this is Japanese creativity we're talking about, many a trope has been pretty much flogged like a dead horse. In fact, I'm not surprised at the presence of fan service and over-the-top situations by the time I hit the legal age of sixteen.

Yet, it seems that the manga adaption is hell bent on minimizing cleavage, side/underboobs, and upskirt angles. This was unlike many of its predecessors where everything portrayed is still subtly synonymous with the current underground culture. So what does Trinity Blood depend on otherwise?

Plot value:
Interestingly, many contemporary manga/gaming/anime works have now gravitated towards plot and characterization. Not that old school series were incapable of that since every fanboy/girl will still surely recall stuff like:
Neon Genesis Evangelion (it took me N ages to finally comprehend what End of Evangelion was truly talking about)
Gundam Wing (Endless Waltz has gotta be the finest part where Heero Yuy's humanity was concerned. Not to mention Zechs Merquise's quest for vengeance and his resultant redemption during the TV series)
Rurouni Kenshin (better known as Samurai X, the manga is the only thing you need. OVA was an epic failure mainly due to Shinomori Aoshi gone MIA).

As for Trinity Blood, let me first say that NEVER in my life have I ever seen vampires in a biological light. Indeed they were victims of their own power. More specifically their power source (which is some kinda blood consuming bacillus). Calling themselves the Methuselah, said term got nothing to do with meth.

[And all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty and nine years: and he died.]
Genesis 5:27

I don't have to list who was Methuselah's father because it's pointless. What I want you all to know is understanding why the vampires in Trinity Blood called themselves this name.

Crusnik 02
Better known as Abel himself, this was an absolute monster once labelled "The God of Carnage". [Disclaimer-I can only roughly translate this from the manga, sorry.] What drove Abel once into the abyss of madness is beyond me unless someone managed to bugger Chuangyi/Yasui Kentaro to hurry up. Especially Yasui-sensei since I've long given up on Chuangyi's schedule.

What we do know, however, is that Abel truly hated the human race (known as Terrans) due to their selfish decision to use him and the Methuselah as tools to colonize Mars. We must understand foremost that the Methuselah are technically human beings. Their only problem with the Terrans lies in the need to feed on blood. Not to sustain some evil mojo, but to merely survive. This could very likely be the reason why Abel joined Cain (Crusnik 01) and Seth (Crusnik 03) to declare all out war on the human race, i.e. the first Methuselah who returned to Earth were murdered by the Terrans.

At the same time, we've got one last Crusnik, Lilith (i.e. Crusnik 04). She chose to side with the human race despite her identity. The final end? She wasn't killed by the "ungrateful" Terrans, but Cain himself. So what does this have to do with Abel's character, you might ask?

One undeniable truth about Abel's character is viewing Lilith as a mother figure. More specifically Lilith was the closest thing to a mother while Cain is the closest thing to a brother with Seth being the sister counterpart.

Biblical parallels
In the Bible, Cain murdered Abel and God called him into judgement. In Trinity Blood, it was Lilith being murdered instead. Now it must be said that just like how the Bible recorded Cain, Abel, and Seth as sons of Adam and Eve, Crusnik 01-03 were like children to Crusnik 04. In short, Lilith was the ultimate mother figure with a loving heart. If not for Lilith, I can't be sure how this duo and Seth could ever survived.

One interesting snippet is that there used to be five Methuselah instead of four (i.e. Cain, Abel, Seth, Lilith). These Methuselah were genetically enhanced, yet one of them died. Unnamed and unknown apart from Seth trying to save him/her and Cain, everything started from the Crusnik nanomachines infused into them. Sadly, it was said that Seth's action managed to drive Cain mad due to said nanomachines planted in him.

Abel, Seth, and Lilith actually did the same thing N years later with no apparent ill effects. Yet, why did Lilith chose to help the humans who brutally murdered their own kindred? There were a few flashback scenes from Abel's POV where Lilith was shown as someone with great compassion. Imagine what would happen if either side win the war! Either the Terrans would be butchered or the Methuselah facing absolute genocide. Lilith was trying to stop the war, but she knew it would be pointless to join Abel and co since that would defeat the purpose (read: she never desired mutual enmity and destruction). Unable to handle this truth, Cain at last killed Lilith and cut off her head. This was when Abel decided to kill Cain instead.

And therein comes the mother of all ironies. In the Bible, it was Cain who murdered Abel. This time round, it was Abel killing Cain albeit with Seth helping him out (note that at his strongest, not even Abel or Seth could stand before him one vs one). With Cain the one committing murder in the first place, the irony lies in a combination of that thrice damned Cain-Abel complex and those words stated below:

[Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword]
Matthew 26:52

A lifelong penance
Abel's life was full of sorrow and regret, his only aim being redemption. His power as Crusnik 02 cursed him as a monster, he would remain as so if not for Lilith. If Cain's decision to wage mass bloodshed was guided by hatred, then Abel's path was a miraculous U-turn of sorts. Indeed Abel was different from Cain, that even though he (Abel) hated the world, deep in his heart he still cares. This forms a stark contrast to Cain's imminent moniker "Contra Mundi" (i.e. Enemy of the World). Ironically, Abel's actions during his murderous past indeed proved himself as another "Contra Mundi".

Remember what I've said on Lilith being a mother character? 'Tis merely a figure of speech, for Abel and Lilith were stated as lovers (in the original novels, so this info is 100% authentic). If not for Lilith's love for him and his reciprocation likewise, Abel would have lost himself to a lifetime of mistakes. Perhaps this was why Lilith could dissuade Abel in the first place, that her love for Abel actually showed us how much she understood him and vice versa.

To be cont'd...
Next-the various women in Abel's life

Onto 2014...

Since I'll most likely have no hope for 2013. At least (hopefully) next year will be a better year. If there's anything my Christian faith has taught me, it ain't over till the fat lady sings, be it for better or worse. Oh,and one more thing: This post is inspired by TNP's cover story on swords. At the same time, I realised it's not good to attach yourself too much on any character(s) you created. Case in point: Flower Boys Next Door actually played a blinder in terms of being the catalyst.

Word of Creator:
Arguably the one of, if not the most dangerous character thus far. Considered titular, but not necessarily the default main character since my vision for A Ranger's Tale is more inclined towards G.R.R Martin's style, i.e. A Song of Ice and Fire.

Danger factor:
Ever wondered how dangerous a person can get once he/she believes there's nothing to lose in life? Human beings are born to be motivated, without motivation we all would just be living machines or human AI. This is not someone driven crazy by despair, but rather someone indifferent to it. Is there a motivation behind his character? Yes. Does said motivation equates to having something to lose? Apparently no. You can't call him insane, but he's not anything but normal. Once he goes full aggro, you're seriously ****ed. After all, I'm pretty sure Aeranath doesn't mind taking others down with him.

Not gonna spoil the Truth aspect for you guys b/c it's actually integral to the backdrop and relevant plot points (90% most likely this). However, the wolves in The Known World are solitary hunters unless having a mate and cubs. Aeranath's life is basically a like-for-like version where the only reason why he's forever alone is due to a stubborn refusal to socialise. Not to mention his resultant ineptitude in communication. All in all your silent anti-hero archetype whose only problem lies in nobody capable of predicting what he'll do next.

Alias: The Answerer
In Irish mythology, Fragarach was a sword capable of penetrating armour and killing the attacker. The only catch? Said attacker refers to the one attacking the wielder. In short, it's the ultimate Weapon of Single Annihilation once we start talking about counterattacking. Like his Grail, the only thing fairly accurate about Aeranath is the fact that he's brutally vindictive. How we define vindictive in this context though is beyond our call and judgment. If Aeranath says **** you, it means you're seriously ****ed.

Danger KPI: A+

Guy Cody
Word of Creator:
Utterly stupid and dumb, this is the type of character many readers would like to call the Cinderella Man. Either this kind of character rises to prominence or he will die like some gutter trash no reader gives a two hoots about. Thankfully, Guy belongs to the former. In spite of being likened to a lion, he's actually much more of a Robb Stark than any Lannister (which doesn't really say much unless we're talking about Northern honour pissed upon by Walder Frey and Roose Bolton).

Danger factor:
Do nothing and he will do nothing. Do anything to his friends and you're seriously ****ed. Say even a disparaging remark against Alestrial Eliaden and he'll find ways to use that nearest iron pole.

Not only was he the dumbest of all Red Lions, he's also the Red Lion with highest potential. Since we're talking about soldiers and militias, you can be verily sure that classroom education is not part of the criteria. Upright and loyalty, these are two major traits one would associate with the proverbial king of beasts.

Grail-Gae Buidhe and Gae Dearg
Alias: Golden Barb of Mortality and Crimson Thorn of Fatality
In Irish mythology (more specifically the Fenian Cycle), Gae Buidhe and Gae Dearg were the two spears wielded by Diarmuid Ua Duibhne. Despite the bonfire of martial romanticism possibly sparked by Japanese popular media, it's actually 100% impossible to dual wield spears due to weapon length and the absurd balance needed. Gae Buidhe would be used during adventures of lesser danger while Gae Dearg was used for situations potentially fatal. Likewise, Gae Buidhe and Gae Dearg here are actually two different entities meant for two different circumstances. Diarmuid was also known as a lady killer partially due to a magical love spot (possibly a geis). Compare it with Guy Cody's current situation and you'll get the drift. Also, the ancient Irish/Celts were known to be proponents of honour in duels.

Danger KPI: C-

To be cont'd...
b/c I now have to knuckle down and discipline myself

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Here's to a sad 2013 and (hopefully) a better 2014...

Reason one why 2013 sucks for me:
Apparently, S'pore football got no $$$ in the bank and will most likely be defeated in a duel of football. I'll have no issues tho should Harimau Muda really win 3rd place. The only bummer tho would be Vincent "not Peter Ridsdale" Tan being a M'sian and I'd hate to be a Cardiff fan.

P.S: Thankfully, there's nothing between us (the Boro) and Peter "I not from SCDF" Lim. While I prefer to give my fellow countryman that benefit of doubt, a national history of disastrous foreign invasion managed to kill off every shred of optimism.

Reason two why 2013 sucks for me:
Under Aitor "Amigo del Nordeste" Karanka, we managed to steady the morale, but not the ship. We got undone by a stupid Jason Senpuukyaku vs ****ing dirty Leeds while against Derby, we lost b/c some 3rd party Alliance gamer managed to type "unite the clans" within a 34 min spell. Versus Brighton, we managed to retain the ball off their park w/o scoring that early goal which could have easily scored us 3 pts and a major boost. All in all, not even this bloke can save us till 2014.

P.S: iirc we can still qualify for playoff spot. But only if Spider-Man can team up w/Wolverine (something I'm eager to try once I managed to earn 200K silver for Logan).

Reason three why 2013 sucks for me:
No life, no $$$, no gf, no proper discipline on time management. Srsly, surely it can't get any worse, right?

P.S: Okay, maybe it will...

So might as well do something while waiting for "that special someone"
Since I got nothing better to write (okay, I'm technically lying since there are many outstanding stuff), might as well do my own rambling on A Ranger's Tale. Or rather mostly The Known World.

The Kalaran Empire
Inspired by the Roman Empire, my intention is all about creating a civilisation priding itself in intellectual achievements. While many critics(?) may have spotted certain elements of the present day America, they were mostly coincidental. Unless I happen to recall things which sullies a nation's reputation that is.

I'll have to say that the chief elements pertaining to military is clearly Roman inspired. In fact, it's more of a case of me ripping off the names. It's like 99% of everything was derived 100% from actual history. Maybe even 100%, who knows?

Moral police vs moron police:
On the society, it's inspired from everywhere possible. In particular, I enjoy delving into the whole "morals or morons" argument. I know a lot has been said on religion being the root of all evil. I call this out to be an almighty load of bollocks unless someone can prove to me that every atheist is incapable of rape, murder, arson, etc. A lot of unspeakable stuff you've seen here is all about human nature. This is why I never wrote anything on whichever characters relevant when it comes to personal faith (of course exceptions DO exist, but the key is "exceptions", not "exist").

Something about America:
There are quite a few minor episodes influenced by recent incidents 5-10 years back. However, I'll have to label them as fillers. Why? Because there's such a thing called character exploration.

A lot of stuff pertaining to my titular character's (lack of) moral compass has to do with the concept of human hypocrisy. In a very real sense, he's no idol worshiper and neither is he a self-righteous narcissist. Whatever revealed via the Kalaran end is my own way of showing all that is wrong thus far, know that everything is only the beginning though. In fact, his status as an atheist doesn't mean anything when it comes to how he sees the world rather than religion.

Out of all the three Northern factions, the Kalarans have arguably the highest educational standard on average. This is in line with the advancement of the Romans. In fact, I think I've included a minor mention in the first arc where a centralised system of elite education was concerned.
One of the most notable aspects is how I planned the nobility's education. I did a bit of thought processing and much more modding when it comes to this. The key focus I needed to create all the while is a separation between the haves and have-nots. I don't have to preach any heroic ideology here because segregation based on status had always been true when it comes to the Middle Ages. After all, The Known World is a high fantasy world.

The multiracial/xenophobia factor might seemed familiar to many of my fellow Singaporeans, but seriously this is actually an omnipresent challenge faced by first world nations. Whether you like it or not, conflict is something unavoidable. The Little India Riot may seemed like a national disaster, but I've seen stuff 10 x worse. One interesting conclusion I've derived from the whole immigration complication is this: globalisation without proper integration. Let's not point fingers at each other over this, people have been doing it for donkey years. The late horror-fantasy maestro H.P Lovecraft was a certified racist on social grounds, NOT lineage or colour.
After one whole paragraph of digression, what I want to say is this: everything multiracial and xenophobia is inspired by this global trend more than any given country. Say what you like, I only write what I want.

The Red Lions:
This is where English footballing culture reared its head. The unity factor was indeed inspired by whatever I know on NSF. Even though I ended up as a PES E clerk, that doesn't mean I should deprive myself of constructive knowledge. At the same time, their rough demeanour also symbolises an everyday social conflict between the underprivileged and elite. Pretty much 90+% of whatever inspiration involved is 90% modded pertaining to the real football teams in England. Apparently, we have Manchester United and Liverpool/Everton, Arsenal and Tottenham, Blackburn and Blackpool, Chelsea and Cardiff, Newcastle, Sunderland and Middlesbrough. You don't have to look hard enough to know the actual real life football rivalries going on here.

Quite similar to real deal, I'm ashamed to say everything was inspired by the general situation over there in Middlesbrough itself. Granted I'm doing an over-generalisation here, but mainly the idea came from how folks perceive the area to be. I actually went Google once or twice due to curiosity and believe me when I say it's not a nice feeling reading whatever said in blogs, websites, and polls.

Flashpoint-Guy Cody
This is the one fellow who epitomises all things Boro. At least he's pretty much my own personification on what Middlesbrough is all about as a football club. Firstly, his average looks is a parallel to the unfashionable nature of my beloved team. Secondly, his brash and oft dumb nature would (hopefully) draw comparisons with the stereotypical lad from the North East(not that I'm good in understanding 90% of national/racial stereotypes anyway). Thirdly, those whom he knew were pretty much inspired by real footballing personalities:
Moggray Tonn is Tony Mowbray (definitely still a club legend)
Southgate Garatt is Gareth Southgate (still have to give credit to him as an exceptional player just like Alan Shearer)
Pallister Scholes is Gary Pallister+Paul Scholes (one is our finest homegrown defensive talent, the other earned my respect through merit and character)
Garyth Parkins is Gary Parkinson (stay strong, Parky. Sorry I offed your character so soon)
Catterm Leen is Lee Cattermole (decent footballer abandoned by some old-school system which finally earned Greg Dyke's politically incorrect gesture 200% justified)
Lukas Brun (inspired by Lukas Jutkiewicz and a certain gay Austrian from British Jewtown)

A/N: Above list is non-exhaustive. However, the paranoid S.O.B in me truly fear for whatever homosexual fan shipping between Guy and Lukas. Just don't tell me that straight in the face.

Most importantly of all, however, is the fact that his rapid growth as a character symbolises every SSB's fanciful dream. We all will still speak out with pride when it comes to our UEFA Cup exploits, it was this very footballing romanticism conceiving the core of his character. We all enjoy the whole zero-turned-hero Cinderella man. Who doesn't? Sadly, reality will only allow this to happen one out of a million tries. Yet, it must also be said that Guy Cody also represents the kind of future where 1986 shall be repeated once more again.

Add A/N: I will not shy away from the fact that it has always been my dream to see Boro lauded for footballing excellence. I will also not shy away from expressing an outside (albeit naive) hope that I can get my arse over there in the good ol' North East contributing whatever little I can offer to Middlesbrough F.C.

To be (hopefully) cont'd...

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Shameless Selfie plug of the Year?

[Perhaps the only country which has a release date later than that of Australia is Japan, where the movie will be hitting the theatres on 28 Feb 2013.]

[According to the Korean Film Council (KOFIC), the Hobbit sequel finished No. 1 in the box office by hauling in 829,583 admissions as it showed on 809 screens across the country from Dec. 13-15. Since opening here on Dec. 12 it has drawn a total 969,491 admissions.]

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We all know my dearest island nation has managed to score quite a few firsts. We got our first Mourinho visit, our 1st CR7 visit, our first major kimbeh winner... so what else is new?

More (or not so) recently, Tenasha managed to score herself three whopping feats. Namely TNP Babe of the Year nominee, first local DJ in Top 50 DJ list, and this also.

Quite a few bloggers and personalities also got their 10 yrs of fame, but def not this one. While I do not profess myself to be a fame chaser (hey, I nvr stopped working despite doing this blog for 1+ yrs), this boliao lobo still wants to chapsiao this whole fame game. After all, I got nothing to lose, right? Who knows I might be the first local bastard to score my first also? No, I don't mean replicating John "free scoring" Terry, but rather being the first S'porean to have brunch with Christopher Tolkien. Here's hoping for a freaking miracle.

Intro (on my sad lonely life in the mountain)
Despite my sucky grades from late primary school till ITE, one thing I can be proud of is my language capability. A lot has been said on locals half inept in bilingualism, but surely my existence alone is enough to debunk this myth, no?

I suck in sports, that's why I was cruelly taunted as Andrés Escobar.
I suck at maths, that's why I only got C5 (or was it C6) for my GCE O'Level elementary maths.
Quite obviously no one knew how to bring out the best in me, that's why I tend to sleep throughout class lessons while giving whoever seated behind a legit excuse to kick my chair and scolding me like some self-righteous prick (and to be fair, I still remember that fella's English name).
I suck in getting girls, I ended up either earning scorn or getting ignored.

Thankfully, for all my ineptitude and bastard status, this outcast of Student GOP managed to carve out his own niche. I don't have to prepare much for my GCE O'Level Chinese, I scored B3. In some ah-beng+ah-lian secondary school where you're lucky enough to score D7 for GCE O'Level English, I got a C6 (or was it C5?).

So what are you trying to say, you bloody emo?
Well, I admit the above mention past sounds rather self-vindictive, but that's me trying not to be bitter come tomorrow's counselling follow-up session. iirc I still remember back during my secondary 2 where it's cool to hate harmless kittens and classmates, my English cum form teacher, Ms Ho gave us a composition homework. Basically, we have to exercise our creative juices and write up a composition based on a starting sentence. As expected, my work wasn't upped for class display, but ironically I actually scored equal/higher than one or two classmates' stuff. It was then I realised one thing: the only reason why my work wasn't upped for display is due to my work considered too long. I think like 800+ words despite minimum limit around 100+ words.

You can write very well, Minghui. But know that you've written too much and you won't have the luxury of time come examination time.

Or something like that. So what was my stuff about?

1. It's high fantasy.
2. Main character is a Dwarf, plot focus is war and more Dwarves.

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Thorin Oakenshield: Protagonist or Hero?
It is said that Thorin's shield was cloven and he cast it away and he hewed off with his axe a branch of an oak and held it in his left hand to ward off the strokes of his foes, or to wield as a club. In this way he got his name.
~Lord of the Rings: Appendix A III-Durin's Folk

Credit: EM-MIKA

Protagonist [noun]
1. the leading character or one of the major characters in a play, film, novel, etc.
"the novel's main protagonist is an American intelligence officer"
2. an advocate or champion of a particular cause or idea.

"he's a strenuous protagonist of the new agricultural policy"

Hero [noun]
a person, typically a man, who is admired for their courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.
"a war hero"

Before I start, allow me to sound that *spoiler alert* horn. Yes, you all have been warned unless you've watched the movies or (even better), read the books.

I do not profess to read the original works. The internet is my best friend, actually I also haven't touch G.R.R Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire despite having written quite a few character analysis posts.

At first (especially in Part 1), Thorin seems to be your customary hero. Strong, stoic, out to recover everything and exacting justice onto every evil doer. If only things are that simple. Those who have seen Part 2 will know the meaning behind "false dawn". Make no mistakes about this, Thorin Oakenshield's character is all about a hero's false dawn.

Why do I use this self-invented term?
Firstly, we must know that Thorin's bravery precedes himself. We all saw this part in the movies. However, the original work had nothing of that. While Thrór was indeed murdered by Azog, said event actually sparked a massive conflict aptly named the War of Dwarves and Orcs.

The outcome?
Tragic victory for Durin's Folk and utter annihilation for Morgoth's critters.

Up the steps after him [Azog] leaped a Dwarf with a red axe. It was Dáin Ironfoot, Náin's son. Right before the doors he caught Azog, and there he [Dáin] slew him, and hewed off his head.
~Lord of the Rings: Appendix A III-Durin's Folk

The only problem?
The Dwarves were unable to reclaim what was rightfully theirs, i.e. Khazad-dûm, due to Durin's Bane.

But we will not enter Khazad-dûm. You will not enter Khazad-dûm. Only I have looked through the shadow of the Gate. Beyond the shadow it waits for you still: Durin's Bane.
~Dáin Ironfoot

The actual history of the Dwarves, is rather un-straightforward, so I suggest any curious cat to go Google for it. For now, let's just say that Moria (i.e. Khazad-dûm) was the cause of many riches and sorrows. And herein lies the focal theme of The Hobbit.

Gold and gems, who doesn't want it? Anyone who says "I'm cool with 1K SGD per month" is a bullshitting liar unless he/she belongs to a Buddhist temple for life. Even I can never be this brazenly bold. Yet, how much is enough?

A lot has been said on J.R.R Tolkien's landmark work being Lord of the Rings (originally it was one whole book, not a trilogy. His publisher seemed to believe one-shot release=a harebrained scheme). Indeed Tolkien Sr actually started writing LotR before starting on The Hobbit. Yet, we only managed to see the real Bilbo Baggins after witnessing Frodo's exploits.

I believe Tolkien Sr had really matured a lot as a writer after LotR (anybody denying this likelihood is a certified cretin. Period). While Lord of the Rings is pretty straightforward in terms of black and white morals, The Hobbit is one different kettle of fish altogether.

Firstly, despite Bilbo being the titular character, it must be stated that Thorin was the undisputed protagonist. Just like why Lord of the Rings was referring to Sauron, similarly Bilbo should only be seen as the catalyst character.

This is a story where regret and vengeance seized centre stage, NOT some fairy tale message of "Right equals Might, all's right with the world". Even though Thorin finally admitted his erroneous ways come the final end, everything was sadly beyond reparation.

It's quite interesting to see why such a noble character can easily turn over to the dark side. Thorin's honour would always start with his people and end at his people. This, we all understand. In Thorin's relatively short lifetime, there were four factors standing out. Factors which showed us what truly made Thorin... well, erm, Thorin.

It was Thorin, but you could only have told it by his golden chain, and by the colour of his now dirty and tattered sky-blue hood with its tarnished silver tassel.
~J.R.R Tolkien; The Hobbit, "Barrels out of Bond"

1. The first factor indicates the kind of life Thorin has led thus far. No one recognises his birthright save those whom he knows. As the story progresses, what seems to be a background detail turned out to be the focus of Thorin's inner conflict.

Firstly, it can be construed that this was a major factor contributing to his standoff against the Elves of Mirkwood. The animosity between Dwarves and the Eldar was widely known, this was also the reason why the friendship between Legolas, son of Thranduil, and Gimli, son of Glóin, should be seen as much more than merely symbolic. It might not so much on Thranduil's part, but rather Thorin's refusal to bend the knee for civility's sake (albeit every standoff requires two hands to clap).

Secondly, why Thorin refused to share the gold with the Lake-men might not just be about the infamous Dwarven greed for riches. Above all, whatever wealth gained after Smaug's demise belonged to Durin's Folk by their own right. Remember what Erebor meant to Thorin and we'll understand why he would stubbornly deny Lake-town its deserved share of the spoils.

2. Second factor lies in my opening intro in bold italics, namely his wooden "shield". Why I add quotation marks here is because said armour was also used as an offhand weapon on a 50-50 priority basis. In medieval duels, I'm pretty convinced that 'tis normal for a battling knight to use the shield as a repelling tactic. But using it to smite opponents on a consistent basis? Sorry, but there can only be one Tyrion Lannister. What's so special about this part, you might ask?
To me, this is a symbolic testimony to Thorin's resilience and a subtle hint on his personal resolve. Remember, folks, the reason why he and the other twelve left the stability offered by Eriador and the Blue Mountains.

"That stone of all the treasure I name unto myself, and I will be avenged on anyone who finds it and withholds it."
~Thorin Oakenshield

3. Perhaps the driving force behind Thorin's greed was the Arkenstone. Firstly, we must get this clear. Thorin was NOT around when Smaug sacked the Lonely Mountain (not to mention Lake-town as well). We're not talking about just one single gem painstakingly crafted, we're talking about history. Apparently, not only did the Arkenstone held an important part in Dwarven pride, above all this was also the greatest motivation Thorin derived from. Maybe we should just pause awhile and ask ourselves this question: Would Thorin's heart burn so deeply for Erebor had not Smaug kept the Arkenstone close by his side?

The Arkenstone represented the past glories of Durin's Folk, this we can compare it to Narsil's importance to the Dúnedain.
At the same time, Arkenstone also represented many a shattered glory awaiting revival, this we can liken it to Aragorn's Anduril.

Yet, unlike Aragorn who was regarded as a pragmatist, Thorin could be said as an idealist. Remember the reason behind Aragorn's quest lies in his love for Arwen Undómiel, but to Thorin, only his kingdom matters. More oft than not, a pragmatist is able to see things in a more objective light compared to whatever personal bias an idealist would harbour otherwise.
Mayhap this was truly the source of Thorin's greed, the only reason guiding his hand.

A/N-From the above mentioned parallels, we can pinpoint a common ground between Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Everything begins and will end with a legacy of loss and sorrow. In fact, it's not hard by now to discover an eerie parallel between Thorin and Company and the Grey Company.

Because I've spent too much time in OCD mode...
Aptly nicknamed "Biter" by its namesake foes, it was said that Orcrist "had killed hundreds of goblins in its time, when the fair Elves* of Gondolin hunted them in the hills or did battle before their walls"**
*Orcrist, together with Sting and Glamdring, was forged by Elven craft.
**Source-Tolkien Gateway

Orcrist, Thorin's signature weapon apart from his wooden "arm". Unlike that other blade (Anduril) belonging to another king (Aragorn), Orcrist held no meaning in terms of the legitimate right to rule. Yet, it serves to remind us of Thorin's hatred towards Orcs. The conflict between Durin's Folk and Orcs has always been the mainstay of many a heroic tale, every Dwarf felled by Orcish hands only serves to add fuel to Dwarven fire. In fact, the climax battle had never involved Smaug, but rather against a massive army led by Orcs. Better known as the Battle of Five Armies, i.e. Dwarves, Elves and Men against Orcs and Wargs, alas this would be Thorin's last battle.
Indeed what was Thorin's greatest weapon in war turned out to be a symbol of alliance and hope. Nothing can be more ironic than the fact that it was the Elves who forged Orcrist, Sting and Glamdring.

Three blades owned by Thorin, a Wizard, a thieving Hobbit bold.
Three blades crafted by those he loathed.
Exile and unbreakable bough strengthened the king.
Arkenstone in the end afflicted him.
Surely good food and finest drink soothes the merry soul.
May Námo put to rest Thorin Oakenshield's only gold.

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