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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. -.-'

6.
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.

Friday, 15 August 2014

El Estratega: Siete

Apparently, Boro has given me plenty of cheer in terms of distributing NDP goodies. Which now comes the greater test: them ****ing dirty Leeds. But firstly, I need to pay a certain tribute to Gianluca "not Zambrotta" Festa. In football, you can only be friends with Eddie Howe and co either before or after 90 mins+stoppage. Yet, I only have good memories where Festa is concerned. Why? Because during the twilight years of Bryan "not a Sir" Robson, this Italian bloke managed to prove once and for all that coexistence between Romans and Gaels=mission possible. If you think I'm lying, don't worry. Just grab some necessary equipment, go undercover and ask Séamus "not Chris" Coleman on whether a certain Curtis "not Ian" Fleming actually knows that Roy "take that, you ****!" Keane. Perio. Still don't understand me, nvr mind. It merely means you don't deserve to call yourself a professional English football fan. Full stop.

Alas just as I have to be a jerk against Eddie Howe and Bournemouth somewhere down the road, likewise the only expectation from this weekend's Yorkshire derby is 3 pts for #TeamStark. Just don't quote me if you assume that Elland Road=Dreadfort/the Twins. I'll nvr stoop that low.

A/N: Oh shit, just realised I might have jinxed my beloved Boro in terms of whatever semblance of score prediction. Victory for Lions XII on the cards?

Opposites vs Opposition
沛公曰“君为我呼入,吾得兄事之。”
张良出,要项伯。项伯即入见沛公。沛公奉卮酒为寿,约为婚姻,曰:“吾入关,秋豪不敢有所近,籍吏民,封府库,而待将军。所以遣将守关者,备他盗之出入与非常也。日夜望将军至,岂敢反乎!愿伯具言臣之不敢倍德也。”
项伯许诺。谓沛公曰:“旦日不可不蚤自来谢项王。”
沛公曰:“诺。”
于是项伯复夜去,至军中,具以沛公言报项王。因言曰:“沛公不先破关中,公岂敢入乎?今人有大功而击之,不义也,不如因善遇之。”
项王许诺。
《史记; 项羽本纪》
司马迁著

Trans:
The Duke of Pei said: "Ask him in, for I shall respect him like a younger brother doing so for his elder sibling."
Zhang Liang went out and asked for Xiang Bo. As he met the Duke of Pei, the latter toasted him in a show of respect. Agreeing to an alliance via marriage, the Duke of Pei answered: "When I entered the pass, never did I ever get near the surrounding settlements. Registering the citizens and sealing the capital reserves is merely because I was waiting for the general (i.e. Xiang Yu). Deploying men to hold fort was due to protecting the area from harm. I've always looked forward to the general's arrival, hence why would I dare rebel? I truly hope Your Highness understand that I have no intentions of betrayal."
Giving in to the Duke of Pei, Xiang Bo nevertheless said: "If so, then you still must meet the King of Xiang personally."
The Duke of Pei agreed to Xiang Bo's words.
Thus Xiang Bo went away and reported that the Duke of Pei intended to meet the King of Xiang. At the same time, he said: "If the Duke of Pei had never breached middle pass first, would Your Highness dare enter? To attack those securing major credit is immoral, hence why not we treat him with respect?"
The King of Xiang acceded to Xiang Bo's request.
《Annals of History; Xiang Yu》
Written by Sima Qian

Analysis:
This is a more in depth summary of what I've stated in the prev part. Apparently, Xiang Bo didn't really trust Zhang Liang 100%. Why? Because this was an era of turmoil where even the most harmless lobo can usurp your lofty status like what Robert Baratheon had done to the Targaryens. [1] If the idiocy surrounding the resurgence of Yue ain't enough, then I got nothing to say. That is unless you're prepared to laugh off Gou Jian as some useless pretender equivalent to some shite bastard team which is neither North East nor Yorkshire.

Xiang Bo's situation is just like imagining Eddie Howe's possible predicament. On one hand, he has nothing but respect for his opposite number. On the other, he also knew the relationship last season between Karanka and Óscar "not Tabárez" García was pretty much like Zhang Liang and Xiang Bo. [2] In short, Xiang Bo needed to have some kind of assurance, that Liu Bang was indeed loyal to their cause. So what abt Zhang Liang? Well, let's see things this way...

Supposedly I have a footballing IQ of 175 or so and my allegiance lies w/Boro alone. Quintessentially, this means that should we achieve promotion, there will be no reason for me to show any preferential treatment towards any of the top flight teams.
Not Louis "van Goal" van Gaal despite great minds thinking alike.
Not José "O Especial" Mourinho even though he ended up breaking character.
Not Arsène "Le Professeur" Wenger or Mauricio "poached by Jewtown" Pochettino just b/c of Mr Eric Soh.
Not Manuel "not peregrine falcon" Pellegrini since I profess zero allegiance to Me Gusta! Poyet.
Not Me Gusta! due to above mentioned statement.
And surely not Brendan "b/c I say so, Steve" Rodgers or Roberto "not Mancini" Martínez even if my future gf's relative(s) support(s) #TeamRoboKop.

The Great Asian Debate
Stereotypes vs Anti-Stereotypes
沛公旦日从百余骑来见项王,至鸿门,谢曰:“臣与将军戮力而攻秦,将军战河北,臣战河南,然不自意能先入关破秦,得复见将军于此。今者有小人之言,令将军与臣有郤。”
项王曰:“此沛公左司马曹无伤言之;不然,籍何以至此。”
项王即日因留沛公与饮。项王、项伯东向坐。亚父南向坐。亚父者,范增也。沛公北向坐,张良西向侍。范增数目项王,举所佩玉圭以示之者三,项王默然不应。范增起,出召项庄,谓曰:“君王为人不忍,若入前为寿,寿毕,请以剑舞,因击沛公于坐,杀之。不者,若属皆且为所虏。”
庄则入为寿,寿毕,曰:“君王与沛公饮,军中无以为乐,请以剑舞。”
项王曰:“诺。”
项庄拔剑起舞,项伯亦拔剑起舞,常以身翼蔽沛公,庄不得击。于是张良至军门,见樊哙。樊哙曰:“今日之事何如?”
良曰:“甚急。今者项庄拔剑舞,其意常在沛公也。”
哙曰:“此迫矣,臣请入,与之同命。”
哙即带剑拥盾入军门。交戟之卫士欲止不内,樊哙侧其盾以撞,卫士仆地,哙遂入,披帷西向立,瞋目视项王,头髪上指,目眦尽裂。项王按剑而跽曰:“客何为者?”
张良曰:“沛公之参乘樊哙者也。”
项王曰:“壮士,赐之卮酒。”
则与斗卮酒。哙拜谢,起,立而饮之。项王曰:“赐之彘肩。”
则与一生彘肩。樊哙覆其盾于地,加彘肩上,拔剑切而啖之。项王曰:“壮士,能复饮乎?”
樊哙曰:“臣死且不避,卮酒安足辞!夫秦王有虎狼之心,杀人如不能举,刑人如恐不胜,天下皆叛之。怀王与诸将约曰‘先破秦入咸阳者王之’。今沛公先破秦入咸阳,豪毛不敢有所近,封闭宫室,还军霸上,以待大王来。故遣将守关者,备他盗出入与非常也。劳苦而功高如此,未有封侯之赏,而听细说,欲诛有功之人。此亡秦之续耳,窃为大王不取也。”
项王未有以应,曰:“坐。”
樊哙从良坐。坐须臾,沛公起如厕,因招樊哙出。
《史记; 项羽本纪》
司马迁著

Analysis:
I'm not gonna translate this bloody chunk of text b/c that'll be like Beavus and Butthead trying to score w/some A*Star local S'porean chio-bu researcher. [3] To put it in a nutshell, I'll only state the vital portions. But firstly, allow me to analyse the stereotypical Asian.

[沛公旦日从百余骑来见项王,至鸿门,谢曰:“臣与将军戮力而攻秦,将军战河北,臣战河南,然不自意能先入关破秦,得复见将军于此。今者有小人之言,令将军与臣有郤。”
项王曰:“此沛公左司马曹无伤言之;不然,籍何以至此。”]
Fast forward to the now famous Hongmen feast and what do we have here? Whatever Liu Bang had said to Xiang Yu was more or less the same to what he said to Xiang Bo. Well, at least more than enough to convince Xiang Yu anyway. Interestingly enough, Xiang Yu actually agreed with Liu Bang in a sense that they both agree got one hantu creating trouble. The only catch?
[今者有小人之言,令将军与臣有郤。]
This was Liu Bang telling Xiang Yu that there was some scoundrel advising him to seize control of the entire area surrounding Xianyang+Xianyang itself. This was essentially the same thing Liu Bang told Zhang Liang upon realising that becoming the boss=/=best idea after all.
[此沛公左司马曹无伤言之...]
This was Xiang Yu telling Liu Bang who's the hantu. At the same time, this was Xiang Yu's way of getting rid of that unwanted hantu. Simply put, this Cao Wushang couldn't be trusted b/c he alrdy told Xiang Yu this cold hard truth in a non-verbal way.
[项王即日因留沛公与饮。项王、项伯东向坐。亚父南向坐。亚父者,范增也。...范增数目项王,举所佩玉圭以示之者三,项王默然不应。]
Houston, we have a problem here and that problem has a name. His name? Fan Zeng. If Xiang Yu was to be that master tactician, then Fan Zeng would be that strategist. If you're a tactician, it means you're able to make decisions on the battlefield. If you're a strategist, it means you're in charge of planning beforehand and second-guessing the opponent's next move. Technically, it means that a capable commander must have both the attributes of a tactician and strategist plus leadership as well. [4] 'Tis a no-brainer that Fan Zeng saw Liu Bang as a threat, yet it seemed that Xiang Yu was content to buat-bodoh. Whatever gesture he did, Liu Bang would have been literally dead if not for...
[范增起,出召项庄,谓曰:“君王为人不忍,若入前为寿,寿毕,请以剑舞,因击沛公于坐,杀之。不者,若属皆且为所虏。”]
This was the truly the prelude to the storm and shit wasn't even counted as a calm. What Fan Zeng suggested was very simple: tell Xiang Zhuang to assassinate Liu Bang. Yet as a master strategist, he knew that there'd always be chances of a major cock up or two. This was why Jean-Luc LeBeau had an ace hidden in the sleeve. To capture Liu Bang alive if really that bloody lobo confirm tidak mati. To highlight how ruthless war has always been, Fan Zeng's instruction actually betrayed the crux to that grand scheme of his.
[因击沛公于坐...]
[...in order to attack the Duke of Pei while he seated...]
Also it must be known that Xiang Yu might not be that kinda tyrant the residents of Xianyang had witnessed. In short, Fan Zeng actually implied Xiang Yu as a man of compassion! Either that or Xiang Yu's relationship w/Liu Bang was somewhat eerily prophetic pertaining to English football.
[庄则入为寿,寿毕,曰:“君王与沛公饮,军中无以为乐,请以剑舞。”
项王曰:“诺。”
项庄拔剑起舞,项伯亦拔剑起舞,常以身翼蔽沛公,庄不得击。]
This is the moment of all reactions holy cow. When Xiang Zhuang carried out Fan Zeng's command (it must be noted that Xiang Zhuang was Xiang Yu's younger cousin), we ended up seeing three parties going "HOLY MOTHER****ING COW!"
Party satu: future ruling party (Liu Bang)
Party dua: current ruling party (Xiang Bo)
Party tiga: nobody's party (Zhang Liang)
Granted that given Liu Bang had always enjoyed a fine wine or two, there might be some off chance of him remaining (not so) blissfully unaware. Not so for Xiang Bo.
Xiang Zhuang: Behold my mighty sword!
Xiang Bo: Alas for your sword, for mine is mightier than yours!
Above skit is merely a skit, but Xiang Zhuang's intent shouldn't be seen as one. The hostility had reached a boiling point, this is virtually Korean power out to get Korean power w/Pope Francis I being that Xiang Bo. And trust my sense of honour when I say Xiang Bo was really that damn suay. Ironically, history would repeat itself in the form of Ling Tong [凌统], Gan Ning [甘宁] and Lu Meng [吕蒙].
[于是张良至军门,见樊哙。樊哙曰:“今日之事何如?”
良曰:“甚急。今者项庄拔剑舞,其意常在沛公也。”
哙曰:“此迫矣,臣请入,与之同命。”]
Now we come to the 3rd party: the NP. If you think Zhang Liang was sleeping on the job, think again.
[项王、项伯东向坐。亚父南向坐。亚父者,范增也。沛公北向坐,张良西向侍。]
Above mentioned arrangement was alrdy an indication of Xiang Yu's prior intent. Check this out below...
Liu Bang (North)

              Zhang Liang (West)             Xiang Yu & Xiang Zhuang (East)

Fan Zeng (South)

This is NOT some wayang party, this IS outright war declared through subtle means. Above diagram indicates two things.
1. The Eastern party is adjacent to the Southern party.
2. The Northern party is adjacent to the Western party.

Positioning wise, this is virtually Messi roaming behind 2 CF as that false no.9 vs Lallana drifting across the middle just in front of Stevie G and Henderson! One false move and that's it.
Announcer: GOAL!!!!!!!
Laobu: Eh! What time alrdy!!!!! Switch off your PS4 before I do it for you!!!!!!!!

Still don't understand, nvr mind...
If Fan Zeng was to be that Messi/Lallana, surely Zhang Liang had to be that Lallana/Messi! I'm not gonna make any bones abt this, folks. This is Jean-Luc LeBeau vs Remy LeBeau, Azazel vs Nightcrawler. Which now comes to Fan Kuai himself.
Sensing the danger (most likely five steps ahead in the mind, but not so reflexes wise), Zhang Liang had to do something. Back then, Chen Ping was still under Xiang Yu's payroll. To put it in my 32SIB superior, Mdm Catherine Khor's own words... "sorry, no pakei."
This is virtually us vs them ****ing dirty Leeds where we're falling behind one goal to nothing. Someone has to give, that someone has truly given. Imagine this situation.

AK: Shit... this doesn't look good... Clayton got shackled and we can't find a way through...
??: Erm, boss?
AK: What? Any bright ideas?
??: Well...
AK: Just tell me, okay? The entire Teeesside know you're the one who screwed Sean Dyche last season at Turf Moor.
??: Smallwood for Clayton?
AK: And?
??: Throw Tomlin and Kike within the 20 yard range...
AK: And?
??: Adomah and Reach on standby...
AK: Some more?
??: Leadbitter doing a Stevie G.
AK: That's it?
*5 mins later*
*after final whistle*

Above skit is merely a skit, but not so if we're talking abt Fan Kuai to the rescue. Interestingly enough, it seems that whatever ah-beng 369 stunt we witnessed here was merely Fan Kuai staying true to character. In another words, Kurt Wagner pulled off a BAMF! over his asshole demon father. Note the below description.
[哙即带剑拥盾入军门。]
Fan Kuai enters the scene w/a parang (sword).
[交戟之卫士欲止不内,樊哙侧其盾以撞,卫士仆地,哙遂入,披帷西向立,瞋目视项王,头髪上指,目眦尽裂。]
Security tried to stop 369, tak boleh. 369 too strong liao, 369 flips the table (shield-bash) and they all fly away like monsters before the paladin. 369 enters from the western end (i.e. Zhang Liang's position) and hu-tiao w/that big boss. 369 now officially super TL, 369 officially upgrade become Hung Hing. [5]

Remember from where Fan Kuai entered the fray? From the west! Directly in front of Xiang Yu (at the east), this means he was most likely stationed at same spot as Zhang Liang. Under such circumstances, time and discretion is of utmost importance. Coupled w/the fact that Xiang Zhuang would have high chances of failure if Fan Kuai was standing around the north (i.e. Liu Bang's table) and... well, positional logic has said the answer for me. If this arrangement was really down to Zhang Liang's foresight, it means that he had alrdy seen thru Xiang Yu's intent. Ironically, this event actually begot the now famous saying "Xiang Zhuang wields the sword, his sights on the Duke of Pei."
(项庄舞剑,意在沛公)
iirc someone should have tried doing the antithesis version...
"Fan Kuai to the rescue, the Marquis of Liu's idea."
(樊哙救驾,谋于留侯)

[项王按剑而跽曰:“客何为者?”
张良曰:“沛公之参乘樊哙者也。”
项王曰:“壮士,赐之卮酒。”
则与斗卮酒。哙拜谢,起,立而饮之。项王曰:“赐之彘肩。”
则与一生彘肩。樊哙覆其盾于地,加彘肩上,拔剑切而啖之。项王曰:“壮士,能复饮乎?”
樊哙曰:“臣死且不避,卮酒安足辞!夫秦王有虎狼之心,杀人如不能举,刑人如恐不胜,天下皆叛之。怀王与诸将约曰‘先破秦入咸阳者王之’。今沛公先破秦入咸阳,豪毛不敢有所近,封闭宫室,还军霸上,以待大王来。故遣将守关者,备他盗出入与非常也。劳苦而功高如此,未有封侯之赏,而听细说,欲诛有功之人。此亡秦之续耳,窃为大王不取也。”
项王未有以应,曰:“坐。”]

Jialat... the frenemy TL liao.

Xiang Yu: Who's this man?
Zhang Liang: Fan Kuai, close companion to the Duke of Pei.
Xiang Yu: A man of valour... bring him wine!
*After drinking wine*
Xiang Yu: Bring him some meat!
*Fan Kuai ended up chomping down a raw piece of pork shoulder*
Xiang Yu: Are you able to drink some more wine?
*Fan Kuai proceeds to drink more wine*
*Fan Kuai proceeds to reason like a scholar, not some ah-beng.*
*Xiang Yu no choice suck thumb, can only agree with this low life scholar*
*Fan Kuai proceeds to sit beside Zhang Liang b/c valuable talent needs valuable protection*
*Liu Bang proceeds to ask Fan Kuai to meet him since Liu Bang needs to go toilet*
*iirc that one Liu Bang bedek one. He only wants to know how come Xiang Zhuang suddenly resembles Jason w/o the mask*

Was Xiang Yu's reaction a case of dumb luck or down to Zhang Liang's preemptive calculation? In the history of Han, two strategists stood out from the rest. One is Chen Ping, the other Zhang Liang. Chen Ping was more abt stats and figure (i.e. $$$ and manpower), Zifang (i.e. Zhang Liang's style name) was truly a genius in understanding human nature (i.e. understanding the individual's personality and capability). Chen Ping was all abt using resources and the structure of situation (think explosion), Zhang Liang was a master of creating circumstances to deal w/the present one (think implosion).
On an interesting side note, I enjoy analysing human beings far more than numbers. Maybe that's why I suck so much in cold hard academics. *shrugs*

[1]: Altho to be fair, even the most docile chio-bu will become a tiger if her bf happens to 劈腿.
[2]: To add some spark into that powder keg, we actually pulled off the Clayton deal while inadvertently screwing Brighton as a result. Then again, it seems that Adam "not Swandi" Clayton is hot property.
[3]: To paraphrase this logic in a more convoluted manner>this
[4]: In spite of whatever criticism leveled upon him, Zhuge Liang actually fitted this bill just like a certain Zhou Yu.
[5]:  铜锣湾只有一个浩南, 那就是我陈浩南