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Premiere Week: "18 Again", "The Zombie Detective", "The School Nurse Files", "More Than Friends" & "SF8: Love Virtually"

2020.09.20 14:45 masbond84 Premiere Week: "18 Again", "The Zombie Detective", "The School Nurse Files", "More Than Friends" & "SF8: Love Virtually"

JTBC' 18 Again
KBS2' The Zombie Detective
Netflix' The School Nurse Files
JTBC' More Than Friends
MBC' SF8: Love Virtually
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2020.09.17 11:34 horoscopespecialist Vashikaran Specialist in India: Get solutions for your love & marriage issues

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2020.09.17 02:00 MarkLCM Maintenance Magazine #23: PES2020 IMs and Legends Round-up

Hello again my dear readers, it's been a while! Hope all of you are well and safe!
PES2020 had been a downward slope for me overall, with the lack of offline event variety and legend releases being the real deal-breakers that almost prompted me to quit the game outright. Thankfully KONAMI fixed the latter half of the problem at the end of the season, sparked a wave of excitement for me and I got my hands on a few good legend players. To give credit where it's due, IMs were a touch of genius from KONAMI, as I believe they bring a nice balance between the dynamics of F2P and P2P. Moreover, permanently setting the conditions of legends and IMs to B is simply fantastic. Some of you in the sub believe legends have hidden stats; well, that's your hidden stats right there.
With PES2020 coming to a close, I think it's the time again to re-re-review every legend in my collection (I really hope you guys don't find these boring tbh, but I do really enjoy reviewing my legends) and give proper recognition to the new legends/IMs I gained. The departing Inter / Milan legends also deserve a proper send-off.
To those unfamiliar with my work, my review is purely subjective and your mileage may vary. The effectiveness of a player depends highly on the playstyle, formation and his teammates. Nevertheless, I rate players using a tier system (S > A > B > C etc.). I've also included reference ratings of popular base players for comparison and calibration. Anyone can compare stats on PESDB; in contrast, I try to focus less on the stats and convey how the player feels in actual gameplay.
For my regular followers, I'll avoid repeating myself as much as possible, keeping it short for old players unless I have new opinions about them. Some of you might find my reviews and ratings of certain players to have changed quite significantly this time, mostly due to difference in gameplay of PES2020 vs. previous iterations (e.g. nerfed skill moves, rise of finesse dribbling, nerfed passes etc). Here's a tiny tease to treat the fans: previously exclusive to Cruyff and Vieira, the S+ tier club now tentatively has 5 members! What are their identities? What's with the "tentativeness"? Read on to find out!
An important caveat is that I am a largely F2P & offline player. This means I have very limited access to coins and thus I do not own many IMs / coin-exclusive new legends. Needless to say I have not been lucky in the European legends free pulls, but I've emptied the latest box draws to get the most out of them. Sorry for the incomplete list but that's just the way I roll.
Just to be clear on my stance, I am all for the P2P exclusivity of IMs. In fact, let P2P have coin-exclusive box draws to make sure people get what they want without having to spend a mortgage. I just wish KONAMI can allow the use of GP in legend agents (non-guaranteed draws), so the F2P population has limited but farmable access to any future new legends released.
And without further ado, let the reviews begin!
Unless stated otherwise, all players reviewed below are legends and the reference players are base players. IMs will be explicitly stated. All players are rated by their performances at max level.
GK (reference - - Alisson: A)
TOLDO: A
I used to think of him quite poorly, and quite honestly he still sucked for me earlier this year. Not until recently when I played him again for this review when he finally started to play quite well, using his towering height to his full advantage. As if a last hurrah before getting removed.
Despite all that, I'm not unhappy to see him go, especially since I've got three copies of him waiting to Digivolve into Casillasmon. By the way, KONAMI, I have 3 Toldos and 4 Kahns in my squad. Can I have other non-dupe outfield players instead?
CECH: S- (tentative)
I got Cech, along with several others on this list, very recently in the current box draw. Due to my limited experience of these players, I felt uneasy assigning a definitive rating to them. On the other hand, I didn't want to leave them out as I wanted to help players make their decision on whether to go for them or not. Hence I settled on the tentative rating and review, which should be treated more appropriately as my first impressions.
Cech has been stopping all kinds of shots for me. Powerful long rangers, point-blank first-timers, crosses, he's got them all covered. He's not the best when it comes to rushing out in one-on-ones, he manages to react in about half of those instances. Also he's dreadful against free kicks. His Low Punt skill, quite rare among legend GKs, come in handy quite often.
KAHN: S-
Der Titan has considerably improved compared to PES19, thanks to the buff to defensive GK playstyle. He has been my starting GK for almost all-year. From experience he makes around two-thirds of shots on target against Superstar COM by my estimation, which is not bad at all! Kahn's strength lies in the fact that he's equally good staying on the line and rushing out (he charges at an astonishing pace too!), but the player has to consciously make the right decision. The more I use him, the better I get at noticing the subtle differences between shots that require rushing and shots that don't.
CB (reference - - Koulibaly: A; VVD: S-)
SAMUEL: C+
In this day and age, where you find featured Mbappes, Ronaldos and Rashfords in more teams than they are not, ol' Samuel is simply too slow to keep up. Pairing him with a defensively minded (non build-up) & fast CB might help slightly, or he might work with triple/quadruple CB formations, but that just goes to show how independently unreliable he is.
Adieu, Samuel. Unfortunately you will not be missed.
CAMPBELL: S-
This ex-GB may be upgraded to BB, but his in-game performance seems slightly worse than PES19, when he used to be nigh unstoppable in the air. Again, this may be due to the opponents he's against (looking at you featured Ronaldo/Lewa). That said, with his decent speed and tackling, he's still one of the better defenders in the game.
BERGOMI: S
Got this underrated gem in the European legends draw and has grown quite attached. His skillset is frankly quite extraordinary. He is one of the fastest CBs out there, which makes him excellent in tracking back and covering for the defence. It also makes him an excellent full back as well. His defensive ability is solid, with strong positioning and physicality. He scores additional points for breathtaking long-rangers, even netting several match-winners for me which I'd never forget. Tackles are not first-rate, which is his major setback.
Despite my short time with him, he is one of the three players whose departure greatly saddens me. And the saddest part? I already own all the possible replacements that we know of so far.
MALDINI: S
Still remember getting him in PES18 and he single-handedly revolutionized my defence. The most all-rounded and versatile out of all my defenders, he always finds a place in any defensive line-up. You can literally pair him with any other CB and he'll play well. I was scared af by the thought of losing him but thankfully he survives the snap.
PUYOL: S
This is the second (and final) player I managed to get from the free European legends agents. He's the only player I hoped to get and I was lucky to get him for free. Growing up watching invincible Barca made me respect him as a player. He's also the closest I can get to legendary Chelsea captain Terry, both in terms of playing style and aura of captaincy.
Digressions aside, Puyol is magnificent in the game. He has one of the highest accelerations among CBs, and together with his positioning he is rarely off his mark. His tackles, particularly his standing tackles, are absolutely the best, even ahead of Maldini. Practically steals the ball anywhere near him. He is also majestic in the air and a constant corner threat. Could not have been more happy with him.
BECKENBAUER: S+ (tentative)
Before I go on, I should really stress that I only obtained him for a week, but what I've seen so far has already convinced me to place him in the S+ tier.
In defence, he is performing at the same level as Maldini. Clean tackles, majestic headers and plenty of interceptions due to his masterful ability to read the game. His speed is top-notch among CBs, and he's been showcasing his ability to track back and defend. He's also surprisingly good in the air.
What makes him unique is his offensive capabilities. Even when playing as CB, he charges forward aggressively, with a frequency unmatched by any other so-called offensive CBs like Pique or Ramos. The CB closest to him in offence is perhaps Bergomi, in terms of their finishing and speed, but that's where the similarities end. He has an acute positional sense, pinpoint passing and reliable goalscoring. To put it simply, Beckenbauer has the complete skill set of an AMF.
His 85-rated stamina is often drained around the 80-minute mark, but that is just a testament to the amount of ground he covers. Like his German compatriot Matthaus, his Fighting Spirit skill also helps keeping his performance consistent until the final whistle. I suppose the only problem with Der Kaiser is that playing him in CB is putting his attacking talent to waste, and when he joins the attack there's no guarantee he can make it back in time to defend every threat. For these reasons, he is exceptional at DMF/CMF. I've yet to experiment playing him in other positions like RB/AMF, but I'm pretty sure he excels in whatever position he's being deployed.
LB/RB (reference - - TAA: A)
LIZARAZU: A (tentative)
So far he has been fairly consistent in defence, despite his unimpressive defensive stats; his pace and stamina makes up for his lack of tackling and interception abilities. Nothing to complain about his offensive game either. A solid alternative to Carlos given the limited choice of legendary full-backs.
CARLOS: A
The Brazillian full-back has been solid for me. His work-rate has been excellent, but lately he's been the sort of silent contributor that's hard to notice or appreciate. A tackle here, a run there, but he's not really doing a lot in terms of attacking and crosses. His presence is noticeable but not dazzling. He is also a quality LMF. As for free kick takers, I have better choices.
ZANETTI: S
He is a rock-solid defender who actively charges forward when there's space available, but also knows when to fall back and cover defensive gaps. His endless stamina befits his nickname of El Tractor. His crossing is also impeccable.
I'll likely be getting Cafu as a replacement, but Zanetti's imminent departure from the franchise leaves a gaping hole in my squad and in my heart.
DMF (reference - - Busquets: B+)
PETIT: B-
An average player for all intents and purposes. Interestingly, he positions himself like an Anchor Man despite his playstyle, meaning he stays at the back more often, which suits me just fine. His tackling is merely average; it's sometimes frustrating with him as I find him in good positions more often than most DMFs on this list, but he does so little when given the chance.
PIRLO: B+
Pirlo, Pirlo, why do you pains me so? I really, really liked Pirlo irl. So much so that I've written a long piece about him (and if you haven't done so already, I recommend giving it a read, as it is the piece of work I'm most proud of).
Months have passed and my review of him is largely the same. His defense sucks just as his stats suggest, and his passes and dribbles are not as perfect as his stats seem to suggest. On the other hand, he charges forward quite often and his runs are great. As a result, he's been scoring consistently in open play in addition to his deadly free kicks. His long range curlers from the edge of the box has also been a regular source of goals.
The Italian Maestro is an enigma. He is not your typical DMF. He contributes more offensively than defensively, so bear that in mind when you balance your squad. I would say he functions like a CMF/AMF in terms of offence vs defence.
IM PIRLO: A-
Apparently KONAMI must have read my article of base Pirlo and rewards me with an IM, coz that's the only IM I've got from the recent free draws so far.
Stats-wise, his IM version is nearly identical to his regular version when maxed. In play, IM Pirlo is visibly better at his defensive duties, although still way behind the usual standards of a typical DMF. Offensively, his long range power shots now find the target more often than they did before. Overall the way he plays feel the same, and the IM is just a minor upgrade. You're not missing out if you have the legend version.
CAMBIASSO: A-
A very defensive-minded player who arguably plays better as a CB. He's simply great at defending, very all-rounded in most defensive aspects. The problem with him lies in his lack of contributions to the build up play. He's usually unwilling to move, and that makes me feel I'm missing a midfielder to link up my play, consistently missing one passing option. Also when he decides to involve himself, his low passes (especially through balls) are nowhere as accurate as his stats would make you believe. Similar to Pirlo, he nails one half of the prerequisites for a great DMF, only to absolutely flop the other half.
As solid as he his, there are better DMFs out there so I'm not too sad to say goodbye to the Argentine.
INAMOTO: A
I was initially skeptical when KONAMI gifted me a GB legend; when I tried him out, I only regretted not having done so sooner. He's got a very balanced skill set that enables him to contribute in both defending and attacking. He's got good marking and tackling, can pass the ball well, and can score bangers from range. One of the main duties of my DMFs is to scoop up the loose ball after the opponent defence heads the ball clear in corners, and I notice Inamoto does this extremely reliably. His main drawback is his unimposing stature, meaning he gets outmuscled quite often and concedes possession.
VIEIRA: S+
If you have been in this sub for a while, you would have seen everyone sing praises about him, myself included. This legend deserves every bit of praise he gets, and he simply cannot be better. An absolute monster in defence, with an often overlooked eye for long rangers. The man once scored a hat trick during the first half of a campaign game. This truly extraordinary player proudly retains his position in the S+ tier club.
CMF (reference - - S.M.Savic / Kante: A)
SCHOLES: C+
In stark contrast to the next player on the list, Scholesy is often nowhere to be seen. Sometimes I even forget he's on the pitch. You read his stats and you think, I could do with a complete player like him, and then he turns out to be a complete....disaster. With his playstyle he hangs in the back, but he's terrible at tackling, man marking and headers. Passing play with him is a nightmare, he's either too slow or unwilling to move when he's on the receiving end of a pass. Even his trademark cannonballs are gone; I tried three shots with him just at the edge of the box and none of them ended up on target, and that was during an exhibition match at Regular difficulty. I was thrilled to see him in a GP box draw, and could not be more disappointed.
Despite my one-sided rants above, I'm perhaps in the minority among the sub when it comes to opinions on Scholes. u/big_rom9 once commented he also had problems playing IM Scholes at CMF, but eventually playing him well as SS. Personally yet to try this out, and if anyone has done so please share your experience in the comments! I've also read there's a rather large disparity between his IM and legend versions.
MATTHAUS: S-
The German has always been one of my top players, but his performance this year slightly dipped compared to previous years. His positioning seems a bit off, and his inability to withhold the ball under pressure has never been more apparent. Despite all that, he's still covering miles like the Kante meme, and his interceptions, passes and assists are still top-notch.
LMF/RMF (reference - - Asensio: A)
PIRES: B+
The Frenchman makes good runs, but does very little with it. His finishing is good but not great, and he can't really cross with his weaker left foot. He took a big hit when skill moves were nerfed, and he lost the means of cutting into the middle and score, like a reverse Robben in the left wing.
IM PIRES: A
The IM stat boost here really shows! His runs are much more effective thanks to the hefty boost in offensive awareness, and his finishing is considerably improved by his swerve and kicking power. Unlike his legend counterpart, Pires has become a real goalscoring threat, and defenders will be punished for leaving him alone.
NEDVED: A
I've always held Nedved in very high regard but lately his renowned long rangers have been lacking in accuracy. It is funny how most of his contribution is tied to his goalscoring; take that away and I'm still left with a versatile midfielder with an incredible workrate, but he's just not the same. He's an omnipresent passing option when your team has the ball, but he does little to help win possession back, so basically he's Matthaus halved.
BECHKAM (aged 27): A
Becks is a textbook example of a classic winger: he runs into wide spaces and crosses with pinpoint accuracy. Conversely, play him as a left CMF or left AMF (not many formations have those though), and be amazed by the accuracy of his curlers from range. I still get mad when I see him at DMF just for his OVR though. I toy around him when I see him at DMF in campaign matches. Not even Superstar COM can make him good there, and you know something's gone wrong.
PARK JI-SUNG: A+
The South Korean legend is undoubtedly the best Asian player in the game! He has so much in common with Nedved in PES18: endless stamina (I'm almost convinced his stamina is around 150, judging from his stamina bar at the end of a match), quick on his feet, close ball control, strong passing game, and incredible versatility. Don't let his measly finishing stats fool you too. I've been shooting with him from 20 - 25 yards from goal and getting used to see them fly in untouched. It really goes to show how unreliable stats are; or to look at it another way, how the performance of legends can really catch you by surprise!
AMF (reference - - Mount: B; featured Messi (no.10 campaign): S) (sorry I haven't been using a lot of base players as AMF)
VAN DER VAART: C
Dude's slow. Like, REEEEALLY SLOWWWW. His terrible attacking positioning also does not help at all. Despite his decent passing and goalscoring ability, Van der Vaart is a beaming symbol of a old-fashioned playstyle that has been rendered powerless by the current, physical footballing climate.
DECO: C+ (tentative)
Another AMF with terrible offensive positioning that I did not enjoy using. Deco's slowness is less prominent as he can dribble past defenders, yet that same defender will rapidly catch up and force Deco to pass the ball away. His passing and finishing is slightly worse than Van der Vaart. Notably, he is a rare AMF with the Creative Playmaker style rather than CN10. If you are a fan of that style you might want to check him out, but he's a hard no for me.
ONO: B-
I was surprised to see KONAMI releasing a 94-rated legend for free, but his stats wildly overestimates his ability on the pitch. He's just a normal midfielder that has above average dribbling, passes decently and nothing really impressive up his sleeve.
DJORKAEFF: B-
I used to think highly of him due to his excellent dribbling, but that aspect of him has been nerfed to the ground. Marseille Turn is like an open invitation for tackles, and finess dribbling without physicality to back it up is often disastrous. He remaining strength lies in his surprisingly clinical finishing.
You can probably guess I'm perfectly fine with him getting replaced. The problem is I already own every single legend AMF (I believe), so hopefully KONAMI releases somebody new straight at launch!
GULLIT: B+
If Gullit was just an AMF, I would rate him a B at most. Gullit's biggest strength is his versatility. He's a strong CF with a powerful right foot and great in the air. He's a good CMF/DMF with a strong tackling and intercepting game, coupled with highly effective finesse dribbling thanks to his physical strength. His performance is surprisingly consistent at CB, making tackles ably and great in the air. Did I mention he's great in the air?
NAKATA: B+
Nakata is a surprisingly effective attacker. For me, he plays his best games on either wing. If you have access to one of those rare triple AMF formations, play him on either side; otherwise, he's decent at LMF/RMF, but not as great in central AMF. The timing of his runs are excellent, and he can finish from range. His stamina also keeps him effective for the entire game.
IM NAKAMURA: A-
I recall seeing him in a box draw, and with mountains of GP to spare I decided to go all-in, only to get him in my second try. The renowned free-kick specialist is just as deadly in the game; not quite as godly as Becks or Pirlo, but still comparable with Messi in that regard. His finishing is quite strong in open play, and he's a technically gifted playmaker.
RONALDINHO (GB, aged 39): A
I originally thought of including him as a bit of a joke, and spent the cash to get him fully expecting him to be quite useless (look at what I'll do for you guys!). Turns out, Grandpa Dinho with the Nike headband is not to be messed with. In a world where Busquets can outrun Messi (a.k.a. campaigns), Ronaldinho still manages to outpace defenders with his speed bursts at a ripe old age of thirty-nine and sporting a rather large belly (irl). His long rangers are absolutely lethal. Unsurprisingly, his main drawback is his stamina not lasting the entire match, which is very understandable, to say the least. During the limited time he's on the pitch, his impact is quite remarkable.
ZICO: A+
I notoriously criticized Zico in one of my earlier entries, and since then the White Pele has been consistently improving. Like Nakata, he is most effective on the wing (wide AMF or SS), where his devastating runs and finesse shots are in full effect, and he avoids the amount of pressure he faces when he is deployed in the center.
RONALDINHO: S
If Ronaldinho way past his prime is that good, surely he should be great in his prime? Indeed he is unstoppable, being one of the best finesse dribblers in the game and a deadly eye for goal. He plays as well on the wings as he does in the middle, and when it comes to beating defenders, he has a vast array of options to choose from, be it dazzling dribbles or sudden bursts of speed. In terms of offensive skills, he is the complete package.
If I have one reservation about him, it is his inability to transform the players around him. He shines brightly on his own, but there's only so much a single player can do. He's not a gamechanger, if that makes any sense.
RIVALDO: S+
As someone once said, "Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get". And in the Brazillian's case, what I got was a perfect offensive player comparable to Cruyff, which are words I never thought I would attribute to a CN10.
Rivaldo is another example that demonstrates the inadequacy of stats in measuring player quality. Contrary to all common stereotypes of CN10s, Rivaldo charges forward all the time, whenever he gets the chance, and always with impeccable timing. His long rangers find the back of the net nine times out of ten. His amazing first touch is reminiscent of Cruyff, where he switches from the receiving end of a pass to a playmaking position in one swift, fluid motion. For those who are complaining about Cruyff being absent in the recent draws, Rivaldo was the next best thing.
Compared to the Dutch grandmaster, Rivaldo is definitely slower, but he makes it up with superior powerful shots. Either way, both S+ tier players have the transformative property that revitalizes the entire offence, bringing out the best in every attacker.
LWF/RWF (reference - - Sterling / Sancho: A; Messi / Ronaldo: S)
GIULY: B- (tentative)
In the short time since I've got him, he has yet to impress me. His picture shares an uncanny resemblance with the ex-Chelsea player Pedro, and the same can be said for his play. He's just a fairly average winger with decent speed and crossing, but he doesn't make intelligent runs as often as I would expect from a Hole Player.
He's another player to be replaced that I probably won't miss. Since the only eligible replacement so far is Figo, I'd say it's worth it to go for Guily if you haven't got Figo yet.
FIGO: S
Now that I've established how players like Nedved and Scholes, experts of their craft, can mess up their long range shooting all the time, the ability to reliably score from outside the box suddenly seem all the more valuable, and Figo does that masterfully with either foot. His long rangers (both power and finesse) are a joy, and his dribbling is elegant and effective. His versatility among the offensive ranks is remarkable. His movement off the ball and accurate passing also allows solid buildup play. He's a breath of fresh air in contrast to speedsters like Sane and Sancho, but this also means I had to adjust my play style to get the best out of him. Overall the Portuguese is a phenomenal winger.
SS (reference - - Dybala: A; Joao Felix: A+)
RECOBA: B+
A striker with a deadly left foot and incredible curl. Unfortunately, his passing is below average for an SS, and he has to be subbed after an hour or so.
I've had a decent time with him, but I'm not at all unhappy to see him get replaced. Several top-tier SSs are still missing in my squad and I'd be thrilled to get my hands on any one of them.
TOTTI: A
The Italian genius plays unlike any other SS on the list. He is considerably stronger than the rest, while his speed and dribbling is sub-par. To use him well, I had to rely on my passing game, which hasn't been the most reliable in PES2020.
BEBETO: A+
Bebeto wrecks havoc in dangerous areas with his runs, sensational dribbles and low centre of gravity. His ambidexterity makes him highly effective on either wing. He is also a great assister thanks to his One-touch Pass ability. His celebration never gets old.
MARADONA: S
I feel like I don't have to elaborate on the strengths of Diego Maradona. The reason he's not S+ is similar to Ronaldinho: the brilliance is in himself and himself only.
IM MARADONA: S
Maradona's free IM version is the most generous guaranteed player KONAMI has ever gifted for free. Despite inferior stats, his ranged shots curl right into the net reliably like his older counterpart. The increased pace and stamina of IM Maradona also balances out his weaker dribbling and passing. Overall the two players are similarly effective in my opinion.
CRUYFF: S+
Again, it feels silly to explain why the Dutch legend is S+ tier. He is simply the most complete attacker in the game with no apparent weaknesses. The kind of player to build a squad around and can turn the tide of a game.
CF (reference - - Auba: A-, Jovic/Kane: A; Haaland: A+; Aguero: S-; Mbappe: S)
YORKE / COLE: B-
The Man Utd twins play so similarly I've decided to group them together. "Adequate" is the word that describes them most adequately, pun intended. Both players are moderately strong, mildly clinical, somewhat quick and position themselves quite well. They have a bit of everything in a typical CF's skillset, but nothing stands out at all.
KLUIVERT: B
At least some clear strengths on this one. The Dutchman is splendid in the air. He's also one of the better dribblers among CFs. On the flip side, he seldom makes useful runs so he's almost restricted to the crossing playstyle.
MASSARO: B+
An often overlooked CF due to his low OVR of 89. His finishing is clinical, positioning is surprisingly solid and he has the strength to withhold the ball. He plays like an ambidextrous Giroud, though weaker in the air.
Since I've got most of the GB CFs, I'm not sure how I feel to see him go. It would be great if I get Inzaghi in exchange, but I believe I've already got all the other good ones.
KOLLER: B+ (tentative)
Aerially dominant just as one would expect of a 2-metre forward. He reminds me of playing PES on the console back in the old days in 2004-05, when crossing was basically OP with Chelsea/Inter. Any cross that reaches Koller basically guarantees a header on target, although the Superstar GKs nowadays tend to save most of those. His right-footed finish isn't half bad either. The best thing about him is his Super-Sub skill, which makes him a great player on the bench and nearly always in top form when subbed in.
SALAS: B+
Salas resembles a SS more than a CF. He's a great retainer and passer of the ball, and his finishing is exceptional; yet, he falls back to support the build up quite often, and he's usually not the one who makes the mazing runs that tear across defences. He mostly scores from one-twos or back passes from a holding forward, someone like his devastating Chilean partner irl. He excels in double CF formations, but don't expect him to perform well on his own.
ZAMORANO: A
Zamorano is an exemplary predator. There's nothing flashy about him, he just gets into the right position and scores. His finishing is top-notch with either power or finesse, despite his stats heavily leaning into the former. The reason he's not higher up on the tier list is occasionally he can be completely contained by a top-tier defender (e.g. Featured Koulibaly).
OWEN: A
You don't have to look hard to notice his uncanny similarity with Aguero. Both men are deadly strikers with low centres of gravity, devastating runs and clinical finishes. Owen's blinding speed looks good on paper, but in reality often does not work when he's being marked by a quick CB. He is often outmuscled during his runs and dispossessed by the slightest of tackles, so he desparately needs another CF / hole player / dummy runner to draw away pressure from him. However, with his top-notch finishing, he converts reliably when he's free from his mark. He is also a surprisingly strong assister.
ADRIANO: A+
The archetypal power forward with beastly strength, speed and shot power. Sadly, Adriano will never be S tier material when he consistently runs out of steam near the hour mark.
He's probably the closest to Ronaldo Nazario we'll ever get, and he will be sorely missed alongside Zanetti and Bergomi. I do hope I get a nice non-duplicate as replacement though.
BATISTUTA: S-
Among all the forwards on the list, Batigol is the most complete player and my go-to choice in single CF formations. He's like the Swiss army knife of CFs, he can do everything extremely well: he can score with power or finesse with either feet, he is a threat in the air, he has strength to retain the ball under pressure, he makes great runs and has enough stamina to last an entire match.
LAW: S
Law is OP in very specific areas: spatial awareness, runs and finishing. Basically like an ambidextrous Zamorano on steroids. What he does have is a very particular set of skills. Skills that make him a nightmare for all defenders alike. If there's a space in the defence or a loose ball around, he will look for it, he will find it, and he will score a goal out of it.
Like Zamorano, his playstyle is atypical and there's a bit of a learning curve. But when you eventually get past it, boy you are in for a ride.
Annoyingly, the AI often auto-subs him off for no apparent reason during half time despite he's still full of stamina. This only happens to Law and I'm still yet to figure out why.
ROMARIO: S+
A lot of people on the sub have recently got hold of Romario in the box draw, and have finally recognized the beauty of this endgame striker. He is simply the best at putting the ball into the net. His incredible speed, unyielding strength and remarkable finishing makes him the most consistent goalscoring threat in my entire legends squad. The more CFs I got, the more I appreciated how rare his remarkable goalscoring ability is. It's unfair but true that goalscoring is the first and foremost way a player can impact the results of a match, so I felt the best player in this department deserves a place in the prestigious S+ club.
And that is the end of my lengthy review! Hopefully this gives an idea of whether to go all-in for a box draw or not. Thanks for sticking with me to the very end! Cheers everyone!
...........Sad to see this end? Well let's keep it going with a bonus feature! The top 5 released legends on my wishlist!
  1. Del Piero
A potentially endgame attacker who's just as good at creating goals as scoring them. Looking forward to his amazing curved shots!
  1. Van Basten
Probably the best CF alongside Romario according to this sub, Van Basten's stats certainly live up to his hype, but we all know how dangerously unreliable stats are...
  1. Inzaghi
Surprised to see him ahead of MVB? Inzaghi is one of the rare legends, alongside Koller, to have the Super-Sub skill, and together with his permanent B condition he'll be constantly in top-form. His 99 attacking awareness and finishing also sounds like pure gold.
  1. Rummenigge
Hailed by the sub as the next Cruyff, I certainly had a hard time defending against him. He seems to be another true all-round attacker which can strengthen any squad.
  1. Lampard
Can you blame me as a Chelsea fan? He will always be a true legend close to my heart, and I am dying to experience his incredible goalscoring ability (please don't mess this up KONAMI, although from what I've heard on this sub he seems to be fineeeeeee). I once predicted him to be worse than Matthaus, but upon release Lampard seems even better! His Hole Player playing style and complete stats looks like my dream come true.
Having said all that, KONAMI wil likely stick to their trend of releasing new legends in 2021. There's already a plethora of attackers in the pool, so I desperately hope to see more representation among CBs (e.g. Terry, Cannavaro, Nesta, Ferdinand, Vidic), keepers (Yashin, Zoff, Banks, Schmeichel), full-backs (Lahm, Thuram, Neville, Cole) and CMFs (Charlton, Keane, Gerrard, Seedorf). It's also sad to notice not a single African have joined the ranks of Legends, even though there's a literal gold mine out there (Weah, Drogba, Essien, Eto'o, Toure).
And this really is the end of this piece, everyone. Not gonna lie, feeling a bit nervous as this is my first full post in months, but it's been fun writing once again. To new members of the sub, if you liked my content, there are more entries of the Maintenance Magazine just one search away. For now, my friends, stay safe, be well, and have a lovely maintenance day.
EDIT: if the data miners are right, looks like I'm getting no. 2 and 5 on my wishlist!
submitted by MarkLCM to pesmobile [link] [comments]


2020.09.15 21:02 vren55 [A Fractured Song] - Chapter 58 - Fantasy, Isekai (Portal Fantasy), Adventure

Cover Art
Teaser: Frances and her friends have forced their way across the abyss and into Freeburg's Fourth Courtyard, but the fight isn't over yet.
Story Summary: After years of beatings and neglect from her parents, 13-year old Frances was summoned with her entire class to the fantastical world of Durannon to fight the monsters invading the human kingdoms and defeat the "Demon King." If she succeeds, she might have the home she never had. But if she can't overcome the trauma and self-loathing inflicted on her by her abusive parents, Frances will die, and be summoned back to the home she escaped, on the day that she left.
[The Beginning] [<=Chapter 57] [Chapter Index and Blurb] [Chapter 59=>]
[Map of Durannon]
This chapter was pre-read by u/totallyundescript.
Birds-eye view of Freeburg Fortress.
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Spells and bullets filled the air, a chorus of angry mosquitos regularly punctuated by the crack of guns. Keeping their heads low, Frances and her friends made their way across the roof of the Fourth Courtyard’s building.
The Fourth Courtyard’s main building was pinned to Freeburg’s western wall and had a tent-like red brick roof. From where she was, Frances could see Nicole’s company fighting the orc forces on the Fourth Courtyard’s northern wall.
George, commander of the Bravo group of fighters, ran up to Frances as she approached. “We’re clearing that wall, but there are still orcs in the building. We need you to get in there and start clearing it.”
Frances glanced around. She had Martin, Elizabeth and three fighters. She recognized them as Annabeth, a lanky redhead very handy with her spear. Jack, a dark and bored-looking, though very collected, swordsman, and Sam, who always had a winning smile, even while whacking people with her glaive. Frances considered asking George to pull some Otherworlders from those attacking the Northern wall. However, a quick glance at the situation made her realize that her command was fully engaged.
There was some good news. Enough orcs had been killed that some rangers and Otherworlders trapped against the cliff could now force their way toward the building behind shimmering magic shields. But most were still pinned by the musket balls and spells that spat from the structure.
“Okay, George. Just be sure to reinforce us after you clear the walls,” Frances said.
Frances, Martin, and by extension their study partner Elizabeth, had made sure to study the layout of the buildings. This was how they knew about a rooftop doorway into the building and also why they entered it with caution. The orcs had had a week to occupy Freeburg, they might know about the entrance.
The orcs had indeed guarded the entrance with a squad, but a combination of Frances’s magic and the speed and skill of the Otherworlders had allowed them to breach through the wooden door and cut down the orcs guarding it without anybody getting hurt.
A few escaped however, and so, immediately after the breach, things got tricky.
The orcs seemed to have anticipated at least the possibility of losing the walls. Frances reached the side windows, only to find the shooting galleries empty. They’d pulled away. That left Frances and her team cautiously roaming the fortress, searching for their opponents. They were quickly joined by a bloody and sweaty Baroness Igraine. She was followed by the rest of her assault force, who had been able to finally enter the building. Upon the sight of Frances, Igriane rather uncharacteristically hugged her tightly, before demanding a report.
Blushing, Frances gave a run down of what had happened and Igraine nodded frowning. “Good. Now the only question is where the hell is the rest of them?”
A ranger ran up to Igraine, “Ma’m, we found them. They barricaded themselves in the main barracks and are refusing to surrender.”
Igraine blinked and followed her man, and so did Frances. They all arrived at a long corridor that ended at two double doors, open to reveal orcs kneeling with muskets, ready to fire once they stepped into range.
“Frances, Jessica, cover me,” Igraine ordered as she stepped forward.
Frances froze as Jessica also stepped in behind Igraine. She looked tired, and a bandage had been wrapped around her head. It was at that moment that Frances realized that she and her former bully looked just as nervous of each other.
“Are you alright?” Frances asked the awkward silence.
“I’m fine. Just a cut.” Jessica swallowed and turned away, following Igraine.
The three walked down the corridor. Although they remained far out of effective musket range, Frances was ready to fire back if necessary. She wasn’t sure why Igraine had called out Jessica, though.
“Warchief Helias, your orcs are outnumbered and have no way to escape. Surrender or be killed where you stand!” Igraine ordered.
Frances flinched at the threat and the dreadful possibility. She didn’t want to kill all the orcs. But what if they refused. They’d have to be crazy to refuse—
“Then we will die where we stand!” retorted a voice from behind the wall of musketeers.
Frances groaned, but oddly enough, Igraine frowned, turned on her heel and moved back toward the rest of their group.
“Frances, did you or your forces notice anything else odd or out of place when you attacked?” Igraine inquired.
“Aside from the whole fortress being booby-trapped and our way blocked? No.”
Igraine groaned and steepled her fingers. “There’s something off about this whole thing. Helias brought down Freeburg by treachery. He somehow managed to get the garrison to give the fortress to him. That requires a certain degree of intelligence and cunning, so why not surrender now? His plan to kill us has completely fallen apart.”
Nearby, Elizabeth coughed, “Um, Master Igraine, we never actually found the garrison.”
The baroness sighed. “Damn, they must have disposed of them. I know not all of the thousand soldiers here were traitors, but if they booby trapped the fortress they probably didn't want anybody alive to find out how extensively they did.”
“Why do we think the garrison betrayed us anyway?” Jessica asked. Frances glanced at her former bully, finding it very odd that she had such a respectful tone.
“Because there’s no possible way a fortress this well-defended with a garrison of over five hundred simply fell without warning,” Igraine said matter-of-factly. “That and they knew our plan somehow so they must have a way to insert traitors into our ranks.”
“Also, they only seem to have five hundred orcs here,” Martin guessed. “If they had more orcs they would have garrisoned the other Courtyards and prevented us from reinforcing Baroness Igraine. With such a small force they needed a traitor to take Freeburg.”
“Could they even hold Freeburg with such a small force, though?” Elizabeth asked.
Igraine blinked. “Oh motherfucking hell. Rangers, stay here and guard the barracks! You—” the baroness gestured to Martin, Frances, Elizabeth and the Otherworlders, “—to the northern wall! NOW!”
The Fourth Courtyard’s walls were substantially taller than the Fifth Courtyard’s walls, and that let everybody see what was approaching Freeburg.
Orcs, far as the eye can see, were marching down the pass. A tide of dark green, banners waving, clad in armor, engulfed the stone-cut road. The air was filled with the crunch of boots on gravel.
“Oh God,” Elizabeth whispered, eyes wide.
Jessica swallowed. “We need to get out of here.”
Frances glared at her former bully, but there was no time. “Martin, any suggestions?”
“On how to get out—”
“No, for holding Freeburg.” Frances turned to her knight friend, wondering why he sounded so frail and nervous. “We can’t get out, Martin. The bridge is booby-trapped. We can perhaps go back up the cliffs but there are too many of us.”
Igraine nodded. “Frances is right. Our only chance is to hold Freeburg, though, I don’t like our odds.” The baroness began to bark out orders, her voice ringing over the clamour. Slowly, the rangers and the Otherworlder heroes began to move, taking positions on the walls of the Fourth and Fifth Courtyards.
Yet, there was an undercurrent of fear that ran through the ranks. Frances could even see it in her friends. Martin tried to hide it with a forced smile. Elizabeth tried to conceal it behind a forced smile. But years of trying to conceal her own sorrow and pain allowed Frances to see it all too easily.
What she didn’t get was why was everybody so scared. Or to be more exact, she didn’t understand why she felt so calm in the face of the orc horde. But there was no time to wonder that.
“Frances!”
She jumped and spun to see Igraine standing beside her by the parapet. “Yes, ma’am?”
“Do you have any ideas? I can see they have siege ladders and way too many bows for my liking.”
Frances stared at the baroness for a moment, hearing the only somewhat-disguised desperation in her voice. Although unsettled by Igraine’s tone, Frances had been thinking about the problem they were facing.
“Can we get a few mages up to the clifftop?”
Igraine nodded. “To shoot down at them?”
“No. I want to collapse as much of that cliff onto them.” With the cliff face so sheer, carved through by some waterfall that once cut its way through the mountains, Frances suspected enough magicians could collapse part of the cliff face onto the road, blocking it.
Igraine frowned. “We’ll block off this road.”
“We’ll lose Freeburg if we don’t.”
“Very true.” Igraine paused and grimaced. “Frances, the two of the most powerful mages I have are Jessica and Leila. Can you command them?”
Frances shut her eyes and forced herself to slowly exhale. “I think so.”
“Don’t worry. It won’t be just you and them. Now get to the ropes! Martin, you’re in command.”
“Yes ma’am!” he exclaimed. Igraine was already leaving, shouting more orders. The knight turned to Frances. “Are you sure you’re alright?”
“I’ll be fine. I have to be.” Frances glanced between her friends. “Please… stay safe.”
“We will,” Elizabeth said, and while her smile was forced, Frances nevertheless felt a bit comforted by it. Impulsively, she grabbed both Elizabeth and Martin in a tight hug. For she knew that if she failed she might not see her friends again. They both returned the embrace.
The sound of arrows whistling through the air cut it short, and they began to run. There was no time to waste.
The Rangers and Otherworlders that had attacked the Fourth Courtyard had used several long ropes to descend down the cliff face. There didn’t seem any easy way to get up the cliff face, however. Frances was contemplating trying to climb up the ropes when Igraine, Jessica, Leila and three other mages arrived.
“Right, Frances is in charge of this mission. You need to collapse the cliffside onto the orc army. Secure yourselves tightly please and once you’re done, tug on the ropes three times when you’re ready to be pulled up.” And like that Igraine was gone, running back to the walls.
“You heard her. Let’s go.” Frances recognized Leila and Jessica of course, but she also noticed Nicole, the commander of her other mage group, with them.
Thankfully, one of the things Igraine had taught Frances was how to tie good knots, so she managed to fashion a secure harness that went around her arms and legs. She used that extra time to check on the harnesses of her fellow heroes. This was a good thing because Nicole, as it turned out, had no clue how to make one.
To her annoyance, Jessica and Leila had already given their ropes a yank and were being pulled up, albeit, slowly. Frances and the rest of her group soon followed them, but it reminded Frances of how self-centered her former bullies were.
When they reached the top, the Erisdalian Rangers left behind pulled them over the ledge. Jessica and Leila were nowhere to be seen.
“They ran over there,” said the rangers, pointing along the cliffside. Frances thanked them, undid her harness and ran over.
Jessica and Leila were pointing their wands in the ground and reciting Words of Power. Frances waited until they finished their casting, watching as bolts of energy slammed into the ground, creating a hole. There were several more forming a line running from the cliff edge.
“What’s your plan, and how can we help?” Frances inquired.
Jessica’s expression was full of wariness, but she didn’t brush the question off. “My dad was an industrial engineer. We need to drill holes into the cliff at an angle so they come out of the face. We’ll then slam down with our magic to break it off.”
Frances nodded. She didn’t know if that would work. Her original idea was to pry rocks from the side and just throw them down until they were a pile high enough to block the road. Still, this seemed like a faster idea.
“Alright, let’s do it then.”
Martin parried his opponent’s spear and turned it into a cut at the orc’s hand. His sword severed fingers and as the orc howled, the knight hacked into his enemy’s neck.
Behind him, Elizabeth was smashing an orc trying to come over the walls with her shield. He went flying back screaming, but another one soon quickly came to replace him.
The knight grimaced as he engaged another orc. Under normal circumstances, they’d be able to hold Freeburg’s walls quite easily. They did have almost a hundred and fifty Otherworlder heroes and two companies of Erisdalian Rangers.
Except, while a miraculous many of them had survived the initial assault on Freeburg, the Rangers were completely exhausted from the earlier fighting and most of the Otherworlder mages were too.
A spear flew into the orc Martin was fighting, dropping her. Turning, the knight found Elizabeth shooting him a weak smile.
“Fall back to the Fourth Courtyard!” Igraine bellowed over the clangour.
Cursing, Martin bellowed. “You heard her! Everybody fall back!”
“Mages, archers! Covering fire and smoke! HURRY!” Elizabeth added. Martin wasn’t sure when she’d become his de-facto second in command, but he didn’t mind. Elizabeth seemed to have good instincts.
But good instincts weren’t going to save them from the impending disaster. If they lost the Fourth Courtyard, all they had was the Third Courtyard. There, they’ll be backed up against a bridge they couldn’t cross, and the enemy would be reinforced by the surviving orcs they’d bottled up in the barracks.
Martin glanced up at the cliffside. Frances had to come through, and he was pretty sure she would.
But the increasing possibility of her failing scared him.
Frances stepped back and wiped her brow. All the holes were drilled and they were on the right side of the weakened section of the cliff. It formed this rough semi-circle more than a hundred meters in radius.
“What’s next?” she asked.
Jessica narrowed her eyes at Frances. “We hit the top with everything we got, all at once.”
“Would it not be better to try to lever it out? Go for a more controlled break?” Frances asked. She rubbed the ground with one boot. “The cliff isn’t entirely solid rock. There’s dirt and boulders intermixed in here and so it’s not so stable.”
At this suggestion, Jessica frowned in thought. Leila however, scoffed, “We don’t have time. Come on!” She started to yell out words of power, her wand glowing as she formed a spell.
Frances wanted to order Leila to wait, but she didn’t want to interrupt her in the middle of her casting. Instead, she barked out an order for everybody else to back away a little more and start casting themselves.
“When everybody is ready, hit the cliff section on my mark!” Frances exclaimed, making sure she was a good few feet away from the weakened section. She noticed Jessica moving her friend a bit farther away before she started casting.
Soon, the air was humming with power, imbued by word and song, as the six mages prepared their spells.
“Now!” Frances called out. She ended her song, the visual of a hammer of force smashing down onto the entire cliff section, making the ground shake. More spells activated, with varying effects. She saw a purple fist, the colour of Nicole’s magic, slamming into the ground. She saw a fireball like conflagration erupt atop the section. She saw no more because the ground underneath her heaved with the impacts and Frances fell backward. She pulled herself up and immediately began to scramble backward.
The cliff section was breaking off, sliding down like a massive anvil, but, it wasn’t only the rocks and dirt isolated by the drilled holes that slid down. As in slow motion, the ground at the edge was crumbling away, falling into the abyss.
Frances didn’t even need to scream an order to run, everybody was trying to get away as quickly as possible. Still, the edge of the abyss chased them, cracks forming in the dirt snaking toward them, pieces of rock and boulder crumbling away.
When the dust settled, Frances sprang to her feet and looked around. One, three, five… there was someone missing.
Elizabeth heard the crack-boom of the cliff face going, but didn’t look up, unlike her startled opponent. She took the opportunity to down the orc with a brutal strike from her hammer. Only then did she look up.
Just in time to see a wave of rock, dirt and scree strike the roadway before the entrance to Freeburg. Orcs who were once waiting to storm into the fortress disappeared, buried by rock. Others were swept off into the abyss by the tide of thundering rock. It continued to rain grey rock and tan dirt for what seemed like forever. And even when the rumbling clatter stopped, a cloud of dust continued to rise.
The road was thoroughly blocked off by a pile of scree and debris taller than the highest wall on the fortress.
“By Amura and Rathron, she did it!” Elizabeth heard Martin gasp. She could hear similar cheers from the humans in Freeburg. The orcs on the other hand, stood stunned silent.
Elizabeth took that silence as an opportunity. Running up to the nearest orc, she raised her hammer and yelled, “Surrender now! Drop your weapons!”
The orc stared at her, and she glared back, unblinking. She knew her hammer was coated with a thin sheen of blood. She didn’t want to keep soaking it.
The orc, who Elizabeth suddenly realized was her height, and couldn’t be older than she was, shut his eyes and dropped his two axes to the ground.
“Thank you,” she rasped, as more demands for surrender rang out through the fortress.
Frances ran to the edge but didn’t put her foot on it. She had no idea how stable the cliff was. Instead, she lay down on the ground and crawled to the edge.
The section that had fallen sloped down toward the road, which Frances could see was now blocked. On this slope of dirt and rock, hung Leila, clinging desperately to a too-small white-grey rock.
“Help!” Leila screamed. Frances raised her wand, pointed at her former bully, and paused.
There was nobody here with them. At least for this brief second. With a whisper, she could make Leila slip.
Frances immediately shook her head and began to sing, pulling Leila up and towards safety. A desperate looking Jessica quickly added her magic to Frances’s efforts and soon all three were sprawled on the cliff’s edge.
“Thanks,” Leila gasped, sounding oddly sincere.
“You’re welcome.” Frances swallowed and hesitated, but she knew if she didn’t say it now, there would be no other time. “And I’m sorry. About… snapping on you and trying to get you banished home.”
There was no reply and as Frances watched her two former bullies, she saw two very different expressions form on their faces.
Leila’s expression darkened. She rose to her feet and strode away from the cliff, not looking back.
Jessica looked helpless at her friend’s back, before sighing and standing up to leave. Frances felt her shoulders slump, though, she didn’t know why. This was what she expected after all. She grimaced, bitter resentment rising from the fact that Jessica and Leila still hadn’t apologized for what they did to her—
“I’m sorry.”
Frances looked up and stared. Jessica’s moist eyes met hers. It felt like the pair were far away, an impossible chasm between them. A weight, a cloying pressure of pain and awkwardness choked out any further attempts at speaking.
Yet, for a moment, Frances felt like Jessica had seen her and she’d seen something change in her former bully’s anguished features. For the apology her former bully had said was sincere. Woefully inadequate for all the abuse she’d inflicted, but it was an apology.
And just like that, it was over. Jessica had turned to follow Leila. Frances was left alone, exhausted.
Still, somehow Frances felt… good, like another burden that had weighed her down for so long, had fallen off her shoulders.
Author's Note: Ah... you're going to hate me next chapter. Needless to say, Jessica and Leila will make an unwanted appearance later in this story.
I don't really have an update question, but I do want to reflect on this kinda crazy this journey I've been on with writing A Fractured Song. I started writing this story in January-ish 2020, though, my first thoughts and notes on the story were as early as December 2019. Crazily enough Fractured Song was originally a Kingdom Building Isekai story. Frances was much the same, and Edana was very similar too, but it started off with the Demon King dead and Frances trying to rebuild this county devastated by the war.
Only... I scrapped this version of A Fractured Song, then called Chronicles of a Mage Queen ten-thousand words in because I couldn't figure out why and how Frances would act this way, without knowing her history and her journey in this world.
Thus, what started as a bunch of backstory notes became the skeleton for A Fractured Song which grew and grew into well... this.
Thank you for supporting me and being on this journey with me. It's been a pleasure writing for you all and I hope to continue to do so! Cheers! And as always, feel free to ask me any questions.
submitted by vren55 to redditserials [link] [comments]


2020.09.06 12:59 angellove_rm Running Man E519 200906

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2020.09.04 18:57 welcometosouthapp Welcome to South App #6: "Greek Invasion"

Friday, September 4th, 2020
I can’t believe Winston’s making me do this on my birthday!
It was sunrise on Gigi’s 19th birthday. She dragged a gas-powered chainsaw across the North Campus quad. An hour earlier, Winston had woken Gigi up with a phone call. “Fetch my chainsaw from under the bed and meet me at the library.Click. Not even a “Happy birthday.”
So, she’d rolled out of bed in a white tank top and baby-blue yoga pants. Call it morbid curiosity. Only Winston could come up with such demands, after all.
Gigi was streaked in oil and sweat. She hobbled to the library entrance and let the hunk of metal fall to the ground. North Campus was a vast expanse of willow trees and solitude at sunrise. But something was very…off.
Suddenly, Winston popped out of the bushes and pointed a pistol at Gigi’s forehead. “You’re alone on campus on a day like today,” he rattled off. “Out of the blue, some hooligan hops out of the bushes and tells you to wring your pockets. But you’re wearing a sundress, so you don’t have any pockets. So instead, he-”
“YEET!” Gigi screamed, kicking Winston’s crotch. He crumbled to the ground, hitting a falsetto.
“Oh...shit! I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry!”
“Shiiiet, it’s all right,” Winston moaned, rolling over on his back. Gigi’s frowning, pale face eclipsed the rising sun. “Happy birthday. It’s a Smith and Wesson Bodyguard. Too small for me. Be mindful of the trigger-pull and recoil. But I reckon it’s compact enough for your frou-frou jeans.”
“Oh! I...thank you! But why?” The warm gun fit in her small hand like a glove.
Winston stood up. “Hell, you’ve had my back since I got here. I reckon I oughta return the favor. I ain’t the brightest slice of pie in the knife drawer. But as long as you’re the brains, I may as well make due and be the brawn.”
I stole your other gun and our friends stole your fake IDs! is what Gigi wanted to say. “You...make me feel really safe, Winston!” is what she actually said, slipping the gun in her purse.
Winston lifted the chainsaw. “Welp, it’s time to cut some ties. We’ve got a rat in the frat. Some Alpha Beta Kappa brother pretendin’ to be one of us. See that tree down yonder? That’s their secret meet-up spot. And it’s gotta come down.”
ABK, or “All Big Kocks", started as a frat that met in an off-campus apartment. Then, Clyde (son of Dean Dale Crenshaw) took over. Overnight, the funding skyrocketed. This Honors Music Fraternity was BDE’s greatest rival. Live shows every Friday night, a 3.8 GPA entrance criteria, and co-ed. “Why go to any other frat parties?” Clyde would always argue. “When the women are already here?
“So, about this rat,” Gigi mused, following Winston to the tree. “You asked him nicely to leave?”
“Well, let’s just say he’s branded for life. Name was Taggart, and we actually rushed together. Poor bastard.”
The lumberjack revved the chainsaw. His large pecs and biceps bulged under his shirt as he put that smoking-hot metal to work. He’d easily replaced 20 pounds of fat with muscle. And as that hundreds-year-old tree crashed to the ground, Gigi reminded herself to stay on his good side.
“Let’s get the fuck out of here!” Winston yelled, taking off. “They’ll arrest you too! Hell, you’re the one with the filed-off serial number.”
“W-what?!” Gigi’s voice cracked as she sprinted past him.
“Fuckin’ with ya, Gigi.”
Gigi rode shotgun in Winston’s truck. She kicked off her flats and began massaging her sore feet.
“Um...I definitely stink,” Gigi laughed nervously, slipping her shoe back on. That was Winston’s cue to roll the window back up. She reached into her purse and pulled out the huge charcoal bath bomb that she stole from Sarah. “Dear Chadwick Hughes’ spirit: all I want for my birthday is a bath!”
“Hmm.” Winston drove past Firewater Hall toward Greek Row. “You’re a wanted woman,” he reminded her. “If we go to the house, you’re gonna have to sneak in. If Ryan finds ya, he’ll put your head on a pike.”
Ah, Gigi thought. Because we snuck in, punched him out, and blew up his father’s ashes. Seems...fair.
They pulled up to the BDE house and saw Ryan’s white BMW in the driveway. Winston shut off his Roush engine and instinctively pulled Gigi’s head into his lap, hiding her from plain view.
“Here’s the plan, birthday gal. I’ll go upstairs and grab a shower in the guest bathroom. I’ll save ya some hot water. Wait here, and I’ll text ya when everything’s ready.”
Winston slipped inside. Gigi lay across the passenger and driver’s seat. She thought about bailing and driving to Denny’s for free birthday pancakes. But Winston had the keys. And as her sweating, greased-up body melted in that god-awful hot truck, she decided that she really wanted that bath.
Gigi drifted off to sleep. In her dreams, she sat at a kitchen table in a massive Beverly Hills mansion. In front of Winston were a birthday cake and a huge gift bag. “Happy birthday, Winston!” she exclaimed. Winston reached into the bag and pulled out his lost Colt Single Action Army. “Ta-da! It’s your gun!” Then, he pulled out his lost BDE binder. “Ta-da! It’s your fake IDs!” Finally, he reached into the bag and pulled out a pair of yellow and white striped panties with a lacy bow. “Ta-da! It’s my virginity!
Gigi bolted awake to her phone vibrating. A text from Winston. Ready. Use the ladder. She sat up from her puddle of sweat and made her way around the side of the house.
At the top of the raggedy fire escape ladder, Gigi reached the second-story open window. Tea candles lined the shelf of an elegant clawfoot bathtub, filled to the brim with steaming water. Beside the tub was a shower caddy containing a bottle of merlot, a bag of chocolate-covered almonds, several high-end soaps and face masks, and a note.
To my partner in crime: I reckon we managed to evade the law quite a few times since we moved here. Truth is, ain’t no bathtubs in jail. Now, enjoy all this bougie shit that I found in Claire’s room. Happy birthday - Winston.
“He writes just like he speaks,” Gigi whispered, holding the letter to her chest.
Gigi stripped down to her underwear and neatly folded her clothes in a pile. On the floor was Winston’s t-shirt and blue jeans from earlier. I’m sure he’ll wear that again! She slipped off her yellow panties. After some thought, or no thought at all, she stuffed them into the back pocket of his jeans.
Gigi lowered herself into her first college bath. Even the water felt softer and silkier than in the dorm, whose water flowed from lead-flavored pipes. She picked her brain for every get-rich-quick scheme in the book, aspiring to live in such comfort full-time.
I could blackmail Sarah and Tai about that binder, she thought, submerging her head under water. Maybe I can convince them to give me a cut of their profits! So that a poor student like me can buy clothes that aren’t secondhand! But that would mean keeping the fake IDs a secret from Winston and betraying his trust...
Gigi shot up from the water, gasping for breath. She rubbed her eyes and slicked back her jet-black hair. Then, she unwrapped the bath bomb. It fizzled as a milky grey mist clouded her entire bath.
Winston, would you forgive me? Gigi lifted her hand out of the water and read her nearly-faded tattoo. And if I take a cut of their earnings, I’ll buy the cutest outfits to wear for you. I’m-
She lowered her tattooed hand into the cloudy water, where it disappeared between her legs.
“I’m ready for you, Winston.”
***
“Look at this swole son of a bitch!” greeted Brother Twinston, as Winston entered the cozy living room after his shower. They and eight other pledges dressed in white button-downs and tan slacks, adorned with a BDE pin on the collar.
Winston grabbed Twinston in a playful headlock. “I reckon ain’t nobody gonna be able to tell us apart now.”
“I reckon you’re right, stunt double!” Twinston agreed. This young man was a spitting image of Winston in looks and spirit. They had met at a frat party after taking whiskey shots and reaching for the pickle jar at the same time. Bromance at first sight.
“Enough faggotry,” Ryan commanded, walking up the podium by the fireplace. As the de-facto alpha of the room, his pomade-style hair stood taller than everyone else’s. Seven AM on Friday was BDE’s weekly meeting, and brothers were expressly forbidden from taking Friday classes. Because as soon as this was over, the weekend pre-gaming would commence.
“Now, Winston!” Ryan began. “Looks like your sausage fingers got some dirt under your nails. I trust the deed was done?”
“As motherfuckin’ Shakespeare said: the tree fell, nobody was around, and it still made a fuckin’ sound. I reckon ABK’s hideout is being hauled off by a truck as we speak.”
“You’ve never had a way with words,” Ryan pointed out. “But I gotta admit: you get shit done. Now, if another rat wants to show their face, I got no problem burning down their momma’s house. Next on the list. We gotta talk about two of our…ex-members. Claire and Connor. She packed up the rest of her shit and slipped out of here last night. I’ll be posting an application for Social Chair on our Facebook page.”
Last week, after Winston had caught Claire cheating on him with Frank, she had officially stepped down from BDE.
“Hell, let’s break tradition and make it a man, for Christ’s sake!” Twinston piped up. Despite only being a sophomore, he had clout among the senior brothers.
“I’ll consider it,” Ryan said, shrugging. “You know women: always afraid of commitment. Bitch didn’t even give a reason for leaving. Although I’m not gonna lie: I’m gonna miss those tits during strip poker.”
Two muscular black brothers gave each other a crisp high-five.
“Now, onto Connor. Not only did this beta bitch get a DUI, but he had our motherfucking coke on him.” Ryan tossed a bag of red-and-white cocaine on the coffee table. “Now what the fuck did we say about taking coke out of the house?”
“Don’t go to the buyers - let the buyers come to you,” the brothers responded in unison.
“Final topic of conversation,” Ryan announced, holding up a saloon-style wanted poster. “I’d like to announce that I've delivered swift, painful justice to the bastards who stole my father’s ashes.” On that poster were security camera photos of Frank, Tweed, and Chad - their faces X’d out. Next to their images were lo-res pics of Gigi and Sarah. “I’m increasing the bounty to 2500 bucks for whoever brings me the other two cunts.”
This bounty was news to Winston. Nobody knew he was even related to Sarah, or that Gigi was currently bathing upstairs. While the brothers salivated over the reward money, Ryan swiped a fire poker cast with BDE at the tip. “We took those three bastards out to the quad and branded them for life! Sent their bitch-asses packing. But as for these two dumb sluts...I think they were the masterminds of the whole goddamn plan. I say we tie ‘em down and apply directly to the forehead!”
“Yeah, man, fuck these ho’s,” Winston played along. “They did your daddy wrong. But real talk, I say we track ‘em down and exile them from the fuckin’ campus for life. Ain’t no use in getting thrown in jail for assault. Hell, that’s where those bitches belong.”
“Winston, I’m disappointed in you, chief,” Ryan said condescendingly, slamming the poker on the fireplace with a loud clank. He walked over to Winston and stood eye-to-eye with him. Dead silence. Finally, Ryan cracked a douchey grin.
“All right, all right,” Ryan chuckled. “I’ll go easy on ‘em...that is, if they drop to their knees and suck every last drop from us until they fucking drown!”
The brothers roared like animals, chanting Ryan’s name as he ripped open the bag of red-and-white cocaine. Winston forced a painful smile as the nausea set in. Ryan leaned over the coffee table and proceeded to snort his usual Friday-morning line.
“WHO’S GOT MOTHERFUCKING BIG DICKS?” Ryan screamed psychotically.
“WE DO!” the brothers yelled, banging their chests.
“AND ON MY DEAD DAD’S GRAVE! IF ANYBODY CROSSES BETA DELTA EPSILON, WE’LL DISEMBOWEL THEM AND SHIT DOWN THEIR THROATS!”
Ryan flipped over the glass coffee table, shattering it into pieces.
***
The massive South Campus quad was speckled with students playing ultimate frisbee, strumming guitars, and pretending to study. It was Tai’s happy place. Ever since Jacky turned him loose, he and Sarah had been practicing Krav Maga during sunset. A zen-like hobby that helped him clear his mind and shrink his erection.
Tai landed a shaky roundhouse kick as he spotted a young lady in the corner of his eye.
“I’ve got your rematch, Sarah,” Tai jeered, landing a sloppy jump-spinning crescent kick. But as he stuck the landing, he witnessed Gigi in a traditional kimono and a chopstick bun.
“I accept your challenge in Sarah’s stead!” Gigi cheered, bowing deeply.
“Wait...huh? Where’s Sarah?”
“Ah, in celebration of my 6,939th day on Planet Earth, she elected to maintain a record of meeting notes in my dreadful Comparative Literature enrichment!”
A blank stare from Tai as he slowly shifted into a guarding stance.
“I mean...it’s my fucking birthday, so she went to class for me!” She kicked off her flats and crouched into a grappling stance. “Now, will you hand over a third of your fake ID profits? Or will I have to spill the Bush’s Bourbon and Brown Sugar baked beans to Winston?”
“W-what?! Who told you?”
“Hmmm...twas but a whisper in the wind - a grape from the vine!” Gigi inched toward Tai, who cautiously backed up.
“Okay, look...don’t, um, don’t do anything drastic! We’re gonna pay it back to him, I promise. If you think about it, we’re just doing the work for him. It’s just that...well, it’s been a tough week so we can’t really afford to give you that kind of money!”
“As you wish. I’ll have to beat it out of you instead!”
Tai threw a lunging side kick. But the swift Gigi virtually teleported behind him. She jammed her thumbs into the tender spot below his ears.
“Fool, a petite fighter such as myself must play defensively,” Gigi bragged, regrouping. “I’ve been watching you. Looks like those kicks have thrown you off balance, Mister Flat Foot!”
“You can kiss that ID money goodbye,” Tai scoffed, rubbing his pressure points.
“That’s perfectly fine, grasshopper! I don’t intend to ask for it.”
Tai side-stepped and tried for a sweep kick. Gigi raised her leg over her head like a Chinese gymnast. He fell forward from his own momentum, but Gigi pressed her foot against his face to stop the fall. She wiggled her toes, then gave him a firm roundhouse to the side of the head. Tai fell back onto the grass. As he lost his breath, she wrapped her arms and legs around him from behind. A rear-naked chokehold that Sarah would've been damn proud of.
“Jaleo gada, jaleo gada, jaleo gada,” Gigi cooed in Korean, squeezing his windpipe. And “go to sleep” he did.
Ten minutes later, Tai sat up with a start, drenched in sweat. A ring of students surrounded him.
“Break it up, dudes and dudettes!” Sarah exclaimed, forcing her way through the crowd. The students dispersed as she helped the oblivious Tai to his feet.
“Oh...fuck,” Tai groaned. He fumbled for his minimalist metal wallet. Six-hundred dollars in cash was gone.
“You got robbed, my guy?” Sarah asked, kigh as a hite.
“That’s not even the half of it. This is bad. I have a lot to explain to you.”
Tai recapped his encounter with Gigi, while he and Sarah sipped lattes on the library’s top floor.
“Holy mother of balls,” Sarah whispered after Tai explained Gigi’s blackmailing.
“Look, maybe we come clean. Do you think you can talk to Winston?”
“Not a chance in Woodstock,” Sarah replied, frantically shaking her dreadlocks. “My brother’s all about loyalty first. He’d cut my hair while I was asleep and he’d circumcise you while you were awake.”
Tai instinctively covered his crotch as they stopped at a bulletin board. “So...we’re Gigi’s bitches," said Tai. "If we owe her a cut every time we make a sale, we’ve gotta find a better market.” On cue, he swiped a flyer from the bulletin board. TONIGHT: Alpha Beta Kappa proudly presents the Housewarming Masquerade. $10 cover. All students welcome.
***
The good ole’ southern twins stood on the wrap-around porch, whiskey in hand.
“Look, brother,” Twinston started, patting Winston’s back. “I’ve known Ryan for a year. I know he can get a little...impulsive with his words. But that don’t mean he’s impulsive with his actions. You’re worried about them two girls, aren’t ya?”
Winston was one text message away from telling Gigi and Sarah to flee campus. During last month’s frat party, he had never thought to question why Frank and Gigi had shown up in the first place. It never occurred to him that they were there to blow Ryan’s father’s legacy to smithereens.
Ryan stumbled out in a bright red bathrobe that matched his stuffy, red nose. “Shit, I almost forgot to ask ya, Winston,” he slurred. “I meant to collect your fake ID money for this week.”
Winston was so close to coming clean. Some jack-off stole the binder! he wanted to say. But the punishment for having lost it would be swift and fierce. So, he reached into his wallet and pulled out 600 bucks, straight from his own student loan account.
“Geez, tough week again, huh?” Ryan jeered, snatching the cash. “Where have you been trying to sell them?”
“Oh, you know...the regular beats,” Winston lied. “I reckon I ain’t gonna hit the library on weekdays no more.”
“The library?” Twinston repeated, bewildered. “Shit, what’s it like in there? Ain’t never been.”
“Not your brightest moment, I’m not gonna lie,” Ryan chuckled at Winston. “But, at least you learned your lesson for next week.” Winston nodded, taking it on the chin. If he had to make another withdraw, there wouldn’t be a “next week.” Winston had to find that ID thief.
“Whoa, what the hell?” Twinston pointed at a fleet of U-Haul vans, led by a 2021 silver BMW. They watched as the vehicles pulled into the driveway of the empty frat house next door.
“Holy fucking shit,” Ryan gasped. “It’s motherfucking Alpha Beta Kappa.”
The bald driver opened the butterfly doors. Thick marijuana smoke trickled out of the car. The passenger doors sprang up, and out hopped a freckle-faced redhead with a pornstar body. She brought a wheelchair over to the driver’s side and helped the bald guy into the seat. Then, she marveled at the huge mansion and jumped up and down in her stilettos, her huge breasts bouncing in her tight corset. She rushed into the new house, pausing to give Winston a quick glance before she entered.
Another redhead, huh? Winston thought. My favorite flavor.
The bald guy rolled over to the BDE house in his wheelchair, a present in his lap. His large biceps and tattoos were on full display in his worn Guns N’ Roses sleeveless tee. His jeans were bleached and destroyed and his black Converse were spotless.
“What’s up, neighbors?” the paraplegic spoke in a loud, baritone voice. He handed the present to Ryan. “I’m Clyde, President of Alpha Beta Kappa. Looks like we’re gonna be seeing a whole lot of each other.”
“Uh...yeah, my name’s Ryan.” He extended a hand while using the other to dab his bloody nose. “So...I thought Tri-Delt leased the house next door.”
“I assume you know sororities almost as well as I do. Truth is: women are too damn afraid of commitment. You gonna open that present or what?”
Ryan slipped off the bow and tore the wrapping paper. It was a penis pump.
“Now, let me lay down some ground rules for you and your twins,” Clyde continued, straightening his posture in the chair. “There’s only room for one big dick on Greek Row. Now you may think you have a big dick. But there’s a gang of nine-inch fresh-cut cocks in town.”
Clyde whistled with his fingers. The U-Haul truck doors rolled up. And out came a cavalry of ABK brothers, hauling furniture toward the house as they chanted “All Big Kocks!” Like pallbearers, they each grabbed a corner of expensive sofas, desks, and beds. Posing on top of each piece of furniture was a topless ABK sister. The brothers escorted them like royalty into the soon-to-be furnished mansion.
Clyde unfolded a flyer from his back pocket and handed it to Ryan. “Bring your asses tonight. There are plenty more tits where those came from.” It was an invitation to the ABK Housewarming Masquerade. Clyde swiveled around and rolled back on over to his new house. “By the way!” Clyde called out. “I don’t condone Taggart for spying on y’all like he did! I don’t care who you work for: a rat is a rat!”
“That’s bullshit,” Ryan whispered. He knew good and well that Taggart’s spying was planned and coordinated by Clyde himself. “If they’re gonna spy on us, we’re gonna do the same fuckin’ thing to them.”
“Sit back and relax,” Winston finally broke his silence, standing tall next to his doppelganger. “My twin and I will crash this party and dig up as much dirt as possible.”
“And he and I are the only two who can be in two places at once,” Twinston added.
“Then we infiltrate tonight!” Ryan announced. “Because gentlemen, Greek Row is a pair of tight spandex trunks. And there’s only room for one big dick.”
***
Watching Tai work was amazing.
At the ABK Masquerade, the masked Sarah sat at the bar in the massive concert venue. Clyde’s 90’s cover band was onstage. Like clockwork, the masked Tai would sniff out gay clientele, grab a fake ID from the binder, approach him, make out with him on the dance floor, and come back with a fistful of dollars.
“I’m averaging one sale per song,” Tai panted, wiping somebody’s lipstick from his mouth. “Here, hit me with another ID!”
“You do know this is borderline prostitution, my dude?”
“I...yes.”
Prostitution or not, they racked up a thousand bucks in the first hour. And with Gigi taking a cut of their sales, they were going to need that extra money to keep this operation afloat.
“Take a break, will ya?” Sarah suggested, patting the barstool next to her.
The freckle-faced redhead from Clyde’s BMW was bartending. She wore bright blue fairy wings, a lacy corset, and a glittery half-mask. “Two lemon drops, my loves,” she cooed in a Scottish accent, setting the drinks on the bar. “Aw, I love how comfy you two look!”
Tai and Sarah were dressed down in South App hoodies and yoga pants: items that every female or gay student owned. The goal was to not stand out while selling fake IDs. And yet, they had failed to wear masks.
“I prefer to dress like I do around the house,” the fairy said with a smile, fluttering off to help the next patron.
Outside, Winston and Twinston - the twin spies - walked up the ABK steps in matching button-downs, slacks, and white opera masks. They psyched each other up. The “Who’s got big dicks? We’ve got big dicks!” standard affair. Suddenly, a pack of drunk girls stormed out the front door and spilled an entire glass of cranberry vodka on Winston’s khakis. “Suck it up, buttercup!” she slurred, stumbling off with her posse. Co-ed fraternity girls were a different breed.
“Shit,” Winston muttered, looking down at the mess.
“Better go change, brother,” Twinston suggested. “I’mma gather some intel until you get back.”
Winston retreated to the BDE house while Twinston entered the party alone. He stood at the entrance, absorbing the nostalgia of the 90’s rock set. Permanently-seated Clyde was on drums. A crowd of groupies sang along up front while everyone else gathered on the dance floor.
“Jack and Coke,” Twinston told the fairy bartender. “If you have time.”
From the dance floor, Tai and Sarah were casually mingling and making fake ID sales. They were also people-watching. “It’s fucking uncanny,” Tai began, pointing at Twinston from afar.
“I’m telling you, that’s not Winston,” Sarah argued. “If you want proof, ask him to drop his pants. My brother has a birthmark on his upper-left ass cheek.”
“W-what?!”
“That dude could fool almost anyone though. But a sister always knows.”
Suddenly, all eyes shot toward the front door. In walked a young South Korean student in a baby-blue evening dress. Trailing behind her was a long, ornate satin train. The side-splitting fabric exposed her white-laced garter belt that ran from her thighs to her matching open-toed high heels. Instantly, she won the room.
Clyde hit the final snare, ending his Jane’s Addiction cover. “Well, don’t just stand there, princess!” Clyde called out to the woman, beckoning her onstage with a drumstick. “Come on up and introduce yourself.”
Princess Gigi obliged, but not before giving Tai and Sarah a passing glance. “I hope you’re on your A-game with those sales,” she whispered with a devious grin. “Because I need money for a red dress just like this one!”
Sarah tugged on Tai’s sleeve. “Let’s get the fuck out of here!” she hissed. “Hey...uh bartender?”
“I’m Miri,” the Scottish redhead responded. “But I bid you call me Miri.”
“Miri, care to point us to the back door?”
Tai and Sarah slipped through the kitchen and out the back door. Miri kept pouring for thirsty patrons, all while eyeing this Korean bombshell on stage.
“Um...hi, everyone!” Gigi greeted, while the seated Clyde held the microphone to her mouth. “It’s my birthday today, and...I’m sober! Who wants to help me change that?”
Every man on the dance floor cheered like Quentin Tarantino with a glass slipper. Their girlfriends gave Gigi dirty looks, holding their men close. Clyde leaned into her ear. “Don’t let me catch you paying for a single drop tonight.” He turned around and rolled back to the drum set. He clicked his sticks and began a Chili Peppers cover. The party was back underway.
“Another Jack and Coke,” Twinston requested from Miri. “Make it a double-shot.” From the bar, he’d watched the entire spectacle. Now, Gigi was walking over to him.
“Please read,” Gigi said, plopping down next to Twinston. She slipped the thin fabric of her dress to the side, exposing a pale white thigh. Then, she reached under her garter belt for a letter. She slid it across the bar, showing off her baby-blue painted nails. Twinston peeled off the heart-shaped sticker and unfolded the letter. Written in cursive was the most kinky, depraved to-do list of sex acts he had ever seen. At the bottom was a signed statement: For my birthday I, Ji-hye “Gigi” Moon, hereby sign my virginity over to Winston Arnold Beavers.
Clearly, Gigi had the wrong man.
As soon as Miri returned with Twinston's drink, Gigi swiped it. She sipped her first taste of whiskey through a straw, her bedroom eyes growing wider and wider. She slammed the glass of ice on the bar. Then, she leaned into Twinston’s ear and passed an ice cube from her mouth to his.
“Hey, uh...bartender?” Twinston stammered, as Gigi ran her tongue across his fuzzy beard.
“Back door’s through the kitchen,” Miri laughed in a Scottish accent as she watched the flirtatious pair.
Twinston grabbed Gigi’s hand and jetted out of there. If Winston caught them, he’d impale them with his chainsaw and cut the engine on. So they cut across the back yard and entered Twinston’s first-floor bedroom through the window. She immediately slipped out of her dress, leaving on nothing but the heels and garter belt. And as the masked girl spread her legs, Twinston kept telling himself that this was consensual.
***
Winston entered the ABK house in a filthy pair of blue jeans from that morning. The crowd waved their lighters while Clyde’s band played Semisonic’s “Closing Time.” Seeing as it was last call, Winston made a bee-line for the bar. “I’ll have a Jack and Coke, Miss,” Winston said to Miri, tipping his hat. “If you have time.”
Miri cocked her head, her wings and eyebrows twitching. “Wait...what’s going on?” she asked, taken aback by Winston’s twin from five minutes earlier.
“Alcoholism, that’s what,” Winston chuckled. “Why, I reckon you’ve just seen a ghost. Wanna have a drink with me to calm the spirits?” He was here to gain ABK intel. But her freckled face, wavy red hair, and Scottish accent were definitely a bonus.
“Apparently so!” Miri laughed, her breasts bouncing up and down in that tight corset. “Tell you what: I’ll toast with ya.”
Miri poured Winston’s Jack and Coke and the umpteenth cranberry vodka of the night. But like the mystical fairy creature she was, she garnished her drink with a handful of blueberries, a splash of lemon juice, and a basil leaf.
“Seventy-nine,” Winston randomly said as they clinked glasses across the bar.
“Hmmm?”
“Seventy-nine. I reckon that’s how many freckles you have on your face.”
“Ah...well, let’s see. I've never counted before. But on my whole body? Well...we’re definitely in quadruple digits.” Miri leaned in close, the scent of gin and spearmint on her breath. “If you want to take me to my room and count them, I can do 150 an hour. That is, if you’re a fast counter.”
Winston chuckled, then slipped something into her henna-tattooed hand. “I mighty appreciate it. But I’d rather ya tell me a little bit about this place. Thinkin’ about pledging.” A lie, of course.
Without missing a beat, Miri slapped a bag of blue-and-white cocaine on the bar. “Tell ya what: you try ours and I’ll try yours.” Right in front of everyone, she opened the bag of red-and-what cocaine and split it into lines.
Winston’s jaw dropped. It was all coming together in his slow-churning mind. Taggart and ABK had been gathering intel to corner the entire fucking college cocaine market. While Miri dropped her head to do a line, Winston slipped his rival’s cocaine into his pocket. All right, I’ve got what I came for. No thanks to Twinston. Time to report back to Ryan.
“Yo, the concert’s over but the night has just fucking begun!” Clyde announced on the mic. “Ladies only: get your asses to the center of the dance floor. You know what time it is!”
Miri’s head shot up from her third line of cocaine. She released an orgasmic Scottish moan. Then, this mystical fairy pranced into the center of the room, spun on her heel, and gave a curtsey in her outfit.
What the hell is going on? Winston thought, sipping his whiskey. He reached into his back pocket for a napkin and felt something else instead. Slowly, he held Gigi’s lacy yellow panties in front of his face. Miri, how the hell did you put this in my pocket without me noticing? Hell, I reckon this bitch is a fairy after all.
“DJ, hit the music!” Clyde commanded. Fergie’s “London Bridge” blared through the speakers and rang across Greek Row. The tipsy Miri swayed her hips to the violent bass beat, shedding her wings. Applause erupted from the crowd.
“Now just what are we to do about this corset?” Miri cooed, puckering her lower lip.
“Take it off!” the brothers chanted. And she did. Winston instantly realized that her “1000-freckles” estimate was correct.
“Lose that skirt!” the crowd commanded.
Winston nervously tapped his foot. Not because he was afraid of seeing a naked woman. That road was heavily-traveled and full of potholes. But Miri was drunk, and nobody was doing a damn thing about it. She hooked her thumbs beneath her pink-and-blue skirt and pulled it down to her ankles. No underwear, and a hundred more freckles on Winston’s scoreboard.
“Make yourself decent, moron!” Winston called out, sling-shotting the yellow panties across the room to Miri. She reached up and caught them, red-eyed high and shit-faced drunk. “These…these aren’t mine. But they sure are cute!”
What?! Who the fuck do they belong to then? And why the fuck were they in my pocket?!
Regardless, Miri slipped into the tight panties. She gave a polite curtsy and fluttered away through the kitchen and out the back door.
“Yo, what the fuck man?” Clyde raged as he watched the action from his wheelchair. “You fuckin’ scared her off! DJ, cut the music!”
Fergie stopped singing and all eyes fell on Winston. He took a deep breath and boldly stepped into the center of the dance floor. “She was fucking wasted, partner. Are y’all really gonna make her do all that?”
“It doesn’t fucking matter,” Clyde seethed. “It’s Friday: we drink, and Miri strips. She’s a whore. And that’s what whores do. Who the fuck do you think you are anyway? S-s-somebody take off his mask!”
But Winston removed his own mask and tossed it on the floor. There he was: invading ABK just as the phony Mississippian Taggart had invaded BDE.
“Leave it to a Beta to look for pussy at an Alpha’s party!” Clyde jeered over the mic. “Can you all believe this white-knight faggot tried to stand up for a fuckin’ whore?”
Winston couldn’t resist a comeback. It was too easy. “At least I can actually stand, you fucking cretin.”
Every single hand covered a gasping mouth. Winston turned and walked into the kitchen, building up to a sprint out the back door. Rabid yells from behind as he cut across BDE’s back yard, dashing past rows of trees and street lights to the end of Greek Row. At the dimly-lit street sign, he collapsed into the grass.
Winston, ya done fucked up now.
“Yo, you okay, bro?” somebody called out.
Winston looked up and saw two douchey frat boys carrying acoustic guitars. Before he could get up, one of them had already hoisted him to his feet. He winced as he put pressure on a sprained ankle.
“You had way too much, my man!” Guitar Guy 1 said. “And it’s not even nine yet. Gotta pace yourself!”
“Yeah, man,” agreed Guitar Guy 2, brushing grass off Winston’s shoulder. “Hey, why don’t you come with us to Alpha Beta Kappa’s party? I hear our president’s band is fuckin’ killing it tonight.”
Winston felt his soul leave his body. Suddenly, Guitar Guy 1’s phone rang.
“Hello?” Guitar Guy 1 answered his phone. “Hey, what’s up, Clyde. Yeah, yeah, we’re almost there. We’ve got our guitars and...huh? Oh shit, you talking ‘bout the guy dressed like a cowboy? Yeah, man, he’s right here. Drunk as fuck, I’ll tell ya h’what. Wait, what? He said what to you? No, fuck that. FUCK. THAT! Yeah, man, we’re gonna take care of him right the fuck now!”
Winston slowly backed up to the street sign, a hot pain searing through his ankle. Running was out of the question.
“You so much as move, we aim for the head,” said Guitar Guy 2, shouldering his weapon.
Winston placed his back to the street sign and sank to a seated position. He looked up at the fretted assailants. Not with fear, but with acceptance. “I know all about your frat’s cocaine operation. And all I gotta say: I’m gonna run it into the motherfuckin’ ground.”
Guitar Guy 1 went for a cross slice, cracking the guitar against Winston’s head. He bled before he hit the grass in a fetal position. His body convulsed in a seizure.
“Yo, no face shots!” Guitar Guy 2 screamed, kicking Winston in the ribs to vent his frustration. He brought his ax above his head and hammered down on his gut. Winston released the death cry of a wounded gazelle. But instead of delivering that final blow, the Guitar Guys looked at one another and nodded. Then, they dropped their pastel board shorts and proceeded to piss on Winston’s wounds from head to toe.
“Look at the sign and tell me what the fuck it says, cuck!” Guitar Guy 1 yelled, stomping his face with his boat shoes one last time. They zipped up their shorts and ran off. A groaning Winston wiped his bloody, sopping-wet face and looked up at the sign. Crenshaw Ave. Just like his father’s legacy, Clyde was here to stay.
Winston blacked out.
***
It wasn’t rape. It was my choice. It wasn’t rape. It was my choice. It. Was. My choice.
Gigi stared at her reflection in the dorm room mirror. Tears and mascara flowed down her face, streaking her cleavage and her wrinkled gown. With fumbling hands, she unwrapped a Plan B Morning-After Pill and slipped it between her dry, chapped lips. She cupped some water into her hand and swallowed, gripping the edges of the sink as she looked back at the defiled girl in the mirror. Hours earlier, she had been pure. Now, she stank of sweat, Walmart-brand musk, and a stranger’s bodily fluids. It was only when Twinston had taken off his mask that she’d realized she had made love to a man she did not know.
Only minutes to midnight. Soon, the wrinkled evening gown would disappear, and Gigi would be reduced to dirty rags and cloths. “This...this is certainly the kind of dress I would want to die in,” she told her reflection, forcing a smile as she permitted tears to flow freely.
A fall from the seventh story would surely kill Gigi. She envisioned her mangled corpse on the gnarled roots below. Then, she feverishly latched onto something to keep her alive for one more day.
Froyo! Tomorrow was the grand opening of the local frozen yogurt joint. I’ll get to choose my favorite sugary toppings to pile on my watermelon sorbet. But tonight, I didn't choose to have sex with that man. It was not. My. Fault.
Gigi’s phone rang. It was Sarah. “Gigi, get your ass down to the third floor - quick!
Gigi flew down the stairs, tripping over a few drunk students in the process. She stood in the doorway of Room 309, where a bloodied cowboy lay his head in Sarah’s lap. Tai sat on the futon, handing Sarah gauze and rubbing alcohol from the first aid kit.
“Gigi,” Winston mumbled. He lifted his head, then set it back down as he erupted into a coughing fit. “You look...great. Not as sexy as my sister though. But I’m from the South, so it’s family first. Roll tide...”
Sarah and Gigi smiled weakly, seeing how Winston was slowly returning back to normal. But Gigi’s smile turned to shock as she got a closer look at his face. One eye was swollen shut and bleeding from the corner. A large knot on his head oozed pus, even as Sarah frequently dabbed it with a tissue. His twitching body hinted at the lacerations and bruises beneath his bloody t-shirt. And through Winston’s smile, he was missing a bottom tooth.
“Everybody fucking leave!” Gigi exploded, dropping to her knees and laying her head on Winston’s chest. He winced at first, but slowed his breathing as she held his hand. She sobbed her eyes out, soaking Winston’s shirt and beard.
“Gigi, look,” Tai said, placing a hand on her shoulder. “Winston needs all of us right now. Not just-”
Gigi fetched the 22-caliber pistol from her purse and slammed it on the tile floor. “I SAID GET THE FUCK OUT! OUT, OUT, OUT!”
Winston’s heart raced as Gigi squeezed his hand with all her might. “It’s all my fault,” she whispered, as if they were already alone. “If only I let you keep your gun, you could have defended yourself.”
“Buddy, that just ain’t plum-fuckin’ true. Ain’t nobody’s fault but mine. I talked shit and got hit.”
Sarah and Tai quietly slipped out the door, most likely to count their fake ID earnings.
Gigi positioned Winston’s head on her lap and ran her small hands through his messy brown hair. “This ain’t the first time you caught me covered in piss. Reckon it won’t be the last.”
Gigi giggled. “I’ll...I’ll be here all night to protect you.” She clutched the gun with one hand and ran her fingers through his hair with the other. “And we can wash your hair in the morning.”
“Thanks, buddy. I reckon I done gots me a few enemies now. So...ya ain’t gonna let the piss fairies sneak in and give me a golden shower...are ya?”
“I...I won’t let you down!” Gigi laughed, gripping the gun. “And if the pee bandits come around here, I’ll politely escort their hind keisters a third-of-a-dozen floors north, where their skin shall bubble under the 100 Kelvin internal temperature of our antiquated heating and cooling apparatus!”
“Shit,” Winston moaned, closing his eyes and drifting off to sleep. “If they don’t fix your AC sooner or later...you may have to move down here and live with me.”
While Winston rested, Gigi stood watch all night. She forgot all about what Twinston had done to her. Misery loved company. And while Gigi never wished for anything bad to happen to Winston, his timing couldn’t have been better.
submitted by welcometosouthapp to welcometosouthapp [link] [comments]


2020.08.26 19:40 welcometosouthapp Welcome to South App #5: "I'm a Beleaver"

Wednesday, August 26th, 2020
After a ten-day cheese binge, Gigi had gained ten pounds.
That didn’t stop Frank, the Italian Stallion, from picking her up and pinning her to the dorm room wall. They began making out in their underwear for the first time.
“Um...do you have a condom?” Gigi whispered as Frank lifted her up.
“But soft, my dear! Why, I carry the finest lambskins in the land. Made from the intestines of the most supple virgin sheep.”
Frank squeezed her thighs while sliding his tongue down her throat. But after holding her up for so long, his arms began to tremble.
“Maybe we can take it on the bed?” Gigi laughed nervously. “I guess I’m well on the way to the Freshman 15. Woo-hoo!”
Frank tossed the 130-pound Gigi onto the beanbag chair. He straddled her, reaching behind her back to unclasp her bra.
“On second thought, maybe not,” Gigi mouthed, gently pushing his hands away.
“But ask you did - did you not?”
“I...I like you, Frank,” Gigi admitted. “But on a sweaty bean bag chair in a dorm room? It’s...not what I have in mind for my first time!”
“Woe is me! Alas, my sexual and culinary advances remain unrequited.”
Sure enough, Frank was supposed to have cooked dinner for Gigi that previous Friday. But once she’d found out lasagna was on the menu, Gigi had promptly faked the flu. Following her secret cheese dinner with Winston, she had secretly sampled nearly every type of cheese in Buncombe County. And cottage cheese, an ingredient in Frank’s lasagna, was her least favorite. Hard pass.
Gigi slipped into her tight blue jeans and white Beavers hoodie. “Um...looks like I shall depart for class!”
“Next time, shall I conduct myself differently?”
Gigi smiled meekly. “Come as you are, Frank. We’ll try sex again in three months!”
On the 300 Hall, a naked Claire stood handcuffed to the top bunk from behind. She bit her shoulder to muffle her moan as a shiver rattled her body. An also-naked Winston stood up from his knees.
“Mmm...let’s, like, totally do it already!” Claire panted, sweat dripping down her bangs.
It would be Winston’s and Claire’s first time. And he had planned ahead with the help of a little blue pill. “Ah, right,” he grunted. “I reckon I’ll go get a Jimmy hat.”
Winston opened his desk drawer, reminded that his prized fake ID collection was missing. Whoever took it, your ass is grass, Winston thought. Then, while Claire wasn’t looking, he popped a Cialis in his mouth - his second pill in an hour. For good measure, he cracked open a can of Red Bull and chugged.
“Wow,” Claire cooed, looking down at it. “You must be, like, getting ready for a bonafide marathon with me!”
“Your satisfaction is 100% guaranteed or your money back, ma’am.”
But as soon as Winston opened Claire’s legs, it happened.
A metric fuck-ton of caffeine and testosterone coursed through his veins. His pulse sank from one head to another. Target locked: Claire. She gasped in surprise. And Winston’s fragile ego, along with something else, deflated.
“Hashtag OMG,” Claire whispered, more embarrassed than Winston. “It’s, like, totally okay! It looks like we, like, had a little too much foreplay.”
Winston, dead-eyed and stone-faced, put on an old pair of Wrangler jeans and a red flannel. “I...need to give a presentation for class.”
“Oh! Like, good luck! Do you think you can, like, get me a towel?”
Winston grabbed his damp, musky shaving towel and tossed it to Claire. “Wait!” Claire called out as Winston stepped into the hallway. “You forget the-”
The door slammed.
“-Handcuff key.” Alone in Winston’s room, she stared at the key on his desk. “Hey, Siri!” she called out to her iPhone. “Call the Italian Stallion on speaker.”
Frank answered. “Ah, Claire: the woman with fire in thy loins. Shan’t you be in class at this time?”
“You’re, like, too silly! Mornings are for sobering up, not classing. Anywho, Winston I and totally ended our morning...prematurely.”
“Methinks you and Winston hath made more progress than Gigi and yours truly.”
“Aw, you poor thing!” Claire teased, sticking out her lower lip. “Tell you what. My hands are, like, tied right now. Hashtag literally! Wanna come up to Winston’s room and take advantage of me?”
***
At 8 AM Econ class, Jacky, Tai, Sarah, and Evelyn sat in the back of the massive lecture hall. While the professor rambled on about exponential growth, Jacky flipped through the binder of fake IDs.
“On the real, we’re not selling fake IDs,” Jacky declared, pulling out an one that favored the Latina teaching assistant. “We’re selling freedom, the way God always intended it.”
“Well put, Cali,” said Sarah. “Looks like you’ve dethroned Frank as the poet in our posse.”
“Whoa, let’s not get crazy,” Tai chuckled. “Unlike us peasants, Francisco is a Sicilian king.”
“If you love him so much, why don’t you just marry him, broseph,” Jacky snapped. Tai looked down like a shameful dog. Jacky held his grey-eyed stare like an Olympian. Finally, he burst out into laughter. “I’m just dogging you, scaredy-cat! Gotta keep you on your toes or this college junk will get stale.”
“College fucking sucks,” Evelyn chimed in, cranking the volume on her Mickey Avalon song. “It’s all a scam.”
The charismatic Jacky swiped an ID of a girl who looked like a preppy version of Evelyn. “Sounds like you need a new perspective, dudette. In college, you can be anybody you want to be. On the real, that’s why in the past 10 days, I’ve sold 25 IDs alone.”
Tai raised his eyebrows. “Twenty-fucking five? Not too shabby.”
“Oh, did I say 25? I meant that I sold 25 IDs to people in this room alone. Heck, the real total is somewhere around...200.”
Their jaws were on the floor. Jacky pulled out a roll of 100-dollar bills from his cargo shorts. He fanned the cash, then divvied a few bills to each of them.
“That’s 500 apiece each,” Jacky declared. “Just as a show of good faith that this operation won’t be a waste of our time.”
“Holy shit,” Sarah whispered, stuffing the money in her purse. “That’s almost enough goddamn cash for...half a textbook!”
“True that, but God’s last name is not damn,” Jacky hissed.
“Wait, how much money have you made so far?” Tai asked, reaching down and holding Jacky’s hand.
Plenty more,” Jacky whispered, inviting them to get close. “Look at all of God’s lost sheep in this room. Investing all this time and money to make this kind of money appear. Heck, we can do it much faster, dude and dudettes. We can take our operation straight to Beleavers.”
Jacky was referring to the Methodist youth group that met in the Chadwick Learning Center each Wednesday. Students of all faiths, colors, creeds, and M.O.’s were welcome - if only for the campus-renowned free popcorn.
“Ugh, organized religion is a farce,” Evelyn groaned, putting her headphones back in.
“Then you should have no problem taking their money,” Sarah said, yanking her earbud out.
“Exactamundo,” Jacky declared as the professor dismissed class. “Just picture all those students walking around with Mommy and Daddy’s tithe money. All we need to do is earn their business. Let’s get there early tonight and set up a vendor table. Sarah, Evelyn: we need a front. What can you sell?”
“I can sell my collection of human bones from my graveyard raids,” Evelyn offered casually.
They all stared at Evelyn in silence. “H-how about we make homemade bath bombs instead?” Sarah suggested casually.
“Perfect,” Jacky declared. “Tai and I will go to the dorm kitchen and whip up some baked goods. They’ll come for the snacks and leave with new identities.”
“Gravy,” Sarah said, flashing a peace sign. “Now, Evelyn and I have a rematch to settle.”
“Mario Kart?” Tai asked.
“Nah, grappling on the quad.” Sarah snatched Evelyn in a headlock and tickled her stomach. Evelyn burst out laughing, then tapped out. The two friends left the lecture hall.
“On the real, your hippie friend has a lot of nerve leading her on like that,” Jacky said, packing up his books.
“Eh, Sarah’s made it clear that she doesn’t like girls. Or...anybody for that matter.”
“Well, from one gay to another: Sarah’s full of horse crap.”
“Dude, they’re friends! And Evelyn’s not holding out for anything more.”
Jacky cocked his head as the last few students left the lecture hall. “What about us, Tai? Are we just friends?”
Tai leaned in to kiss him. Jacky kissed back harder, slipping his hand beneath Tai’s nylon shorts. Tai tossed his head back, pacing his breaths.
“Try to hold out as long as you can,” Jacky whispered, nibbling his neck. “I don’t want this to end…prematurely.”
“Hold out, huh?” Tai moaned between breaths. “Fuck...guess I gotta...uh, think about Evelyn the demon or something. That’s a turnoff...uh, am I right?”
“Seriously?” Jacky mumbled. “I’m trying to please you, and you’re gonna talk about another woman? Just stop talking.”
My boyfriend’s a hard nut to crack, Tai thought. Yes, it was true that Jacky had been a cocky, jealous, holier-than-thou douche during the whole class. He’s shallow. But God, his hand feels so good. So Tai let Jacky California finish. And afterward, Tai felt like the shallow one. For letting somebody kiss, caress, and fondle him when he knew for damn sure that they had nothing in common.
***
“And in conclusion,” said a female brunette. “That’s why multicultural cuisine is integral to improving the health of obese Americans in our nation. Thank you!”
“Delightful,” exclaimed Dr. Cartwright: Winston’s female Public Speaking professor. The student thanked her, then returned to her desk in the small Learning Center classroom. Today’s topic: Describe how multiculturalism has changed your life.
“Next up: Winston Beavers,” Dr. Cartwright announced. “Ah, quite a fitting last name, if I do say so myself.”
“Much obliged, ma’am.” Winston tipped his cowboy hat. “No one liked my last name until I became a student at South App.” He walked to the front of the classroom carrying two large foam boards.
“Oh! Somebody chose to use props, I see.”
“I was always a visual learner myself.” Winston set the foam boards up on tripods. “Ever since I was a little shit...um, I mean child, I always had a knack for pictures instead of words. I reckon ain’t much changed since then.”
“That’s very...insightful, Winston. Please begin whenever you’re ready.”
Two huge images were printed on the foam boards. One was a high-res photo of a revolver. The other was a simple stock photo of a 3-ring binder.
“Ladies and gents, when I enrolled last month, two precious items were stolen from me.” Winston pulled out a cigarette and pointed at each of the photos. “Exhibit A: my Colt Single Action Army revolver, gifted to me by my daddy. And Exhibit B: a top-secret binder, gifted to me by the fine folks from Beta Delta Epsilon.”
“Who’s got big dicks? We’ve got big dicks!” chanted a few BDE pledges in the back of the class.
“Don’t you forget it. Uh, anyway, I say all this to say: multiculturalism has impacted my life because it was statistically somebody of a certain race who stole these items from me.”
“Mister Beavers, I must stop you as this is highly inappropriate!” blurted out the professor’s teaching assistant.
“Let...let him continue,” Dr. Cartwright muttered, swallowing the lump in her throat. “Mister Beavers, I do presume you have...dare I say, a valuable theme in your speech?”
“I humbly assure you, I do,” replied Winston tipping his cowboy hat. “I reckon you’re gonna wanna listen to what I’m fixin’ to say.”
***
Down at the other end of the Student Center, Gigi donned goggles and rubber gloves while she weighed silver nitrate powder on a scale.
“Everybody make sure that your scale is switched to grams!” cautioned Dr. Spivey: a wild white-haired mad scientist. “And before anybody asks: no, I will not help you cook meth in an RV! I will, however, give you a list of Asheville’s finest marijuana dealers...for a price.”
Gigi added the powder to a volumetric flask. Then, she unzipped her bookbag and grabbed a bottle of distilled water. She slowly poured the water into the flask, swirling the mixture around.
“Smart, smart, smart!” Dr. Spivey praised Gigi. “Why, I see somebody brought their own water. Now, I think I know why. But please humor me.”
“Gladly!” Gigi obliged, swirling the flask until the silver nitrate dissolved completely. “Well, Professor, I opted to access my personal inventory in hopes of bypassing a lengthy dihydrogen monoxide queue! Translation: look at that line!”
Sure enough, a long line of students stood with flasks in hand, waiting to use the tap of distilled water. Dr. Spivey flipped through his attendance roster. “Ah, you’re my pre-dental student: Ji-hye.” He pronounced it incorrectly as Gee-Hi.
“Oh, it’s actually pronounced Gee-Hey. But my real name’s caused so much...um, confusion that most people call me Gigi now.”
“I see. That’s quite unfortunate. Having to change your name all because of someone else.”
Before Gigi could respond, a frat boy called out to the professor. “Hey, Walter White! I’ll pay ya a hundred bucks for a list of all your dealers. Come on, bubba, that’s like half your salary!”
Dr. Spivey sighed and feigned annoyance. “Ah, these kids and their shrewd business exchanges. Guess I better entertain their shenanigans. Keep up the diligence, Ji-hye.” That time, he pronounced it correctly.
After Dr. Spivey left, a nerdy hipster girl tapped Gigi’s shoulder. “Hey, check this out.” The girl raised her cardigan sleeve to reveal a dark silver nitrate tattoo. Fuck Landsharks. It was the South App Beavers’ rival mascot.
“I...fully approve this message!”
“Here, try one on you before the professor gets back.” The girl handed Gigi a paintbrush.
“Neat!” Gigi replied as if accepting party pills for the first time. “But what to write?” She stared at her class schedule, where her name was also listed as “Ji-hye Moon.” Maybe...I should get used to using my real name again.
Gigi pulled up her hoodie sleeve and dipped the brush into the silver nitrate solution. Just then, the professor summoned everybody back to their desks for discussion. “Ji-hye, Ji-hye, Ji-hye,” she repeated, quickly painting a tattoo on the inside of her left hand.
Gigi rushed back to her desk. Dr. Spivey laughed at the class, his white hair sprawling in all directions. “Fools! I saw what you did. Now, let this be a lesson in commitment. Because silver nitrate tattoos take a week to fade. Now...who wants to show me theirs? Or shall I start calling names?”
Goosebumps rose on the back of Gigi’s neck. Not because her tattoo was semi-permanent, but because she was surely about to be the center of attention. But after a moment of tension, the professor simply dismissed class. Gigi bolted out the door. “So long, Ji-hye!” his voice echoed down the hall.
Shit, did he see my tattoo? Gigi picked up the pace, bumping into students who filed out of the Learning Center classrooms. Around the corner, she heard the grinding of coffee beans and frothing of whole milk. She would soon reach safety at Doppio Coffee Shop...
“Whaaa-oomph!” Gigi gasped, slipping on a banana peel. She landed flat on her back, sending her notebook and loose papers flying.
“Whoa, are you okay?” asked a short Indian guy as he rushed to Gigi’s aid. He helped her to her feet. “Yo, did you get that on video?” he asked another Indian, who ran up with a video camera. “Hey, Miss, it was just a social experiment! See, we’re from the South App Social Club. Hey, are you listening? It was just a prank, bro!”
A mentally-drained Gigi kneeled down to collect her supplies. It was only when Gigi reached down to collect her papers that she read the tattoo on her hand. And it did not read Ji-hye...
“WINSTON?!” her voice cracked.
“Jesus fuckin’ Christ,” mumbled a young cowboy, hunched over a large caramel frappuccino. “Are ya that surprised to find me here?”
Winston was sitting at Doppio Coffee Shop. Gigi hurriedly pulled down her hoodie sleeves past her fingertips. She balled the draping sleeves over her fists, concealing the palms of her hands. Then, she walked over to Winston as if she didn’t look like a complete-
“You look like a complete dork!” Winston chuckled.
“Oh! I was...uh, cold,” Gigi lied. She held up her balled-up fists like a panda bear. “See, I made my own gloves!”
Winston snatched her right wrist, then placed it palm-down on the counter. He reached into his pocket for a dull, rusty Swiss Army Knife.
“So what we wanna do is make a quick little incision where the thumb is right here.” Winston cut a small hole in the sleeve. Carefully, he guided her thumb through the hole to create a mitten of sorts for her small hand.
“Now, let’s do your left hand.”
Gigi’s heart skipped a beat as he grabbed her tattooed left hand and lay her palm on the table. Don’t look at my tattoo, don’t look at it, don’t look at it!
“Ugh, damn blade’s straight-up fucked,” Winston scoffed. “Must’ve been that buck I skinned.”
“Eek! That’s so gross! Have you at least washed it?” Don’t look at it, don’t look at it, don’t look at it!
Winston ignored her question. “Here, let me see your palm so I can-”
For the love of all that is sacred and holy, don’t look at it, don’t look at it, DON’T LOOK AT IT!
“I have to poop!” Gigi blurted out.
Winstons let go of Gigi’s hand. He and everybody else stared in disbelief. Of course, she was lying. It’s not even what she meant to say. But Gigi took that baton and ran a country mile. “Um...it appears that most sharp cheeses give me constipation. But ever since I ate all those mozzarella sticks, I have major runs!”
Gigi stood up, crossed her arms, and bowed. Then, she skittered off to the restroom - her secret safe in her left hand.
A preppy guy and girl walked up behind the dumbfounded Winston. “Yo, country boy needs to teach his lady friend some manners, am I right?” The guy looked around, trying to rally the cafe customers for support. “That’s one thing I hate about this liberal town. What a fuckin’ dyke.”
A storm brewed in Winston’s head. But he kept it bottled up inside. He chuckled instead, placing a hand on the guy’s shoulder. A pause. Suddenly, Winston yanked him into a headlock, holding the pocket knife to his crotch. His girlfriend shrieked like a mouse, while the young man raised his trembling hands.
“Oh fuck, oh fuck, oh fuck!” the guy yelled.“T-take it easy, man! I was just-”
“Now listen here, partner.” Winston applied pressure with his blade. “I’ve had my share of good days. Matter fact, they’ve been a dime a dozen. But I reckon I’ve had my share of bad days too. And this right here is one of them bad days.” Winston motioned at the paper next to his drink. “See that-there paper over there? That’s the speech I just gave in front of a crowd of SJWs. And you wanna know what the teacher gave me? D-fuckin’-minus.”
“I’m...s-s-sorry,” the preppy guy whimpered.
“Yeah, me too,” Winston grumbled, using his knife to flick off the button on the guy’s board shorts.
“Somebody, do something!” the guy’s air-headed girlfriend cried.
And on cue, a thin brown liquid ran down the preppy guy’s legs. It seeped into his white Champion socks and stained his off-brand boat shoes. The putrid smell hit the gasping, coughing patrons.
Satisfied, Winston shoved the guy into his girlfriend’s arms. “I reckon you best wash up, partner.” Whispers and murmurs in the crowd while the preppy boy limped toward the men’s bathroom. “Hol’ up. I reckon you best make your way to the female bathroom. Matter fact, all bathrooms are gender-neutral around these parts. And while you’re in there, you can apologize to that so-called dyke from earlier. Tell her Winston Motherfucking Beavers sent you.”
With anguish and defeat in his eyes, the lady entered the female bathroom. Satisfied, Winston gathered his things and decided that it was time to get the fuck out of there. But when he turned around to leave, a thunderous applause erupted behind him like an action movie explosion. Winston smiled mischievously. For the first time since he enrolled, he finally belonged.
Suddenly, Winston slipped on the banana feel and landed square on his elbow. “Oh, shit!” exclaimed the Indian student, running to his side. “Are you okay, man?”
***
Frank shivered on top of Claire as she dug her nails into his back. He lay there for a moment, his breath ragged. Then, he rolled off, breathing heavily on Winston’s top bunk. He slipped off the latex condom and tossed it into an empty cheese ball can on Winston’s bunk.
“Alas, thou hadst sucketh the chi from my body and-”
“Remember, like, no talking!” Claire reminded him condescendingly. She pulled the covers over her breasts, opened Instagram, and took a duck-face selfie.
“Ah, perhaps you didn’t get a chance to c-”
“Like, no.” Claire casually added a rabbit-ear filter and snapped a pic. “But that’s, like, totally okay...I guess.”
Frank transformed from Shakespeare to Sherlock, scanning Winston’s filthy bachelor bedspread for something. Anything. There were cigarette butts, saltine crumbs, half a stick of butter, Fun Dip packages with only the dip missing, a whole uneaten chicken wing, piss in a Sprite bottle, a Happy Meal box with a dead rat inside, three leaking D Batteries, and Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
Finally, Frank grabbed a nearly-empty can of whipped cream. He yanked the covers off the naked Claire and sprayed a line from her collarbone to navel. Now, he had Claire’s full, undivided attention. She slowly looked down at the runny mess that pooled into her belly button. Then, she gave him the hungriest bedroom eyes Frank had ever seen.
“If you’re, like, going to play with your food, then you better totally clean up after yourself.”
Frank and Claire proceeded to do unthinkable things in that bed. And Winston’s top bunk held on by faith and faith alone. Finally, they collapsed next to one another. Two sweaty messes bathing in afterglow. Afterward, they snuck into the men’s shower where they agreed on two things. One: they were going to burn that mattress out of respect for Winston. And two: they were going to have sex at Beleavers that night.
***
“Look here, you little bitch!”
Evelyn grabbed the young, black cheerleader’s collar and pulled her across the table, showing her fangs.
“W-whoa!” the cheerleader stammered. “Chill out! I’m...sorry.”
“Sorry about what?”
The girl panned from Evelyn to Sarah, Tai, and Jacky. “I’m...uh, sorry for asking you if you were selling tickets to a Marilyn Manson concert.”
“Apology accepted!” Sarah cheered on Evelyn’s behalf. She pointed at the assorted bath bombs for sale in the Learning Center Ballroom. “Everything you see here is between 10 and 15. If you have a sweet tooth, the fine gents to my right are selling yummy cookies and banana bread. Or…” Sarah pulled out the sacred BDE binder and placed it on the table. “Between you and me, we’re selling fake IDs.”
“Yeah!” Tai said. “There’s a few young ladies in there who have a mocha complexion almost as rich as yours!”
Jacky elbowed Tai in the ribs. Tai sucked in a breath, while his boyfriend acted as nothing had just happened. My boyfriend is jealous over fuckin’ everything.
The cheerleader looked over her shoulder to make sure the coast was clear. Then, she flipped through the pages as if she was dress shopping. “They contain the new state watermark and everything!” Sarah informed her customer. “We accept only cash at the moment. They cost-”
“A hundred, dudette,” Jacky interjected. Sarah gave him a worrisome side-eye at the exorbitant price. But as expected, the rich cheerleader pulled out the bills and handed them over.
“Oh, that makeup actually makes your eyes pop - no cap,” the cheerleader told Evelyn, before disappearing into the Beleavers crowd with her fake ID.
“Mission accomplished!” Jacky cheered. They had managed to pull off just over 100 sales: 7500 bucks split four ways. Now, it was time to close up shop for the night. Soon, the Christian rock band would take the stage to celebrate God in a room full of students with brand new identities.
“Come on, Tai,” Jacky said, smiling warmly. “Let’s grab some popcorn. I have somebody I want you to meet.”
Tai waved at the girls as they watched them leave.
“I...really don’t know what to make of Jacky,” Sarah admitted. “A few weeks ago, I tracked him down across campus because I thought he was smoking hot. I mean, he still is. But still…”
“He’s a fucking fake,” Evelyn fumed. “That holier-than-thou douchelord can sit on a tack.”
“Whoa, sounds like you need to relieve some stress,” Sarah chuckled, punching Evelyn’s arm. “Why don’t we head to the quad and settle our tie-breaker?”
At that, Sarah and Evelyn left for one last grappling match to end them all.
***
Winston and Gigi approached the Ballroom entrance, where thumping Christian rock rattled the door.
“So...are you a Christian or are you here for the popcorn?” Winston asked.
“A little bird told me that it is pretty tasty!” Gigi admitted sheepishly.
“And I reckon that little bird was Frankie?”
“Yes, actually! He’s supposed to meet me here. But...I haven’t heard from him in a few hours.”
“Ah. Same with Claire.”
Just like last week’s restaurant date, Gigi and Winston had been once again ghosted by their lovers. It had become a running meme at this point.
“M-maybe their bus is running late?” Gigi suggested, failing to convince even herself.
“Hey, while we’re meddlin’ in conspiracy theories, I’ve got one too. See, Frankie likes to cook. And I’mma bet he’s with Claire, baking her a fresh, homemade cream-”
Gigi clamped her hand over Winston’s mouth. Gigi’s pupils said it all. So he opted to lay off the jokes. Neither either of them really believed their lovers were sneaking around with each other.
Winston opened the ballroom door and promptly caught an elbow to the temple.
“Oomph!” Winston groaned. Gigi slouched against the wall for safety. The scene was no Sunday morning gospel band. This was a Christian hardcore band. And they had just walked into a mosh pit.
“W-Winston!” Gigi yelled over the screamo vocals. But among the flurry of flailing super-Christians, Winston had vanished. Gigi bent her knees and jumped as high as she could, searching for his cowboy hat in the crowd. Suddenly, a punk-rock girl came up from behind and lifted her into the air.
“She’s tryin’ to go surfing!” the girl yelled, heaving her into the crowd like a FedEx package. Gigi gasped before landing into a sea of open hands. This “wave” slowly guided her through the spazzing strobe lights and fog.
Suddenly, an anonymous hand grazed her breast, then very deliberately squeezed it. “W-whaaa!?” Gigi pulled her knee to her stomach, then kicked the culprit square in the face.
“You bitch!” the fondler yelled psychotically, cupping a hand over his bleeding nose. “Throw this fucking slut overboard!” And, in unison, the moshers raised and lowered her body in their hands. “One, two, three!”
Gigi flew into the air - falling, falling, falling until she crashed into a table of baked goods and bath bombs. Winded, she slipped behind the tablecloth and curled up under the table. The mob raged outside.
“Animals,” Gigi whispered, rubbing her sore breast. Alone in the dark under that table, she wanted to cry. She could only imagine what Winston would have done if she caught that pervert red-handed. Maybe I should have let him keep his gun.
Gigi turned on her phone’s flashlight and looked around. Under the table were several cardboard boxes. One, in particular, was labeled Sarah’s Box O’Fun. Gigi recognized it immediately. On move-in day, she’d watched Sarah unpack a huge bong from that very box. Then, Sarah had dared a drunk Winston to drink the bong water. He did. (“Gigi, meet my brother.”)
This is...Sarah’s table? She’s here at Beleavers tonight? Feeling gutsy, she sifted through the box. On top of the mountain of bath bombs and baked goods, the B.D.E. binder sat there in all its glory. She flipped through pages upon pages of fake IDs. On a scratch sheet of notebook paper: a tally of sales for Sarah, Evelyn, Tai, and Claire. But no Winston. And slowly, her busy brain started to connect the dots.
“Holy balls,” she whispered, snapping the stolen binder shut. She thought about taking it right then and there and returning it to its bearded beast of an owner. But another thought crossed her mind.
I could leave it here and blackmail them for money, Gigi thought. All I have to do is threaten to tell Winston! The decision was set in stone. She left the binder behind and slipped out from under the table. But not before stealing a baseball-sized charcoal bath bomb.
***
In the popcorn line, safe from the mosh pit, Jacky stood in front of Tai with his back turned. The blonde-haired surfer had been rambling excitedly with an Asian guy for five minutes now. And not once had Jacky thought to introduce him.
“Oh, Tai Maple!” Jacky finally remembered, turning to face him. “This is my friend: Benji. Benji, meet Tai.”
This freckle-faced Asian guy gave a slight bow. Tai immediately knew who he was. In fact, Gigi had given him the full scoop while she and Tai had shared her very first cheese pizza. It had all begun on the day where the freshmen tracked down Jacky in his mail truck. Jacky had mistaken the cross-dressing Gigi with the Benji who now stood before him.
And this Benji was allegedly Jacky’s secret long-time crush.
“Benji, would you please grab us a popcorn?” Jacky asked politely, stepping out of the line. “I need to talk to my friend here...alone.”
“Friend,” Tai echoed, following Jacky like a lost puppy.
“Tai, this is just as hard for me, brother,” Jacky frowned, more condescending than empathetic.
“The hell it is!” Tai blew up, drowned out by the hardcore band. “You had your hand in my pants just a few hours ago! Were you fucking planning on leaving me this whole time? For him?!”
“Tai, listen man. Look, I know everything. When you showed up at the coffee shop, I knew you’d been spying on me long before you met me. I first thought our meeting was a...beautiful coincidence. But all along, you were pulling the wool over my eyes. But that’s okay, brochacho! Because I gave you a chance anyway. See, I wanted to save you from what you are! You’re a liar, bro. But in God’s eyes, we all-”
“I let you take my goddamn virginity!” Tai exploded over the music, his jaw twitching uncontrollably.
A pitiful look from Jacky. “I see. That does complicate things a bit, on the real. Look, you can have a quarter of my earnings from tonight’s sales. And I promise to pray for you every night before-”
“Fuck you and fuck your God! I hope you die in your fucking sleep! I hate you, I hate you, I HATE YOU!”
Tai turned around and walked confidently out of the ballroom, holding his head up high while vertigo weighed it down. But nobody stopped him. And not once did he look back.
***
Winston limped down the Learning Center hallway with a pounding headache. He struggled to keep his twitching, swollen eye open while passing the empty classrooms. Where he was going, not even he knew. He just had to get far away from that mosh pit.
“Calm, child! You’re quite a fool to be walking around with a concussion!”
Winston turned around. Through his good eye, he saw a large, middle-aged Haitian woman in an African floral dress and headwrap. She held a bible in her large, smooth hands.
“Join us, child,” the woman beckoned, pointing into a classroom of Haitian students in chairs.
Winston smiled weakly, thinking back to his controversial speech from class that morning. “I mighty appreciate it, ma’am. But I reckon I ain’t much worthy.” He turned to walk away, but accidentally stumbled like a drunkard into the woman’s arms.
“Soft, my child,” she soothed him, ushering him into the room of students. “Not one of us is worthy. But there is good news.”
A half-hour later, Winston was sitting in the front row of the Haitian Student Ministry with a bag of frozen peas pressed to his swollen eye. The matriarch, Nadia, was delivering a passionate Psalm 107 sermon to her students.
“Let the one who is wise heed these things,” Nadia read. “And ponder the loving deeds of the Lord. Amen. Now, to conclude, I’d like to introduce our guest: Winston from Beleavers. Please, child, tell us about yourself.”
The young men on either side of Winston gave him a back pat. Winston slowly stood up and tipped his cowboy hat. In his mind, it was his Public Speaking 101 all over again. But in class, he hadn’t been standing in front of all-black students. Like he was now.
“Well, like I told Nurse Nadia earlier. I don’t feel like I’m worthy among y’all fine folks here. I mighty appreciate Nadia for patching me up. And for y’all’s hospitality.”
Winston headed for the door, but Nadia blocked the exit. “Please, child. Do your sins trouble you? May it ease your soul to know that there are redeemed people in this very room who have committed acts of credit card fraud, gang violence, and even beastiality?”
Winston blinked.
But somehow, Nadia’s words did not repel these people away. They brought them closer. So Winston opened his mouth and confessed what had been brewing in his mind all day.
“Well, uh...today in speech class, I said the N-word. I didn’t mean to be ugly when I said it. Only said it to take power away from it. But I reckon I really hurt a couple of people in that class. The only reason the teacher didn’t ban me from the class was ‘cause she wanted me to learn a lesson this year. And I’m tryin’, Nadia. I’m...tryin’ real hard.”
The students didn’t come forward to comfort Winston, who now choked on tears. But they didn’t back away either. It was only when Nadia lay a hand on him that the other students followed suit.
“It sounds like you have a lot to think on,” Nadia said warmly, as layers of hands covered him. “I wish you luck on your journey. We will always be here whenever Beleavers get a little too...rowdy.”
Nadia and the students led a closing prayer for Winston. He smiled as a rush of dopamine reached the brain. The tears flowed freely, even as he used the bag of frozen peas to dab his face.
“Amen,” Nadia concluded. Everybody left Winston’s side and began stacking chairs.
“Wait,” Winston said, returning to his confident southern drawl. “Let me take care of them-there chairs. It’s...the least this poor white boy can do.”
And so, Winston began folding chairs alone while the others left. And like Jesus on the Via Dolorosa, he began carrying ten chairs down the long hallway toward the supply closet. And like all other men, Winston was hell-bent on making only one trip.
“Winston!” Gigi blurted out as he turned a corner. With his hands full, his black eye had nowhere to hide. Gigi dropped her jaw. Then, her mouth formed a pitiful frown. She kissed her tattoo-free hand and gently pressed her fingertips on Winston’s eyelid.
“One more time,” Winston suggested with a grin.
Gigi hesitantly kissed her hand, then reached for Winston’s eyelid again. Suddenly, Winston playfully bit her hand. “Eek!” Gigi quickly brought her hand to her chest.
“You’re a good woman, Gigi,” Winston chuckled, reflecting on his own moral character. Both of their faces flushed red. He shook his head, arms trembling from the weight they carried. “Look, I gotta put these chairs up. Walk with me.”
Gigi carried four of the chairs. And even then, she lagged behind Winston. “So, what’s the word on Frankie? You find him in that-there mob?”
Gigi shook her head, her long black hair whipping back and forth. “Nope! And Claire?”
“Shit,” Winston said, emotionally detached. “Honestly, I don’t expect to see her ever again.”
“Hmmm...so why don’t they love us anymore?”
“Beats me,” said Winston, as they set their chairs down at the closet door. “But if I was a betting man, I’d wager it’s because you and I seem to be attached at the hip these days.”
“Do you think they don’t trust us together? I mean, as friends?”
“Should they?”
Gigi opened her mouth, then closed it. Then, they quickly reached for the doorknob at the same time. A moment passed, and they did not move their hands. Slowly, her earthy brown eyes met his icy blue ones. Gigi’s tattoo was on fire.
Together, they turned the doorknob. And lo and behold: it was Frank and Claire.
Frank’s pants were around his ankles - all eight inches of uncut glory on full display. Claire was on her knees, snorting an eight-inch line of red-and-white cocaine from root to tip. As soon as they were spotted, Claire frantically wiped her nose while Frank shuffled to button his pants.
“W-w-woe is me!” Frank moaned in despair. “It doth appear that our feline hath escaped its rucksack!”
“Like, no fucking shit, Sherlock!” Claire snapped, brushing the cocaine off her shirt. “Do you ever, like, shut the fuck up? Like, look Winston and Gigi! I promise this is, like, not what it looks like. It was just, like, like, like, like, like-”
Winston and Gigi slowly stared at each other - sly grins on their faces.
“Um...are you thinking what I’m thinking?” Gigi asked Winston cheerfully.
“I sure the hell am, buddy,” Winston answered. They each grabbed a folding chair and approached the pair of adulterers.
***
A short while later, at dusk, Winston and Gigi sat on the curb of the Chadwick Hughes Learning Center - handcuffed. A fresh-faced, fat officer stood with his arms crossed, staring at the excited pair of criminals.
“So, you mean to tell me you…stabbed this chick with a chair?” the officer asked, dumbfounded.
“Yep!” Gigi piped up, a wide smile plastered on her face. “I managed to wield my melee weapon like a medieval knight, riding with the north winds until that raging thundercunt landed on her assless keister!”
“That was fuckin’ awesome,” Winston said, giving her an elbow bump. “But not as awesome as me crackin’ Frankie’s skull.”
The cop knitted his brows, taking extensive notes. “Alrighty then. Anything else y’all wanna add?”
Gigi and Winston grinned at each other, adrenaline fueling their veins. They had truly saved the best for last.
“Then, I took out my phone,” Winston started. “And I showed them a pic of-”
“He flashed them a pic of him taking my virginity!” Gigi finished proudly. But it was a lie. No, Winston had instead shown the cheaters the photo of Gigi eating cheese for the first time with Winston. And despite being attacked with a chair, that photo had shocked Frank more than anything.
Cop 2 walked over to Cop 1 and whispered something into his ear. Cop 1 nodded and pointed at Jacky and Claire. The pair looked tired and traumatized, and were hugging and consoling each other next to another cop car.
“Y’all got off lucky this time,” Cop 2 jeered. “They ain’t gonna press charges. You must have some deep dirt on ‘em or something.”
He wasn’t wrong. That red-and-white cocaine was Ryan’s signature product. The BDE fraternity circulated that cocaine more widely than Jacky and his fake IDs. And it was a much larger, lucrative operation. In Winston’s eyes, Claire didn’t want to risk Winston snitching in retaliation for being thrown in jail.
“Ladies first,” said Cop 1, helping Gigi off the curb to her feet. He spun her around and unlocked her handcuffs. “What kinda ink job is that?” the cop muttered, reading the silver nitrate tattoo on Gigi’s palm. “Winston...wait a sec. Hey, that’s your name, right?”
Winston cocked his head at the cop’s question. Gigi’s knees trembled as she let out a nervous chuckle. It surely wasn’t the craziest thing to happen that day. But goddamn, would it be hard to explain.
“Gigi, what the hell?” Winston muttered with a blank expression.
“Call me Ji-hye!” Gigi blurted out proudly. Winston shook his head with a smile as he watched her disappear into the Asheville night.
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2020.08.25 17:06 sauce_murica Green and Gold Part 4 A closer look at United's Finances - Where Has the Money Been Spent?

Manchester United remain a global behemoth. With annual revenues in excess of £627m, [1] United is one of the most valuable clubs on the face of the planet. [1]
As explained in prior G&G installments, in purchasing United, the Glazer family loaded United with heavy debts. [1] The evolution of that debt over time has caused some to question how United are spending their money. For example, by June 2010, those debts had escalated to over £784m. [1] The infamous payment-in-kind loans were quietly repaid in 2010. At that same time, the cash earned from Ronaldo's sale (and the Aon shirt deal) was reportedly used to repay a significant portion of the bonds issued in February 2010. [1] In August 2012, half of the club's IPO proceeds were used for debt reduction, with the other half heading to Glazers. [1]
In total, this led to a bond debt reduction from 509m in June 2010, to 360m as of September 2012 --- resulting in some reputable sources to question whether it was "very possible that debt is virtually eliminated in the next few years." [1]
That has not come to pass. This entry into our Green & Gold Series takes aim at the following question: United remains one of the biggest and most profitable clubs in world football, with some of the largest revenues around. Where has the money gone?
We can do things others can only dream of Are United a Growing Giant or a Shrinking Violet?
In 2018, Ed Woodward famously stated to investors that "[p]laying performance doesn't really have a meaningful impact on what we can do on the commercial side of the business." [1]
There is some truth to this sentiment. From 2009 - 2019, the club's finances have grown significantly. [1] [2] In 2009, the club's commercial revenue was approximately 66 million. By 2019, that figure had more than quadrupled to 275 million. [1] [2] The club likewise benefited from the Premier League's own boon in popularity. From 2009 to 2019, TV revenues grew from 98 million to 241 million. [1] In total, from 2009 - 2019, matchday revenue decreased from 41% of the revenue base, to 19%. One of the results of this can be seen during COVID. While other clubs scrambled to secure finances, furloughing staff and cutting wages, United has to date been able to survive without such significant cuts. [1]
However, if a deeper look is taken into these figures, combined with the relative growth of similarly-situated clubs, cracks begin to appear in Woodward's "results don't matter" assertion. For example, as illustrated here, the club's on-again off-again relationship with the Champion's League has seen a drastic reduction in gate and TV revenue from the infamous Tuesday/Wednesday night matches:
Looking at it differently, as of 2014, by some conservative estimates the cost of missing out on CL football was approximately the cost of one Marouane Fellaini. [1] [2] By 2019, the figure was estimated by the club at around £65million (which figure excludes any potential reduction in the Adidas sponsorship deal). [1] Simply put, the cost of missing out on the sport's elite competition has grown alongside the expansion of the sport itself.
Comparing United's Growth Relative to That of Our Rivals
As recently as 2016, United's revenue growth continued to outpace rivals. [1] [2] [3] However, as years have gone by, that gap has shrunk. From 2017-2018, Liverpool's revenue growth increased nearly 100m, up to £455m from £364m --- taking them from 5th highest to 3rd highest in the league. [1] City's revenues likewise increased from £473m to £500m (2nd highest in the league). [1]
Thus, while United's revenue increased from £515m in 2016 to £590m in 2018, City's increased from £392m to £500m, and Liverpool's increased from £302m to £455m *within the span of two years. [1] [2] This change is highlighted in the following chart:
Club 2016 Revenue 2018 Revenue Growth % Difference
Manchester United £515m £590m £75m 15%
Manchester City £392m £500m £108m 28%
Liverpool £302m £455m £153m 51%
As for commercial revenue alone (an area United is often touted as being the best), the following chart highlights the relative growth of commercial revenue by comparing United to its biggest European counterparts: https://cdn.theathletic.com/app/uploads/2020/05/25080041/revenue-compares.png
As can be seen, over time United's closest rivals appear to be closing the gap on United's claim as one of, if not the, biggest clubs in world football. With that in mind - let's take a closer look at how United has expanded its global reach since the Glazer takeover in 2005.
A change in the club's branding/commercialization approach
Glazer acquired Manchester United in 2005. At the time of the takeover, "United's income of 171.5 million pounds ($323.8m) for the 2003-04 season kept them top of the list [of richest clubs] for the eighth year in a row." [1] Simply put: Glazer inherited a behemoth at the top of the footballing world.
Upon buying the club, the Glazer contingent reportedly met with staff, and according to a former executive indicated:
“They said, ‘Look, we’ve bought this club because we saw an opportunity.' They never came with, ‘We are fans of the club forever and always will be’. They didn’t claim to be anything other than businessmen and they are very good at what they do.” [1]
The change in tactic upon Glazer arrival allegedly prompted United Chairman Sir Roy Gardner and non-executive directors Ian Much and Jim O'Neill to offer their resignations. [1]
Concerns have been raised since regarding the manner by which the Glazer family extended MUFC's reach / image / branding. Edward Freedman served as managing director of the club's merchandising from 1992-97. [1] During his time at United, he took the club's merchandising operation "from a turnover of £1.2 million in 1992 to £28 million when he left five years later." [1] His work with Tottenham, and then United, was significant enough to merit BBC including him in their documentary titled "The Men That Changed Football." [1]
Asked to speak regarding the Glazers' work with United's continued expansion, Freedman responded:
“They haven’t got a clue what a brand is. It’s a very clever money-making move for them to get those deals. However, I’m sorry to say that, as far as enhancing Manchester United, it doesn’t work.” [1]
Freedman's ire related to the manner in which the club worked to increase the reach of its branding efforts. Freedman's aimed to maintain United's status as a "premium brand" and expand the club's reach by working with select, "high profile" branding partners (a la a Rolex or Porsche). Instead, Freedman's ire was drawn by the club choosing, after he left, to sign onto multiple, "lower-quality" partners. The result of this change in branding strategy can be seen through the years. For example:
Mr. Potato
Tomato Juice
X Men - Apocalypse
Independence Day - Resurgence
Yanmar
Tyres
Chevrolet's Dab University
Others in the footballing world have taken issue with how the increased commercial efforts impacted the players:
One high-profile agent privately complained that the club was “obsessed with commercialism” and “one big money-making machine”. After arriving back in the early hours following a match at West Ham, some stars were required to drive mini kids’ Chevrolets in a sponsored stunt the next day instead of resting. [1]
As for Freedman's thoughts on United's approach to branding expansion, he stated “I really can’t deal with it. We were offered all that long ago and never would accept any of it. Not for all the money in the world. Then, of course, the people who understood the brand left and people came in who saw only the recompense of taking money. But taking money for things that aren’t compatible with your brand will eventually ruin your brand. That’s what I can see them doing. The whole charisma, the whole glory of Manchester United, seems to have gone.” [1]
Freedman was not alone in this concern. In April 2007, Lee Daley (a reported lifelong United supporter), left Saatchi & Saatchi UK to become United's group commercial director. [1] He resigned four months later, with one source claiming he quickly became disillusioned at becoming "a glorified sponsorship sales manager." [1]
And although United's sponsorship efforts have resulted in some successes, including what was, at the time, one of the most profitable kit sponsorship of all time, [1] those successes have not always been well-received:
On the commercial side, the shirt sponsorship struck with Chevrolet, worth £450 million over seven seasons, was a major success. But the deal will not be renewed past 2021 and the person responsible for the deal at General Motors, Joel Ewanick, was dismissed soon after its announcement in 2012, with a spokesman saying he had “failed to meet the expectations the company has of an employee”. [1] [2]
Although some have lauded the Glazers' "industrialization/branding efforts" at United, and other clubs have since copied the process, others are more critical - claiming that United's continued growth and success has resulted more from the continued growth of the Premier League than from Glazer ingenuity.
“The step-change in television income, which came out of nowhere and could not have possibly been projected in a business plan, helped them massively.” In the UK alone, Premier League rights rose from £1.024 billion to £1.706 billion in 2007 and reached £5.136 billion in 2016. [1]
Other sources insist the Glazers did project such an increase, based upon their prior experience with US sports, including their ownership of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. [1]
Not all of the Glazers' initial plans came to fruition. For example, the Glazers reportedly initially planned to increase revenues through higher matchday costs. [1] In 2006 documents, it was outlined that the cost of matchday tickets to attend games at Old Trafford was "undervalued" despite increased pricing, on average, by 12.5% in their first season at the helm. [1] The Glazer plan envisaged a further 36% increase in matchday costs prior to the start of the 2012-13 season. [1] However, that plan was not borne into action, which is one reason matchday revenues have stayed level.
Social Media The Claimed Expansion of the Supporter-Base
Alongside the club's expanding commercial revenues, the club has repeatedly touted its expanding supporter-base to shareholders as a measure of the club's off-field success. In 2013, United claimed to shareholders that it had "659 million" supporters. [1] Stated differently, United claimed that, as of 2010, approximately 1 out of every 10 human beings on the planet supported United.
To reach that figure, United hired Kantar, a market research company, who polled 54,000 adults in 39 countries in the summer of 2011. Most questions were answered online. [1] The figures were then extrapolated to produce a number for each of those countries, with that information then extrapolated to cover the rest of the world, "taking into account such things as the popularity of football in these countries, and whether players born in them had played for Manchester United in the past." Kantar director Richard Brinkman claimed he "would back my figures and argue [they are accurate] to within a 1% margin of error." [1]
The claim drew plenty of detractors. For example, Nick Harris, editor of sports finance website SportingIntelligence.com, noted at the time that:
"In five years, purportedly, Manchester United's following has gone from 333 million, or thereabouts, to 659 million. So almost a doubling of people following Manchester United in five years. This is eyebrow-raising stuff!" [1]
Mr. Harris likewise questioned other Kantar claims, such as the suggestion "that more than 30% of South Korea's total population of 49 million were followers of Manchester United." [1] Especially in light of the live viewing figures for United in the country, at the time, registering less than one million people. [1]
By 2019, United reported to investors claiming to have 1.1 billion fans. [1] Stated differently - from 2013 to 2019, United claimed to have gone from "1 in 10" people worldwide supporting United, to "1 in 7."
The survey for the 2019 report was once more completed by Kantar.
We're Man United and We'll Spend What We Want
Alongside being one of the top earning clubs in world football, United are also one of the top spending clubs. As discussed previously, [1] United are not shrinking violets in the transfer market - with one of the highest net spends over the last decade. [1] [2]
Let's take a closer look at where United, under Glazer ownership, has spent those funds.
Player Signings
United last won the Premier League in 2013 under Sir Alex Ferguson. Since that time, United have spent over £1.015 billion on player purchases. [1] [2] But let's break that down a bit further. First, let's take a look at what that billion has gotten us:
Year Signed Manager Player Position Cost
2020 Solskjaer Bruno Fernandes Mid £49.50m
2019 Solskjaer Harry Maguire CB £78.30m
2019 Solskjaer Aaron Wan Bissaka RB £49.50m
2019 Solskjaer Daniel James RW £15.30m
2018 Mourinho Fred CM £53.10m
2018 Mourinho Dalot RB £19.80m
2018 Mourinho Lee Grant GK £1.53m
2017 Mourinho Romelu Lukaku ST £76.23m
2017 Mourinho Nemanja Matic CM £40.23m
2017 Mourinho Victor Lindelof CB £31.50m
2017 Mourinho Alexis Sanchez ST Mkhitaryan
2016 Mourinho Paul Pogba CM £94.50m
2016 Mourinho Henrikh Mkhitaryan RW £37.80m
2016 Mourinho Eric Bailly CB £34.20m
2015 van Gaal Anthony Martial LW/ST £54.00m
2015 van Gaal Morgan Schneiderlin CM £31.50m
2015 van Gaal Memphis Depay LW £30.60m
2015 van Gaal Matteo Darmian RB £16.20m
2015 van Gaal Bastian Schweinsteiger CM £8.10m
2014 van Gaal Angel di Maria LW £67.50m
2014 van Gaal Luke Shaw LB £33.75m
2014 van Gaal Ander Herrera CM £32.40m
2014 van Gaal Marcos Rojo LB/CB £18.00m
2014 van Gaal Daley Blind LB/CB £15.75m
2014 van Gaal Falcao ST £6.84m (loan fee)
2014 van Gaal Vanja Milinkovic-Savic GK £1.58m
2013 Moyes Juan Mata RW/CM £40.26m
2013 Moyes Marouane Fellaini CM £29.16m
All figures in this thread are taken from Transfermarkt.
Prior to that, from 2005-2012, Sir Alex spent a total of £362.8m. Accordingly, from 2005 to date, under Glazer ownership United has spent £1.3778 billion on player acquisitions.
Player Sales
Year Player Transfer Fee
2005 Phil Neville £4.77m
2005 Kleberson £2.34m
2006 Ruud van Nistelrooy £13.50m
2006 David Jones £1.35m
2006 Jonathan Sepctor £675,000
2006 David Bellion £450,000
2006 Luke Steele £225,000
2007 Gabriel Heinze £10.8m
2007 Giuseppe Rossi £9m
2007 Alan Smith £8.1m 
2007 Kieran Richardson £7.38m
2007 Tim Howard £3.78m
2007 Phil Bardsley £2.7m
2008 Gerard Pique £4.5m
2008 Chris Eagles £1.35m
2008 Mikael Silvestre £855,000
2009 Cristiano Ronaldo £84.60m
2009 Frazier Campbell £3.69m
2009 Manucho £2.48m
2009 Lee Martin £2.03m
2009 Danny Simpson £779,000
2010 Zoran Tosic £8.55m
2010 Ben Foster £6.3m
2011 John O'Shea £4.05m
2011 Gabriel Obertan £3.06m
2011 Mama Diouf £1.62m
2011 Wes Brown £1.35m
2011 Danny Drinkwater £810,000
2011 Darron Gibson £540,000
2011 Jue Dudgeon £86,000
2012 Dimitar Berbatov £4.50m
2012 Ji-sung Park £2.79m
2012 Ritchie De Laet £1.13m
2014 Danny Welbeck £18.00m
2014 Shinji Kagawa £7.20m
2014 Alexander Buttner £4.95m
2014 Wilfried Zaha £3.42m
2014 Chicharito £2.70m (loan fee)
2014 Bebe £2.70m
2014 Michael Keane £2.30m
2014 Patrice Evra £1.71m
2015 Angel di Maria £56.70m
2015 Chicharito £10.80m
2015 Jonny Evans £7.47m
2015 Robin van Persie £5.85m
2015 Nani £5.40m
2015 Rafael £2.88m
2015 Angelo Henriquez £1.50m
2015 Reece James £1.26m
2016 Morgan Schneiderlin £20.70m
2016 Memphis Depay £14.40m
2016 Paddy McNair £4.73m
2016 Tyler Blackett £1.62m
2016 Will Keane £1.08m
2017 Henrikh Mkhitaryan Sanchez
2017 Adnan Januzaj £7.65m
2017 Andreas Pereira £2.70m (loan fee)
2018 Daley Blind £14.40m
2018 Sam Johnstone £6.62m
2018 Marouane Fellaini £6.48m
2019 Romelu Lukaku £66.60m
2019 Chris Smalling £2.70m (loan fee)
2019 Matteo Darmian £2.23m
2019 Ashley Young £1.53m
In total, United has recovered £488.42m (plus one Alexis Sanchez) from player sales/loans.
Accordingly, under Glazer ownership, Manchester United has a total net spend of £889.38m.

So Where Has the Money Gone?

The Cost of a Takeover & Multiple Re-Financings
The Glazer family acquired United in 2005. United spent more money paying the interest costs associated with the newfound debt than they spent on player acquisitions any year between 2005 - when the club was acquired - and 2013 - when the debt was refinanced. [1] [2] [3]
In 2013, United refinanced their debt. By refinancing, United repaid about half of its outstanding bonds using a new bank loan from Bank of America. [1] By doing so, United reduced the club's interest bill from around £31m per year (pro-forma post the IPO) to around £21m per year. [1]
By the summer of 2015, Manchester United refinanced the club's debt on four separate occasions - the last of which occurred in 2015. [1] In 2015, the club's debt stood at £382m, with total annual interest costs of £20m. [1] The refinancing reduced the cash interest paid.
The amount of interest paid between 2005 and 2015 can be visualized here:
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-pilgsdeAZRc/VWn1gP4bkYI/AAAAAAAAEQw/tButyOPUIlM/s1600/2015%2Brefi%2Btable%2B3.png
Public float profits Glazers
Some have viewed the public float of the club's stock as evidence of a possible future in which the club is sold. To date, reality has not matched this expectation.
The initial public float raked in £150 million in funds. Per some reports, the initial plan was for the Glazers to pocket the full profits from the float, but the NYSE expressed reservations with that plan. [1]. Ultimately, half of the funds was used to pay off some of the club's takeover debt. [1] The remaining half landed in Glazer pockets. [1] [2]
Despite the funds realized from the float, the target price for the shares was $16-20 per share. The price was ultimately set at $14/share. [1] [2]
Hopes that the float would result in greater transparency were likewise short-lived. "Classed as an 'emerging growth' company, [1] United were exempted from having to reveal all their financial data to the market, [1] a position they reinforced by moving company registry from Old Trafford to the Cayman Islands." [1] [2] And by setting different voting rights for Class A and B shares, and retaining the Class B shares, the Glazers were able to retain a 78% ownership interest in the club - and an iron grip on the club's voting rights. [1]
Glazer Profits
Per the most recent financial reports, annual dividends total approximately £84 million. [1] In January, dividends of £11.3 million went to shareholders. [1] The Glazer family currently owns approximately 78% of the club, meaning they split approximately £8.8 million of that equally. [1]
In addition, the Glazers recovered approximately £75 million from the NYSE listing, together with loans to other companies (between 2005-'12), and further share sales. In total, the Glazers have made more than £200m selling slices of their shareholdings to investors. [1]
Upon refinancing the club's debt in 2010, the paperwork submitted revealed the Glazers had, since 2006, been paid £10m in “management and administration fees” and Kassewitz and each of her five brothers had borrowed £1.66m, £10m in total, from the club. [1] The total paid to the board and executive management in 2018-19 was £10.7m, which the accounts do not break down individually. Woodward is paid by a subsidiary company, Manchester United Football Club Ltd; his salary in 2017-18, the most recently published, was £4.152m. [1]
By comparison, in nine years at Liverpool, FSG has put in a net £100m. [1] Meanwhile, since initially purchasing the club in a £790 million leveraged takeover, the Glazers have "personally received close to £200 million from the club." [1]

Conclusion

In total, by some estimates the Glazers' ownership has cost the club £1.5 billion in interest, debt and other outgoing expenses. [1] By comparison, United has spent £1.3778 billion on player acquisitions, and recovered £488.42m from sales/loans, for a net spend of £889.38m. In total, Glazer ownership has cost United £610.6m more than United have spent on player acquisitions from 2005 to date.
Past Green & Gold Installments:
Part One: Who are the Glazers?
Part Two: The Takeover: How did that happen?
Part Three: The Glazer Transfer History - Can Insight be Gleaned regarding our Potential Summer Business?
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2020.08.22 07:11 RickieXCX [BB] Big Brother: Second Chances (S6)

Welcome to Big Brother Season Six: Second Chances! This season, we have a big brother season full of new players, and players who didn’t do too well their first time around. Let’s take a look at the cast!
NEWBIES
SECOND CHANCERS
Now let us see how everyone did.
________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Week One: The eight new houseguests enter the Big Brother house, as they notice there are only eight of them. Just then, it is announced that this season, players who all went home first or second in their season, have returned for a second chance to play Big Brother. Everyone in the house seems to get along instantly, no arguments of anything breaking out just yet; other than the small tension between Sanjay and Jerry. For the first HOH of the season, newbie Betty, wins! Big Brother announces that each HOH must create a list of four potential nominees when starting their HOH week, and will have to select two by the end of the week; mainly production stirring up drama. Betty chooses to put Aaron, Jerry, Kiara, and Marcus on her list for potential nominees, who will also be have nots for the week. Though, on nomination day, Marcus and Kiara were able to plead their cases and convince Betty to nominate Jerry and Aaron for eviction, two games threats. To Aaron’s advantage, he wins the POV, removing himself from the block. Betty chooses to nominate Chiya, two Second Chancers being on the block on the first week. Jeremy and Sanjay are outcasted by the others due to their closed offness, but bond over it. Kiara is starting to irritate live feed views, as she is targeting Chiya this week, an early fan favorite. During this time, our first alliance forms between Betty, Jeremy, and Tara. On eviction night, on an 11-2 vote, Jerry is first evicted from the Big Brother house for a second time. His father and Deborah were the only votes to save him.
Week Two: A popularity twist is announced to the houseguests early the next morning, that viewers were able to vote on one houseguest to keep immune until jury; that being Nina! Yolanda and Jamal both seem to have been getting close lately, but are keeping it hidden from the other houseguests. Still, the house is very passive, as no one openly dislikes anyone. Nina wins the HOH competition, and the four last placing houseguests being Deborah, Jeremy, Sanjay, and Yolanda are this weeks have nots. Nina must give a list of potential nominees, who she names as Aaron, Deborah, Fadia, and Jamal. After some deliberation, Nina decides that her best option is to nominate Jamal and Aaron. During the POV competition the next day, Nina wins again, and chooses to discard it. Jamal is clearly having flashbacks of being evicted during Week Two, again. During a random task, Tara and Kiara win the opportunity to go on a dinner date together, and bond over it. Malvina starts to play a social game when she bonds with both Yolanda and Jeremy, ultimately convincing the two of them to join an alliance with her, Sanjay, and Cedric. They all agree and create an alliance of five. On eviction night, it is a unanimous 12-0 vote that evicts Aaron from the house.
Week Three: No new alliances seem to stand out, but it is clear who is close with who in the house. Yolanda and Malvina seem the closest, as Yolanda also had a strong bond with Jamal. In the HOH competition, the top six players were treated as the haves of the week, while the bottom four would receive the have not treatment. When it came down to it, Betty ended up winning her second HOH. When setting up her list of potential nominees, Betty chose Deborah, Fadia, Kiara, and Malvina. Though, Fadia and Kiara were her final picks, as she believes they’re bigger threats. Marcus plays in the POV and wins, taking Fadia off the block, as he feels she is a number towards his game. Betty makes Chiya the replacement nominee, finalizing that either her or Kiara, another second chancer, will be evicted. Kiara has a major meltdown, but ends up impressing half of the house, as the other half seem to sympathize with her, improving her social game. Sanjay seems to warm up around the cameras, his popularity starting to rise, especially when he made the conscious decision to play a lone wolf game, and left his alliance with Cedric, Jeremy, Malvina, and Yolanda. During this time though, Cedric is starting to spark his social game when he aligns himself with Jamal. During eviction night, Kiara’s meltdown didn’t fully work as she was evicted by a 10-1 vote.
Week Four: A twist is announced this week that everything will be done backwards! The houseguests are told that each of them must vote on who they want the two nominees to be; in which Jamal receives 7 votes, and Marcus 6 votes, making them the nominees. The POV takes place directly after, in which Jamal wins, and eventually takes himself off the block. Houseguests must all vote on who they want the replacement nominee to be, which ends up being Fadia with the highest votes of 7. Afterwards, the have nots of this week are revealed to be Cedric, Fadia, Jeremy, and Tara, after they fail a task. The next day during the HOH competition, Sanjay ends up winning by surprise. Everyone is impressed with Sanjay so far, as they didn’t expect him to do as well as he has. Betty finds herself bonding with both Sanjay and Fadia after the competition; but during this, Jamal and Cedric break off their alliance. Instead, Jamal is invited to a new majority alliance consisting of Betty, Chiya, Deborah, Jamal, Sanjay, Tara, and Yolanda! As Sanjay won the HOH, he will have the sole vote to evict another player; in which he chooses Fadia.
Week Five: Yolanda is clearly very close with both Jamal and Malvina in the house, as are Sanjay and Deborah, who seem to be starting up a showmance. We have our first rival spark up with Cedrick and Marcus, who have shown a clear disliking to each other after the end of their alliance last week. Jamal wins the HOH, which guarantees Yolanda will survive another week. Sanjay and Nina manage to complete a task together, meaning there will be no have nots this week. Big Brother offers another advantage to the players in the house if they complete a task, but the players sadly fail. Jamal must pick four potential nominees who end up being Cedric, Jeremy, Malvina, and Marcus. Though, his final nominees end up being Cedric and Malvina. Malvina lucks out when she wins the POV and removes herself from the block; Jamal naming Marcus as the replacement nominee. Chiya and Malvina grow closer, but Jeremy’s popularity drops when he’s caught eavesdropping on the girls. Tara decides that her best option to not hurt any of her alliance members ultimately would be to leave the majority alliance, in which she does. On eviction night, Marcus is evicted by a 7-2 vote and is the first member of the jury, which means Nina is no longer immune.
Week Six: With Marcus gone now, some of the tension in the house has seemed to alleviated, and everyone is getting along again. Betty wins her third HOH. She must name four potential nominees who end up being Cedric, Malvina, Nina, and Sanjay. But, Betty ends up making her nominees Malvina and Cedric. During the POV, Jamal is selected, and wins, saving Malvina. Nina is shocked when the first week after her immunity ends, she ends up on the block next to Cedric. Jeremy gets a little closer to Chiya, as does Betty to Deborah. Yolanda and Nina also bond, but Cedric loses popularity after spreading lies about Nina to evict her, a fan favorite. On eviction night, it comes to a tied 4-4 vote which means Betty must choose who to evict. Betty ends up choosing Nina, who’s immunity had just ended this very week.
Week Seven: The older houseguests that are Sanjay, Deborah, and Jeremy all seem to be getting along quite well together. During the HOH, Jamal wins, and Deborah manages to find a safety card during the competition, granting her safety for the week. Though, the last four houseguests to finish became the have nots; which consists of Cedric, Chiya, Deborah, and Jeremy. Jamal must make a list of potential nominees, in which he chooses Cedric, Malvina, Jeremy (the three most common nominated), and Tara. Though in the end, Jamal finalizes his nominees as Jeremy and Malvina. Cedric wins the POV, and ALSO manages to find the secret hidden POV during the competition that he may use this week, or next week! Cedric uses his POV to take his friend, Malvina, off the block, in which Jamal nominates Tara. Everyone is shocked when the first actual verbal argument breaks out of the season between Jeremy and Malvina. Yolanda ends up bonding well with Tara, but loses significant popularity after she makes an insensitive comment. On eviction night, a near unanimous vote of 6-1 sends Tara out of the Big Brother house.
Week Eight: Everyone seems to be playing quite a good social game so far, other than Cedric. Cedric though doesn’t have to worry, as he ends up winning the HOH. On his potential nominee list, he names Betty, Deborah, Sanjay, and Jamal; though his final nominees end up being Sanjay and Jamal. Cedric holds all of the power again when he wins the POV, and chooses to use it on Sanjay strategically, and places Betty on the block next to Jamal. This way, a strong competitor will be evicted regardless. A few tasks take place for the houseguests to earn a few advantages, in which Sanjay wins both a slop pass, and a $1,000 online shopping spree. Chiya performed the worst, and will have to dress as a bear and sleep in a cave for the week. Betty and Malvina end up bonding a bit, but not until after Betty got into a minor argument with Sanjay about his recent behavior. Chiya gains some popularity as viewers find her dressing as a bear comical. On eviction night, Jamal is evicted by a 6-1 vote.
Week Nine: Sanjay and Deborah have blossomed into a showmance while working together in their alliance. Yolanda wins her first challenge of the season by winning HOH, but Chiya, Sanjay, and Betty perform the worst, which makes them this weeks have nots. The houseguests complete a minor task, in which Big Brother grants them a pizza party! Yolanda’s potential nominees end up being Cedric, Chiya, Deborah, and Sanjay; but her final two nominees are Sanjay and Chiya. Cedric wins the POV, and also gets the opportunity to talk to a juror, where he chooses Jamal to improve their lacking relationship. Cedric uses his POV on Chiya, which forces Yolanda into making Betty the replacement nominee. The rest of the house seem to be pretty impressed with Cedric after making it this far. On eviction night, majority of the houseguests, mostly Deborah, are upset to watch as Sanjay is evicted by a 4-1 vote.
Week Ten: No hard feelings seem to be felt still, as the houseguests are getting along quite well, with the most dramatic houseguests out of the house now. Big Brother announces that this week will be a double eviction, in which Jeremy ends up winning his first competition of the season, the HOH. His potential nominees end up being Cedric, Chiya, Deborah, and Malvina; but his three nominees are Cedric, Chiya, and Deborah. Malvina wins the POV, and chooses to keep Yolanda and Betty safe by not using it. Jeremy surprised everyone this week by winning the HOH, and has gained their mutual respect. Cedric and Deborah seem to get a little closer, but Betty and Yolanda grow even closer. The houseguests must vote who they’d like to save, in where a 2–1 vote saves Chiya, evicting Cedric and Deborah from the Big Brother house.
Week Eleven: It is clear that Yolanda and Malvina are very close, the same going for Jeremy and Betty; which gives us a Hero vs. Villains type of set up. Though Jeremy feels semi-close with Malvina, Malvina dislikes Jeremy. Yolanda wins the HOH and promises Malvina safety, but Betty also feels safe in Yolanda’s power. During Big Brother’s bonus task, Chiya is given the task to prank the other houseguests with fake punishments. If they believe her, there will be no have nots. Luckily, they believe her, and there are no have nots. Since there are only five houseguests left, Yolanda will not have to name potential nominees, and selects Betty and Chiya for eviction. To Betty’s luck, Jeremy wins the POV and takes her off of the block, the Villains living to see another week. Yolanda must name her closest ally, Malvina, as the replacement nominee. All of the houseguests seem to still get along despite the pressure of the game, but Jeremy seems to gain popularity from viewers as a villain of the season. Chiya feels she cannot trust Betty and Yolanda though, and leaves her alliance with them. On eviction night, Malvina is saved when the votes are tied 1-1. Yolanda cannot evict her closest friend, and chooses to evict Chiya.
Week Twelve: Jeremy and Betty are still aligned closely, same going with Yolanda and Malvina as they reach the top four. Though Jeremy still believes he is friends with Malvina, Malvina dislikes him, but is warming up to him. Malvina is extremely lucky when she wins the HOH, nominating both Betty and Jeremy as her nominees. Though, Malvina is distraught when Jeremy wins the POV, and takes himself off of the block. At this point, Yolanda and Malvina are confident that Yolanda will be evicted. Betty and Yolanda bond a bit during eviction night, as Jeremy casts the final vote to evict Yolanda from the Big Brother house.
Week Thirteen: The odds are against Betty and Malvina at this point, as Jeremy seems to be aligned with the both of them. Betty successfully wins the first part of the final HOH competition, followed by Malvina winning the second part. Betty wins the third part, in which Malvina feels that her game will be ending very soon. Betty gains significant popularity over viewers, as she has become a clear front runner. During the final eviction ceremony, Betty chooses to evict Malvina, bringing her alliance partner, Jeremy, to the finale.
Finale: Betty and Jeremy sit amongst a jury consisting of Nina, Tara, Jamal, Sanjay, Deborah, Cedric, Chiya, Yolanda, and Malvina, as they must explain why they should win Big Brother: Season Six, Second Chances. Betty states that she risked getting a lot of blood on her hands and playing the villain by winning four HOH’s and still reaching this point, as well as playing a great social game. Jeremy states that he won three competitions in total, and is proud of himself for even reaching this far after being first the first evicted in his season. In a 7-2 vote, Betty is the winner of Big Brother: Second Chances!
Winner: Bethany ‘Betty’ Hobbes
Fan Favorite: Sanjay Naseem
Potential All Stars/Returnees: Betty, Jamal, Cedric, Sanjay, Malvina!, Nina
________________________________________________________________________________________________________
This is probably one of my favorite seasons so far. Though there wasn’t too many rivalries are arguments, the season was still entertaining. Towards the end, I was getting the feeling that Betty and Jeremy were villains while Malvina and Yolanda were hero’s, but based off of the popularity rankings, it’s apparently the other way around! Either way, I’m very pleased with Betty being the winner of the season, I thought she would win about half way through. I feel like Nina was robbed too. She was given the advantage of being immune until jury by the audience, but was evicted the week it expired! This season was great though, and I believe that we’re ready for All Stars now! I’ll be releasing a list of all of the potential All Stars, and hopefully you guys will give me your feedback on who you think deserves to be there! P.S. 5/6 winners are female, isn’t that crazy!?
Winner(s):
S1: Bethany Harp
S2: Avril Sevilla
S3: Carly Branco
S4: Cato Ortega
S5: Rebecca Sego
S6: Bethany ‘Betty’ Hobbes
Play the season here!: https://brantsteele.com/bigbrothecanada5/r.php?c=jiSweYA1
See the other seasons here!:
Big Brother: Worlds Collide (S1)
Big Brother: Clique Clash (S2)
Big Brother: Popularity Strikes (S3)
Big Brother: Lifelines (S4)
Big Brother: Fresh Meat (S5)
Have a great day everyone and thank you for playing!
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2020.08.16 12:37 angellove_rm Running Man E516 200816

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2020.08.05 03:27 myweithisway Introduction on Multi-Season Kdramas

One notable characteristic of kdramas is their single season format. The majority of kdramas are only a single season long and most have between 10 to 50 episodes. However, as with all things there are exceptions to the rule. Multi-season kdramas, while not prevalent, have been around though some of them may not be the same "multi-season" concept as Western/American/Netflix shows. It is a misconception that Netflix has introduced the multi-season format into kdramas.
Below are overviews of multi-season kdramas categorized by type.
Note: I have covered the ones I know of, there may be series that I have not covered. I did not cover any Netflix dramas.

Popular Procedurals

Several popular crime/legal/forensics/medical dramas have gotten subsequent seasons based on popularity. These are similar to Western seasons in that you get the exact same premise and retain largely the original cast, though there are some cast changes.
Examples:

God's Quiz

OCN S1 (2010) S2 (2011) S3 (2012) S4 (2014) S5/Reboot (2018)
Forensics focused procedural series, has been lead by the same ML through all seasons.

Vampire Prosecutor

OCN S1 (2011) S2 (2012)
Male lead (ML) is a vampire and a prosecutor. Through his vampire abilities, he's able to solve crimes a way others cannot. S1 was very well received for its slick action and cinematography, resulting in the addition of S2.

Special Affairs Team TEN

OCN S1 (2011) S2 (2013)
Criminal investigation focused drama that retained its core cast over both seasons.

Doctor Romantic

SBS S1 (2016) S2 (2020)
A medical drama focused. This drama is notable for the length of time between the two seasons while retaining certain core cast members. The writer and director are also the same across seasons.

Voice

OCN S1 (2017) S2 (2018) S3 (2019)
This crime/thriller series underwent a cast change between S1 and S2 where the ML changed from Jang Hyuk to Lee Jin Wook, however the key premise of the drama is based on the female lead's superior hearing abilities and has been acted by Lee Ha Na in all three seasons.

Queen of Mystery

KBS S1 (2017) S2 (2018)
A comedy/mystery/investigative drama of a housewife solving crime, S1 was well received and resulted in a S2. Despite retaining the same writer and core cast members, S2's reception did not live up to S1.

StrangeSecret Forest

tvN S1 (2017) S2 (2020)
As of the writing of this post, S2 has yet to air but it is highly anticipated. The core cast and writer has been retained but a new director has been added, it will be interesting to see how S2 is received by viewers.

Partners For Justice/Investigation Couple

MBC S1 (2018) S2 (2019)
S1 of this forensics focused procedural was well-received and a S2 was added, retaining the same cast.
Note: The series above were arranged by premiere date of the first season. Worth noting is that this type of multi-season procedural has largely been pioneered by the cable channels, which are often noted as emulating Western cable channels.

Theme Based Series

The other type of multi-season kdrama series are those where multiple dramas on a similar theme or topic are united into one series. Oftentimes, the different seasons will share the same production team, such as the same writer or director. In this case, there's often near complete cast changes between the different seasons. Additionally, often times the storylines are independently contained within each season, thus the common denominator between the different seasons is primarily thematic/topical.
Examples:

Nonstop Series

MBC sitcom series that first aired in 2000, it went on to air five additional seasons with the last season Nonstop 6 - Rainbow Romance airing in 2005/2006. This series is famous for launching the careers of many young actors and actresses and bringing them mainstream popularity. Some notable names that have acted in one of the Nonstop series include Yeon Jun Hoon 연정훈 (Vampire Prosecutor, Mask), Go Soo 고수 (Will It Snow for Christmas?, Golden Empire), Jo In Sung 조인성 (That Winter, The Wind Blows; It's Okay, That's Love), Jang Na Ra 장나라 (The Last Empress, Fated To Love You), Jeon Hye Bin 전혜빈 (Gunman In Joseon, Another Miss Oh), Son Dam Bi 손담비 (What Happens to My Family?, When The Camellia Blooms), Hyun Bin 현빈 (Crash Landing On You, Secret Garden), Han Ye Seul 한예슬 (Birth of a Beauty, 20th Century Boy and Girl), Lee Yoon Ji 이윤지 (Dream High, King2Hearts), Han Hyo Joo 한효주 (Dong Yi, W), and Lee Min Ki 이민기 (The Beauty Inside, Because This Life Is My First).

High Kick Series

MBC sitcom series that first aired in 2006 with Unstoppable High Kick followed by High Kick Through The Roof! in 2009 and ending with High Kick! The Revenge of the Short-legged in 2011. This series has also helped launch some young actors to stardom such as Jung Il Woo 정일우 (Cinderella and the Four Knights, Haechi), Shin Se Kyung 신세경 (Six Flying Dragons, Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung), Choi Daniel 최다니엘 (School 2013, Jugglers), Yoon Shi Yoon 윤시윤 (Your Honor, Psychopath Diary), and Kim Ji Won 김지원 (Descendants of the Sun, Fight For My Way).

School Series

KBS drama series that portrayed realistic issues South Korean teenagers faced in high school. School 1 and School 2 aired in 1999, while School 3 aired in 2000 and School 4 aired in 2001. This series is also famous for launching careers. Some notable names that appeared in one of the School series include Jang Hyuk 장혁 (Money Flower, Tree With Deep Roots), Choi Kang Hee 최강희 (Queen of Mystery, Protect The Boss), Yang Dong Geun 양동근 (Ruler of Your Own World, 365: Repeat the Year), Kim Min Hee 김민희 (movie The Handmaiden), Kim Rae Won 김래원 (Doctors, Attic Cat), Lee Dong Wook 이동욱 (Goblin, Strangers From Hell), Im Soo Jung 임수정 (Chicago Typewriter, Search: WWW), Lee Yoo Ri 이유리 (Come! Jang Bo Ri, Father Is Strange), and Gong Yoo 공유 (Goblin, Coffee Prince).

Reply/Answer Me Series

tvN drama series that focuses on nostalgia of times gone by, featuring lots of references to historical events and pop culture. The core of this series is families, those bound by blood and those made by choice.
Reply 1997 aired in 2012 and set record viewership ratings for cable television. It's finale broke 6% on tvN but that's not all, the final episode was actually aired on four different cable channels to capitalize on its popularity. See this Dramabeans Ep 16 Recap to see the hype back then for that final episode.
Reply 1994 aired in 2013 while Reply 1988 aired in 2015.
This series has managed to launch nearly all of its entire cast in all seasons into stardom or a new level of stardom. For those that have not watched the series but are interested in watching and wondering in which order to watch the series, see this post for good insight without any major spoilers.

Let's Eat Series

tvN drama series that focuses on food and is filled with copious amounts of food porn. This series is an excellent introduction to the variety of Korean food available. There is also a spinoff in the series about drinking called Drinking Solo.

I Need Romance Series

tvN drama series about love and dating in the modern world. S1 aired in 2011, S2 aired in 2012, and S3 aired in 2014. While the cast and the stories changed between the series, the topic of romance remained at the heart of each drama.

Oh! Boy series (tvN: Flower Boy Next Door, Flower Boy Ramyun Shop, Shut Up! Flower Boy Band)

tvN launched the Oh! Boy series as a line of youth-targeted programming in 2011. It included an audition show in addition to several dramas. The common themes for these dramas is its flower boys.
Flower Boy Ramyun Shop was the first in the series and aired in 2011, followed by Shut Up! Flower Boy Band in 2012 and Flower Boy Next Door in 2013.

Most Number of Seasons

Ugly Miss Young Ae

tvN S1 (2007) to latest S17 (2019)
A comedy drama focusing on the growing pains and life of a woman and lead by the same FL, actress Kim Hyun Sook for all 17 seasons. The Korean wikipedia entry has tables of reappearing cast members organized by season and also production crew members, making it an interesting example to see cast and crew changes over seasons and years.
This drama perhaps is the most "typical"/"traditional" multi-season kdrama, with its retained core cast through its many seasons in addition to a rotation of production crews, including writing teams.

History Highlight

Do you know which drama is the longest running Korean drama of all time?
Hint: It starred Kim Hye Ja (김혜자) and Choi Bool Am (최불암)!

Answer

MBC Drama Country Diaries 전원일기 (Hanja: 田園日記)
It began airing in Oct 21, 1980 and aired its last episode on Dec 29, 2002. There are a total of 1088 episodes. It is a rural drama (농촌 드라마), a drama that portrayed rural life as it was. Kim Hye Ja and Choi Bool Am played the main couple and the drama portrayed their daily life as they grew old together.
For a glimpse of the drama, see the photo gallery on its official profile page on MBC (in Korean).
ETA: Note on Terminology Used
The Korean language has lots of loan words, words borrowed from other languages such as English. In my post I'm using the English term corresponding to the load word used in Korean as opposed to the English translation of the term.
Example: Korean term is 드라마 so I used the English term drama but there may be a more distinct/appropriate corresponding term in English, such as TV shows. (See this comment below.)
Additional Examples
Using the below excerpt from a JoongAng Ilbo (중앙일보) news article on Let's Eat 3 to illustrate the use of terms. Relevant terms are bolded below:
tvN 월화드라마 '식샤를합시다3 : 비긴즈'(이하 식샤를합시다3)에 시청자들의 원망이 쏟아지고 있다. 지난 17일 방송에서 전 시즌시즌2 주인공 백수지(서현진 분)의 갑작스러운 죽음이 그려졌기 때문이다. 특히 '식샤를 합시다' 시리즈는 여주인공 이수경(시즌1)과 서현진(시즌2)의 캐릭터가 사랑받았던 터라 시즌을 거듭하며 쭉 지켜봐 왔던 시청자들의 충격은 더욱 큰 것으로 보인다.
Bolded terms and corresponding English term:
  • 드라마 drama
  • 시즌 season
  • 시리즈 series
I've personally just always used the English version of the Korean loan word because it's easy to remember and makes the most sense to me when talking about kdramas. Sorry if this is not best practice or caused confusion.
submitted by myweithisway to KDRAMA [link] [comments]


2020.08.04 21:04 ZEROGR33N [BOS] Case 68: You're Gonna Poke An Eye Out With That Thing

The following is an excerpt from the “Cóngróng lù” (從容錄) aka the "Book of Serenity" or "Book of Equanimity". I am using Thomas Cleary’s translation.
The Book of Serenity was compiled and published by WanSong XingXiu in 1224 CE.
It is comprised of 100 koans as recorded by HongZhi ZhengJue. WanSong provides his comments and understanding in connection with each.
In addition, he includes poetic responses by TianTong ZongJue to which WanSong provides his own commentary as well.
All together, the point of the book, just like with the Blue Cliff Record is to help elucidate the core of Zen, to show you what it is really about, because what it is really about cannot be adequately captured in words.
Like etching the imprint of a leaf onto paper with a pencil, the aim of the book is for you to roll your mind over the words and the words over your mind until you start to get a sense of what this whole “Zen” thing is about.
Enjoy!
 
 
Case 68:
夾山揮劍

JIASHAN SWINGING THE SWORD

 

INTRODUCTION:

寰中天子敕。閫外將軍令。有時門頭得力。有時室內稱尊。且道。是甚麼人。

Inside the heartland, the emperor's command; outside the castle walls, the general's order.

Sometimes empowered at the gate, sometimes honored in the room--tell me, who is this?

 

CASE:

僧問夾山。撥塵見佛時如何(何必)。山云。直須揮劍。(果然)。若不揮劍漁父棲巢(坐則非佛)。僧舉。問石霜。撥塵見佛時如何(見即不撥 撥即不見)。霜云渠無國土。何處逢渠(不坐即佛)。僧迴舉似夾山(往來 不易)。山上堂云。門庭施設不如老僧。入理深談猶較石霜百步(各得一橛 )。

A monk asked {JiaShan}, "How is it when getting rid of the dust to see Buddha?"

(What's the necessity?)

JiaShan said, "You should directly swing the sword;”

(Of course.)

“If you don't swing the sword, the fisherman stays in a nest."

(If you seat it, it's not Buddha.)

The monk brought it up to ask ShiShuang, "How is it when getting rid of dust to see Buddha?"

(If you see, you don't get rid of; if you get rid of, you don't see.)

ShiShuang said, "He has no country--Where will you meet him?"

(If not seated, it's a buddha.)

The monk returned and quoted this to JiaShan:

(Going and coming is not easy.)

JiaShan went up in the hall and said, "In the establishment of method and school, he does not compare to me: in profound talk entering the principle, I am still a hundred steps behind ShiShuang."

(Each has one piece.)
 

COMMENTARY:

潭州石霜慶諸禪師。初在溈山充米頭。方篩米次。溈曰。施主物不可拋棄。霜曰。不拋棄。溈於地拾一粒示之曰。爾道不拋棄。這箇甚處得來。師無對。溈曰。莫欺這一粒。百千粒從這一粒生。霜曰。然則這一粒。自何處生。溈大笑歸方丈。晚上堂曰。大眾米裏有蟲。後參道吾。問觸目菩提。吾喚沙彌添淨瓶水。悟如前舉。霜在道吾。兩夏而受印。會昌之厄。混跡潭州瀏陽陶家坊。朝游夕處。大中初有僧。自洞山至舉。洞山初秋夏末。兄弟 或東或西。直須向萬里無寸草處去。良久曰。只如萬里無寸草處。又作麼生去。霜曰。出門便是草。僧復舉似洞山。山曰。此是一千五百人善知識語。且大唐國裏能有幾人。囊錐始露住石霜道場。果符悟本之記。二十年海眾千餘。往往長坐不臥。屹若株杌。枯木堂名自茲立焉。僧問撥塵見佛。所問是 一。夾山道。若不揮劍漁父棲巢。石霜道。渠無國土何處逢渠。萬松道。入理深談不如石霜。門庭施設猶較夾山百步。莫有兩彩一賽底麼。天童道甚。

Chan Master {ShiShuang Qingzhu} (aka "CiMing") of Tan province first was at {GuiShan}, where he served as the rice maker.

[One day,] just as he was sifting rice, GuiShan said, "Gifts from donors should not be thrown away."

ShiShuang said, "I'm not throwing it away."

GuiShan picked up a grain of rice off the floor and said, "You said, you aren't throwing it away--where did this come from?"

ShiShuang had no reply.

GuiShan said, "Don't take this one grain lightly--hundreds of thousands of grains come from this one grain."

ShiShuang said, "Then where does this one grain come from?"

GuiShan laughed and returned to his room; that evening he went up in the hall and said, "People, there's an insect in the rice!"

Later ShiShuang studied with DaoWu, and asked about enlightenment that meets the eyes; DaoWu called to a novice to add water to the pitcher.

The story has been recounted before. ShiShuang was with DaoWu for two summers, then he received the seal of enlightenment. During the danger of the HuiShang era (845-847, when the Buddhist orders were persecuted), he mixed in with the potters in LinYang in Tan province.

He wandered during the daytime and stayed in at night.

In the beginning of the DaZhong era (847) a monk came from DongShan and quoted Master DongShan's saying, "At the beginning of fall, the end of summer, you brethren may go east or west; you must go where there is not an inch of grass for ten thousand miles. (A pause) But if there isn't an inch of grass for ten thousand miles, how can you go?"

ShiShuang said, "Going out the gate, already it's grass."

The monk then related this to DongShan, who said, "These are words of a teacher of fifteen hundred people--how many could there be in all China?"

For the first time he became known as an enlightened man; he emerged from anonymity, and he dwelt as abbot at ShiShuang monastery; ultimately according with DongShan's prophecy, for twenty years he had an oceanic congregation of over a thousand.

Again and again they sat constantly without lying down, erect as tree stumps--the name of his 'dead tree hall' originated from this.

A monk asked about getting rid of the dust to see Buddha: the question is one [mote of dust]; JiaShan said, "If you don't swing the sword, the fisherman stays in a nest."

ShiShuang said, "He has no country--where will you meet him?"

I say, in profound talk of the principle, ShiShuang is better, in setting up method, JiaShan is a hundred steps ahead.

Is there no one with two faces on one die?

What does TianTong say?

 

VERSE:

拂牛劍氣洗兵威(太平本是將軍致)。 定亂歸功更是誰(不許將軍見太平)。 一旦氛埃清四海(但盡凡情)。 垂衣皇化自無為(別無聖解)。

The star-brushing sword, the army-washing weather.

(Peace is the doing of the general...)

Settling disorder, deferring the merit, who else is it?

(...but the general is not allowed to see peace.)

One morning the haze of dust clears over the four seas:

(Just end ordinary feelings.)

Robes hanging down, the imperial rule is naturally effortless.

(There is no special holy understanding.)
 

VERSE COMMENTARY:

臨濟宗風。金剛王寶劍。殺佛殺祖。夾山截斷老葛藤。打破狐窠窟。晉書。雷煥善天文。張華因望斗牛間。常有異氣。邀煥。夜登樓仰視。煥曰 。僕察之久矣。寶劍之精上於天。在豫章酆城縣界。華乃薦雷。為酆城令。 修獄掘基。得石匣。有雙劍。光甚艷發。送一與華。留一自佩。華被誅失劍 。煥卒子為州從事。佩父劍至延平津。劍躍墮水。使投之。見兩龍有文章。投者懼迴。說苑。武王伐紂遇雨。散宜生曰。此非妖歟。王曰。非也。天 洗兵也。此頌若不揮劍漁父棲巢。易曰。黃帝堯舜垂衣裳。而治天下。無為 之化不令而行。此頌無巢可棲。渠無國土。無劍可揮。何處逢渠也。同安察禪師道。妙體本來無處所。通身那更有蹤由。萬松道。許爾親見石霜。猶較 夾山百步。要見夾山麼。劍為不平離寶匣。藥因投病出金瓶。

The style of the LinJi school--the diamond sword kills the buddhas and patriarchs; JiaShan cuts off the old vines and breaks up the fox nests.

[As to “the star-brushing sword”:]

According to the Annals of the Jin Dynasty, LeiHuan was good at astronomy and familiar with the signs of the heavens.

As ZhuangHua was looking between the North star and the star Altair, there was always a strange phenomenon: he called Huan, and they went up into a tower at night to gaze above.

Huan said, "I have been examining this for a long time: the energy of precious swords has gone up into the heavens. They are in the region of the Feng City district of YuZhang."

Hua then recommended LeiHuan to be the governor of Feng City.

As he was having a foundation excavated while rebuilding a prison there, he found a pair of swords ensheathed in stone; they shone with exceeding lustre.

He sent one to Hua and kept the other at his own belt.

Hua was executed and lost his sword.

After LeiHuan died, his son became a provincial functionary, and wore his father's sword.

When he went by the YangPing bridge, the sword leaped into the water.

He ordered someone to go in after it. The man who went into the water saw two dragons with markings and was frightened he came back.

[As to “the army-washing weather”:]

According to the Garden of Talk, as King Wu was going to attack the state of Zhou, he ran into rain.

San XuanSheng said, "Isn't this a disaster?"

The king said, "No. Heaven is washing the troops."

This part of TianTong's verse eulogizes "If you don't swing the sword, 'the fisherman stays in a nest."

The Book of Changes says, "Emperors Huang, Yao, and Shun ruled the land with their robes hanging down--their effortless rule was enforced without command."

This part of the verse eulogizes no nest to stay in--"He has no country," no sword to wield--"where will you meet him?"

Chan Master Tongan Cha said, "The subtle essence fundamentally has no location--throughout the body, where else is the source of its traces?"

I say, I grant that you must meet ShiShuang, but you're still a hundred steps behind JiaShan.

Do you want to see JiaShan?

It is because of inequity that the sword is drawn from its precious scabbard; it is to treat disease that medicine is taken from the golden jar.

 
GREENSAGE'S COMMENTS:
 
"Two faces on one die" ... see my notes below, but this is essentially like the story of the "star-brushing sword."
The theme being expounded here is "polysemy", or "the capacity for a word or phrase to have multiple meanings, usually related by contiguity of meaning within a semantic field."
An explanation of the particular sword in this case is beyond me so someone else could pick that up ... but it appears to be something like the following: 拂牛劍氣 -- the ox-hair whisk Sword Energy (劍氣 -- "Sword Qi") which seems to give the impression of a sword being flicked like a whisk, but the word 劍氣 "Sword Qi" may also be "the Qi Sword" or "the Qi of the 'sword'". I also noticed that "whisk" is "fu" (拂) while "Buddhism" is "fo" (佛) and I wonder if there might be something there to explore for those who are more knowledgeable than me.
Regardless, I'm getting way off track, haha.
The main theme of this case is the double-sided nature of reality. True temperature, for example, is neither "hot" nor "cold" but it is the totality of "hot and cold" together (or neither, if you really want to get into it). This means that ice is not devoid of heat and fire is not devoid of cold. Though we can see either extreme, we cannot see the totality.
And yet, it is that totality which is the cornerstone of all reality.
Anyone who has lived with a romantic partner, knows just how contentious a subjective debate of "hot" or "cold" can be and how that debate can ravage a thermostat (and possibly a relationship) ... but the fact of "temperature" is not up for debate.
In fact, the debate over "hot" or "cold" settles the debate of the reality of temperature: if it weren't a reality, there would be no debate.
"Peace is the doing of the general, but the general is not allowed to see peace."
You must settle the "great matter" for yourself, but you will never be able to see the "great matter" for itself, directly.
"There is no special holy understanding."
It's not debatable.
The students who came to see ShiShuang tried to debate it, they sat like lumps in the thousands. In this way, ShiShuang cultivated his forest of "dead trees."
Why?
Because he was looking for the living saplings.
Only a few sprouted from among the dead trunks, but I can guarantee you that they were there.
It's not debatable. (Otherwise, we wouldn't be reading about ShiShuang).
When JiaShan said, "you should directly swing the sword" this was setting up the school. "Swinging the sword" means "just end ordinary feelings."
This is JiaShan telling you how to do it. However, telling you how to do it only makes sense if there are those who haven't done it. This is what WanSong means when he says:
It is because of inequity that the sword is drawn from its precious scabbard; it is to treat disease that medicine is taken from the golden jar.
Whether to draw the sword or not is a matter of debate. What is not debatable is the sword itself; what is not debatable is the undebatable reality.
This is what ShiShuang means when he said, "he has no country--where will you meet him?"
This is why WanSong comments in response, "if not seated, it's a buddha."
Once you seat it, you've lost it. Once you step outside the gate, there's grass.
However, in a beautiful inversion, WanSong says that, in order to "see", we must understand what ShiShuang was talking about ... but if we want to wield the sword, that is another thing all together.
I grant that you must meet ShiShuang, but you're still a hundred steps behind JiaShan.
JiaShan recognized that he was speaking outwardly; stepping outside the gate. However, it was this recognition of stepping outside that implies an application of the sword to himself, and it is his recognition of ShiShuang's subtle brilliance that implies an eye to wield the sword of wisdom in the first place.
ShiShuang, for his part, has another approach. ShiShuang simply lights up the fundamental point for all to see, but does not correct nor offer guidance ... he just shows the non-debatable truth, allowing people to live or die of their own accord.
"The subtle essence fundamentally has no location--throughout the body, where else is the source of its traces?"
No one knows where they got their mind from ... they were just given it ... and when we all die, we will give it back ... but to who? And where?
This is what GuiShan was talking about when he said, "Gifts from donors should not be thrown away."
All the dead trees at ShiShuang's place were throwing it away; trying to wipe away non-existent dust from a non-existent mirror.
If it had been JiaShan or LinJi, they would have been admonished; the sword would have been swung.
There's a debate to be had as to whether it is better to set up the school or to expound the principle, but the principle itself is not up for debate. It just is; it just is not.
The principle itself can appear tiny and subtle ... like a grain of rice ... but upon examination it is vast and wide ... "all grains come from this one grain."
But who has ever seen "this one grain"?
If you want to see it, stop looking for it.
If you want to avoid being an insect in the rice, don't avoid being an insect in the rice.
"Robes hanging down, the imperial rule is naturally effortless."
It's not debatable.
 
 
GREENSAGE'S NOTES:
 
  • "Two faces on one die"; "兩彩一賽"
From Ruth Sasaki's notes from the Record of LinJi:
"Two wins, one match" translates 兩彩一賽, where the character 彩 designates the winning spots on a pair of dice, while 賽 means a match or competition.
“Two” 兩 may be interpreted to mean either that one of the players won twice or that both players won, that is, that Huangbo won over both Linji and the head monk, or that Huangbo, Linji, and the head monk all won in their relations with each other. The traditional Japanese interpretation, which mistakenly takes 彩 to mean simply the spots on the dice and 賽 to mean a pair of dice, is that the spots on both dice or both throws of the dice were the same, i.e., that sleeping and meditating are equivalent to each other.
In this passage as it appears in the Song and Yuan editions of the JC, the wording and meaning of the phrase are reversed to read 一彩兩賽, “one win, two matches.”
In this case the phrase was probably interpreted to mean that Huangbo had one match with Linji and one match with the head monk, of which he won one and lost one. The Ming edition of the JC, however, agrees with the reading in the LL. It would seem, therefore, that the wording and interpretation of Yangshan’s answer varied in different periods.
These two phrases, 兩彩一賽 and 一彩兩賽, are found in other Chan works, though in no more illuminating a context than the present. See, for example, the section on Huangbo in JC 12 (t 51: 290b) and the section on Yunmen in GY 18 (x 68: 115c and 117b). See also case 2 of the WG, Wumen’s verse on the main case, “Baizhang and the Fox”:
Not falling and not being blind Two wins, one match (兩采一賽). Not blinded and not falling A thousand mistakes, ten thousand mistakes. (t 48: 293b)
From my own research, I think it is like Sasaki's first interpretation, and that certainly seems to fit the use in the present case. Something like "two wins, one roll."
Moreover, though my Chinese is extremely rusty, the Google translation of [this link] on the phrase seems to not only confirm this interpretation, but add some more nuance:
[Two colors and one game] Zen forest terminology. Make two picks and one match. Lottery means gambling to win; competition means competition. Two-color one match originally meant that after a game, two people won the prize, which means that the two sides meet each other and it is difficult to distinguish the outcome. In the meditation forest, among the meditation practitioners, the two sides who are suffering from each other are mutually investigated, and the realm of the meditation learning is both superior and inferior.
submitted by ZEROGR33N to zen [link] [comments]


2020.07.28 00:24 OneWingedDevil28 Booking Will Ospreay in NXT (Part One: Allow Me To Introduce Myself)

Prologue
Early 2021. The black and gold brand is under a tight grasp from the Legado Del Fantasma, an ever-growing faction headed by NXT Cruiserweight Champion, Santos Escobar. Originally tailed by Raul Mendoza and Joaquin Wilde, over the course of 2020, the faction recruited Gran Metalik and Humberto Carillo to increase their firepower and dominance over NXT. The Cruiserweight division called for a saviour. Someone who could end the tyrannical reign of Escobar. And on the final episode of NXT in 2020, the division received a Christmas Miracle as the One and Only, Ricochet, retuned to NXT, staking his claim on the Cruiserweight Championship, defeating Metalik and Mendoza on his track to Escobar.
New Japan Pro Wrestling started the year strong with a superb Wrestle Kingdom 15 event with matches such as Kazuchika Okada vs EVIL for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, Tanahashi vs Naito, Jay White vs Jon Moxley, Hiromu Takahashi vs Taiji Ishimori, Shingo Takagi vs KENTA and the match of the night for many, Will Ospreay’s final clash with the Golden Star, Kota Ibushi, for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship. Ospreay won the first match in their first Tokyo Dome clash. Ibushi got his revenge in the 2019 G1 Climax. And in the penultimate match of the event, Ibushi bested Ospreay yet again to get a huge much needed Tokyo Dome win as he walks away with the Intercontinental Championship.
Ospreay’s plan to use a win against Ibushi to propel himself as a competent Heavyweight competitor had failed. Understanding that his New Japan future was in limbo, Ospreay opted not to renew his contract, as wildfire speculation began to circle the wrestling world. AEW? WWE? Or somewhere different, such as a promotion back in his home country. Starting 2021, Will Ospreay was wrestling’s hottest free agent, as the Aerial Assassin carefully considered his next path.

Booking Will Ospreay in NXT (Part One: Allow Me To Introduce Myself)

NXT – 13th January 2021
Tonight, Ricochet finally gets his hands on the long-reigning Cruiserweight Champion, the leader of Legado del Fantasma, Santos Escobar. With intense anticipation, the Full Sail crowd rally behind Ricochet as he is somewhat prophesised to be the one to finally dethrone Escobar and strike a dagger through NXT’s biggest threat. Both men make their entrances, Ricochet feeling a form of sentiment as he soaks in the atmosphere of the NXT crowd. Ricochet is back home.
Ricochet vs Santos Escoobar © for the NXT Cruiserweight Championship
Ricochet gets off to an explosive start, initiating a break-neck pace to the match as he connects an early Corkscrew Moonsault Dive to the outside on an unsuspecting Escobar. Back inside the ring, Ricochet goes to the top rope, as the fans arise to their feet, but it’s too early to attempt a fatal 630, Escobar able to get up to his feet and halt Ricochet, before springing himself off the top rope and connecting a hurricanrana on Ricochet out onto the apron, both men able to get in just in time.
Both Escobar and Ricochet conduct an NXT TV classic, the face/heel dynamic engaging the crowd as the heavily favoured Ricochet falls victim to the innovative, hard-hitting offence of the current Cruiserweight Champion. Escobar lifts Ricochet for the Thrill of the Hunt, but Ricochet gets out of it, he goes for a superkick and Escobar moves out of the way, Ricochet connects with the ref. Shocked, Ricochet stands idle, giving Escobar opportunity to connect a low blow, as everyone knows how the story goes now. Escobar urges his faction down to the ring, Metalik, Mendoza, Wilde and Carillo all sprinting down. Wilde gets a chair as Mendoza and Escobar hold Ricochet down, he goes to strike him, but Ricochet gets out of the way just in time, he scoops up the chair and lobs it to the face of Wilde, connecting a dropkick to the chair.
Mendoza goes for a kick, but Ricochet catches it and throws the leg into Escobar, before throwing Mendoza out of the ring, where he retreats with Carillo and Metalik, Ricochet then connects a pitch perfect Tope Con Hilo as the fans inside Full Sail ramp up the noise to this fantastic climax. Ricochet slides back into the ring, but he falls straight into a THRILL OF THE HUNT! Fantasma goes for the cover, 1…2… RICOCHET IS JUST ABLE TO KICK OUT!
The match goes on, both men fighting valiantly over the Cruiserweight Championship as the Legado del Fantasma members recover on the outside. Ricochet and Escobar enter a striking exchange, Ricochet coming out on top and connecting a Vertigo, he slowly climbs to the top ropes, with Carillo trying to hold him down to give Escobar time to recover. Ricochet fends off Carillo, he ascends to the top rope, he goes for the 630, ESCOBAR MOVES OUT OF THE WAY! The few seconds Carillo helped out was just enough! Escobar lifts Ricochet, THRILL OF THE HUNT! He goes for the cover, 1…2…3!
Santos Escobar © def. Ricochet (22 minutes)
Escobar celebrates in the ring as he is flooded with boos, his reign continues just this week as his biggest threat yet was disposed in the form of Ricochet, his NXT return crashed by the Legado del Fantasma. After the match, Escobar orders the Legado del Fantasma lay Ricochet out with a vicious assault, they don’t hold back as Escobar grabs a microphone. Escobar chuckles to himself before stomping on Ricochet once again.

“Pathetic.” Escobar walks towards a downed Ricochet, “This is the guy you guys told me to worry about?! I don’t care that I won dirty, I don’t care what ANY of you have to say. Yet again, the Legado del Fantasma are SUPERIOR.” Escobar calls off the assault, calling everyone to pose together in the middle of the ring. “If you pendejo’s needed any confirmation of why I am the greatest lucha libre artist of all time, this is all you need.” Escobar lifts up his Cruiserweight Championship, “And I-“ the lights go down in Full Sail for a few seconds, before going back up.
“As I was saying before the crappy technical crew decided to intervene, I don’t care who is next in line for this championship, bec-“ the lights go down yet again, Escobar visibly groaning and throwing away his mic, as he waits for the technical crew to sort out the problem, which is portrayed as just a technical issue. The lights go back up, however, something has changed. There are only two men in the ring.
Mendoza, Wilde and Carillo are laid out, motionless outside of the ring. Inside the ring, is Gran Metalik and Santos Escobar. Concerned, Escobar looks at everyone who has been laid out, before deciding to finish his promo. “I don’t care who it is that is next in line, because it will result in the same outcome, and that is Santos Escobar having his hand raised as he retains the Cruiserweight Championship!” The camera pans towards Escobar holding up his title, as Gran Metalik behind him begins to take off his mask, the audience turning their attention towards him.
He takes off his mask… IT’S WILL OSPREAY! “MAMMA MIA!” IS ALL MAURO RANALLO CAN SAY, AS THE FULL SAIL AUDIENCE EXPLODE! Escobar chuckles, assuming the cheers are for him, before he turns around and recognises Ospreay! Escobar is speechless, he drops his title and lunges for Ospreay, who dodges, SUPERKICK! Ospreay gets Escobar up, STORM BREAKER! The fans are going wild for the arrival of the Aerial Asssassin in NXT! Ospreay grabs the Cruiserweight Championship, before approaching Santos Escobar, who is laid out on the canvas. “If you don’t know me already, allow me to introduce myself… I am Will Ospreay. And as of tonight, NXT is my territory.” Ospreay chucks the title down onto Escobar.
Ricochet slides into the ring, he has a face-to-face confrontation with Ospreay, as no words are exchanged, but no words are needed for this dream match-up. These two have faced off many times on the independent circuit, and now, they find themselves in the same locker room here at NXT. Ricochet goes to shake hands with Ospreay, who contemplates, before looking up and putting his middle finger to Ricochet, he slides out of the ring, his intentions clear. The black-and-gold brand have acquired wrestling’s hottest free agent!

NXT – 20th January 2021
Will Ospreay is wasting no time going after Santos Escobar, as tonight, they will face off for the NXT Cruiserweight Championship. Last week, Ospreay made his NXT debut, disguising himself as Gran Metalik during Santos Escobar’s promo after his successful defence of the championship against Ricochet, where the Legado del Fantasma played a significant role. Escobar claimed Ricochet was his biggest threat to the title, but now he faces someone even more menacing in the form of the Aerial Assassin. The challenger, Ospreay, makes his first ever NXT entrance, coming out to 'Elevated' the theme he has used for the duration of his decorated career. Escobar then makes his entrance, menacing and methodical, showing no signs of arrogance like last week. The Full Sail crowd are hype for Will Ospreay’s debut, as he looks to become the NXT Cruiserweight Champion.

Will Ospreay vs Santos Escobar © for the NXT Cruiserweight Championship
The match has a conservative start, Ospreay gaining the early upper hand, cheekily slapping Escobar in the back of the head, who then becomes aggressive and goes after Ospreay, who is able to effectively dodge his attacks, he goes for an early Os-cutter, but Escobar stops him, he goes for a buckle bomb, but Ospreay counters it into a stunning reverse frankensteiner, he teases a suicide dive, connecting the handstand rebound off the ropes and posing in the middle of the ring, showing off to the NXT crowd.
Escobar shows them why he is champion, though, getting back into the match after careful evaluation of Ospreay’s moveset. In significant moments of the match, Escobar connects a backbreaker of the top rope, Ospreay connects a beautiful Shooting Star Press, Escobar getting his foot just under the ropes during the pinfall attempt, Ospreay kicking out of a Thrill of the Hunt, and an excellent third act striking exchange ending in Ospreay gaining the upper hand as he connects a Cheeky Nandos.
He goes to the top ropes, however Raul Mendoza and Joaquin Wilde begin to strut down the ramp, Ospreay shakes his head in denial, as he launches himself, but Escobar catches him, he goes for the Thrill of the Hunt, but Ospreay gets out of it, they both floor each other with stereo superkicks as Wilde and Mendoza reach the bottom of the ramp. Right as they’re about to head into the ring and sabotage the match, RICOCHET rushes down the ramp, he throws Mendoza into the apron, Wilde goes for a lariat, but Ricochet dodges, he superkicks Wilde who stays up, Ospreay connects a Sasuke Spaical on Wilde! Back inside the ring, he gets Escobar up, the fans all on their feet, STORM BREAKER!!!!! Ospreay goes for the cover, 1…2…3!
Will Ospreay def. Santos Escobar © (17 minutes)
We have a new NXT Cruiserweight Champion! Ospreay has came into NXT, and dethroned one of its most dominant champions in his first match, and he is a CHAMPION coming away from his first match! The fans applaud Ospreay, who celebrates after being handed the NXT Cruiserweight Championship while the Legado Del Fantasma assist Escobar in his recovery. However, Ospreay and Ricochet have yet another glance at each other, Ospreay giving Ricochet a reassuring nod, thanking him for the help on the faction. Ricochet responds by pointing towards the NXT Cruiserweight Championship, which Ospreay looks at and drapes it over his shoulder, as NXT concludes with Will Ospreay as champion, but perhaps another rivalry brewing for the Aerial Assassin.

NXT – 27th January 2021
The go home show before NXT hosts a Takeover in the Pacfic Northwest city of Seattle, there are many major talking points going into the show, most notably, the recent crowning of a new NXT Cruiserweight Champion last week, when Will Ospreay made a superb NXT debut when he defeated Cruiserweight Champion Santos Escobar. After the match, Will Ospreay and Ricochet both gave each other looks that implied that they could be meeting sometime soon, but only time can tell. During the show, Will Ospreay makes his way down to the ring, Cruiserweight Championship around his waist, he receives a heroes welcome as the Aerial Assassin grabs a microphone and takes a deep breath, glancing around the arena before he speaks.
“Two weeks ago, I introduced myself to the WWE Universe. Last week… I became your NEW NXT Cruiserweight Champion!” Ospreay holds up the belt, the fans cheering. “Santos Escobar, I told you that this is my territory, and you didn’t listen, and you couldn’t resort to your yes-men, you fell victim to the Aerial Asssassin. With this championship, I have all the tools I need to bring this division to new heights, I am going to change the infrastructure of this company and how it treats its cruiserweight division.
With that being said, this weekend is NXT Takeover: Seattle, and I do not have an opponent yet. And while I must admit, I don’t know enough of the locker room at hand to select an opponent, I think I’m in the right ballpark when I say that I know what match the fans want to see.” Ospreay puts his mic down as he contemplates his next words, glancing back and forth between the Cruiserweight Championship belt, before finishing his sentence. “Ricochet.” The fans pop for the call-out, as Ricochet eventually comes out, almost expecting Ospreay to call out his name. Ricochet trots down to the ring, entering and eying up one of his greatest rivals on the Indy circuit, as Ricochet goes to speak.
“Will, Will, Will. While I was expecting you to call me out, I just haven’t had time to really digest this yet. We’ve fought in Bingo Halls. We’ve fought in Japan, we’ve fought in broken rings, and now, we’re existing in the same locker room in the WWE.” The fans applaud as Ospreay nods. “And what better way to compliment our storied rivalry, then to face off at the best show in wrestling, NXT Takeover!” Ricochet takes a breath, “Considering how my last match for that belt turned out, and taking into account the fact that I helped you avoid the Legado del Fantasma, I think I’m more than obliged for a match for that championship.” Ricochet and Ospreay move towards each other, the intensity building as Ospreay holds his championship high.
“You want this belt?” Ospreay laughs. “I’ve done more in two weeks, than you’ve done in three years in this company!” Ricochet shoves Ospreay, Ospreay shoving back, the two nearly reaching a brawl before they split themselves up, the tension building ahead of the dream Takeover match this Saturday. It will be the two best Cruiserweights the world has to offer, Ricochet and Will Ospreay, will clash for the NXT Cruiserweight Championship this Saturday at NXT Takeover: Seattle.

NXT Takeover: Seattle – 30th January 2021
It is a night of great wrestling, the NXT brand shines in the spotlight with fantastic bouts all around, but the one that sticks out to many is the opener of the night, the Cruiserweight Championship clash between Ricochet and Will Ospreay. Arriving to the WWE earlier in the month, Will Ospreay looks to bring the division to new heights, after it was strained under the grasp of Legado del Fantasma for so long. Both men make their entrances, Ricochet in purple and black gear to compliment the championship’s colourway, while Will Ospreay comes out in his signature Assassin’s Creed inspired gear, this time, inspired from Edward Kenway, the pirate from Black Flag. The bell rings, and the next instalment of this dream match is underway. From Evolve, to New Japan, to PWG, to WCPW, to WWE. It’s Will Ospreay vs Ricochet.

Ricochet vs Will Ospreay (c) for the NXT Cruiserweight Championship
They soak in the atmosphere in Climate Pledge Arena, before circling the ring, both men with a spring in their step. Ricochet and Ospreay enter a collar and elbow tie up, Ricochet applying a wrist-lock, Ospreay rolls and floors Ricochet, head scissors, both men get up, Ricochet connects a hurricanrana, he goes for another, Ospreay somersaults, remaining on his feet, he goes for a basement dropkick on Ricochet, who moves out of the way, he goes for an Enziguri, Ospreay dodges and flips Ricochet, who lands on his feet, somersault off the ropes, he falls into a german suplex attempt from Ospreay, Ricochet counters it, he connects a dropkick, sending Ricochet out of the ring, he goes for the Tope Con Hilo but Ospreay slides back into the ring, the two reach deadlock in the opening exchange.
This blistering pace is maintained throughout the course of the match, as they demonstrate their amazing athleticism and in ring chemistry as the match flows seamlessly, keeping the crowd engaged. At one point, Ricochet is on the apron, Ospreay goes to sweep him off, Ricochet leaps over, he connects a kick on Ospreay, he goes for the Moonsault but Ospreay catches him, LAWN DART INTO THE RINGSIDE CHAIRS! Back inside the ring, Ospreay goes for an Os-cutter, but Ricochet stops him, he pushes him away and connects the Benadryller, he goes for the cover but Ospreay is able to kick out. Ricochet then goes up to the top ropes, Ospreay stops him before he can go for the 630, both men fight atop the top turnbuckle, ending in Ricochet connecting a top rope Spanish Fly.
Shortly later, both men enter a striking exchange, Ricochet sprints towards the corner, looking to build up momentum, however Ospreay gets him in position, CHEEKY NANDOS! He follows it up with a reverse frankensteiner, he goes to the top rope, but Ricochet moves out of the way, smart thinking by the Number One contender. Ospreay shrugs, he FLINGS HIMSELF ACROSS TO THE OTHER SIDE OF THE RING, CONNECTING A CORKSCREW SENTON BOMB! He gets Ricochet up, he goes for the Storm Breaker, but Ricochet fights out of it, he goes out onto the apron, he launches himself off the top rope, hurricanrana sends Ospreay outside of the ring, Ricochet goes for the Sasuke Special, Ospreay moves out of the way, he tries to deck him out onto the ringside flooring, Ricochet moves out of the way, he gets Ospreay up, PILEDRIVER ONTO THE RINGSIDE FLOORING!
He gets Ospreay back inside the ring, he goes for the 630 Senton, OSPREAY GETS HIS KNEES UP, WHICH MUST’VE NEAR BROKE RICOCHET’S BACK! Ospreay goes for the Storm Breaker, but Ricochet gets out yet again, superkick to the back of Ospreay’s head, he goes for the Vertigo, but Ospreay COUNTERS IT INTO A HEAD SCISORRS TAKEDOWN, HE LUNGES OFF THE ROPES, OS-CUTTER! He goes for the cover, 1…2…3!
Will Ospreay © def. Ricochet (25 minutes)
In perhaps their best match to date, Ospreay and Ricochet tear the house down in Seattle, a barn burner to start NXT Takeover as Will Ospreay retains his NXT Cruiserweight Championship. Ospreay celebrates, hurt and battered, but victorious, he was able to outsmart Ricochet tonight, who put in a great effort. After the match, in a contrast to their encounter a few weeks ago, this time, it’s Ospreay who extends a handshake offer to Ricochet. Ricochet contemplates, when he tried to shake Ospreay’s hand, he put up a middle finger. However, Ricochet shakes Ospreay’s hand, the two giving each other nods of recognition as Ospreay slides out of the ring, victorious here tonight at NXT Takeover: Seattle.
Coming away from their amazing singles clash at Takeover Seattle, Ricochet and Ospreay have a mutual respect for each other, so, when Ricochet is told that he is being entered into the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, he looks no further than the man who owes him a favour, that being Will Ospreay. On the 3rd February episode of NXT, Ricochet approaches Ospreay and asks, Ospreay reluctantly accepting his offer on the basis of the respect gained after the Takeover Seattle match. Named ‘The Assassins of the Sky’ Ricochet and Ospreay look to set the Dusty Rhodes Classic competition alight for an opportunity at Moustache Mountain’s NXT Tag Team Championships at NXT Takeover: Hollywood at WrestleMania weekend.

NXT – 10th February 2021 – Ricochet and Will Ospreay vs Grizzled Young Veterans (Round One)
Ospreay and Ricochet come across tough competition in the first round of the tournament, as they face the Grizzled Young Veterans, a team that made it to the finals of last years’ tournament where they fell to the Broserweights. The story of the match is the building dynamic between Ospreay and Ricochet, who seem off sync for the most part, but are able to endure through the match based on their individual skill. Nevertheless, the Grizzled Young Veterans begin to dominate, Gibson connects a Helter Skelter on Ospreay, he goes for the cover, Ricochet breaks it up with a 630 Senton, in a burst of energy, he connects a Sasuke Special on James Drake. Meanwhile, Ospreay connects a Storm Breaker on Gibson, he tags in Ricochet, who connects a final 630 to advance to the second round.
Ricochet and Will Ospreay def. Grizzled Young Veterans (11 minutes)
Earlier in the show, Tony Nese wins a Number One contendership match for the NXT Cruiserweight Championship. After the match, he stares down Ospreay, setting up their match for next week, Ospreay’s second defence of the championship. It is confirmed that in the next round, Will Ospreay and Ricochet will face Legado del Fantasma, a faction they are very familiar with, as they try to achieve revenge on the people responsible for taking Escobar’s championship away from him.

NXT – 17th February – Tony Nese vs Will Ospreay © for the NXT Cruiserweight Championship
Nese puts up a good fight, but it is ultimately a showcase match for Ospreay, who maintains momentum for the majority of the match. While Nese is able to kick out of a Pip Pip Cheerio and a Shooting Star Press, his valiant comeback isn’t enough, he goes for a Lawn Dart, but Ospreay gets out of it, he connects an Os-cutter, he pins Nese and retains the Cruiserweight Championship in a convincing match for the Aerial Assassin.
Will Ospreay © def. Tony Nese (7 minutes)
After the match, Ospreay’s celebrations are halted by Legado Del Fantasma, the team who are facing Ricochet and Ospreay next week. Mendoza, Wilde and Gran Metalik lead the beatdown, Metalik is about to hit Ospreay in the skull with a chair until Ricochet sprints down to the ring and fends them off, setting up the match next week and potentially a Cruiserweight Championship match in the future.

NXT – 24th February – Legado Del Fantasma (Joaquin Wilde and Raul Mendoza) vs Ricochet and Will Ospreay (Round Two)
A thoroughly entertaining, grudge-based tag team match sees Will Ospreay and Ricochet begin to synergise more of a tag team as they get some quick, lightning-pace tandem offence in, the Legado Del Fantasma using dirty tactics and ringside assistance to get offence in on the match. However, when the ref ejects Metalik, Carillo and Escobar, it gives Ricochet and Ospreay the perfect opportunity as we truly see who the better team are from here on out, Ospreay and Ricochet picking apart Wilde and Mendoza, ending it with stereo shooting star presses, a beautiful spot, as they pin Wilde to advance to the Semi Finals.
Ricochet and Will Ospreay def. Legado Del Fantasma (10 minutes)
After the match, the rest of the faction come down ringside to aid Wilde and Mendoza, where Gran Metalik points to Ospreay and the belt, hoping for a championship match in the future, Ospreay accepting on the basis that he wants to prove to any doubters why Ricochet and Ospreay are in a different league to the Legado Del Fantasma. It is confirmed that in the semi-finals, Ospreay and Ricochet will face Tyler Breeze and Fandango, the team that go under the banner ‘Breezango’

NXT – 10th March 2021 – Breezango vs Will Ospreay and Ricochet (Semi Finals)
We see Ospreay and Ricochet merge together even more, they find somewhat of an equal team in the form of Fandango and Tyler Breeze, who put up a great fight and unlike the other teams, are able to actually keep up with the blitz-paced offence of Will Ospreay and Ricochet, as they look to advance to the finals of the 2021 Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. The bout slowly builds to an exciting climax, as Will Ospreay connects a Storm Breaker on Tyler Breeze, and an Os-cutter on Fandango, as he picks up the pinfall, demonstrating fantastic individual ability as the team move onto the finals.
Ricochet and Will Ospreay def. Breezango (16 minutes)
Ospreay and Ricochet celebrate, but their celebrations can’t go on for long, as William Regal comes out and announces that on next week’s show, Will Ospreay will defend the NXT Cruiserweight Championship against Gran Metalik, the man he impersonated and disguised himself as upon his NXT arrival. Regal adds a stipulation where Ricochet cannot accompany Ospreay, and the Legado Del Fantasma cannot interfere with the match.

NXT – 17th March 2021 – Gran Metalik vs Will Ospreay © for the NXT Cruiserweight Championship
Metalik and Ospreay have a fast paced match where Metalik gets somewhat of a spotlight, even connecting the Brillo Dorada early, proving himself as a worthy competitor for Ospreay’s championship. Without the help of the Legado del Fantasma, it goes to show how much they rely on each other, as Ospreay dominates for most part of the match, and even Metalik’s comeback towards the end of the match isn’t enough, as Ospreay puts him away with a Stormbreaker for the 123, Ospreay retaining the championship yet again.
Will Ospreay © def. Gran Metalik (14 minutes)
With no signs of the Legado del Fantasma, Ospreay celebrates his victory, having knocked off an entire faction on his list of contenders. In his post-match celebrations, he is attacked by Imperium, the team him and Ricochet are facing next week. Speaking of, Ricochet tries to make the save, but Imperium get the better of him, laying both men out and standing tall ahead of next week’s final.

NXT – 24th March 2021 – Imperium vs Will Ospreay and Ricochet (Finals)
On the go home show before NXT Takeover: Hollywood, the two teams have a superb match, Ospreay and Ricochet forcing to synergise completely to keep up with the tag team known for their unity, Imperium. Barthel, Aichner, Ricochet, and Ospreay all go all out in their attempt to be crowned the winners of the 2021 Dusty Rhodes Tag Classic. For once in the tournament, Ricochet and Ospreay aren’t the favourites as they come up against one of the best tag teams in the world, the match builds to an epic crescendo, where Ricochet and Ospreay take Barthel out with stereo superkicks, Ospreay then connects a Storm Breaker, tags in Ricochet who connects the 630, Ospreay blocks Barthel while Ricochet gets the pin, 1….2…3!
Will Ospreay and Ricochet def. Imperium (24 minutes)
In an epic finale, Ospreay and Ricochet are crowned winners of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Classic. As confetti falls from Full Sail, the two proudly hold up the trophy, having found a friendship with each other over the course of the tournament. After the match, they are confronted by the NXT Tag Team Champions, Moustache Mountain, as the stage is set for a barn burner of a Takeover match at WrestleMania weekend.

NXT Takeover: Hollywood – 27th March 2021
Tonight, every NXT championship is on the line, with many great matches on offer, including the tag team bout between the 2021 winners of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, the unlikely duo of Ricochet and Will Ospreay, going up against the champions, Moustache Mountain. Both teams make their entrances, the atmosphere is lively in Staples Center as the bell rings and the match is underway.

Will Ospreay and Ricochet vs Moustache Mountain (c) for the NXT Tag Team Championships
With Ricochet and Ospreay fully synergised, this match takes on the role of a fully-fledged tag team match as both teams demonstrate their outstanding individual offence and also their tandem offense. While Moustache Mountain dominate the early stages thanks to them being the better tag team, Ricochet and Ospreay complete their objective of waring Bate and Seven out, so then they can apply their fast pace if they can make it to the later stages of the match, a comeback from the challengers culminates in a double Tope Con Hilo, exciting the crowd as the match remains fast-paced for the rest of its duration, the clash of styles making for a thrilling match that shows the appeal of tag team wrestling.
In notable spots of the match, Ospreay is able to kick out of the Tyler Driver, Seven spears Ricochet through the barricade, Bate connects a superplex on Ricochet out onto the apron and Bate goes for the 7 Star Lariat, Ospreay dodges, he goes for the Os-cutter, Trent moves out of the way, he goes for a powerbomb but Ospreay reverses it into a Frankensteiner! Later in the match, Ospreay connects the Storm Breaker on Bate, he tags in Ricochet who connects the 630, Ricochet covers while Ospreay stops Seven, Seven rams Ospreay into the pin attempt, breaking it up.
Later in the match, Moustache Mountain are able to counter each big move of their opponents, Bate takes Ospreay out when he leaps from the top rope, connecting a hurricanrana on Ospreay on the apron. Back inside the ring, Seven gets Ricochet up, BURNING HAMMER KNEE DROP COMBO! THEY PILE ON RICOCHET, 1…2…3!
Moustache Mountain © def. Will Ospreay and Ricochet (21 minutes)
In a superb tag team match, Moutsche Mountain retain the Tag Team Championships here at WrestleMania weekend in Hollywood. Moustache Mountain celebrate their win as Ospreay goes to aid Ricochet, the audience applauding both teams for their efforts tonight. The two teams exchange glances, Moustache Mountain shaking the hands of Ricochet and Ospreay before leaving, giving them a moment with the crowd.
Ricochet and Ospreay hug each other, with the vibe that they’re going off into their separate ways. Nevertheless, this tag team tournament was a huge learning experience for both men, as they went from rivals to best friends, tag team partners winning tournaments. Ricochet and Ospreay had a newfound respect for each other, but here at NXT Takeover: Hollywood, they were unable to come away with tag team gold despite their valiant effort.
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2020.07.26 13:02 angellove_rm Running Man E513 200726

Running Man was classified as an "urban action variety"; a genre of variety shows in an urban environment.The MCs and guests were to complete missions at a landmark to win the race. The show has since shifted to a more familiar reality-variety show concept focused on games.
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2020.07.18 12:41 Pe-CuliusJeaser China has created global instability that has become noticeable since the virus came out and has shifted the blame around to others. This needs to be viewed as a threat to humanity.

I wanted to share my views as a US citizen that was a former third party member of the current US political climate and global events witnessed.
(You can skip to the most important sections in bold if you need to read through it quickly.)
My time following politics began some time ago around 2000 in my early teenage years. I was seeing the presidential candidates Bush vs Al Gore and I was hearing him talk about global warming and at the time I could see that there was a real environmental concern in the world. He did not win and we saw that Bush won instead then the 9/11 attacks hit our country and years of war started from there.
Next up we had the 2004 term of Bush’s re-election, he won of course. Around 2006 is when I started to research the alternative media coverage and ran into libertarian ideals and the presidential candidate Ron Paul, along with that we had the whole wikileaks and Chelsea Manning whistleblowers fiasco showing us the dangers of the patriot act brought by Bush, the falsified wars for oil and the sweeping dragnet of communications surveillance on American citizens that ensued. Ron Paul had me with his opposition to war declarations being unconstitutional without congress approval with the example of multiple invasions in the Middle East. He was the first presidential candidate I donated money to. He also proposed isolationism or something closer to anti-globalization which made sense to me in terms of helping to curb global trade which caused unnecessary excess emissions in our atmosphere, for the aristocratic tastes of a nation to ship a Fuji apple from Japan to the USA because some rich person really wanted to eat it. Ron Paul ran in 2008 and I was seeing a big support for him online, through alternative media, but in reality it was a different story. The establishment candidates pushed him out of his miniscule spotlight that the Mainstream Media offered him. During Bush’s presidency the libertarians, whose main voice was Ron Paul, were causing a lot of attention online causing the start of the Tea Party. This is where alternative media like Alex Jones (Infowars) and Abovetopsecret (dot) com started to cover things that the mainstream media would not. Ron Paul also wanted to end the federal reserve and that also caused a large online international movement to end central banks and in the usa it was called end the fed, which would bring us back to the gold standard and remove the inflated price of the dollar, I think this would have not worked in our large economy so it was not a popular aspect with me. I still voted for Ron Paul in a swing state instead of voting for McCain or Obama.
2008- McCain and Obama faced off. Obama had won, I heard a lot about the birther movement stuff that Trump had pushed out in the online community. I did not buy it as I saw it was a weak blow, instead I saw that this man (Obama) was willing to sell out the American taxpayers by effectively throwng all the stolen money at the big banks which should not have been bailed out. I joined in the Occupy movement at this time. I saw the way Obama was treating those who were protesting, when he was visiting NYC he made sure to put protestors in “protest zones” making sure they do not get caught in the media coverage, he did not care about his voting base. The occupy movement was crushed as I saw on livestreaming the finance treasurer called for a general meeting of the occupy Wall Street movement asked for a fake vote which somehow made sure the finances raised for the movement go towards Egyptian revolutionaries which were trying to overthrow the Mubarak government and instead put in the Muslim Brotherhood Morsi in office who was far worse, (this was precluding the Arab spring events in Northern Africa and ME countries). He created a new constitution with Sharia law into effect. During the occupy movement, the alternative right wing online media started to say that the movement was being funded by George Soros (wait for that name to come up again later). During these years some other groups started to be created, such as, sovereign citizens, and oath keepers. The views of these groups were too much for the average person and it did not help in gaining much support for the right wing side of politics.
2012- Obama was going for his second term and I saw that he made no plans on fixing the environment as he pushed through the keystone pipeline construction and was not really focusing on green energy. Sarah Palin had co-opted the Tea Party into the Republican party which was a terrible thing as the Tea Party just turned into some offshoot of Alex Jones followers mixed with racist elements, which totally destroyed the initial message of bringing constitutionalism back as much as possible. I saw the whole FEMA camps thing as total hogwash, Alex Jones would have done better convincing the right wing about the real dangers developing in East Asia, but it was just about clickbait and profits for him. Snowden also appeared to show us the massive surveillance being used again by the Obama administration through the NSA. For voting in this election I instead saw that the better candidate was Jill Stein of the green party as I wanted her environmental stance to take priority in policy making. She also wanted to pull us out of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars which Mitt Romney and Obama both wanted to continue. Obama had won and then all the videos showing police violence against blacks started to come online after the Trayvon Martin shooting and I was affected and took sympathy towards this. Along with that we had the BP oil rig disaster which Obama did as little as possible to BP, mostly a slap on the wrist, even though it destroyed so much of the Gulf of Mexico’s wildlife. I started to look at his whole presidency with cynicism and dismay. He had Hilary conduct proxy wars in Libya and carried out more bombings of countries than Bush did. The Obamacare act actually helped me as a private citizen get overpriced medical care coverage when I had a few serious physical ailments. I can say that was the only silver lining I saw in his presidency. The Black lives matter movement had spawned during these four years as more videos of police brutality came online, I was not really interested in the Black Lives Matter movement only trying to see the police brutality ending or reduced.
2015-2016
Bernie Sanders
Black Lives Matter makes a comeback, Bernie Sanders appeared to me around December of 2014 on Reddit, he made a huge wave with the online community and he had what seemed to be a flawless record in terms of standing up for social issues, against the Iraq and Afghanistan war, opposed the tough on crime act but voted for the crime bill in 1994 (Written by Joe Biden, signed by Bill Clinton) as it also included violence against women act (cracked down on domestic violence & rape) which he supported. He was the first Presidential candidate I reached the donation limit with. In the races he practically tied in Iowa and it seemed that then it was too much for Clinton she was already planning her attack dogs as she saw the threat he posed. She mainly used Debbie Wasserman Schultz (DWS) for her control of primary votes, we saw through online media (like The Young Turks) that in most of the primary voting locations in Nevada, counts were not being done properly in favour of Clinton. Bernie was having a huge surge in donations throughout most of the campaign as many people were giving the federal donation limit, while at the same time Clinton was doing non-stop events at millionaire charity fundraisers for them to sponsor checks for her campaign (as Citizens United has passed into law previously). After Nevada we saw a down surge in Bernie’s chances, for the cherry on top moment Bill Clinton would (illegally walk into voting precincts as a political statement essentially breaking voting laws, but he would get a pass as the former president with little fuss from a majority of Democrats). Not only did I donate the maximum amount possible to Bernie’s campaign but I also joined as an activist and campaign volunteer locally, it was infuriating to see how Hilary, the media, and the DNC piled against him to ensure he loses, in August 2015 we saw Black Lives Matter protestors take the microphone away from Bernie (which they never did to Hilary who supported the crime the 94’ crime bill and called African-american kids superpredators, with “no conscience, no empathy”) and hijack his campaign event which made them lose all credibility as an grassroots organization, and showed they were being directed by outside interests. I remember how many times Hilary would flip-flop on the debates vs Bernie. At first she was for fracking, then his policies against fracking won and she changed her stance, the same regarding medicare for all through a single payer system, she flipped once again and started to say that we can move towards that. Then after one of the primaries around March or April 2016 we were seeing Bernie’s momentum increasing still and then all of a sudden we saw Bernie’s stance in his candidacy waning on by his own doing. At one debate or speech we could see that Bernie was looking very pale white and it was around this time that we suspected death threats were made to his family members by the Clinton family (there were rumors she had a body count), I don’t really know whether that was true but I do know there was a sudden change in his demeanor and how much of a motivational speaker he was despite having a close tie in the states. He went downhill after that and he had a huge following behind him, he didn’t split the Dem party even though he could have easily done it at the time and made a huge boost as an independent party nominee (as he was an independent before joining Democrats) and he endorsed Clinton as the Democratic primary nominee. I stopped following the primaries after that from disgust. He brought up a lof of policy issues that I still wanted to see go through, such as, ending Citizens united, a living wage (this would have destroyed Wal-mart earlier on and stopped so much Chinese imports), and overturning the Glass-Steagle act which destroyed the housing market. Bill Clinton did a lot of horrible things, Brought China into the WTO, enacted the Glass-Steagle act, also the 1994 Crime Bill he signed into law (Written by Joe Biden) which put so many African-American’s into the prison system. I was not willing to support his wife who defended all these decisions as well while she was FLOTUS. Bill Clinton signing NAFTA as well ushered China into US markets and crippling businesses across the united states and causing the Chinese economy to surge much higher at a very rapid pace, it was essentially a looting. China was not following 100 years of progress made in the United States in terms of child labor laws, environmental law, and health and safety workspace conditions laws which allowed them to produce goods in a much larger way along with the Chinese currency being manipulated as well, this put American businesses 2ndin terms of priority for those decades.
2016,
Hilary vs Trump
I had lost motivation in the races after Bernie was defeated and we were coming to two people I believed were corrupt. Once it came to voting for the next president I wrote in Bernie Sanders name (in a swing state) as a protest vote, even though I wanted Clinton to lose no matter what for her and the DNC parties reputation. Before trump Fox was a giant that was not able to taken down and the entire left-wing media was controlled by Soros and other globalists. We were stuck with bad politicians and filtered/controlled media coverage, it was a desperate time in America and people were looking for something to bring us out of the nonsense. Trump had won.
2016-2019
I had gone through these years seeing President Trump in office and did not despise him nor did I like him. I noticed how much the left wing media could not drop the whole supposed Russia collaboration with the election while the media completely stayed quiet before he was elected regarding Hilary’s missing emails. I left from the USA to India at the end of 2017 and did not look back as I was focused on Volunteer activities for a non-profit organization.
2019-2020
While in India from the end of 2017 I did not focus on anything related to politics and was enjoying my life as a volunteer, and still I am. Towards the beginning of the year Covid-19 makes an appearance in the world originating from China, now we saw a change in the way China is viewed in the world, the floodgates were opening following this timeline of events:
Timeline:
14-01-2020 WHO investigations on Covid-19 suggest no sign of human-to-human transmission
01-04-2020 Bloomberg puts an article that China concealed the extent of the virus
29-03-2020 China enforces an extradition bill in Hong Kong (a tool to crush freedom and democracy of the Hong Kong people)
10-04-2020 Japan plans move to pay manufacturers to leave China
15-04-2020 Ambassador Sam Brownback mentions Uyghir mistreatment on twitter
18-04-2020 Trump drafts a WHO resolution to investigate the origin and WHO response to Covid-19 (India supported this resolution, Australia was the first to ask for the investigation in April)
20-04-2020 Nepal draws a new map showing parts of India as within its border to promote conflict (with the backing of Chinese government.)
21-04-2020 border tensions between China and India begin
26-04-2020 protests start in Minneapolis after George Floyd death
23-05-2020 China focuses more troops along the China-India border
04-06-2020 on the anniversary of Tiananmen square I read the cable which mentions that students gathered in protest of the Chinese government at the time(1989) were bulldozed and turned into "PIE" then hosed down drains https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/UK_cable_on_Tiananmen_Square_Massacre the government then is the same government still in power today.
06-06-2020 Mike Pompeo sends a press statement regarding China's exploitation of George Floyd protest to justify abuse of human rights domestically and in Hong Kong https://www.state.gov/on-the-chinese-communist-partys-obscene-propaganda/
07-06-2020 Minneapolis police force disbanded
08-06-2020 Seattle capitol hill goes into riots and turns into CHAZ/CHOP no police zone until July, one member of Seattle city council Kshama Sawant (Communist [not really a socialist] from India) praises the effort as a protest against oppression.
12-06-2020 read an article describing how ActBlue is a front money funnelling operation for the DNC and BLM, they do not allow Republican's to use the ActBlue donation platform. https://justthenews.com/accountability/donations-black-lives-matter-are-funnelled-through-democratic-fundraising-group
13-06-2020 Ex-KGB member describes how a nation can be subverted over time to become anti-democry and anti-nationalist https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bX3EZCVj2XA , full documentary can be searched for also.
14-06-2020 (Important) Watched a very important Youtube video clearly showing that the US and India riots are identical and being brought on by Soros and CIA Ford foundation "Answer These Questions [PowerPacked Challenge] Link[Delhi/US]Riots - Part 2" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mmpCt-uH7CQ (String) Youtube video channel
14-06-2020 read Forbes opinion article clearly disclosing the ties between media and billionares who influence it "Billionares battle over media influence Koch bros murdoch vs soros buffett ge"
14-06-2020 Read an article how Apple allowed encryption keys to China under pressure from the CCP as they were threatening closing off local supply chains, they never gave the encryption keys to us government.
16-06-2020 First Ladakh border casualties between India-China in 45 years, this shows a new level of desperation, one Commanding officer and a few others were killed by the Chinese army.
17-06-2020 Wached the documentary Death By China: How America lost it's manufacturing base
19-06-2020 State-sponsored Chinese cyber hackers starts nationwide hacking of Australia
20-06-2020 Trump retweets news source that Soros-Affiliated Anti-deportation group part of defund police movement
22-06-2020 Watched PBS undercover documentary China's Vanishing Muslims
23-06-2020 - India makes plans to reduce its trade deficit with China by $8.4 billion or 17.3% of its deficit with that country over fiscal 2022
27-06-2020 - Watched FRONTLINE Trump's Trade War
29-06-2020 - Watched FRONTLINE China Undercover Documentary
29-06-2020 - China forces birth control on Uighurs to suppress population by The Associated PressJune 29, 2020 GMT https://apnews.com/269b3de1af34e17c1941a514f78d764c?utm_campaign=SocialFlow&utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=AP
1-07-2020 - China enforces their Extradition policy on Hong Kong which would cause any protesting citizens to be able to try in a kangaroo court in mainland China.
01-07-2020 - read an article describing the CCP to restore their position as the world’s supreme power by the year 2049, which is the centennial of the founding of the People’s Republic of China https://www.axios.com/china-plan-global-superpower-xi-jinping-5954481e-02c8-4e19-a50c-cd2a90e4894f.html
02-07-2020 -Unlicensed Assault weapons coming from China caught by U.S. customs dept.https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/local-media-release/10800-assault-weapons-parts-seized-cbp-louisville
03-07-2020 - Antifa members start to try to destroy the Portland federal office https://twitter.com/MrAndyNgo/status/1278962503121133570?s=08
06-07-2020 Black Panther militia march in Georgia, almost all of them appear to have the same assault weapons, it is entirely possible the weapons are being supplied by outside forces (China).
07-07-2020 FBI director Michael Wray mentions of the nearly 5,000 active FBI counterintelligence cases currently underway across the country, about half are all related to China FBI opened a new Chinese counterintelligence investigation “about every 10 hours.”
07-07-2020 Ilhan Omar (Democratic party representative of Minneapolis) calls for dismantilng of the U.S. economy and political systems, what would replace capitalism? Marxist Communism of course.
10-07-2020 California expected to release a total of 18,000 prisoners (including rapists and murders) back into the state due to Corona a decision made by Democratic governor Gary Newsom.
While living in India for over two years I had no idea how China was a neighbor, slowly they were creeping into democratic nations to subdue them with cultural subversion, they use Pakistan as a puppet government, they are pushing Nepal (a long time ally of India) into conflict by having them draw a new border map. The Chinese government works to ensure the world focuses on George Floyd protests while they quickly retake Hong Kong under communist rule. While Trump drafts the WHO bill to investigate the source of the virus in China with other countries backing it, attempts to subdue countries backing the resolution starts to happen.
It is clear that based on these things we can see how China manipulated the world for many years, while I was in the USA we never imagined what they were capable of. Now living outside the USA I have an outside perspective of the situation with China as a neighbor to India. China had established itself as an innocent giant supermarket and that is how they appeared to be for most Americans that would shop for Chinese products for decades not knowing they were really feeding an authoritarian regime.
With the Trump presidency, this point has been highlighted and many countries have felt the wrath of China from speaking out against their actions. They have influenced many nations through economic warfare (if countries speak out the CCP tells Chinese citizens to boycott opposing countries products) and have been committing planned cultural subversion to take away democracy and freedom of other nations by funding/supporting these anti-national groups around the world with the help of billionaires like Soros. Even our corporations are afraid to speak out against China for fear of suddenly losing their supply chains, the pressure than can only come from a government and people which the Trump administration has been doing for some time.
I originally had believed that climate change needed to be the top thing to be tackled and that nothing else should take priority, but it appears that we have an emergency on our hands as Communism/Marxism seems to be altering world affairs. We need to support Nationalism in countries that practice Democracy (Like the USA and India) at all costs. These riots and protests are being controlled and coerced by outside forces as I witnessed with the whole Occupy Wall Street movement, in the Occupy movement we saw a fair share of black-bloc terrorists hijacking the movement and painting a bad media image.
With the case of Black Lives Matter, they were originally started to radically change the democratic party in a Marxist fashion by announcing defunding the police and giving illegal immigrants the right to vote. BLM has been found to be donating to the democratic party and receiving money from outside countries (kind of similar to how Russia was influencing US elections in 2016 but worse). Along with that they are affiliated with George Soros' Open Society Foundation (on their webpage under the partners section).
The financial head of BLM is Susan Rosenberg who is a communist that blew up sections of the U.S. capitol building (she was pardoned by Bill Clinton). She is the finance chair head of Thousand Currents which is receiving funds from Give Lively, Give lively is owned by Jonathan Soros (son of George Soros), contributions are coming into thousand currents from Soros and from Thousand currents to BLM.
It is clear the democratic party is trying everything possible to make Trump and the police look bad. Obviously, BLM will not be endorsing Trump, they will endorse Biden and they have a lot of financial power as well. They and the democratic party want to destroy the cities, destroy democracy, destroy capitalism (which goes against communism) all to make sure that Trump does not win again, they are acting on behalf of Communism (China) and billionaires that profit off of this (Soros),
This question needs to be seriously thought about: Would it have made sense for us to give Soviet Russia in the 1980's all our technology blueprints, Intellectual property, manufacturing base, and owing debt to them? Absolutely not. This is why we need to decouple from China immediately. Communism plans to take over the country and they are running out of time as the world has opened their eyes to seeing China as a threat after the Coronavirus appeared. My final thoughts are we need to vote for Trump more than ever.
submitted by Pe-CuliusJeaser to Chinawatchglobal [link] [comments]


2020.07.18 11:23 Pe-CuliusJeaser Former third party member for a decade voting for POTUS Donald J. Trump

Hey Trump fans, I wanted to share my views as a US citizen that was a former third party member of the current US political climate and global events witnessed. If you liked the message please share it! Thanks for having me!
(You can skip to the most important sections in bold if you need to read through it quickly.)
My time following politics began some time ago around 2000 in my early teenage years. I was seeing the presidential candidates Bush vs Al Gore and I was hearing him talk about global warming and at the time I could see that there was a real environmental concern in the world. He did not win and we saw that Bush won instead then the 9/11 attacks hit our country and years of war started from there.
Next up we had the 2004 term of Bush’s re-election, he won of course. Around 2006 is when I started to research the alternative media coverage and ran into libertarian ideals and the presidential candidate Ron Paul, along with that we had the whole wikileaks and Chelsea Manning whistleblowers fiasco showing us the dangers of the patriot act brought by Bush, the falsified wars for oil and the sweeping dragnet of communications surveillance on American citizens that ensued. Ron Paul had me with his opposition to war declarations being unconstitutional without congress approval with the example of multiple invasions in the Middle East. He was the first presidential candidate I donated money to. He also proposed isolationism or something closer to anti-globalization which made sense to me in terms of helping to curb global trade which caused unnecessary excess emissions in our atmosphere, for the aristocratic tastes of a nation to ship a Fuji apple from Japan to the USA because some rich person really wanted to eat it. Ron Paul ran in 2008 and I was seeing a big support for him online, through alternative media, but in reality it was a different story. The establishment candidates pushed him out of his miniscule spotlight that the Mainstream Media offered him. During Bush’s presidency the libertarians, whose main voice was Ron Paul, were causing a lot of attention online causing the start of the Tea Party. This is where alternative media like Alex Jones (Infowars) and Abovetopsecret (dot) com started to cover things that the mainstream media would not. Ron Paul also wanted to end the federal reserve and that also caused a large online international movement to end central banks and in the usa it was called end the fed, which would bring us back to the gold standard and remove the inflated price of the dollar, I think this would have not worked in our large economy so it was not a popular aspect with me. I still voted for Ron Paul in a swing state instead of voting for McCain or Obama.
2008- McCain and Obama faced off. Obama had won, I heard a lot about the birther movement stuff that Trump had pushed out in the online community. I did not buy it as I saw it was a weak blow, instead I saw that this man (Obama) was willing to sell out the American taxpayers by effectively throwng all the stolen money at the big banks which should not have been bailed out. I joined in the Occupy movement at this time. I saw the way Obama was treating those who were protesting, when he was visiting NYC he made sure to put protestors in “protest zones” making sure they do not get caught in the media coverage, he did not care about his voting base. The occupy movement was crushed as I saw on livestreaming the finance treasurer called for a general meeting of the occupy Wall Street movement asked for a fake vote which somehow made sure the finances raised for the movement go towards Egyptian revolutionaries which were trying to overthrow the Mubarak government and instead put in the Muslim Brotherhood Morsi in office who was far worse, (this was precluding the Arab spring events in Northern Africa and ME countries). He created a new constitution with Sharia law into effect. During the occupy movement, the alternative right wing online media started to say that the movement was being funded by George Soros (wait for that name to come up again later). During these years some other groups started to be created, such as, sovereign citizens, and oath keepers. The views of these groups were too much for the average person and it did not help in gaining much support for the right wing side of politics.
2012- Obama was going for his second term and I saw that he made no plans on fixing the environment as he pushed through the keystone pipeline construction and was not really focusing on green energy. Sarah Palin had co-opted the Tea Party into the Republican party which was a terrible thing as the Tea Party just turned into some offshoot of Alex Jones followers mixed with racist elements, which totally destroyed the initial message of bringing constitutionalism back as much as possible. I saw the whole FEMA camps thing as total hogwash, Alex Jones would have done better convincing the right wing about the real dangers developing in East Asia, but it was just about clickbait and profits for him. Snowden also appeared to show us the massive surveillance being used again by the Obama administration through the NSA. For voting in this election I instead saw that the better candidate was Jill Stein of the green party as I wanted her environmental stance to take priority in policy making. She also wanted to pull us out of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars which Mitt Romney and Obama both wanted to continue. Obama had won and then all the videos showing police violence against blacks started to come online after the Trayvon Martin shooting and I was affected and took sympathy towards this. Along with that we had the BP oil rig disaster which Obama did as little as possible to BP, mostly a slap on the wrist, even though it destroyed so much of the Gulf of Mexico’s wildlife. I started to look at his whole presidency with cynicism and dismay. He had Hilary conduct proxy wars in Libya and carried out more bombings of countries than Bush did. The Obamacare act actually helped me as a private citizen get overpriced medical care coverage when I had a few serious physical ailments. I can say that was the only silver lining I saw in his presidency. The Black lives matter movement had spawned during these four years as more videos of police brutality came online, I was not really interested in the Black Lives Matter movement only trying to see the police brutality ending or reduced.
2015-2016
Bernie Sanders
Black Lives Matter makes a comeback, Bernie Sanders appeared to me around December of 2014 on Reddit, he made a huge wave with the online community and he had what seemed to be a flawless record in terms of standing up for social issues, against the Iraq and Afghanistan war, opposed the tough on crime act but voted for the crime bill in 1994 (Written by Joe Biden, signed by Bill Clinton) as it also included violence against women act (cracked down on domestic violence & rape) which he supported. He was the first Presidential candidate I reached the donation limit with. In the races he practically tied in Iowa and it seemed that then it was too much for Clinton she was already planning her attack dogs as she saw the threat he posed. She mainly used Debbie Wasserman Schultz (DWS) for her control of primary votes, we saw through online media (like The Young Turks) that in most of the primary voting locations in Nevada, counts were not being done properly in favour of Clinton. Bernie was having a huge surge in donations throughout most of the campaign as many people were giving the federal donation limit, while at the same time Clinton was doing non-stop events at millionaire charity fundraisers for them to sponsor checks for her campaign (as Citizens United has passed into law previously). After Nevada we saw a down surge in Bernie’s chances, for the cherry on top moment Bill Clinton would (illegally walk into voting precincts as a political statement essentially breaking voting laws, but he would get a pass as the former president with little fuss from a majority of Democrats). Not only did I donate the maximum amount possible to Bernie’s campaign but I also joined as an activist and campaign volunteer locally, it was infuriating to see how Hilary, the media, and the DNC piled against him to ensure he loses, in August 2015 we saw Black Lives Matter protestors take the microphone away from Bernie (which they never did to Hilary who supported the crime the 94’ crime bill and called African-american kids superpredators, with “no conscience, no empathy”) and hijack his campaign event which made them lose all credibility as an grassroots organization, and showed they were being directed by outside interests. I remember how many times Hilary would flip-flop on the debates vs Bernie. At first she was for fracking, then his policies against fracking won and she changed her stance, the same regarding medicare for all through a single payer system, she flipped once again and started to say that we can move towards that. Then after one of the primaries around March or April 2016 we were seeing Bernie’s momentum increasing still and then all of a sudden we saw Bernie’s stance in his candidacy waning on by his own doing. At one debate or speech we could see that Bernie was looking very pale white and it was around this time that we suspected death threats were made to his family members by the Clinton family (there were rumors she had a body count), I don’t really know whether that was true but I do know there was a sudden change in his demeanor and how much of a motivational speaker he was despite having a close tie in the states. He went downhill after that and he had a huge following behind him, he didn’t split the Dem party even though he could have easily done it at the time and made a huge boost as an independent party nominee (as he was an independent before joining Democrats) and he endorsed Clinton as the Democratic primary nominee. I stopped following the primaries after that from disgust. He brought up a lof of policy issues that I still wanted to see go through, such as, ending Citizens united, a living wage (this would have destroyed Wal-mart earlier on and stopped so much Chinese imports), and overturning the Glass-Steagle act which destroyed the housing market. Bill Clinton did a lot of horrible things, Brought China into the WTO, enacted the Glass-Steagle act, also the 1994 Crime Bill he signed into law (Written by Joe Biden) which put so many African-American’s into the prison system. I was not willing to support his wife who defended all these decisions as well while she was FLOTUS. Bill Clinton signing NAFTA as well ushered China into US markets and crippling businesses across the united states and causing the Chinese economy to surge much higher at a very rapid pace, it was essentially a looting. China was not following 100 years of progress made in the United States in terms of child labor laws, environmental law, and health and safety workspace conditions laws which allowed them to produce goods in a much larger way along with the Chinese currency being manipulated as well, this put American businesses 2ndin terms of priority for those decades.
2016,
Hilary vs Trump
I had lost motivation in the races after Bernie was defeated and we were coming to two people I believed were corrupt. Once it came to voting for the next president I wrote in Bernie Sanders name (in a swing state) as a protest vote, even though I wanted Clinton to lose no matter what for her and the DNC parties reputation. Before trump Fox was a giant that was not able to taken down and the entire left-wing media was controlled by Soros and other globalists. We were stuck with bad politicians and filtered/controlled media coverage, it was a desperate time in America and people were looking for something to bring us out of the nonsense. Trump had won.
2016-2019
I had gone through these years seeing President Trump in office and did not despise him nor did I like him. I noticed how much the left wing media could not drop the whole supposed Russia collaboration with the election while the media completely stayed quiet before he was elected regarding Hilary’s missing emails. I left from the USA to India at the end of 2017 and did not look back as I was focused on Volunteer activities for a non-profit organization.
2019-2020
While in India from the end of 2017 I did not focus on anything related to politics and was enjoying my life as a volunteer, and still I am. Towards the beginning of the year Covid-19 makes an appearance in the world originating from China, now we saw a change in the way China is viewed in the world, the floodgates were opening following this timeline of events:
Timeline:
14-01-2020 WHO investigations on Covid-19 suggest no sign of human-to-human transmission
01-04-2020 Bloomberg puts an article that China concealed the extent of the virus
29-03-2020 China enforces an extradition bill in Hong Kong (a tool to crush freedom and democracy of the Hong Kong people)
10-04-2020 Japan plans move to pay manufacturers to leave China
15-04-2020 Ambassador Sam Brownback mentions Uyghir mistreatment on twitter
18-04-2020 Trump drafts a WHO resolution to investigate the origin and WHO response to Covid-19 (India supported this resolution, Australia was the first to ask for the investigation in April)
20-04-2020 Nepal draws a new map showing parts of India as within its border to promote conflict (with the backing of Chinese government.)
21-04-2020 border tensions between China and India begin
23-05-2020 China focuses more troops along the China-India border
26-05-2020 protests start in Minneapolis after George Floyd death
04-06-2020 on the anniversary of Tiananmen square I read the cable which mentions that students gathered in protest of the Chinese government at the time(1989) were bulldozed and turned into "PIE" then hosed down drains https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/UK_cable_on_Tiananmen_Square_Massacre the government then is the same government still in power today.
06-06-2020 Mike Pompeo sends a press statement regarding China's exploitation of George Floyd protest to justify abuse of human rights domestically and in Hong Kong https://www.state.gov/on-the-chinese-communist-partys-obscene-propaganda/
07-06-2020 Minneapolis police force disbanded
08-06-2020 Seattle capitol hill goes into riots and turns into CHAZ/CHOP no police zone until July, one member of Seattle city council Kshama Sawant (Communist [not really a socialist] from India) praises the effort as a protest against oppression.
12-06-2020 read an article describing how ActBlue is a front money funnelling operation for the DNC and BLM, they do not allow Republican's to use the ActBlue donation platform. https://justthenews.com/accountability/donations-black-lives-matter-are-funnelled-through-democratic-fundraising-group
13-06-2020 video of an Ex-KGB member, from 36 years ago, describes how a nation can be subverted over time to become anti-democry and anti-nationalist https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bX3EZCVj2XA , full documentary can be searched for also.
14-06-2020 (Important) Watched a very important Youtube video clearly showing that the US and India riots are identical and being brought on by Soros and CIA Ford foundation "Answer These Questions [PowerPacked Challenge] Link[Delhi/US]Riots - Part 2" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mmpCt-uH7CQ (String) Youtube video channel
14-06-2020 read Forbes opinion article clearly disclosing the ties between media and billionares who influence it "Billionares battle over media influence Koch bros murdoch vs soros buffett ge"
14-06-2020 Read an article how Apple allowed encryption keys to China under pressure from the CCP as they were threatening closing off local supply chains, they never gave the encryption keys to us government.
16-06-2020 First Ladakh border casualties between India-China in 45 years, this shows a new level of desperation, one Commanding officer and a few others were killed by the Chinese army.
17-06-2020 Wached the documentary Death By China: How America lost it's manufacturing base
19-06-2020 State-sponsored Chinese cyber hackers starts nationwide hacking of Australia
20-06-2020 Trump retweets news source that Soros-Affiliated Anti-deportation group part of defund police movement
22-06-2020 Watched PBS undercover documentary China's Vanishing Muslims
23-06-2020 - India makes plans to reduce its trade deficit with China by $8.4 billion or 17.3% of its deficit with that country over fiscal 2022
27-06-2020 - Watched FRONTLINE Trump's Trade War
29-06-2020 - Watched FRONTLINE China Undercover Documentary
29-06-2020 - China forces birth control on Uighurs to suppress population by The Associated PressJune 29, 2020 GMT https://apnews.com/269b3de1af34e17c1941a514f78d764c?utm_campaign=SocialFlow&utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=AP
1-07-2020 - China enforces their Extradition policy on Hong Kong which would cause any protesting citizens to be able to try in a kangaroo court in mainland China.
01-07-2020 - read an article describing the CCP to restore their position as the world’s supreme power by the year 2049, which is the centennial of the founding of the People’s Republic of China https://www.axios.com/china-plan-global-superpower-xi-jinping-5954481e-02c8-4e19-a50c-cd2a90e4894f.html
02-07-2020 -Unlicensed Assault weapons coming from China caught by U.S. customs dept.https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/local-media-release/10800-assault-weapons-parts-seized-cbp-louisville
03-07-2020 - Antifa members start to try to destroy the Portland federal office https://twitter.com/MrAndyNgo/status/1278962503121133570?s=08
06-07-2020 Black Panther militia march in Georgia, almost all of them appear to have the same assault weapons, it is entirely possible the weapons are being supplied by outside forces (China).
07-07-2020 FBI director Christopher Wray mentions of the nearly 5,000 active FBI counterintelligence cases currently underway across the country, about half are all related to China FBI opened a new Chinese counterintelligence investigation “about every 10 hours.”
07-07-2020 Ilhan Omar (Democratic party representative of Minneapolis) calls for dismantilng of the U.S. economy and political systems, what would replace capitalism? Marxist Communism of course.
10-07-2020 California expected to release a total of 18,000 prisoners (including rapists and murders) back into the state due to Corona a decision made by Democratic governor Gary Newsom.
While living in India for over two years I had no idea how China was a neighbor, slowly they were creeping into democratic nations to subdue them with cultural subversion, they use Pakistan as a puppet government, they are pushing Nepal (a long time ally of India) into conflict by having them draw a new border map. The Chinese government works to ensure the world focuses on George Floyd protests while they quickly retake Hong Kong under communist rule. While Trump drafts the WHO bill to investigate the source of the virus in China with other countries backing it, attempts to subdue countries backing the resolution starts to happen.
It is clear that based on these things we can see how China manipulated the world for many years, while I was in the USA we never imagined what they were capable of. Now living outside the USA I have an outside perspective of the situation with China as a neighbor to India. China had established itself as an innocent giant supermarket and that is how they appeared to be for most Americans that would shop for Chinese products for decades not knowing they were really feeding an authoritarian regime.
With the Trump presidency, this point has been highlighted and many countries have felt the wrath of China from speaking out against their actions. They have influenced many nations through economic warfare (if countries speak out the CCP tells Chinese citizens to boycott opposing countries products) and have been committing planned cultural subversion to take away democracy and freedom of other nations by funding/supporting these anti-national groups around the world with the help of billionaires like Soros. Even our corporations are afraid to speak out against China for fear of suddenly losing their supply chains, the pressure than can only come from a government and people which the Trump administration has been doing for some time.
I originally had believed that climate change needed to be the top thing to be tackled and that nothing else should take priority, but it appears that we have an emergency on our hands as Communism/Marxism seems to be altering world affairs. We need to support Nationalism in countries that practice Democracy (Like the USA and India) at all costs. These riots and protests are being controlled and coerced by outside forces as I witnessed with the whole Occupy Wall Street movement, in the Occupy movement we saw a fair share of black-bloc terrorists hijacking the movement and painting a bad media image.
With the case of Black Lives Matter, they were originally started to radically change the democratic party in a Marxist fashion by announcing defunding the police and giving illegal immigrants the right to vote. BLM has been found to be donating to the democratic party and receiving money from outside countries (kind of similar to how Russia was influencing US elections in 2016 but worse). Along with that they are affiliated with George Soros' Open Society Foundation (on their webpage under the partners section).
The financial head of BLM is Susan Rosenberg who is a communist that blew up sections of the U.S. capitol building (she was pardoned by Bill Clinton). She is the finance chair head of Thousand Currents which is receiving funds from Give Lively, Give lively is owned by Jonathan Soros (son of George Soros), contributions are coming into thousand currents from Soros and from Thousand currents to BLM.
It is clear the democratic party is trying everything possible to make Trump and the police look bad. Obviously, BLM will not be endorsing Trump, they will endorse Biden and they have a lot of financial power as well. They and the democratic party want to destroy the cities, destroy democracy, destroy capitalism (which goes against communism) all to make sure that Trump does not win again, they are acting on behalf of Communism (China) and billionaires that profit off of this (Soros),
This question needs to be seriously thought about: Would it have made sense for us to give Soviet Russia in the 1980's all our technology blueprints, Intellectual property, manufacturing base, and owing debt to them? Absolutely not. This is why we need to decouple from China immediately. Communism plans to take over the country and they are running out of time as the world has opened their eyes to seeing China as a threat after the Coronavirus appeared. My final thoughts are we need to vote for Trump more than ever.
*Edit to fix the publish date of the ex-KGB video. *Edit fixed FBI Director's name from Michael to Christhoper Wray.
submitted by Pe-CuliusJeaser to AskThe_Donald [link] [comments]


2020.07.16 20:40 mma_boxing_wrestling How to make drilling more effective

Partner drilling is one of the most poorly understood and poorly utilized training methods in martial arts. It's often said that anyone can look great hitting the bag and pads, but they don't hit back. Plenty of people who look like killers blasting the heavy bag fall apart during sparring. When that happens, it's an issue of bridging the gap and figuring out what skills are required for going live that aren't being developed. As it turns out, partner drills are that bridge. Unfortunately, it's a bridge that very few people know how to build and cross. Partner drills are frequently compliant, static and unrealistic sequences of moves closer to movie choreography than fight training. The purpose of this post is to illustrate the difference between ineffective drilling and effective drilling.
Proper partner drilling is dynamic and will make the students work as hard to get into proper position at the proper time as it will to make them execute the required techniques. Even during very basic drills, the fighters should be moving their feet, changing angles, moving at different timings and generally including as much randomness as is permitted by the constraints of the particular drill. Improper partner drilling is static and will involve choreographed sequences executed with robotic timing and against fully compliant partners. Let's begin by studying some examples of how not to drill:
One step (and up) "sparring" is the low hanging fruit:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tk45pseAlmQ
Hopefully I don't need to spend too much time on this, but the partner moves in slow motion to execute a single, telegraphed attack from far out of range and then completely freezes while the opponent pretends to hit him 300 times. There are no angles, no sense of distance, no need to read the opponent, no adaptability or pattern recognition being developed. While this may seem a little too obvious, it's important to understand that the following examples are effectively the same thing done with more intensity and better showmanship--which is easy to confuse for practicality.
Let's take a look at "REAL" Krav Maga:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-ss_OfxsgA
It's a lot faster and the techniques look more realistic, but it's just as ineffective. The partner still freezes, the sequences are still robotic, and there's still no need to read or adapt at all. Performing better choreography does not mean it will translate better to fight training. Next up is a video that perfectly captures one of the least tangible aspects of bad drilling:
https://youtu.be/Iga8qmmm8Q0?t=67
He's defending, he's countering, he's throwing realistic punches and actually hitting a target. This is pretty good right? At least a step in the right direction? Well, try closing your eyes and listening to the hits. You'll notice that they're coming on the exact same rhythm, every single time. You could go in his place and do this drill blindfolded. There are no dynamic elements such as changing distance, angle or tempo. You don't even have to guess which side he's gonna hit. You'll see this same thing in a lot of bad drills when you start to pay attention:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WiKStUfp8q4
This time they're moving, they're mixing it up, one guy is defending while the other guy attacks, it's pretty fast and clean, surely this is better? Again, listen to the rhythm: 1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2-3 and reverse. All on the exact same beat, moving on the exact same line, in the exact same order. It may seem trickier, but you could still easily do this one with your eyes closed. Now let's see another aspect of bad drilling:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cRzCLxIHu4
Despite being called "practical" bunkai, the drills shown are very impractical. Most notably, the long, static sequences are completely removed from practicality. Yes, the partner defends at some points, but always in the same way, from the same position, at the same time, and usually after the attacker has performed 3-4 moves. In realistic, practical drilling, you don't get to move three times as fast as your opponent and you don't get to count on them doing the same exact thing every time. You'll see the same issues in the following videos:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfeR5cg7mZE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04IanW-3MSA
Finally, this is the video that got me thinking about the topic originally:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9TmHsiL5sWw&feature=youtu.be
As you observe all of the issues previously discussed, please keep in mind that this ineffective method of drilling is still being conducted by someone who's learned to fight. The major reason that ineffective drilling is perpetuated is because people who can already fight overvalue it's importance--sometimes for ego reasons, sometimes for keeping students--and students assume that these drills will teach a person to fight like that. They will not. So let's look at drills that will teach you to fight by bridging the gap from technique training to sparring.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oTsk-cxzcXk
We'll start with the very low level drills. These feature fixed sequences, slow movements and low intensity. However, what differentiates them is the moving parts. The fighters have to adjust range, angle and timing as they alternate the sequences. They have to account for the opponent moving, attacking and defending with some variety even though the specific techniques are pretty fixed. It's also important to recognize that the fighters stay in good positions throughout and keep alert both while attacking and defending. They are being forced to read, adapt and execute movements to better positions where they will be able to hit effectively. Now we'll step up the intensity a bit in order to show how heavily constricted drills can still be performed with aliveness:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SlJIsVUMgiU
Even though the attacker is limited to essentially just throwing 1-2s, he mixes up the angle, range and timing of that combo as his partner moves, reads and adjusts. Instead of mindlessly repping out the 1-2 and it's defenses, they both are forced to practice their fundamentals. As the video goes on, the drill gets progressively more complex (finally the attacker can throw any two punches to any target), so that even within very narrow constraints there is still a lot of room for variety and randomness.
You can see the same concept executed with a muay thai approach here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pW8uk3kz0Dk
Here's a drill that removes intensity in order to allow for more dynamic movement:
https://youtu.be/p4KTV2c2nck?t=111
They don't really make contact and mostly stay out of range, but what they're focusing on is reading, planning and moving appropriately against an opponent who is feinting and trying to outmaneuver them.
Next is an example of better padwork:
https://youtu.be/rnXzEE3kAYw?t=1623
Pay attention to how the coach doesn't just mix up the combos and the timing of the strikes that he calls for, he also goes after the student to make them defend against a variety of attacks while continuing to move and hit back. Compare how dynamic this padwork is to the padwork shown earlier. It's done at a very high level, but the same concepts should be incorporated at all levels of pad work.
Now we'll move into drills that can include a little more contact, but are still kept very constrained. Wall drills are a prime example:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWYBDzORslg
The defender is restricted from moving their feet or attacking, and thus is forced to practice seeing strikes coming, responding appropriately and staying calm under pressure. They don't know what strike will come or when, so they have to keep their eyes open, chin down and guard tight. Afterwards, you can do the same drill but with footwork allowed:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Ix8NvZij30
Slightly more advanced is when both guys are able to attack with contact, but how and when they can attack is restricted:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ROV71xt4H8
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mF0rzxso4kI
And finally, partner drills advance to situational sparring. Here there can be high intensity and complexity that is close to sparring, but with specific constraints to force the development of specific skills and attributes. For example, tire sparring:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0KpxvV31M9k
When understood poorly, partner drills teach students to pretend to hit things. But when programmed intelligently and performed correctly, partner drills instill an understanding of distance, timing and positioning while developing pattern recognition, adaptability and composure. They are a cornerstone of effective training for skilled fighters in all disciplines. Next time you get the chance to glove up with a partner, add in some variety, dynamic movement and randomness. Change the rhythm, the angle and the range. Work on the delivery systems that allow you to bring your techniques to the target. You may not look as pretty while you're training, but your next opponent won't look as pretty when you're sparring.
submitted by mma_boxing_wrestling to martialarts [link] [comments]


2020.07.13 23:21 iloveu18 My anhednoic theory - Live is just like video game (pretty long and deep post)

Hi everyone, I’m making this post to show my thoughts over live itself and some aspects of it. I’m posting it here because I’m curious about what other peoples in similar mental condition/with similar experiences as mine thinks about my thoughts.
This post is made only for “fun” don’t take it too seriously, these are only my “shower thoughts” I’ve been having for a long time and this theory have a lot of assumptions to make sense at all + please remember that English isn’t my native leanguage.
Emotions are like a waypoints.
It is know that “ideas have peoples” and not the other way around, and in my opinion it works in similar way with emotions, and here’s one simple example of that,
You don’t choose what you like or dislike, your subconscious mind does, then your conscious/logic mind decides what to do with that fact, for example you subconscious mind decided that there’s something off with this new guy at your workplace, and you just don’t like him, now it’s up to you what you are going to do with that fact, will you tell it to him? Avoid him? Try to learn more about him and eventually change your mind? just act naturally like there’s no problem at all?
In my opinion the same thing applies to every emotion, you don’t decide what you’re feeling, but it will push you in some direction, something will make you happy and you will want more of it, and something else will make you angry and you will want to avoid it. Things your subconscious mind tells you through emotions and feelings are “showing you the way” and it’s up to you what you will do about that (In theory it might not sound like the best option, but we know how live looks like without these “waypoints”).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Will_to_live
We are basically abominations in comparison with other animals.
-At this moment, and as far as I know, we are the only creatures among other animals that are aware that we all will die eventually.
-From what we know at this moment, there is no evidence that animals can ask questions.
-We are the only creatures intelligent enough to seek for objective truths like meaning of live.
Ok, this three points doesn’t proof anything surprising so why are they important? Our live target from evolutionary/biological perspective is to survive and have offspring, basically nothing more than that. The thing is, that these points are actually counterproductive, why?
  1. Knowledge that we will die eventually isn’t helping in any of these targets because in combination with our intelligence it allows us to say – “if I will die eventually, why should I keep living, go through this entire circle of pain, hard work and all sorts of suffering for absolutely nothing. I will just kill myself ” if you haven’t realized already that’s a bit counterproductive (and yes our “will to live” in theory will stop us from doing this but what’s the point of taking extra chances?) if your target is to survive and have offspring, so why do we have the ability to understand that in first place? (most likely it’s just byproduct of our very high intelligence, but our brain hides insane amount of things from our conscious mind everyday so why not to hide that one too?)
  2. Our ability to ask question makes us think about things like meaning of live, and our intellect allow us to seek for answers for these kind of questions (in my personal opinion we will be getting closer to truth with time, but never will find definitive answer). The problem is again that it’s counterproductive, if our target is to survive and have offspring. It is proved by scientific research that seeing objective truth and seeking for it doesn’t help in having more offspring.
https://www.nwf.org/Magazines/National-Wildlife/2013/DecJan/Animals/Animal-Mourning
http://agriculture.vic.gov.au/pets/care-and-welfare/how-do-animals-think
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJukJiNEl4o&t=2861s
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_cognition
Who are YOU? Do YOU even exist?
Step number one ask yourself this 2 questions
Step number two read this article:
https://www.nature.com/news/the-split-brain-a-tale-of-two-halves-1.10213
if it’s not enough for you, search for other stories/researches like this on internet and ask again.
But, article is pretty long ,so in nutshell saying, there are peoples with brains basically sliced in half so (from what i understand) one side of the brain can’t connect with other, sometimes it’s resulting in creation of another personality.
What’s interesting these two personalities can be insanely different for example what you perceive as “yourself/who you really are” can be someone who for example believes in one or another religion and “your” another personality can for example believe in another religion or be an atheist. These two individual personalities can even play in games together and have other opinions for example you want to wear these and your other personality may want to wear something else and won’t allow you to leave your home till you wear what “it” wants.
How all of these applies to my theory?
Because of my mental problem’s I feel like my body is just my avatar that does what I want in place of being “part of me”, the point I’m making here is that who you think you are doesn’t matter and “it” is very fragile (remember that what I wrote here is very extreme, but you are on this subreddit so I imagine you know how mental problems/traumatic event can change you as a person in blink of an eye, do you?) .
Emotions exists only to help you survive and lead to achieving your biological live goal.
I’d like to start with few examples to show what I mean (and remember that our brain is basically still in times where we were living in tribes and heavily fought for survival) .
  1. Being angry – being angry motivates you to take action and help in living within group of peoples, it is known that if group is prospering good there will be some peoples who would want to take the easy path to own benefits, and that person may for example steal something from you, if that happens to you and you’ll become angry it will motivate you to “teach that person a lesson”. Which will make sure that peoples like this (or other tribes for example) won’t be able to just freely take everything you own.
  2. Being scared/fear – After getting heavily beated for stealing something, you won’t do that anymore because you will be scared to do that (if fear of the possibility that someone will catch you, won’t stop you in the first place). Being scared also stops your curiosity from doing stupid things, for example checking up close how does this big cat look like. In nutshell fear is a nice tool in stopping us from doing things that might have unpleasant consequences .
  3. Forgiveness – forgiveness might be useful within a tribe because if someone steal something from you, you might want to kill/beat up/banish that person, and if that person has been a parasite for the tribe for longer time most likely you will do that, which at tribe time’s would be a good thing because there’s never enough resources, so having someone that doesn’t contribute to tribe in any positive way is just a waste, but if that person would be just a normal tribe member, and would give you a good reason why he/she did that you would most likely forgive (and choose much lighter punishment than death) because it would be good for tribe.
  4. Love – If you love someone and that person love you too, then you have someone you can count on all the time, will take care of you, and constant/safe sexual partner to “generate” offspring. Very good option in such dangerous times.
  5. Feeling that something is disgusting – Now imagine a world in which feeling that something is disgusting doesn’t exist and curiosity leads you to checking how excrement taste like… I’d say that chance that you will get sick and die is pretty high.
I think that now you understand what I mean, and I encourage you to pick random emotion/feeling and think how it would help you survive in times where tribes and heavy fight for survival was still a thing.
Live is a game which target is to experience things and learn.
Have you noticed that even if you don’t care about anything, and just want everyone to leave you alone (+you will act like it, isolate yourself from others, stop going to public places, stop seeking contact with others/new experiences, keep yourself away from troubles etc.), and live we still find 1000 different ways to get into your ass anyway? Doesn’t matter what you will do, live will always push you forward (in smaller or bigger degree) and keep challenging you (even if you have depression since years, life just don’t give a fuck :D).
In my opinion live is a game which target is to experience things and learn because there’s no escape from that, and if we say that live is a simulation/game which target is to experience things and be “sucked” into it, that would explain why terrible things are happening in our world, just so we can experience wider variety of things and learn from it, and because it’s just a game/simulation all the suffering we are observing/feeling in the end “doesn’t matter”.
Like in a game you have only fixed amount of possibilities and control.
Press w and on your keyboard and your character will walk forward
If you want to walk forward you’re just kind of doing it and walking forward
What these two things have in common? simplified controls
When you are pressing w in video game things just happen, game by itself checks if your character is in water and maybe instead of walking it should play swimming animation, or you’re walking up or downstairs and it should play another animation and also change position of your character in the game world not only horizontally but also vertically? You don’t have to care about all these things, you’re just pressing w and everything happens, but where is the similarity to “real live”?
It’s very simple in game you’re pressing w, in real live you’re just walking forward that’s all.
You don’t have to decide which individual muscle/tendons should move and how, you don’t have to decide what’s the optimal blood pleasure for your current movement speed, you don’t have to decide if you should start sweating now, because your body gets too warm, you don’t have to decide how organs should work at this moment, or which hormones should be released, you’re “just” walking forward and your subconscious mind takes care about the rest. Just like in a video game with premade avatar that has simplified controls, so you don’t have to care about this meaningless from your perspective stuff, and focus on experiencing and learning.
Extra:
I'm using words game and simulation in this post pretty often but i don't mean them literally, i'm using them just to make my idea easier to understand, and the idea simply is that target of life is to experince things and learn/grow, but if you want you can these words literally.
Everything in my theory is made around the idea that life is a game/simulation, but please notice that you can take everything there is my theory and say that God places us in this world so we can “experience and learn/grow” and everything will still check out.
After watching this document about Koko:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8oh1uhrdc6w&t=2318s
it’s very hard for me to believe that we are any special in compression to other animals, expect to three points I made above, and the fact that we are so intelligent.
submitted by iloveu18 to anhedonia [link] [comments]


2020.07.12 14:27 AlphaCoronae I Sexually Identify as an Attack Helicopter

I sexually identify as an attack helicopter.
I lied. According to US Army Technical Manual 0, The Soldier as a System, “attack helicopter” is a gender identity, not a biological sex. My dog tags and Form 3349 say my body is an XX-karyotope somatic female.
But, really, I didn’t lie. My body is a component in my mission, subordinate to what I truly am. If I say I am an attack helicopter, then my body, my sex, is too. I’ll prove it to you.
When I joined the Army I consented to tactical-role gender reassignment. It was mandatory for the MOS I’d tested into. I was nervous. I’d never been anything but a woman before.
But I decided that I was done with womanhood, over what womanhood could do for me; I wanted to be something furiously new.
To the people who say a woman would’ve refused to do what I do, I say—
Isn’t that the point?
I fly—
Red evening over the white Mojave, and I watch the sun set through a canopy of polycarbonate and glass: clitoral bulge of cockpit on the helicopter’s nose. Lightning probes the burned wreck of an oil refinery and the Santa Ana feeds a smoldering wildfire and pulls pine soot out southwest across the Big Pacific. We are alone with each other, Axis and I, flying low.
We are traveling south to strike a high school.
Rotor wash flattens rings of desert creosote. Did you know that creosote bushes clone themselves? The ten-thousand-year elders enforce dead zones where nothing can grow except more creosote. Beetles and mice live among them, the way our cities had pigeons and mice. I guess the analogy breaks down because the creosote’s lasted ten thousand years. You don’t need an attack helicopter to tell you that our cities haven’t. The Army gave me gene therapy to make my blood toxic to mosquitoes. Soon you will have that too, to fight malaria in the Hudson floodplain and on the banks of the Greater Lake.
Now I cross Highway 40, southbound at two hundred knots. The Apache’s engine is electric and silent. Decibel killers sop up the rotor noise. White-bright infrared vision shows me stripes of heat, the tire tracks left by Pear Mesa school buses. Buried housing projects smolder under the dirt, radiators curled until sunset. This is enemy territory. You can tell because, though this desert was once Nevada and California, there are no American flags.
“Barb,” the Apache whispers, in a voice that Axis once identified, to my alarm, as my mother’s. “Waypoint soon.”
“Axis.” I call out to my gunner, tucked into the nose ahead of me. I can see only gray helmet and flight suit shoulders, but I know that body wholly, the hard knots of muscle, the ridge of pelvic girdle, the shallow navel and flat hard chest. An attack helicopter has a crew of two. My gunner is my marriage, my pillar, the completion of my gender.
“Axis.” The repeated call sign means, I hear you.
“Ten minutes to target.”
“Ready for target,” Axis says.
But there is again that roughness, like a fold in carbon fiber. I heard it when we reviewed our fragment orders for the strike. I hear it again now. I cannot ignore it any more than I could ignore a battery fire; it is a fault in a person and a system I trust with my life.
But I can choose to ignore it for now.
The target bumps up over the horizon. The low mounds of Kelso-Ventura District High burn warm gray through a parfait coating of aerogel insulation and desert soil. We have crossed a third of the continental US to strike a school built by Americans.
Axis cues up a missile: black eyes narrowed, telltales reflected against clear laser-washed cornea. “Call the shot, Barb.”
“Stand by. Maneuvering.” I lift us above the desert floor, buying some room for the missile to run, watching the probability-of-kill calculation change with each motion of the aircraft.
Before the Army my name was Seo Ji Hee. Now my call sign is Barb, which isn’t short for Barbara. I share a rank (flight warrant officer), a gender, and a urinary system with my gunner Axis: we are harnessed and catheterized into the narrow tandem cockpit of a Boeing AH-70 Apache Mystic. America names its helicopters for the people it destroyed.
We are here to degrade and destroy strategic targets in the United States of America’s war against the Pear Mesa Budget Committee. If you disagree with the war, so be it: I ask your empathy, not your sympathy. Save your pity for the poor legislators who had to find some constitutional framework for declaring war against a credit union.
The reasons for war don’t matter much to us. We want to fight the way a woman wants to be gracious, the way a man wants to be firm. Our need is as vamp-fierce as the strutting queen and dryly subtle as the dapper lesbian and comfortable as the soft resilience of the demiwoman. How often do you analyze the reasons for your own gender? You might sigh at the necessity of morning makeup, or hide your love for your friends behind beer and bravado. Maybe you even resent the punishment for breaking these norms.
But how often—really—do you think about the grand strategy of gender? The mess of history and sociology, biology and game theory that gave rise to your pants and your hair and your salary? The casus belli?
Often, you might say. All the time. It haunts me.
Then you, more than anyone, helped make me.
When I was a woman I wanted to be good at woman. I wanted to darken my eyes and strut in heels. I wanted to laugh from my throat when I was pleased, laugh so low that women would shiver in contentment down the block.
And at the same time I resented it all. I wanted to be sharper, stronger, a new-made thing, exquisite and formidable. Did I want that because I was taught to hate being a woman? Or because I hated being taught anything at all?
Now I am jointed inside. Now I am geared and shafted, I am a being of opposing torques. The noise I make is canceled by decibel killers so I am no louder than a woman laughing through two walls.
When I was a woman I wanted to have friends who would gasp at the precision and surprise of my gifts. Now I show friendship by tracking the motions of your head, looking at what you look at, the way one helicopter’s sensors can be slaved to the motions of another.
When I was a woman I wanted my skin to be as smooth and dark as the sintered stone countertop in our kitchen.
Now my skin is boron-carbide and Kevlar. Now I have a wrist callus where I press my hydration sensor into my skin too hard and too often. Now I have bit-down nails from the claustrophobia of the bus ride to the flight line. I paint them desert colors, compulsively.
When I was a woman I was always aware of surveillance. The threat of the eyes on me, the chance that I would cross over some threshold of detection and become a target.
Now I do the exact same thing. But I am counting radars and lidars and pit viper thermal sensors, waiting for a missile.
I am gas turbines. I am the way I never sit on the same side of the table as a stranger. I am most comfortable in moonless dark, in low places between hills. I am always thirsty and always tense. I tense my core and pace my breath even when coiled up in a briefing chair. As if my tail rotor must cancel the spin of the main blades and the turbines must whirl and the plates flex against the pitch links or I will go down spinning to my death.
An airplane wants in its very body to stay flying. A helicopter is propelled by its interior near-disaster.
I speak the attack command to my gunner. “Normalize the target.”
Nothing happens.
“Axis. Comm check.”
“Barb, Axis. I hear you.” No explanation for the fault. There is nothing wrong with the weapon attack parameters. Nothing wrong with any system at all, except the one without any telltales, my spouse, my gunner.
“Normalize the target,” I repeat.
“Axis. Rifle one.”
The weapon falls off our wing, ignites, homes in on the hard invisible point of the laser designator. Missiles are faster than you think, more like a bullet than a bird. If you’ve ever seen a bird.
The weapon penetrates the concrete shelter of Kelso-Ventura High School and fills the empty halls with thermobaric aerosol. Then: ignition. The detonation hollows out the school like a hooked finger scooping out an egg. There are not more than a few janitors in there. A few teachers working late. They are bycatch.
What do I feel in that moment? Relief. Not sexual, not like eating or pissing, not like coming in from the heat to the cool dry climate shelter. It’s a sense of passing. Walking down the street in the right clothes, with the right partner, to the right job. That feeling. Have you felt it?
But there is also an itch of worry—why did Axis hesitate? How did Axis hesitate?
Kelso-Ventura High School collapses into its own basement. “Target normalized,” Axis reports, without emotion, and my heart beats slow and worried.
I want you to understand that the way I feel about Axis is hard and impersonal and lovely. It is exactly the way you would feel if a beautiful, silent turbine whirled beside you day and night, protecting you, driving you on, coursing with current, fiercely bladed, devoted. God, it’s love. It’s love I can’t explain. It’s cold and good.
“Barb,” I say, which means I understand. “Exiting north, zero three zero, cupids two.”
I adjust the collective—feel the swash plate push up against the pitch links, the links tilt the angle of the rotors so they ease their bite on the air—and the Apache, my body, sinks toward the hot desert floor. Warm updraft caresses the hull, sensual contrast with the Santa Ana wind. I shiver in delight.
Suddenly: warning receivers hiss in my ear, poke me in the sacral vertebrae, put a dark thunderstorm note into my air. “Shit,” Axis hisses. “Air search radar active, bearing 192, angels twenty, distance . . . eighty klicks. It’s a fast-mover. He must’ve heard the blast.”
A fighter. A combat jet. Pear Mesa’s mercenary defenders have an air force, and they are out on the hunt. “A Werewolf.”
“Must be. Gown?”
“Gown up.” I cue the plasma-sheath stealth system that protects us from radar and laser hits. The Apache glows with lines of arc-weld light, UFO light. Our rotor wash blasts the plasma into a bright wedding train behind us. To the enemy’s sensors, that trail of plasma is as thick and soft as insulating foam. To our eyes it’s cold aurora fire.
“Let’s get the fuck out.” I touch the cyclic and we sideslip through Mojave dust, watching the school fall into itself. There is no reason to do this except that somehow I know Axis wants to see. Finally I pull the nose around, aim us northeast, shedding light like a comet buzzing the desert on its way into the sun.
“Werewolf at seventy klicks,” Axis reports. “Coming our way. Time to intercept . . . six minutes.”
The Werewolf Apostles are mercenaries, survivors from the militaries of climate-seared states. They sell their training and their hardware to earn their refugee peoples a few degrees more distance from the equator.
The heat of the broken world has chased them here to chase us.
Before my assignment neurosurgery, they made me sit through (I could bear to sit, back then) the mandatory course on Applied Constructive Gender Theory. Slouched in a fungus-nibbled plastic chair as transparencies slid across the cracked screen of a De-networked Briefing Element overhead projector: how I learned the technology of gender.
Long before we had writing or farms or post-digital strike helicopters, we had each other. We lived together and changed each other, and so we needed to say “this is who I am, this is what I do.”
So, in the same way that we attached sounds to meanings to make language, we began to attach clusters of behavior to signal social roles. Those clusters were rich, and quick-changing, and so just like language, we needed networks devoted to processing them. We needed a place in the brain to construct and to analyze gender.
Generations of queer activists fought to make gender a self-determined choice, and to undo the creeping determinism that said the way it is now is the way it always was and always must be. Generations of scientists mapped the neural wiring that motivated and encoded the gender choice.
And the moment their work reached a usable stage—the moment society was ready to accept plastic gender, and scientists were ready to manipulate it—the military found a new resource. Armed with functional connectome mapping and neural plastics, the military can make gender tactical.
If gender has always been a construct, then why not construct new ones?
My gender networks have been reassigned to make me a better AH-70 Apache Mystic pilot. This is better than conventional skill learning. I can show you why.
Look at a diagram of an attack helicopter’s airframe and components. Tell me how much of it you grasp at once.
Now look at a person near you, their clothes, their hair, their makeup and expression, the way they meet or avoid your eyes. Tell me which was richer with information about danger and capability. Tell me which was easier to access and interpret.
The gender networks are old and well-connected. They work.
I remember being a woman. I remember it the way you remember that old, beloved hobby you left behind. Woman felt like my prom dress, polyester satin smoothed between little hand and little hip. Woman felt like a little tic of the lips when I was interrupted, or like teasing out the mood my boyfriend wouldn’t explain. Like remembering his mom’s birthday for him, or giving him a list of things to buy at the store, when he wanted to be better about groceries.
I was always aware of being small: aware that people could hurt me. I spent a lot of time thinking about things that had happened right before something awful. I would look around me and ask myself, are the same things happening now? Women live in cross-reference. It is harder work than we know.
Now I think about being small as an advantage for nape-of-earth maneuvers and pop-up guided missile attacks.
Now I yield to speed walkers in the hall like I need to avoid fouling my rotors.
Now walking beneath high-tension power lines makes me feel the way that a cis man would feel if he strutted down the street in a miniskirt and heels.
I’m comfortable in open spaces but only if there’s terrain to break it up. I hate conversations I haven’t started; I interrupt shamelessly so that I can make my point and leave.
People treat me like I’m dangerous, like I could hurt them if I wanted to. They want me protected and watched over. They bring me water and ask how I’m doing.
People want me on their team. They want what I can do.
A fighter is hunting us, and I am afraid that my gunner has gender dysphoria.
Twenty thousand feet above us (still we use feet for altitude) the bathroom-tiled transceivers cupped behind the nose cone of a Werewolf Apostle J-20S fighter broadcast fingers of radar light. Each beam cast at a separate frequency, a fringed caress instead of a pointed prod. But we are jumpy, we are hypervigilant—we feel that creeper touch.
I get the cold-rush skin-prickle feel of a stranger following you in the dark. Has he seen you? Is he just going the same way? If he attacks, what will you do, could you get help, could you scream? Put your keys between your fingers, like it will help. Glass branches of possibility grow from my skin, waiting to be snapped off by the truth.
“Give me a warning before he’s in IRST range,” I order Axis. “We’re going north.”
“Axis.” The Werewolf’s infrared sensor will pick up the heat of us, our engine and plasma shield, burning against the twilight desert. The same system that hides us from his radar makes us hot and visible to his IRST.
I throttle up, running faster, and the Apache whispers alarm. “Gown overspeed.” We’re moving too fast for the plasma stealth system, and the wind’s tearing it from our skin. We are not modest. I want to duck behind a ridge to cover myself, but I push through the discomfort, feeling out the tradeoff between stealth and distance. Like the morning check in the mirror, trading the confidence of a good look against the threat of reaction.
When the women of Soviet Russia went to war against the Nazis, when they volunteered by the thousands to serve as snipers and pilots and tank drivers and infantry and partisans, they fought hard and they fought well. They ate frozen horse dung and hauled men twice their weight out of burning tanks. They shot at their own mothers to kill the Nazis behind her.
But they did not lose their gender; they gave up the inhibition against killing but would not give up flowers in their hair, polish for their shoes, a yearning for the young lieutenant, a kiss on his dead lips.
And if that is not enough to convince you that gender grows deep enough to thrive in war: when the war ended the Soviet women were punished. They went unmarried and unrespected. They were excluded from the victory parades. They had violated their gender to fight for the state and the state judged that violation worth punishment more than their heroism was worth reward.
Gender is stronger than war. It remains when all else flees.
When I was a woman I wanted to machine myself.
I loved nails cut like laser arcs and painted violent-bright in bathrooms that smelled like laboratories. I wanted to grow thick legs with fat and muscle that made shapes under the skin like Nazca lines. I loved my birth control, loved that I could turn my period off, loved the home beauty-feedback kits that told you what to eat and dose to adjust your scent, your skin, your moods. I admired, wasn’t sure if I wanted to be or wanted to fuck, the women in the build-your-own-shit videos I watched on our local image of the old Internet. Women who made cyberattack kits and jewelry and sterile-printed IUDs, made their own huge wedge heels and fitted bras and skin-thin chameleon dresses. Women who talked about their implants the same way they talked about computers, phones, tools: technologies of access, technologies of self-expression.
Something about their merciless self-possession and self-modification stirred me. The first time I ever meant to masturbate I imagined one of those women coming into my house, picking the lock, telling me exactly what to do, how to be like her. I told my first boyfriend about this, I showed him pictures, and he said, girl, you bi as hell, which was true, but also wrong. Because I did not want those dresses, those heels, those bodies in the way I wanted my boyfriend. I wanted to possess that power. I wanted to have it and be it.
The Apache is my body now, and like most bodies it is sensual. Fabric armor that stiffens beneath my probing fingers. Stub wings clustered with ordnance. Rotors so light and strong they do not even droop: as artificial-looking, to an older pilot, as breast implants. And I brush at the black ring of a sensor housing, like the tip of a nail lifting a stray lash from the white of your eye.
I don’t shave, which all the fast jet pilots do, down to the last curly scrotal hair. Nobody expects a helicopter to be sleek. I have hairy armpits and thick black bush all the way to my ass crack. The things that are taboo and arousing to me are the things taboo to helicopters. I like to be picked up, moved, pressed, bent and folded, held down, made to shudder, made to abandon control.
Do these last details bother you? Does the topography of my pubic hair feel intrusive and unnecessary? I like that. I like to intrude, inflict damage, withdraw. A year after you read this maybe those paragraphs will be the only thing you remember: and you will know why the rules of gender are worth recruitment.
But we cannot linger on the point of attack.
“He’s coming north. Time to intercept three minutes.”
“Shit. How long until he gets us on thermal?”
“Ninety seconds with the gown on.” Danger has swept away Axis’ hesitation.
“Shit.”
“He’s not quite on zero aspect—yeah, he’s coming up a few degrees off our heading. He’s not sure exactly where we are. He’s hunting.”
“He’ll be sure soon enough. Can we kill him?”
“With sidewinders?” Axis pauses articulately: the target is twenty thousand feet above us, and he has a laser that can blind our missiles. “We’d have more luck bailing out and hiking.”
“All right. I’m gonna fly us out of this.”
“Sure.”
“Just check the gun.”
“Ten times already, Barb.”
When climate and economy and pathology all went finally and totally critical along the Gulf Coast, the federal government fled Cabo fever and VARD-2 to huddle behind New York’s flood barriers.
We left eleven hundred and six local disaster governments behind. One of them was the Pear Mesa Budget Committee. The rest of them were doomed.
Pear Mesa was different because it had bought up and hardened its own hardware and power. So Pear Mesa’s neural nets kept running, retrained from credit union portfolio management to the emergency triage of hundreds of thousands of starving sick refugees.
Pear Mesa’s computers taught themselves to govern the forsaken southern seaboard. Now they coordinate water distribution, re-express crop genomes, ration electricity for survival AC, manage all the life support humans need to exist in our warmed-over hell.
But, like all advanced neural nets, these systems are black boxes. We have no idea how they work, what they think. Why do Pear Mesa’s AIs order the planting of pear trees? Because pears were their corporate icon, and the AIs associate pear trees with areas under their control. Why does no one make the AIs stop? Because no one knows what else is tangled up with the “plant pear trees” impulse. The AIs may have learned, through some rewarded fallacy or perverse founder effect, that pear trees cause humans to have babies. They may believe that their only function is to build support systems around pear trees.
When America declared war on Pear Mesa, their AIs identified a useful diagnostic criterion for hostile territory: the posting of fifty-star American flags. Without ever knowing what a flag meant, without any concept of nations or symbols, they ordered the destruction of the stars and stripes in Pear Mesa territory.
That was convenient for propaganda. But the real reason for the war, sold to a hesitant Congress by technocrats and strategic ecologists, was the ideology of scale atrocity. Pear Mesa’s AIs could not be modified by humans, thus could not be joined with America’s own governing algorithms: thus must be forced to yield all their control, or else remain forever separate.
And that separation was intolerable. By refusing United States administration, our superior resources and planning capability, Pear Mesa’s AIs condemned citizens who might otherwise be saved to die—a genocide by neglect. Wasn’t that the unforgivable crime of fossil capitalism? The creation of systems whose failure modes led to mass death?
Didn’t we have a moral imperative to intercede?
Pear Mesa cannot surrender, because the neural nets have a basic imperative to remain online. Pear Mesa’s citizens cannot question the machines’ decisions. Everything the machines do is connected in ways no human can comprehend. Disobey one order and you might as well disobey them all.
But none of this is why I kill.
I kill for the same reason men don’t wear short skirts, the same reason I used to pluck my brows, the reason enby people are supposed to be (unfair and stupid, yes, but still) androgynous with short hair. Are those good reasons to do something? If you say no, honestly no—can you tell me you break these rules without fear or cost?
But killing isn’t a gender role, you might tell me. Killing isn’t a decision about how to present your own autonomous self to the world. It is coercive and punitive. Killing is therefore not an act of gender.
I wish that were true. Can you tell me honestly that killing is a genderless act? The method? The motive? The victim?
When you imagine the innocent dead, who do you see?
“Barb,” Axis calls, softly. Your own voice always sounds wrong on recordings—too nasal. Axis’ voice sounds wrong when it’s not coming straight into my skull through helmet mic.
“Barb.”
“How are we doing?”
“Exiting one hundred and fifty knots north. Still in his radar but he hasn’t locked us up.”
“How are you doing?”
I cringe in discomfort. The question is an indirect way for Axis to admit something’s wrong, and that indirection is obscene. Like hiding a corroded tail rotor bearing from your maintenance guys.
“I’m good,” I say, with fake ease. “I’m in flow. Can’t you feel it?” I dip the nose to match a drop-off below, provoking a whine from the terrain detector. I am teasing, striking a pose. “We’re gonna be okay.”
“I feel it, Barb.” But Axis is tense, worried about our pursuer, and other things. Doesn’t laugh.
“How about you?”
“Nominal.”
Again the indirection, again the denial, and so I blurt it out. “Are you dysphoric?”
“What?” Axis says, calmly.
“You’ve been hesitating. Acting funny. Is your—” There is no way to ask someone if their militarized gender conditioning is malfunctioning. “Are you good?”
“I . . . ” Hesitation. It makes me cringe again, in secondhand shame. Never hesitate. “I don’t know.”
“Do you need to go on report?”
Severe gender dysphoria can be a flight risk. If Axis hesitates over something that needs to be done instantly, the mission could fail decisively. We could both die.
“I don’t want that,” Axis says.
“I don’t want that either,” I say, desperately. I want nothing less than that. “But, Axis, if—”
The warning receiver climbs to a steady crow call.
“He knows we’re here,” I say, to Axis’ tight inhalation. “He can’t get a lock through the gown but he’s aware of our presence. Fuck. Blinder, blinder, he’s got his laser on us—”
The fighter’s lidar pod is trying to catch the glint of a reflection off us. “Shit,” Axis says. “We’re gonna get shot.”
“The gown should defeat it. He’s not close enough for thermal yet.”
“He’s gonna launch anyway. He’s gonna shoot and then get a lock to steer it in.”
“I don’t know—missiles aren’t cheap these days—”
The ESM mast on the Apache’s rotor hub, mounted like a lamp on a post, contains a cluster of electro-optical sensors that constantly scan the sky: the Distributed Aperture Sensor. When the DAS detects the flash of a missile launch, it plays a warning tone and uses my vest to poke me in the small of my back.
My vest pokes me in the small of my back.
“Barb. Missile launch south. Barb. Fox 3 inbound. Inbound. Inbound.”
“He fired,” Axis calls. “Barb?”
“Barb,” I acknowledge.
I fuck—
Oh, you want to know: many of you, at least. It’s all right. An attack helicopter isn’t a private way of being. Your needs and capabilities must be maintained for the mission.
I don’t think becoming an attack helicopter changed who I wanted to fuck. I like butch assertive people. I like talent and prestige, the status that comes of doing things well. I was never taught the lie that I was wired for monogamy, but I was still careful with men, I was still wary, and I could never tell him why: that I was afraid not because of him, but because of all the men who’d seemed good like him, at first, and then turned into something else.
No one stalks an attack helicopter. No slack-eyed well-dressed drunk punches you for ignoring the little rape he slurs at your neckline. No one even breaks your heart: with my dopamine system tied up by the reassignment surgery, fully assigned to mission behavior, I can’t fall in love with anything except my own purpose.
Are you aware of your body? Do you feel your spine when you stand, your hips when you walk, the tightness and the mass in your core? When you look at yourself, whose eyes do you use? Your own?
I am always in myself. I never see myself through my partner’s eyes. I have weapons to use, of course, ways of moving, moans and cries. But I measure those weapons by their effect, not by their similarity to some idea of how I should be.
Flying is the loop of machinery and pilot, the sense of your motion on the controls translated into torque and lift, the airframe’s reaction shaping your next motion until the loop closes and machine and pilot are one. Awareness collapses to the moment. You are always doing the right thing exactly as it needs to be done. Sex is the same: the search for everything in an instant.
Of course I fuck Axis. A few decades ago this would’ve been a crime. What a waste of perfectly useful behavior. What a waste of that lean muscled form and those perfect killing hands that know me millimeter-by-millimeter system-by-system so there is no mystique between us. No “secret places” or “feminine mysteries,” only the tortuously exact technical exercise of nerves and pressure. Oxytocin released, to flow between us, by the press of knuckles in my cunt.
When I come beneath Axis I cry out, I press my body close, I want that utter loss of control that I feel nowhere else. Heartbeat in arched throat: nipple beneath straining tongue. And my mind is hyper-activated, free-associating, and as Axis works in me I see the work we do together. I see puffs of thirty-millimeter autocannon detonating on night-cold desert floor.
Violence doesn’t get me off. But getting off makes me revel in who I am: and I am violent, made for violence, alive in the fight.
Does that surprise you? Does it bother you to mingle cold technical discipline with hot flesh and sweat?
Let me ask you: why has the worst insult you can give a combat pilot always been weak dick?
Have you ever been exultant? Have you ever known that you are a triumph? Have you ever felt that it was your whole life’s purpose to do something, and all that you needed to succeed was to be entirely yourself?
To be yourself well is the wholest and best feeling that anything has ever felt.
It is what I feel when I am about to live or die.
The Werewolf’s missile arches down on us, motor burned out, falling like an arrow. He is trying a Shoot On Prospect attack: he cannot find us exactly, so he fires a missile that will finish the search, lock onto our heat or burn through our stealth with its onboard radar, or acquire us optically like a staring human eye. Or at least make us react. Like the catcaller’s barked “Hey!” to evoke the flinch or the huddle, the proof that he has power.
We are ringed in the vortex of a dilemma. If we switch off the stealth gown, the Werewolf fighter will lock its radar onto us and guide the missile to the kill. If we keep the stealth system on, the missile’s heat-seeker will home in on the blazing plasma.
I know what to do. Not in the way you learn how to fly a helicopter, but the way you know how to hold your elbows when you gesture.
A helicopter is more than a hovering fan, see? The blades of the rotor tilt and swivel. When you turn the aircraft left, the rotors deepen their bite into the air on one side of their spin, to make off-center lift. You cannot force a helicopter or it will throw you to the earth. You must be gentle.
I caress the cyclic.
The Apache’s nose comes up smooth and fast. The Mojave horizon disappears under the chin. Axis’ gasp from the front seat passes through the microphone and into the bones of my face. The pitch indicator climbs up toward sixty degrees, ass down, chin up. Our airspeed plummets from a hundred and fifty knots to sixty.
We hang there for an instant like a dancer in an oversway. The missile is coming straight down at us. We are not even running anymore.
And I lower the collective, flattening the blades of the rotor, so that they cannot cut the air at an angle and we lose all lift.
We fall.
I toe the rudder. The tail rotor yields a little of its purpose, which is to counter the torque of the main rotor: and that liberated torque spins the Apache clockwise, opposite the rotor’s turn, until we are nose down sixty degrees, facing back the way we came, looking into the Mojave desert as it rises up to take us.
I have pirouetted us in place. Plasma fire blows in wraith pennants as the stealth system tries to keep us modest.
“Can you get it?” I ask.
“Axis.”
I raise the collective again and the rotors bite back into the air. We do not rise, but our fall slows down. Cyclic stick answers to the barest twitch of wrist, and I remember, once, how that slim wrist made me think of fragility, frailty, fear: I am remembering even as I pitch the helicopter back and we climb again, nose up, tail down, scudding backward into the sky while aimed at our chasing killer. Axis is on top now, above me in the front seat, and in front of Axis is the chin gun, pointed sixty degrees up into heaven.
“Barb,” the helicopter whispers, like my mother in my ear. “Missile ten seconds. Music? Glare?”
No. No jamming. The Werewolf missile will home in on jamming like a wolf with a taste for pepper. Our laser might dazzle the seeker, drive it off course—but if the missile turns then Axis cannot take the shot.
It is not a choice. I trust Axis.
Axis steers the nose turret onto the target and I imagine strong fingers on my own chin, turning me for a kiss, looking up into the red scorched sky—Axis chooses the weapon (30MM GUIDED PROX AP) and aims and fires with all the idle don’t-have-to-try confidence of the first girl dribbling a soccer ball who I ever for a moment loved—
The chin autocannon barks out ten rounds a second. It is effective out to one point five kilometers. The missile is moving more than a hundred meters per second.
Axis has one second almost exactly, ten shots of thirty-millimeter smart grenade, to save us.
A mote of gray shadow rushes at us and intersects the line of cannon fire from the gun. It becomes a spray of light. The Apache tings and rattles. The desert below us, behind us, stipples with tiny plumes of dust that pick up in the wind and settle out like sift from a hand.
“Got it,” Axis says.
“I love you.”
“Axis.”
Many of you are veterans in the act of gender. You weigh the gaze and disposition of strangers in a subway car and select where to stand, how often to look up, how to accept or reject conversation. Like a frequency-hopping radar, you modulate your attention for the people in your context: do not look too much, lest you seem interested, or alarming. You regulate your yawns, your appetite, your toilet. You do it constantly and without failure.
You are aces.
What other way could be better? What other neural pathways are so available to constant reprogramming, yet so deeply connected to judgment, behavior, reflex?
Some people say that there is no gender, that it is a postmodern construct, that in fact there are only man and woman and a few marginal confusions. To those people I ask: if your body-fact is enough to establish your gender, you would willingly wear bright dresses and cry at movies, wouldn’t you? You would hold hands and compliment each other on your beauty, wouldn’t you? Because your cock would be enough to make you a man.
Have you ever guarded anything so vigilantly as you protect yourself against the shame of gender-wrong?
The same force that keeps you from gender-wrong is the force that keeps me from fucking up.
The missile is dead. The Werewolf Apostle is still up there.
“He’s turning off.” Axis has taken over defensive awareness while I fly. “Radar off. Laser off. He’s letting us go.”
“Afraid of our fighters?” The mercenaries cannot replace a lost J-20S. And he probably has a wingman, still hiding, who would die too if they stray into a trap.
“Yes,” Axis says.
“Keep the gown on.” In case he’s trying to bluff us into shutting down our stealth. “We’ll stick to the terrain until he’s over the horizon.”
“Can you fly us out?”
The Apache is fighting me. Fragments of the destroyed missile have pitted the rotors, damaged the hub assembly, and jammed the control surfaces. I begin to crush the shrapnel with the Apache’s hydraulics, pounding the metal free with careful control inputs. But the necessary motions also move the aircraft. Half a second’s error will crash us into the desert. I have to calculate how to un-jam the shrapnel while accounting for the effects of that shrapnel on my flight authority and keeping the aircraft stable despite my constant control inputs while moving at a hundred and thirty knots across the desert.
“Barb,” I say. “Not a problem.”
And for an hour I fly without thought, without any feeling except the smooth stone joy of doing something that takes everything.
The night desert is black to the naked eye, soft gray to thermal. My attention flips between my left eye, focused on the instruments, and my right eye, looking outside. I am a black box like the Pear Mesa AIs. Information arrives—a throb of feedback in the cyclic, a shift of Axis’ weight, a dune crest ahead—and my hands and feet move to hold us steady. If I focused on what I was doing it would all fall apart. So I don’t.
“Are you happy?” Axis asks.
Good to talk now. Keep my conscious mind from interfering with the gearbox of reflexes below. “Yeah,” I say, and I blow out a breath into my mask, “yeah, I am,” a lightness in my ribs, “yeah, I feel good.”
“Why do you think we just blew up a school?”
Why did I text my best friend the appearance and license number of all my cab drivers, just in case? Because those were the things that had to be done.
Listen: I exist in this context. To make war is part of my gender. I get what I need from the flight line, from the ozone tang of charging stations and the shimmer of distant bodies warping in the tarmac heat, from the twenty minutes of anxiety after we land when I cannot convince myself that I am home, and safe, and that I am no longer keeping us alive with the constant adjustments of my hands and feet.
“Deplete their skilled labor supply, I guess. Attack the demographic skill curve.”
“Kind of a long-term objective. Kind of makes you think it’s not gonna be over by election season.”
“We don’t get to know why the AIs pick the targets.” Maybe destroying this school was an accident. A quirk of some otherwise successful network, coupled to the load-bearing elements of a vast strategy.
“Hey,” I say, after a beat of silence. “You did good back there.”
“You thought I wouldn’t.”
“Barb.” A more honest yes than “yes,” because it is my name, and it acknowledges that I am the one with the doubt.
“I didn’t know if I would either,” Axis says, which feels exactly like I don’t know if I love you anymore. I lose control for a moment and the Apache rattles in bad air and the tail slews until I stop thinking and bring everything back under control in a burst of rage.
“You’re done?” I whisper, into the helmet. I have never even thought about this before. I am cold, sweat soaked, and shivering with adrenaline comedown, drawn out like a tendon in high heels, a just-off-the-dance-floor feeling, post-voracious, satisfied. Why would we choose anything else? Why would we give this up? When it feels so good to do it? When I love it so much?
“I just . . . have questions.” The tactical channel processes the sound of Axis swallowing into a dull point of sound, like dropped plastic.
“We don’t need to wonder, Axis. We’re gendered for the mission—”
“We can’t do this forever,” Axis says, startling me. I raise the collective and hop us up a hundred feet, so I do not plow us into the desert. “We’re not going to be like this forever. The world won’t be like this forever. I can’t think of myself as . . . always this.”
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2020.07.09 13:11 horoscopespecialist Love Problem solution: Importance of Hindu Prayer to Get Lost love back

Love Problem solution: Importance of Hindu Prayer to Get Lost love back

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2020.07.02 21:07 vren55 [A Fractured Song] - Chapter 37 - Fantasy, Isekai (Portal Fantasy), Adventure

Cover Art
Teaser: Frances met Elizabeth one of her former classmates and a knight named Martin and made a good impression. However, first impressions aren't everything and in this chapter, Martin witnesses the great divide between Frances's and Elizabeth's experiences.
Story Summary: After years of beatings and neglect from her parents, 13-year old Frances was summoned with her entire class to the fantastical world of Durannon to fight the monsters invading the human kingdoms and defeat the "Demon King." If she succeeds, she might have the home she never had. But if she can't overcome the trauma and self-loathing inflicted on her by her abusive parents, Frances will die, and be summoned back to the home she escaped, on the day that she left.
[The Beginning] [<=Chapter 36] [Chapter Index and Blurb] [Chapter 38=>]
[Map of Durannon]
The Gut-Laughing The Extramundane Emancipation of Geela, Evil Sorceress at Large, which I'm beta-ing for got an update yesterday and also is getting real, while remaining funny. Ophelia is an amazing writer and it's a privilege to beta-read her work. Check it out!
If Martin had to remark on the most bizarre thing that he’d realized over the days he spent with the Otherworlders, it would be that they were human, and painfully so.
He hadn’t actually wanted this assignment. He’d grown up on the legends of the Otherworlders that had repeatedly saved this world. However, in his year of serving as a knight, he’d heard much from his fellow knights about these Otherworlders.
The unanimous declaration was that these Otherworlders were little more than children brought to fight the monsters. And yet, once Martin met the pair, he found he couldn’t blame them. They were young, and Elizabeth wasn’t even fifteen yet.
Instead, Martin found that the pair were also very easy to get along with. Particularly Frances.
Yes, in some ways, Elizabeth in particular, reflected her age, but not in an unpleasant way. She didn’t look her age, being rather tall with plenty of lean muscle, and her shoulder-length black hair held back by a ribbon, made her look older. Her dark brown eyes and lack of any pimples betrayed her younger age.
Elizabeth was also extraordinarily curious about life in Durannon and his life as a knight. It was enjoyable, relating his childhood stories to her. Martin was not, however, ignorant of how Elizabeth seemed to look almost lost and lonely. She rarely talked to anybody in the camp and continued to seek the company of either him or Frances.
Speaking of Frances, she was strangely enough, more mature, and a lot more like a soldier than he’d expected. She didn’t talk much, but always had something to eat for her two escorts, and was content to answer his questions about her world. He’d expected her to be like some of the haughty mage apprentices that knights found themselves unlucky to escort. Stories about how these apprentices threatened to curse his fellows unless they were brought whatever they needed were frequent amongst the Erisdalian military. In fact, he’d been enslaved— well, forced to assist several Red Order apprentices many times.
Yet, he rarely saw Frances in fancy robes, and most of the time she was near-in full war gear, often wearing her unflattering quilted jacket over a simple cream dress. Her only status symbols were her dark brown-purple yew wand, held in a fine wand holster at her belt, and a fine estoc, which was a two-handed stabbing sword. The mage demanded nothing of him, apart from doing his job. There wasn’t much to do at the moment as they were building the requisite siege equipment to bring down Kwent’s walls
Rather, the Otherworlder mage merely asked if he could spare with her so she could improve her own swordsmanship. He’d agreed, mostly because he wanted to keep his own skills sharp, and found her an apt pupil with the estoc. She was nowhere near as good as a trained knight, but better than some squires he’d fenced with.
That had gotten Elizabeth interested and she’d proven to be a rather intense sparring partner. She kept him on his toes and his arming sword flickering to block her heavy blows. He had the advantage of skill, but as an Otherworlder, she had better reflexes and he suspected she was stronger than him. It also helped that even though she was fourteen, she was quite tall, taller than Frances actually, and he suspected she would only get taller. They were so equally matched in fact that one of their matches lasted up to five furious minutes, only stopped by their exhaustion.
Today, they’d taken a break from sparring and were just chatting in front of Frances’s tent. She’d prepared some Hearthsange for them and there was nothing like that drink on a cold day.
“So, let me get this straight. You found out that I liked Kimchi by asking your mentor to ask one of my instructors?” Elizabeth asked.
Frances winced, and her eyes dropped as if she wanted to disappear. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to pry, but I thought it would make you feel more at home. Lady Alice seemed to think it was alright telling my Master.”
Elizabeth shook her head. “Oh no, Frances, it’s fine! I was just surprised you went to so much effort.”
“It’s no effort. I had to make it for my parents after all,” said Frances.
Martin couldn’t help but narrow his eyes slightly at Frances’s expression. They’d spent a lot of time together, and he’d started to realize that every time her parents were brought up, she’d grow increasingly uncomfortable.
It was happening right now. She was trying to smile, but it was weak and her shoulders were tensed.
“What do your parents do by the way?” Elizabeth asked, a sunny smile on her face.
“They’re real-estate agents. They buy, sell land, and develop it by building buildings or improving it in some fashion,” Frances said, glancing at Martin, who nodded in understanding.
The answer, however, seemed to take Elizabeth aback and her brow briefly knitted together.
“They must make pretty good money then,” said Elizabeth.
Frances nodded shortly, but again, her smile seemed to weaken.
As much as he was curious about her reaction, he decided to change the subject.
“So I heard—” he stopped. Earl Darius was storming up toward them. Martin rose to his feet, followed shortly by Frances, and finally by Elizabeth, who was smoothing her chain mail shirt.
“Alright, time for you bunch to prove your mettle. As you know, bands of goblins and centaurs have been raiding our supply lines. Frances, you and your escort are to meet the next supply caravan at the Westfall Pass and escort them to our camp. They’re carrying our crucial cannon so do not fuck this up,” Darius growled.
Martin nodded and he noticed Frances gave a sharp Erisdalian salute, crossing her right arm to her left shoulder. Elizabeth on the other hand, froze.
“Milord, are they waiting for us at the pass?” Frances asked.
The Earl’s grouchy look turned into one of contemplative thought. “They are due at the pass in three hours. Take horses.”
“Yes sir. I will mirror-message Mage Bernard if there is trouble,” Frances said.
Earl Darius nodded and stomped off to somewhere else. Frances was already putting away her kettle of Hearthsange.
“I’m sorry everybody,” she said.
“No sorries required, Frances. We have a duty. I’ll meet you at the horse’s corral?” Martin asked.
“I think that is a good idea.” Frances turned to Elizabeth. “Um, Elizabeth?”
Martin glanced at his friend and grimaced. The Otherworlder warrior was paling and clasping her hands together.
“Elizabeth, you’re going to be fine,” said Martin.
“I… It’s my first mission. How do I know I won’t screw it up?” Elizabeth stammered.
“You don’t,” said Martin, bluntly. That made Frances’s eyes widen and Elizabeth stare at him, but the knight forged on nonetheless. “You don’t know, but you don’t know until you try. So let’s go. You Otherworlders have trained two years for this.”
“Yes, but…” Elizabeth sighed. “None of us have done very well on our missions.”
That took Martin aback. Glancing around, he stepped closer to the two girls and lowered his voice. “What do you mean? You’re the Otherworlders summoned to protect the Human Kingdoms from the Monster King and the Kingdom of Alavaria.”
“Yes, but…” Elizabeth cringed and bowed her head. “Most of us are only fifteen-year-olds—I’m not even fifteen—and our world is a peaceful one. While most of us want to help, before we got displaced here, many of us have never seen any kind of fighting, or ever expected to fight.”
Martin blinked. That explained a lot about what he heard about the Otherworlders. If that were true, then they might be going into a far more dangerous situation than he thought. That all being said, he thought that they really should start getting to the horses.
“Elizabeth, I don’t think it’s our classmates’ fault. I know you are all being trained equally, and you’re really good with your hammer. It has to be some other circumstance that caused this,” Frances said. She smiled kindly. “You’re going to be fine, Elizabeth.”
Elizabeth’s only response was to mutter. “Not everybody is as talented as you are.”
Martin stared at the warrior, and to Elizabeth’s credit, she looked immediately contrite, but it was too late, as the smile on Frances’s face vanished into one that ached with hurt and confusion.
“Sorry."
Elizabeth waved her hands placatingly. “No, I’m sorry! I didn’t mean that. I mean, it’s true, but I don’t mean to say that. I mean—”
Martin sighed loudly, cutting Elizabeth off and drawing Frances’s attention. “Look, I’m sorry to interrupt, but we can talk about this when we’re on our horses, so can we get ready to leave first?”
Elizabeth flashed him a dirty look, which he glared back at, but Frances nodded. “Alright.”
Martin wore half-plate, half-chain mail, and so unlike other, more wealthy, Erisdalian knights who wore full plate, he could actually get his equipment on quickly. One hand carrying his spear, his primary horseback weapon, he trudged out to the corral to his warhorse, Killian, briefly glancing at his belt to check that his two-handed arming sword was in its sheath.
Frances was already standing by her horse, checking the pouches on her broad waist belt, which was also where her wand hung from.
Martin blinked, his blue eyes wide. He thought he had changed quickly, and that Frances would need more time to get on some of the gear that was more typical of her occupation. However, she still didn’t wear any of the flamboyant robes preferred by other war mages.
Instead, the slender Otherworlder was wearing almost exactly what she’d worn earlier. A yellow dress cut right above the knees, and almost completely covered with her heavy quilted jacket. Said jacket was slightly worn, but neatly repaired in several places. In addition to her wand, Frances estoc now hung at her side. She also now wore a rather beautifully forged helmet with steel cheek guards.
Elizabeth arrived a moment later, panting. She was wearing a long chain mail shirt, with her war hammer at her side and a wooden shield on her arm. The tall warrior’s dark-brown eyes were glancing awkwardly down towards the shorter Frances, clearly trying to figure out how to approach her, but unable to. Instead, Elizabeth anxiously twisted the curls at the end of her shoulder-length hair with a gloved finger.
The knight glanced at Elizabeth's bare head and frowned. “Elizabeth? Where’s your helmet?”
Elizabeth’s hand shot to her head and she gasped. “Oh no! I forgot it. Sorry I’ll get back—”
Frances whistled several short, lively notes, and a helmet with a visor flew from Frances’s horse and slotted itself onto Elizabeth’s head, the visor slamming into place.
Spluttering, Elizabeth fumbled with her visor, trying to get it open, and gave up. “Wha—how? Did you go into my tent?”
Frances flinched and scurried backwards. If Martin was being honest with himself, he did too. Although he was older than Elizabeth by a year, she was taller than him by about an inch. With her visor on, turning her eyes into a single menacing slot. It was like being confronted by a steel cyclops.
“Perhaps you shouldn’t have forgotten your helmet in the first place,” said Martin in a deadpan tone.
“She didn’t, or not quite." Although quiet, Frances's voice drew both Elizabeth and Martin’s attention. “You were musing that you might forget your helmet in an emergency, and so I suggested that I keep it because my gear is always ready to go. You agreed.”
Elizabeth stared at Frances for several long seconds, before her hand slapped her metal visor. “Frances, I’m so sorry. I—”
Martin grimaced. “Look, ladies, save it for the road, let’s get our horses saddled.”
Frances coughed. “Already done. I first requested the grooms to get them ready for us."
Martin blinked, walked over to Killian, and looked over the gear. His gelding was indeed ready for action. He turned to Frances and gave an approving nod.
“Thank you, Frances.” He was quite glad that the slender girl seemed so prepared.
The knight was far more worried about Elizabeth, who he examined out of the corner of his eyes. He could tell, even though the chain mail she wore, that her shoulders were sagging as she clambered up her horse. As skilled as a warrior she was, the pre-battle nerves were leading her to lash out. Martin could only wonder how Elizabeth would react when actually in battle.
If you like this serial don't forget to hit that upvote button, subscribe by leaving a comment in the Writers Butler Bot below, or join [Redditserials Discord server](https://discord.gg/VssYxpB) and type ?rank A Fractured Song into the #welcome and roles channel. I hang there fairly frequently so feel free to ping me there. Or ask any questions you have down below. If you have upvoted, thanks! It gives me a good way to judge audience engagement with the serial as a whole and keep the direction consistent.
Author's Note: Kind of a shorter update, but it'll tie you over until Tuesday's update I hope XD. First of all my post on the magic in Durannon (probably part 1 out of several due to need to cover mage orders and the like) is on my subreddit vrenslibrary at this link: https://www.reddit.com/VrensLibrary/comments/hjqvlx/worldbuilding_environment_magic/
As you can all tell, Martin and Elizabeth are going to feature prominently as Frances's best friends from now on out, even if their relationship's start isn't that perfect. I did want to introduce them earlier, but I thought it more important to flesh Frances out.
So for the question of the update: I want to open a Discord Server for the series, but I'm starved of ideas of how to build a community and so I'm thinking of a larger theme, such as self-published/indie Isekai. What are your ideas?
This is because I've gotten some followers for the serial now, and I was wondering if you'd be interested in me opening a Discord server. The problem is I have no idea what kind of stuff I'll put in there, aside from me just hanging in there to answer questions, talk about writing and other things. I do very much want to build a community, but I think I need to choose a focus like... Oh I don't know, our shared love of Isekai stories that aren't typical? (not that I have something against harems, I just have preferences on the kind of romantic relationships that I want to read and that tends to exclude harems). So I just wanna hear your thoughts.
Speaking of which, if you're still with me at this point in my author's note (do you actually read all of these notes lol?) would you be interested in me writing blog posts about my favorite genres/tropes in Isekai and other media?
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2020.06.21 04:42 anamefortoday999 South Korean cult "Xintiandi" No. 2 figure exposes the leader Li Wanxi scandal

South Korean cult
Article from a Chinese website, translated with google translate.
International Cult Research
Cherish life and stay away from cults.
29 people agreed with the article posted
Posted 19/2/2020
Li Jie comprehensive Korean media reported that on February 16, Jin Nanxi, who had left the "Shincheonji", was interviewed by the media to expose the high-level scandals of the "Shincheonji", including the love letter and oath that Li Manhe wrote to her.

https://preview.redd.it/4hk2q63rd6651.png?width=597&format=png&auto=webp&s=484430ea5c4e621e5d3d7e78411cb9d58df08c6a
Jin Nanxi and Li Manhe wedding photos
This interview video was posted on the video site YouTube. The second character of Shincheonji, Jin Nanxi, disclosed her marriage to Li Manhe for the first time and exposed Li Manhe's fraud. This is the highest level person who has exposed "Shincheonji" for more than 20 years. Prior to this, the sect's backbone, Shen Xianxu, withdrew from education in 2006 and became an anti-heretic and cult expert.
Jin Nanxi said in a video interview: " Li Manhe is not a savior, not a god, he is just an ordinary person . It is believed that the new world where Li Manhe is a savior should disappear from this land."
In an interview of more than 80 minutes, Jin Nanxi detailed the story of her and Li Manhe breaking up. She provided a lot of evidence, including the marriage vows, love letters written by Li Manhe, and the recording files of core members of Shincheonji.
Li Manhe cheated marriage
Jin Nanxi served as the head of the “Women’s World Peace Organization” (IWPG), a peripheral organization of Shincheonji. After Jin Nanxi used private property to run this organization and succeeded, he met Li Manhe many times. Soon, Li Manhe proposed to her.

https://preview.redd.it/t0wlhw1pd6651.png?width=602&format=png&auto=webp&s=33c33360ed9c158522b2c1c13b30ce92ad25c822
Li Manhe and Jin Nanxi
Jin Nanxi said: "Li Manhe said that he was a bachelor and he was not married or registered to marry. At the closing ceremony, Liu Tianshun (editor's note: Li Manhe's wife) sat next to him. Li Manhe called Liu Tianshun the "grandmother who cooks for him."
Jin had a husband and two children at the time, but she did not dare to refuse when Li Manhe asked for marriage. Li Manhe said: "God sent a partner from heaven, and that's you." "If you don't divorce, your husband will die." If I don't agree, I will die in hell, and my family will go to hell.
After getting married, Li Manhe repeatedly asked her to give birth to a son named "Heavenly Seed", meaning "the seed of heaven." Every time quarreling, Li Manhe angered her: "Where did the seeds go?" (Editor's Note: Li Manhe and Jin Nanxi have no children)
Li Manhe is a liar
Jin Nanxi said that the reason for breaking up with Li Manhe was because of money. "Li Manhe is a liar and only knows money. Money is everything." Jin said: "Establishment of large-scale facilities such as Qingping Institute, Gaocheng Institute, Shincheonji, and purchase of real estate such as rest homes and Li Manhe's cemetery all cost their own money. Li Manhe was hospitalized at Yongdong Severance Hospital and North Korea University Hospital for surgery, and she was also in charge of the hospital and took care of the hospital expenses. "

https://preview.redd.it/j03kdm2td6651.png?width=342&format=png&auto=webp&s=048c4ef1a3aa043ccbfcf31fda740dc99f3cbf4b

Li Manhe operated
Jin Nanxi said: "It's hard to make money. I have died several times. Li Manhe never paid 1 won for the construction cost. But after the construction, he paid a few dollars and took half (ownership) away. " In the end, 400 billion won Li Manhe also wrote a letter asking Jin Nanxi to raise 100 billion won.

\"Shincheonji\" Building

Jin Nanxi said that despite the deprivation of property, the outside world heard that "Li Manhe appointed Jin Nanxi as the heir to Shincheonji." Jin Xiang Li Manhe said: "His wife heard this wronged voice and demanded that the truth be ascertained." Every day, Li Manhe tricks me with "I will solve it for you" and "God knows". Now think of it, all this is a conspiracy to drive me out.
Jin Nanxi said that I know the capital flow of "Shincheonji" better than anyone. Li Manhe's deception is extremely high. In a very short time, you can receive hundreds of millions of won. "Hundreds of millions of won are credited in a short time"
In the interview that day, Jin also disclosed the content of the call with the president of Shincheonji "Tiandi Daily".
At present, Li Manhe and Jin Nanxi are litigating around property disputes. The court is expected to open in mid-March.
Anti-cult experts said that Jin Nanxi's withdrawal from education will lead to a split in "Shincheonji", and this exposure will cause more people to leave.
Introduction of Shincheonji
"Shincheonji" Logo
"Shinchonji" (Shinchonji), the full name of "Shincheonji Jesus Tabernacle of Evidence", abbreviated as "Shincheonji", was established on March 14, 1984 by Korean Li Manhe and is headquartered in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea. According to reports, the number of people enrolled in Shincheonji in South Korea is 170,000, and the number of people in the training is about 200,000. "Shincheonji" is a cult recognized by the Christian community.

Li Manhe
Manheelee (manheelee), born on September 15, 1931 in Gyeongsangbuk-do, South Korea, was deified as "Holy Ghost", "Second Adventist Christ", "God-appointed priest", and "Heavenly President". Believers call Li Manhe "Chairman Li" or "Chairman" or Sun. In Li Manhe’s autobiography, “The Road I Walked and the Blessing of God,” he said, “I am a descendant of the royal family, and came to this world as light.” “On a certain day, I met Jesus, a man from heaven. . ""I have rainbow peers everywhere, cross (cloud) peers, and light peers everywhere I go."
From October 30 to 31, 2014, the 31st General Meeting of the Korean Christian Supervisory Council recognized the "Shincheonji Church" as a cult under the guise of Christianity.
On April 19, 2016, the Korean Christian Federation issued an announcement requesting Korean believers to be vigilant against the erosion of the "Shincheonji Church". According to the Federation, the Shincheonji Church has been recognized as a cult (heresy) by the Korean Church.

https://preview.redd.it/fvmkoay5e6651.png?width=550&format=png&auto=webp&s=2933327106b1b22a3a3cc0a603064d921ce350b7
Jin Nanxi was the successor Li Manhe was looking for. Li Manhe claimed to be the sun, and he and Jin Nanxi were married in the spirit (actually a concubine). He called Jin the queen and the moon, and engraved the names of the two on the tombstones of the ancestral tombs.
Due to the struggle for power and money, Li Jin and his wife turned against each other and broke open in November 2017. Li Manhe accused Jin Nanxi of being "apostate" and "apostate."

https://preview.redd.it/7huvt3y8e6651.png?width=600&format=png&auto=webp&s=9e45aa5ecb5ce03dacc4bb76c00f1a33c0feb5e4

Tombstone on Li Manhe's Tomb

Competent government departments in many places in my country banned “Shincheonji Church” according to law
The Civil Affairs Bureau of Benxi, Liaoning Province released the "Announcement on the Ban of the "Shincheonji Church" according to law" on June 25, 2018. According to the investigation, the "Shincheonji Church" was registered as an unauthorized organization and carried out activities in the name of a social group. It was an illegal social organization. In accordance with Article 32 of the Regulations on the Registration and Administration of Social Organizations and Articles 2 and 9 of the Interim Measures for the Administration of the Suppression of Illegal Civil Organizations, this organ decided to ban the “Shincheonji Church” and its related institutions.
Prior to this, the Civil Affairs Bureau of Xiangfang District, Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province, the Suihua Civil Affairs Bureau, and the Fengtai District Ethnic and Religious Affairs Office of Beijing have issued similar announcements.
Last year, the police in Nanjing, Dalian and other places in our country punched hard to crack down on illegal activities in Shincheonji.
https://preview.redd.it/647lyffff6651.jpg?width=1268&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=6fdd7ce97d6adaa4433b0a1b5d211da608191813
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Aashiqui 2 MashupEmpress KiHa Ji Won & Ji Chang WookCute Love Story [Fanvid]Ha Ji Won & Ji Chang Wook CP MV第10彈 - YouTube EMPRESS KI - Ha Ji Won x Ji Chang Wook ♥ - YouTube HOSPITAL SHIP 병원선 Ep 30: Minhyuk Takes a Bullet For Ha Ji ... [Hospital Ship]병원선ep.15,16 Ha Ji-won, form strange atmosphere with Wang Ji Won.20170921

Ji Chang Wook Biodata, Girlfriend, Family, Age, Height, Ha ...

  1. Aashiqui 2 MashupEmpress KiHa Ji Won & Ji Chang WookCute Love Story
  2. [Fanvid]Ha Ji Won & Ji Chang Wook CP MV第10彈 - YouTube
  3. EMPRESS KI - Ha Ji Won x Ji Chang Wook ♥ - YouTube
  4. HOSPITAL SHIP 병원선 Ep 30: Minhyuk Takes a Bullet For Ha Ji ...
  5. [Hospital Ship]병원선ep.15,16 Ha Ji-won, form strange atmosphere with Wang Ji Won.20170921

#insidemix Movie:Aashiqui 2. Drama:Empress Ki. Hope you will enjoy this mix. Leave a like,comment and subscribe for more mixes. THANKS FOR WATCHING. 轉自 kanglinzl作品~ Ha Ji-won, form strange atmosphere with Wang Ji Won. Playlist for More episodes - https://www.youtube.com/playlist? list=PLKGrX96Q1q7ovezEY8zd5bup7xQfVhpmj ... For Your Love by: Jang Hye Jin Pangako by: Regine Velasquez (original version) Copyright disclaimer: I do not own anything in this video. All rights belong t... Catch Ha Ji Won and Kang Min Hyuk (of CNBLUE) in Hospital Ship with subtitles for FREE or the latest episodes on Viu Premium, every Thu & Fri, 12 hours after...