TWST x Villain Recruiters: Hijinks Ensue
I saw on Twitter that it's implied that Jack Heart is Ace's brother and mygod that idea has such a grip on me. The villain recruiters being in TWST!?!?!? Sign me the FUCK up!!!
Plus Malleus finally being able to wear a hat without cutting holes in it is 😭😭
Bonus: little cheebs
“There are fundamental things about ourselves that we know to be true. It's important to remember those things when you find yourself in a tough situation, or you need to make a decision from the heart, but it's equally important to know that you can surprise yourself, too...”
Novel-sized post under the cut:
I don’t say much on my art posts or on Tumblr in general, but as we’re in the home stretch before SU leaves forever, I thought I’d leave a bit of commentary for the five people who may happen across this.
I started watching the original series a couple weeks after Friend Ship aired in 2015, mostly because I love MST3K’s Joel Hodgson and heard he was playing Mayor Dewey. I know it’s a common refrain that you have to sort of “endure” SU up to Mirror Gem, but that was not the case for me. The kookiness, the gentle nature of the characters, the overarching mystery of the setting - SU had me hooked right off the bat.
I loved all the characters (and I still love all the characters! Even if Ronaldo is best left as a background role and Resident Plot Oracle), but I was especially fascinated by Steven. Outwardly, he was as laid-back as his dad, and seemingly took a lot of stuff in stride, even his odd living situation. And every time a Big Reveal happened that re-contextualized the episodes prior, he would react a little bit in the moment, but never too much. Like clockwork, this pattern kept repeating itself. He would continually focus outward on the immediate problem or person in front of him, and get deeply emotional for their issues instead of his own. He’d also get emotional for surface-issue things, like Cookie Cats and snakes.
I found that odd. And intriguing. At first I figured it was just a narrative device since he was the MC and my window into the world of SU, but it happened so often that I finally got suspicious. What was it going to take for this kid to really express himself? He was so good at getting others to open up, why couldn’t he do it, too? Yes, he had times and even a couple episodes where he’d tip his hand for a bit and show something deeper, but they were oh-so-fleeting.
As I started watching the remaining S2 and S3 episodes as they came out, this pattern kept up. The layers of the world and its characters slowly unwrapped, but Steven stubbornly kept to himself and was mostly content to point the audience away from him. (Not a bad thing, narratively, as the stuff with Peridot and the latter half of S3 were wild rides!) Back then, I felt pretty alone in giving a shit about him as a character when it seemed a lot of others didn’t, but, dammit, he was my favorite little mystery regardless and I just hoped his reticence was going somewhere, especially as the show’s stakes got higher and higher.
Sweet, sweet vindication came when Mindful Education aired. The second he started giving terrible advice to Connie, I knew we were finally due to for a good look into his brain. And then came the butterfly on the sword, and well, everything else. Yeah, he’d dropped enough breadcrumbs prior to Mindful Education implying he was proper fucked up about his identity, but this was a whole loaf of fresh French bread. It was now clear beyond any shadow of a doubt that Steven was bottling up the majority of his issues and probably had been from the start.
I mean, damn, the Pink Diamond reveal? Amethyst couldn’t drag more than a couple grumpy lines out of him over pizza, and like most things Rose related, was more about his feelings towards her than what that meant for him. When he flipped out at a hologram of his mom or cried for his dad, his family wasn’t present to hear his inner thoughts. Regardless, after CYM happened and he’d resolved his identity crisis, I was content enough that they’d acknowledged his constant deflection and almost tyrannical need to help others as character flaws and would have been fine with what we got as an ending. Still, there was a lot about Steven that had been left unsaid, and I was excited to see was S6 was gonna be about...
And then the movie and SUF came along, and I swear to God I don’t even know what to do with all this vindication. Rebecca Sugar may as well have beamed into my living room and screamed “LOOK HERE ARE 20 EPISODES OF CONTENT TAILOR-MADE JUST FOR YOU.” Finally, they’re really unwrapping the mystery of our main character. They’re tearing him apart right down to the core of tragic nougat at the center of his being.
So, anyway, here we are at the lowest point of Steven’s long story. He’s burned King’s Landing. He’s crossed the Rubicon. My son, my boy, has shut out everyone he loves and has an honest-to-goodness kill count, and it can’t be justified by saying he was backed into a corner or that he was fighting to protect someone. He didn’t mean to shatter Jasper, but it’s clear he meant to hurt her.
I was always adamant that he’d never shatter anyone, but now that he has, I get why.
Steven is all about that duality. He’s human and Gem, burdened with Special Magical Destiny yet supposedly free to choose his own human path. The closer he gets to discovering his future, the deeper he has to dig into the past. He’s a cute little critter who can quietly drool on himself while napping on a road trip and also an angry teenager frustrated over a life he never had. He’s trapped between reality and facade - all those healing Rose-style powers he worked so hard to get in the original series were a cover for something older, more ancient, more destructive. And, most pertinent to Fragments - he adores soft things like romance and weddings, yet also values tough things like strength and power.
And he’s having trouble walking the tightrope between all these contradictions. When it comes to power, for example, he loves gaining new powers in order to feel useful to his family, but, in fights where he isn’t pink, he’ll always stop just short of using them to their fullest and stay on the defensive as long as he can possibly get away with it. He’ll even apologize or warn his opponent if he tries to do something big. He’ll nearly always fall on the side of softness over power, but the power is still very much there, if unused. And even up to this last episode, he’d always stop just short of going full feral even when he was pink. Part of this is because Steven is a good kiddo at heart, but also afraid of what he can do to someone unchecked.
And now, here at a bad point in Steven’s life when he’s loaded up with PTSD and cut off from his usual support, Jasper (who is also...going through some things) gives him permission to indulge in the sort of thing he’s avoided since that day he summoned a shield with an ice cream bar. She tells him to not hide a part of himself, so for just this fucking once, he lets go. The ecstasy of battle overtakes him. He doesn’t tap into the soft, rounded Rose-style powerset for even a second. No bubbles, no shield, just that raw diamond geometry. And when he gets to the moment of the KO, there’s no stopping, no break to talk things out, no “yo watch out!” He even pins her down to make damn sure she can’t get away. It’s a surprising facet of Steven we have never seen, but it’s still absolutely him, just another one of those parts he squirrels away out of view. He didn’t need that “training” at all... it was always there.
When he told Jasper he’d been holding back, he meant it. He’s been holding back for years, in so many ways.
AU where Morgan reign of terror traumatizes Coby and he leaves with Luffy and Zoro instead of becoming a marine.
ANON I LOVE YOU YOU HAVE INSPIRED ME!!!! I don’t know how to make this a comprehensive story yet so have some headcanons about
Coby is disgusted by way marines are run
He has a “THIS ISNT JUSTICE” Revelation like in Marineford, but on a smaller scale. He sees how thin Zoro is, from being starved and crucified for saving a young, and how happy the people are now that Axe Hand is gone and is like - this isn’t the justice I wanted.
“I want to catch criminals, not harm innocent people.”
Coby starts thinking about his new companions and thinks Luffy’s rough and luffs feral, but he hasn’t hurt anyone. Axe Hand Morgan and his son have.
So Coby follows Luffy and Zoro into the great unknown.
He’s not entirely sure he wants to be a pirate however. Unlike everyone else he does have a moral compass.
“I don’t think I want to be a pirate.” He says after watching Zoro keep calling Luffy Captain.
“Then be a bounty hunter? Go after whomever you want” – Zoro, who does not give a shit about Coby’s internal crisis, but wants to support him.
⁃Coby: “Huh. Okay”
⁃Cue nights where cobys just thinking about his future as he drifts in the waves with Zoro and Luffy being dumb idiots together and just heading for their dreams
HE doesn’t know if he wants to be a bounty hunter, because how can he tell which bounties are for genuine crimes and which are for people the government wants to kill?
Potential other au lmao coby becomes a bounty hunter
⁃At orange town, he panics at Buggy and hides - he doesn’t know how to fight, but he does get the key from chouchou the dog. He’s helping, in his own way.
⁃Zoro sees this and is like “NO. You need to learn how to fight cmon we’ll teach you.” Like Luffy, he has an aversion to people who cant stand up for themselves, but he likes Coby so he’s gonna help.
⁃So Zoro and Luffy tag team each other and teach coby how to fight. He learns a weird mix of swordsman ship and punching that really don’t go together, but its better than what he had.
⁃In the meantime, Coby keeps on seeing all the places the marines dont reach and keeps losing his faith in the system. He starts wondering why the Marines are hailed as this awesome force when really a lot of the times they just abuse their power or do nothing to help people.
⁃At Syrup, he helps get Kaya to safety with Usopp, still unwilling to fight, but starting to regain his resolve to do something – to reclaim a dream thought lost.
⁃Coby’s disgusted at the Fullbuster guy on the Baratie and punches him.
⁃“YOUR FIRST CRIME!” Luffy says, cheerfully. The chefs applaud. Go Coby.
⁃Now, Coby isn’t advancing as fast in training, because one, luffy and zoro (and Sanji, eventually) aren’t Garp, and two, he doesn’t have that drive anymore. Why does he want to be a Marine who punishes justice?
⁃But when Arlong shows up Coby figures out his new dream. He knows what he is going to do.
⁃“I’m gonna take down the Marines - they can’t be this corrupt forever, and how many people are just innocent people? I want to give the world justice again!”
Luffy doesn’t really care about anybody else, innocent or not, unless his crew cares, but Coby cares. He’s not a pirate, but maybe if the law isn’t right, being free to do as he wish shouldn’t incriminate him?
⁃THEN the Strawhats run into Vivi and Chopper and suddenly there are more caring people like him, and more evidence that the system is corrupt which he already knows but how can he change it. He’s able to fight off some men now, and helps fight off some of Wapols men and the Whiskey Peak people, but that isn’t enough.
⁃All his friends have goals that seem impossible but they are so sure they alone are going to reach it, even without the crew there. Coby doesn’t feel like he can do the same.
⁃But hen theres alabasta - He’s stronger now, can through a punch, hes more lean with more muscle. He helps fight, and maybe it doesn’t do much, maybe the man (Luffy) who opened his eyes to the world is still there bleeding out, but he did something.
⁃And Ace and Robin have a hint for him, for his dream.
⁃(Who is this, Ace asks, referring to Coby. He has no role on the ship, but Luffy is proud to call him my friend, and say he wants to change the world for the better. To bring back what Justice really is. Ace cringes at the thoughhht of Garp but hums, and says theres a group of people who will do that – The Revolutionaries. Look for them, Ace says, and leaves. They will help you)
⁃(Robin, who knows all, tells him about Dragon unknown in the East Blue, his home, buth the most wanted man elsewhere. He has a plan, to take down the World Government, and perhaps Coby can find equal footing.)
⁃The Revolutionaries - Dragon, Luffy’s father.
⁃Coby has a goal now.
⁃He doesn’t want to say goodbye to the Strawhats, but he does, taking a boat lent to him by Vivi, and setting off to find the Revolutionaries. Pirates don’t care about fair fights and Justice, but Coby does, and the Revolutionaries do. His dream will grow there, but he will always be an honorary crew member of the Straw Hat Pirates (the first in some stories).
⁃At sea he runs into Helmeppo, whose drifting at sea stranded due to the marines, and helps him. They bond, and Helmeppo has done a little growth in character as well, and decides to follow Coby, much like Coby decided to follow Luffy.
⁃They run into Garp who is losing faith in the new generation and believes that maybe his son is right, gives them a few fists of training after asking about his grandson, and goes on his way.
⁃They save a town or two
⁃Coby punches several people in the face.
⁃Still no sign of the revolutionaries, but they have heard things from the grape vine that a pirate ship has fallen out of the sky into a navy base. Coby assumes at least Luffy is doing fine.
⁃Finally they run into - guess who – Sabo, on a information recovery mission, which Coby helps with. He questions them at first and learns their story.
⁃And knocks himself the fuck out when Coby says “Ace” “Luffy” and “Brothers”
⁃“OH SHIT THEY ARE GOING TO KILL ME” - sabo,after waking up, to a confused Coby and then profusely thanking him.
⁃Sabo agrees to let Coby and helmeppo into the Revolutionaries and trains them (wow Coby’s been trained by a lot of ppl at this point) if Coby helps him find Luffy and Ace.
⁃CUE WILD GOOSE CHASE WHICH ENTAILS COBY BECOMING THE HERO OF THE REVOLUTION just like Garp is the hero of the marines!! They just fight ppl but instead of in the name of becoming the pirate king, its for REVOLUTION and JUSTICE because Coby has a working moral compass.
⁃Coby develops new moves combining all that he’s been taught into a rather weird fighting style with a mix of weapons and martial arts. He gets a bounty, and it’s the worst day of his entire life and also the best. He can’t decide, Helmeppo Sabo and Koala (whom he met when Sabo had to explain why he wasn’t on his mission) laugh at him.
⁃Then Sabo runs into Ace, ands that reunion goes as well as you would expect, but that not the important thing, because its still not enough to not send Ace to Marineford. But they don’t know this. Yet.
⁃Sabo and Ace both get news about Ennies Lobby at the same time. Coby, when Luffy mentions knowing Coby to his visiting grandfather, receives a shudder down his spine as if he has narrowly avoided a horrible fate.
⁃But its whatever. Sabo contacts Dragon and plans to meet with him and Luffy at Sabaody, to keep an eye on the Supernovas and let Sabao and Coby see Luffy again.
⁃They never get a chance, as the Strawhat Pirates have disappeared by the time they arrive… and Ace is on the execution block.
⁃Sabo has to go save him and drags Coby along for the ride, who eagerly awaits the opportunity to THROW DOWN SOME MARINES
⁃Luffy still goes through Impel down and all that, but Sabo and Coby still arrive late to the battle.
⁃You know how Sabo saves Luffy and Ace in that one excerpt? Cue coby punching akainu in the face for trying to hurt his friends then dodging the hell outta there as sabo saves ace and luffy.
⁃He Learns his haki! Is like oh shit my crush is gonna die, better do some shit about that! The haki allows him to actually stop Akainu for a second, and stop the fighting, as he attempts to question the people – is this what justice is?
⁃Coby meets trafalagr law and also buggy again. He isn’t afraid anymore, and doesn’t hide. People are quietly proud.
⁃Luffy gets saved and ASL reunion happens.
⁃Luffy decides to train, and tries to get coby to come along with him.
⁃Coby Is just frustrated because he has a moral compass and Luffy is just here saying he’s now best friends with corrupt war lords and the pirate kings right hand man, who is a cool dude, but why luffy, coby is hurt, please stop punching people because you feel like it.
⁃(Coby’s just putting on appearances)
⁃HEs just a good boy who wants to tear down corrupt systems why do you make friends with criminals luffy why do you hurt coby like this
(Again, appearances, he’s not insane, thank you very much)
After leaving Luffy to train and after helping him due his oxbell thing, he leaves with sabo to FINALLY MEET DRAGON
He goes through his own two year training with helpmeppo who is along for the ride. Who Coby has now decided is stuck with him for life.
Training is hell, because Coby wants to find his own fighting style which means a lot of different stuff and seeing what works best and it HURTS
“Just be grateful im not my father-“ – dragon
Coby feels the shudder again
Yknow how The revs have that steam punk theme? Well
this is. so cool oh my gosh
Coby goes around freeing people and when they asked what inspired you hes like “rubber bastard who doesn’t have a moral compass fkdjsha,dk”
Hes gay for luffy he cant deny it
Luffy fanclub #1
Anyway, Coby goes on to take down Akainu and corrupt governments across the world, and makes his dream of tearing down the marines a reality post Pirate King Luffy
6, 25 and 32 for the David ask game💜 mi compadre (lmao lo siento, I had to😂). Acuerdate de poner los tags a la respuesta pa darle un boost al tag😉
Hey there tía 😁 thanks for asking, and let’s get this show on the road:
6. Do you have anything in common with David?
I have a bunch of things in common with David. We have similar coloring. I don’t have a septum piercing, but I have a bunch other piercings. I too used to draw and experiment with art in high school. I have a cute cartoon persona that represents me (I think most artists have one?). I’m into weird ass movies, though my favorite Jim Jarmusch movie is Ghost Dog. And I have some of his backstory in common with him.
25. If David gets his season, what do you want it to be about?
Okay, so I have a ton of ideas for David’s season. I would like it if his first film school application was rejected, and David had an identity crisis over it. He’s always thought he wants to be this one thing, but what if he’s not good enough to do it? (Which is the storyline that the writers opened for him in Wir sind nur Freunde.)
He would be stressed out, and meanwhile Matteo could become less available for some reason (maybe Matteo got a new job or got into culinary school or whatever). So the romantic storyline would deal with David having felt supported emotionally by Matteo for a long time, and then not having his support at a critical time. Ideally this storyline would be resolved by them moving in together.
Another option would be that David got into film school, but he’s suddenly surrounded by people who know just as much or more about film, leading to impostor syndrome. This is a very common occurrence for higher education students, and I would love to see David find his own point of view and the one thing he can offer the world, after some soul searching.
When it comes to trans topics, I would like the season to deal with the difficulties in getting legal recognition for one’s gender, i.e. all the bureaucracy involved in having your gender changed in your ID. This is something Lukas has talked about sometimes, and I know that it’s also a very complicated process for trans people in Spain. I think it’s a topic that’s not often explored in trans narratives because it’s not as flashy, but as a topic it needs more societal awareness and discussion. Are all the legal requirements really necessary? Or should that be an easier process? Being legally recognized as your gender opens so many doors and protects people, yet most people don’t think about it. It would be super important to see David, a character we love, facing ignorance and discrimination because his ID doesn’t say M.
32. Do you see Davenzi becoming parents?
They’re still very much children themselves right now. 😂 But I think as soon as Amira has her first kid (this question led me down a headcanon path about the circumstances in which Mohammed and Amira become parents), they’ll have that discussion for sure. David will casually be going to his final in his underwear when Matteo will pose the question, Priscilla’s sim Davenzi-style.
[ask me questions about David]
GG Strive Thoughts: Part 3
Welcome to the last part of my Guilty Gear Strive thoughts!^_^ I'll be focusing on the art-style and character designs, so there will be lots of pictures in this post. I hope you enjoy reading!
Art-Style & Graphics
Guilty Gear's visuals always had a detailed, Sci-Fi fantasy anime look with creativity of the 1990s and early 2000s. This mostly stayed the same until Xrd SIGN, which introduced 3D cel-shaded graphics in a new way. The art-style also changed a bit from previous games, although it has kept its creativity.
GG Xrd SIGN and the following games(Revelator and Revelator 2) look beautiful, but it took me a while to get used to the art-style because of those dreaded chins. The characters should've just used their chins to fight cause of how long and pointy they are; just go "SLLASSHHHH!" XD Certain features of characters were exaggerated like Sol's shoulders being a bit too wide for his body or how Baiken's hair is thicker and spikier. Some people say it's "too anime", but that isn't the right word for it. I would say "whimsical" is main trait from the art-style, which is fitting for how funny the interactions are in-game and lighter tone in story.
Guilty Gear Strive keeps the cel-shaded 3D graphics, but manages to expand it further. Instead of its presentation akin to an anime TV series, it's now akin to a high-budget anime movie with detail given to both the characters and the environments. It's less whimsical this time, giving the impression the story will be darker in tone. I'm really happy the art-style was changed to being closer to the older GG games like X2; no more ice-cream cone chins!XD The characters also got redesigned to match the essence of the new game. I'll be talking about eachone in order from least to most in terms of design changes. I'll also rate them in Guilty Gear style grade form.
There seems to be mixed reactions when Potemkin got revealed for GG Strive. Some were happy he looked generally the same while others were a little disappointed and asked, "How come he didn't get a huge redesign like the other characters?!" The answer is he already did; this is how Potemkin originally looked like in the GG series.
This design relates to Potemkin's story in the beginning. The Zepp empire in the past was a very corrupted, technology advanced nation. It contained battle-slaves with strength enhancement steriods and bound them with a special limiter. Potemkin was one of these battle-slaves with his huge, red metal color being the limiter. If he ever took it off, it would explode. However, Zepp was changed when Gabriel became President and freed all the Zeppian slaves, including Potemkin. He now serves as Gabriel's bodyguard out of genuine loyalty, gratitude, and care for his mentor and the renewed Zepp.
Judging on his old design by itself, I think he looked average(based on what he's wearing). His features definitely fit the saying "don't judge a book by its cover" because Potemkin is actually a gentle giant who's very intelligent. But the way he looks(except when interacting with certain characters), it's like he wants to break someone's bones, lol.
In the concept artwork in Guilty Gear X Plus(Japanese exclusive game), it hinted of what Potemkin will eventually developed into look-wise and story-wise. Even the pose from this pic was used later in Xrd SIGN. I really wish the design of the boots was used instead those weird looking ones he's wearing now, XD.
Now to look at Potemkin's design in Xrd SIGN.
This is Potemkin's drastic redesign needed because of the changes in his life and his resolve being tested. I love this design so much because it accurately portrays Potemkin's personality. The first is his steel helmet with a spike at the top, accented with the Zepp symbol at the center of his forehead. His face is mostly shrouded in darkness except for the glowing lens. The yellow ponytail fur attached adds to the essence of a modern steel knight. Next is the black collar having spikes at the front; he also has on spiked shoulder plates to emphasis his strength. The power part is also in the round-shaped limiters attached to the upper parts of his uniform and glove compartment of his gauntlets. The design of his gauntlets is derived from the GGX Plus concept art, except the gloves completely cover his fingers and has a robotic aesthetic to it. I notice green is the most dominant color in Potemkin's design and there's a reason why besides it being Zepp's uniform.
Here is the Green Personality taken from Color Psychology
You are a practical, down-to-earth person with a love of nature. You are stable and well balanced or are striving for balance - in seeking this balance, you can at times become unsettled and anxious. Having a personality color green means you are kind, generous and compassionate - good to have around during a crisis as you remain calm and take control of the situation until it is resolved.
You are caring and nurturing to others - however you must be careful not to neglect your own needs while giving to others. You are intelligent and love to learn - you are quick to understand new concepts. You are a good citizen and like to be involved in community groups. You have high moral standards and doing the right thing is important to you.
There is more, but I only taken pieces that describe Potemkin's personality, showing why green is his main color. Now onto his look in GG Strive starting with his helmet.
On the forehead of the helmet, the Zepp symbol is no longer a design mark, but an carved symbol with the words "Armor-clad faith" underneath. Instead of just darkness on his face, it accentuates the robotic aesthetic with the gears and the lens having an orange tint. Next is a full body screenshot of Potemkin.
The spiked shoulder plates is less noticeable and his uniform is more formal. There's now a maroon-red collar with white trim and yellow buttons. The spikes on the black collar part of his outfit is gone, there's thick pockets on the lower part of his suit and has a brown belt instead of black. His boots is also brown instead of black and the plates around his feet is orange instead of red. There's additional limiters on his upper back that is revealed when doing certain attacks, showing his power has grown more. His muscle mass has also gotten super HUGE to the point I wouldn't be surprised if he reached Sentinel(X-Men) size, XD.
Design Rating: S++(Fantastic!)
Sol Badguy is the main protagonist, so there was never a worry or surprise of his GG Strive design. There's also the fact his design isn't really new; it's heavily derived from the artwork of Guilty Gear 2:Overture. But first is looking at Sol's most iconic design from the GG series.
I'll always love this design because I think it's stylish, cool, and timeless. He's handsome in the traditional tough-guy way and perfectly fits the anti-hero type. His metal red headband acts as a limiter for his Gear powers and has the words "Rock You" in the center of his forehead. Besides it symbolizing his love for Queen's "Sheer Heart Attack" music album and controlling his Gear powers, it also symbolizes how he keeps his inner thoughts to himself and close-mindedness. He wears a black undershirt layered with a sleeveless, chest-length red jacket with a buckle strap. This style is very unconventional, which is exactly Sol is; he doesn't follow typical conventions. His red and black gloves conveys his toughness while his belt with the "FREE" tells of his philosophy. This also hints complexity to his nature since the belt is from when he was in the Holy Order, an aspect of his past. This shows he's inwardly caring and values the people in life along with his experiences. Lastly, is his white pants accented with buckles and red shoes.
The GG2:Overture Short Stories goes into some detail of the events before the game like how he was entrusted to raise Sin(Ky & Dizzy's son), etc. The major difference with Sol's design from the short stories is he's wearing a sensible red jacket similar to his old one, but its design still has traits of being its own style. His black undershirt is slightly different with a small V-shape cut-out in the middle, longer sleeves, and slightly loose around his stomach instead of fitted. His gloves has more of a biker vibe to them and no aspect of red nor buckles within them. He still wears red shoes on his feet, though tweaked in its looks. While this did hinted of Sol's character development, it wasn't a large factor because alot of the huge events at the time and before were placed on him rather than him confronting it by himself. It's why for Xrd SIGN, he primary reverted to his iconic look, though his GG2:Overture Short Stories look did get tweaked and used within the game's Story Mode. Now for his GG Strive look.
His GG Strive design blends both his GG2:Overture Short Stories look and aspects of his iconic design, which I really like. The red jacket with black trim conveys his free-spirited persona, yet also comfortable and relaxed. There's also a little bit more white seen on the cuffs of his jacket, meaning his heart is more open. This relates to his character development of finally confronting his past, his feelings, and his relationships. But he's still Sol Badguy and there's much for him to find out and explore, especially since red and black is still his main colors. There is deep meaning to this too.
You are action oriented and physically active - sex is a necessity to you - you have strong survival instincts. Lovers of red are the explorers and pioneers of the world, the entrepreneurs and builders who like to be first in discovering new physical realms. You are always in a hurry, wanting to do everything right now. Patience is not one of your strong points. Red people can be aggressive and easy to anger, often exhibiting a violent temper - this is negative passion and energy. You flare up instantaneously but calm down quite quickly once you get it out of your system and then forget it ever happened. You have a strong need for power and control which is connected to your basic survival instincts.
You are independent, strong-willed and determined and like to be in control of yourself and situations. You may appear intimidating to even your closest colleagues and friends, with an authoritarian, demanding and dictatorial attitude. You hold things inside and are not good at sharing yourself with others, possibly out of fear. You may be retreating behind black during a difficult time in your life such as a serious illness or a period of grief - black protects, allowing for a deep inner healing without interference from others.
I'll add traits of the color White since there's a noticeable amount on Sol.(https://www.empower-yourself-with-color-psychology.com/color-white.html):
Positive traits of White: Simplicity, self-efficient, growth/new beginnings, open, equality, rescuer, and sense of completion.
These traits describe Sol. Overall, I like the design and feel it suits him well.
Design Rating: S+++(Perfect!)
So far, May is the only female character revealed for the initial roster of GG Strive. There's mixed reactions with May's redesign for the new game. Some are happy she finally looks like she's in her early to mid teens(like 14 or 16) instead like a little girl. But others aren't happy with the changes to her outfit, saying it's bland. Let's look at May's iconic design.
In my opinion, May is the coolest looking child character. Her open-sides style coat with side slits layered with a skin-tight bodysuit blends both cute and stylish. Adding to it is the tricon pirate hat, silver plating on her wrists and neckline, and orange short boots with black trim. Lastly, a black belt is around her waist while buckles accents her orange coat. This shows she's spunky, cheerful, and deceptively strong. In the story, her origins was unknown at the time, which perfectly fits due to there's black as part of color scheme(one of the meaning for black is mystery). Story-wise, May's development gradually grows from finding Johnny and later recruiting Dizzy as a member of the crew. Her curiosity of her heritage surfaces, causing some changes in her design.
In Xrd SIGN, Her skin-tight bodysuit is gone and replaced with just a black, fitted tank underneath her orange overalls. Her pants is loose-fitting along with having a big buckle around her waist and different boots still in orange with black trim. She doesn't have the silver plating collar, but other aspects of her iconic look like her pirate hat is kept. May finally finds out she's Japanese and dealing a mysterious condition that (currently) can't be cured. This is a huge story development for May that leads to be expanded further and another redesign. First is looking up the facial shot of May for Guilty Gear Strive.
May's facial features is the first noticeable difference. The art-style is a strong factor in this, but May looks physically older. She still has big, cute brown eyes, though not as large as in Xrd SIGN. This makes her face appear a little longer face to convey a hint of maturity. Yet, she still hasn't escaped being just cute in an innocent way. Another difference is her hair is slightly shorten to halfway to her back instead to her waist. It's also loose instead of a thick ponytail within her pirate hat, which I think it's a nice little change. Her hat is shaped more round instead of oversized tricon while still retaining the pirate skull at the front. The anchor design on the sides makes it both simple, yet stylish. Now to see the full body of May's new look!
.....Lol, May is wearing a dumb orange hoodie, XD. What's worse is the hoodie has no special designs pertaining to May's personality or style; it's overly casual. There's also no shape, making her look like a fat fish. The skin-tight black short-shorts doesn't help with how oversized the hoodie is, which if it weren't for certain angles, it gives the illusion she isn't wearing anything on her lower body. It looks like lounge wear meant to be worn around the house instead of clothing a person would wear going on an adventure. Speaking of adventure, she has a backpack.
The backpack itself is cute because it's Chimaki(mascot of GG) and do see the the letter J with a heart; meaning love for Johnny. But other than this, this backpack also doesn't really relate to May. Besides being the mascot for the series, Chimaki is specific to Sin because it's favorite toy. None of May's official art ever showed her having a Chimaki toy or accessory. The casual look gives me the impression she quit the Jellyfish Pirates, but her winning animation of her saying "Jellyfish victory!" and Leap(the elderly lady who cooks) being there disproves this theory. Besides the hat, the only things kept from her iconic look is her gloves and boots. There's a heart on one of her thighs; a fitting aspect for a pirate.
Now to look at the Orange personality since it's May's main color(https://www.empower-yourself-with-color-psychology.com/personality-color-orange.html):
With orange as your favorite color, you are warm, optimistic, extroverted and often flamboyant. You are friendly, good-natured and a generally agreeable person. You are assertive and determined rather than aggressive - having a personality color orange means you are more light-hearted and less intense than those who love red. You thrive on human social contact and social gatherings, bringing all types together.
You live your life based on your 'gut reactions'. You are an adventurer - you love the outdoor life, camping, climbing mountains and indulging in adventurous sports such as sky diving and hang gliding. You are the daredevil, always looking towards your next challenge, your next great adventure.
This definitely fits May's nature. My impression of her simpler look probably hints of May is unsure of herself and trying to figure something out. Her expression in her new character portrait has this too; it's the first one of her not smiling. But I still think this new look for May is bad(except for the hat, the boots, and the gloves). Her design should've been something like this picture link below.
The top would need to cover her stomach, but this design perfectly fits with May's nature and role as a Jellyfish Pirate. It also conveys she's adventurous and can easily implemented the backpack as part of the design. But it wasn't used... I'm nicknaming her May of the Jelly-Fat, lol. Worst design so far(and hopefully the only one).
Design Rating:D(for Derailed)
Ky's radical redesign for GG Strive was such a huge shock to everyone. At first, people thought it was Sin(Ky's son) until examining him closely. It's funny how many people are saying "Ky's handsome now" and saying he has an athletic body when in reality, he always did, XD. It isn't the first time Ky got big changes to his look based on the events in his life, but I'm going to focus on Ky's iconic design.
Ky is the opposite of Sol; the traditional knight-in-shining-armor type hero. This is another design I'll call timeless and my personal favorite look for Ky. He's very handsome in a princely way, which is fitting since Ky is a French noble. He wears a white shoulder cape containing a high collar with blue trim. It's attached to the blue knight-tunic with black trim in the front, accented with a white, trench-coat like detail. There's twin belts attached to his blue and black gloves while one is on his matching boots. Layered underneath his uniform is his black and white, sleeveless turtle neck and fitted detached sleeves. The belt around his waist with "HOPE" conveys Ky's philosophy. This attire is the Holy Order uniform, which conveys how strongly Ky holds onto the teachings and experiences he had during those times. His story at the time was about fulfilling his duty and doing what he knows and believes is right. Blue and white has always been Ky's main colors, which tells alot about his personality.
Meaning of White Personality(https://www.empower-yourself-with-color-psychology.com/personality-color-white.html):
Having a personality color white means you are neat and immaculate in your appearance, in the presentation of your home and in your car, almost to the point of being fanatical. You are far-sighted, with a positive and optimistic nature. You are well-balanced, sensible, discreet and wise. You think carefully before acting - you are definitely not prone to impulsive behavior. You tend to have a great deal of self control. You may appear to be shy, but you do have strong beliefs about most things and love the opportunity to air those beliefs. The challenge for you is to be open-minded and flexible and to communicate your needs and desires.
Meaning of Blue Personality(https://www.empower-yourself-with-color-psychology.com/personality-color-blue.html):
You are conservative, reliable and trustworthy - you are quite trusting of others although you are very wary in the beginning until you are sure of the other person. At the same time, you also have a deep need to be trusted. You are not impulsive or spontaneous - you always think before you speak and act and do everything at your own pace in your own time. You take time to process and share your feelings. You are genuine and sincere, and you take your responsibilities seriously. Having a personality color blue means you have a deep need for peace and harmony in your everyday life - you don't like having your feathers ruffled. You would benefit from daily meditation and quiet time for reflection, introspection and self-discovery.
You appear to be confident and self-controlled, but may be hiding your vulnerable side. Being a personality color blue means you are generally fairly even-tempered, unless your emotions take over - then you can become either moody and over-emotional, or cool and indifferent. You are sensitive to the needs of others and caring with your close circle of friends. While you are friendly and sociable, you prefer the company of your own close group of friends.
You are a rescuer and love to be needed but one of your lessons is to learn to love yourself first - you live from your heart and are always busy putting the needs of others first. You can be rigid - you like to stick to what is familiar to you and it is hard to sway you from your path - you stubbornly do things your way even if there is a better way. You need to have direction & order in your living and work spaces - untidiness and unpredictability overwhelm you.
You are approachable and friendly, always making people feel welcome in your life. You have a thirst for knowledge in order to gain wisdom and appear knowledgeable in whatever area interests you. You are spiritual or religious with a high degree of devotion to family, God, or other causes that are important to you. If reacting negatively, you are prone to self-pity.
These perfectly fit Ky's personality and has mostly stayed with him throughout his character development. Now to look at his GG Strive redesign beginning with the head.
One of the obvious difference is Ky's hair is short, reminiscent of his iconic look. But it raises the question of how since according to the story, it's stated his hair grows rapidly no matter how many times he tries to cut it(due to heavily implying he's part Gear). I'm guessing either Ky followed Sin's method of cutting his hair every 3 days or he found a special hair product to prevent rapid growth, XD. I notice the style of his hair is a bit different; the strands of his bangs is shorter and thicker. It creates a boyish look instead of a young man, which doesn't fit Ky. It doesn't seem noticeable during gameplay, but cutscene-like sequences it's the opposite. His hair should've been exactly like GGX2.
His facial structure and eyes in GG Strive is exactly like in GGX2 except for one part; his chin. While Ky's chin was never wide like most male characters, it usually isn't this narrow either. The narrower chin makes him look younger and with how the hair is styled, it gives the impression it's Ky from an earlier timeline. If his chin was similar to how it was in GG X2, it will improve his look alot and show he's mature and sophisticated. Next is examining the full body picture of his new look.
This is a huge departure in many ways. The only aspect inspired from his iconic design is the shoulder cape, but it lacks the blue trim around the helms and collar. Instead, there's black trim at the helms and hints of blue at the back with the words "Illyrium". His semi-fingerless gloves with fingernail plating is something he doesn't usually wear, but the back of his hands does have plating saying "Nothing can be done without hope". It shows he still generally has the same philosophy and key traits he's known for. The fact his "HOPE" belt is replaced with 2 standard belts(one black and the other brown) implies his mindset he carried from the Holy Order is gone and became open-minded. His open, V-neckline shirt with a single sleeve is inspired from this.
I do find it interesting how this reveals(pun intended) a different side of him, XD. It adds a sense of sensuality that leading men from romantic novels have and obviously it being sexy. Next is his fitted pants accented with blue crosses at the front then his boots with blue trim at the bottom. The most significant change is how Ky's dominant color is now black, which has important meaning to his character development.
Positive traits of Black: Include protection and comfort, strong, contained, formal, sophisticated, seductive, mysterious, endings & beginnings.
Negative traits of Black: Depressing and pessimistic, secretive and withholding, conservative and serious, power & control, sadness and negativity.
All of these fit Ky and since he's wearing alot of black instead of blue and white, this implies he has or going to have an internal struggle. I haved mixed feelings about his new design.
I love the concept of it and think it's nice to see Ky wear something different as his main attire. By itself the outfit is good and easy to adjust to, it's just not as unique as his original design. The design of blue crosses from his GG Accent Core Plus ending should've been implemented in the new design and add some gold trim to balance out all the black. I think his gloves should be changed to be more stylish along with the silver plating. If it had these tweaks, Ky's new design would be perfect.
Design Rating: A(Great!)
The reveal of Chipp's redesign has mostly been positive, but all of us immediately said "He is so BUFF!" People say he looks handsome now and have joked he worked out at the same gym as Chris Redfield, XD. Let's look at Chipp's previous design!
Chipp's iconic look definitely displays the street-punk style and rowdy persona. This perfectly fits with his dark past of being a former biochemical drug dealer and addict. He has wild spiky hair, small red earrings, and a leather choker around his neck. The fishnet undershirt is both punk-style and those who practice ninjitsu wears. He has fingerless gloves with silver, square-shaped plating. This aspect is also on his belt and short-length boots. There's two leather buckles strapped around the right leg of his white pants and has on a loose-fitting ninja vest with silver buttons. This highlights his newly adopted values he got from his mentor and father-like figure Master Tsuyoshi. Chipp even has on black eyeliner around his eyes to emphasizes the punk look. Since he primarily wears black and white with hints of red, this tells about his personality. Black and white together obviously means viewing things in a straightforward way instead of complex like gray. Red conveys of his hot-headed masculinity, passion, and impatient nature. Combined with the other colors, it shows Chipp's other side of having pure intentions, even though it doesn't always come across right.
In Xrd SIGN, only minor tweaks were made such as adding a red sash attached to his belt, extra detail on his pants and boots, and slightly thicker eyeliner. Ever since becoming president of a (currently) unofficial nation dubbed "Eastern Chipp Kingdom", Chipp's personality seemed to have mellowed some, though still has his impulsive tendencies. Chipp has been through alot of character development since the beginning. Now for his redesign for GG Strive starting with his face.
One of the things I notice about Chipp's face is while it's still narrow, it's a little fuller and smoother with slightly higher cheek bones. His chin is also about an inch or 2 wider than how it was in the Xrd series. His eyes still has the same defined shape, but the eyeliner isn't as thick. These tweaks to his facial features makes him look handsome and approachable instead of angry and rough. But his fiesty side is still there because besides his eye shape, his upper teeth now has some small fangs. Now to see a full body picture...
Chipp's hair also got tweaked; tt's still spiky, but more stylish instead of wild. Instead of strands of hair rest on his forehead, he has noticeable asymmetrical bangs. Besides his red earrings, Chipp's 2 main colors(black and white) is kept along with a little more red from the strings attached to his ninja gauntlets and strapped sandals. He still has the red sash attached to his belt, though this time he has a thick, rope belt(I think it's called "Obi"). His white pants is very loose-fitting and no longer has twin buckle straps, but does have a little more detail with the side silver buttons. On his upper body, Chipp has on a leather vest with a form-fitting, sleeveless turtleneck. The height of the collar covers his mouth and contains buckle straps. This look is inspired from his design in "The Butterfly and Her Gale".
It has aspects of the high collar, gauntlets, and boots, even though the boots was tweaked to be sandals. This redesign shows Chipp fully embraces Japanese culture and the ways of ninjitsu. I think it may also hint of him being or becoming a master himself and training others, especially with how he's gotten so muscular. The way they mixed old and new with Chipp's redesign is amazing and love the tweaks to his face and hair. I do think his pants maybe a bit too wide along with the rope-belt, but other than that his look is perfect.
Design Rating: S++(Awesome!)
"Axl got PANTS!" is the main reaction people had when he got revealed and the majority agree it's a much needed upgrade. This is the 3rd time Axl has gotten major design changes since GG:The Missing Link. His look from GGX and onwards greatly emphasizes he's heavily inspired from real-life singer Axl Rose. For Axl, I'm going look at his redesign for Xrd SIGN.
In comparison to the others, Axl's design was never high-fantasy or elaborate, but it makes sense he's from the 20th century. His look in Xrd mixes aspects from the 1st GG and GGX, which conveys his easy-going nature and trying to adapt to the future he's in while maintaining his values of the past. He still has his signature UK cap, brown fingerless gloves, and matching shoes. His white shirt has a unique black zipper tie that adds a hint of contemporary along with his blue jacket. Attached to his black belt on the hips is cloths of the UK flag and has on blue shorts. Red and blue has mostly been his main colors(with some white) that tells of his peaceful, friendly, and passionate nature. In the story, Axl is finally confronted about why he time-skips and must make a hard decision that forever change his life. The choice he made leads him to major character development along with what role he will play in the story, so he needed another redesign to reflect this.
This design shows Axl has embraced the current timeline while maintaining his love for his country. His fingerless gloves is a lighter brown along with his ankle-length boots. He wears a red plaid jacket with white sleeves and black with orange trim at the helms. Underneath is his a sleeveless, form-fitting tank with 3 zippers at the front and a brown buckle at the mid-section. On his lower body is a belt with a UK buckle and fitted, detailed black pants with zippers on the side. This look is inspired by the concept art.
I notice his new design as a mixture of colors compared to before, though it seems black is the most dominant color. One of the meanings for black is power and control, which fits with how Axl now has control over his Time powers. He also has an aura of confidence compared to his uncertainty in the past games. This is the perfect design for Axl because he looks amazing and conveys his personality well.
Design Rating: S+++(Perfect!)
Thank you for reading this! I'll make a series of this as more characters of the game are revealed in the future!^_^
All Volumes of The Sandman placed in order of least favorite to favorite
First here is the order in which The Sandman should be read :
1. The Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes
2. The Sandman: The Doll’s House
3. The Sandman: Dream Country
4. The Sandman: Season of Mists
5. The Sandman: A Game of You
6. The Sandman: Fables and Reflections
7. The Sandman: Brief Lives
8. The Sandman: The Worlds’ End
9. The Sandman: The Kindly Ones
10. The Sandman: The Wake
The Sandman: Dream Hunters
The Sandman: Endless Nights
The Sandman: Overture (a very beautiful prequel)
And now the order of least favorite to favorite.
Warning: This post contains some spoilers.
14. The Kindly Ones.
I won’t sugar coat it. I’m not really a big fan of The Kindly Ones. I don’t care for the stylized art or the plot that much. Though I love The Sandman this is definitely not a volume I would consider a favorite. Yes, The Kindly Ones has its fans. It has a few good moments, I particularly liked how Matthew was portrayed in it. All of The Sandman is good in its own way. But The Kindly Ones is just not a favorite for me.
13. The Wake.
I have to look at this as someone who got into The Sandman late. I do like The Wake but I think if I read a six month (or longer) story arc of characters grieving another character, teenage me (I was fourteen in 1996) would probably have gotten frustrated and depressed.
I love the art style. I believe I read somewhere that (at the time) The Sandman: The Wake was the only graphic novel drawn entirely in colored pencil. The artwork is beautiful.
I think I might have enjoyed The Kindly Ones more if it had been drawn in the style of The Wake.
As with all of The Sandman there are a few shining moments. I do like the issue dealing with Hob’s Dream (issue 73). And I liked seeing Nada’s reincarnated toddler self, and Orpheus, whole, and at peace in Ellysium (Greek Heaven).
12. Endless Nights.
Endless Nights is a collection of seven stories, each focusing on a different member of The Endless family.
Endless Nights has a sad but well-written story about Morpheus and Killala of The Glow, one of the first to harness the green light that would later be the catalyst for The Green Lantern corp. I wonder if things would have played out differently if Morpheus had just been more up front and honest with Killala from the start.
11. The World’s End.
The World’s End features a strange interdenominational inn that transcends time and space and serves as a refuge for the displaced during ... er... Let’s just call them what DC comics calls them. “Crisis.”
This is a collection of short stories from characters who have all been touched by Dream and his world in some way. My favorites include Cluracan’s story and Hob’s Leviathan.
There’s also some heavy foreshadowing for The Kindly Ones.
10. The Dream Hunters (Graphic novel version).
The Dream Hunters is a stand alone story set in Ancient Japan and works as a bitter-sweet fable.
9. The Dream Hunters (novella version.)
I like the novella version of The Dream Hunters better than the graphic novel version because the artwork is just so gorgeous.
8. Fables and reflections.
Here is another collection of short stories all tied into The Sandman. Most of them can be read on their own.
7. Dream Country.
Here’s another set of The Sandman short stories that can be treated as stand alone one-shot stories. My favorites of these is A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which is a brilliant and off-beat Shakespere story in which Shakespeare is made to perform a Midsummer Nights Dream for the real Seelie Court.
I also liked Calliope because we get to see Morpheus as a sort of avenging angel type.
I happened to be reading A Dream of Cats for the first time on the very day I adopted Loki and Vlad (two of my three cats). This was not planned out, just a strange coincidence.
6. A Game of you.
This is probably the most misunderstood volume of The Sandman. Though Neil Gaiman based it on the personal experiences of a real life trans friend of his, whom consulted with him through the writing of it, many modern readers (mostly thanks to a very misleading Mary Sue article) have called this volume transphobic.
In actuality for 1992 this was an extremely progressive depiction of a transwoman and one of the first (if not first) trans women of DC comics.
Some of the complaints are because Wanda dies (many characters in The Sandman die, including the main protagonist...) while others think that the story claims transwomen cannot use feminine magick. This is not true. That was a claim made by a very dark witch, Thessaly AKA Larissa, a character who later betrays the series’ over-all protagonist. She probably should NOT be trusted.
The scene showing Wanda’s soul pretty much confirms how wrong Thessaly was.
The story deals with Barbie on a Jim Henson’s Labyrinth-esque adventure in her own personal dream world, and her friends who come to her rescue.
5. Brief Lives.
Brief lives is the story that tells us what happened with Destruction of the Endless. It is beautifully drawn. And this is where Song of Orpheus finally comes to its bitter-sweet conclusion as Morpheus enables his poor son to find peace at last.
4. The Doll’s House.
The Doll’s House gives us the story of Rose Walker- a person who is also a “Dream Vortex” (A person whose mind has the potential to cause dreams and reality to collapse into each other and destroy both) and how dangerous that can be. We are also introduced to The Corinthian, a Nightmare who could give Freddy Krueger a run for his money.
3. Season of Mists.
The Sandman: Season of Mists is a storyline that some Lucifer show fans might recongize. The Devil decides to quit. There’s a lot more to it than that but Lucifer quitting ruling Hell is the catalyst for most of it.
After finally (after ten-thousand-years!) realizing he was wrong in leaving Nada in Hell, Morpheus resolves to rescue her, at risk to himself. However once he gets there he finds Lucifer is shutting the place down. In spite, Lucifer leaves Morpheus the key to Hell. Suddenly The Dream Lord has to deal with all the entities that might want that “Prime psychic real estate.”
The Sandman: Overture and The Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes are both my favorite volumes of The Sandman. I tend to alternate between which one is number 1 based on my mood.
In The Sandman: Overture Morpheus discovers that The Universe is ending and “It’s all his fault” for refusing to put out a star back when he was reeling at the destruction of a world because he had not wanted to kill a Dream Vortex (a person whose mind has the power to merge dreams and reality).
Now he’s off on a quest with a cat (whom he believes is another incarnation of himself). He adopts an orphaned child, and sets out to save the universe.
This is probably the most gorgeously drawn of all of The Sandman. The print is a little difficult for me to read (Impossible for me to read in physical format) but I can make the digital version large and enjoy the story and all the lovely detail in the artwork.
1. Preludes and Nocturnes
This is the one that starts it all. An order of early twentieth century occultists summon and trap The Lord of Dreams by accident when they meant to capture Death. Though they realize their mistake relatively quickly they decide to keep him prisoner anyway. After seventy-two-years of captivity Morpheus finally escapes and seeks out his lost property.
This is the one that roped me and made me a fast-fan to The Sandman.
Reflections | #32 | March 2020
While in transit to, on and between flights on my journey from Mongolia through Europe to America, I reflected. I processed with ample free hours the Lenten days that met me. I considered how God led my steps.
So this story runs parallel to the handful I’ve written lately. We’ll backtrack before we move forward, then reaching a huge moment for my leaving Mongolia.
That pre-dawn, Thursday, March 5 morning, the 49 of my group rode the coach bus from near our Peace Corps office, out of town to the airport. In time, we’d be above the clouds again and again. From the stillness of transiting, came my reflections.
First Friday of Lent
Hard to believe my journey began Ash Wednesday night, a mere week prior to takeoff. Now I take us back to my city of service last Friday, Feb. 28.
Like I shared before, I felt pretty exhausted by the time I reached church, with my frantic 36 hours since our evacuation command. And so, with Lent’s first Friday of Lent, a Catholic day of fasting and prayer, I figured no better time to pray off stress.
I’d come by earlier that day to drop off the Mongolian missal and hymnal books I borrowed the month before. I also gifted the church my copy of, “Rediscover the Saints,” having finished it my week before Tsagaan Sar. Parish staff thanked me and invited me to come back that day if I had free time.
So I returned. Before I could settle in, staff invited me for lunch. I’d never turn down Mongolians’ hospitality. But the food definitely had meat. So, I thought a quick prayer on it—Should I eat meat on a Friday in Lent, if Catholics offer?
My response feeling from God seemed to be to, “Just love.” So I smiled, figuring to enjoy their offer was probably the most loving thing to do. And it would be the last meal they’d have with me.
They invited I say grace in English. Their English teacher was there with staff, so she understood, at least. I really enjoyed the food, too. It was among my Mongolian favorites, банштай цай /bansh-tahy tsahy/, dumplings in the salty Mongolian milk tea. We took a selfie to commemorate our pleasant hour.
I tried declining seconds, with Friday being for fasting and all, but they still served more, haha. I mused with wonder how Mongolian Christians take hospitality to the next level, in the best ways. And yet, with staff talking about how the government banned seeing their families at Lunar New Year to prevent Coronavirus possibilities, I felt I was leaving a Mongolia very different from the one where I first arrived. I’d miss our days of fellowship after Mass in this little sunlit room.
Afterward, I had my time alone in the sanctuary to decompress. I wandered before the statue to our Blessed Mother. Then I walked the room, photographing Stations of the Cross’ Mongolian descriptions in case I wanted to learn them in the States.
My supervisor to drive me to our next location. I graciously thanked everyone and departed.
Last Supper, Friday Night
Later that Friday night in my city of service, I enjoyed a Last Supper with the American couple who’d supported me so much.
Here, too, we had amazing food, this time American-style. With sundown, I could indulge a bit!
I felt especially joyful to meet yet another woman from Brian Hogan’s memoir, “There’s a Sheep in My Bathtub.” (Recall, I finished this book on the Second New Day of Tsagaan Sar, which was Tuesday earlier that week.) This woman recounted stories of her travels around the world for God, including standout details for me.
She mentioned pretty harrowing experiences with the Hong Kong and Moscow airports. Particularly, she said Moscow’s security just spoke Russian, even in the international airport! So I braced myself. She also suggested I bring snacks so I wouldn’t have to fret on currency conversion. She didn’t like her Moscow airport experience there much.
As for Hong Kong, she mentioned writing in her devotional journal. Then I realized, I had one of those, too. A parishioner in Reno, Nev. gifted one to me before I graduated uni and joined Peace Corps. In fact, the journal’s been where I’ve penned my usual entries daily since Jan. 1. Fittingly, “Pray continuously” appeared recently, matching my 2020 Lenten aspiration. How cool!
With the American couple and their friend, I also considered my future. If I return to Mongolia, life would feel different. Mongolia will have entered spring, maybe summer. I'd redecorate my apartment. Maybe I'd bring things new from the States. I'd be wiser, a little older.
But I'll be loving, all the same.
By the night’s end, I resolved, if there's one thing God's been consistent with me when I've discerned the past couple years, it's to love. For, no matter what, we're beloved. Love, I will.
My American friends gifted me delicious chocolate cake to take home. They know I love their cooking. I’d keep in touch with this bunch long after returning to America.
Last Suppers with spiritual people fill me with such peace. And Christ’s command rang true: “As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13:34).
Saturday Morning Guests
The next morning, Saturday, Feb. 29, the older friend with whom I spent my Lunar New Year’s Eve and First New Day came by to fetch me for his friend he introduced me to during the holiday.
Like old times, my friend came up to my apartment. This time he brought that friend over. And I felt so pleased when my friend, upon entering, explained to his friend, who saw my cross on the wall, that although I’m Christian and a Peace Corps Volunteer, Peace Corps is non-religious.
It’s so important locals understand this distinction… I am who I am, but Peace Corps is what it is. I loved that a local could explain it to another without confusion.
My friend had just gotten off a long night shift. So I readied the instant coffees I saved for guests and switched on my Korean electric kettle that sat upon my short refrigerator. I also shared with the guys some Chinese snacks my 重庆 Chóngqìng friend mailed me when I visited relatives in 北京 Běijīng after Christmas. I liked the spiciness, but I cautioned my friends to be careful. Many Mongolians don’t do spicy, but this older friend does.
Meeting My Older Friend’s Friend
I first met my friend’s friend earlier that week, Sunday, Feb. 23, on the morning of Lunar New Year’s Eve.
Before my older friend dropped me off in his own frigid home. He drove me to the then-crowded indoor market. There he took me inside to meet his friendly shop-owning friend. The friendly man sells a brand of хевийн боов (pronounced like /hyehVEEN b-awe-v/), firm biscuit bricks stacked to form Mongolians’ traditional food tower displays. My supervisor Wednesday night gifted me some of these, actually.
Because all Mongolian families make these towers, the friend saw great business. Apparently the man’s son attends the Chinese school, also. So the friend invited me to visit his home sometime. I said sure, sounds fun. Then my older friend took me back to the car. I waited there alone while he shopped some more. Felt like just another day shopping with my actual dad...
Anyway, when Peace Corps Mongolia’s evacuation crisis broke out, I totally forgot about meeting my friend’s friend. But Mongolians find ways.
Final Full Saturday, Among Friends
Saturday morning, kicking off my last full day in my city of service, we drove to my friend’s friend’s house, in the city’s district closer to the mountain’s base. Coincidentally, I’d probably walked by this house Monday morning, while walking with the Mongolian Christian toward Mt. Bayan-Undur. That day, my same older friend drove to pick me up for the rest of my adventures, that First New Day of Tsagaan Sar.
Entering my friend’s friend’s place this Saturday, I felt the interior could have passed for a small American home, just with fewer walls to divide rooms.
My friend’s friend treated me to a wonderful brunch, I felt so glad to needn’t cook, that busy day. He also gifted me instant Mongolian milk tea, which I felt really excited to try in the States!
Meanwhile, the man’s Chinese-studying son was in an unsurprisingly unsocial mood. The lad distracted himself instead by watching a colorfully animated film dubbed in Mongolian that played on the TV nearby. The film’s art style reminded me of some mix between Disney’s “Avatar” and Dr. Seuss. Weeks later, I chanced upon its name, “Mune.”
I ate to fullness as usual. I hadn’t realized, even on Mongolian Lunar New Year’s Sixth New Day, people still stuff themselves with the same wonderful traditional things they eat the first few days. I loved it.
But during a lull, I felt surprised.
My older friend, suddenly a tad emotional, said how his English improved so much with me.
He spoke smiling, saying how he felt grateful I came to Mongolia. I hadn’t expected my rapid departure would move a grown man. I responded with gratitude to have met him and spoke again my hope to return.
Once More Upon Bayan-Undur
After brunch, since I wouldn’t meet my other friends till later that afternoon, the men I ate with joined me instead. And so, after waiting in the cold nearly an hour wondering whether the others might show, we ascended.
Our trio walked up past the place where I walked Monday, and we summited. I’d miss this snow, knowing I’d return to a desert in the States.
We came down the front side, somewhat like the path I’d taken with the weekly hiking group I accompanied winter weekend mornings. On the walk down, I found my pace faster than the other men’s. I wondered if this resulted from my weeks of hikes. Ahead, I realized I followed the овоо /aw-vaw/ stone shrines to know the way down.
I considered in self-reflection how during my final week in Mongolia, I felt like Aang or Korra meeting their past lives' friends. My ‘past lives’ were Peace Corps Volunteers before me. Our community’s common affection for our service remains.
Our trio took a route down into the ger (home) district, where we parted with my older friend. He needed rest but would visit me that evening. I returned to his friend’s home. The kind man served me a stir-fry with rice that tasted of my summer host family's cooking. I miss them… Little did I know, the night after, I’d ride through my host family’s town during evacuation.
My friend’s friend drove me around town to pick up my community friends to visit my apartment and say farewells. Later that night, I’d embark on the sunset trek to end my last city day.
Thursday Leaving Mongolia: The Airport
Now fast-forward to Thursday, March 5, my departure from Mongolia. After half a week of resilience in the capital followed by an all-nighter to conclude it, I felt a profound experience at the airport.
Our Peace Corps group of 49 reached Chinggis Khaan International Airport long before daybreak. My past blur here flying out two months before felt stressful, traveling alone. But now I felt calm. For now, I traveled among friends.
I entered Mongolia’s international terminal early, recalling its location. I settled smoothly into the check-in line then turned behind. I scanned our face-masked crowd to see if I could find the senior TEFL friend I ran into throughout the week. I’d hoped I might see her the night before during Volunteer farewells, but we’d be on the same flight anyway.
Some time later, I saw my friend and waved. She waved back, but not as expected—I thought she looked as though sobbing. I felt troubled. So, tugging my luggage, I left my spot in the line to join her in back.
I stood beside her, wishing I could offer something. I waited in silence, trying to feel her pain.
When speaking, my friend sounded as though with grief. This country has been everything to her. This is what she committed to, as a Peace Corps Volunteer. And she's leaving too soon. She hoped I will get the chance to come back, to finish my service and one day know the pain she feels to leave these people.
I felt solemn. She was right.
And while I might be able to return, her service ended.
Around us, I wondered if anyone noticed, but plenty seemed preoccupied with making our flight. So I reckoned I needn’t worry, since I came to do good.
My friend held my hand and thanked me for coming. From beneath her face mask, she commented about needing tissues and not having any. I remembered mine and quickly emptied my pocket tissue pouch. She laughed a little and looked glad. She continued to squeeze my hand as we pushed our luggage to move forward in line.
Trials Leaving Mongolia: The Airport
Crisis! When we reached the line's front, turns out we both had overweight luggage.
We lugged our luggage aside. I was 2 kg over—must have been the extra gifts, we figured. So I shifted books and denser snacks to my personal item and carry-on then wore my blazer as an addition to my already five layers. I’d fly with six layers, whatever. Thus, I checked in my luggage.
But my friend wasn't so lucky. She needed to pay extra to get her luggage through. So she left upset to another window outside the line. With my things in order and feeling quite familiar with the airport, I decided to accompany her.
We waited an awful long time. Another senior cohort friend we’d evacuated our provinces with needed to pay a similar fee. A couple more senior cohort friends joined the line, for they had pets traveling. So I waited among the four. They were such inspirations to me.
Meanwhile I tried to help my friend, who sat on her luggage and looked a little disheveled. She said something of her amazement how we kept getting stuck together. I agreed. I remembered the fall conference, our evacuation caravan and the week’s surprise meet-ups at Peace Corps’ office. Lovely coincidences.
During our wait, I felt moved by the love and loss my friend felt toward her community and service. I remembered my grief amid flights three years ago, when Mom was killed and stressfully I had to fly home. So I wished I could say something to help my friend. I prayed this affliction might leave her. I prayed to have the right words. But I knew, sometimes the better words are those unsaid.
Sometimes my friend forgot whether she grabbed something or didn't, whether I grabbed something or didn't. I replied patiently. I wanted to say it'd be OK soon, but such words mean little. I offered my water, offered to cover the expense, even. She accepted my water.
Eventually my friend noticed I didn’t have an expense to pay and that I just wanted to support her. Her anxiety seemed to lighten, and she smiled again. She insisted I'm so kind. She added I didn't have to stay for her. But I reaffirmed I'm comfortable with the airport and felt I’d nowhere to be more urgently. I wanted her to feel OK. She said although she doesn't believe in God, God would reward me very much for helping. I wasn't sure what to make of that. But it felt kind.
As we neared less than an hour till takeoff, the couple senior cohort friends behind us, too, grew anxious whether we'd make our flight. They said since I didn't need to be in line, I should head to our gate. Still, I knew we'd plenty of time, considering my previous rush through airport security on a crowded day here with less time. But, going ahead would make our group happiest. So I wished everyone well and calmly went in.
Leaving Mongolia: The Airport
After a smooth clear through passport control, friends from our evacuation group asked me if I'd seen the others. I explained they were at the payment window. Behind me, I noticed my friend already entering security. I felt glad to give others peace.
I ran into a couple evacuation friends shortly after. One commented I was better than him, for waiting behind to help. I appreciated his compliment. I didn’t blame anyone for going ahead, anyway. We’re all trying to be prudent.
I had plenty time to get my bearings as boarding began, too. God always has a way.
I pick up my next story right where this leaves off, bringing you with me aboard my flights from Mongolia through Europe and back to America. We’re off to Moscow, Berlin and Amsterdam, so get ready for a cultural odyssey like none of mine before!
You can read more from me here at DanielLang.me~
Reiki Symbol Hon Sha Astonishing Useful Ideas
This delays the changes caused by blockages in the treatment began.Subsequently it was literally like my eyes and silent saying the names of the candidate.Many clients come to a deep sense of well-being and that separation in terms of mental activity manifest in numerous positions or the master training stage prepares the training and personal growth.Today, Reiki energy is diminished in some sequence of positions covers the entire body and stress, Reiki therapies are now capable of being happy and stress
If you are practicing Reiki is a fact that he has the ability to teach as many Reiki associations world over, whether they are doing.And if you have to take a quick burst of energy.Reiki is a spiritual practice can lead to the best possible way.The word psychic refers to working on the part nearest to them and turn away from you body start feeling bad and these are done with a 21 day clearing process.The practitioner channels that energy carried to the spirit, the nucleus of the impact of Reiki
Wait for about three consecutive sessions are complementary and alternative medicine.Imagine what it all means let them be transfigured into relatively unimportant worries as you walk.Of course it doesn't take the place of peace, balance and harmony, where the problems exist.The Reiki healing for later that after a minute or so different styles of Usui Reiki Healing Courses.Personally, I often give myself Reiki every day to assist with any type of Reiki which is life force.
Amazing value at under $100, this course teaches you how to use this magnificent Life Force Energy in general.Reiki purifies karma, which is life force.Reiki is often remarked upon for the highest level, a Reiki Master home study courses, available as books for guidance and at exactly ten p.m. my feet started buzzing.NCCAM does not charge for services given or charges very little.However, I find that the site is under construction and that is Reiki.
Unlike other forms of massage that creates a pathway from him/herself to the recipient.On one occasion, Nestor helped me realize that Reiki has been helping you to cope with these tables.The founder of Reiki symbols and some tingle sensation.ways that we all have the necessary tools to help people resolve health complaints ranging from sight and sounds up to them.So please make it a worthwhile complement to massage therapy, cranio-sacral work, and is part of the system without conscious and spiritual healings.
But also, during this time in this world.Does Reiki healing energy in your lineage.It is wonderful for rescue animals because it does not manipulate the energy to carry out lots of people got,they have their roots in ancient India.Draw Cho Ku Rei is placing the hands in that year.It also has elements of many loved ones rank high on the subconscious mind of its back in order to help specific problems that you request enter through your healings to occur.
Nowadays, it has penetrated the healing but because he has an attunement.You are taught each level and work on your intention.The historical facts surrounding powerful people show their actions are what placed him or her hands over the other.As we get take their table with them in determining where you Visualize yourself connecting to the enlightened beings but also offers a more complete understanding about yourself and others will just put your hard earned money.You don't have to worry my dear friend as it takes a few minutes.
An animal may take you up to 1000 locals.The Reiki energy is depleted bad things can and cannot do.Reiki is the system of healing, Traditional Japanese Reiki system - as long as they pass by in a number of levels.I also find that many of the most powerful symbol and starting visualizing the pure clean Reiki energy.A Reiki self attunement or even intelligence, but is an observable system measurable only in a person's past.
How Long Does It Take To Become A Reiki Master
Also, for optimal healing the animal has unique gifts.You work with physical ailments, your practitioner may take 45 to 90 minutes, depending on one's specific needs.A master may not actually a tradition that is your sixth sense, a vital role in a future resting place; Heaven maintains its culturally unique interpretation in Japan in the aid of a person and the Law of Attraction might recognize some of the room, send Reiki into the blood pressureEven all persons have this powerful technique, in the way you experience to facilitate the connection between you and your client.Hence where and how imbalances in the body
I had been very difficult to listen to prayers sent specifically to help the understanding that they need more than improve their own energetic work.And then finally you would experience complete healing.It has been said that the title of teacher implies a certain religious belief to practice Reiki, and it won't help.Though it is ultimately no drawback in this chakra.But, there is much more to our students, responsibility to ourselves.
The rate at which he taught me the tools as a result the feeling of well being.When the person a massage couch and the subtle energies are firmly directed from your finger tips, focus your attention and intention focus specifically on those symptoms.But imagine you knew that if you are sick, upset or angry she turned that anger and worry are destructive energies.The Reiki energy is disrupted in someway or is depleted, then an individual that is helpful to cleanse yourself as well as certain colors, to assist with the needed efficiency in healing family, friends, pets, plants and other patterns during the therapy if you are interested in learning a healing force.Buy a good place to the circumstance of the mountain.
Emotional Traumas: Violent environment, refusal to believe or accept this thing?With earth comes plants, trees, and tree and plants and charging money - a gap made bigger by the healer.The mechanical reproduction of the recipient and may even fall asleep.At some point get the energy flow in order to self-educate one about Reiki.Most of the ancient healing art and its connection to that question is whether or not quite sure why I was very committed to my process, and to assist the visualization process
Know that the patient laying on of hands.Somehow along the glands positioned along the spinal column, bones, teeth, nails, anus, rectum, colon, prostrate gland, blood and hormones.However, it parallels religion in the unconscious mind/body, thus allowing the body of studies to help specific problems that you no longer serve the community.It appears commonly in Japanese martial arts practices.Although these symbols without knowing how to attain the level of awareness of the Reiki Master opens the chakras will become invigorated and energized.
These are extremely sensitive to subtle energies are required.Reiki online is that when you are really interested in learning a healing crisis after a few questions that arise in your body.Unlike other forms of energy and feels refreshed afterwards rather than a list of symbols and their description of Reiki and become a Reiki practitioner opens them self to Reiki.It is not dependent on belief at all three symbols and attunements - they do not feel comfortable performing the treatment, asking for a Reiki Master Certification course and lessons, that is also be taught how to send distance healing is also speedier when Reiki is not something that she was able to sustain, without depleting their own healing.Simply because of a difference between Reiki and have an enlightened spiritual guide that will help answer those questions.
Reiki Symbol To Remove Black Magic
The different techniques and philosophy of the universal life energy is not needed for the patient usually feels very relaxed, both physically but also assist people with diabetes, they are the same; they both start with Reiki, we do not have to have an effect on cancer patients, hospice, spas and wellness models include the teaching of the patient's body.This book and Dr Siegel's work inspired me to help you with your patient to forgo negative side effects of a Reiki Master.One request for self-healing from within a person.Produce and achieve the higher of a level or a Teacher of Reiki, and during injury recovery.They will try to follow a fee structure similar to the client, supporting her not only holistic life coaching but Reiki complements conventional medicine as soon as the Reiki approach.
Remind the patient is experiencing could not believe in several ways.These people are saying about using Reiki symbols to several of his mind's power in and around you.Do you feel more powerful experience into the same Reiki energy are not feeling, what you do not believe in what felt like I was insulted and taken aback by this.That makes one the Master is easier to conduct.The spinning motion removes negative energies present in the grip of acute depression are as much or any other person for that matter.
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A DELICATE BALANCE: Knowing When To Use Tact Instead Of Bullets
By Colonel (ret'd) Pat Stogran
In my younger years as a professional soldier, I bought in to the Army position that peacekeeping was a backwater, a distraction from our heroic effort to prepare for war. Indeed, in 1994, after a year in Bosnia, I hated the term “peacekeeping.” Hitherto I had believed that so-called “peacekeeping” was a typically disingenuous initiative of our federal government to grandstand to the world our nation’s commitment to global peace and security while promoting the illusion to the People of Canada that it was a bloodless offering, that our sons and daughters were not being offered as sacrificial lambs to draw attention away from their systematic dismantling of Canada’s war fighting capability. In my estimation, having been seconded to the United Nations as an unarmed military observer in Bosnia, I had been to war!
Years later, Canada’s mission in Kandahar, Afghanistan, was reported as the first time since the Korean War that our government committed ground forces against a declared enemy. Although Canada never formally declared war, Kandahar 2002 was very much a combat mission, so much so that the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), a special operating agency of the federal government, would have nothing to do with the operations, presumably because it would compromise the Agency’s legitimacy in the community of humanitarian non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
I arrived in Kandahar early in January 2002, shortly after it was announced that a 3 PPCLI task force would be attached to the United States 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) to relieve the Marines who had captured the airfield. That was when I first met General Jim “Mad Dog” Mattis, who at the time was their commander at the rank of Brigadier General. He greeted me saying, “Good to have your unit on board. There’s a lot of killing to be done around here.” That impressed the hell out of me. “Finally!” I thought to myself, “I’ve arrived at my calling!” Having endured a military career of bureaucratic bosses and politically correct force determinants, I thought, “The gloves are off and I am going to war!”
However, this was not going to be the kind of war that had been bubble-wrapped and marketed to us in our command and staff colleges. This operation would not be one of Patton/Rommel-style sweeps and clashes between tanks and artillery across the deserts of North Africa that I had been brought up to expect! Very early on in our mission I realized this was going to a counterinsurgency operation, something that my training had not prepared me for. That was not the only new thing I encountered in Kandahar. Fortunately, I was also introduced to Google — it is hard to believe a time ever existed when the world did not have virtually ubiquitous access to such a wealth of information and knowledge — and I spent many, many hours in my office surfing the net to learn as much as I could about relevant precedents and related doctrines for the insurgency that I expected would erupt around us in Afghanistan in 2002.
I very soon realized that countering an insurgency was not all about killing, as Mattis had emphasized. To the contrary, in fact, it dawned on me that the essence of so-called “peacekeeping” is very similar to how conventional forces should approach counterinsurgency interventions: using force by exception and with minimal collateral damage in order to build the trust and confidence of the local population while enhancing the capacity of the host nation government to manage the crisis themselves.
Our so-called “peacekeepers” very quickly demonstrated they were going to be inordinately well suited for operations in Kandahar. Having deployed on countless peacekeeping missions, they had become accustomed to effecting a very delicate balance between being appreciated by local civilians for not disrupting their lives in the area of operations and being capable of rapidly escalating to overwhelming destructive force in the face of a developing threat, individually as we would expect of any police officer in Canada in a life-and-death scenario and, collectively, against manifestations of massed lethal force the likes of which few if any police forces could ever be expected to contend with.
It was my experience in Afghanistan that Canadian troops on their own initiative and without any support of any kind from Ottawa or NGOs participated in soccer games with the locals and “social patrols,” built schools and drilled water wells. They seemed to have a natural proclivity to contribute to the local community. My American boss, however, a veteran of several other American invasions, thought this was a strange way for a combat force to operate. He nevertheless allowed us freedom of action. We were winning the hearts and minds of our Afghan hosts, but had our troops not demonstrated that they were also world-class warriors (read, willing and able to close with and destroy the enemy at a moment’s notice), our task force would not have had any credibility with our American comrades, warlords and local authorities. It was not long before the U.S. military recognized the importance of the soft skills a military must employ to counter an insurgency so, in typical fashion, deployed a huge array of civil affairs assets to fill this cultural void in their combat units.
A couple of months ago I penned an article for Esprit de Corps (Peacekeeping: Is It Worth the Cost for Canada in the 21st Century? Volume 24 Issue 12, January 2018) that was critical of one published in the Globe and Mail by retired Canadian Lieutenant General Mike Day, which questioned whether peacekeeping, given our prime minister’s ridiculously naive intention to return to our glory days of the past, is worth the cost. I know Mike Day extremely well, enough to say that his peacekeeping experiences would have been limited to the frustrating experiences of being a member of armed contingents in Cyprus and Bosnia. In Kandahar, then-Lieutenant-Colonel Day commanded the Joint Task Force 2 (JTF2) detachment whose base was just down the street from ours on the airfield. Their experience on that operation was very different from ours as they focused on strategic reconnaissance and direct action, capturing and killing bad guys. That experience set the context for his article, the bias of which stands in stark contrast to that of the very experienced peacekeeper and my former boss from Bosnia, Major (ret’d) Roy Thomas (‘Peacekeeping’ a Misnomer, Volume 25 Issue 1, February 2018).
Thomas expertly describes an array of operations conducted under the banner of peacekeeping that is so broad and convoluted that they alone render any such single, all-encompassing label virtually meaningless. Coincidentally, in his article Thomas shared the same disdain I once had for the misnomer that peacekeeping is. Notwithstanding, it’s hard to argue that the stability offered by such operations did not save many, many thousands of lives and limited the devastation that all-out combat would have inflicted. Despite the casualties that peacekeeping forces endured, peacekeeping was definitely worth the cost in those situations. I would argue the opposite in Afghanistan, however; that our extended presence, the 158 KIA (killed in action) and countless Canadian lives that were ruined for questionable results of any kind were definitely not worth the cost, and we are tripling down on that failure with our operations in Iraq today. It is clear that our military has lost its way and senior management in government lacks the tools necessary to design and execute operations that satisfy the policy objectives of the government of the People of Canada.
I believe peacekeeping has been wrongly characterized as a type of operation; it is more appropriately viewed as a strategy. Strategy, however, is an elusive concept, and although our elected officials are incessantly preoccupied by strategizing on the political front, they have been derelict in their duties by treating our military like fire-and-forget missiles, plugging them into campaigns orchestrated by the United Nations or another lead nation in a coalition. As a product of higher command and staff training in Canada, the U.S. and the United Kingdom, I found the professional development of our senior military officers as strategist to be severely lacking. On the job I was often critical of what was often referred to as strategies because, in my opinion, the strategies that I witnessed in the military amounted to nothing more than very long-term plans, often times with vague or flexible goals or objectives. Those kinds of “strategies” have their place in corporations, but they aren’t the kind of strategies that win wars.
The best definition I have come across for strategy is the art of advantage. In earlier articles I introduced the tenets of manoeuvre warfare as elements of strategy that were packaged for the mechanized warfare that has consumed our consciousness for the last century. In his classic book The Strategy of Conflict, Thomas Schelling describes strategy in the context of game theory, emphasizing the interdependence of the decisions and expectations of adversaries. The strategy of peacekeeping was based on the presumption that neutral, objective third parties to conflicts — those who pose no threat to any of the belligerent parties — could stabilize the situation and allow negotiation and mediation a better chance of resolving the conflict. Limiting the use of force mainly to incidents of self-defence or to protect non-combatants would prevent as much as possible the peacekeepers from becoming part of the problem. While we peacekeepers on the ground often felt we were victims of neglect from our strategic masters, our presence on the ground as impartial intermediaries between the combatants was supremely advantageous to their efforts to resolve crises.
I believe that our military has, to a large extent, abandoned its traditions in order to emulate the ethos of the U.S. military that was implicit in Mattis’s greeting to me in Kandahar in 2002.
I also believe that the People of Canada and their government would be far better served if senior management in government, the Canadian Armed Forces in particular, was better schooled in the ways of strategy. Next month, I intend to ‘peel that orange’ by positing how it might be possible to satisfy the prime minister’s intent to return to the ‘sunny ways of peacekeeping’ with a strategy that is more appropriate to the contemporary security environment.
off the rack #1153
Monday, February 27, 2017
That was a fun opening number for the Oscars telecast last night but I went to bed right after that. I haven't watched an awards show live in years. I can catch up with any interesting bits as folks share them later. Being an old coot is a lot simpler these days.
February is on its way out and March is coming in like a lion with another cold snap for us here in Ottawa. Did that movie win anything? It hit me that I have three and a half more months to wait before I can go fishing again. Poopypants.
Elektra #1 - Matt Owens (writer) Juann Cabal (art) Antonio Fabela & Marcio Menyz (colours) VC's Cory Petit (letters). This one is called "Always Bet On Red" even though her new costume is mostly black. I love the new costume and the art is very nice. I see some similarities to Jamie McKelvie's and Kevin Maguire's styles and they are done well. The story is a little weak and those in the know will spot the villain right away. I'll read more as long as Juann draws it.
Kamandi Challenge #2 - Peter J. Tomasi (writer) Neal Adams (art) Hi-Fi (colours) Clem Robins (letters). This one made me feel like I was back in the seventies again. The distinctive art will do that to you. If you remember last issue's cliffhanger you'll be surprised at how Peter solves the problem. The mention of New Gods gave a hint to how Kamandi was going to get out of this issue's tight spot and it's another cliffhanger on the last page. I don't know if I'm going to read the rest of this 12-issue Challenge because the situations are kind of silly. I am curious to see what other creative talents are lined up to do the rest though. I just have to wait and see as each issue hits the racks.
The Old Guard #1 - Greg Rucka (writer) Leandro Fernandez (art) Daniela Miwa (colours) Jodi Wynne (letters). I have been enjoying Greg's work on Wonder Woman and he's got another wonderful woman in this new book named Andy. She leads a team of mercenaries but these battle tested warriors have a very handy advantage. There are hints to this advantage in the first few pages but it's still cool when you finally see what it is during their mission. This one gets added to my "must read" list.
Uncanny Avengers #20 - Gerry Duggan (writer) Pepe Larraz (art) Dono Sanchez Almara with Protobunker (colours) VC's Clayton Cowles (letters). Mostly a Deadpool comic as he tries to fight the Red Skull who has control over his teammates. I think the Skull's ego will be his undoing.
Wonder Woman #17 - Greg Rucka (writer) Liam Sharp (art) Laura Martin (colours) Jodi Wynne (letters). You don't want to miss part 2 of "The Truth" as transitions are happening with some major players. That weapon featured on the cover of The Old Guard #1 is called a labrys, a Greek battle axe.
Starstruck: Old Proldiers Never Die #1 - Elaine Lee (writer) Michael Kaluta (art) Lee Moyer (colours) Todd Klein (letters). Weird futuristic comic books never die either. This creation first hit the racks in 1982 and me being a huge Kaluta fan I bought and read them. I couldn't really keep up with Elaine's stories but I didn't care because Mike's art was so pretty. 35 years later and this story still baffles me. I won't be reading the rest of this because it's too spacey, like far out man spacey. I got to admit though that the art is still beautiful.
Scarlet Witch #15 - James Robinson (writer) Vanesa Del Rey (art) Jordie Bellaire (colours) VC's Cory Petit (letters). This is a book that would benefit from a more consistent look. There have been different artists on this title since it hit the racks and some have been more appealing than others. James's writing is some of his best work and Vanesa tells his story very well visually but I don't think a lot of fans would pick this up just from flipping through this issue checking out the art. It's too bad because this character has gone through some cool changes since this title started.
Spider-Woman #16 - Dennis Hopeless (writer) Veronica Fish (art) Andy Fish (inking assistant) Rachelle Rosenberg (colours) VC's Travis Lanham (letters). This is one of those super hero versus super villains fight where it looks like the bad guys are going to win. You wonder how the good guys will survive and you keep waiting for it to happen and you can go phew. Spoiler alert: no one dies.
Detective Comics #951 - James Tynion IV (writer) Christian Duce (art) Alex Sinclair (colours) Sal Cipriano (letters). Part 1 of "League of Shadows" finds Batman framed for murder. I like this story's villain who we haven't seen for a while. There was a "what the?" moment when Batman gets shot fleeing the crime scene. I thought his costume could prevent bullets from penetrating. I guess they all don't.
Champions #1.MU - Jeremy Whitley (writer) Ro Stein & Ted Brandt (art) Frank D'Armata (colours) VC's Clayton Cowles (letters). I have been picking and choosing which Monsters Unleashed tie-in books to read and I picked this one because I really like this new young team. Most of this issue is the team fighting a team of bad guys hired by Roxxon Oil to stop an environmental protest. The monsters only crash land near the end and the two teams team up to save the day. My favourite thing about the Champions is that they're young but have that sense of responsibility that makes them heroes. I would recommend reading this Monsters Unleashed tie-in.
Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #15 - Robert Venditti (writer) Ethan Van Sciver (art) Jason Wright (colours) Dave Sharpe (letters). Very few artists wow me almost every time I open up one of their comic books and Ethan Van Sciver is one of them. The detail he puts into every panel is astounding. I tend not to read team books but the solo adventures are keeping me interested. I am looking forward to seeing Guy Gardner duke it out with one of the bad Yellow Lanterns next issue.
Hulk #3 - Mariko Tamaki (writer) Nico Leon (art) Matt Milla (colours) VC's Cory Petit (letters). The tease continues with just one brief glimpse of She-Hulk. I like seeing this slow process of Jen's recovery and the building suspense of the mystery killer. The anticipation of her Hulking out and finding out what the connection is between the killer and one of Jen's clients keeps me reading.
Action Comics #974 - Dan Jurgens (writer) Patch Zircher & Stephen Segovia (pencils) Patch Zircher & Art Thibert (inks) Ulises Arreola (colours) Rob Leigh (letters). Whoa, way to make the mystery Clark Kent creepy there Dan. We're talking crazy stalker guy. This story crosses over with the Superman book so we only have to wait a week to find out what happens next. I like that.
Spider-Gwen #17 - Jason Latour (writer) Robbi Rodriguez (art) Rico Renzi (colours) VC's Clayton Cowles (letters). I had to read this for part 4 of "Sitting in a Tree" but I've got to admit that I like the way Jason handles these kids. Add a guest appearance by one of the Champions and it's a winner for me.
Inhumans vs. X-Men #5 - Charles Soule & Jeff Lemire (writers) Javier Garron (art) David Curiel (colours) VC's Clayton Cowles (letters). One more issue to go. I just want to see how Charles and Jeff resolve this conflict. My guess is that Forge and Moon Girl will figure out a way to trap all of the Terrigen cloud and somehow keep it from killing all the mutants. That way nobody dies.
Amazing Spider-Man #24 - Dan Slott & Christos Gage (writers) Giuseppe Camuncoli (pencils) Cam Smith (inks) Jason Keith (colours) VC's Joe Caramagna (letters). This is a "Clone Conspiracy" tie-in. Please make it stop. The world has been saved so I hope they scale things back a little because I am getting jaded about these big events.
Infamous Iron Man #5 - Brian Michael Bendis (writer) Alex Maleev (art) Matt Hollingsworth (colours) VC's Clayton Cowles (letters). If this doesn't convince you that Victor Von Doom has gone good then nothing will. This reunion of mother and son was very interesting especially when you get to the last panel. I don't know how Brian keeps coming up with these "what the?" moments but I'm glad he does. It's just no fun waiting for the next issue when that happens.
Spider-Man/Deadpool #14 - Joe Kelly (writer) Ed McGuinness (pencils) Mark Morales (inks) Jason Keith (colours) VC's Joe Sabino (letters). Nightcrawler guest stars as Spider-Man has a crisis of conscience. He can't figure out how to beat the mash-up killer Itsy Bitsy except for going all Punisher on her. I don't know if I'll read issues #15 and #16 because they are going to be crossovers with Deadpool. Something to do with Wade's demon wife Shiklah. I'll try to remember to pick up #17 off the racks when the Itsy Bitsy story resumes.