to celebrate the first month of this blog and my renewed interest in nature photography. and to thank @rivermusic for the early support of this blog, as well as the continued inspiration to actually edit & finish the photos. seeing your original photography is what inspired my to make this dedicated original nature photography blog.
The BLM Fire and Aviation Honor Guard annually presents a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice. This year they were joined by Acting BLM Director Mike Nedd and Acting Deputy Director John Ruhs.
The Honor Guard commemorated National Fallen Firefighter Memorial Weekend in Emmitsburg, Maryland, October 6-8, to honor Will Hawkins and Jacob O'Malley, two Nevada BLM firefighters who perished on duty last year.
Story by Randy Eardley and Vanessa Marquez .Photos by Jeff Krauss and Vanessa Marquez.
If I'm reading that last post correctly, DAESH/IS started losing traction because of a condemnation(?) by one cleric? That seems insane, unless I'm missing something.
After the Americans had left Iraq, the nation was left in a period of turmoil, political unrest and an illiberal democratic mess, because of that, DAESH had the opportunity to gain ground, traction and support from local Sunni tribes who felt excluded, Ba’ath (Saddam) loyalists and anti-government supporters as a result of the deteriorating security system after the regime change in 2003 when Saddam (l.a) was overthrown. This led to the people of Iraq being distracted by the government’s failure to provide for its citizens while DAESH started taking over the nation. Cities such as a Mosul, Tikrit and Fallujah fell into DAESH’s hands and the systematic killing and oppression of Shias and minority groups such as Christians and ‘Ezidis became severe. After the persecution of the ‘Ezidis in Ninevah and the Speicher Massacre where DAESH overran a military camp and executed 1600 Shia martyrs after being singled out from the Sunnis and being executed at the Tigris river, the peoples’ concern for Iraq’s future grew as the government failed to counter these militants whose goal was to establish a harsh exclusivist Wahhabi Sunni version of Shari'a as the legislative system in these occupied territories.
Although he avoids the political scene, in June 2014, His excellence, Grand Ayatollah Sistani (h.a), who represents a large amount of Shias around the world, including me, made a fatwa; a single simple statement in response to DAESH’s expansion, especially after the fall of the city of Mosul, calling on all Iraqi citizens to defend the country, its people, the honour of its citizens, and its sacred sites. The call immediately mobilized tens of thousands of volunteers to join the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF). The Fatwa has also helped Shia militias, Sunni tribal men and Christian and ‘Ezidis armed groups to be regulated under one umbrella of paramilitary forces called the Popular Mobilization Forces. If it wasn’t for this fatwa, which united the people of Iraq, the nation would’ve fallen into an even darker period.
Hey, Justin, you play Guild Wars 2, right? How would you sort the races? I think Norn would probably be mostly Gryffindors and Asura would be mostly Ravenclaws, but I'm not sure about the other races.
(Disclaimer: I am speaking here how each race’s CULTURAL and RACIAL views align with the houses. I am not claiming every race is entirely composed of just one house. All races are composed of all houses.)
Norn are definitely hardcore Gryffindor. A society valuing power and seeking glory to become a legend, I really don’t know how else to explain it. They are bold and courageous to the core. Perfect examples of the textbook (stereotypical?) Gryffindor.
Asura are actually predominately Slytherin. I hate that they have become the “cute” race in GW2. While their defining factor is still their incredible intelligence and a society balanced around the three colleges, this does not make them Ravenclaw. Asura as a culture view themselves as superior to the other races, caring very little about their well-being. They are primarily interested in their own individual talents and projects, shamelessly sabotaging others to improve their chances of success. Furthermore, as quoted in The Movement of the World article: “The Asura believe they are destined to rule the larger, less intelligent races of the world. They see humans, especially, as quite good for heavy lifting, and in general terms, view other races as merely pawns to be manipulated in Asuran schemes.”
Sylvari are Ravenclaw. As the newest race to the world, Slyvari are primarily interested in discovering both the world and their own identities with immense curiosity. Many of the dreamers also share a strong connection with each other and value acceptance of others, largely influenced by Ventari’s teaching: “All things have a right to grow. The blossom is brother to the weed.” Although having darker aims, even the Nightmare Court share many of these Ravenclaw traits of curiosity and especially seeking independence from the influence of the Pale Tree.
Humans are a race that I would align mostly with Hufflepuff, despite that one follower rudely disagreeing, due to their faith in their six gods and incredible perseverance. The game does a poor job at explaining it in detail, but the Humans are essentially on their last legs. Their home in Kryta is the last remaining human kingdom on Tyria with both Ascalon and Orr being abolished. Elona and Cantha may still exist; however, all communication is seemingly cut off. Despite this, and despite being attacked from every side of their land (and literally their city being attacked in the most recent update), the humans remain strong. The “unafraid of toil” of Hufflepuff is incredibly present for the humans. In addition, the Gods have not been heard from in over 250 years. The humans, though essentially being abandoned, still largely remain faithful to The Six for guidance. Seriously. It says it all in the human story intro:
“The human race once ruled Tyria. Now, we struggle to hold our ground. We’ve been defeated, driven back, and broken – but we will not surrender. So many nations have fallen. Only Kryta still stands. Our faith is strong, despite the silence of the Six Gods.”
Charr are a rough mix of Gryffindor and Slytherin. Honestly, I would put them in Durmstrang if I could. The in-game description describes them as such:
“The charr race was forged in the merciless crucible of war. It is all they know. War defines them, and their quest for dominion drives them ever onward. The weakling and the fool have no place among the charr. Victory is all that matters, and it must be achieved by any means and at any cost.”
From descriptions alone, the Charr can be very Slytherin in their cutthroat pursuit for power and control; however, it cannot be denied that the charr are also innately defined by their boldness and courage valued in Gryffindor.
Warnings: Mentions of blood at some point. Kinda sucks?
You tug her
closer, carding your fingers through her hair in a gesture that is supposed to
if he doesn’t?”
green eyes hold questions and insecurities in them, misted over with a sheet of
sadness that has your jaw in a lock so strong you fear it breaking.
have to be an utter fool not to return to you, dear.”
clutches you closer and you wince, feeling her skin brush against fresh cuts
and bruises from your latest mission. She doesn’t seem to notice and you don’t
bother voicing your discomfort, merely sit silent as she finds refuge in your
The news of
Bruce’s disappearance hadn’t surprised you as much as most anticipated they would.
You knew him to be the type to walk away, for the sake of keeping calm, yet
were disappointed all the same, seeking out Natasha as soon as you debriefed
and changed out of your mission gear.
That’s what you’d describe her as, watching her attempt to keep her tears at
bay and her sobs quiet, while she sat silently on your bed. She had been
waiting for you to come back, to comfort her in a way that only you knew how.
in a soft whisper, thrumming a familiar beat against her thigh, while drawing
calming circles on her back with your other hand. She draws a shaky breath and
you press a gentle, lingering kiss on her temple.
still been in the Red room, you muse, the kiss would have left a distinct red
of your love for her, burning with an intensity that managed to startle you on
more occasions than you cared to admit to. The color of the blood that you
spilled to keep her safe, the color of your ledger, gushing red, overflowing
with the blood of your past and future victims.
moment you missed that red, and - ruefully so- the Red room that had brought
you so close together.
same Red room that forced you to wear red lipstick. A lipstick that would leave
a mark for you to admire whenever you kissed her temple. A mark that was
gingerly shifting so her arms would loosen their hold on you a little.
Just a tiny little.
could breathe freely again, because right now your lungs were straining with
the force of the screams that you kept in.
Just a tiny little bit.
could make some room for thoughts other than those that involved hunting Bruce
and making him pay for every single tear spilled.
Just a tiny little bit more.
could cool your blood that was boiling with the intensity of your loathing for
the man that left behind, what you treasured above all else, like it was worth
nothing to him. The man that stomped on the confidence that you helped her
built over the years of training together. The one that made her doubt her
Just some more.
could calm down. Think straight. Concentrate on her.
released her and sat watching the digital numbers on the clock with a mixture
of trepidation and fatigue that seemed both absurd and interesting to you at
bedfellow of yours ever since Natasha admitted her affections for Bruce to you.
couldn’t tear yourself from, a cloying, acrid thing that had wormed its way
into your heart long before she even knew of them herself.
numbly and stand, clutching at your hurting arm that was now coated in your own
blood, which kept gushing from a reopened wound like a broken dam.
notice of it, jumps to her own feet and rushes to you with a worry stricken
disregard her concern with a small reassuring twitch of your lips and leave,
telling her to get comfortable and wait for you to come back.
and agrees with hesitance that you once found some strange sense of comfort in,
and you close the door behind you softly.
of the hospital ward are blindingly white, the kind of white that reminds you
of the endless widths of snow in Russia.
and unforgiving, yet still entirely beautiful kind that you held both wonder
and a reasonable amount of fear for, for as long as you can remember.
that clawed at the small barracks, that you and your fellow trainees slept in,
as it fell in company of freezing storms. The kind that had Nat nestled up in
your arms, blanket tugged up to the chin, to keep warm.
that you would never experience again.
nostalgia for that dreadful place manages to send a shiver down your spine and
you sigh, facing the ceiling as you lay down onto your bruised back.
light had you squinting your eyes and for a moment, your arm moved on its own
accord, rising as if to salute a long since fallen nation.
live mother Russia.”
just barely loud enough for yourself to hear, relishing in the bittersweet taste
that the words left behind for a second that could fill eternity if you desired
filled with nothing but the taste of both failure and great gain.
your fingers, watch the patches of skin that covered them, burned just at the
tips where you held matches against in a futile attempt to feel something-
anything at all. It was years before Natasha was brought in, years of numbing
cold and solitude that had scarred you beyond any compare.
things now though, you regret wishing for anything other than that overwhelming
emptiness that resided within your chest for perhaps one too many years.
He won’t come back, you idly muse as you twist your fingers
around in the glaring light to cast random shadows over your weary eyes.
Not if he knows what’s good for him, you find yourself apathetically
adding, while balling your hand into a fist so tight it leaves your knuckles
Or maybe he should?
the still lines of Nat beneath your blanket once you return to your room and
sigh softly, both anger and the confusing thoughts dispersing as fast as they
bother changing and simply slip under the sheets with Nat, momentary surprised
when she pulls you into her arms.
your head to her chest and leaves it lying there, allowing you to listen to her
The position leaves you startled for a while longer than you’d
like to admit, yet before you can voice your question she beats you to it with
a soft smile.
me do the comforting for once”
You snort a
quiet laugh and wrap your arm around her waist, tugging her warm body closer to
your cool frame while she tenderly massages your scalp.
to ignore how perfect your bodies mend together, even harder so with her scent
that decided to take over your senses and wrap itself like a soft blanket around you.
into her chest, clutching at her waist while she chuckles. Its sleepy and
quiet, yet still entirely alluring and you wonder whether you’re ever going to
be released from the spell that she had cast upon you the moment she walked
into the training room with the Madame by her side.
pressing a kiss to your temple now, soft and lingering and so perfectly warm
that it has your heart swelling with content.
And for a
moment you wonder whether she likes your kisses so much, because they offer her
the same sense of tranquility.
another kiss to your face, your forehead this time and you snuggle further into
her, drawing a small giggle from her.
And as much
as you wanted to, you couldn’t find it within yourself to disagree. So, you
simply nuzzled your face deeper into her chest and closed your eyes, allowing
the sound of her heartbeat and the steady downpour outside to lull you to
(pronounced Aw-set, which the Greek called her Isis)
Auset is the devoted wife of Ausar and the first mother to give immaculately birth to a child, Heru, who would avenge his father later in life. She represents the Spirit of Nurturance as she is the primal source for healing and learning that is needed for personal growth. She governs pregnancies, the spirit of family and children. Her physical manifestations in nature are the seven seas, docile animals, such as sheep and cows, which are her main representations symbolizing how she is the Queen Mother that mothers the nation.
It was through Auset that the people learned about agriculture and natural medicine (herbology) as she was the first healer way before AimHetep (Imhotep). It was her spiritual presence and role that gave women in the Kametic society an equal status to that of men. Something that would take Western women hundreds of years achieve after the fall of many African and indigenous nations had fallen.
Auset is petitioned for assistance in removing negative energies such as pain, sorrow, anger and despair that prevent spiritual growth. Since, the resurrection of the Kametic tradition, Auset has been syncretized with the orisha Yemaya the owner of the seven seas. Auset is envisioned as being a beautiful woman of child bearing age draped in her aquamarine blue and white garments. She is fond of pearls, silver and seashells and her sacred number is seven.