a man a plan a canal

3

Otto Skorzeny and The Paladin Group

If any real life historical figure could be a Bond villain, Otto Skorzeny would definitely be a leading candidate. A former Nazi SS commando, stalwart fascist, and Cold War soldier of fortune, Skorzeny was the stereotypical cloak and dagger “bad guy” from any dime store spy novel, complete with a gnarly facial scar. Seriously, he could be a villain straight off of “The Blacklist”. During World War II he was an SS colonel, commando leader, and Hitler’s favorite soldier. He was best known for the daring rescue mission of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, who was captured by Allied forces after the surrender of Italy.  He also commanded a special infiltration unit composed of English speaking German soldiers who wore American uniforms and infiltrated American units behind enemy lines. Throughout the war Skorzeny would become one of Germany’s most highly decorated soldiers, participating in and commanding several commando missions.

After World War II Skorzeny was prosecuted for war crimes, but was released when British MI6 decided not to use their evidence against him as it would expose their intelligence networks.  A man without official citizenship with any country, he first lived in Ireland, then Spain after gaining the support of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco. He was eventually granted a passport by his home country, Austria, and Spain, but Skorzeny wasn’t the sort of man who needed a passport to travel across the world. In the late 1940’s and early 1950’s he was a member of ODESSA, a clandestine group which smuggled ex-Nazi’s out of Europe to avoid war crime tribunals.  He founded a large fascist political network in Spain, which printed and destributed fascist propaganda and created branch organizations throughout Europe and Latin America.  He also served as advisor to Argentinian President Juan Peron and bodyguard to his wife Eva.

In the early 1950’s Skorzeny began to organize a mercenary group mostly composed of German SS, Gestapo, and Wehrmacht veterans.  The goal of the group was to support fascist regimes and right wing extremist movements across the globe. This was mostly in the form of training, especially guerilla groups, but also by providing crack commando troops and boots on the ground. In 1960 his mercenary group was officially incorporated as “The Paladin Group”, co-founded by a rogue American CIA Special Operations officer and ODESSA member named Col. James Sanders. If there was a conflict that occured in Europe, Africa, Latin America, or Asia during the 1950’s to mid 1970’s, you can bet your bottom dollar The Paladin Group (or it’s nameless predecessor organization) had some role in it. The roots of The Paladin Group can be traced back to 1952 when Skorzeny was recruited by CIA man and former WWII German General Reinhard Gehlen for operations in Egypt. At the time Egypt’s monarch, King Farouk (CIA codename “Fat Fucker”) had been overthrown in a military coup, and Egypt was led by President Gen. Muhammed Naguib.  Naguib used Skorzeny and his men to train the newly modernized Egyptian Army and various commando units in preparation for a possible plan to oust British forces from the Suez Canal. Skorzeny would later become advisor to Naguib’s successor, President Gamal Abdel Nasser.

For the most part, The Paladin Group supported fascist/dictatorial regimes or right wing extremist guerilla/partisan movements and vehemently opposed left wing or communist movements.  However, Skorzeny often took jobs that either suited his needs or put a lot of cash in his wallet. A perfect example would be in the mid 1950’s when he was contracted by both the Israeli’s and Palestinians.  Among his most famous (or infamous) clients was PLO leader Yassir Arafat, and Skorzeny planned Palestinian raids into the Gaza Strip in 1953 and 1954.

Throughout the 60’s The Paladin Group served a wide variety of clients. The Spanish Government hired them to fight a clandestine war against the Basque Nationalist Group ETA, they were hired by the South African Bureau of State Security, there were even rumors in the Soviet KGB that Skorzeny was training Green Berets for secret operations in Cambodia and Thailand. One of Skorzeny’s biggest clients was the Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddaffi, who hired The Paladin Group to help plan and execute the coup which put Gaddaffi in power, then to train the Libyan Army.

Between 1967 and 1974 The Paladin Group also took part in the organizing and execution of a series of military coups in Greece, leading to a civil war in which the Greek monarch, King Constantine II, was ousted from power and replaced with a military dictatorship.

The Paladin Group came to an end in 1975 with two major events.  First, Otto Skorzeny died of lung cancer.  Second, Francisco Franco likewise passed away.  With Franco gone a new democratic government came to power, one which had little tolerance for fascist organizations.  The Paladin Group was expelled from Spain.  Without a home and the leadership of Skorzeny, The Paladin Group was disbanded.  Peashooter hopes that producers make a retro James Bond movie with Otto Skorzeny as the bad guy. That would be so awesome!

September 6, 1917 - Haydarpaşa Train Station Explosion Cripples Ottoman Logistics

Pictured - The burnt-out shell of Haydarpaşa terminal, Turkey’s important train junction on the Asian side of Istanbul.

For the last two hundred years Europeans had been gleefully predicting the downfall of Ottoman Turkey. What had once been a superpower had become by the 20th century the long-term “sick man of Europe,” a archaic empire on the verge of breakup due to both internal rot and external pressure.

The fact that Ottoman armies were still holding their lines in 1917 after three years of total war was, for many Allied war planners, astounding. This is especially true when we consider that in 1917 the Ottoman army could only field 450,000 troops on the front. And there logitics left much to be desired.

The Ottoman forces in Palestine and Mesopotamia relied on a single railway track that crept through the desert back to Istanbul, where it terminated on the Asian side at the village of Haydarpaşa. There were no tunnels through the Taurus and Amanus mountain ranges in Asia Minor, so any supplies or troops bound for Palestine had to get off and back on at least five times during their journey, and carry supplies by mule overland.

This railway was the lifeline of the latest Turkish war plan. A new army group, called Yildirim or Thunderbolt Force, had been assembled out of Turkish reserves and German reinforcements. The soldiers were trained and equipped in stormtrooper-fashion, with grenades, heavy artillery, and light machine-guns. Germany’s top man in the Near East, Erich von Falkenhayn, planned to use this army group to strike at British forces in Palestine, pushing them back to the Suez Canal. 

Luckily for the British, the planned attack never came through. On September 6 a massive explosion rocked Haydarpaşa station. At the time authorities blamed the damage on British agents, but it as likely came from hasty porters loading artillery shells. All that was left of the station was a burnt-out shell; 1,000 people, mostly civilians, died. Ottoman woes continued.

anonymous asked:

Can you write a Dybala imagine where he hates you but sees you flirting with someone and gets jealous so he tries to make you jealous? Ps I love your blog so much it's literally my fave 😍😍❤️

again, this didn’t go the way i planned but i hope u like it tho?? also if u want me to write a 2nd (smutty) part to it, let me know! 💕


He watched as the guy’s hands snaked around her body, holding her close to him as they talked. Her beautiful hair shimmered in the dim light, a dark red satin dress hanging from her body in all the right places. She laughed at something the guy said, silvery and clear, her plump lips stretching into one of her breathtaking smiles and her slim fingers tracing a seam on the guy’s suit.

She was driving Paulo insane.

Quite literally maybe, because before Paulo knew it, he was standing next to Paul Pogba, a glass of bubbly in his hand and a groan falling from his mouth. And all of this because of some girl he couldn’t even stand.

“Who is that guy?“ 

Paul, who had been busy filling his plate with a few mini pizzas, jumped at the sound of Paulo’s voice. “Merde!”

“Sorry,” Paulo said as he picked up one of the mini pizzas himself and then, after looking at it for a second, popped it into his mouth. Living in Italy had many perks.

“How often do I have to tell you not to sneak up on me?” Paul added with a shake of his head before he continued, “What guy are you talking about anyway?”

“This one over there.” He nodded in the direction, making a face.

It took Paul approximately zero point two seconds to catch on. With a big grin plastered on to his face, he turned away from the buffet to face his teammate. “Oh, you mean the one talking with Y/N?”

Choosing not to fall for Paul’s games, Paulo merely hissed, “Yes.”

“I think that’s some sponsor’s son. Pretty sure I’ve seen him on one of those Juve events before. Why are you asking?" 

“No reason.” 

Paul nodded, still grinning. “Sure.” 

Taking another gulp of his champagne (it was mid-term and they still had to play quite a few games until the break, but he figured that one glass wouldn’t get him into trouble), Paulo’s gaze darted back to where Y/N and that guy stood, still talking to each other, still standing close. 

Jesus Christ, it was annoying. He was annoying. And by ‘he’, Paulo meant himself. Why the hell was he acting all … weird? He’d never liked Y/N, and she’d never liked him. Everyone knew that. So why was there this strange heat clawing its way up his neck, blinding every one of his rational thoughts and making him feel like his tie might strangle him any second now? 

Plus, this wasn’t fair — Paulo and Y/N’s relationship had always been two-way. They both disliked each other, they both didn’t care about each other, they both avoided each other. It was all mutual. So how could it be that now, he seemed to be the only one bothered? 

Chewing on the inside of his cheek, he watched as the guy’s hand slipped down Y/N’s side to rest at her hipbone. 

Paulo’s heart hammered against his ribcage. 

“That’s enough,” he mumbled under his breath. 

Paul shot him a confused look, a semi-chewed mini pizza coming into view when he opened his mouth to speak. “What?” 

Paulo walked over to the bar. His plan was childish, he knew that. What he didn’t know was why he had even come up with it in the first place, or what he wanted to accomplish. Still, he continued to walk — towards a girl. 

He’d met her before. Her name was Sophia, she too was a sponsor’s daughter, and she looked like the type of girl every man would like to sail down Venice’s canals with — long black hair, tan skin, long legs, red lips. Yeah, she was gorgeous but she didn’t make his heart pound. 

“Sophia,” he said, leaning against the edge of the bar and lifting two fingers lazily to let the barkeeper know he wanted two more glasses of champagne. Sophia turned, her green eyes glistening in the low light. 

“Paulo, hey.” Her voice sounded too sultry for his liking already. It was too easy. 

“Thank you,” he told the barkeeper when he got his drinks, and handed one over to her. She smiled when she took it from his hand, letting her fingertips graze the back of it. God, was she reenacting every single rom-com? Despite his already kicking in boredom, Paulo moved closer to her body. He just hoped she wouldn’t send him packing — that’d be embarrassing. 

“Good season so far?” 

“Your father probably wouldn’t be sponsoring us anymore if not.” He knew he was being rude and he felt bad immediately after the sentence had flown from his mouth, but Sophia merely laughed and shrugged, not looking irritated in the slightest. 

“Probably, yeah,” she agreed, tucking a strand of her hair behind her ear before she added, “So, are you still single?” 

Paulo nodded. “Why wouldn’t I be?” 

“Well, you are very good-looking.” Sophia’s hand moved from her hair to his. Slowly, she ran his fingers through it. Paulo hoped her father wasn’t close enough to see this — he had a feeling he most likely wouldn’t like seeing his daughter flirt with one of his players. “But I figured you’d be dating this Y/N girl by now.”

At that, Paulo froze. “What? Why?” His eyes flickered over to where Y/N was, now sitting next to that guy from before; she had all of her attention fixed on him. Obviously, Paulo’s plan was a total success. He huffed. 

“My grandma always used to say: ‘The quarrel of lovers is the renewal of love.’ Which pretty much described your entire relationship.”

“Nah.” 

Sophia smiled. “Whatever. So, why did you come here?” As soon as she was done speaking, her smile widened, suggesting that she already knew the answer anyway. 

“You know why.” 

“Oh, so you want to repeat last year’s activities?” Activities. Paulo almost rolled his eyes. Geez, he really was very sullen today. 

But then, out of the corner of his eye, he caught sight of Y/N standing up. She looked like she wanted to walk over to the bar — where Paulo and Sophia still were — and stopped dead in her tracks. Paulo didn’t dare turn his head to see her more clearly, to watch her reaction and what she did. So instead he kept looking at Sophia.

Maybe he overdid it by letting his gaze trail the length of her body before he replied, but he did it nonetheless. “Oh yes, I do.” 

Just as Sophia was about to say something, Paulo felt a new presence next to his body. He looked over and — there she was. She looked so good in that dress. She looked so good with her eyes twinkling at him. She looked so good with her eyebrows raised. God damn it. 

“What are you staring at?” Y/N asked. 

Paulo turned away from Sophia to be able to look at you without straining his neck. “You. That dress. Your cleavage. Are you trying to impress someone?” 

“You’re gross. And no.” 

“Really?” He heard Sophia groan behind him but didn’t bother to turn around.

Y/N sighed, her eyes becoming softer but her nice voice turned sharper. “Okay, you got me. I was hoping to impress you, of course.” 

“Knew it,” Paulo said, stepping closer. He listened to Sophia’s heels clattering on the marble flooring as she walked away. “The way you look at me gave it away.” 

“That was intentional. I wanted my ardent longing for you to finally stop and I figured that that could only be done by you realizing I have deep feeling for you.” 

Paulo smiled, moved into her space and curled his fingers around her slim hip. His blood burned in his veins. “Yeah? Want me to stop that longing now?”

This time, the softening of Y/N’s eyes looked less fake. They looked as if there was a storm behind them, and it captured his gaze, holding him still and in place. He couldn’t move. Which was probably for the better, considering a lot of that boiling blood of his had rushed south. He took a deep breath when Y/N looked up at him with a knowing smile tugging at the corners of her plump lips. 

“You’re turned on.” 

“Yeah.” 

She didn’t seem to have expected that answer because her neatly plucked eyebrows shot up, and her mouth opened a little. She stared at him. Paulo could practically hear the wheels rattle in her head as she got lost in thought. 

“Okay.” 

Paulo narrowed his eyes. “’Okay’?” 

“Yeah. Let’s get out of here.” 

He smiled. “Okay.”

hey y’all remember when inej’s papa said that “one day you will meet a boy who will learn your favourite flower […] only that boy earns your heart.” 

and then when kaz got inej back and they had to get their costumes from behind a flower stand… and this scene actually happened….

‘He heaved a flat of wild geraniums into the canal over the protests of the flower seller […] He swept the red cloak around Inej’s shoulders in a rain of petals and blossoms […] She looked almost as startled as the flower seller.’

LIKE can you believe this???? You think Kaz Brekker, monster of the barrel, Man With A Plan, boy with a crush, didn’t plan this???? do you think he didn’t scope out the area before the exchange, just told matthias to hide the costumes wherever… Amazing….

and can you imagine what was going through inej’s head, after the fear she experienced at van eck’s filthy rat hands, after the insecurity of kaz’s feelings for her…………… and think of how pretty she would have looked…………

in conclusion i am dead

Strange and Interesting Facts about Words and Languages
  • TYPEWRITER is the longest word that can be made using the letters only on one row of the keyboard.
  • "Go." is the shortest complete sentence in the English language.
  • The sentence "the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" uses every letter in the English language.
  • Shakespeare invented the word "assassination" and "bump."
  • The name of all the continents end with the same letter that they start with.
  • The word "lethologica" describes the state of not being able to remember the word you want.
  • The word racecar and kayak are the same whether they are read left to right or right to left.
  • China has more English speakers than the United States.
  • The longest word in the English language is 1909 letters long and it refers to a distinct part of DNA.
  • The longest one-syllable word in the English language is
  • "screeched."
  • No word in the English language rhymes with month, orange, silver or purple.
  • "Dreamt" is the only English word that ends in the letters "mt".
  • There are only four words in the English language which end in "- dous": tremendous, horrendous, stupendous, and hazardous.
  • The name for Oz in the "Wizard of Oz" was thought up when the creator, Frank Baum, looked at his filing cabinet and saw A-N and O-Z, hence "Oz."
  • All 50 States are listed across the top of the Lincoln Memorial on the back of the $5 bill.
  • Maine is the only State whose name is just one syllable.
  • Los Angeles' full name is "El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de los Angeles de Porciuncula."
  • "Stewardesses" is the longest word that is typed with only the left hand.
  • The "sixth sick sheik's sixth sheep's sick" is said to be the toughest tongue twisterin the English language.
  • The plastic things on the end of shoelaces are called aglets.
  • Richard Millhouse Nixon was the first US president whose name contains all the letters from the word "criminal." The second was William Jefferson Clinton.
  • The symbol on the "pound" key (#) is called an octothorpe.
  • The dot over the letter 'i' is called a tittle.
  • The word "set" has more definitions than any other word in the English language.
  • Underground and underfund are the only word in the English language that begin and end with the letters "und."
  • The longest place-name still in use is Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwe-nuakit natahu, a New Zealand hill.
  • Donald Duck's middle name is Fauntleroy.
  • There is a seven-letter word in the English language that contains ten words without rearranging any of its letters, "therein": the,there, he, in, rein, her, here, ere, therein, herein.
  • The letters KGB stand for Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti.
  • The only 15 letter word that can be spelled without repeating a letter is uncopyrightable.
  • Facetious and abstemious contain all the vowels in the correct order, as does arsenious, meaning "containing arsenic."
  • The word "Checkmate" in chess comes from the Persian phrase "Shah Mat," which means "the king is dead."
  • "a man a plan a canal panama" spelled backwards is still "a man a plan a canal panama"
  • The most popular first name in the world is Muhammad.
  • Skepticisms is the longest word that alternates hands when typing.
  • The fear of vegetables is called Lachanophobia.
  • In England, in the 1880's, "Pants" was considered a dirty word.
  • The book Gadsby, written by Ernest Vincent Wright, has 50,110 words in it, none of them in which contain the letter e.
  • Canada is an indian word meaning "Big Village".
  • "The" is the most frequently used word in the English language (used three times in this sentence alone).
  • More countries use English as their official language than any other. French is second.
  • There are six words in the English language with the letter combination "uu." Muumuu, vacuum, continuum, duumvirate, duumvir and residuum.
  • A "moment" is actually 90 seconds.
  • Mrs. was originally an abbreviation of "mistress," but now is not an abbreviation of anything, except a woman's single lifestyle.
  • The world's largest alphabet is Cambodian, with 74 letters.
  • "Rhythms" is the longest English word without vowels.
  • "Lollipop" is the longest word that can be typed using only the right hand.
  • The letters H, I, O, and X are the only letters that look the same if you flip them upside down or view them from behind.
  • "Queueing" is the only word with five consecutive vowels.
  • The only city in the United States whose name is spelled using only vowels is Aiea, Hawaii.
  • W" is the only letter in the alphabet that does not have one syllable. It has three!
  • "Deeded" is the only word that is made using only two different letters, each used three times.
  • The only words with three consecutive double letters are "bookkeeping" and "bookkeeper".
  • If you spell out every number from 0 to 999, you will find every vowel except for "a". You have to count to one thousand to find an "a"!
  • "Q" is the only letter that is not used in the name of any of the United States.
  • HIV VIRUS is an obvious redundancy, since the "v" stands for "virus."
  • Source: http://sweetfacts.webs.com/words.htm
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Da Vinci, Machiavelli, and the maniacal plan to destroy Pisa

Niccolo Machiavelli was a famous Italian Renaissance writer, philosopher, and politician who was a powerful high official in Florence.  Today, Machiavelli is most famous for his political beliefs, which many see as advocating manipulation, duplicity, lies, intrigue and deception when conducting politics.  Often, the actions of many scuzzy politicians are referred to as Machiavellian in nature.  In 1503, Machiavelli would come up with one of his most Machiavellian schemes.  At the time, Pisa was a great rival of Florence, and the two city states were almost constantly in a state of war.  Pisa is located along the Arno river, downstream from Florence.  Because of it’s position, Pisa could prevent Florence from accessing the sea.  Thus, Machiavelli came up with an audacious, if not maniacal plan; to redirect the Arno River away from Pisa.  Without water, Pisa would wilt away into oblivion while Florence would become a major Italian port city.  Of course, redirecting the flow of an entire river was no simple task. One needed the expertise of a genius engineer, and only one Renaissance mind was up to the task.

Leonardo Da Vinci is most popularly known as an artist, painting such works as the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper.  However Da Vinci was a true Renaissance man, working in many fields such as anatomy, architecture, music, mathematics and engineering.  In one of his roles, he was a military engineer, designing and building weapons and fortifications for the highest bidder.  In Renaissance Italy, warfare was rife among the Italian kingdoms and city states, and business was booming for weapons designers.  Thus in 1503 Machiavelli hired Da Vinci to bring his doomsday plan into creation.

Da Vinci’s solution was to redirect the Arno River by building a series of dams, levees, and canals.  Work on the project began in the spring of 1503 and lasted throughout 1504.  It was a great undertaking by the Republic of Florence, with thousands of men employed in building the earthworks and digging the canals.  Unfortunately, Florence was desperate to get the project done as quickly as possible, and hence many corners were cut.  The canals were dug too shallow while dams and levees were built from substandard materials.  As a result, they were unable to change the course of the river.  Efforts to deepen the canals were made, but then a massive storm hit Florence.  The dams and levees made from substandard materials collapsed and were washed away.  Whatever was left standing was quickly destroyed by the Pisans.

The fiasco of the Arno River project would sound and end for Machiavelli’s  Two years later, a Spanish army defeated Florence and installed Guiliano De Medici as ruler, Machiavelli spent the rest of his life in exile.  In the meantime Da Vinci spent the rest of his career painting, sculpting, and inventing things until his death in 1519.

Rivetra Week: Vows

Standing at the back of a church on the outskirts of a small gypsy village, Levi Ackerman flicked his gaze to the priest upon the altar.

It was almost time.

He heard the side door open, wood scraping against wood and his fingers gripped the dagger sheathed at his thigh. At the feminine sigh, however, he released his grip, straightening.

“We don’t have long.”

Throwing back her emerald hood, Petra Ral pushed some stray hairs back out of her face, tucking them into the crown of copper hair braided across her head. She gave him a smile, one that hit her eyes and shone throughout her whole face. “They’re already out looking for me.”

Keep reading

How to Propose: A Handy Guide to Success - by Dr. John H. Watson

Step 1. Instill in her a great confidence about your future as a couple.

Step 2. Remind her of the special things you’ve done together. Make sure she knows how important she is to you.

Step 3. Concentrate on not sweating. 

Tip #1: White lies don’t count if you plan on maintaining them for life.

Step 4. Maintain eye contact.

Tip #2: Keep it short but sweet.

Tip #3: Be succinct.

Step 5. Fondly remember your last root canal.

(Remember: the camera is only on John’s face throughout [almost] this entire thing *because* we are meant to see how John really feels about this proposal. This is not about a straight man proposing to his girlfriend; this is about a bisexual man who, yes, loves his girlfriend but is still in love with his “dead” flatmate [soulmate] proposing to someone because he feels like this is as good as it’s going to get from now on. We never do see the actual proposal because it isn’t important. We already know how hesitantly he is entering into this.)

3

Last fall, Colorado adopted a $20 billion plan that focuses on water use within the state and aims to save 130 billion gallons annually. Ahead of that historic moment, the Colorado Water Conservation Board asked Matt Nager to document how people throughout the state use something there simply isn’t enough of. 

Nager’s series Colorado Water is a breathtaking look at all the ways water shapes life in Colorado and the west. Farmers tap canals to irrigate their acres of farmland. Anglers fish in the state’s many man-made reservoirs.

MORE. They Don’t Call Colorado the Mother of Rivers for Nothin’, Folks

Poké Boy

Genre: Fluff :3

Summary; Phil proposes to Dan with presents, air horns, pokemon, music and funny jokes. Three days of romance leading up to the big moment where Phil finally gets on one knee to ask Dan to marry him.

Word Count: 3220

I was really in need of a way to propose to Dan and I was literally lost on how to do it. We had been together 7 years and you could tell how much he wanted to get married, and I really wanted to as well. The only problem was as creative as I am I’m the least romantic man in the entire world and I needed to step up my game before this weekend. This weekend will be me and Dan’s 7th year together and it’s time I commit further and ask the love of my life to marry me. But I still had the issue of how I was going to go about asking him. I like to pride myself as talented, funny, creative, maybe a little sappy at times but romantic? Oh my god no. My idea of a date is pizza and a movie and Dan expects fancy dinners and candles and I just really want, no I need for this proposal to be romantic. But since I’m proposing, it has to be creative as well. I’ve been thinking about how to do it because lately Dan ha been dropping hints about marriage.

~One Week Ago~

“Hey Phil! Did you hear that my aunt is engaged?” He said softly, me looking up from my phone and looking into his eyes with a limp and careless shrug, initially thinking nothing of it.

“Oh cool.” I replied and went back to the game I had been playing on my phone. He seemed to deflate a bit at my lack of interest but tried hiding it with more low key hints.

“Yeah. He took her ring shopping last week, they had a whole collection at that shop for gay couples you know. It was super cool, they even make custom ones for extra money.” He continued as if gay couples getting married was the most casual topic in the world.

“Oh isn’t that neat.” I replied, still not picking up on the hints. He seemed disappointed and yet I still didn’t take notice. I am the thickest bastard on the earth to not have noticed Dan’s clear anger with me.

“Yeah. And the shop is in London, down the road from here only a few miles. They’re know to engrave rings with whatever you choose as well.” He said and whistled softly as he shut his laptop and rested his hands on his thighs, smiling at me with mock sincerity. “But I guess it’s a little silly to bring this up.” He shrugged and stood up, kissing me gently before leaving the room. I still hadn’t gotten the hint.

~3 Days Ago~

“Phil, babe!” Dan said and sat up on the kitchen counter, swinging his legs gently like a child while I cooked a meal for lunch. “The shop down the street had some things just go on sale its really inexpensive now. Isn’t that neat?” He said and I nodded, still really not thinking much of it. He huffed in annoyance and spoke again.

“They’re selling these really cool black diamond rings, they look very Dan Howell style.” He said.

“You do love black.” I giggled and still somehow didn’t realize he had been dropping hints until he plopped off the counter and sighed sadly.

“I guess we aren’t ready for marriage anyways.” I heard him mumble sadly, walking out of the kitchen and slamming his bedroom door like an upset teen. I could hear him blasting Kanye West and K-pop, but I also heard muffled cries.

  My heart broke slightly when I finally started putting the pieces together. Dan wanted to get married, and in all honesty so did I. I had just never realized how much I wanted too until that day. 

~Present Day~

So I arranged everything for the proposal. I had a very intricate and carefully planned out idea, it involved a lot of favors from friends and spare money from around the house. I had to scratch up every bit of cash I could in order to pay for everything I had planned. I spent about 6 hours writing things on the back of Pokémon cards, ordering things and going to a shop and talking with a jeweler about rings. Apparently there are hundreds and thousands of different styles of rings. Who the hell knew. I certainly didn’t that’s for sure. I decided on Friday morning is when I would put my plan into action. 

FRIDAY 7:12 AM

I woke Dan up bright and early, He always got grumpy and pouty when woken up too early, he hated getting up early when he didn’t have any plans for the day. It was his thing, he hated not having reason for getting up. Unless he had something to do that man would sleep until noon and honestly it was kind of cute. I rolled him onto his back, sitting on his stomach and singing loudly to wake him up. His eyes shot open when he heard me shouting lyrics from the movie ‘Annie’. He groaned loudly and tried to roll over, but I moved and pinned his wrists up, pushing my weight onto him and singing loudly right into his left ear canal. Needless to say, he was all but amused. 

“Phil what the helllllllll!” he groaned and sat up, me falling back and sitting in front of him with a big and goofy grin.

“Dan I have some plans for today so get off your ass and get dressed. Wear something nice my love.” I said and rolled to the side, attempting to look cool but really just failing and flinging myself up awkwardly.

“Ugh Phil it’s only-.” He checked his phone and winced at the bright screen. Phil it’s fucking 7:17.” He groaned and pulled a pillow over his face, huffing and sitting up, throwing the pillow at me tiredly before standing up. He moved to his dresser and pulled on his only pair of jeans. He claimed to own 4 pairs of the same ones but no, he only had one pair. You could tell by looking at the week old salsa stains on them. He really hated laundry.

“This day will be worth it Danny!” I grinned excitedly and kissed him. He pushed me away playfully, pushing his hair up out of his face and pulling on a shirt with a low and sleepy, groggy and husky laugh.

“It better be, Phil.” He giggled softly, his voice hoarse with sleep.

“It will be! Get dressed do your hair, get prettied up or something!” I giggled excitedly, already fully dressed myself. This whole weekend was going to be the best one of his life.

“Ugh I’ll wear a hat I’m too tired to straighten my hair because I’m guessing you want to leave right this second.” He laughed softly. I nodded and he pulled on his socks, two black and completely different sized ones.

So I drug him out of the house, pulling him down the stair with excitement and giggling each step of the way. As we got right outside the building for our flat, I reached in my pocket and handed him a box. He opened it and laughed softly. Inside said box was one single card that said, “In the game of my life I’m player one.’ He didn’t understand what it meant but soon enough he would. I dragged him down the pavement and up the road, giggling with excitement. I had him com with me to Starbucks. He sat down while I ordered the drinks and I told the guy to tape his next note on his cup. I walked over and handed Dan his cup, watching him read the note. It read ‘playing with one is great but…’ He looked at me and shrugged, drinking his drink. I made sure to keep him at Starbucks, watching anime on our phones and talking and giggling for about 2 and a half hours until I said we had to go. 

Next I made him go with me to an ice cream shop. He stood with me this time, but I carefully slid the lady another note for Dan that she seemed to know what to do with since she taped it to Dan’s ice cream cup. Dan grabbed his cup from the lady after I had paid and read the note. It said ‘But sometimes I get lonely.’ He read and giggled softly at me, eating his ice cream and speaking to me. 

“Why are we out all day? We never go out.” He giggled.

“Well, I figured we needed some son light. You do know that your inner thighs are the same color as your arms and face right?” I giggled back and poked his squishy dimple. He blushed and slapped my hand down gently.

“Hey, I don’t tan well. I wind up looking like a ghetto ass Mexican when I tan!” he said in defense with a grin. I put my hands up in faux defeat, smiling widely at him with my tongue poking out the corner of my mouth.

“I’ve seen how you tan. It’s not pretty, but you’re gorgeous with or without.” I smiled. I said that last sentence in a bit of a lower tone in fear of a fan possibly being around, but mostly ignoring that fear because dammit I wanted to compliment my boyfriend.

“I’m not gorgeous I’m a literal potato.” He laughed and put up two peace signs with a grin. “Kawaii potatoooooo!” he said and cheekily winked at me and I snorted with laughter, shoving a spoonful of ice cream in my mouth to try and cover my loud cackles.

“I think the best part is that you’re my potato and I get to eat you whenever I want.” I winked at him back and he turned pink, throwing the plastic from his spoon at me, the wind blowing it completely away from me.

“Literally do not talk about eating my ass while I’m trying to digest coffee and vanilla frozen yogurt I will incinerate you with my toes.” He threatened playfully and giggled childishly, reaching over and taking my ice cream and taking a spoonful. “Yours is better tasting than mine.” He said and casually switched our ice cream cups, eating mine instead. I laughed softly and shrugged, deciding it best to just go with it and eat his instead.

After that we went down to the park. There were some children there possibly on a class field trip, but me and Dan paid no mind. 

Honestly we looked like two weirdos there since we were grown ass men at a park while 7 to 10 year olds frolicked around and played. We mostly ignored them, sitting on the swing sets and starting to swing at the same time. On his phone he played music, but it wasn’t obscene or anything after all there were children around us playing. We talked as we swung on the swings, giggling about whatever before a small boy walked over and started swinging next to us. He actually talked to us too, but he wasn’t even scared or frightened about talking with two grown men.

“Are you two a couple?” The kid asked us and looked at us. The kid looked about 6, with long hair and boy clothes and a male voice. I couldn’t exactly tell this kid’s gender.

“Yeah we are.” Dan answered and I looked at him mildly panicked but he didn’t seem upset.

“I have two daddies’.” the kid said casually and swung at the same pace as us. “Mark and James. They’re like you two. Both boys.” Dan giggled at that.

“That’s really cool.” He said. “How old are you?” Dan asked.

“I’m 7 and my name is Mickey.” The kid said, flashing a toothy grin at us. The kid’s front two teeth were missing at the top. “And My daddies are cooler than you.” Dan laughed loudly and smiled at me. Before either of us could talk the kid spoke again. “Have you ever looked up? At the sky and junk? Daddy says that whenever you do an’ you miss someone lots, the star’s shine even more. I think it’s true. ‘Cause when you miss someone, they become old stars in your head.” This kid was getting deep on us and they were only 7 years old. Soon they stood up and walked away, not another word to us and we laughed softly.

“Mickey is the kind of kid I want us to have someday.” I said to Dan.

“What do you mean?” Dan asked, looking over at me and smiling softly, letting his dimple display.

“Deep and thoughtful about the world, like you. But goofy and playful and open about things like me. That’s the type of kid I want us to have.” I said and Dan smiled wider and nodded softly. “When we have kids, I’ll make sure to look in the Mickey Department.” He giggled and I giggled along with him.

After a few hours at the park we went home. Honestly it was a good day and I still had 2 more days to make it the best weekend ever for Dan. Next day I woke him up really early again. At the exact same time but with a new tactic. I rolled out of bed slowly, and I moved to the kitchen to get the hair horn. I crept back into our room, and honked the air horn 17 times on loop while singing ‘wake up Daniel-chaaaaaaan!’ on loop. He instantly shot out of bed, rolling over on the floor and hitting his ass on the floor. He looked at me with an upset death glare and pulled the blanket off the bed, rolling on the floor and hiding his head and groaning.

“Phil I’m so fucking tired!” he whined and wiggled around in the blankets for a bit before rolling out of his blanket cocoon and standing up, falling backwards on the bed. “What are we doing today?” He whined.

“We have to go down to this shop down the street Dan!!” I said quickly and tackled him, kissing his face and poking his neck in a triangular shape. “So wakey wakey eggs and bacey because I got you a present and we need to go and pick it up!!!!”

“Ugh what could you have possibly gotten me that is worth getting up this damn early?” He groaned and sat up, letting me fall back and stand up shakily and quickly like a new born giraffe.

“Trust me!!” I laughed and pulled him by the wrists, making him stand up and standing on my toes to kiss him. “Get dressed and let’s go!!” I laughed. He laughed softly and nodded, standing up and getting himself dressed. Once again he didn’t do his hair. I dragged him down the stairs of our building and to the shop, pushing him to the back. I giggled and told the man in the back his number, taking the white box and paying before giving it to Dan.

“Open it.” I said and he laughed quietly, opening the box and looking at me. Inside was a black hoodie with flower and space designs covering the sleeves and back, along with song quotes sown in my own hand writing for extra authenticity. I figured for this, I’d go with the internet’s plant boy me and space boy Dan theme because it’s actually fitting and really, really cute. He looked at it and smiled, tracing his hands over the purple and blue and black flowers that were vined along the coat to look like stars in space. He pulled it out of the box and started reading the quotes on the back. He let a few tears slide down his face as he read over all the quotes, saying them out loud to me. “’I’d give you my heart and I’d let you just hold it, I’d give you my soul but I already sold it.’ ‘7 billion 47 million on this people and some of us have the audacity to think that they matter’ ‘I thought I was an atheist until I realized I’m a god’ ‘I’d give it all just to have, have your eternity. ‘Cause it’s all that assures me, it’s worth all that hurts me.’.” He read out loud, tears slipping down his cheeks. He stopped reading and hugged me tightly. I hugged back.

“Those were all quotes that I have from songs I like that remind me of you.” I explained and kissed his nose. He was crying, hugging me tightly and shaking softly.

“You’re the least romantic asshole I have ever met.” He cried. “How did you come up with this?”

“I came up with it because I love music and I love you. The rest was inspired from Tumblr.” I explained. He pulled away and wiped his eyes, crying softly.

“Phil I love it so so so so much.” He said and choked back a cry. “You’re never so touchey feely and romantic.”

“Well, I thought you deserved me to be for a change.” I said and kissed him gently.

Next day I got him up early again at the same time as the last two mornings. It was now Sunday and the day I was going to actually propose to him. I got him up a little less rudely this time. I wasted no time getting to the point. At 7:12 am I woke him up with a candle in one hand and a hand behind my back, holding the box. I didn’t want to drag this out, I wanted him to know first thing when he woke up that he would never wake up without being engaged again. He sat up as he saw me. I wasn’t in anything fancy, black jeans and a flannel that I wore on laundry days. I slowly got on one knee, looking at him and smiling. 

“Daniel James Howell. The last 7 years with you have been literally perfect. And the last two days and now, took every bit of intelligence and creativity I have to figure out how to do this.” I said, pulling the obx out from behind me and opening it up. Inside were two engagement rings, each personalized. On top of them was a card that read, ‘will you be my player two?’. I looked at him, his eyes welling with tears. “Will You marry me Dan?” I asked and he nodded quickly, tears falling quickly again and crying softly.

“Yes. Oh my god Phil yes!” he cried. I stood up and hugged him tightly, handing him his ring. Inside his said Lock and mine said Key. Because he’s the lock, the thing that hides me from my eternity. And I was the key that opened up my future, my future with him. He put it on and cried happily, hugging me tightly and crying. I’m not sure if I proposed the best way ever, but I did it perfectly for me and Dan. And in reality, I think that’s what matters. It was perfect for us, and everyone else doesn’t need to be in our forever if they choose so. Our eternity is within each other, so anyone who doesn’t want to be involved doesn’t matter.

6

Some randoms form the last few guitar outings…from various Long and McQuade stores in the Toronto area:

  1. There’s lots of great things about Derek Trucks.  I am particularly fond of his first name.  His SG is pretty cool too.  ;)  Note the photographs on the wall because…
  2. they are shots of Derek Trucks (the guy with the cool first name and even cooler SG) with Warren Haynes.  And this 335 is a Warren Haynes signature model.  See what they did there?  Clever!
  3. Wait…I honestly want to know why Squier is getting all the best finishes lately?  Check out this sparkly gold-metallic job with gold hardware.  It’s really lovely!
  4. Used John Lennon model Epiphone Casino.  Oddly the “new” price on this was $1,025 or $1,050 if I remember correctly, so at $920 it’s not much of a bargain!
  5. Every time I see you falling, I get on my knees and pr… no wait…start again:  every time I see an nice lefty American Standard Stratocaster I want to do another “reverse Hendrix”.  Some would remind me I already did that with a 2007 (or ‘08?) American Standard in Blizzard Pearl, with mixed results!
  6. Holy - this transports my back to 1984 came Van Halen came out with that album…uh…what was it called again??  Had a song called “Jump” and another one about a teenage bot who fancies his teacher and we are led to believe there was some kind of fornicating (presumably illegal) with said teacher, and another about a Central American country which had a dictator that the US supported and then militarily ousted (PS did you know that country is only “independent” because the United States back a coup to in that conuntry which at the timebelonged to Colombia in order to get control of the area that they would soon be building a canal through.  I am not making this up…go to Youotube and look for a PBS documentary about that canal and you will see it’s true.  But anyway: I can’t remember the name of the canal, the country or the Van Halen song…

Which reminds me of a very fun, and long palindrome:  "A man a plan a canal Panama".

New Order:

Van Halen (unrelated to the above text but a song I still love…)

Brienne

There are no oceans between us
All the worse
Just the endless waves of people
I never want to meet
The boring and the figured-out
Filling up their cars
And driving the same straight line
To and from work
To not rattle the rear view mirror rosary

So here’s the plan:
East to the Atlantic
South to the Panama Canal
Where I will negotiate the first passage by
A single man in a two oar operated
Overturned Ikea book case
North without incident
To you

Where, finally
Conversations might be clever enough
For me to once again
Believe in flight