and also fair trade

A $50 million heist with improvised tools

The master tools of real-life breaking and entering are typically just everyday objects, reimagined and transformed for criminal purposes. Consider the shockingly successful Antwerp diamond heist back in February 2003, when more than $50 million worth of diamonds were stolen from a high-security vault in the center of that city’s well-protected jewelry district. To a great extent, the extraordinary ease with which that crime was carried out came down to simple objects bought from the local hardware store. A broomstick, a brick of polystyrene, some black electrical tape, a can of hair spray: these were enough to subvert and neutralize more than a million dollars’ worth of high-tech security sensors, as if a rewards shopper at Home Depot had somehow managed to rob Fort Knox.

Think, for a second, about how frustrating this would be: you install some futuristic motion detector in your underground supervault and a bunch of anonymous strangers get around it by sticking a piece of Styrofoam on the end of a broomstick; stand that up in front of a motion detector while the lights are still off and it won’t see anything move for weeks. It’s embarrassing. You could try to catch the bad guys using your state-of-the-art thermal  camera—something space-age and intimidating—but they’ve got a can of hair spray. They uncap it and coat your fine-tuned electronics with a sticky film of aerosolized beauty products and render it useless. So you turn to your light sensor, something so sensitive it can pick up even the glow of an uncovered wristwatch—but your ingenious adversaries have arrived with a roll of electrical tape. They rip off a few inches, wrap it around your sensor, and all that gear is now totally obsolete. The vault is theirs to ransack. They have spent less than fifty bucks at a hardware store, yet they’ve caught your million-dollar setup with its pants down.

~ Geoff Manaugh, A Burglar’s Guide to the City

Pictures from Wired: The Untold Story of the World’s Biggest Diamond Heist, a detailed account of the Antwerp heist.


Filed under: silly things my dog does

So everyone knows by now that I established a trade system with Creed very early into our relationship, mostly because I had a resource guarder who would genuinely fuck me up if I so much as touched something he considered his and decided I didn’t feel like dealing with it in a dog I could raise from puppyhood.

Creed really likes to trade. He has always had a very keen awareness of what is and isn’t fair, and the exact values of things (to him, anyway). As a result- yes, I can trade him a half-eaten squirrel carcass he found in the woods for a piece of macaroni, but I also can’t convince him that that’s a fair trade or that the dry noodle is valuable. He will trade because he is used to bringing me things and getting something for it, not because he actually wants the dry macaroni (which he will just spit out, presumably because he does not want the noodle).

Creed has also learned that I do not share my food. With dogs, with humans, nada. I am a resource guarder myself and anyone trying to take my food will be chased away with a lot of grumping from me. My food is very valuable to me and there is very little I will relinquish my food for. And thus we have the following situation:

I am eating my dinner. Creed would like me to share my dinner, but knows that begging is not tolerated and stealing is a very unwise decision. Creed, however, has his own currency system with trades, and so goes to his toybox and digs in it until he finds his The Favorite ™ toys, which he lays in a row. He will then spend some time deliberating which toy to offer me of this row, occasionally picking one up and setting it down to choose a different one, until he makes his selection and effectively drops it onto my dinner plate. He has occasionally picked up a toy, been halfway to me with it before skidding to a halt, turning on a dime, and running back to grab a different toy.

A friend was very amused to watch him perform this behavior where he demonstrated a rather complex understanding of how item value, trades, and how to turn communication methods I’ve taught him back to me. She then asked me a question that I have yet to truly figure out the answer for: are the discarded The Favorite ™ toys in this scenario too valuable and not worth it to him to trade for, or does he feel they aren’t valuable enough for me to consider giving up my dinner (spoilers: none of them are valuable enough for me)? Does he realize mid-stride that he has his values off and needs to change his selection?

rival-the-rose  asked:

Hi! I have a slightly weird TTRPG rec request. I'm disabled, and weirdly most TTRPGs require a tabletop. This makes it hard to DM on days when sitting upright next to a table is too much for me. Do you have ideas for an upbeat cooperative improv-y fantasy game that can be played w/ all players on couches (ie no dice)? Alternately: I'm planning on buying CFA soon since we all loved the playtest; do you have ideas on reskinning w/ rochambeau/coinflips/etc to maintain elements of risk and chance?

Depends on what your setup is like. Many diceless games still require a lot of playing with tokens, messing with marks on character sheets, etc., so in most cases you’ll need at least a decent writing surface.

Assuming that’s the case - and further assuming that non-dice randomisers like playing cards are out because dealing cards is a pain in the butt when people are spread around a room - there are a few games that spring to mind:

  • Chuubo’s Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine - You’ve probably seen me plug this one before. It’s tough to describe how it works in a short paragraph, so you can refer to this previous post for an overview of what it’s all about. Definitely not a casual-friendly game, though; it takes a lot of “homework” to set up.

  • Fiasco - If you’ve seen Fargo, you know how this works. This one is actually breaking the rules, as it involves a whole pile of dice, but you only make three rolls per session: one at the beginning, one during a mid-scenario intermission, and one at the end. If one dice-rolling exercise every couple of hours is workable for you, it could be worth a look. None of the playsets included in the core rulebook are fantasy, but there’s a very large fan-created library to choose from.

    (It also involves a fair amount of dice-trading, which doesn’t require rolling them, but in a couch game you’ll need someone to volunteer to keep track of that info on paper. Unless you’re okay with chucking dice at each other’s heads, anyway!)

  • Golden Sky Stories - A localised Japanese RPG about talking animals who can transform into human children making friends in a pastoral small town. Maybe a little twee for some gamers - your magical abilities are literally powered by friendship - but beautifully put together. It’s one of the major inspirations for Costume Fairy Adventures, in fact.

  • Itras By - A localised Norwegian game about 1920s surrealism. This one does use cards, but it avoids the usual issues with card-based couch gaming because there’s no need to deal them; only the GM needs a deck, and actions only ever require one draw.

  • Sufficiently Advanced - This one’s stretching your criteria a bit, because it’s not fantasy at all, but rather, transhuman space opera. The Second Edition includes a number of modular settings, some of which are upbeat and some of which are not; I’m particularly taken with the one where the player characters are agents of an interstellar patent office in a post-scarcity future where only ideas have value.

In a pinch, you could also have a look some of the diceless classics like Lords of Gossamer and Shadow and Nobilis, though they’re not especially upbeat.

On the flip side, if you’re looking for something that can be played without even the writing surface, you could have a look at The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen. I’ve previously discussed it in this post here; it’s designed to be played with a glass of wine in hand, and is thus quite amenable to hands-free roleplaying.

As for Costume Fairy Adventures, I’m afraid that literal randomness is pretty central to its premise. My recommendation for couch-gaming CFA would be to grab a free dice-rolling app for your smartphone: I particularly recommend DiceBag. You can take it on the honour system that nobody’s misreporting their results; alternatively, if not everyone in the group has a smartphone, you can designate one player as a dice-caller and have them use the app on everyone else’s behalf.

ASKS - Names

Asks sent to my main, answered here. Themes - what’s a true name, exactly?

  • Anon said: So what happens with people who have officially changed their names? I’m thinking especially for trans students who change names to match their gender, but anybody who’s gone through the process of legally changing names. Would their deadname still be their “true name” as far as the Gentry are concerned?
  • Anon said: how would the name thing work with deadnames? would the deadname be the “real name” or the name from birth?
  • Anon said: What if you legally changed your name? Would that still hold power or something or just your birth name?
  • Anon said: More for the name things: What about trans students? My name is Lucian but my birth name is completely different. Which one would count as my true name?
  • Anon said: In terms of trans folks at EU, would their birth name be the one that could control them? Or would it be their preferred name?
  • Anon said: About the name thing, how does that work for trans people? Do the fae go by birth certificate or what you believe as your name?
  • Anon said: What about preferred names? Like I don’t feel any attachment to my birth/legal name and no one calls me by it. What would be considered dangerous to use?
  • orendork said: EU question: Would a trans person’s real name be their birth name or their chosen name?? Like would it be safe to go by a chosen name?
  • lupus-lunarem submitted: At elsewhere University if you have a legal name change which name is then used against you? Your birth name or changed name?
  • Anon said: In response to the question of “true names”, I wonder if the Fae could be tricked by the giving of a deadname. Perhaps a trans person/someone who changed their name for personal reasons might be able to give a member of the Folk their deadname as a part of a bargain & the faery would accept it as a part of the bargain, since more antiquated traditions might designate that as the “true name”. However, since the person’s deadname doesn’t really have power over them, the bargain could be safe while remaining valid
  • zeromylesperhour said: I rly liked your idea of the trans kids playing games for simple things like voice changes. I’ve also always thought about how true names would work in that situation! Like a faerie might think it has power over a trans kid because it knows their “name” but it’s their birth name and not their real name.

Especially in a place where belief holds such power as it does at Elsewhere University, your true name would be your preferred name - the one that means you, heart and soul. While on campus, you should keep it secret from all but those you trust with your life. Your deadname would have no power over you. The legal status of your true name doesn’t matter; it draws its power from the weight and identity you give it.

As far as the Gentry are concerned, in folklore one’s true name was often synonymous with one’s birth name, and I imagine that because of this, for a time after Elsewhere began to seep back into the world, they would ask a birth name as a price for a boon, and occasionally be very, very surprised when it was given without a fight and held no power at all. They have learned to be more careful for what they ask for since then, but not after several rather embarrassing deals, and every once in a while one of the more antiquated Fair Folk will make this mistake over again.

Keep reading

So I remembered a post or two about a queer coffee shop instead of bar, to cater less toward those who can/want to drink. And I remembered a post about how if you really wanted to be radical, you’d open a homeless shelter or something that would make a significant difference in people’s lives.

And whilst on the treadmill, I invented a thing.

It’s not plastered with rainbows. If you don’t know what to look for, you don’t even recognize it as anything other than a coffee shop pretending to be a bookstore. It has overstuffed chairs gathered in circles, and portraits and posters lining the walls. If you read the plaques beneath the posters, though, you’ll see they’re of famous or history-changing queers, from Silvia Rivera to Marsha P. Johnson to Harvey Milk. The posters range from resources for homeless youth to one-time queer-themed community events to advertising for groups that meet at the coffee shop. One proudly proclaims an open mic night that is also a safe space. Another explains the workings of a queer interfaith support group–”Discuss broader topics with the whole group and then split off (by faith or not) for more focused support. Currenly attending are Christian, Jewish, and Muslim queer people, but all people of all faiths are welcome.”

An unobtrusive bookshelf lining the back wall bears a sign announcing that all books are paid for by donation. In smaller print, it explains that if it’s a choice between not paying and not taking the book home, they’d rather you took the book. You start at the As and discover The Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to Asexuality. You’re completely confused by the organization at first, but moving further down the row reveals Bi America: Myths, Truths, and Struggles of an Invisible Community and All About Demisexuality, and you realize it’s organized by label. The Ts take up an entire row by themselves.

The baked goods are a tad overpriced, but a sign above the counter and a matching one in the window proclaim that anyone who is homeless can have a free sandwich and as much water and menstrual products as they want every day. All they have to do is ask. A bit of asking around reveals that the local homeless shelters, discount stores, employment offices, doctor’s offices, and food banks are supplied by the owner of the coffee shop with coupons for heavy discounts on anything. You figure that the regular price is designed to get the well-off to help pay for food for those who need it. After voicing this opinion, someone tells you the shop only sells local and Fair Trade, which also boosts the price.

A second sign in the window proclaims, “Help Wanted! Qualifications required: radical socialist feminism or an ability to keep your damn mouth shut. We pay our disabled employees equal wages.” Sure enough, the shift changes, and the new barista props up a sign reading, “I’m Deaf, please sign or write down your order,” with pictures demonstrating how to sign ‘coffee’, ‘milk’, and three different sizes.

You have never learnt a word of ASL, but ‘large coffee’ sounds easy enough, so you haltingly give it a try. She gives you a giant grin and serves you the best coffee you’ve had since you left home. You wave goodbye and leave a hefty tip in the tip jar on your way out.

How to live better ✨ #1

•Replace one item of “junk” food per week/ two weeks for an item of “healthy” food. For example:

Week one- swap that Jaffa cake or two (or ten 🙈) for an orange. I love the bags of small ones that you can get, super handy to grab when rushing out the door. Also making spirals with the peels is super fun and cuts down on mess!

Week two- do a switcheroo with that bag of crisps and a handful of nuts. No honey roasted don’t count, try lightly salted (hint: buy unsalted and add a bit yourself, the ones you buy in shops have wayyy too much salt) and gradually work down to having less and less salt. Your body will thank you for the lack of grease (not to mention your skin).

Week 3- tip out that cup of coffee and pour yourself a big glass of cool water. It has been shown that drinking a cold glass of water as soon as you get up can be just as effective as a cup of coffee to wake you up! And so much better for you! Water makes up 70% of your body but you👏need👏more👏. Drinking more water holds benefits for your whole body, it helps keep your skin looking fresh and makes everything work smoothly.


Starting to eat healthy seems so daunting at first but you don’t need to dive in headfirst with fad diets or full on veganism overnight, your body isn’t having any of that. You need to make eating healthy part of a happy daily life and it should still be something you enjoy, but with a heightened sense of awareness of what is in your food and also where it’s coming from; Buying fair trade is a fantastic way of helping farmers and their communities if you can afford it.

Good luck lovelies!! ❤️



Warnings: 18+

A/N: For the record, this is the History Channels historical fiction version of Sam Adams. Because Sam Adams was nowhere near Ben Barnes portrayal (failed father of two anyone?) but I think the History Channel did a decent job of capturing how the American Revolution was birthed. So just enjoy this smutty request with historical holes and if you’re a history snob just read it for the fiction of smut per the requester.

Also, because ppl back then were ignorant af, I tried to find a way to incorporate anybody’s ethnic background to be the reader so this doesn’t just appeal to one population of people. Because anyone should have the opportunity to make love to Ben as fine as Samuel.

Special Tag: @drinix - hope this is everything you were looking for! Thanks for being so patient 

He was late. You sat patiently at the edge of the river, the rich smell of water intermingling with the early spring buds as you sifted through the fine pages of the book you were reading, adding annotations to the small margins.

You hated when he was late. It meant less time that the two of you had together, having to speed up up your time before slipping back into your home without your chamber maid or mother ever knowing the difference.

It’s the sound of his whistle that alerts you to him. Its low but crisp as it intertwines with the early spring chirping of young birds and the babbling river your near. You don’t turn to pay him any attention. He would enjoy that way too much. Instead, you finish dribbling your notes as your brain sifts through last night’s conversation, trying to remember important details from the men’s low voices drifting from your father’s study. Ignoring the sound of soft grass and gravel nearing you until it comes to an abrupt stop.

“You’re late.” Your accent cuts through the silence and you know he’s smiling as he pushes a spring bouquet in front of you.

“Flowers aren’t going to pardon your tardiness.”

You look up at him as he smiles back down at you. His handsome, rugged face beams as his eyes twinkle in amusement and you ignore the way it makes your heart speed up.

“They may not pardon me but perhaps they can at least grant milady a smile. You spend far too much hiding it from the world.”

You roll your eyes despite the edges of your mouth quirking up and you close the book, handing it to him.

“How about something far more valuable. Your bouquet for my book of Chaucer.”

“I also have my smile so fair trade.” He grins, grabbing the book as you take the flowers. He sits beside you, flipping through the pages slowly as he takes in your notes. You inhale the flowers, taking in the poignant scent as you watch his dark hair brush in front of his eyes unnoticed as his eyes roam the margins carefully. Though it’s early in the season, he’s managed to select early blooms for your pleasure. A small gesture he has done four times since Joseph Warren had introduced you weeks earlier. You were a new colonist, your father a wealthy businessman that had been moved to colonies in the late winter. Joseph Warren had been one of the few people you connected with and it was only days later that you learned of his friend Samuel and what he was trying to achieve for the fellow citizens here.

Keep reading

But is it fair?

Julian2 said “animal jam dosn’t wish be associated with me” after that video incident. But is that really fair? To ban somebody breaking rules outside of AJ,Like is it fair to ban somebody being inappropriate outside of the game? This is like at the level of your school punishing you outside of school grounds, they have no authority there it’s a public space but you fight another kid while still in your uniform so since you’re associated with school they’ll punish you back at school. I mean if AJ had problem with the videos then they should report to Youtube and let them handle it. If AJ can’t stand the risk of being associated with him then just stop the whole putting aj youtubers on the pedestal. Like stop trying to associate themselves with them if they’re just wanting to be friends with them for fame and as long it benifits them for profit. But vice versa it’s horrible when you stop to realize Aparri does it for money as well so really everyone is trying to out minpulate while saying “we’re doing it for the kids” idk Aparri then why did you accept the money?(I know many youtubers make living off it but he said specifically he wants to entertain kids where other youtubers are making videos for themselves personally) Why not get a job outside of youtube unlike AJ that actually needs it to keep running the company, and why did AJ chose to leach off Julian2? For kids? Like the heck you did! I mean AJ could’ve easily tried not to be so dependant with popularity instead of leaning on AJ youtubers that way they could easily say “we’re just an online game company, these aj youtubers dosn’t represent our game” but no they want them to represent them so now they have to deal with that. Lets also not forget the fact if they did this then they can also say to any parents upset with the aj videos their kids may watch which aren’t appropriate thinking “I don’t want my kids to see that! AJ manage your community plz!” Well then they can just say “you’re responsible as a parent to supervise your child on the internet” but no…since they take things like Julian2 matter personally now they have to monitor not only their own site but AJ youtube contents because they’ve shown that they are willing to get involved. What were you thinking AJ? That you can just leach off youtubers with no draw backs? No risk? Nothing is always free, especially fame that comes at a price. Just to leach off him and kick him out without a second glance but tolerates Aparri because he is profitable for their company. What a mess…MY LIST FOR A FAME! PLZ TRADE ME FAIR! SORRY IF I DECLINE-

I also just want to add Julian2 did what he did out of showing technical possibility that the den items can be arranged negatively like that, but he wasn’t like “yes do this” it was more of “aj fix this now”. My bigger question is here “So why didn’t AJ monitor this demonstration and report him then?” If AJ claims their supervision is so top quality then why don’t they monitor the dens? I mean they advertised so hard about how safe the chat is and they’ll monitor it. But if they’re monitoring it so much then why is there the option “report bad words”, isn’t that like their job? Didn’t they promise to the parents in their commercials that THEY will handle it? They promised constant monitoring of the chats. Same vice versa “inappropriate den”. So you want to punish somebody while putting his words out of proportion, treat him as an accessory that you can quickly discard, and only doing half of your job? Remember AJ can mess up with their items as lets not forget the Skully on the panda, so this den item mistake was clearly their mistake. Julian2 even took down the video on his own after realizing he didn’t monitor his video as well. So they want to report some one for not monitoring his video while not monitoring their own game? Julian2 is a human and Animal jam was made by humans, humans aren’t suppose to be perfect. But AJ dosn’t see Julian2 as a human while not acknowledging their own mistakes.

poehdameron  asked:

Rebelcaptain + you took my coffee au

This ended up being a lot longer than 3 lines, but HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! <3 <3 <3 Send in requests for prompts or longer fics anytime you want!

(I also read like 5 different articles about why Fair Trade coffee doesn’t really do much to increase pay for the farmers, so this was an EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE)

“Hey! Mister. Coffee shop bloke. Jackets.” 

In surprise, Cassian turned to see a woman running down the block towards him. She’s out of breath and her blue scarf billows behind her like a cloud, and Cassian has the dawning feeling he recognizes her from somewhere. 


“Yeah, you.” She reaches him in a huff. Her nose is rather adorably pink from the chilly air and the wind has pulled chunks of her chestnut hair free. “They mixed up our coffee orders at The Rebrewllion.” 

So that’s where he’s seen her before. The line at The Rebrewllion coffee shop, where Cassian’s made it a morning ritual to pick up a cup and a sweet roll before his long day as a public defender. He pays a bit of a premium for it, but it’s better to support a local business than dish out for one of these corporate megamonsters, and he has first hand experience with the importance of ethically sourced coffee as well. 

He examines the writing on the side of his cup. 

“Are you Jim?” 

“Jyn, actually. Like the drink or the gold or the supernatural Islamic creatures. Not like Jim.” She purses her lips awkwardly for a second and then adds: “Are you Cassie Anne?” 

“Cassian. Cassian Andor. Like the patron saint of Mexico City who was such a bad teacher his students stabbed him to death with their pens.” 

“Oh, well, now that’s a legacy.” 

She holds out her cup to swap, and he takes it, gloved fingers brushing. 

“You know you take your coffee disgustingly sweet, right?” 

“Yeah, I know. My mother’s influence.” He examines the top of the cup and notices a bright pink smear. “You know that you’ve got lipstick all over this?” 

“Sorry.” She winces. “Not much that can be done now, is it? I think I have some disinfectant wipes in my pocket if-” 

He waves a hand dismissively. “On the contrary, I think the only reasonable course of action to take is to go back to the Rebrewllion for a second cup.”

Welcome to Jamblr Trading Hub (JTH)!

JTH is your one stop shop for all your trading needs! On this blog, you can: ☁️
-submit your item(s) for trade, and ask for offers
-submit your item(s) for trade, and ask for something specific
-submit offers for a specific item(s) you want
-browse and bargain with people!

Please include a photo of items wanted or wanting to trade. Also, please be fair in your trades. If it is a ridiculously unfair trade you are asking for, I may not post your submission. Furthermore, if you are looking to take someone’s offer please contact them, not this blog.

This blog was inspired by pegasustradingpost ’s account on instagram! I hope you don’t mind me bringing this to tumblr.

anonymous asked:

Rival coffee shops


-I’m going to make him and Feliks the rivals here because I can (and I’m tagging @naszczesciefor when she gets back)

  1. Toris’s coffee shop focuses on brewing the coffee itself in such a way that even the most Frappucino-inclined patrons will be converted to simply black or au lait becaue it’s so good. Feliks’s is more concerned with sugary whacky flavors and practically eliminating the taste of the coffee itself.
  2. Toris’s is also in sore need of a new interior decorator.
  3. Coincidentally, Feliks wants to quit working at his coffee shop to become an interior designer, but won’t because of reasons (one of them being outdoing Toris)
  4. Feliks was devastated to learn that cat cafes are not, in fact, just cafes with cats wandering around.
  5. There’s a nondenominational church that meets in the upstairs part of the building Feliks’s cafe is in.
  6. Toris and Feliks both bake the majority of the pastries sold themselves.
  7. Toris is vegan in this au, and so is all the food he sells. He also regularly sells fair trade crafts and stuff, too (all the coffee and food are ofc fair trade too)
  8. This is one of the AUs where Toris cares about fashion and has a bunch of tattoos and piercings and wears a lot of black. Felek, on the other hand, is a Good Catholic Boy™
  9. Toris is pagan in this AU.
  10. Toris works out a lot and this plus his fashion taste plus his height make him seem super intimidating until you get to know him.
Meet & Greet Experience: Michael Christian Martinez

Friday, February 21st, I learned that Michael Martinez would be coming back from Sochi and that SM would have him perform his Olympic routines and host meet and greet sessions afterwards.

They scheduled it from the 23rd to the 25th in three different SM malls that had Olympic-sized skating rinks.

I wanted to go on the 25th since it was a holiday (Anniversary of the EDSA revolution).

I begged my parents to take me to the Mall of Asia (which was a two-hour drive away). They initially said no, telling me it was a waste of time. It drove me crazy thinking about missing the chance to meet Martinez.

I started moping, and I tried to (ironically) distract myself by painting a portrait of him.

It was a bad method of trying to forget about it. It didn’t in any way improve my hopeless mood.

I started on Sunday night, and I added the final details at about three in the morning on Tuesday (the 25th).

I wanted to see him skate. I thought it would be amazing to see him in person. Amazing because his whole Olympic journey is just pure magic. Not even just his road to the Olympics, but on his early years, and how skating started out as just an exercise to help him fight his asthma.

Nine years later, he makes history by qualifying in the Winter Olympics. Who knew a tropical country with only a handful of skating rinks could produce an Olympian? And a 17 year old at that! After two decades, a Filipino once again enters the prestigious (ice) event!

Even his mother's never-ending support was completely heartwarming. She was with him all the way through. She even learned ice-skating with him to coach him herself.

Martinez is undeniably hardworking and talented; the biggest obstacles he has probably faced were his lack of funding and his latest injuries.

That didn’t stop him.

He made it.

And the world was left in awe.

On the morning of the 25th, my dad miraculously agreed to take me to MOA. I literally wanted to start dancing. (I didn’t though.)

I decided to bring the painting in an attempt to hand it to him as a gift.

When I got to MOA, I learned that to get a meet and greet pass, you would have to be part of the first 20 skating ticket purchasers.

Well, that sucked. I had arrived late, and a huge crowd had already gathered around the rink.

I decided it would be enough just to see him perform though, so I pushed my way into the crowd and settled near the barrier that surrounded the makeshift stage.

I wanted to try skating, since I’ve never actually taken on the ice before, but then I saw those little eight year olds who could do fancy jumps and twirls. I told myself, “Okay. No way.”

There was a lot of screams and I thought the crowd was just messing around. It took me a few minutes to actually spot Michael warming up on the ice, skating his way through the little kids who were also on the rink.

I couldn’t believe my eyes. He was actually there.

At 12NN, Michael Martinez performed his Malaguena routine.

The spectators went wild. I couldn’t help but smile as he did triple axels. The landings were perfect. It was no wonder he got into the finals.

After his performance was the meet and greet. I watched enviously as the press and the lucky ticket holders were ushered into the press con area.

I was pressed against the metal railings near the right side of the stage. We patiently waited for Michael to appear. I had my painting out, and I was clutching it nervously over the other side of the barrier.

I never expected it, but the painting caught the attention of the media.

I got interviewed. (by Rappler, I think.) Several cameramen and photographers got a shot of the painting. Way to go, painting.

What was really unexpected was when one of the handlers (he wasn’t Filipino; he was Scottish, I think) near me took notice of my painting and signaled to me, asking if I made it and if I wanted to have it autographed. I nodded furiously, expecting him to take it from me and hand it to Michael on stage. Instead, he started talking with his colleagues, and he was pointing at me. Michael’s coaches also took notice. I asked if I could come  inside the meet and greet area but he just smiled sadly and he shook his head.

Oh, well, I thought.

At one point, Michael saw my painting and went over to try and sign it. He didn’t reach me though. The crowd went wild and started pushing and shoving. Security had to pull him back.

Scottish dude finally came back and he told me something that totally blew my mind. He started giving me instructions. He told me that he couldn’t get me near the stage, but that the management was willing to let me go and see Michael after the meet and greet. He told me I could have it signed, give it as a gift, or even have them hang the painting inside the rink. It took me about a minute to let it sink in. I blurted out, “Seriously?!” And after that, I shouted my thanks as Scottish dude walked away. I was screaming internally.

After Michael Martinez signed the last photo that was handed to him, he waved goodbye, took his exit, and made his way to the side of the rink and into the conference room. The crowd started to shove and push, wanting to take a last glimpse of the Olympian.

I practically crawled out of the sea of people and ran to the side of the rink as I was instructed, and Scottish dude found me and walked me through security.

The rest was a real blur.

I remember that I couldn’t stop shaking when I came face to face with the 5'8" ice skater. I handed him the painting and I got a photo with him. I also got an autograph. Gotta have a souvenir. Fair trade.

He was really nice, and he said thank you a lot. He was very sincere. He didn’t look like he was used to getting hundreds of fans crowding around him. Who knew right? The Winter Olympics made him an instant sensation.

I wished him luck on his competition in Sofia, Bulgaria. (World Junior Figure Skating Championships)

As I walked out of the room, I almost forgot my phone (which was used to snap the photo.) I was just too nervous!

^ It was the only photo I got and I looked reaaaaally shitty. Maybe it was from my lack of sleep and from all the crowd swimming I did.

Regardless of the haggard appearance, I’m happy I was lucky enough to get in and meet him.

His story is truly inspiring, and I know I’m not the only one blown away by it. His road to 2018 is underway, and I wish him the best of luck. I hope he finally bags a medal in PyeongChang! (Or in Bulgaria first.)

If he doesn’t (which I doubt), he’ll still be a winner to all of us!

storyknitter  asked:

For the shippy starters, how about #25 -- "I can't believe you talked me into this." or #41 -- "You did all of this for me?" for any of your SWTOR pairings

“I can’t believe you talked me into this.” Jonas fought the urge to dig his fingers under the collar of his dress shirt and tug.

“Hey, fair’s fair,” Briyoni’s voice echoed out of the fresher, rife with amusement.  “Last time we had coinciding leave, I got up at the ass-crack of dawn to spend time with you, and you rewarded me with copious amounts of caf. This time, you’re gettin’ dressed up t’ take me somewhere fancy, and I’m gonna reward you with copious amounts of alcohol. Fair trade.” She chuckled.  “You also get to see me in a fancy dress, which is not a common occurrence.”

“I’m kinda surprised it’s an occurrence at all,” Jonas admitted, running his fingers through his hair. “You’ve never given the impression of being the kind of girl who goes for frills.”

Briyoni snorted, accompanied by the sound of footsteps. “Who said anything about frills?” She stepped out of the fresher, combing her fingers through her hair one last time to make sure it stayed where she wanted it, and grinned. “You clean up nice, spy boy.”

Jonas had to swallow twice before he could form words. “Not half as well as you, gorgeous.” He somehow found enough air to whistle.She was right; there were no frills to speak of on the slinky red dress. It did, however, sport a wide neckline with a gold inset bodice that came just high enough most would consider it decent. The skirt clung to her hips before cascading freely to the floor, and all in all was guaranteed to catch the attention of anyone with eyes. “Damn.”

“You’re usually so much more articulate, Balkar,” Briyoni teased. She crossed the room and kissed him on the cheek. “I don’t get fancy for just anyone. It’s nice to be appreciated.”

“Sure, appreciated’s the word,” he muttered, which made her laugh as she found and slipped on her shoes. “I’m not gonna need any alcohol, Bry, I’ll be drunk off you all night.”

“Ooh, the smooth talker makes a return,” Briyoni all but purred as she rejoined him. Her hands rested on his chest in the same moment Jonas’ curved around her waist. “Don’t worry. There’ll be plenty of me at the end of the night.” Her hands slid up, fingers interlocking behind his neck as she gave him a single deep kiss. “Come on, our reservation’s in half an hour, and I wanna be sure we can catch a speeder, since a bunch are probably tied up thanks to that grav-ball match.” She linked her arm through his and tugged him toward the door.

Right, ‘cause I’m supposed to be able to think straight after that. Jonas shot her a–slightly dazed, he was sure–smile. “Right behind you, gorgeous.”


Bry’s wearing this dress, because Inara’s wardrobe is too gorgeous to pass up. (And do you know how hard it is to find something that would look good on someone with green skin?)

anonymous asked:

i hate it when kids have (OVERPAY ONLY) on every single one of their groups but also have "trade fair!" in their rules. also they always post threads asking for trades where the post is "I NEVER get trades :("

Autonomous E.

The new Mercedes-Benz E-Class is the world’s first standard-production vehicle to be awarded a test license for autonomous driving in the US state of Nevada. In a world first and also in time for the leading trade fair for consumer technology Consumer Electronics Show “CES” in Las Vegas, three standard-production E-Class vehicles have been approved to drive themselves.

anonymous asked:

XI - Do they celebrate holidays? Anniversaries? [ByaIchi]

[Do they celebrate holidays? Anniversaries?]

Before they got together, Byakuya didn’t. The Kuchikis as a whole aren’t big on celebrations of any kind, and Byakuya is known for keeping his colleagues and subordinates at arm’s length. He had no friends, and the nicest, most genuine greeting would usually come from Ukitake or Kyouraku. A handful of polite happy birthdays might crop up on the day of his birth from his relatives or clan elders, along with a couple of the other captains, same with Christmas and New Year’s, but other than that, those days were about the same as every other for him. Hisana didn’t like birthdays because it reminded her of her own forgotten one and her sister whom she abandoned, so they never celebrated either in the few years that Byakuya courted and wed her.

Ichigo on the other hand does celebrate, if only because of his sisters. Their mother loved the holidays, any holiday, and she’d go all out. Ever since she died, he’s tried to mimic her because the twins cried the first Christmas when Isshin was busy drinking in the clinic and Ichigo just… didn’t think to put up any decorations. So big holidays were still big deals to them, and birthdays were even bigger deals. Ichigo always put thought into the presents he got the girls, and Karin and especially Yuzu loved to throw him ‘surprise’ parties every year. Isshin was willing to pitch in too after the first few years of spending holidays in the clinic (partly because Ichigo wouldn’t let him drink in front of the girls), and even though the celebrations sometimes made him more sad than happy, he’ll suck it up and nail on a smile for his sisters.

The first time Ichigo and Byakuya celebrate something together, it’s Byakuya’s birthday again. Ichigo drags the captain away from his paperwork – bribes Renji into finishing the awful stuff – but he doesn’t take Byakuya out on some fancy date or even out in public because Ichigo knows he doesn’t like that sort of thing. Byakuya prefers to keep personal matters more private, not secret, but simply not flaunting it, and he enjoys a quiet afternoon and good tea and just some relaxations, all of which he doesn’t get very often because he’s both a clan head and a captain, so that’s what Ichigo offers him – rest, with nothing pressing to attend to, and a present in the form of exotic teas from all around the world that make Byakuya smile. They spend the rest of the day lazing about by a river with a picnic between them and nature all around them (with no nosy friends to bother them).

When Ichigo’s birthday swings around after Byakuya’s, the twins are away at college, and Ichigo’s never partied with his friends on this day, so it’s just the two of them. Ichigo isn’t even really expecting anything, except Byakuya drops by his apartment to pick him up, dressed in jeans and a shirt and coat with a scarf, kenseikan and dutiful propriety nowhere in sight (though he’s still one of the most aristocratic people Ichigo has ever met), and before Ichigo can digest all this, Byakuya’s already taken him out to a restaurant that Ichigo mentioned months earlier for lunch. The whole affair isn’t anything crazy or pretentious, thank god (but then this is Byakuya after all; the man is hardly one for dramatics), but Byakuya makes the day special, going out of his way to take Ichigo out on a date he’s obviously planned with some of Ichigo’s favourite places in mind, which had to have taken at least a few weeks’ worth of sneaky research into the human world, and by the time they return to Ichigo’s apartment, there’s a present and cake waiting for them (“I had Rukia deliver them while we were out.” “You’re encouraging your sister’s breaking and entering skills; nice.” “I could have had Renji deliver them, if you’d prefer that next time?” “…He’d probably eat the cake.” “Precisely.”). Ichigo is honestly thrilled, enjoyed himself in a way he hasn’t in all his previous birthdays since his mom died, and Byakuya is subtle about it but to Ichigo, the guy looks damn proud of himself to the point of smugness. It’s so irritating that he just has to kiss it off Byakuya’s face. Byakuya doesn’t seem to mind.

They both – of course – celebrate their anniversary, but Byakuya of all people insists on celebrating the day Ichigo made him concede their final battle as enemies instead of the day they officially got together. His reason is as sappy as they come – “You changed me for the better that day, Ichigo, and you drew my eye ever since. The more I saw of you after that, the harder it was to look away. That day was the turning point. I never want to forget that.” Byakuya is horrifyingly embarrassed after admitting this but it also makes Ichigo turn endearingly red so he figures it’s a fair trade.

Flight Rising months

took another pass at my old months. Just for funsies.

  • Month of Crystal- Creydok

A month set aside for the Icewarden. It’s a month of reflection for both the past year and the one to come. With it often comes fasting and even Ice dragons in other parts of the world may partake in the fasting. It represents the lean times during the middle of the long Icefield winters. At the end of the month the members of Ice Flight throw a grand Gala that also helps celebrate the coming of spring and being reminded of life within the frozen tundra.

  • Month of Tricks- Muror

During this month the largest Shadow clans will get together to put a grand Carnival. While the Carnival itself lasts only a week most Shadow clans spend the entire month preparing for it. It is one of the few times that the darkness of the Wood is parted and allows the sun to shine down to the forest floor. Dragons from all Flights are encouraged to visit but they usually leave with significantly less gold than when they arrived.

  • Month of Whirlwings- Wismari

During Wismari the Twisting Crescendo is said to reverse its spin, the entire storm coming to a strange stand still for several hours as it changes directions. Wind dragons gather far and wide to watch the phenomena and once the Crescendo has finished its new spin they promptly throw a large party. That party usually extends into the Mistal Jamboree where the lights of the festivities are said to be seen clear across the Sea into the Ruins or across the ocean to the Icefields.

  • Month of Seers- Tiondoo

A month of silence and prayer for seers and Water dragons. It is during this month that prophetic gifts are at their strongest. Water dragons born on the first day of Tiondoo are said to be especially gifted seers or have elevated clairvoyant abilities. Even the Saturnalia is reserved compared to other festivals and parties are kept small and quiet instead focused on using what remains of the month to See as far and well as they can before the time has passed.

  • Month of Growing- Gagjinko

While the Labyrinth is in a constant state of growth Gagjinko is when that power leaches out from the northern isle. All across Sorienth but especially in the northern part of the continant they get a second wave of an almost violent spring as fresh growth bursts from the ground as flowers, tall grass, and slender new saplings. Nature dragons walk amid these new forests to tame the wild growth somewhat and gather in places where they hold mysterious rituals that will continue the slower growth through the rest of the year. Gagjinko is the only month out of the year that plants not cultivated by the Plaguebringer himself may grow in the Wasteland.

  • Month of Glittering- Astira

The hottest month of the year. Astira is an unrelenting sunny day that washes out color and turns everything into white and gold. During this month the days are long and the Celebration acts as a grand fair within the forum where Light dragons trade books and research notes. The street fair also offers many opportunities to non Light dragons but few can handle the bright sun and scorching heat.

  • Month of Thunder- Creyor

The harsh sun of Astira makes Creyor the dimmest month. The sun hits the waters of the Sea and surrounding ocean and great thunderclouds gather at the edges of the world but are unable to draw too close because of the work of the Lightweaver. In Creyor they come crashing across the horizon to the delight of the Stormchaser. It may not rain every day but it is usually overcast. Lightning dragons work overtime so that in time for their festival they have some amazing new contraption powered by the storms of Creyor to show off to the rest of their kind.

  • Month of Forgers- Fle’klor

Though many of the storms of Creyor drop all their rain the clouds often still linger into Fle’klor. Must like Astira the heat of Fle’klor is intense but instead of being heated by the sun it is instead heated by ash and heat being trapped under the clouds. Knowing it is her month the Flamecaller demands the forges of the Great Furnace produce double time. The fully stoked forges generate great amount of heat and the Great Furnace erupts constantly. Only after the Festival and the Flamecaller’s power to cause constant eruptions dimmed do the final clouds first created during Astira finally dissipate.

  • Month of Stars- Sta’reon

It is best not to speak of Sta’reon. Keep your hatchlings close at claw. Keep the doors and windows of the lair closed. Those in underground lairs should stay beneath the earth. Strange things walk Sorienth during Sta’reon for the time permitted before the Arcanist is reminded of existance that should not be on this world and brings them back to his observatory. For study he says.

  • Month of Rot- Prasrio

The heat of Fle’klor and the strange creatures of Sta’reon, those not able to handle the great influx of temperatues, often end up festering in the sun. Their dead bodies cause the spread of new diseases and so the Riot begins. While thought of an end of the month event the Riot spans all of Prasrio. During the Riot plague dragons venture away from the Wasteland to gather the dead, rotting, and disease riddled, bodies of the things from Sta’reon and bring them back to the Wasteland. There they create remedies for the diseases caused by the dead creatures. Dragons who might have been afflicted during early Prasrio or late Sta’reon make pilgrimage to the Wasteland to be healed. At the end of Pasrio the Riot is finished with a celebration for the plague healers and geneticists for their work and skill in ensuring the strong continue to be strong.

  • Month of Rocks- Rookkon

The last month dedicated to a god Rookkon is for introspection and spending time with one’s family. It is customary for young Earth dragons to go out into Dragonhome and find a stone that is their own. During the Rockbreaker’s Ceremony they crack the rock open on their heads and see what is within. Depending on the contents of the rock will determine the next year. Geodes are condisered the best luck for next year but agate or semi precious gemstones are also said to lead to a good next year.

  • Month of Migrations- Meirson

An odd month not associated with any god. Meirson is for those who wander, become lost, or become found. It’s said that during Meirson if you have lost a loved one or precious item that you have the best chance of it returning during Meirson. Those who have lost their way often go out to search for themselves or a clan of their own during this month. Guardians on their Search consider this a sacred month where it is the best time to find one’s Charge. Charges found during Meirson are considered to have a deeper connection than those found in other months.


Teddy has a crush on a cheerleader.

Which according to the rest of his football team is kind of the status quo considering how many of them are dating cheerleaders. The only issue is the cheerleader Teddy has a crush on is a boy.

Billy Kaplan, to be specific.

Billy Kaplan, king of the nerds and also the triple somersault and the number one starring actor in all of Teddy’s daydreams. To be exact. 

It’s not really an issue, if he’s being honest. His teammates know he’s gay. The school is still in the dark but only because Teddy chooses not to broadcast it. His teammates have his back on and off the field and that’s enough for Teddy, really. He’s not sure if he wants to come out to the entire school by asking out his number one crush.

So, for now, he just catches glimpses in the halls and during classes and pays a lot of attention during half time performances. 

It’s enough.



Billy has a crush on a football player.

Considering how attractive their team is, it’s not surprising. But Billy’s crush is on the hottest, most Adonis like who also happens to be a nerd player in the entire school. 

Teddy Altman, to be specific.

Teddy Altman, the boy who stopped to help Billy pick up his books freshmen year after John Kessler knocked them to the ground and who Billy has been lowkey in love with ever since. To be exact. 

Billy’s sexuality isn’t exactly a secret around the school. It’s the reason John Kessler turned him into a human punching back for two years, after all. It’s also the thing that drove him to try out for cheerleading in the first place and find a nice little hole he could dig himself into where he had actual friends and people who cared.

The girls on the team are all, despite what all popular teen movies try to make you think, very wonderfully nice. Once he joined the squad, he was under one hundred percent protection not only from the girls but also from any of their respective boyfriends. If John Kessler touched one hair on his head, he would be forced to face down twelve girls with kick ass back flips and their muscled football player boyfriends. 

It was pretty awesome.

So he’s out to the school and he’s already done the boyfriend thing (it did not work out) so really the only issue with Teddy is actually Teddy since Billy isn’t entirely sure which way he swings.

So for now, he can let himself glance in class or in the halls or pay very close attention when he’s on the sidelines at football games. 

It’s enough.



Everything changes at Homecoming.

It’s arguably the most important game of the year since it’s the one most of the school comes out for. The squad has a pretty kick ass routine ready for half time and Billy is nervously excited. Their captain, Amber, schedules one last practice after school coincidentally at the same time the football team is having a last pre-game planning session before the game.

Billy is so horribly distracted by sweaty Teddy Altman in his practice jersey that when he gets to the top of the pyramid, he forgets to lock his knees. The girls, bless them, try to keep a hold of him but Billy knows it’s inevitable and as he falls backwards, he closes his eyes and braces for impact.

It comes but it’s not the ground. It’s a set of warm arms that catch him and a breath hot against his ear as whoever it is exhales harshly. Billy lets himself open his eyes and stares into the bright blue fathomless depths he calls Teddy Altman’s eyes.

Oh, fuck.

“Nice catch,” Billy says because he can’t stop himself, “No wonder you’re on the football team.”

Teddy’s lips quirk into a grin as he helps Billy get to his feet. “And nice fall. Is that a cheer leading thing I’ve never noticed or?”

“Sun was in my eyes,” Billy says, wrapping his arms around himself and glancing away. “Um. Thanks.”

“No problem. I can’t wait to see it at the game. The part where you don’t fall, I mean.”

Billy laughs and looks up and Teddy’s smile seems to widen. “I can’t wait to see you. Win the game, I mean. Since it’s Homecoming and all.”

“Right,” Teddy says, rubbing the back of his neck. “Speaking of Homecoming-”

“Billy!” Amber calls. “I’m glad you’re not dead but we really need to work on this!”

“Right,” Billy says and he can feel himself flush. “I need to, um…”

“Right,” Teddy says. “Me too.”

He jogs back to his team and Billy sighs longingly. Nyssa comes up beside him and nudges him.

“Lucky duck,” she says, grinning.

“If I was lucky,” Billy mutters, “He would have asked me out.”


The routine goes off without a hitch that night. Billy does not fall into the waiting arms of Teddy Altman but he does rack up some celebratory cheers from the crowd and it’s almost a fair trade. He also gets to see Teddy make the winning touchdown for the game and joins his squad in cheering their assess off.

Teddy looks almost bashful among the praise from his team and it makes Billy’s stomach swoop. When he catches Teddy’s eye, he gives him a thumbs up and he watches as Teddy pulls out of the fray and jogs over to him.

“Nice game,” Billy says, trying not to focus on delicious sweaty Teddy Altman. “Good tackling…thing.”

Teddy laughs. “And good not falling routine thing.”

Billy grins. “Thanks.”

Teddy glances back at the crowd and Billy says, “Go on and celebrate. You earned it.”

Instead, Teddy turns back to Billy and asks, “Are you going to the dance tomorrow?”

“Against my will. My squad thinks it’s important I have school spirit. I just like doing back flips.”

Teddy grins. “Backflips are pretty cool.”

“Sometimes I pretend I’m Spiderman,” Billy says and then instantly regrets any and all life decisions that brought him to this point. Possibly including his parents meeting and conceiving him. Possibly. 

Teddy doesn’t make fun, however. His grin gets a little wider and he says, “Well, duh. Who doesn’t?”

Before Billy can say Marry me? Teddy follows it up with, “Since you’re going to the dance against your will, maybe you’ll save me a dance?”

Billy blinks. Hard. Then he does it again to make sure Teddy is still standing there. When he is, Billy says “I could save you all the dances.”

“I’ll take them all,” Teddy promises and then he leans in.

Billy’s seen enough cheesy teen movies to know that the football star sweeping a cheerleader into a kiss after winning the big game is one of those right before the credits roll and the music swells moments. 

He just never thought in a million years it would happen to him.


New Zealander Unna Burch, who blogs at The Forest Cantina, taught herself everything she knows about good home cooking — and now, with her second Forest Cantina cookbook, she’s ready to teach you. 

“During the week I want fuss-free meals. Tasty food that isn’t too complicated to put together,” she says. “Weekends or during the holidays I like to make dishes that require a little more time and attention. My food philosophy is fresh, free range, and fair trade.”

The book also provides a guide to suburban self-sufficiency, including how-tos on keeping gardens, chickens, and bees — yes, bees! Dig in to the project here.