lower-48

Located in the northwest corner of Lake Superior Isle Royale National Park in Michigan is the place to go for solitude. The park is an island of roadless backcountry reachable only by boat or seaplane – making it the least visited national park in the lower 48 states. Photographer Carl TerHaar captured this moonrise from Pickerel Cove, one of the islands’ campgrounds that consists of a narrow ridge accessible by small boat. Full moon photo courtesy of Carl TerHaar.

jackiefour  asked:

Headcanon: The one subject Dean always did best with in every school, no matter how rebellious he was feeling, was U.S. Geography. He knew every state capital, where each state was and a ton of trivia about them. His teachers never knew why the smartass punk who could never be bothered to do, let alone turn in, his homework always aced every geography test and quiz. They also didn't know that he knew every good radio station in the lower 48, after all, that was never on a quiz.

I love this. YES.

Easily one of the most beautiful sights in Arkansas, the view from Big Bluff looking down on Buffalo National River will amaze you. Established in 1972, Buffalo National River flows freely for 135 miles and is one of the few remaining undammed rivers in the lower 48 states. Once you arrive, prepare to journey from running rapids to quiet pools while surrounded by massive bluffs as you cruise through the Ozark Mountains down to the White River. Photo courtesy of Aaron Bates.

9

Nine Faces: 38/∞

  • Jason Todd (New Earth)
Just another orphan growing up in Crime Alley, Jason Todd’s fateful encounter with Batman was sealed when he decided to steal the tires of the Batmobile. Seeing promise in Todd, Batman invited Todd to train as Robin and eventually adopted him as his son. Todd was a quick study, but Batman worried over his aggression and hoped that Todd could fuel his rage in a more constructive manner. Todd later died the hands of The Joker with his biological mother, Shelia Haywood, in Ethiopia.

Related Post: Image Source:
  • Batman #645 by Doug Mahnke (Upper Middle)
  • Batman Annual #25 by Shane Davis (Upper Left)
  • Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #100 by Dave Taylor (Lower Middle)
  • Batman and Robin #23 by Guillem March (Center)
  • Countdown #1 by Tom Derenick (Lower Left)
  • Countdown #48 by David Lopez (Lower Right)
  • Nightwing #119 by Joe Dodd (Upper Right)
  • Red Hood: The Lost Days #6 by Jeremy Haun (Middle Left)
  • Young Justice #44 by Todd Nauck (Middle Right)
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RepostBy @alvi_5d: “Repost/Follow 👉 @vegantake0ver -
We waste so much land, water and natural resources when we raise animals to eat. It also pollutes the environment beyond belief. It’s completely unsustainable.
Land

Raising animals for food (including land used for grazing and land used to grow feed crops) now uses a staggering 30% of the Earth’s land mass. (Livestock’s Long Shadow: Environmental Issues and Options, a 2006 report published by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization)
🐄
Seven football fields’ worth of land is bulldozed every minute to create more room for farmed animals and the crops that feed them. (The Smithsonian Institution)
🐖
Of all the agricultural land in the U.S., 80% is used to raise animals for food and grow grain to feed them—that’s almost half the total land mass of the lower 48 states (“Major Uses of Land in the United States” by Marlow Vesterby and Kenneth S. Krupa)
🐓

Food

In the U.S., 70% of the grain grown is fed to animals on feedlots (“Plants, Genes, and Agriculture” by Jones and Bartlet)
🐃
It takes up to 16 pounds of grain to produce just 1 pound of meat. (The Global Benefits of Eating Less Meat by Mark Gold and Jonathon Porritt). Fish on fish farms must be fed 5 pounds of wild-caught fish to produce one pound of farmed fish flesh (“The Food Revolution” by John Robbins)
🦃
The world’s cattle alone consume a quantity of food equal to the caloric needs of 8.7 billion people—more than the entire human population on Earth (“The Global Benefits of Eating Less Meat” by Mark Gold and Jonathon Porritt)
💩
Animals raised for food produce approximately 130 times as much excrement as the entire human population and animal farms pollute our waterways more than all other industrial sources combined. Run-offs of animal waste, pesticides, chemicals, fertilizers, hormones and antibiotics are contributing to dead zones in coastal areas, degradation of coral reef and health problems. (The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency).”

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(warning: long story)

I own a construction equipment dealership, specializing in excavation gear. The main brand I carry has dealership “every 2 blocks”, to the point that there are over 800 in the lower 48 states alone. They do this to keep prices down, because dealers have to compete with each other.

My story starts in 2005.

Business was booming, I was making 15% on all new gear, and selling it by the truck load. I was one of the largest dealers in the U.S., and I was the largest in my region.

The factory provides us with the machine, as well as accessories for it. As a dealer, we are not allowed to sell non authorized after market accessories if the machine itself is being financed through the factory.

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The Best Trip - a little Gabe Brown Steam

A whole story inspired by Gabe’s tongue-flicking gif action!!

Lena watched the Brown brothers frolicking in the desert, bored out of her skull. She sat on the steps of the RVs door, her chin slouched in her hand. She knew this was something her husband, Gabe and his brothers and sisters has never seen and was happy they were getting to see new things, but another part of her was frustrated to almost tears over this road trip.

Growing up her family had been nomadic in the most extreme definition of the word. She’d seen every stretch of highway, every landscape the lower 48 had to offer. Being part of the amended Brown family had offered her more stability than she’d ever had. Even though they somewhat drifted, they stayed in a general space.

Lena had known that personal time and space would be a luxury with 10 people in an RV for 5, but she still found her patience growing thin with Gabe not even seeming to try and carve out some time for the two of them. She let out a discontented sigh.

She could see the boys lurking around some rocks and saw Gabe laying on his stomach. She rolled her eyes. She knew all about the snakes down here and one of these boys was going to get them selves killed. She groaned standing, stomping over to them. Once she got closers to them she immediately saw the notorious diamond shaped flecked scales of a rattle snake. Bear had a stuck and was trying to wrangle it.

“Are you guys serious???” Lena screeched, not believing how careless they were being.

“Aw, sweetie, it’s just a little old snake.” Gabe said still laying on the ground. The snake moved suddenly, Gabe scooted back slightly, flicking his tongue repeatedly at the poor reptile. Watching Gabe’s soft, pink tongue rolling out of his mouth so sensually almost sent Lena’s temper over the edge.

She stomped her foot letting out a frustrated scream from behind her closed lips. Everyone stopped and looked at her. She whipped her long sandy blonde hair behind her and stomped off past them into the desert. She needed a second away from everybody or she was going to blow a gasket. She really wanted some alone time with her Gabey, but he was apparently clueless. She ignored the wind brushing the stinging sand over he bare legs, knowing Gabe had been right about wearing longer pants. But she refused to let herself think he was right about anything right now.

She could hear Gabe calling her name from a distance, but she ignored him.

“Just like he’s been ignoring you…” a voice in her head spoke up.

She stopped looking around her, realizing she was surounded more by rocky formations than sand dunes. She knew which way she had come from, but she couldn’t see anybody, anybody.

“Finally…” She huffed, leaning her back against a rocky wall. She let out a long, tired breath, tilting her head back, her eyes closed.

“Well if that ain’t a pretty sight?” Gabe said, watching her from a short distance away. Lena opened her eyes to see him leaning against the rock wall farther down, his arms crossed and a big smile across his face.

Lena pouted and turned her back to him. She twisted her hair between her fingers, trying to ignore him. He made it increasingly difficult when he slid up behind her, wrapping his thick, muscular arms around her torso, burying his chin in her shoulder.

“Oh, c’mon Leelee, don’t be mad.” Gabe cooed at her. Trying use his pet name for her was softening her a little but she was still upset.

“Well why shouldn’t I be?” She said, still pouting.

“Tell me what’s wrong and let me fix it.” Gabe said, squeezing her waist slightly.

“What’s wrong?!?” Lena said, turning around in a huff, “What’s wrong with me is I haven’t had a second alone with you this whole trip. Not once and it’s been a long three days.” Lena blurted out, “And that snake got more action than I’ve gotten this whole trip!”

Gabe couldn’t help but chuckle a little at her last outburst.

“Oooh, ok…I think I know what my baby needs…” Gabe whispered, his finger lifting Lena’s chin. He kissed her softly at first, deepening it when she responded immediately.

She gripped his biceps to steady herself. She’d been so in need of his touch, a mere kiss was almost enough to knock her over.

“Gabey, I need you…” Lena whimpered against his lips, her body quivering. Gabe could feel her shaking with need in his arms. He steadied her against the rock wall, dipping down, capturing her lips again, pressing his muscular form against her slight frame. He grinded his body against her having missed being with her just as much. He trailed his hand down her torso, caressing her hips, skimming the denim of her shorts. He ran his fingertips around the hem of her shorts, his hand searching for the part of her that ached for him.

“Oh baby, you’re so wet for me…” Gabe breathed against her neck as his kisses fell lower. She grabbed his shoulders, digging her nails in as his mere touch was about to tip her over the edge.

Lena felt Gabe’s hands unbuttoning her shorts and slid them and her tiny white panties down her legs. Gabe lifted his head once more, placing feather light kisses along her jaw, nibbling on her earlobe.

Lena grabbed Gabe’s head and forcefully pressed her lips to his. They parted, both breathing heavily.

“Now,” Lena said, between ragged breaths, “Show me what you were showing that snake.” She continued, placing her hand on the top of his head and pushing downward.

She gasped as she felt that same soft, pink tongue taste her pulsing core. If it wasn’t for his strong hands gripping her hips, she would have sunk to the ground with pleasure.

“That’s my girl…” Gabe mumbled against her sex. He could feel her closing in on her climax very quickly.

As she reached the edge, Lena covered her own mouth to keep her moans from.exhoing across the entire desert.

Gabe rose, smiling at her. She could still smell a little of herself on his breath and she could feel how much he wanted his turn against her thigh.

“This just might be turning into the best trip ever.” Lena purred.

Canadian dollar strengthens on jobs surge, higher oil prices

By Fergal Smith

TORONTO (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar strengthened against its U.S. counterpart on Friday as oil prices rose and domestic jobs surged but still ended the week lower.

Canada added 48,300 jobs in January, Statistics Canada said, as hiring in the service sector helped the labor market build on its momentum from the latter part of 2016.

“It’s another impressive read,” said Desjardins Senior Economist Jimmy Jean.

He said the Bank of Canada would remain concerned about the quality of job creation and the number of hours worked but would be happy with the employment market’s expansion.

The implied probability of a Bank of Canada interest rate hike by the end of the year rose to more than 40 percent. It was just 22 percent on Thursday morning before U.S. President Donald Trump’s promise of a “phenomenal” tax plan in the next few weeks, which lifted bond yields.

“The market is mispricing the risks around the Bank of Canada,” said Ian Gordon, FX strategist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

“Their main concern is whether you continue to see a tightening in financial conditions driven by what’s happening in the U.S.”

U.S. crude prices settled 86 cents higher at $53.86 a barrel after reports that Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries members delivered more than 90 percent of the output cuts they pledged in a landmark deal that took effect in January. [O/R]

Oil is one of Canada’s major exports.

The Canadian dollar ended at C$1.3085 to the greenback, or 76.42 U.S. cents, stronger than Thursday’s close of C$1.3141, or 76.10 U.S. cents.

The currency’s weakest level of the session was C$1.3158, while it touched its strongest since Monday at C$1.3063.

Gains for the Canadian dollar came even as the greenback (.DXY) strengthened against a basket of major currencies.

Speculators increased bullish bets on the Canadian dollar, data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and Reuters calculations showed. Canadian dollar net long positions rose to 8,550 contracts as of Feb. 7 from 3,472 a week earlier.

Still, the loonie weakened 0.4 percent for the week after having posted a recent four-month high of C$1.2969.

Canadian government bond prices were lower across the yield curve, with the two-year dipping 3.5 Canadian cents to yield 0.77 percent and the 10-year falling 11 Canadian cents to yield 1.693 percent.

The spread between Canada’s two-year yield and its U.S. equivalent narrowed by 1 basis points to -42.4 basis points.

(Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Tom Brown)

Grain mostly lower; livestock higher

CHICAGO (AP) – Grain futures were mostly lower Tuesday in early trading on the Chicago Board of Trade.

Wheat for March delivery was 4.20 cents lower at $4.48 a bushel; March corn was down 1.60 cents at $3.7360 a bushel; March oats was down .40 cents at $2.5420 a bushel while March soybeans lost 11.40 cents to $10.4260 a bushel.

Beef higher and pork higher on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

February live cattle was .05 cent higher at $1.1598 a pound; March feeder cattle was up .53 cent at $1.2235 pound; February lean hogs gained 0.30 cents to $.7505 a pound.

And The Story Goes... Chapter 48

I lowered myself gently on to the bleachers beside Emma, grimacing as I lifted my leg up to rest my foot on the seat in front of me.

“You okay?” she laughed, watching as I leant forward to rub my ankle.

“I have to say… I don’t think I’m really cut out for baseball.” I muttered under my breath, trying to massage some feeling back in to my calf muscles.  It had been a long time since I had played any sort of sport, and my body was not reacting kindly to the exertion.

“That’s why I don’t play!” she laughed, gesturing to her comfortable position on the side lines. “It’s much more fun to watch these guys get all competitive, anyway.”

“Nice run, London!” Shannon cried, running towards us and stopping only long enough for a high five before jogging his way back to the rest of the team to wait for his turn to bat.

I kept the smile on my face until I was sure he wasn’t looking, before letting my head drop into my hands. “Please tell me this is nearly over?” I mumbled, hoping that Emma could still hear me.

“Oh sure. Just another, what… 4 innings to go?”

The sound of her laughter echoed around the field at the sight of my horrified expression, and she shook her head as she pointed towards a group of people further along from us. “I’m just fooling around, look – the girls are going to do the cake in a minute and that’ll be enough to distract him. It’s not our first Field Day – the only thing that stops play is food!”

I followed her gaze towards the small cluster of Shannon’s friends who weren’t participating in the baseball game, and watched as they fussed over his birthday cake and each other.  I wasn’t sure what was more important for them – making sure the candles were lit, or checking their hair and make-up wasn’t out of place.  I wrinkled my nose a little, turning my attention back to the game in front of me instead.

We had taken over a small recreation ground not far from Jared’s house, where around 30 of Shannon’s friends had turned up dressed in t-shirts proudly stating “Shannon’s B-day Field Day” and proceeded to place themselves in to teams for the game.  I had wanted to avoid it – I couldn’t think of anything worse than embarrassing myself in front of a group of people I had never met by tripping over my own feet or getting the rules of the game wrong – but Shannon had insisted, and put me on his team, and it turned out I needn’t have worried. The rules were simple enough as long as I did as I was told, and I was faster than I remembered, getting round the bases quickly much to Shannon’s delight.  And considering most of the people here were beautiful women trying to get the attention of one Leto or the other, I was pretty certain no one would have noticed even if I had face planted the floor on my first run.

Jared had been his usual self; or the version of himself that he was around a large group of people, anyway. Breezing his way around everyone with a smile on his face, the sound of his laughter drifting over conversations until it caught everyone’s attention, people automatically drawn to him.  He held court in a subtle way that wouldn’t look as though he were taking over Shannon’s birthday, happily speaking to everyone who approached him, and seeking out those who didn’t.  Apart from me.

Except from a fleeting conversation at the house before we had piled in to the cars, and a cheerful wink in my direction after I had run my first and only Home Run, he hadn’t so much as looked at me.  I was used to it now, had learned not to take it as a personal slight.  But it still didn’t stop the uneasy feeling in my belly as I watched Chloe break away from a group of girlies and make her way over to him, casually draping one arm over his shoulder as she joined in his conversation with the people in front of him.

I shook it off, refusing to be drawn in to it today.  Today wasn’t about Chloe, or my insecurities with Jared.  I watched as one of the girls blew a whistle loudly and laughed as she jumped up and down, waving her arms in the air to get the attention of everyone on the field, the t-shirt tied up round her waist showing off her perfectly toned, flat stomach as she called everyone over.

“Seriously… does Shannon only have skinny pretty models as friends?” I mumbled at Emma as we rose to our feet, joining the little crowd as they gathered around for the cake.

“Pretty much!” she laughed, nudging me gently as we clapped along with the others, watching as Shannon jogged his way over to join us.

He looked so happy, a broad smile stretched across his face as Jared took the cake and lead the way in a raucous rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’.  Even the cap and sunglasses couldn’t hide Shannon’s expression, his whole body twitching as he laughed at the terrible singing echoing out around him. He looked so relaxed, and I smiled as I watched him take the cake in his hands, feeling myself sing a little louder. It was nice to see him looking so comfortable in his own skin.

I was relieved to see that Emma was right; once play had been interrupted for cake and singing the game was quickly forgotten, everyone’s attention instead focused on becoming the person that one of the brothers would want to speak to. I rolled my eyes at the display and wandered back towards the other end of the bleachers where I had left my bag, pulling out my phone to give myself something else to look at.

I didn’t fit in here. I knew I should be making more of an effort to mingle, to introduce myself to their friends and make polite small talk until I got to know everyone better. I was sure that pretty much everyone here would be at the party tonight, so now was a good opportunity to meet people.  But when Emma had explained we would be having a BBQ with friends, I had imagined a group of people sat on picnic blankets listening to music, the girls watching as the guys set fire to sausages and drank beers; the sort of BBQ’s we would have at home.  Instead, several of the girls had arrived with bags of food made up mostly of salad, which had been laid out on one of the bottom benches and then promptly ignored in favour of socialising.  Which seemed to consist of the guys strutting around and laughing too-loudly, while the girls systematically worked in small numbers to try and penetrate the Leto circle. It was like feeding time at the zoo.

It was surreal, watching so many beautiful people together in one space, fawning all over each other as though they were best friends one minute, and then subtly trying to outdo each other the next. I had just about gotten used to the way the fans behaved when they saw the brothers, but watching the same behaviour from their ‘friends’ was a little more than I was comfortable with. It was no use trying to socialise with these people – I wouldn’t even know where to start.  

I half-heartedly checked my messages and my voicemail, only glancing up at the unmistakable sound of Jared’s laughter peeling across the grass towards me and grimacing at the sight of him surrounded by half a dozen girls. I shook my head, clicking a few buttons on my phone decidedly before throwing my things into my bag and standing up, hopping down the benches in front of me and making a bee line straight for him.

I ignored the looks from some of the girls as they watched me approach, this veritable stranger with a determined look on her face, and instead switched on a winning smile when he caught my eye.

“Hey… you okay?” he asked, watching me smile politely at the girls before turning back to him.

“Yes, just wanted to let you know I’m going to dart back to the house to get ready – could I get the keys?” I smiled, holding out my hand.

He hesitated, his head slightly tipped on one side as though trying to work out whether this was some kind of temper tantrum, and I dialled my smile up a notch. “I just want to get to the shower before anyone else does.” I grinned, trying not to delight in the annoyed looks from the girls around me.

“How are you getting back?” he asked, dropping the small set of house keys in to my hand.

“Uber.” I smiled, pocketing the keys quickly. “I’ll see you back there. See you tonight guys!” I said, nodding at the others cheerfully and walking away quickly before the mask had a chance to slip.  I needed a hot shower and a change of clothes before I would be ready to deal with round two of the Leto women.

***

I let out a deep, relaxed sigh as the hot water beat hard against my skin, closing my eyes as I pushed my face under the stream and washed the soap out of my hair. Although Jared’s taste in décor was questionable at best, he had the best en-suite I had ever seen in my life. Just the shower was the size of my whole bathroom back home, and as I was alone in the house for the first time ever I had decided to take full advantage of it.  Shutting off the water I grabbed two towels, wrapping one round my body and using the other to roughly towel dry my hair, humming along to the music playing from where my phone rest on the sink.  Maybe tonight wouldn’t be so bad.  People would be more relaxed at a party, and, if nothing else, at least there would be alcohol.

I shuffled back in to the bedroom, holding my towel together with one hand and scrolling through my music for a suitable playlist with the other, chewing on my lip with a smile as I scrolled past the latest Mars album that I had recently added for ‘research’ purposes.

“Sorry, I didn’t realise anyone was in here.”

I jumped, startled at the sound of someone’s voice in the room, and dropped my phone as I snapped my head up in shock. “Fuck!” I yelped, clutching my towel a little tighter as I looked at Chloe, sitting on the edge of Jared’s bed with a smile on her face. “Chloe?”

She perched casually on the edge of the mattress, calm and comfortable with her surroundings as though she were used to being in here, my open suitcase and its contents strewn across the bed beside her where I had left them. “What are you doing in here?” I asked, trying to regain control of my heart beat as I became increasingly aware of standing in a towel, water still dripping from my skin.

“Looking for Jared,” she said nonchalantly, a small shrug of her shoulders as she looked at me.

“Jared? I left him at the park with you guys?”

“We all left to make our way back here for the party. I thought I might have beaten him back.”

Despite my embarrassment I felt the first wave of annoyance wash over me, a frown tugging at my face even as I looked at her. “And… you thought you’d just invite yourself up to his room to look for him? That’s kind of inappropriate don’t you think?”

“Not when you’ve known each other as long as we have,” she said dismissively, looking down at something in her hand.

I opened my mouth to rage, the words on the tip of my tongue ready to explain exactly how things had changed around here; until I saw what she was looking at.  In the palm of her hand, being twisted and turned so that the light bounced off of it, was my snow globe.  The words dried up before I could form them, and she looked back up at me with a tight smile across her lips, holding the little ornament up in the air.

“I saw this on top of your bag. It’s very pretty.”

“Thank you.” I said drily, watching her as she looked back down.

“It’s a great little spot, isn’t it? It’s so quiet there, almost like it’s hidden from the rest of the park.”

I didn’t miss the pointed tone in her voice, and I tried to swallow past the dry sensation in my mouth. “You’ve been there?”

A small smile tugged at the corners of her mouth as she shook the globe gently.  “Sure. Haven’t you?”

“No.” I replied, trying not to snap. “It was a gift from Jared.”

“Aw. How thoughtful of him.” She said quietly. “It’s one of his favourite places in New York. He takes all of his girls there when he’s in town.”

She placed the ornament back onto the bed, standing up and smoothing her hands over her long skirt as she looked at me. “Well, I guess I’ll wait downstairs for the boys. They’ll be back soon.”

I stayed where I was as she breezed past me and back out of the room, holding my towel so tightly the skin across my knuckles was stretched white. I wasn’t sure if the sting of humiliation was coming from the awkward encounter with Jared’s ex-whatever-she-was whilst I was wearing just a towel; or from the knowledge that I had allowed myself to be excited for a trip I had thought was just for us, when actually, I was just the latest in a long list of attendees.

***

I took the drink gratefully, smiling at the caterer as I moved aside to let the girls behind me get to the counter. I had never seen so many people in one space. Jared and Emma had gone all out, decorating the house and hiring in people to filter around the party, serving drinks and food and making sure that everyone had everything they could want. The built in speakers around the house were blaring out some kind of hip hop music at a volume which made it almost impossible to hear conversation unless it was being shouted in to your ear, and after a few hours the people inside the house had given up trying and were simply dancing instead.

I moved through the crowds, looking for familiar faces amongst the many and drawing a blank. Pausing to drain half of my drink, I let out a breath and pushed my way through towards the French doors, stepping out in to the garden, relieved by the fresh air and the speakers around the pool playing the music at a softer level. The people out here were much the same as the people inside; young, beautiful girls wearing not much of anything, with long hair and pristine make up and smooth, tanned skin, elegantly draping themselves across sun loungers or perching on the edge of tables, drinks in their hands as they batted their eyes at the men fawning over them. I thought about Leigh, and what she would make of this crowd – I could almost hear her scathing comments in my ear as we laughed at how vapid these LA parties could be, and for a moment I had a pang of homesickness that clutched at my chest tightly.

Determined to shake it off I walked towards the corner of the garden, spotting Jared in the same place he had been for most of the evening, talking to his friend Terry and a couple of blonde girls I didn’t recognise. He looked up as I approached, a smile forming on his lips as he extended his arm towards me.

“There she is,” he grinned, slipping his arm round my shoulders. “I’ve been looking for you everywhere.”

I glanced up at him, ready to smile at his words, only to realise whilst he may have been talking about me he was actually addressing his little group of onlookers. “Really,” I said, my brow furrowed. “Well, that’s very sweet - although you’ve definitely been in the garden for most of the night.”

I regretted it as soon as I had said it; I sounded like a nagging girlfriend. I felt his back tense under my hand even though his smile didn’t waver, and I wanted to kick myself. I had barely seen him all night, and I didn’t want our first exchange in front of his friends to look like some kind of domestic.

“Are you having fun?” he asked, finally dragging his gaze to mine, and I realised with a sadness that I felt like I was being a burden, simply by coming to talk to him. I smiled brightly, forcing myself to look the part even if I wasn’t feeling it; this night was not about me.

“I’m having a great time, it’s a fantastic party. I thought I might go and get my camera and take some photos of everyone, so that Shannon has something to look back on tomorrow?”

“You don’t need to do that,” he said with a shake of his head, a small laugh huffing out of his nose. “That’s what Terry is here for, isn’t that right Terry?” he said, smiling at his friend.

“That and the women!” Terry laughed, winking at the blonde girl standing closest to him and eliciting an inane giggle from her and her friend.

I winced as my suggestion was dismissed, and feeling more than a little out of place I cleared my throat as I looked around the garden. “Speaking of Shannon, where is he? I haven’t seen him in ages?” I asked.

Jared cast his eye around the garden briefly, shrugging his shoulders as he looked back at me. “I have no idea. He’ll be around somewhere.”

I nodded, looking down at my mostly empty champagne glass and seeing a welcome escape route. “I think I might go and get a top up – does anyone want another drink?”

The girls and Terry shook their heads politely, and Jared turned to give me a kiss on the side of the head. “Go have fun.” He smiled, turning back to his conversation before I had even left the little circle, seemingly oblivious to the wounded expression on my face.

I walked back across the garden the way that I had come, squeezing between bodies at the door until I was back in the house. The music seemed louder than before, the lights lower, drunk people swaying in time to the music and holding their phones up to take blurry selfies as they documented their night at Jared Leto’s house. Without even thinking about it I kept moving, pushing through the party guests until I was making my way up the stairs and away from the crowds. I needed a time out, and thankfully people seemed to be keeping to the ground floor, leaving me to make a break for the bedrooms in peace.

I walked past Jared’s room and pushed open the next door, the plush white spare room that now felt so familiar to me it was like a little safe haven away from everything hectic that was happening downstairs, and let out a sigh of relief as I flopped backwards on to the bed.

With my eyes closed, the distant thud of awful music ringing in my ears, I wondered how long I could realistically get away with hiding up here before someone came to look for me. I snorted a laugh at my own thoughts – who would come to look for me? Everyone downstairs was having the time of their life, including Jared. I could slide away now and lock myself in this room until tomorrow, and I was pretty sure that no one would even notice. Even Shannon had disappeared from his own party.

Thoughts of the birthday boy had me opening my eyes again. It had been so crazy today, so much going on, that I hadn’t even had time to give him his birthday present. I sat up, looking down at my suitcase leaning against the wardrobe where I had thrown it after dragging it out of Jared’s room earlier, and climbed back off of the bed to pull Shannon’s carefully wrapped present out from where I had buried it. Turning it over in my hands, I wondered whether he was going to like it. I still wasn’t sure it was his style – wasn’t sure it was anyone’s style – but the thought he might not like it, and that I would have to watch him open it and pretend otherwise, was somehow nerve wracking.

Forming a plan, I turned towards the door and stepped out in to the hall, checking to make sure no one else was up here before walking quickly towards Shannon’s room.  I could put his present in here, and he could open it tomorrow when he woke up sober enough to realise it was there – and that way, I wouldn’t have to see his reaction if he thought it was hideous.

I pushed open the door hurriedly and ground to a halt immediately; Shannon was laying on his bed, one arm thrown over his eyes, almost a mirror image of myself just a few minutes ago. He lifted his head off the bed at the sound of the door opening, and I cringed apologetically. “Oh… Sorry, Shan, I didn’t know you were in here.”

He quirked an eyebrow in my direction, pushing his arm behind his head. “Were you expecting to find someone else in my room?”

I grinned, leaning against the doorframe. “You never know with you. It is a party full of hot girls.”

He chuckled, throwing his arm back over his face. “Don’t shit where you eat.” He said, his words muffled.

I could see his grin even from the other side of the room even though his face was mostly hidden, and rolled my eyes at him as I stepped in to his room and looked around. I’d never been in here before. It was a mess, shoes and clothes strewn everywhere, a few boxes stacked in a corner overflowing with records and books and what looked like packs of drum sticks, a couple of canvas’ stacked against the wall. He had said that living here was temporary, until his own house was sorted; and you could tell. This was the room of someone who was just passing through.

“You know you’re missing your own party down there…” I said, pausing at his dresser to look at his phone, plugged in to a docking station and playing music just loud enough to drown out the droll being piped around the downstairs of the house.

“I just needed… a minute.”

I turned to look at him, frowning a little. “Are you not having fun?”

“Sure,” he said, not moving from his stationary position on the bed. “Everyone’s been great, the house looks great, you know… the party has been…”

“Great?” I offered, walking towards the window and peering out through the glass. He hummed in agreement behind me.

“Sometimes you just need a little time out from all the fake.”

I smiled at that, looking out across the back yard where half of the party had spilled out around the pool. The sound of laughter and conversation filtered up towards me, and my eyes drifted across towards Jared who had moved his way around the pool to the fire pit, and was now sat in amongst a crowd of people with one leg crossed over the other as he chatted animatedly to everyone watching him.

“Why aren’t you down there anyway?” he asked.

I tore my gaze away from the window, turning to see him propped up on his elbows as he watched me, a curious expression on his face. I turned on a smile automatically, holding his present up in front of me. “Was going to stash this in your room so you would find it tomorrow when you sobered up.”

“Aw London – you got me a gift?” he grinned, sitting up properly.

“Of course I did.” I said, crossing the room to sit beside him on the bed, holding out the wrapped present nervously. “But if you don’t like it, I have the receipt and we can take it back.”

“Psssh, shut up.” He smiled, taking the package and tearing in to the paper happily.

I watched as he pulled out the jumper, unfolding it and lifting it up as he looked at it, his mouth open just a little as his eyes ran over the design. He said nothing, and I couldn’t read his expression.

“You hate it, don’t you…?” I said, chewing on my lip as he turned to face me.

“What? No, London… I love it!” he exclaimed, looking back at the jumper before lowering it to his lap. “It’s frigging awesome. Thank you.”

He grabbed me to him in a hug, squeezing me hard, and for the first time through the entire day I felt myself relax. “Really? Because honestly, if it’s not your sort of thing we can swap it…”

“Stop.” He laughed, pulling away from me and grasping my shoulders. “I was only looking at this like two weeks ago – it’s perfect. I can’t believe you bought me this. I’m gonna wear it all the time.” He grinned, letting go of me and standing up just so he could shrug into the hoodie.

“You don’t have to wear it right this minute!” I laughed, watching him pull the hood over his head and turn to check himself out in the mirror.

“Try and stop me!” he grinned, turning round with his arms out, modelling his new present. “What do you think?”

“It looks great,” I smiled. “Although it’s not really party wear.”

“Meh. I think I’m done with the party.” He shrugged.

“You’re bailing on your own birthday party… that is happening in your house?” I laughed, raising my eyebrows.

“It’s not my house though,” he pointed out, throwing himself down in to the armchair beside the mirror. “And I gotta be honest – I think I recognise about five people here. Just, when you go back down there, don’t tell Jay you’ve seen me.”

I stood up from the bed with a nod, glancing out of the window at the sound of high pitched squeals and water splashing, and watched as a couple of the girls jumped in to the pool after stripping out of the tiny fragments of clothing they had been wearing. I could see Jared, sitting in the same place, leaning back with his arms outstretched along the wall behind him, laughing. Suddenly I couldn’t think of anything I wanted to do less than re-join the party.

“Actually… do you mind if I hide out up here for a while?” I asked.

He propped the back of his head up on one hand, frowning at where I stood trying not to watch the party antics going on below me, and for a moment I thought he was going to say no.

“Sure. Your turn to choose a song though.” He said, gesturing to his phone, and I felt my face relax in to a grateful smile that he wasn’t going to ask any more questions.

We spent the next couple of hours exactly like that. Shannon sprawled across the armchair while I lay on my stomach on his bed, taking it in turns to pick music from Spotify, each of us trying to outdo the other one with something more obscure, more pop, more country, more metal, than the last one had picked. He always won. He knew more about music than I did. Every time I thought of someone that he would never have heard of, he would sing the words loudly and proudly just to prove me wrong.

“Oh my god seriously – how? How?!” I laughed, watching him throw his head back and sing along to a random English pop-rock band that I had only found a couple of months ago. “They’re not even signed yet!”

“Gotta keep your finger on the pulse, babe!” he laughed, ducking as I launched a pillow at his head.

“Right that’s it – I’m going back to normal bands as I clearly suck at finding stuff that you don’t already know!” I laughed, pushing myself back off the bed and searching through Spotify for what I was looking for.

“Make it a good one, I can almost hear the shit they’re playing downstairs,” he grumbled, his nose wrinkled in disgust.

“Okay okay – we can combine playing good music with a little bit of research for me – I’m covering this show next week.” I said, scrolling through songs until I found one that I recognised and hitting play.

Listen to the song here

The dulcet tones of Dallas Green started to filter out of the docking station, accompanied by his harmonica and that beautiful guitar that was so typically him, and I smiled as I started to jig around the room.

“Ooh, City and Colour? Where are they playing?” Shannon asked, laughing as I half tripped over the pillow I had thrown at him only moments before, watching me recover quickly before carrying on my dancing around the other side of the bed.

“North London. It’s why I’m flying out tomorrow,” I said, singing along as I flailed my arms around in the air.

“Oh man, I would love to have seen that.” He grumbled, standing up and walking over to the dock.

“Hey! Don’t you be changing this, it’s my turn!” I protested, hands on my hips as I watched him scrolling.

“It’s okay we can keep with this band,” he said, concentrating.

The song stopped, and a second later another started, soft guitar playing out as he turned back to me, his hand held out in front of him. 

Listen to the song here

“What…?” I said, looking at his outstretched hand.

“Come on London, if we’re dancing, we’re dancing properly.”

I hesitated, squinting at him as he stepped closer towards me. “In here?”

“Well I’m not gonna ask them to put this on downstairs.” He grinned, grabbing my hand and lifting our arms up in the air, spinning me round in a circle and pulling me towards him as I laughed.

I giggled, resting my hand on his shoulder as he held the other one in his, skilfully dancing us slowly in a circle in the middle of his bedroom.

“I love this song.” He said quietly.

His deep voice, somehow deeper when he spoke softly, rumbled quietly in my ear as he swayed us in time to the song, and I found myself suddenly aware of how close he was. One hand holding mine as he lead; his other arm around my waist as he gently held me against him. He hummed along with the song, somehow making the words playing around me sound that much clearer.

“You’re the lullaby, that’s singing me to sleep, you are the other half you’re like a missing piece…”

His thumb brushed over the skin on the back of my hand, and I felt myself blink in to his shoulder as the air in the room changed. Somehow, just by turning in slow circles in the middle of his messy bedroom, this had become… inappropriate. I knew it, in my gut. I should not be slow dancing with Jared’s brother. And yet, cocooned inside Shannon’s large frame, his voice gently humming against my hair, I felt oddly at home. Safe.

I should let go now. Change the song and carry on our ridiculous evening of laughing and avoiding the party. But even as I thought it, I felt myself moving almost imperceptibly closer to him, my face just millimetres away from the soft wool of the jumper I had just bought him. His arms tensed slightly as though he had felt my movement, and his grip around my waist tightened. My heart gave an unsteady thump in my chest at the sensation.

“Oh my love… oh my love… oh my love, you don’t know, what you do to me…”

I looked up as we turned again, catching sight of our reflection in the mirror over his shoulder. Dancing slowly, pressed together tightly as though we had been moulded that way, we looked… like a couple.

I did let go of him then, pulling my hand out of his as I took a step back as though I had been bitten. His hands dropped to his sides as he watched me, and a million excuses flashed through my brain, reasons to laugh off my strange reaction so that he wouldn’t think anything of it. But one look at his face and I realised I didn’t need any of them. His expression mirrored all the feelings churning around in my chest; shock, worry. Disappointment.

“I should, um…” I started, half-heartedly gesturing towards his door.  I wanted him to say something, to crack a joke or grin and shrug – anything that would make this feel less awkward. Instead he held my gaze for a few agonizing seconds, before nodding and looking down at his feet.

“Sure. It is getting pretty late.”

I swallowed uneasily, wanting to fix whatever it was that had just happened and make this weird atmosphere disappear, but I couldn’t think of the words, and he wouldn’t look at me. I nodded to myself, dropping my head as I took a couple of backwards steps towards the door.

“Happy birthday, Shan.” I said quietly, before turning and walking out of the door quickly, not stopping until I got back to the spare room and closed the door firmly behind me.

Leaning my back against the wood I blew out a breath, already trying to push that image out of my mind. Alcohol and slow songs could do funny things to people, and I shook my head as I started to get ready for bed. The party might still be in full swing downstairs, but one thing was for sure; I was ready to put this day behind me.

Triangulate (reylux fic)

Based on a prompt from lairofailiasfox: Ahem. I heard you said that you were still taking prompts *clears throat* College AU where Rey is a student of both Kylo and Hux and/or AU where Rey is the Empress (since she is the descendant of Palpatine) and Hux and Kylo serve her (in more ways than one ;) ). These probably aren’t the best ones I’ve come up with so far so please forgive me.

((got a little too invested whoops/also i have no idea what i am doing))

Two weeks ago, if you’d told Rey that Ben Solo gave the best head a girl could find in the lower 48, she’d have laughed at you. Ben Solo, her awkward, slightly eccentric Art History prof? Romanesque architecture enthusiast? That guy? Not likely.

It had been Hux’s fault, of course, for introducing them. They go way back, him and Rey. Freshman fall, so wide-eyed, so painfully, literally fresh. Hux, the unerring hand, the man who always knew precisely what he wanted. Who always got precisely what he wanted.

They’d sort of fallen into it, tongues peeking from between teeth, flushed, secret gazes in the banal fluorescent lighting of the Poli Sci lecture hall. First week, Hux was teaching her basic structures of democracy. Third week, he was teaching her how to take a cock, stifled groans in the shadows of an unused classroom. It was every fucking cliché in every piece of pulp fiction Rey had ever heard of, and she loved it.

Keep reading

6

Just in time for National Fishing and Boating Week, #mypubliclandsroadtrip Takes a Ride on the South Salmon River 

The 425-mile Salmon River in Idaho is one of the longest free-flowing rivers in the lower 48 states. The river begins as not much more than a trickle at an elevation of about 8,000 feet in the mountains of central Idaho. It gathers force and carves the second deepest canyon in North America, which effectively splits Idaho in half. The section known as the Lower Salmon River eventually meets the Snake River and flows into the ocean.

The river and its canyon are truly remarkable in this “pool and drop” river where difficult rapids are located in the narrow canyons. The numerous unusual white sand beaches offer camping and serve as a reminder that this river is still free flowing. 

Countdown to Totality

August 21, 2017 will bring the first complete solar eclipse for the lower 48 states since 1979. The track of the eclipse will cut coast-to-coast across the United States from Oregon to South Carolina. Joe Rao gives you all the details needed for observing this event and share a “sneak preview” of what it will look like using the Hayden Planetarium’s Zeiss IX Star Projector.

Event tickets. 

vimeo

The Super Salmon

From good friend Ryan Peterson comes a timely piece to hopefully stop what would be the largest hydro power project in Alaska at a time when we are finally recognizing the damage done by dams in the lower 48.  It isn’t that we don’t understand the increasing need for power, we get it. Our frustration comes from the lack of effort to utilize other means readily available with less impact on other valuable resources.  Share this far a and wide!

original content Ryan Peterson

Bam: From the ABP Q&A

Q: What is your favorite music/musicians?
Bam: Eagles are probably my favorite. Hard to pick one though. I would add Pink Floyd, Long John Baldry, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Billy Joel.

Q: If you could be anyone other than yourself for one week:
Bam: Superman. Because he is almost un-killable and can fly.

Q: Has life changed much since you let all us in the lower 48 know and love you?
Bam: A little bit here and there.

Q: Will you ever consider visiting a warm climate like Florida maybe?
Bam: I’ve always wanted to see white sand beaches and palm trees.

Answering the question why are you so serious and you should smile more:
Bam: I have my playful moments now and then.

Q: Gabe, what would you consider your manliest trait?
Bam: His ankles.