southern direction

anonymous asked:

Simon, I love you dude, but it's stupidly easy to smuggle guns into the US. Every example I've seen of gun control "working" has been from countries with either no countries bordering them or one country & and very small border like the UK & Ireland. Unless we build stupid Trump's stupid wall along both borders gun control just won't work.

That isn’t true, but I accept that you think it is. There are countless countries who share borders with better fire arms records than ours. You seem to be implying that all illegal weapons are coming from the southern border. I’ll direct your attention to that border’s actual size. I will also direct your attention the the length and size of the borders aligned to water. I can tell you, because I know smugglers and spend time with them, and because we used to do the same during Prohibition, that the sea is a far easier way to smuggle, because Coast Guard is the least funded agency in the military and their patrols are very regimented.

I’d also like to point out that most gun crimes are committed by legal gun owners who were not properly screened, NOT by illegal guns.

And beginning a conversation with “I love you, but I think your idea is rubbish” is a logical fallacy. You can disagree with me without it having anything to do with how you feel about me. 

“I agree with you on most things, but” is a better way of beginning, for if your affection for me is based entirely on agreeing with me then perhaps that is a shallow and insular definition of friendship?

I’ll leave that distinction to you

Kakegurui new Lighti Novel series Kakegurui Trip 


Let’s Kakegurui on a southern island!

Completely directed by Kawamoto Homura [creator of Kakegurui]! The Kakegurui spin-off novel finally arrives. This story departs from Hyakkaou Academy and is set in the tropical casino resort “Ryouran Jima” owned by the school. Yumeko, Suzui and Mary are participating in a school camp at Ryouran Jima. Yumeko was delighted to engross herself in gambling on the island’s casino, but then-!? In addition to the original characters, an intense new character appears. Let’s Kakegurui on a tropical island!

illustration: NAOMURA Tohru

anonymous asked:

I can't help but think of many shows and anime I've watched where a main hero has to save the world. The ones that I remember the best? the ones where the hero sacrifices something to save the world. Sometimes you have sacrifice your values when your a leader, for the group. War is hard and usually you don't escape unscathed. Also when they found Gyatso's body, he was in an area filled with fire nation corpses. He fought until his death, killing the solders. Does that lessen who he was? No.

Aang definitely should have had to sacrifice something in order to defeat the Firelord. Head writer Aaron Ehasz tried to sneak some Aang development past Bryke in the Season 2 ending, where Aang had to let Katara go in order to enter the Avatar State. But then in Season 3, especially the back half where everything was winding to a close, Aang was still extremely attached to Katara to the point of assuming consent and literally not knowing illusion from reality.

These are all completely natural flaws for a twelve-year-old boy to have. The problem isn’t Aang himself so much as how his flaws and beliefs are all validated at the end of the show. And I wouldn’t have had Aang sacrifice his beliefs so much as adapt his beliefs the way others do throughout Avatar.

Why Zuko’s belief system holds up better than Aang’s:

“That’s cute. But this isn’t Air Temple preschool; it’s the real world.” 

Much has been made of Zuko deriding Air Nomad philosophy in “The Southern Raiders” with this and his “guru goody-goody” line, especially when he himself is the biggest beneficiary of Aang’s philosophy of forgiveness. And let’s be honest: Zuko was being an asshole. But … just how wrong was he about how Aang is voicing his beliefs?

This isn’t Air Temple preschool.

Let’s do a quick recap of Aang’s stated beliefs throughout the show:

Ying: How can we abandon hope? It’s all we have.
Aang: I don’t know. The monks used to say that hope is a distraction. So maybe we need to abandon it. 

Katara: Why do they have all these poor people blocked off in one part of the city?
Aang: This is why I never came here before. I always heard it was so different from the way the monks taught us to live.

Aang: As the monks used to say, sometimes the shadows of the past can be felt by the present.

Aang: The monks used to say that revenge is like a two-headed rat-viper. While you watch your enemy go down, you’re being poisoned yourself.

Aang: Avatar Yangchen, the monks always taught me that all life is sacred. Even the life of the tiniest spider-fly caught in its own web.
Yangchen: Yes, all life is sacred.
Aang: I know, I’m even a vegetarian. I’ve always tried to solve my problems by being quick or clever, and I’ve only had to use violence for necessary defense, and I’ve certainly never used it to take a life.
Yangchen: Avatar Aang, I know that you are a gentle spirit, and the monks have taught you well. But this isn’t about you, this is about the world.
Aang: But the monks taught me that I had to detach myself from the world so my spirit could be free.

As a rule, Aang states his ideals in terms of generic aphorisms that were passed down from the monks that raised him. The fact that these truisms—including the one he used in the Southern Raiders—are direct sayings means they have traveled from the monks to Aang, uncontested and unchallenged. Throughout the show, Aang never has to question or analyze those ideals between hearing them and acting upon them. Every time we hear him speak of the monks, Aang repeats their beliefs as if they are immovable facts; and throughout all the evolution the series and its characters undergo, that never—not once—changes.

Now let’s look at Zuko’s stated beliefs.

I don’t need luck, though. I’ve always had to struggle and fight, and that’s made me strong. It made me who I am.  

You’re not soldiers; you’re bullies. You’re sick cowards abusing your power, mostly over women and kids.

The people of the Earth Kingdom are proud and strong. They can endure anything, as long as they have hope.

I’ve been through a lot these past few years, and it’s been hard. But lately, I’ve realized that I needed to go through all that to learn the truth. I thought I had lost my honor, and my father could return it somehow. But now I know that no one can give you your honor. It’s something you earn for yourself, by choosing to do what’s right.

Growing up, we were taught that the Fire Nation was the greatest civilization in history, and that somehow, the war was our way of sharing our greatness with the rest of the world. What an amazing lie that was. The people of the world are terrified by the Fire Nation! They don’t see our greatness; they hate us. And we deserve it. We’ve created an era of fear in the world, and if we don’t want the world to destroy itself, we need to replace it with an era of peace and kindness.

A hundred years of fighting has left the world scarred and divided. But with the Avatar’s help, we can get it back on the right path and begin a new era of love and peace.

Zuko’s beliefs come straight from his own experience, rather than somebody else’s. Zuko too has a wise old sage who spouts quoteworthy nuggets at him, but the way he interacts with that wisdom is completely different. Zuko never successfully repeats his uncle’s advice verbatim—the two times he tries, it comes out as indecipherable nonsense. It is through acting on this uncle’s advice and making it his own that Zuko succeeds; he needs to feel what Iroh means, rather than reiterating Iroh’s words. This is a much stronger method of learning than Aang’s is; it’s the difference between critical thinking and rote memorization. That is why Zuko thinks Aang’s beliefs are still in preschool mode—because Aang is telling Katara to just agree with something that the monks said because it was the monks who said it, rather than seeing that Katara’s sense of justice might be different from his own…and that’s okay.

It should be noted that the show (or at least Bryke) take the same approach to Air Nomad beliefs that Aang does. There is this attitude in A:TLA that because all of the Air Nomads were peaceful and were wiped out, Aang needs to keep their ways and wisdom pristine. They were victims, even martyrs—so their ideals should not be touched. This is true even though the monks are only fleshed out in one episode, “The Storm,” in which they seem as flawed and human as anyone:

  1. They told Aang he was the Avatar before he turned sixteen, which Monk Gyatso acknowledges was a mistake.
  2. They refused to let him grow up as a normal boy.
  3. They tried to rush Aang’s training.
  4. They tried to take Aang away from Monk Gyatso, his father figure, mentor, and the wisest monk in the temple.

Is it a tragedy that all these men were killed? Of course. But does that make them the guardians of absolute morality? Should their wisdom be treated as infallible, when we can see that they themselves were anything but? Being the victim of genocide is a terrible thing, but it does not automatically elevate you and your culture to sainthood. Contrast this with the way every other nation’s beliefs are challenged in the show. The Water Tribe’s beliefs about the place of men and women are criticized and proven false by Katara. The Earth Kingdom’s belief in separating the social classes as a key to order is shown to be authoritarian. The Fire Nation’s belief in its own superiority and the rectitude of its conquest is destroying the world

The Air Nomads, though? The Air Nomad beliefs are given a free pass in a way no other nation’s are. Their ways are right, period, and anyone who doesn’t know that will have to be taught otherwise. This sounds good for Aang because he gets to be right so much of the time. But from a narrative perspective, this doesn’t match what the rest of the show is trying to tell us about how understanding and learning from all the four nations makes us stronger. 

Here’s my take: Aang’s Air Nomad philosophy works well in many situations, but not in all of them, and that is true of every philosophy in the Four Nations. That’s why Iroh says drawing wisdom from only one source makes your values rigid and stale. And what could be more stale and rigid than unquestioning repetition? In effect, the Zuko half of A:TLA’s narrative says you should draw wisdom from multiple sources, and the Aang half says that if you don’t stick to Air Nomad tradition, you’ll be compromising your principles. These diametrically opposed and incompatible viewpoints constantly fight each other, all the way to the end of the show, and even spill over into fandom discussions like this one.

Morality is just as much about how you interact with your beliefs as it is about the beliefs themselves. And this is why there’s a difference between who is the better person and who is the better character. Zuko’s beliefs are not superior to Aang’s in theory, but in practice, they are held to the fire, tempered, strengthened as they are proven right and cast aside when proven wrong. Thus when audience members disagree with Zuko’s values, they can at least respect how he came to believe them. Aang’s loss of the Air Nomads is enormous, but when it makes him cling to every belief they have no matter how it’s challenged by the outside world, it hurts his development. Especially since he’s the Avatar and his job is to understand the equality of the nations and their values. Aang’s narrative thread can definitely find an audience among those who already believe the same things that Aang does and don’t have to be told why. But people whose beliefs don’t match Aang’s will have a very hard time being told to just accept that those beliefs are correct without a rigorous examination of them in-show.

Is there a way for Aang to keep his core tenets the same while developing his own value system? Yes, and the key to it lies in the very scene you mentioned.

Behold the corpse of Monk Gyatso, surrounded by the bodies of Fire Nation soldiers whom he killed in self-defense. Aang was specifically shown that his mentor killed those men in the third episode of the series. Yet it never even occurs to Aang to doubt his cherished ideal. He never reconciles what he has heard from the monks with what he has seen with his own eyes. And the fact that Monk Gyatso and Avatar Yangchen—the only two Air Nomads we see break away from the strict Air Nomad code against killing—are also the monks that offer Aang the most genuine wisdom is a huge indicator that it is possible to reconcile the ideals of the monks with the reality of the world that they live in. It’s just not something that Aang was ever required to do himself. Rather, it is reality that is expected to bend and conform to Aang’s belief system so he doesn’t have to change his way of thinking.

The solution: We see a teasing glimpse of how Aang’s beliefs could have been adapted in “The Northern Air Temple.” Aang, as caretaker of his culture, is appalled when he sees the new technology defacing the legacy of his people. Yet after seeing the refugees embodying the spirit of the Air Nomads, Aang accepts them as guardians of the temple, even though they make changes he doesn’t agree with. This is one of the only examples of Aang actually adapting his beliefs to the world, rather than trying to adapt the world to the standards of his particular nation. He is not compromising his beliefs per se; he is learning to keep his beliefs in harmony with the world as it currently is. (Not surprisingly, that episode was written by Elizabeth Ehasz.) And perhaps the thing Aang needs to sacrifice is not the belief that all life is sacred, or that we should forgive our enemies, but the belief that the Air Nomad ways were as pure and untainted as the way he remembers them.

To Heal A Pet

You will need the following items for this spell:

  • An amber bead
  • A small piece of clear quartz crystal
  • A green bag
  • Your pet

NOTE: a sick or injured pet should be taken to see a vet.
NOTE: this spell will heal minor cuts and bruises.

Hold your pet and think loving thoughts. If you know where the problem is then rub the stone in a clockwise (anti-clockwise in southern hemisphere) direction around it. Cut a little of your pet’s fur and wrap it around the bead. Place it in the bag with the quartz.

When your pet is better then you can bury the fur and wash the bead and the quartz with spring water.

If your pet does not have fur (e.g. tortoise or fish) then a picture or drawing will be fine.

Favorite Films

Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012) directed by Benh Zeitlin
The New World (2005) directed by Terrence Malick
Full Metal Jacket (1987) directed by Stanley Kubrick
O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) directed by Joel and Ethan Coen
Fargo (1996) directed by Joel and Ethan Coen
The Shining 
(1980) directed by Stanley Kubrick
Casablanca (1942) directed by Michael Curtiz
Rear Window (1954) directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Lars and the Real Girl (2007) directed by Craig Gillespie
Taxi Driver (1976) directed by Martin Scorcese
American Beauty (1999) directed by Sam Mendes
The Reader (2008) directed by Stephen Daldry
Russian Ark (2002) directed by Alexander Sokurov
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958) directed by Richard Brooks
Secretary (2002) directed by Steven Shainberg
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) directed by John Hughes
Mud (2013) directed by Jeff Nichols
Stand By Me (1986) directed by Rob Reiner
Lost in Translation (2003) directed by Sofia Coppola
Tropic Thunder (2008) directed by Ben Stiller
Superbad (2007) directed by Greg Mottola
•This is the End (2013) directed by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg
Inventing the Abbotts (1997) directed by Pat O’Connor
Jane Eyre (2011) directed by Cary Fukunaga
Chungking Express (1996) directed by Wong Kar Wai
In the Mood for Love (2001) directed by Wong Kar Wai
Pulp Fiction (1994) directed by Quentin Tarantino
The Big Lebowski (1998) directed by Joel and Ethan Coen
Little Miss Sunshine (2006) directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris
Amelie (2001) directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Atonement (2007) directed by Joe Wright
Beginners (2011) directed by Mike Mills
Moulin Rouge (2001) directed by Baz Luhrmann
The English Patient (1996) directed by Anthony Minghella
Shakespeare in Love (1998) directed by John Madden
Pride and Prejudice (2005) directed by Joe Wright
Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) directed by Guillermo del Toro
The Lord of the Rings: the Fellowship of the Ring (2001) directed by Peter Jackson
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) directed by Peter Jackson
The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (2003) directed by Peter Jackson

Behind Closed Doors (Bard x Reader One shot)

So here is another one shot I wrote based off an imagine from  It was: Imagine Being the Daughter of the Master of Laketown and Having a Secret Relationship with Bard.  Again I seem to struggle with the 1000 word limit, but here it is … P.S sorry it it is horrible.

 - - - - - 

Your footsteps echo lightly down the long wooden corridors as you step quietly towards the winding stairwell.  Casting a quick glance towards his study, you strain your ears for any trace of movement from within. The only sound to greet your ears was the soft snoring from your father, the Master of Laketown, as he laid passed out in his armchair thanks to the sleeping draught you mixed in his evening tea. 

Hastening your steps, you slip into the servant’s stairwell and exit the large house through the back, slipping your hooded cloak over your head as you scurry on to the main street in the rain.  You navigate the streets with relative ease, the rain has driven most people indoors, but even in the crowded streets you could find your way blindfolded.   You made this journey countless times, but that did not stop your from fearing every time that tonight would be the night you were caught.  You lived in constant fear of Alfrid, and the way he was constantly skulking about, following you, harassing you, never letting you have one moment’s peace.  But the promise of seeing him made you brave such fears, he gave you the courage you so desperately needed in these dark times.  Tonight you needed such courage given the news your father gave you at dinner.

Finally, after taking several twisting and curving cobble backstreets you find the familiar little old inn where, for almost a year now, you and him had been meeting in secret.   It started with you meeting a couple times a month when you both could spare the time; as your passions grew, your amorous meetings increased in frequency until you were meeting at least once a week.  It took no small level of deceit, trickery, and ingenuity on your part in order to escape the watchful eye of your father and his faithful watchdog.  You only started adding the sleeping draught to your father’s tea almost six months ago; after ingestion he would lay in a deep slumber guaranteeing you at least eight or nine hours with your lover before you had to worry about returning. 

You walk around to the back of the inn and rap on the small green wooden door three times in rapid succession.  Seconds pass before an aged little old man opens the blinds to see your rain soaked face.  You’re greeted to the sound of the dead bolt sliding just before he opens the door to usher you in.

Checking over your shoulder quickly to ensure you were not followed you duck inside.  The innkeeper greeted you with a kiss on the cheek as you slid him a small bag of coins - a thank you for his service.  The keeper and his wife would have done it free of charge, but you insisted on paying them for their kindness.  Taking your arm in the crook of his, he escorted you to your usual room.  As you climbed the numerous stairs in the narrow stairwell you chatted lightly with the innkeeper.  He gave you news that always made your blood run cold.  He hadn’t arrived yet.  You tried to tell yourself that none of the things you were imagining had happened, he was just running a little late.  You knew he had a questionable past, it was partially why you kept the affair hidden from your father, but that did not stop you from worrying about his capture every time he was late.

“Don’t fret my lady, he is late is all.” The innkeeper assured you before kissing your cheek, leaving you outside the heavy wooden doors of your room.  Smiling to yourself, you found the hearth already tended to with a warm, roaring fire crackling away.  You step inside slowly, still cautious, and look around quickly.  To look at it, it was nothing special, but to you it was everything.  These four walls had more value to you than all of your father’s fortune.

Truth be told though, you were grateful to be alone for a few minutes before he arrived.  So much transpired in the month since you had last seen him.  True, you caught glimpses of him in the market place while you did your shopping for the week, and he was selling what supplies he could, but you usually had Alfrid escorting you, which prevented you from talking with him.  So, you settled for stealing tiny, unnoticed sideways glances of him, but he noticed.  For every time you looked at him, he was looking right back at you giving you one of his secret smiles.  Looks and secret smiles were not enough to sate you though; you needed him, you needed to hold him, to feel him beneath your skin, and the weight of his body pressing down on you as all traces of the world beyond your little piece of everything slipped from memory.

Removing the hood from your head, you smooth out your dampened tresses as they pool past your shoulders.  Staring at the flames dancing before you in the hearth, so caught up in your thoughts constantly reliving the horrors of the conversation with your father at dinner, you nearly miss the sound of the door unlocking.  Rapidly turning where you stand, you see him looking exhausted, leaning against the doorframe.  “Bard?”  You exhale, so happy you fear you might cry.  You run to him without another thought.

Seeing you standing in the warmth of the fire’s light, relief floods his face.  Throwing his bag to the floor and closing the door with his boot, he meets you in the middle of the room.  His body envelops yours in a tender embrace before his lips find their way on to yours.  The kiss is every bit as fiery as the man behind it.  His one hand remains planted on your lower back, kneading the tender flesh, while the other hand snakes its way up until his fingers are threaded in your hair. 

Melting in to the kiss, you instinctively rest a hand on his chest.   Your fingers curled through the open laces of his shirt so the soft tufts of dark hair that peppered your lover’s chest greet your fingers.  You use this position to pull him in closer to you, deepening the kiss.  All thoughts of everything you need to discuss with him slowly flee your mind as something vastly more important takes its place.  Lust.  You have ached for this man and his touch for almost a month now while you waited for the draught to near completion. 

“Bard,” you whisper between labored breaths, finally breaking your kiss.  He doesn’t allow you to finish your thought however.  Freeing his hand from your hair, and pulling his other from your body, you immediately miss their presence.  Instead, he cups your chin in the palms of his hands, stroking your cheeks lovingly with the soft pads of his thumbs.

“I’ve missed you,” he whispers in a husky tone before pulling your body in close to his once more.  “You do you have the time, don’t you love?” He asked pulling back from the embrace momentarily.

“Aye, I told you it’d be strong enough tonight.” You whisper with a wicked glint in your eye.

“Then tonight you’re mine?” he asked hopefully, his fingers traces down your side at a tantalizingly slow pace.

“All yours my love,” you confirm before leaning up to kiss him once more.  This time is was your fingers to twine through his midnight black hair as the equally dark stubble lining his upper lip rubbed against your face.  You nip his lower lip playfully before moving in a southern direction.  Your kisses trail down his chin, along his jaw line, nipping gently as you go, until you find his ear lobe. 

He lets out a wolfish growl in response as you nip again at the sensitive lobe.  Hungry for more than just fiery kisses he keeps you pressed firmly against his muscle toned body as he walks forwards, until you fall back onto the plush bed.

“And here I half expected to land on the floor,” you simper.

“I’d take you on the floor if I had to.  I don’t care.  I just need to feel your warmth around me.”

“Such poetry from my lovers lips,” you tease seductively, lying back on the bed, not lifting your gaze from the hungry look behind your lover’s eyes.

“If you wanted pretty words and gentle actions then you should have met with one of your other suitors tonight.”  He replied roguishly, shrugging off his long wool lined jacket before climbing on to the bed hovering just above you.

“What other suitors,” you snort.  “You scared all of them off.”

Bending down to kiss you once more he didn’t even bother to look apologetic.  “That’s because,” he said between each kiss, “I don’t like other men touching what is mine.”

“I am not your property,” your argue hotly, sitting up.

“I never said you were,” Bard replied softly looking back at you, straddling your lap.  “But you feel this,” he placed his hand over your rapidly beating heart.  “This is mine.”   Removing his shirt entirely, your breath hitched as he guided your palm to his bare chest allowing it to rest above his own heart.  “Just as this is yours.  I like being the only man to have your heart, because for as long as I live you will be the only woman to ever have mine in such a way.”

Bard’s tender words came as some surprise to you as they were rather uncharacteristic of your usually gruff and burly bowman.   Part of your attraction to him, apart from his muscular build and handsome dark visage, was that he was unlike any man you had ever known.  Bard was burly and rugged having spent most of his life as a bowman, and working his barge, but he was so much more than that.  He was the people’s man.  The citizens of Laketown adored him and he stood for their rights, which often landed him in trouble with your father and his pet, but that never stopped him. You admired that. He was as good of man as any, but there was something more, something sweet and affectionate about him that he only shared with you. 

“Every day is hell without you,” you admit to him.  “And they are only going to get worse.”  You remain still under his gaze.  How can you tell him?  But how can you not?  Your fathers news affects him just as much as it affects you.

“What is it?” asks Bard softly, taking your hand in his.  He rolls off of your lap and lays beside you, brining your chin in his direction so you look at him.  “Why are you talking as though this is the last night we’ll spend together?”

“No reason,” you lie trying to force a smile. Except that it might be you think bitterly to yourself as fresh hot tears well behind your closed eyelids.

“I may not read as many books as you, but I can read your face.  There is something weighing on your mind.  Tell me.”

Taking a deep breath you rush all the words out at once for fear that if you stopped you may never finish.  “I am to be married.”

Bard flinched at the words but remained by your side.  “Has your father already chosen you a husband?”  He asks slowly, fearing to hear the answer.

You nod quickly though you can barely bring yourself to say the name aloud.  “Alfrid,” your voice, caught between tears and disgust, falters.

Storming towards the hearth, Bard rolls off the bed without another word to you.  His focus trained solely on the fire before him. 

Your resolve not to cry crumbles at the sight of his actions.  You beg him to come back, to come to you.  He stays by the fire, his breaths so heavy you can see the slow rise and fall of his chest. 

“Do you approve the match?”  Is all he asks, his hands gripping the mantle of the fireplace, his knuckles nearly white.  He is losing the struggle to keep his anger out of his voice, but he struggles nonetheless out of his love for you.  He does not want to upset you further.

“Of course I don’t,” you sob, throwing your legs over the side of the bed, so you are now sitting on the edge.  “I can’t stand him, he may not be cruel per se but that does not make him kind, he is greedy and rude and … and … and,” the tears fall freely down your cheeks now.  As you struggle to find the right words  “He’s not you.” You finally cry out.

Upon hearing your last words Bard finally turned, shifting his eyes from the flames to you.  “Marry me then,” he says softly. 

“What?” you sniffle in surprise once you manage to stop the tears.

“Marry me,” he begs.  “I may not be a rich man, and I don’t have much.   I can’t offer you anything like what you’re use to.  But I will always make sure you are provided for, and no man will ever love you as much I love you.  I have some money saved up, it’s not a lot, but it’ll be enough for a house.  Don’t marry Alfrid.  Marry me.”  He comes closer to you, until he is kneeling before you.  “I’d be a good husband I swear,” Bard assures you.

“The best,” you agree with new tears in your eyes.  “Although I can’t say I’d make a good wife.  I can’t cook, and I can’t mend your clothes when they have holes in them.”  You confess. 

“You’re the perfect wife for me,” he wiped the tears that lingered on your cheeks with the nails of his thumbs.  “I didn’t fall in love with your cooking or your ability to mend.  I fell in love with your fiery spirit and your gentle heart – that’s why I wanna marry you.”  Taking your hands in his he began kissing each of the tips of your fingers.  “I want to come home to you everyday, go to bed with you every night, and wake up to you every morning from now until the end of my days.  No more sneaking, no more hiding, no more fear, I want us to build a life for ourselves beyond these four walls.”  He gripped your hand tighter, his eyes imploring you to reply.

“You couldn’t have thought of all this a month ago, before I brewed that sleeping draught,” you grinned impishly at him.

“Is that a yes?”  He asked as his entire face lit up with excitement at the prospect of you accepting his proposal.

“Yes Bard, I will marry you,” you barely get the words out before he flies up to meet your mouth with his, kissing you once more.  As if there could ever have been a doubt in your mind that you would say anything other than yes.  Evidently your fiancé was less convinced, judging from the way he kept your head cradled in his calloused hands while relief and pure bliss washed across his face like a mighty wave.

Your fingers thread themselves through his so yours hands are firmly laced together as the two of you fall back on to the bed once more, his weight pressing comfortably down on you. 

“Now what?”  You ask after finally breaking the kiss.  Caressing the side of his face with the crook of your index finger, you wondered what the next step would be for you and your husband to be. 

“Now,” he murmured pensively after a moment.  “I am going to have my way with my future wife, and once she has been satisfied many times over, then we can begin to plan our wedding.“


“End Of The Line” by Traveling Wilburys

Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1 (1988)

She called, and I didn’t answer.

She’d visited me a week earlier, and we stayed up late the night before she left talking about some feely things. We continued the conversation on our hike early the next morning and over the next few days via text.

I hadn’t heard from her since Wednesday, but I was in the middle of a movie. It might be a long conversation; I could call her back.

As I was getting ready for bed, I noticed the alert. I had a voicemail. I hate voicemail. Just text me, y’know? Millennial thing, I guess. But since I know she’s of a similar disposition, I figured she might be really upset, and I actually took the 30 seconds to listen instead of ignoring it until the morning.

Hi, Brenna, my name is G, I’m A’s mom. I just want to let you know that she’s been in an accident, and she asked me to let you know. She’s been having several surgeries – it was a horrible accident. And she can’t have any visitors just yet. If you have any questions, call her phone and I’ll answer it. She asked me today to call you. Okay. Thank you. Bye.

I stared at my phone. I looked around my bedroom. Eyes back to my phone. Complete disbelief. Surely her mom was being dramatic…? It couldn’t be that bad. I started dialing A’s number without even glancing at the clock to see if it was an appropriate time to be calling someone’s mother.

Spoiler alert: it was not an appropriate time to be calling someone’s mother, but that didn’t matter.

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Avalanche Peak. Mountains have good reason for their names, and as names go, Avalanche Peak is very fitting. Before I had even seen a picture of the summit, I imagined a towering peak, darkened and cracked with stone, knife drop edges on all sides.  My imagination turned out being quite accurate.

The warning from the official government website: “Many people have enjoyed this mountain-top trip offering panoramic views of the Southern Alps/Kä Tiritiri o te Moana. However, some have met with tragedy because they did not realise the possible dangers of this route. This is an extremely steep and rocky journey. This tramping track/route is steep and exposed to the weather, with sheer drops in some places.It should not be attempted in poor visibility or high winds. In winter and spring, the route  is prone to avalanches. During heavy snow conditions, we advise visitors not to travel this route unless sufficiently equipped and experienced enough to assess the conditions and choose a safe path through avalanche terrain".

After a full day of driving from Te Anau to Arthurs Pass, I awoke in the early morning tired from the travelling. Looking outside the entire Pass was covered in cloud, not what I wanted to see. After a discussion with the local rangers, who informed us of the dangers and told us to climb to the tree line, and if the cloud cover was still heavy, turn around. We decided to ascend on Scotts Track. The trail started opposite Devils Punchbowl creek, before beginning the uphill passage through the trees.

Two hours later we were at the bush line, and sat down for a snack. We had met trampers from the North Shore Tramping Club, and engaged in conversation. They believed the cloud cover would burn through by lunch, and even as we looked down at the valley below, our visibility had started to increase. Luck was on our side. Continuing upwards, the surrounding mountain ranges were still hidden, but as if leading the way, the clouds would pull ahead, making the direct path ahead clear.

This is where tussock-covered ridge becomes more dangerous, with steep drops down the sides. Taking care, the route winds through bluffs, climbing hard at times, before I saw the summit. As if by magic, the clouds lifted completely with the arrival. The summit is a small area the size of a room, with 80-metre bluffs either side of the razor-blade ridge. There was already a party of climbers occupying the area, so we sat down and waited, taking in the view. Luck struck again, and because of our patience, two kea’s flew down next to me, engaging with my bag and belongings. Kea’s are the only alpine mountain parrot in the world, and while not endangered, are low in numbers. It was a really awesome experience to see them close up and personal.

With extreme care, I eventually crossed over to the ‘real’ summit. A fall or slip here would be serious. The view of the surrounding mountain ranges is unreal, with panoramic views of the Southern Alps. In every direction I was greeted with spectacular sights. After enough time taking in the natural arena, what followed was a trip back down, tired but deeply content. 


#821: Von Akureyri im Norden aus führt die Eyjafjarðarbraut vestri in südliche Richtung zur Saurbæjarkirkja einer alten Grassoden Kirche. Diese liegt an der #8359 idyllisch im Eyjafjarðardalur.

# 821: From Akureyri in the north, the Eyjafjarðarbraut vestri leads in southern direction to Saurbæjakirkja an old turf church. This is situated on the # 8359 in the idyllic Eyjafjarðardalur.

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