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On the Road in the Mountains of Big Bend National Park by Mark Stevens
Via Flickr:
A single RAW image I captured from my Nikon SLR camera and then used Aurora HDR to bring out much more vibrant and truer colors to that late afternoon in the Chisos Mountains during a recent stay. By zooming out for a wider angle view and including a view of the road heading off into the distance, I found I was better able to capture that setting of these mountains. The image was now filled with hillsides of the trees and mountain peaks all around. Casa Grande Peak is that amazing backdrop and partially caught in the late afternoon sunlight. I found that the sunlight kind of added texture and nice contrasts with those portions caught in that warm glow and others areas in the shadows.

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Pairing & Characters: Alex Manes/Michael Guerin

Rating: T

Words: 1k 

Read on ao3

Summary: Alex and Michael are two pieces of their love story. Over the years, the pieces haven’t always fit in the way they needed to, but cosmic love always has a way of being found and restored. 

A/N: This a 3 chapter ficlet for Missing Alex Manes Weekend. Alex Manes is such an incredible character! I’m so happy he’s being celebrated. I’m a hopeless romantic and Malex will always have my heart. This ficlet is based around the current events of the show. It’s angsty but hopeful for something more.

Day 1: | love | self-worth, respect, expressions of love.

Ch 1: Lost Pieces 

“I love you.”

Alex stops and puts his guitar down. He was practicing a new song on his patio when he hears Michael’s voice.

Looking around, Alex sees the alien he loves staring at him with an expression of affection and yearning that he hasn’t seen in some time. “What did you say?”

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❝ We walked down the path together, hand in hand. Sweet lilt of your voice is embedded in my mind. You promised me, to not leave me all alone. Not again. So why are you gone now? Out of my reach. Crystalline droplets wetting soil, wiltted flowers adorning the stone. You were mine once, in my arms. You were warm, beautiful, alive. So why did you become a fading memory now? A miserable name on tombstone. Not different from the others. You still think about your ‘beloved’ friends? You know what, I talked to them. They told me to burry my feelings along with your body. They said I will get over it. Liars. Ah! The word liar. How ironic that is. Why, you ask? It’s my little secret but you see, I lied to you too! Suprised? Don’t be darling. Did you actually believed when I said “Until death do us apart”? Not even death can tear you away from my grasp. We’ll see each other again. Soon. ❞

- Day 1

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DAY6 30-Day Song Challenge!


Day 1: The first DAY6 song I discovered

It played from a Spotify Kpop playlist I put on random while I did work or homework. I remember the song took so much of my focus away from what I was doing that I stopped to look for every video I could find of Days Gone By! I also had it on repeat for days~

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Shantae had met most of the half-genies by now.

Plink and Vera had been doing some exploring on the island’s west coast, and it seemed like they already knew each other quite well - she wondered if Plink had gotten to the island earlier, or if the two had met before. Plink wielded Seer magic - a way to see hidden parts of the world, she had said. Vera had control over Refresh magic, which presumably did exactly what it sounded like. 

Harmony had been waiting on the outskirts of the resort. Shantae had done a double-take on seeing her - she almost looked like a taller, more human Nega, but Harmony’s calm and serious demeanor had quickly dispelled those notions. She was the oldest of Half-Genies, as it turned out, but she didn’t disclose what sort of magic she used. From the way she carried herself, Shantae could only assume it was powerful.

Currently, she was talking to Zapple, in the tunnels under the city.

“… I’m half-tempted to plug into one of these terminals, see if the power lines run back to some rich guy’s mansion or something.”

Shantae tilted her head, confused. “Plug in…?”

“Oh, sorry. My magic is electricity-based.” A string of lightning popped into existence, circling Zapple and casting terrifying shadows over her face. “IT’S CURRRRRSED!”

Shantae yelped, jumping back in surprise.

Zapple chuckled as the current vanished, quickly as it had come. “Just kidding. I said that for shock value.

Shantae burst into a little giggle after a moment. “Sorry that took me a bit. That little trick kinda… short-circuited my brain.” She thought she saw a faint flush to Zapple’s cheeks, but it was so brief that she figured she had imagined it.

“So, what’s your power?”

“When I dance, I can transform~!”

“You can turn into anything? Like, a key to a locked door?”

“Nah, usually I turn into animals or other magical creatures.”

“Like, a fire-breathing dragon or something?”

“More like big spiders and harpies.”

Zapple nodded. “That’s pretty cool. Hey, don’t be late for the performance, later.”

“I won’t!” Shantae waved as Zapple headed off, presumably back to the surface and the resort proper. “Okay! We only need to find one more half-genie, and that’s… uh… whoever messed their name up on this sign-in sheet.

A̵n̵d̸ ̷t̷h̶e̸n̴ ̴w̸e̸ ̷h̶a̸v̸e̸ ̷t̷o̸ ̵p̵e̸r̶f̶o̷r̴m̶ ̷o̵n̴s̵t̷a̷g̴e̵ ̸a̶f̶t̵e̸r̸w̴a̵r̷d̸s̵.̶.̴.̶ ̸w̷h̷o̶o̴b̸o̸y̷.

Honestly, that’s gonna be the easiest part of today. Let’s head down that other tunnel we saw!”

It was a fairly short walk, and it didn’t take Shantae and Nega very long to find the last half-genie they were looking for. She looked surprisingly green, and her pointed ears were hidden somewhere under her fluffy hair.

“Um - ”

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“Heh, yeah. I think the last time I went up stage was, uh… two years ago? It should be fun!”

“I like that enthusiasm,” the Mayor says with smile. “That’s why I want you up onstage for the sneak-preview event - tonight!”

“Tonight? But… uh… I don’t even know the routine yet…”

“No worries! It’s just a dry run after all - a practice performance in front of a live audience! Something to work the kinks out! Trust me, you’ll be fine. But that reminds me…” He digs around in one of his pockets, and hands Shantae a list of names. “I’ve invited five other Half-Genies to perform with you! They’re here on the island now. Could you find them, and remind them about tonight’s show?”

“I’d… I’d be glad to!” She takes the list, carefully, and looks over the names scrawled there…

  • Harmony
  • Zapple
  • Vera
  • Plink

The last name appeared to be smudged.

“Looks like someone’s as excited about all this as I am - ooh, I can’t wait to meet them!” She’s practically bouncing in place. She looks back towards Uncle Mimic, who smiles and releases his gentle hold on her shoulders.

“Go get ‘em, kiddo!”

“Eeeheeheeheeheeeeee~!!!” Shantae’s off like a shot.

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Hi It’s been a while since my other post where I mentioned this blog used to be for acnl and im dusting it off and using it for all my animal crossing games. Especially new horizons since I’ve delved so many hours into it and feel like posting screenshots and videos without overwhelming my main tumblr or twitter account.


My name is Fresa/Bree and anytime I post something that isnt a reblogged post I will probaby tag it as Fresa Talks or ACNH diary. And even though I’ve had the game since release I’m gonna talk about starting now, so that will be under the cut.

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“It sure did… maybe I should’ve grabbed less bags. It’s kinda hard to see…”

“Mind your step!” calls an attendant, just as Shantae passes over a creaking spot on the bridge.

She looks over - the attendant’s hair is a stark white, and her uniform’s a vibrant red. It’s a striking look.

“Thanks, I’ll be careful…!” She turns back to the walk ahead, peeking around her bags. “It looks like the resort’s just ahead, at least.

Y̴e̷a̵h̷,̷ ̶s̴e̴e̶m̵s̶ ̷p̴r̶e̷t̶t̷y̷ ̸e̶f̷f̶i̶c̶i̶e̵n̸t̴.L̴o̷o̸k̴s̷ ̶m̸o̵r̸e̴ ̴l̷i̶k̷e̶ ̵a̶ ̶s̵m̷a̷l̵l̴ ̶t̸o̷w̷n̶ ̵t̵h̶a̴n̸ ̵a̸ ̸h̶o̷t̵e̷l̴,̵ ̴t̵h̷o̴u̵g̵h̷.̷”

Another attendant pops up, almost out of nowhere. She’s near-identical to the first. “Welcome to Arena Town, home of the Half-Genie Festival!”

“YEEK-” Shantae nearly drops the luggage, but the attendant catches it with an expert hand and a polite smile. “O-oh. Thanks.”

She nods. “You’re one of the Half-Genie guests, yes? All Half-Genie guests must check in with the Mayor upon arrival. I’ll handle these for you.”

“Are you sure? These are kinda heavy…”

“It’s no problem, miss, I assure you. Have a festive stay~!”

Shantae hands the bags off and turns away right before the attendant’s face shifts to one of intense regret. “A town that’s also a hotel… that’s pretty fancy!”

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The flight felt like it was taking forever. Shantae impatiently bounced her right leg, staring out at the clouds. At her side, Nega bounced her left leg, equally impatient.

“… our carpet could go faster than this,” Shantae grumbled.

“S̴u̸r̵e̷,̵ ̸i̴f̵ ̶w̵e̵ ̷k̶n̸e̷w̷ ̵w̵h̶e̵r̶e̴ ̵w̴e̴ ̸w̷e̴r̸e̵ ̷g̸o̸i̵n̴g̶,” Nega mumbled.

“This vacation’s gonna be no fun without Rotty…”

“I̸ ̶m̵e̵a̶n̷.̴ ̸I̶t̷'̷l̵l̵ ̶p̵r̴o̴b̶a̵b̵l̷y̶ ̴s̷t̶i̵l̵l̸ ̵b̵e̸ ̶f̶u̴n̶,̴ ̵j̵u̶s̷t̶.̴.̶.̸ ̷w̸a̶y̵ ̵l̵e̵s̷s̸.”

Shantae whined and slumped in her seat.

“O̶k̴a̴y̸,̸ ̷w̵h̵e̵n̵ ̵I̸ ̷p̵u̸t̴ ̴i̸t̷ ̶l̶i̶k̶e̷ ̸t̴h̴a̷t̶,̶ ̷i̴t̴ ̸s̸o̶u̴n̴d̶s̷ ̴b̸a̸d̵.” Nega hummed. “W̶e̷l̷l̷.̸.̴.̵ ̵I̶ ̷d̵u̴n̸n̴o̸ ̵h̷o̷w̸ ̷t̷o̴ ̴m̵a̴k̸e̸ ̴u̸p̴ ̴f̵o̴r̵ ̷R̶o̸t̵t̵y̷ ̵n̸o̷t̷ ̵b̷e̸i̴n̷g̷ ̷h̸e̴r̵e̸,̴ ̸b̷u̵t̴ ̴m̷a̶y̵b̶e̴ ̸I̷ ̷c̷a̴n̴ ̸m̶a̵k̵e̷ ̷t̵h̸i̷n̸g̶s̵ ̵m̸o̴r̴e̵ ̶r̶e̴l̷a̶x̸i̸n̸g̸,̶ ̷a̷t̸ ̸l̸e̶a̸s̷t̸.”

“… what do you mean by that…”

“W̶e̴l̷l̵,̷ ̴w̵e̷'̸r̵e̴ ̸g̴o̴i̵n̶g̸ ̴o̵n̴ ̶t̷h̴i̵s̴ ̷v̸a̵c̶a̵t̵i̵o̶n̴ ̴t̷o̵ ̷c̵h̶i̸l̷l̸ ̸o̸u̸t̴,̸ ̷y̶e̴a̶h̶?̷ ̸G̵e̷t̶ ̴a̴ ̷b̵r̸e̶a̸k̴ ̷f̷r̴o̷m̶ ̶a̴l̵l̵ ̴t̶h̴e̵ ̵w̵e̵i̸r̷d̷ ̸s̸t̷u̵f̵f̴ ̶t̸h̵a̸t̸ ̶h̶a̷p̶p̸e̷n̶s̷ ̵b̶a̵c̵k̷ ̴a̶t̸ ̷h̴o̸m̶e̴ ̷w̷i̶t̶h̷ ̷o̵u̷r̷ ̶m̷a̴g̸i̸c̶ ̶a̷n̴d̷ ̴w̸h̵a̷t̴e̸v̸e̵r̸.̷ ̴I̴ ̴t̸h̸i̴n̷k̷ ̷t̷h̷a̵t̶ ̴m̴i̶g̵h̴t̷ ̴b̶e̶ ̴e̵a̸s̶i̵e̵r̶ ̵i̸f̷ ̵w̴e̵ ̴a̸r̸e̸n̵'̶t̷ ̵i̸t̴c̷h̸i̵n̶g̵ ̴t̷o̴ ̵t̵h̵r̸o̶w̴ ̴h̸i̴g̷h̷ ̷l̴e̵v̷e̷l̶ ̷s̷p̵e̷l̴l̷s̵ ̸a̸r̸o̴u̸n̵d̸.” Nega abruptly broke down into raw magic, and wrapped herself around her other half before settling in with a familiar feeling of warmth.

A strange sensation coursed through Shantae, then - the magic within her seemed to slow into a peaceful lull. She felt her muscles begin to go slack as a tension she didn’t know she’d been holding slowly released itself.

“What’d you just do…?

J̴u̶s̷t̶ ̶l̴o̸c̶k̸e̶d̵ ̶d̵o̸w̸n̴ ̸o̸u̷r̵ ̸h̸i̸g̴h̴e̴r̵-̸l̵e̴v̵e̵l̴ ̶s̵t̴u̷f̵f̶ ̵f̵o̸r̵ ̵t̶h̴e̷ ̸t̸i̷m̷e̸ ̶b̵e̵i̵n̸g̶,̴ ̸t̸h̶a̵t̶'̸s̶ ̶a̶l̵l̷.̷ ̷O̴n̷c̶e̶ ̷t̶h̸e̵ ̶v̶a̵c̸a̵t̷i̷o̶n̸'̸s̴ ̵o̴v̶e̶r̸,̵ ̶i̷t̵'̸l̴l̸ ̵k̸i̸c̴k̵ ̴i̷n̷ ̵a̶n̸d̸ ̴w̶e̸'̵l̴l̸ ̸b̸e̷ ̶b̴a̴c̴k̴ ̷t̴o̴ ̸o̵u̴r̶ ̶a̴m̵p̸e̶d̵-̶u̶p̴,̶ ̵h̴i̸g̷h̸-̴s̷t̸r̸u̶n̷g̵ ̸s̸e̴l̵f̴.

Well… I do feel more relaxed. Thanks, Nega.

N̴o̶ ̶p̴r̷o̴b̷l̵e̴m̶~̶.̴ ̷N̴o̴w̵,̷ ̴l̴e̴m̴m̴e̸ ̴u̶s̶e̴ ̵o̸u̴r̷ ̴e̷y̴e̵s̷ ̷f̷o̸r̸ ̵a̶ ̶s̸e̸c̸,̵ ̶i̵t̵'̴s̸ ̵m̸y̴ ̷t̷u̶r̶n̸ ̶a̴t̶ ̵t̴h̵e̵ ̶w̶i̵n̸d̶o̴w̴ ̵s̸e̶a̶t̶…”

The airship lurched roughly, and a garbled, static-masked voice announced that they had arrived at their destination.

“O̷h̵,̴ ̵c̴o̴m̸e̸ ̶o̴n̴!̸!̶!̶!

You can have it on the trip home. Promise.”

Shantae was feeling better already.

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Nega and Shantae were fussing over Locket’s soul and Volkan, respectively, as they moved their vacation luggage through the lighthouse.

“A̴l̴l̷ ̷r̸i̸g̷h̷t̷,̷ ̵I̴'̵m̸ ̴l̴e̸a̴v̷i̸n̵g̶ ̴y̸o̵u̷r̵ ̸j̵o̵u̸r̵n̵a̶l̶ ̵h̷e̴r̴e̶ ̵-̸ ̷i̶f̸ ̸y̴o̵u̴ ̴h̵a̵v̶e̵ ̴t̸r̴o̸u̷b̷l̷e̷ ̴h̵a̷n̴g̷i̶n̸g̵ ̴o̵n̵ ̴i̷n̷ ̶t̸h̶i̶s̵ ̷w̵o̵r̷l̶d̸ ̴o̸r̶ ̸w̶h̷a̷t̶e̶v̵e̵r̷,̵ ̵s̵t̶i̶c̸k̷ ̸a̶r̵o̸u̵n̸d̷ ̴w̶i̶t̵h̶ ̷i̸t̵ ̶f̵o̸r̵ ̵a̴ ̴w̴h̵i̸l̷e̷,̶ ̶o̷k̷a̷y̴?” Nega carefully cupped the soul in her clawed hands, and let out a sigh of relief as it jumped to nuzzle one of her cheeks.

“You’ll look after the lighthouse for me and stay out of trouble while we’re on vacation, right, little guy?”

“aye!” Volkan gave Shantae a goofy little salute, grinning wide. She grinned right back and gently ruffled the bandanna on his head.

“Shantae!!!!! The airship’s waiting!!!” The call floated in through the open window.

“We’ll be right out, Uncle!” Shantae yelled back. “Okay, we’ve really gotta go, you two get along, now, be good, we love you guys - ”

Nega grabbed her other half by the arm and started to pull her along, grabbing some of the luggage as she went. “Y̴e̵a̴h̸ ̸y̶e̴a̷h̴ ̴l̸e̴t̴'̴s̶ ̸g̷o̵ ̶l̷e̷t̶'̸s̶ ̷G̷O̴!̷!̴!” Shantae still managed to wave one last time before grabbing the suitcases that Nega had missed in her haste to get them out of the lighthouse.

Uncle Mimic was waiting nearby, and he waved the half-genie pair over. They followed him through town to the airship in question. It was smaller than any Shantae had seen before - she wasn’t sure if it would be able to actually fly.

“Bolo and Sky are already on board,” Mimic said.

“Is Rotty…?”

“I haven’t seen her, unfortunately. But I’m not sure how much longer our pilot is willing to wait.”

Shantae and Nega’s ears both drooped.

“I’m sorry, Shantae. Maybe she’ll be able to come along next time. Why don’t you two get on board - don’t worry about your things, just leave them here for the airship staff to take care of. Trust me on that one!”

Sighing, Shantae slunk onboard and parked herself in a window seat. Nega flopped into the seat next to her with a sigh of her own.

“She said she’d be here…”

“M̸a̶y̴b̴e̷ ̶s̶h̸e̷ ̷h̵a̴d̷ ̵w̴a̵g̴o̶n̸ ̴t̵r̷o̵u̶b̶l̴e̶?̸“

“Or maybe she’s not as reliable as you think she is,” Sky called from her own seat.

“Sky, c’mon…” Bolo grumbled, next to her. “I thought you were done dunking on Rottytops.”

Wrench cawed in agreement.

“I’m just saying…”

Shantae shot her an icy glare before turning to the window. She barely even noticed Nega continuing to make rude faces in Sky’s direction, and only vaguely acknowledged Mimic as he came on board and took up a seat nearby. “Are we gonna be taking off, soon…”

“We should be! I believe they just need to run an engine check - ”

The airship abruptly lurched, jostling everyone in their seats. Shantae’s ears faintly picked up the sound of someone yelling about ‘leaving the luggage compartment open’, and then a sharp slam, from outside. There were some strange, static-garbled statements that she didn’t quite catch, and then the vessel was off, taking to the air…

“I hope it’s not too long a trip. I didn’t bring a lot of snacks.” Bolo dug around in his pockets. “Shantae, Nega, you guys want any?”


“I̵'̷l̴l̴ ̵t̶a̶k̷e̴ ̴'̵e̶m̸!”

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Casa Grande Peak and the Chisos Mountains (HDR, Big Bend National Park) by Mark Stevens
Via Flickr:
This was a view I forgotten from many a year ago on my last trip to Big Bend National Park. It’s a roadside stop on the road to the basin area. During this period in the late afternoon and middle of the week, I seemed to have this spot all to myself and was able to pretty stay in the middle of the road and take my time composing this image. Casa Grande Peak was the obvious focus of the image, but I pulled back on the focal distance, including some of the nearby peaks and hillsides to add some depth to this setting. I felt it was almost like a stair-step effect for the image. One of the things that I had to keep in mind though was what I felt was the large dynamic range for this image. Nearby would be areas partially caught in shadows while the peaks of Casa Grande were much brighter the light of the setting sun. I worked initially with Capture NX2 but then decided to try out something I’d recently read with an HDR program I’d bought that had been updated. I used a single RAW image I captured from my Nikon SLR camera and then used Aurora HDR to bring out much more vibrant and truer colors to that late afternoon in the Chisos Mountains during a recent stay.

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Blue Skies and Clouds Above the Rosillos Mountains (Big Bend National Park) by Mark Stevens
Via Flickr:
A roadside stop not far from the Fossil Bone Exhibit along the main road into Big Bend National Park from the north. What drew me into this image was at first the blue skies and patterns of clouds above, but later, I found the varied desert landscape with the different hues and shades from plantlife a nice color contrast to those skies above. As almost a dividing line between the two were far off mountain peaks to the northwest.

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