Longhaul

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About Longhaul

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    Squirrel
  • Birthday September 30

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  1. Boops to all of my friends and to anyone that wants one.
  2. Long-way-from-home hugs to my friends and to anyone else that may want or need one.
  3. It depends. If there's something bothering me, I'll confide it to a trusted friend. but otherwise I don't find anything interesting about myself to talk about.
  4. Strange day.

    I walk into work, as usual, just a regular office worker...

    couple hours later, I have an offer to be terminal manager at one of our locations.  This involves a long move and a complete uprooting from where I am now.

    All I need is the money for the moving expenses....

    1. Show previous comments  1 more
    2. Lord Valtasar

      Lord Valtasar

      knowing just the surface, i'll say sometimes a big change is just the thing we need, but this sounds like a big decision, so i'd advise to talk it over with your family and close friends who know the situation in full

    3. Longhaul

      Longhaul

      @Rising Dusk Yes, it is.  

      @Lord Valtasar  It's been discussed, and my SO is behind me all the way.  Today, I will hash things out with the company.

    4. CypherHoof

      CypherHoof

      Well, it sounds like a positive move; I know you will do well :)

  5. I did it again.

    I'm not sorry.

    1. Show previous comments  1 more
    2. CypherHoof

      CypherHoof

      Why would you be sorry?

    3. Tacodidra

      Tacodidra

      Amazing job once again! :pinkie: Your paintings are great! :yay:

    4. Lord Valtasar

      Lord Valtasar

      really nice textures :mlp_icwudt:

  6. New Year boops to all that might like one. Hope you are all blessed with health and happiness.
  7. Best wishes to all for a happy and healthy New Year.

    1. CypherHoof

      CypherHoof

      and to you and yours, too :)

      *boops the OTHER grey pone*

    2. EpicEnergy

      EpicEnergy

      Thank you, and happy New Year!

    3. Tacodidra

      Tacodidra

      Happy New Year, my friend! :kindness:

  8. 5. A Grand Invitation “Oh, hey, Spike. What brings you by so early?” I asked the small purple dragon on my doorstep. “This scroll came for you last night,” Spike replied, handing over the roll of parchment. “Princess Celestia sent it to us and asked me to deliver it today. I guess she didn’t want it getting misdirected or something.” I took the scroll and removed the wax seal with the signet of the solar princess stamped into it. Unrolling the scroll, two golden pieces of paper fluttered to the floor. I picked them up and quickly noticed that this wasn’t paper at all, but actual gold. I began to skim through the letter. “Dear… ...cordially invited...Grand Galloping Gala...held at the Royal Palace… … ...yourself and a guest… ...look forward to seeing you.” I rolled the scroll up. “Hm. What the heck’s a Grand Galloping Gala?” “It’s like the biggest event in all of Equestria!” Spike enthused. “It’s invitation only, lasts pretty much all night, and it never goes the same way twice. Something crazy always happens at the Gala.” “I see,” I replied, pondering. “I’m guessing all of the upper-class and nobility will be there as well?” Spike nodded. “Yeah, pretty much.” I studied the tickets in my hands carefully, weighing my options. “Come in, Spike, I’ll be in need of your messenger services.” “Really? You’re not gonna use your candle? How come?” Spike queried as we walked toward my office. “Same reason Princess Celestia didn’t. I don’t want it misdirected and I want it sent by someone I trust.” Once we reached the office, I sat behind my desk and grabbed a piece of parchment. One lesson I had learned early is that for sending messages via dragonfire, using regular paper only made the message turn to ash without being sent. The parchment was magically infused so it would not only resist being destroyed, but would instead turn to a magical smoke that would reconstitute upon reaching its destination. I scribbled a quick note, wrapped the tickets up, and tied the whole thing together with a small red ribbon. I handed the scroll to Spike. “Okay, ready for sending.” Spike pinched the scroll between two of his fingers and breathed a gentle stream of dragonfire over it. It quickly dissolved into smoke and wafted out of the open window. “All sent,” he said, smiling. “Excellent. Guess it’s time for the messenger fee,” I said, rising from my desk. Spike’s grin got wider and his eyes lit up. I chuckled as we walked back towards the front door. There are three kinds of messenger fees I end up paying. The first is the regular fee, payable in the form of bits to the pony that sends or delivers my messages. The second, for the Cutie Mark Crusaders, takes the form of pastries or other sweet treats. The third, for dragon messengers, involves gemstones. I retrieved a container from a high shelf and opened the lid. I selected the fattest gem I could find and handed it to Spike. “Here you go, for sending and receiving, plus your speedy service.” I watched as Spike slowly took the gem from my hands and wondered if I would need a mop to clean up all of the dragon drool. Spike swallowed, and licked his lips in anticipation. “Thanks! If anything else comes, I’ll run it right over!” He took off quickly, an almost fanatical look on his face as he studied the treat I had given him. *~*~*~*~* Later that afternoon, while out in town after completing a special call for service, I was approached by Princess Twilight. She had a concerned look on her face, and she asked me, “Is everything all right?” I was stunned by that question, not knowing what prompted it. “Um, yeah, everything’s fine, why?” “Princess Celestia told me she had sent you tickets to the Gala,” Twilight explained, “and that you had sent them back and said you weren’t going. She asked me to talk to you about it, just in case you didn’t want to talk to her for some reason.” “Oh,” I replied, scanning around for a good place to have a conversation. I spotted a small cafe nearby. “Let’s get some coffee and we’ll talk. My treat.” Twilight nodded and followed along with me to the cafe. Twilight and I sat at an outside table, sipping at our coffees. “I don’t understand why she thinks I’m mad at her. All I did was turn down an invitation to this gala thingy,” I said. “That’s just it,” Twilight pointed out. “Nopony has ever turned down an offer to go the Gala before.” She pauses. “Well, I did, but only because I only received two tickets and I wasn’t going to play favorites among my friends to see who was gonna go. She ended up sending tickets for everypony and the day was saved. But something like this? This is unprecedented, and it has Princess Celestia concerned.” “Twilight,” I said, putting my cup down, “I have nothing but the utmost respect for the princesses, and I am very grateful to them for giving me the chance to live in this world. It’s as I explained in my letter – I just don’t want to spend my night surrounded by snobby, stuck-up ponies that think the entire universe revolves around them.” “That’s another thing that has her concerned,” Twilight mentioned. “She wants to know why you aren’t willing to give them a second chance. You’ve seen firsthoof that not all of the nobility is as you described.” “This is true,” I answered, “some of them, at least the ones I did work for, were quite pleasant. However, some are even worse than those I had the misfortune to be around at the gathering. Twilight, if you spent the evening made to feel inferior, being constantly put down because of who you are, treated as a plaything rather than an intelligent being, would you really want to hang around with them again, much less give them a second chance to become your friends?” “Obviously, you’ve forgotten about my dealings with Trixie, that magician mare I told you about,” Twilight answered. “We didn’t get along too great at first, and I admit, seeing her with Starlight was a bit of a shock, but I did eventually get to see that she really is a fairly decent pony.” I recalled doing some work for Trixie recently, making some minor repairs to her wagon/stage. “Yeah, she does have that showbiz air of superiority, but even she treated me with a modicum of respect, something those stuck-up snobs were severely lacking.” I sipped my drink. “Look, I’m going back to Canterlot tomorrow morning. If Princess Celestia wants, we can get together and talk about this before I head back here.” Twilight smiled. “I’ll mention that when I write to her. She wanted to know what you said to me about all of this, and I’m sure she might even let you stay in the palace if you don’t want to travel back that night. What time are you leaving?” “I’ll be catching the first train out in the morning,” I said. “Please let her know I don’t want her to go to any trouble for me, and I look forward to seeing her again.” *~*~*~*~* That evening, I was joined at my house by Vinyl Scratch, who was eager to sample the different types of human music that I had saved to my computer, along with Octavia Melody, the cellist that I had seen at a couple of events in town. She didn’t seem pleased to be sitting in my living room as Vinyl listened to song after song that I had loaded into a playlist especially for her, focusing mainly on the music that shared similarities to the style she played at my welcoming party. Returning from the kitchen, I set a cup of tea down on the table in front of the sofa, and sat down in my chair, facing Octavia. “I’m sorry about this, I had no idea she’d bring you along even if you didn’t want to go. I hope this isn’t interfering with any plans you may have made previously.” Octavia smiled a weary smile. “Oh no, I assure you, it’s nothing to do with you. I’m just very tired after a long day of rehearsal, and I do admit, some of this music isn’t quite to my liking.” She took the teacup and sipped some tea. “Is all human music similar to what Vinyl plays at those clubs?” “No,” I replied, “that was a recent development and I’m not really a big fan of it, either. But, I had to play it when people asked for it, and I just kept it. Some of it wasn’t that bad, to be honest.” Vinyl perked up. “You used to DJ?” “Not professionally, and not like you do,” I explained. “I had wanted to when I was younger, and even bought a small setup that I could bring to parties and things. I used to practice at being on the radio, doing some voiceovers and queueing in music.” “Like the stuff I heard in your workshop?” Vinyl asked. “Yeah, like that.” I looked over at Octavia. “Perhaps, when you’re in a better frame of mind, I could offer some samples of a more, shall we say, serene type of music from my old world?” “Actually, I wouldn’t mind hearing something more…milder,” Octavia responded. She shot a look to Vinyl. “When would be a good time to schedule such an evening?” Let’s see,” I replied, checking my calendar. “I’ll be in Canterlot tomorrow and the next day, but I seem to be free any time after that. My evenings are pretty wide open, so I can work with your schedule.” Octavia smiled. “Very well, then. I shall be in touch in a couple of days to set a time.” “That sounds good,” I enthused. “I can even arrange dinner if it would make things easier for you. I know a few pony-friendly recipes I think you may enjoy. Of course, Vinyl is welcome too, if she won’t be too put off by my musical selections.” “Nah, dude,” Vinyl answered. “I’ve been looking for some slow jams to add to my sets, maybe I can find something I can use. And I never turn down a free dinner.” I looked back at Octavia after Vinyl had finished. “So then … dinner and music at your convenience?” I asked. Octavia nodded, and grinned. “I’m looking forward to it.” *~*~*~*~*~ “Are you sure you won’t reconsider?” Celestia asked me over dinner the next evening. “I cannot, and will not, force you to attend, of course…but your presence there would add something special to the Gala this year, especially in light of the other families leaving so abruptly.” After a day of doing odd jobs around town, for ponies whose character Fancy Pants could personally vouch for, I found myself having to soothe a worried Princess Celestia. Princess Luna seemed to be taking the news that I had refused Gala tickets in stride, not showing any concern about it at all. She also knew my feelings about many of the upper crust that would be attending, feelings she seemed to share. I set my fork down. “Princess, I understand, really I do. It’s just that… well, the scars from that party still run pretty deep, and I’m really not much of a formal-party-type person. Take Pinkie’s party, for example. It was a more relaxed atmosphere, everypony was beyond nice and polite, and I didn’t feel ill at ease being in such a large crowd, another unfortunate quirk of mine. I do apologize, but my answer still stands.” “And it’s not because of anything I, or my sister, may have done?” “I give you my word,” I said with all sincerity. “It has nothing to do with you or Luna personally. You two have been very accommodating, and I’ve enjoyed my chats with Luna during the night. I also enjoy the time we spend together, limited though it’s been, but I realize you’re very busy. I have nothing but the deepest respect and admiration for the both of you.” Celestia relaxed. “I’m very glad to hear you say that. Granted, we may both be authority figures, but we also wish to be your friends, as we do with all of our little ponies. I’m happy that you think of us in that fashion.” I smiled. “I do, very much. So, is everything good between us as far as the Gala is concerned?” Celestia nodded. “I fully respect your decision, and will let the matter drop. However, should you change your mind, please let me know, and I will send tickets to you.” I picked up my fork again. ‘You have a deal.” *~*~*~*~* The path ahead led toward a dark and mysterious forest, and it was on this path that I found myself en-route to perform my services. It was a special request from Princess Twilight, not long after I had returned from Canterlot. She had asked me if I would be willing to travel out to see somepony named Zecora and fix a few small items for her, if I was able. Thinking nothing more of it, I agreed, only to learn the specifics about this mysterious Zecora. I was told she was a zebra, the only one in Equestria that was known, and she could seem a bit, in Twilight’s words, ‘unusual.’ She also chose to make her home in what was known as the Everfree Forest. I learned that very few ponies travel through there voluntarily, as it was filled with all kinds of nefarious plant and animal life. The weather was wild and untamed, moving on its own, not under control of the weather pegasi. Not being the type to refuse helping out, and not being overly concerned about this spooky ol’ forest, I agreed to ride out there and see what I could do. I followed the directions that Twilight had provided and I was soon slowly riding along the only path into the forest. The path was only recently cleared and widened slightly, to accommodate those working on exploring and preserving the original Castle of the Two Sisters. From what I read in the history books I was able to check out of the library, the Everfree wasn’t always the wild and unruly place it is today. At one point, Celestia and Luna ruled from here, from a magnificent castle in the heart of the forest. These were happier times. Before what I refer to as ‘The Great Unpleasantness’ so as not to spark any horrible memories from either princess. I made my turn and noticed that the forest grew darker as I continued, the tight canopy of trees blocking much of the available sunlight from reaching the forest floor below. Ambient noises seemed amplified, and an eerie sense of being watched settled over me as I rode along. Shrugging it off, I stayed on the path until I arrived at Zecora’s house. Being that it was the only house out here, I was certain I had the correct place. Small tool kit in hand, I approached the door and knocked. The door opened and a zebra eyed me warily. “A creature I have never seen before. Tell me, what brings you to my door?” she asked. I smiled and introduced myself. “I’m the handyman Princess Twilight spoke of, I’m here to make those repairs you needed.” Zecora smiled and stepped to the side. “Ah, the princess speaks very highly of you. Please, enter and see what you can do.” I walked inside and took a quick look around. “This is a very nice house you have here, Miss Zecora. Are most of these items from your native land, or did you craft them yourself?” Zecora walked alongside me. “From my home land, some are indeed. The rest were made as I saw the need.” She sighed. “Thinking of home makes my emotions swell; I’m sure you know this feeling as well.” “I do get homesick now and then,” I replied, “but it’s mostly nostalgia for things I can’t find here. So, what did you need me to look at today?” She escorted me over to a table, upon which sat an ornately carved wooden box. It looked remarkably well cared for, with fine inlays of precious gems, and a golden latching mechanism on the front. She pointed to the button on the front. “Push the button, and up the lid would spring,” she explained. “Now, sadly, it does no such thing. The latch and button still work, you see, but why it won’t raise is beyond me.” I looked over the box, studying the hinges and latch. “This is beautiful. Is this something from your home?” Zecora nodded. “I have had this box for many a year. It is one of the things I hold most dear.” Slipping on a pair of cotton gloves that I used for handling delicate items, I carefully pushed the latch and opened the lid of the box. I could see that there was a small spring that let the lid pop open once the latch was released. The wood that held the spring in place had cracked and allowed the spring to slip in such a way that the spring was no longer in contact with the box. “I can fix this. I can use a special glue I have to fix the brace and put the spring back in position. Should only take a couple of minutes to do.” Zecora looked relieved. “To hear such news is a welcome relief. Losing this box would cause me grief. Do what you must to make it like new, and I will gather some pay for you.” I shook my head. “I won’t charge you for a few drops of glue and waiting time. However, I would gladly accept hearing about you and your home, and I could tell you about mine if you’d like.” The zebra smiled. “That sounds most agreeable to me. Perform your work, and I will make some tea.” Zecora trotted off to prepare some tea, and I made the repair. While we waited for the glue to set, we talked about our respective home lands, and our reasons for wanting to leave and start over. She told me of her difficulty at being accepted by the ponies in town, which made me feel a little guilty for the easier time I had of it, and I told her of my experience in Canterlot. After a decent amount of time had passed, I tested the latch. The box sprung open as it was designed to do, much to Zecora’s delight. “I believe that does it, unless there’s anything else you’d like me to look at,” I said, packing up my things. “If I were to prepare some more fine tea, would you stay and chat with me?” Zecora asked. “It is rare I see someone new to these lands, who works not with hooves, but with their hands.” She approached me on her way to where I guessed her kitchen was located. “My joy on meeting you knows no end; I wish to know you better as a friend. There is plenty of time before the sun will set. You will be home before then, of this do not fret.” “Miss Zecora, I would be honored to sit and talk with you,” I answered happily. The rest of the afternoon was spent in conversation, talking about our respective homelands and how we came to be in this little corner of the world. She was fascinating to listen to, and her particular way of speaking was lyrical in nature, almost weaving along in an unheard melody. It was with a measure of regret that we had to part ways, but with the setting sun and the onset of night, it would not have been safe to delay my return any longer. We parted with a promise to get together as often as our schedules would allow, and I slowly made my way home through the rugged forest called Everfree.
  9. It represents what I used to do (long-haul trucking).
  10. It's been a while since I painted anything.  I did this one today.

    Have a look if you want.

    1. Show previous comments  4 more
    2. CypherHoof

      CypherHoof

      Looks good. That in oils? it looks more like knife work than brush...

    3. Tacodidra

      Tacodidra

      Awesome work! :pinkie:

    4. Longhaul

      Longhaul

      @Snow @Flutterstep @Lord Valtasar @Rikifive  @Tacodidra  Thank you very much.

      @CypherHoof It's in oils, combination of brush and knife work.

  11. Happy Hearthswarming, everyone. Not doing much of anything, just taking it easy today.
  12. Happy Hearthswarming, everyone.

    1. CypherHoof

      CypherHoof

      Hey Longhaul *boops*

      Good to see you, and Happy Hearthwarming to you too.

    2. Tacodidra

      Tacodidra

      Happy Hearth's Warming, my friend! :raritycutehat:

  13. Happy Luna Day! Boops to all that want or need them.
  14. This comment isn't related to anything being discussed.