fialleril: [the fires and the black river of loss whose other side is salvation] (light the sky and hold on tight)
This is so cool!

Marco Tempest combines projection mapping and pop-up books to tell the story of Nikola Tesla, and everything about it is awesome. Give it a watch!

I am not a princess

Saturday, August 25th, 2012 05:32 pm
fialleril: [rebel girl you are the queen of my world] (rebel)
My sister introduced me to this video when she was here over the summer, and it is one of the greatest things, you all should watch it immediately. You know, if you want.

A dance group put together a routine of "twisted fairy tales" set to a compilation of Marina and the Diamonds music. They use Snow White, Sleepy Beauty, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, and the Little Mermaid, but the stories are put together so that they emphasize women's choices. I don't want to spoil the fairy tale endings too much, but I will say my favorite endings are the Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast story lines.

Basically, a great compilation of stories about women making their own destinies, with a wonderfully diverse cast and great choreography. Give it a watch.

fialleril: [look how they shine for you] (stars - Uhura)
Just watched it live, so spoilers under here, if you're planning to suffer through NBC's no doubt awful coverage tonight.

spoilers! )
fialleril: [all the movies should be about mothers and daughters] (Brave)
So I saw Brave for the second time yesterday, and it is still the greatest. I won't really spoil it here, for those who haven't seen it, but I will say this (at risk of being called a fandom heretic):

I've enjoyed some Pixar movies before, but I've usually found them predictable and, while enjoyable despite that, not nearly up to the hype they usually get. Brave is the first Pixar movie I have ever really liked, as in liked enough to purchase and watch again and again and show to all of my friends. It's just a gorgeous story, not only visually rich but also incredibly nuanced plotwise. It's a coming of age story that makes sense to me, that treats all of its major players with respect and care and depth.

I am darkly amused by the fact that the only Pixar movie I've ever found truly innovative and deeply moving is the same movie that most Hollywood critics are saying isn't up to Pixar's usual standards. Darkly amused, but not surprised. It's not up to snuff because it's about mothers and daughters instead of fathers and sons, because ladies and their relationships with each other are just not universal stories, etc, etc, ad nauseum.

Personally, I think all the stories should be about mothers and daughters. ALL OF THEM. All the Pixar stories, too. Give me more movies like Brave, and I might actually start to understand what all the Pixar hype is about.

a wild meme appears

Monday, June 27th, 2011 02:18 pm
fialleril: [still my favorite film Holmes] (Basil of Baker Street)
Stolen from [livejournal.com profile] elle_white, because it's about time I do something not Loki-related on this journal I guess.

Give me a top 5 (any top 5) and I will comment with my top 5 with reasons.
fialleril: [the fires and the black river of loss whose other side is salvation] (Ishmael Beah)
I have to run soon, but just in case there's anyone who hasn't heard today's great news yet:

Today President Obama signed an executive order that not only puts an end to CIA torture and abuse of "detainees," but also orders the closing of US secret prisons around the world and provides for Red Cross access to all US-held "detainees."

The executive order also creates a special task force which will review the Army Field Manual's interrogation guidelines and determine whether "different or additional guidance" is needed for the CIA.

Finally, sanity has returned!
fialleril: [the fires and the black river of loss whose other side is salvation] (Ishmael Beah)
There are times when I really love living in Atlanta. I can't imagine a better place to be for the inauguration of President Barack Obama (save perhaps the Washington Mall!). Here in Martin Luther King Jr.'s city, just a day after we celebrated his life and work, his spirit looms especially large over today's inauguration.

I won't say that the dream has been achieved. Even I'm not quite that naive. But as President Obama himself said, the fact that he could be standing before the nation today, taking the highest oath of office, in a country where merely sixty years ago his father would not even have been served in a local restaurant - that's a powerful symbol. It's an idea that has immense potential to effect reality.

And it's got me thinking about something I've been meaning to post for a while. I've seen and heard a lot of people, both in mainstream media and online blogs and even in coffee shops, saying that it doesn't matter that Obama is a black man. All that matters is his policies.

I can understand where those people are coming from. And maybe in one way it is a fulfillment of the dream, if they really are judging him by the content of his character and not by the color of his skin.

And yet at the same time, as a white girl who still has so much to learn about race, I have to say: I think you kind of have to be white to say that it doesn't matter.

"Say it plain," Elizabeth Alexander says, "that many have died for this day."

It's a raw truth, and something I'd somehow managed to avoid for most of my life. That's white privilege for you, I suppose. But here, in Martin Luther King's city, you can't avoid it. It soaks the air and cries out from the streets and you breathe it in with each rise and fall of your chest. This country has never had a reconciliation for its "original sin." And there are days when it feels like the things we don't talk about are eating this city alive.

America is a very young country. Less than 200 years ago, men and women who looked like Michelle and Barack Obama were kept as property and denied the most basic human rights. Even 60 years ago, Barack Obama's father would not have been allowed to eat in a DC restaurant. Lynchings are still not things of the past, and the highly disproportionate number of black men being murdered by the state in the name of justice speaks for itself.

"Say it plain," she says, "that many have died for this day."

Barack Obama's election does not put an end to racism by any stretch of the imagination. But it is an immensely powerful symbol.

And yes, it matters.

Read Elizabeth Alexander's whole poem here. I highly recommend it!
fialleril: [the fires and the black river of loss whose other side is salvation] (Default)
Apologies for another long absence! (I swear I'm going to catch up on reading everyone's posts soon!)

Like the title says, I spent this last Friday-Sunday in Fort Benning, Georgia, protesting the School of the Americas (or as they like to call it now, the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation - WHINSEC). This is the second year I've gone to the protest, and it was once again an amazing experience.

A little background on the school: SOA / WHINSEC is a school run by the US military under the direction of the Department of Defense, whose mission is to train Latin American military personnel, police, and on occasion civilians in combat and counter-insurgency tactics. The school has taught the use of torture, extortion, disappearances, and executions as "counter-insurgency tactics," and many of the most notorious abusers of human rights in Latin America are graduates of SOA / WHINSEC. These include the dictators Manuel Noriega and Omar Torrijos of Panama, Leopoldo Galtieri and Roberto Viola of Argentina, Juan Velasco Alvarado of Peru, Guillermo Rodriguez of Ecuador, and Hugo Banzer Suarez of Bolivia. Graduates are also responsible for the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero and the six Jesuits, their co-worker Elba Ramos, and her daughter in El Salvador, as well as the infamous massacre at El Mozote, where 900 civilians - men, women and children - were murdered. (These 900 people were, of course, the "insurgents.")

Read more, and have some pictures... )

update on Troy Davis

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008 11:00 pm
fialleril: [the fires and the black river of loss whose other side is salvation] (I am Troy Davis)
There is no ruling yet from the Supreme Court on Troy Davis' case, but there is a bit of good news: on Tuesday at noon, the warrant for his execution ran out. So even if the Supreme Court doesn't return a favorable verdict for Davis, the State of Georgia will still have to issue a new warrant for execution, which will take time.

The Supreme Court is expected to deliver a decision on October 6. Please keep Troy and his family and friends in your thoughts and prayers.

Beneath the cut is a letter Troy Davis sent to his supporters on September 22.



Read more )
fialleril: [the fires and the black river of loss whose other side is salvation] (Olympics 3)
I didn't post about the previous set of finals, but really, what was there to say except that Nastia was robbed? Every other Olympic sport allows ties. Why can't gymnastics?

But for today's finals I have these things to say. Under a cut for spoilers.

but I'll probably just talk about bronze medalists anyway )

And I thought it was all over, but now the trampoline finals are on too! Most excellent.
fialleril: [the fires and the black river of loss whose other side is salvation] (Olympics 3)
The men's 100m final was AMAZING. And for once, I really have to squee about the gold medalist. Jamaica's Usain Bolt (who is very appropriately named, LOL) was so far ahead of the pack that he started celebrating before he even reached the finish line, and it was just so fun to watch. He broke the world record, too, but he wasn't concerned about that, because he'd just won Jamaica's first gold in the 100m. And his mom's reaction in the stands was just great! :D

To top it all off, both the silver and bronze medalists were celebrating like they'd just won the lottery. Most excellent race ever.

Watch it here.
fialleril: [the fires and the black river of loss whose other side is salvation] (beautiful)
I just found this interview with Dominic Maurice, a former "Lost Boy" of Sudan and friend of Lopez Lomong. It's quite interesting, and definitely worth the read. Check it out!

The war started and the government mandated that all boys from our tribe be killed...
fialleril: [the fires and the black river of loss whose other side is salvation] (Olympics 3)
I'm only just getting the chance to watch the women's team finals in gymnastics, though I already know how it ends, and I'm anticipating all the falls with dread.

But right now I just have to say this. Brazil's Daiane dos Santos on floor rocks my world.

She might not have had the most astonishing technical feats, or gotten the highest score, but her presence on the floor was just stunning. Her entire routine was like a dance, and she never stopped moving. So many of the other gymnasts seem to be just filling space between their big leaping numbers, but every one of Daiane's movements seemed carefully choreographed and meaningful. Her routine was exuberant and joyful and alive, and watching her made me feel all those things, too.

I still don't know much about gymnastics, but I think that's the mark of a great athlete.

fialleril: [the fires and the black river of loss whose other side is salvation] (beautiful)
Today's Olympic hero is without a doubt Benjamin Boukpeti. Those of you with TVs have probably heard all about him, but he's worth talking about some more.

Boukpeti took bronze for Togo in the men's single kayak event yesterday, becoming the first black man ever to medal in a slalom event and winning Togo's first ever Olympic medal in a Summer Games.

When he finished the race he snapped his paddle in glee.



I'm beginning to think bronze medalists are the best kind. ;)

You can read more about Boukpeti's story here.

And, predictably, I made icons.

Rules:
[x] Comments are nice. :)
[x] Credit me
[x] No hotlinking!
[x] Textless icons are not bases. Please do not alter.

Samples:

.:..:.

the rest under here )
fialleril: [the fires and the black river of loss whose other side is salvation] (Olympics)
The Chinese took a well deserved gold, and the Japanese certainly worked hard for their silver. But, perhaps predictably, what I want to talk about is the US men who took bronze.

There's a number of reasons why the US men's gymnastic team is my Olympic story for the day. (And yeah, I do have an Olympic story per day. Sad, I know, but I'm not ashamed.) For one thing, they weren't exactly favored to win, or even to be much of a factor, and I always like that in a team. But what I really loved about them was their attitude.

See, the only thing I love more than seeing a dark horse take gold is seeing a silver or bronze medalist absolutely ecstatic about their win. So often you see medalists who think that they lost gold, instead of winning silver or bronze, and it's just so refreshing to see people who are wild about winning, no matter what the color of the medal is.

And let's face it - the US team was superb. Jonathan Horton was the king of perfect landings, not only on his own team, but for the entire competition. Alexander Artemev on pommel horse absolutely blew me away.

But I think my Olympic hero for the day is actually Raj Bhavsar. He wasn't the most showy of the US gymnasts, and he even had at least one less than stellar routine. In fact, he said himself that he knows he's not the best gymnast on the team. (And yeah, I'll admit, that kind of honesty gets me every time.) What he is brilliant at, though, is keeping cool even when things go wrong, and maybe more importantly, at helping his teammates keep cool too.

Raj was passed over for the 2004 Olympics, and almost passed over this year, too. He was selected as an alternate, and made it onto the team when the Hamms stepped down because of injury. He thought he'd missed out on the Olympics twice, but he still kept himself ready enough to perform at the Olympic level. And I can't help but admire that.

See more epic picspam here.
fialleril: [the fires and the black river of loss whose other side is salvation] (Olympics 2)
Yet more Olympics spam. Sorry to everyone who's getting sick of it.

Everyone's talking about Michael Phelps and his win yesterday, and while I'm happy for him, I can't help but feel that people are missing the truly awesome story here. Namely, Park Tae-hwan in the 400 meter free style.

As a teenager at his first Olympics in Athens, Park fell off the podium before start time and was disqualified without ever getting to swim. This year, he came back to Beijing and "redeemed" himself with some serious style: not only taking South Korea's first ever swimming medal, but making it a gold and a world record breaker at that.

Now that's an Olympic story. :D
fialleril: [the fires and the black river of loss whose other side is salvation] (Olympics 3)
Which I still have not found video of. At least, not for the show part. I have seen the Parade of Nations and the torch lighting. But I did find still photos of the show. And...it looks to have been epic. If anyone knows where to find video for the show part of the Opening Ceremony specifically, please link me!

EDIT: I finally saw it. It was...amazing. Yes.

Anyway, I made icons. For a show I have not seen. Also I made icons of Lopez Lomong, because he is just that awesome.

Y'all know the rules. Comment, credit, don't hotlink. I don't mind if you use these as bases, so long as you credit me. :) Have fun.

Samples:
.:..:..:.

the rest are under here )

Also, here is an icon of a Darfuri boy:
fialleril: [the fires and the black river of loss whose other side is salvation] (Default)
As many of you know, I don't own a TV, so I ended up watching the Olympic Games Opening Ceremonies a day late online. I'm not usually much of a sports fan, but the Olympics are the great exception.

As I watched the Parade of Nations in the Opening Ceremony, I was primarily struck simply by how beautiful all the people were. Here were all these people, from so many different nations and in so many different styles of dress, all gathered together and in peace.

It was one of those moments that really restored my faith in humanity. And made me think that, for all its issues, the Olympics really does live up to its purpose sometimes.

I'm sure most of you have heard something of the controversy surrounding this year's Olympic Games in Beijing. One of the best things that's come out of these Olympics is the renewed media attention to the ongoing genocide and humanitarian crisis in Darfur, Sudan. China continues to be one of the leading purchasers of Sudanese oil, as well as a covert supporter of the Sudanese government responsible for the continuing genocide.

Over 400 Olympic athletes and former Olympians from around the world have joined Team Darfur, a coalition of athletes dedicated to raising awareness of the genocide in Darfur and to bringing it to an end. You can see a list of specific members and their home countries here. (They even have a member from China, which is awesome. The American team has 72.)

The American flag in the Parade of Nations was carried by Lopez Lomong, which not only restored some of my faith in humanity, but even some of my faith in my country. Lomong is a 1500 meter runner and a former "Lost Boy" of Sudan, and he was chosen by a vote of team captains to bear the American flag for his team, just 13 months after becoming a citizen himself. He is also a member of Team Darfur, and wants to use his visibility to bring attention to the suffering of people in his home country. (Check out his bio here and a more in depth look at his story in his own words here.)

It's been a while since I've felt really proud to be an American, but these athletes, our Olympic team...that's something I really am proud of.

Quote for the day:
" When we were in Africa, we didn't know what was there for us as kids--we just ran. God was planning all of this stuff for me, and I didn't know. Now I'm using running to get the word out about how horrible things were back in Sudan during the war. Sometimes these things are not on CNN, so if I put out the word, I hope people can get the information. Right now, similar terrible things are going on in Darfur; people are running out of Darfur, and I put myself in their shoes."
- Lopez Lomong
fialleril: [By virtue of all I have done, may the pain of every living creature be completely cleared away.] (Aang)
It's a day later, and my thoughts are no more articulate than they were last night. This show...you guys, it's just beautiful. I'm completely blown away.

And I had to make this icon before I did anything else. I'm sure there will be many more finale icons in the near future, but I had to make this one first. Because...you guys, Aang is amazing. I've always liked him, of course. I don't think it's possible to dislike Aang. But this finale has catapulted him onto my list of favorite fictional characters of all time.

more squeeing beneath the cut )
fialleril: [the fires and the black river of loss whose other side is salvation] (beautiful)
This post will probably be fairly controversial. But it's something I can't get out of my mind, and I wanted to do something that might raise a bit of awareness. So, beneath the cut are 17 icons of child soldiers, as well as 8 icons of Ishmael Beah, a survivor from Sierra Leone who now advocates for other children caught in similar circumstances.

New York City, 1998

My high school friends have begun to suspect I haven't told them the full story of my life.
"Why did you leave Sierra Leone?"
"Because there is a war."
"Did you witness some of the fighting?"
"Everyone in the country did."
"You mean you saw people running around with guns and shooting each other?"
"Yes, all the time."
"Cool."
I smile a little.
"You should tell us about it sometime."
"Yes, sometime."
---- from the introduction to A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah


'This gun will soon belong to you, so you had better learn not to be afraid of it.' )

Please visit Invisible Children for ways you can get involved, and sign the petition in support of the Child Soldier Prevention Act here.

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