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!
fialleril: [just pay attention, then patch a few words together] (universal translator)
I...didn't expect a lot of things in that closing ceremony. (Hell yes, Spice Girls! Eric Idle! Nuns on rollerblades!) But it was a lot of fun.

And really, what a good Olympics. In spite of NBC's fail, in spite of some judging issues and cheating scandals, on a whole, such a good Olympics. The phoenix rising above the Olympic flame at the end was such a good touch.

There's just something really beautiful about seeing people come together from all over the world to share a celebration of things they enjoy and, really, a celebration of humanity. There's a reason this is literally the only sporting event I really care about. And this year was really special. So many epic moments, so many amazing athletes from all over the world.

Such a good Olympics. I will miss it on my screen every day.
fialleril: [when the time comes to let it go, to let it go] (to live in this world)

Mary is kicking demonic ass. With a club.

This is my new favorite picture in the entire world.
fialleril: [the fires and the black river of loss whose other side is salvation] (Tatooine)
I'm feeling whiny and childish today, obviously. But I have an excuse: I have my first cold of the year, and it's a doozy. I had to stay home from work today because I felt so awful. Also, I can't really breathe, and I hate that.

But in other, much more exciting news, I got a package from [ profile] starfoozle today. It was full of good and wonderful things. Namely: a cute little note, the book Life of Pi (which I've been meaning to read for a while), and three gorgeous little sketches of desert scenes from Arizona. Thank you so much, hun!
fialleril: [death is the road to awe] (redeem the time)
From [ profile] albumsontheside this time.

1. Reply to this post, and I will pick six of your icons.
2. Make a post (including the meme info) and talk about the icons I chose.
3. Other people can then comment to you and make their own posts.
4. This will create a never-ending cycle of icon glee.

icons and explanations under here )
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... )
fialleril: [the fires and the black river of loss whose other side is salvation] (Default)
I'm sure most of you have seen this already, but I just had to share. Some of these pictures brought tears to my eyes.

America reacts to Obama's election...

And the world celebrates.

This victory, the way it's brought so much of the world together in celebration and renewed really is a beautiful thing.
fialleril: [the fires and the black river of loss whose other side is salvation] (Default)
I got back from the American Academy of Religion meeting yesterday around 1:00 and went straight to class (ugh!), and then the election watching party. (Because sleep is for pansies, apparently.)

I have so many things to talk about from the AAR meeting that I decided I'd break them up into separate posts by topic. I figured I'd start with election-related things, since I'm still pretty exited about what went down last night. ;)

The AAR meeting was in Chicago this year, and was it ever a wild and exciting place to be! The whole city seemed to be energized with a kind of buzzing excitement, and everywhere you went there were Obama stickers, Obama T-shirts, entire shops filled with nothing but Obama merchandise, people on the street with megaphones - some of them all but convinced that Obama was the messiah, others arguing that he wasn't black enough to really understand black America. On Monday I walked through Grant Park and looked at the tents and everything that was being set up for the party/rally on Tuesday night. It was really an exciting place to be, just filled with so much energy.

And then on Tuesday morning I had to leave. If I had known back when I made my reservations that Obama would win the primaries and that he would be back in Chicago on election night - yeah, there's no way I would have left. But unfortunately I'd made my reservations way in advance, so I was back in Atlanta on Tuesday night.

I've got to tell you, I'm excited about the symbolism of Obama's election. (I'm excited about a lot of the concrete details, too, but right now I want to talk about the symbolism.) Of course there's been a lot of talk in the news about America electing our first black president, but I'm not sure anyone has really captured how momentous that is. I certainly don't think I can capture it.

But I think this is a symbolic victory in areas other than race, too. Not only have we elected a black man, we've elected a black man named Barack Obama. That's a name that many, many people have thought "doesn't sound American," and Americans tend to have a well-known fear of and distrust for "foreigners." And indeed the McCain campaign tried very hard to paint Obama as foreign and other (and therefore by implication dangerous and untrustworthy).

It didn't work.

That alone I think is something truly beautiful. I saw it embodied in the people I met in Chicago, and dare I say it, but it actually gives me a lot of hope for this country.

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] (I am Troy Davis)
As many of you know, Troy Davis was scheduled to be executed in Atlanta tonight at midnight. The Georgia Board of Pardons & Paroles refused to grant him clemency or even a court hearing for the evidence of his innocence. But the United States Supreme Court intervened to stay the execution just hours before it was scheduled to take place.

Thank you so much to everyone who sent letters and e-mails and signed the petition! Even if Georgia didn't listen, our voices were heard, and the national and international outcry about this case was strong enough to make the Supreme Court take notice. For the first time, Troy Davis has a real chance of having the evidence for his innocence heard.

Please keep Troy and his family in your thoughts and prayers.
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] (Olympics)
I just finished watching yesterday's men's team sprint finals in track cycling, in which Britain took gold, France took silver, and Germany took bronze. Really all the winners were awesome. I just love watching teams congratulate and hug each other after the meet/match is over. And watching them hug their loved ones in the stands was wonderful. But once again the bronze medalists stole my heart when one of the German cyclists, after finishing the race, started crying in joy because his team had won bronze.

What can I say? I just love seeing people thrilled and ecstatic over bronze medal wins. :)

Also, on a much more superficial note: Does the German team not have the greatest helmets ever?

I submit to you that they do.
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.

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



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. 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.


the rest are under here )

Also, here is an icon of a Darfuri boy:

October 2012

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