family threatened by member of society

I Might...Part II

I just got an email from said Cousin, and I’ve been given permission to give out his name. Zac wrote a really short rough draft and I decided I might as well share because it touches on some subjects I thought might interest you all. I will show screen shots of the email for those who may be skeptical (No one has claimed they are but just in case) and copy and paste what is sent so you all can read it without an issue. 

Keep reading

It’s time to reveal the winners of the Everyday Hero contest we ran in North America earlier this year! The contest asked you to submit a picture and accompanying background information of your very own Everyday Hero, with the first place finalist securing a $10,000 scholarship fund provided by our Everyday Hero Scholarship Fund.

We were absolutely blown away by the amount of amazing entries we received, and were incredibly touched by the many different everyday heroes that were nominated. Many heroes were highlighted for their efforts in their respective workplaces, often for going above and beyond the call of duty or perhaps simply for fulfilling vital but often overlooked roles in today’s society. We saw family members be nominated for their inspiring life stories in the face of, in some cases life threatening, adversities. It was also fantastic to see so many people be nominated for both the great and little things they do in everyday life, their contributions to making the world a better place each and every day. This contest truly demonstrated that there is no one single definition of an everyday hero and that such amazing individuals can come in all shapes and sizes and from all walks of life.

Given the staggering amount of high quality entries, we decided to take a little more time than initially expected to thoroughly work through each and every entry and we really do appreciate your patience over the past few weeks. It was a difficult task picking out the finalists, but we ultimately settled on three submissions… so, without further ado, here are finalists of the Everyday Heroes Scholarship Fund 2016 contest!

First Place and winner of the Everyday Heroes Scholarship Fund 2016 contest:

Everyday Heroes! - Alex L. (Winner)

It was pouring rain! The Austrian volunteers have saved the night by helping a soaked mother and child from freezing and gave them new dry clothes on, so they could again feel comfortable. You are safe now.

“This picture combines perfectly both the core of the “Everyday Heroes” theme and artistic and technical qualities. The play on the looks and gestures of the people captures really tells the story of both the mother and child and the volunteers. We can see that they truly care for those people and commit themselves completely to this job. On the technical side the composition, exposure, sharpness, focus and vibrant colors are really great.”

Second Place:

Be Your Own Ice Cream Flavor - Chloe S.(Finalist)

There is a common weight that all must share to qualify as human. I was not aware of this until recently. I thought the weight assigned to my character was a flaw. I thought I was not sufficient to be a human. This weight can also be known as definition. Some may find his or her own definition through adversity, others may have had a definition made out for him or her from the womb. How one deals with adversity is how he or she builds up a definition. A norm has been cast to ensure many people cope with difficulties in the same way. This creates a problem, boxes. Boxes are a level of definition that can be harmful. Fear is what builds the box and maintains its presence. Some individuals are too scared to tread away from norms, and become anxious or scared. Others have found a way around the obstacle and have truly become individual. The former keeps people very much alike. Those individuals create their own prisons, and some are unable to escape it and find his or her own definitions. Andrew Fine is an Advanced Placement English Language teacher and someone I believe everyone should meet. He is one of the most genuine and kind human beings the world has to offer. Never have I ever been able to trust an adult so wholeheartedly. He was the first person I was able to come out to. He gained the reputation of trust through this disposition; he emulates the type of feeling one would share with an old friend. It is through his class that I was able to realize that I was human. On the first day of my Junior year, I recall him talking about what is wrong with boxes. Men are shoved into the BE A MAN BOX, and women are placed with the GIRL POWER FLOWERS. Typically, there are people to contend with how fundamental boxes are. As a homosexual male he has pushed towards both sides of that spectrum. His gender forced him to comply to the be a man box the first years of his life. It never fit him to do everything traditionally. Mirroring that, there was a threat presented, the parts of the box that did qualify may be stripped from him by individuals who pride themselves on being traditional. From the experiences placed before him Mr. Fine has learned not to hate. This is the second lesson he places upon the class’s shoulders. It is easier to hate than love, but hate festers into more hate for the things one loves. As a man of many talents, Mr. Fine is outstanding. He can make anyone’s day better from simply being a part of it. Whether this is product of his musical talent, writing genius or ability to persevere is beyond me. He might as well be the most sung unsung hero. Somehow, even with having 120 students a year Mr.Fine has found a way to gain a personal connection with each one. It is hard to leave his class without regarding him fondly; beyond that not many people can say he or she knows who he is. I believe that he has helped changed the atmosphere at my school. The students that have participated in his classes have implantations of his ideals on love and equality. We carry these gems with us post-graduation and try to enlighten anyone facing a negative standpoint. This start of inspiration is not something just anyone can do without knowing his or her own definition. I stayed in the Girl Power Flower box for the better years of my life, I deeply hated myself and saw no potential in my being. The energy each individual is granted upon participating in his class is healing; it was enough to fuel my escape. With Mr.Fine’s wisdom I was able to come out with who I am. I know now that I do not have to feel inhuman for not being able to function as a heterosexual female comfortably; I am a human who may define as they wish to. I have Mr.Fine to thank for my life now. My full gratitude goes out to him, he was someone I needed to meet.

“There is a true sense of “slice of life” in this picture, a genuine feeling of looking at a human being that is passionate about his job and his students. The moment is captured perfectly and the smile and expression on the teacher shows all his dedication. The composition is great, framing the teacher between his white board and the raised hands and books of those students captivated by his lesson illustrates in a great way the importance of his vocation.”

Third Place:

A Fighting Chance - Michael S. (Finalist)

My everyday hero comes in the form of two brothers, Edwin and Carlos C., who constantly thrive to support their community through the art of boxing. Their non-profit gym nestled deep within the city of Lawrence, Massachusetts first opened its’ door back in 2008 as a means to keep the youth off the streets. Not just the youth though train here, people from all walks of life come to the gym and are welcomed. The C. brothers work tirelessly to take care of others before themselves ensuring that all those who train at the gym have a healthy and bright future ahead. Through boxing they want people to install themselves with life lessons, to bravely march forward with the knowledge that they can do anything. They both constantly sacrifice their free time to help others, but to them there is no greater satisfaction than giving back. Heroes come in all shapes and sizes, for me Edwin and Carlos C. define what it means to be an everday hero. To inspire and give back without asking for nothing in return. #everydayheroes

“The photographer managed to capture a picture that resonates with his words and captured what he saw in those two people. With the close-up framing we feel ourselves close to the two brothers through this picture. We can feel how important to them are the gym and the people who come here.”

Honorable Mentions:

The Game of Compassion - Anthony C. (Honorable Mention)

In my travels, I met the homeless gentleman playing chess on the right, who’s named Francis. I was intrigued and asked to play a game with him and he happily accepted. I learned that he sets up his chess board there every single day. He teaches others how to play, and during the games he just listens to what they have to say. Everyday he plays countless games and listens to others’ problems. To just listen and spread the love of chess seems to simple, but it’s actually a very powerful thing. He may be homeless, but that’s not stopping him from lending his ears to others. Sometimes all we need is someone to listen to us. To just be able to listen and give others his time when he has nothing else, that makes him my everyday hero. He gives all that he can even with nothing.

This entry is very moving and the story behind it really reached us. The picture is well thought and puts the viewer close to the two protagonists, creating a great “photojournalism” style photo. The only drawback that refrained us to put this entry in the top 3 is that the composition doesn’t isolate well enough the main protagonist, the viewer’s eye is drawn to the tarp to the right or to the noisy wire fencing.

A Small Hand - Jillian D. (Honorable Mention)

My mom is an amazing woman. She has the courage to leave an abusive relationship and become a single parent to four children. Since then, she has been unemployed, gone through a house fire, and struggled with the daily ridicule of her peers. Yet, despite all of this, she still remains the same strong, caring woman who raised me and continues to pass on her loving nature to others.

There is a lot of subtle storytelling in this picture, the movement of the mother while the kid is still hesitating to move shows perfectly the role of the parents, to guide and bring their kids forward in life. It’s a minor issue but we think that the picture would have worked even better without the car in the background, which reduces a bit the readability and importance of the mother.

Underground, or Sympathy for the Devil's Agents pt. 3

From a series on Mawaru Penguindrum’s literary influences.

Here there be spoilers.

Penguindrum humanizes the people who would be attracted to Aum Shinrikyo without ever justifying the group’s actions. Penguindrum replaces Aum with the KIGA Group, a vague but far-reaching organization led by Sanetoshi. The Takakuras’ parents were higher ups in the KIGA Group who coordinated and committed the subway attacks. The outside world in Penguindrum is depicted as cruel, oppressive, and unfeeling. Background characters are anonymous, literally faceless, and the process of rendering them this way is explained as function of society through the Child Broiler – an enormous machine that processes children who exist “outside society,” meaning that they are either uncared for or nonconforming, by breaking them apart and reforging them as model citizens.

The Child Broiler - a metaphor for how a mechanistic utilitarian society crushes the spirits of those whom it doesn’t deem useful.

Most of the characters’ backstories serve to explore the ways in which society accomplishes this. Keiju Tabuki went to the Child Broiler after he was abandoned by his talent-obsessed mother, who discarded him after his piano skills - and thus his utility to her - dried up. Yuri Tokikago was raised by a misogynistic, abusive father who taught her to aspire towards an unachievable standard of beauty and that she is neither worthy nor capable of being loved. Masako Natsume’s grandfather is a fascist patriarch whose demand for a male heir threatens to destroy her sensitive younger brother Mario, while her own leadership abilities are overlooked. Members of the KIGA group, in contrast, are depicted as caring, driven individuals with a strong sense of justice. Kenzan and Chiemi Takakura rebel against the society that maintains the Child Broiler – and thus the idea that people without value are disposable – by adopting Himari and Kanba into their family. Their great flaw is that, in their righteousness, they are misled by Sanetoshi, who only desires to spew violence and chaos. In this way, Ikuhara sympathizes with Aum Shinrikyo members’ status as outcasts, as people disillusioned with and seeking an alternative to traditional, utilitarian society. Instead, he condemns their willingness to suspend their judgment – their selves – over to a charismatic individual and inflict violence on innocent people. Where Murakami calls for vigilance against other “Aum-like” entities that could rise up and sow violence throughout Japanese society, Ikuhara criticizes the society that drives people to those entities and proposes an alternative. Instead, he says, we discard the idea that society’s default social unit, the traditional or “nuclear” family, is the only option and to allow people to create surrogate “families” based on mutual sacrifice and love, not blood relation.

In the final episode, the idea of “families bound by blood” is reframed not as genetic relation but rather blood loss or suffering. The red string of fate - the Eastern version of the Western concept of soul mates - is also reframed to its more ancient definition of two people who are bound to meet and influence one another, but not necessarily in a romantic way. The penguin-shaped circles seen here and in the opening are revealed to be an abstract representation of blood - red blood cells.

Underground was very much a question and a warning, “there is a sign indicating that there is something Very Wrong going on in our society, and we must not, despite our inclinations, bury our heads in the sand, but the issue is so complex that it almost seems unresolvable without demolishing society and rebuilding it from the ground up, which just isn’t going to happen. So what is wrong? And what should we do about it? For now, keep your eyes open, part of your mind dislodged. Think, watch, and be careful.” Mawaru Penguindrum is, in contrast, is an answer. It blames society for creating stratifications based on “worth” that are really tied to an arbitrary, patriarchal ideal, and making some people inherently “disposable.” This system, in contrast to its stated purpose, stifles ingenuity and impels the truly driven to act futilely against it. A solution to this ensure that everyone can be loved by someone by destroying the idea that people linked by blood relation should serve as the privileged family unit.

You know the thing is, I wish (and I hope) that Niall understands that these people are NOT fans. They’re not fans of Niall, and they are certainly not fans of One Direction. Though unfortunately it has become hallmark of several fandoms, ours included, to be participant in this gross, unnecessary, and often criminal behavior, it is not representative of the fan base at large.

If you are someone who gets some sort of satisfaction out of angering, scaring, threatening, stalking, or otherwise abusing another human being, you need to seek medical help for yourself. It’s not okay and it’s not normal and it’s not acceptable. This is not how civilized and productive members of society behave and engage in that society, and moreover, you are certainly not welcome in MY fandom. I have never and will never seek out any of the boys or their families or their friends in any way or fashion that goes beyond professional engagement (i.e. A concert or event at which they are present). This is how you engage with a celebrity as their fan.

To seek out that celebrity when they are outside of these engagements is wrong. To threaten or harass them or their families is criminal and deserves to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

You are not welcome in this fandom to me if you engage in these things, no matter where your loyalties lie. I don’t care about shipping, I don’t care about stanning, I don’t care about any of that more than I care about those boys and their families and their wellbeing. Get out of my fandom with that bullshit.

gokusdonut replied to your post:Do you agree that vegeta’s character development is the best??

i like gohan’s character development the best, mostly because, like goku, i watched him grow up. <333

Ahhh yes GOHAN, bb!  ;o;  He goes from super sweet, shy daddy’s boy:

To traumatized crybaby:

(TOTALLY understandable since his uncle kidnapped him, his dad died, and now some creepy green dude who wants to use him to take over the world later has kidnapped him.  BTW, Two Kidnappings and a Funeral would be a good title for a movie.)

To stronger, but still peeing himself:

To getting in touch with his Saiyan roots, learning to handle his fear, and being a little more confident as a warrior… but ultimately still too weak to do very much:

To turning into a total BA:

During times of peace, he’s able to express himself and develop his personality and hobbies outside of constant training and planet-threatening situations.  We find out what we’ve always suspected about him… that he’s an ultimate dork:

But he gets reacquainted with his BA side:

And after all this, he still keeps his positive and kind heart, becomes highly-educated and a respected member of society and on top of it all gets an adorable family.

Gohan wins at life.

Finding Solace

A request from Bex, who wanted to see a drabble where Caroline spends the night at Klaus’ house after being attacked. Enjoy!

There was a beautiful painting on the wall. A steady stream of water surged through the forest floor, with rays of sunshine breaking through the trees. It was bright, and peaceful, regardless of the tumult of the painter, and Caroline found herself staring at it through her blurred vision, focusing on the idyllic scene, the world around her fading into a dull haze.

“Caroline, love, keep your eyes open!”

The world was moving around her, Caroline could just about feel her body being shifted, but she didn’t care. She just wanted to stare at the beautiful painting.

“I’m so sorry sweetheart, but this will hurt.”

A sharp pain tore through her chest, hitting very, very, close to her heart and Caroline couldn’t help the sharp cry that sprang from her mouth. The beautiful painting was taken from her as her body moved so that she was now flat on her back. She tried to turn her head and find the painting but a gentle grip on her chin forced her to look up, straight into a pair of angry, worried eyes.

“Klaus?” she whispered feebly.  

“Easy love, just let me get the last two bullets out.” She felt the warm press of his fingers against her skin, and then the pain was back, ripping through her and she bit her lip to keep in her whimpers, tasting blood as the skin on her lip broke.  Her eyelids drooped, the promise of oblivion just on the horizon, but Klaus was having none of it. Before she could lose herself to the darkness, she was lifted up, an arm around her shoulders as a bloodied wrist was placed in front of her face, her vampire instincts kicking in immediately. Her fangs clamped down on the proffered blood and she drank greedily.

“I know this isn’t a werewolf venom emergency,” muttered Klaus as he rested his chin on her head, a mirror of that night long ago when he first promised her the world, “but you need to heal immediately, so I thought you wouldn’t mind.”

“I don’t,” Caroline said weakly as she pulled back slightly, feeling the haze dissipating and her strength returning, and with it, the full memory of what had happened to her that night. She made no move to leave Klaus’ embrace, but looked around the bedroom they were in, taking in the light blue walls and wide French windows. The bed they sat on had beautifully embroidered sheets, and the painting she had been staring at occupied a place of honour across the room. It was all lovely, but she couldn’t help but think this wasn’t exactly Klaus’ taste.

“How did you find me?” Caroline asked.

“I had some business in the Quarter and I heard whispers of the humans making another attempt on a vampire. I’m sorry you had to find yourself in the middle of that.”

“Who was that girl? The one who shot me ?”

“Camille O’Connell. She’s fashioned herself as the head of the human faction, he’s under some delusion that she can drive out the vampires. This is  actually the worst she’s managed to do, I should’ve chased her and killed her already but I thought –” His voiced halted for a moment and his hold on her tightened. “I thought you were dead.”

They fell into a heavy silence, Caroline subconsciously leaning back into Klaus’ chest, enjoying the feeling of his long fingers pulling through her hair.

“So why did this Camille person want to kill me anyway?” Caroline couldn’t help but ask.

Klaus grimaced, “She’s had a few – ah – unfortunate experiences with vampires in the recent past. Lost a few family members, now out for revenge. Most everyone ignores it.”

 “Why am I not surprised?” asked Caroline with a light snort.

“I think it’s time we discuss more important matters, sweetheart,” said Klaus grimly, and Caroline sighed, knowing this conversation was inevitable.

“Guess you’re curious?” she asked, fidgeting in his hold slightly.

Klaus shifted them so that he sat against the headboard, Caroline in his lap. “I’m very curious,” he said with a smirk.

“It’s a long story – secret societies, a witch or two, typical life-threatening drama,” she said with a sigh and roll of her eyes. “Bottom line – it was messy.”

“Do you need my help them?” asked Klaus, his voice guarded.

“Have some faith – we took care of it. But I needed to get out of Mystic Falls, so here I am.” Caroline smile shyly, but followed it with a yawn and a grimace as the movement hurt her still sore chest.

“You can give me the details tomorrow Caroline,” said Klaus, taking in her weariness, “for now, get some rest.” He (reluctantly) disentangled himself from her, and scooted to the edge of the bed before he felt a hand curl around his bicep. He turned to face a hopeful Caroline, who looked surprised at her own actions.

“Stay,” she implored softly.

She didn’t need to ask twice. And maybe she would regret it in the morning, maybe she just wanted to feel safe, maybe this was the start of something much deeper…

All he knew was the he couldn’t pass up this chance.

A short while later, as Caroline lay on the brink of slumber, curled up against Klaus who held her close and gently played with the ends of her curls, she asked the question dancing at the edge of her mind.

“Hey Klaus?” she asked softly.

“Yes love?” he murmured.

“Is this your bedroom?”

He chuckled, causing a pleasant rumble in his chest and Caroline hid her smile against his shirt.

“No, this room isn’t mine – it was always meant to be yours.”

Mission Blue on Netflix

I am super excited about this! Netflix has announced it will distribute the documentary Mission Blue starting August 15th, 2014. 

Mission Blue is a documentary about marine biologist Sylvia Earle and her campaign to create a network of protected marine sanctuaries. 

Some of the reviews that covered the movie revealed that it is more than a basic profile of Earle’s life and accomplishments, as it covers the most urgent issues threatening marine habitats today, including ocean pollution, climate change and collapsing fisheries. 

Earle is one of the first and foremost American women oceanographers, and she became a standard-bearer among female field-research scientists, while also marrying and raising a family. I mean, isn’t Sylvia everybody’s hero? She’s certainly one of mine.

Earle has served as a field researcher, chief scientist for the U.S. government’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, business entrepreneur, member of numerous nonprofit conservation and scientific organization boards, and as a prestigious National Geographic Society Explorer in Residence. Over the decades and up to this day, Earle continues to research the world’s oceans, still diving well into her 70s with over 7,000-plus hours underwater. She is a model of passion and commitment to marine conservation.

The movie has been screening already in a few film festivals, but its arrival on Netflix will surely increase its reach, and hopefully will trigger similar reactions as Blackfish did. 

Check out the preview!

Your family, and mine, occupy a privileged slice of American society. Not so for most members of the GOP electorate. They are folks that few of us know very well: evangelicals; modestly educated whites threatened by economic dislocation; and people whose distrust of government partakes of paranoia.

Economically, they are not natural allies of the party of business or its wealthy donors, who tend to focus on tax cuts and free-market principles irrelevant to the base. So in exchange for pursuing its economic agenda, the party offered evangelicals a faith-based vision of America: barring abortion, banning gay marriage, and giving government preferences to fundamentalist religious institutions. Why should business people care, the reasoning went, when we can rally these voters with promises which, however illusory, cost us nothing?

But as “promise keepers,” the party failed its fundamentalist flock. Abortion remains legal; gay marriage became a right; the constitution prevents government from enshrining religious preferences as law. So there was nothing to stop evangelicals from noticing that their own lives were often harder and less secure.

—  Richard North Patterson, novelist and Republican, “An Open Letter to my Republican Friends”

The Table of Ranks was instituted by Peter the Great in 1722. Arguably the most important reform of Peter’s reign, the table introduced an order of seniority among Russian noblemen and remained in place until the February Revolution of 1917.

Offices in the civil administration, the court, and the military were divided into fourteen grades. As individuals advanced through the grades they became more prestigious and would be awarded greater salaries. Those who attained the eighth grade and above were awarded the status of a hereditary noble. Nicholas I changed the requirement to the fifth grade or above.

The Table of Ranks was Peter’s attempt to create a meritocratic system to Russian military and state administration. However, the reform was controversial as the status of many prominent Russian noble families was threatened. Nevertheless, most of the men who populated the top four grades (collectively known as the Generalitet) were members of established Russian families.

Since members of the military held precedence, historians have argued that the Table of Ranks led to a militarisation in Russian society. The evidence for this is mixed, since under Peter’s law of single inheritance, sons of noblemen who didn’t inherit (I.e. were not first born), would find themselves as officers in the Russian military.

The Table of Ranks did not always work as it was intended, and later Russian writers (especially Nikolai Gogol), ridiculed the Russian bureaucratic system. Despite the popular belief, partly engendered by writers such as Gogol, the Russian bureaucracy was by no means overstaffed. Indeed, the Russian bureaucracy suffered difficulties due to lack of infrastructure, especially in the provinces far away from the capitals of Petersburg and Moscow.