I'm just an ordinary girl. A delightfully dysfunctional individual who is filled with curiosity. And since I'm not a cat, it's not dangerous.

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2012 Reading Challenge

2012 Reading Challenge
Bernadette has read 0 books toward her goal of 50 books.
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Asker Anonymous Asks:
Hi, there. What do you do for a living? Your writing is wonderful.
silentrefraction silentrefraction Said:

Hello. I am a teacher. Thank you for your kind words. However, I should not take the credit because mostly they are compilation of what inspires me. :)

And everyday, everywhere, our children spread their dreams beneath our feet. And we should tread softly.

We’re sort of in an environment now with so much mediocrity then you really have to produce something amazing something great to really rise above it. I do think it’s worth kind of hanging on to your idea and spending a little bit more time polishing it to really get to a point that you feel like it’s gonna say something new, is gonna tell a new story. It’s just extremely well executed, its useful, and it can have a nice big impact.

Andrew S Allen, Co-founder @FiftyThree & creator of Paper

Small Empires: the art of ideation with Paper by FiftyThree

(via clementgk)

Fleas dream of buying themselves a dog, and nobodies dream of escaping poverty: that one magical day good luck will suddenly rain down on them–will rain down in buckets. But good luck doesn’t rain down yesterday, today, tomorrow, or ever. Good luck doesn’t even fall in a fine drizzle, no matter how hard the nobodies summon it, even if their left hand is tickling, or if they begin the new day with their right foot, or start the new year with a change of brooms.

The nobodies: nobody’s children, owners of nothing. The nobodies: the no ones, the nobodies, running like rabbits, dying through life, screwed every which way.

    Who are not, but could be.
    Who don’t speak languages, but dialects.
    Who don’t have religions, but superstitions.
    Who don’t create art, but handicrafts.
    Who don’t have culture, but folklore.
    Who are not human beings, but human resources.
    Who do not have faces, but arms.
    Who do not have names, but numbers.
    Who do not appear in the history of the world, but in the police blotter of the local paper.
    The nobodies, who are not worth the bullet that kills them.

—The Nobodies by Eduardo Galeano

What trials unite not only Harry Potter or Frodo Baggins but many of literature’s most interesting heroes? And what do ordinary people have in common with these literary heroes? Matthew Winkler takes us step-by-step through the crucial events that make or break a hero.

Love, love, love ickle and Lardee.

"We understand now, we’ve been made to understand, and to embrace the understanding that who we are is who we were."

On July 1, 1839, fifty-three Africans, recently kidnapped into slavery in Sierra Leone and sold at a Havana slave market, revolted on board the schooner Amistad. They killed the captain and other crew and ordered the two Spaniards who had purchased them to sail them back to Africa. Instead, the ship was seized off Long Island by a US revenue cutter on August 24, 1839. TheAmistad was then landed in New London, Connecticut, where the American cutter’s captain filed for salvage rights to the Amistad’s cargo of Africans. The two Spaniards claimed ownership themselves, while Spanish authorities demanded the Africans be extradited to Cuba and tried for murder.

Connecticut jailed the Africans and charged them with murder. The slave trade had been outlawed in the United States since 1808, but the institution of slavery itself thrived in the South. The Amistad case entered the federal courts and caught the nation’s attention. The murder charges against the Amistad captives were quickly dropped, but they remained in custody as the legal focus turned to the property rights claimed by various parties. President Martin Van Buren issued an order of extradition, per Spain’s wishes, but the New Haven federal court’s decision preempted the return of the captives to Cuba. The court ruled that no one owned the Africans because they had been illegally enslaved and transported to the New World. The Van Buren administration appealed the decision, and the case came before the US Supreme Court in January 1841.

Abolitionists enlisted former US President John Quincy Adams to represent the Amistad captives’ petition for freedom before the Supreme Court. Adams, then a 73-year-old US Congressman from Massachusetts, had in recent years fought tirelessly against Congress’s “gag rule” banning anti-slavery petitions. Here, Adams accepted the job of representing the Amistad captives, hoping he would “do justice to their cause.” Adams spoke before the Court for nine hours. 

"This is no mere property case, gentlemen. I put it to you thus: This is the most important case ever to come before this court. Because what it, in fact, concerns is the very nature of man.

This is a publication of the Office of the President. It’s called the Executive Review, and I’m sure you all read it. It asserts that:

"There has never existed a civilized society in which one segment did not thrive upon the labor of another. As far back as one chooses to look — to ancient times, to biblical times — history bears this out. In Eden, where only two were created, even there one was pronounced subordinate to the other. Slavery has always been with us and is neither sinful nor immoral. Rather, as war and antagonism are the natural states of man, so, too, slavery, as natural as it is inevitable."

Now, gentlemen, I must say I differ with the keen minds of the South, and with our president, who apparently shares their views, offering that the natural state of mankind is instead — and I know this is a controversial idea — is freedom. And the proof is the length to which a man, woman, or child will go to regain it, once taken. He will break loose his chains, He will decimate his enemies. He will try and try and try against all odds, against all prejudices, to get home.

The other night I was talking with my friend, Cinque. He was over at my place, and we were out in the greenhouse together. And he was explaining to me how when a member of the Mende — that’s his people — how when a member of the Mende encounters a situation where there appears no hope at all, he invokes his ancestors. It’s a tradition. See, the Mende believe that if one can summon the spirits of one’s ancestors, then they have never left, and the wisdom and strength they fathered and inspired will come to his aid.

James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, John Adams: We’ve long resisted asking you for guidance. Perhaps we have feared in doing so we might acknowledge that our individuality which we so, so revere is not entirely our own. Perhaps we’ve feared an appeal to you might be taken for weakness. But, we’ve come to understand, finally, that this is not so. We understand now, we’ve been made to understand, and to embrace the understanding that who we are is who we were.

Give us the courage to do what is right.

Full transcript can be found here.

Adams was the first and only former president to argue before the Supreme Court. He returned to the Court because of the Amistad case in which he defended 49 illegally enslaved Mendeans. The Mendeans had rebelled on board the Spanish schooner, La Amistad while being transported to Cuban plantations and forced their former owners to sail for Africa. The schooner, however, was sailed up the coast of the United States until stopped by a U.S. revenue ship off Montauk Point, N.Y. Ensuing trials in Connecticut pitted the former owners, American revenue officers, Spanish officials and the U.S. government against the Amistad captives and abolitionists. Abolitionists sought to win freedom for the Mendeans and used the trials to publicize the evils of slavery. To everyone’s surprise, the District Court ruled that the Mendeans were free, could not be claimed as property, and must be returned to Africa. The U.S. government, under pressure from Spain, appealed to the Supreme Court where, with his co-counsel Baldwin, Adams argued for the Africans’ freedom. They won, in what historians call the most important legal case on slavery.
 
I am personally astounded to the state of being left speechless. I am just very honored to have witnessed such a great piece of history of mankind, and thankful that I shall always be reminded that men were created equal and they must remain equal until the end of times.

So. Damn. True.

“There will be bad days. Be calm. Loosen your grip, opening each palm slowly now. Let go. Be confident. Know that now is only a moment, and that if today is as bad as it gets, understand that by tomorrow, today will have ended. Be gracious. Accept each extended hand offered to pull you back from the somewhere you cannot escape. Be diligent. Scrape the grey sky clean. Realize every dark cloud is a smoke screen meant to blind us from the truth, and the truth is, whether we see them or not - the sun and moon are still there and always there is light.

Be forthright.

Despite your instinct to say, “it’s alright, I’m okay” - be honest. Say how you feel without fear or guilt, without remorse or complexity. Be lucid in your explanation, be sterling in your oppose. If you think for one second no one knows what you’ve been going through; be accepting of the fact that you are wrong, that the long drawn and heavy breaths of despair have at times been felt by everyone - that pain is part of the human condition and that alone makes you a legion.

We hungry underdogs, we risers with dawn, we dismissers of odds, we blessers of on – we will station ourselves to the calm. We will hold ourselves to the steady, be ready, player one. Life is going to come at you armed with hard times and tough choices, your voice is your weapon, your thoughts ammunition – there are no free extra men, be aware that as the instant now passes, it exists now as then. So be a mirror reflecting yourself back, and remembering the times when you thought all of this was too hard and that you’d never make it through.

Remember the times you could have pressed quit – but you hit continue. Be forgiving. Living with the burden of anger, is not living. Giving your focus to wrath will leave your entire self absent of what you need. Love and hate are beasts and the one that grows is the one you feed. Be persistent. Be the weed growing through the cracks in the cement, beautiful - because it doesn’t know it’s not supposed to grow there. Be resolute. Declare what you accept as true in a way that envisions the resolve with which you accept it.If you are having a good day, be considerate. A simple smile could be the first-aid kit that someone has been looking for. If you believe with absolute honesty that you are doing everything you can - do more.

There will be bad days, times when the world weighs on you for so long it leaves you looking for an easy way out. There will be moments when the drought of joy seems unending. Instances spent pretending that everything is all right when it clearly is not, check your blind spot. See that love is still there, be patient. Every nightmare has a beginning, but every bad day has an end. Ignore what others have called you. I am calling you friend. Make us comprehend the urgency of your crisis. Silence left to its own devices breeds silence.So speak and be heard. One word after the next, express yourself and put your life into context; if you find that no one is listening, be loud. Make noise. Stand in poise and be open. Hope in these situations is not enough and you will need someone to lean on. In the unlikely event that you have no one, look again. Everyone is blessed with the ability to listen. The deaf will hear you with their eyes. The blind will see you with their hands. Let your heart fill their newsstands, let them read all about it. Admit to the bad days, the impossible nights. Listen to the insights of those who have been there, but have come back. They’ll tell you; you can stack misery, you can pack despair, you can even wear your sorrow, but come tomorrow you must change your clothes.

Everyone knows pain. We are not meant to carry it forever. We were never meant to hold it so closely, so be certain in the belief that what pain belongs to now will belong soon to then. That when someone asks you how was your day, realize that for some of us, it’s the only way we know how to say, “Be calm. Loosen your grip, opening each palm, slowly now – let go.””

- Shane Koyczan

I posted a list of goals that I have yet to achieve in 1,001 days. I guess it is logical to arrange few of them to be accomplished in 2013. May this be a resolution list that also serves as “bucket list installment”.

009. Spend an afternoon in a buffet, until I am kicked out.
014. Backpack across a new unknown land.
015. Begin writing a book.
026. Dine in a Michelin restaurant.
028. Swim in an infinity pool.
044. Start a small yet steady business.
052. Visit South Korea.
053. Make a vision board for my dreams.
069. Color my hair to purple or blue black.
072. Go through my contact list and delete all the people who I no longer talk to.
075. Color every picture in a coloring book. 
079. Create a gift giving business.

End date: 31 December 2013. 

It is time to kick ass.