Saturday, January 14, 2012


Quite a few things have happened since my last post about life. (though until this week I was keeping up with

Basically, I'm back to doing college classes and learning a lot. Cramming in math so I can finish the level I'm stuck on right now to take environmental science starting the 30th. And I somehow had (most) of the money to buy an awesome little something for my computer/work/school.

Oh yeah! And Fine Arts is coming up again soon.

college classes

they started back up on the fourth. English 111 and History 137 for right now. I was hoping to be able to take English 102 and First Aid originally. That way I would continue from English 101 and also get my first aid card. But, there weren't any seats left in English 102 (thus I'm taking 111 - literature) and no First Aid. If you're familiar with Harry Potter (I personally love the books) then you'll understand the following metaphor / correlation. If you're not, well you might still anyway.
Basically they have this class called Divination where they're supposed to find the deeper physic in dreams and tea leaves and stuff. Well, basically Ron and Harry didn't understand of believe in the class and to make it through with a decent grade they would just make up random dreams and "interpret" them how they knew the teacher would like.
That's what it feels like I'm doing with my literature class. Seriously. Literary art (literature), like any art is highly in the eyes of the beholder. Everyone has a different opinion and definition of what art is and so I don't think some writings can be referred to as literature while others are left out. And if it's not something I connect with then I have no deep insight into what I've read. In fact, a lot of what the teacher has had us (the students) read so far are depressings things that I SO did NOT understand.
But, I knew the "lit babble" (my term) that he wanted to hear and just applied it to my work. Voila, good grade.


to borrow the colloquialism: 'nuff' said

the little piece of awesomeness

which would be my new Wacom Bamboo Create.

I was SO excited when it came in the mail! I literally took these as I unboxed it. I was dancing and squealing all over the place.

Originally I was going to get the smaller Bamboo Capture but wanted to have more working space on the tablet so decided to save for the Create. SO happy with it! I've wanted something like this for a long time but never really got around to looking at what was out there. I started thinking about it more last year at Fine Arts because I wanted to digitize my t-shirt design to make it look better. But it's really hard to digitize a drawing into a digital mockup. Now, I can draw right into my computer. Also, I got a nice discount because of my Amazon Student Prime account. And I just looked at the price now, and it's actually got up! Glad I ordered when I did!
For a little size-reference, my laptop that it's sitting in front of in the second picture, is 15".

The night I got it I seriously stayed up until 2am playing with it.

Finished my first design with Sketchbook Pro.

For those of you who don't know I actually design clothes...I've just never really shared them with many people. But this one I was super excited about thanks to the wonderful tool called 'layers' where I can pick which can be shown and colored. That way I can work on one piece of clothing / of the design at a time. This design actually is something I mostly got from an episode of Stargate: Atlantis but loved so much I had to draw / make some changes to. I'm still a little iffy about the way the underbust/cape lays/billows.

Also, the tablet comes with Autodesk Sketchbook Express 2011, which is great in a lot of ways but has some limits I was really frustrated with. However, I looked into it and Autodesk actually has something called the Autodesk Education Community where if you're a student you can sign up and download their software for free! If you're an artist I highly suggest Autodesk Sketchbook Pro 2011!
Since I'm drawing and stuff so much more I finally got a DeviantArt account as well. You can find me here.

I'm looking forward to sketching out my Fine Arts t-shirt design submission!

Which brings me to the next subject of late...

Fine Arts

it's coming and I'm working on getting some work from the church to make some money to pay for gas. Last year I painted the walls in the basement of the church building. Boy that was a lot of work! But it paid for gas to Fine Arts and back so it was well worth it. Besides gas money, we're also figuring out some place to stay. My dad has some old friends that actually live about twenty minutes from where the district fine arts festival is being held this year, so I'm hoping we'll be able to stay with them!

all things considered

Life is good and God is providing.

listening: bullet soul by switchfoot

have a listen // fire on the mountain

We sit secure in time-honored traditions made
Never wondering where or when the sickle may come
If we don't seek our knowledge to be greater men
When the rain starts falling gonna drown before we get our feet wet

We build our ivory towers to protect us from the flood
A fleet of vessels made of wood so they won't rust
But can we see the bottom of the bottle when we start to drink?
There's fire on the mountain fire and it's coming our way

Can we pick the pieces up
We're mending Babylon
Tryin' to right the wrong
Can we pick the pieces up

Live learn life love die dust gone

There's fire on the mountain

Can we pick the pieces up
We're mending Babylon
Tryin' to right the wrong
Can we pick the pieces up

Live learn life love die dust gone

music and lyrics copyright Hanson

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

human trafficking awareness day

January 11th is human trafficking awareness day. 
Some of you may remember in November when I posted a paper I wrote for English 101 about modern slavery.

Well, that was only a rough draft of the paper, and for my final portfolio it was revised and better.

And since today is human trafficking awareness day, I wanted to share the article, finished and as a whole.

In Plain Sight: Modern Slavery

            Human trafficking. Two words that to some, have meaning. Others may only have an inkling of what it is those words mean, while some don’t even know. Human trafficking didn’t end in the United States with the abolishment of slavery. Human trafficking still happens, and not just on a national level. But in our cities, our neighborhoods, our backyards: in plain sight. We can sit back and wish things like that don’t happen. Or, we can open our eyes to what is going on and in turn, learn and open the eyes of others. Together, we can end slavery.
            What is human trafficking? Essentially, human trafficking is the illegal trade of human beings: modern slavery. Human trafficking is a transnational crime, meaning it happens in multiple countries the world over. While human trafficking itself is illegal, it happens for the purpose of other crimes. Sexual exploitation is the most media recognized, but people are also trafficked for forced labor; a crime just as terrible and prevalent as sexual slavery and exploitation.
            People of all ages, genders, nationalities and walks of life can be victims of human trafficking. In 2005 the International Labor Organization estimated the minimum number of persons in trafficking situations to be 2.45 million. Out of that, an approximate 45,000–50,000 of those persons are trafficked through the United States annually (Obuah 1), with the United States among the top 10 destinations for human trafficking (Hepburn; Simon 3). The exact number trafficked through the U.S. every year can only be estimated.
            Many times, victims of human trafficking are brought to America under false pretenses. The promise of employment, education or marriage is extremely tempting (Reed). Other victims of human trafficking may have been kidnapped from off the streets, something that happens to children for the purpose of sexual exploitation (“Love146…Child Trafficking Facts”).
More often than not, people in trafficking situations are kept in living conditions that are unhealthy both physically and mentally; forced to work for hours on end (Reed) without breaks and given little or no food and clean water (Hepburn; Simon 5).
Traffickers keep a handle on their victims through confiscating travel documents, regular rape, beatings, threats upon them and their families, debt bondage, and even through the use of drugs (Obuah 8).
            Why does human trafficking happen? It’s a simple incentive old as man kind: greed.  Believe it or not, the trafficking of persons is an extremely lucrative business for traffickers with profits in the billions, and little or no risk to those who commit the crime. In fact, the trafficking of women is even more profitable than the international drugs and arms trade (Obuah 10). The International Labor Office estimated human trafficking to have an annual worldwide profit of $44.3 billion dollars (Hepburn; Simon 2).
Because of the sex industry traffickers, pimps, and their seedy associates aren’t the only to profit from human trafficking. Some of the biggest U.S. corporations earn tens of millions in profits from the distribution of pornography; pornography that because of lax regulation often illegally uses underage and trafficked persons (Hepburn; Simon 4).
While sexual exploitation and slavery make up a large part of human trafficking, it’s not the only form of modern slavery. The reality is that forced labor is just as bad as sexual slavery, but “Since the general activities—[such as] domestic work, farming, factory work, or restaurant work—are all legal activities, there is a perception that ‘it’s not as bad as sex trafficking’, because in sex trafficking people are being forced into an illegal activity (qtd. in Hepburn; Simon 12).”
            Trafficking of humans can, and does, happen right under our noses. In the words of Kathleen Morris: “We think of it [prostitution] as a shady business, but the brothels are often homes in residential neighborhoods” (qtd. in Reed). In October 2011 a Rhode Island man was arrested on human trafficking charges, for enticing a 17 year old girl to perform sex acts for money (Sotnik). Around the same time in Connecticut a man is facing life for prostituting a 14 year old girl (“Man Faces Life for Prostituting a Minor”). Modern slavery happens, and it’s closer than you think.
            Human trafficking is a problem that spans country and continent, so what can we do about it? If knowledge truly is power then the first thing we can do is educate ourselves on the subject. Websites and organizations like, Love146 (, and the International Labor Organization ( all have an abundance of information on the subjects of human trafficking, modern slavery, child labor, forced labor, and sexual slavery. Every year the United States government releases a Trafficking in Persons report which ranks countries based on efforts taken in the fight against trafficking.
            Knowledge on the subject is a key part in understanding and opening eyes to the realities of human trafficking and modern slavery. But knowledge of warning signs someone may be a victim are equally important. In her article on human trafficking for “Seattle Woman Magazine”, Wenda Reed provides some red flags to look for if there’s a chance someone may be a victim of modern slavery. For example if someone is kept isolated, has had their travel documents or identification taken away from them or are not allowed money.
            As American citizens the few things we have control over is how we spend our time and money. The corporations that profit tens of billions by distributing pornography include the Time Warner, Hilton, Westin, AT&T and Marriott companies (Hepburn; Simon 4). Because of the aforementioned lax regulations on pornography and the American sex industry, it’s reasonable that by supporting these companies and others it supports human trafficking and sexual exploitation of persons. Next time you go to spend your hard earned money, try researching who you’re buying from and find out what your money may be supporting.
            There are also organizations that have a heart and drive to aid in the rescue of victims of human trafficking. Love146 is an organization dedicated to raising awareness and resources to combat child sex trafficking. World Vision is a humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice; including human and sex trafficking. Check out these organizations and research others (make sure they’re real!) to find out what you can do to make a difference, whether it’s volunteering time or money.  
Love146 has suggestions about getting involved by joining a Love146 Task Force who meet monthly to educate themselves and raise awareness about child sex slavery as well as hold fundraisers for Love146. You can also partner with Love146, giving money to help in the prevention of child sex slavery and provide aftercare for victims. These are only two of the ways to help Love146 in the battle against child sex slavery and exploitation, with more available on their website.
World Vision has various suggestions on how to get involved in fighting human trafficking, everything from calling your members of congress to support the Trafficking Victims Protection act, to gifting money to help save sexually exploited girls. Merely search ‘trafficking’ on the World Vision website and there is an abundance of resources.
Still yet, all these numbers and statistics cannot even come to show just what is happening and the evils of modern slavery and human trafficking. The number of people victimized and the amount of profit from human trafficking can only ever be guessed at.
We all like to think that bad things don’t happen; at least not in our communities, our cities, or our nation. But the fact of the matter is human trafficking happens everywhere. No matter where you live, human trafficking exists in some way, shape, or form. We come in contact with it everyday though we may not even realize (Obauh 3). We have the choice to continue in our normalcy, preferring to avoid what’s happening. Or, we can choose to educate ourselves and others to the reality that human trafficking happens everywhere; and it’s something that together, we can end.

Works Cited
Hepburn, Stephanie; Simon, Rita J. “Hidden in Plain Sight: Human Trafficking in the United States.” Springer Science & Business Media. 27.1-2 (2010): 1-26. Proquest Research Library. Feature. 29 October 2011.
“ United States Child Trafficking Facts”. New Haven, CT: Love146 2009. Web. 29 October 2011.
“Man faces life for prostituting a minor”. News 8. LIN Television Corporation, 25 October 2011. Web. 29 October 2011.
Obuah, Emmanuel. “Combating Global Trafficking in Persons: the Role of the United States Post September 2001”. Palgrave Macmillan. 43.2 (2006):241-265. Proquest Research Library. Feature. 29 October 2011.
Reed, Wenda. “Slaves Among Us: Human Trafficking in the Seattle Area.” Seattle Woman. Caliope Publishing Company, 2010. Web. 27 October 2011.
Sotnik, Kathryn. “Man arrested in human trafficking case”. LIN Television Corporation, 25 October 2011 Web. 28 October 2011.

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