Tuesday, September 16, 2014

You saved my life

I joined Amnesty 30 years ago because I was outraged at the abuses committed under the government of Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines. Years later, I met a man who had been imprisoned during that time. He said, "You helped me get out of prison."

That’s powerful. Please read Rebiya's story below and be a champion for human rights by supporting Amnesty.

In solidarity,
Eric Michelsen
Proud Amnesty supporter


You saved my life

Dear Tracy,

The last time I heard my son's voice was over the phone. He was screaming as Chinese police beat him and dragged him away in a car.

That was eight years ago. I haven't seen my son, Ablikim Abdiriyim, or spoken to him again since that day.

My name is Rebiya Kadeer. Nine years ago, Amnesty International supporters like you helped free me when I had been thrown into prison in China.

Now, I must turn to you again. Will you help my son? Support Amnesty's work and help them campaign for his release.

Make your first donation to Amnesty today.

As part of the September Membership Drive, your donation will be matched dollar for dollar through September 30 up to $300,000.

Four months ago, I received news from a man who had been held in the same cell as Ablikim. He told me that my son was beaten so badly that he bled from his nose and from his ears.

With your help, Amnesty will fight for his release and insist he gets the medical treatment he so urgently needs.

My son was managing my business with his siblings after I was imprisoned in 1999. Ablikim witnessed my struggle in prison and the discrimination and harassment that we and other Uighurs - an ethnic minority in China - experienced. He and his siblings were detained in 2006, in an apparent attempt to prevent them from meeting with a United States Congressional delegation.

Like me, Ablikim defended the rights of Uighurs. And like me, the Chinese authorities have thrown him in jail.

In August 1999, the police accused me of leaking national security information. They interrogated me for two days and threw me into prison.

I was in solitary confinement in a dark, feces-filled room for two years. They took me outside once every 45 days. I was not able to speak to another person.

Every time I think of my experience, I feel sick inside knowing my son's fate is in the hands of these jailors. He was put on trial and found guilty of trying to turn the public against the government. The court asserted that Ablikim asked the Uighur-language webmaster of Yahoo.com to publish two articles but there is no Uighur-language Yahoo site.

Please join Amnesty and help them campaign on behalf of people like my son.

I am living proof that Amnesty International saves lives. Because of Amnesty's efforts, the Chinese government freed me. I'm now exiled in the United States, but I must still fight on behalf of my family and my people. Join me.

Thank you for your commitment to human rights.

Kop rakhmat. Thank you.
Rebiya KadeerSincerely,
Rebiya Kadeer
Former Prisoner of Conscience

P.S. Be part of Amnesty's Annual Membership Drive and your donation will go twice as far to help protect human rights defenders like my son and me.

We need to go


We will not give up

Dear Tracy,

I cannot shake the image of the Gazan father carrying his child's broken, lifeless body from the bombed out remains of his home. Nor can I forget the fearful faces of Israelis racing to shelters under threat of indiscriminate rockets.

This tragedy has repeated itself over the years. Palestinians have endured a crushing Israeli blockade and military strikes. Israeli civilians have repeatedly had to run to bomb shelters to hide from rockets.

That's why Amnesty needs to go to Gaza and to Israel - to investigate war crimes and seek justice for the victims.

We will not give up, despite Israeli authorities' refusal to allow Amnesty to enter Gaza.

Your gift will help Amnesty International go to the places where human rights are violated, so that together we can fight for human rights for all.

Giving today makes a difference. All this month, during our September Membership Drive, a group of generous donors will double every dollar of your gift, making your generosity go twice as far.

Your gift is urgently needed right now to help Amnesty work to prevent and end life-and-death human rights crises in Gaza, Israel and all over the world.

Please, give now.

When government and armed groups target civilians and hospitals, we go.

When activists are jailed for peaceful expression, we go.

When women are forced to marry their rapists, we go.

We go to human rights hotspots to gather evidence, expose the truth, and to defend human dignity and freedom.

We go because you send us.

Help send us now.

Make your first donation to Amnesty today.

Your donation will be doubled. Your gift of $50 becomes $100. Your donation of $250 grows to $500 - but only if you give by Sept. 30.

Tracy, I'm counting on you to come through in important moments like this.

Thank you for all you do to make the world a better place.
Sunjeev BerySincerely,
Sunjeev Bery
Advocacy Director, Middle East North Africa
Amnesty International USA

P.S. To meet the pressing demand for Amnesty's lifesaving human rights work, we must meet our Membership goal of 10,000 new and returning members by Sept. 30. Be a human rights champion - join now. Thank you.

phone interview/ homeless to law school graduate

Jul. 16 Phone interview: I did a job interview on the phone today.  She called me on the time she said she would.  I did look up the address and the company.  The company was under the owner/ boss’s name, so I got all the info about the boss, but not the company.

She told me that it’s busy for 2 months of the year.  The rest of the year, I work 4 days a week.  I got a lot of information about this administrative assistant position.

Jul. 18 College song: Yesterday I was listening to Throwback Thursdays on the radio station Hot 107.  You know you’re old if you listen to old music.  Lol.  They were playing Kanye West’s song “All Falls Down.”  Here are the lyrics:

She has no idea what she's doing in college
That major that she majored in don't make no money
But she won't drop out, her parents will look at her funny
Now, tell me that ain't insecurrre
The concept of school seems so securrre
Sophmore three yearrrs aint picked a careerrr

Jul. 21 Possessions article: I found this Globe and Mail article “Would you pay for a care package from Bill Nye?” on Nov. 1, 2013.  This belongs in my business email because it’s about selling a product.  Here are some excerpts:

Architect Monica Adair was feeling guilty. She had fallen behind on sending scores of thank-you cards, including one to Spanish friends who hosted her in the late 1990s. Then, one day about four months ago, among bills and junk mail, a small package arrived on her doorstep.

She tore it open and found a long, rectangular wall organizer for holding cards, along with an earnest letter from Swiss designer Tina Roth Eisenberg on the importance of saying thanks. “What can you get in the mail that can change your life?” asks Adair, who lives in Saint John, N.B. “All of a sudden it arrived, and that’s exactly what happened.”

Adair is one of thousands across the world who receive missives from Quarterly, a website where regular folks pay $25, $50 or $100 to receive quarterly packages filled with items hand-picked by celebrities, bloggers and other public personalities. It’s one of an emerging market of subscription-style online services that deliver grab-bag-style parcels throughout the year, ranging from makeup (Birchbox) to coffee (Craft Coffee) to shoes (ShoeMint).

“In terms of raw emotional impact, the experience of getting good mail is unparalleled – e-mails, text messages, and tweets don’t even come close,” wrote Frechette in a public letter when the site launched. “Quarterly wants to recapture the romance and impact of a well-crafted package, but tie it into existing online communities in an organic way. We think there’s a hunger for analog experiences that complement digital ones.”

Style blogger Megan Collins says her Quarterly packages aim to help her fans and subscribers live more “intentional” yet “stylish” lives. “I think curation is the enemy of consumerism. I never feel like what I’m sending out is an advertisement or clutter,” she says. “Anything that disrupts your day, that makes you stop in your tracks, is a good thing. … It’s like you’re right back under the Christmas tree, or at your birthday party.”

“We are trying to make sense of who we are,” says Arsel. “And it’s normal to identify the stories that are attached to our objects as our stories, but now we’re actually buying those stories, fully formed.”

My opinion: The last paragraph I will put into my inspirational quotes.  This product seems cool and fun, but I don’t want to buy stuff that I don't totally need.

Cam Gigandet: He played a bad guy on The OC and the movie Never Back Down.  This is related to my job email because he talks about the bad environment on The OC:

“I learned a lot.  But the things that I remember now- none of them are good.  It was only the third or fourth season.  Those kids were f---ing miserable.  They were just- they would not remember their lines on purpose.  They were young.”

My opinion: Really?  That reminds me of The Simpsons where the teachers go on strike.

Homer: If you don’t like your job, you don’t go on strike.  You just go in everyday and do it really half-ass.

Career changes: I was reading the Metro “The Unexpected majors of celebs” on Jun. 16, 2014.

Kourtney Kardashian: This reality star went to Arizona university degree with a bachelor in theatre arts and a minor in Spanish.

Ashton Kutcher: This actor planned to study biochemical engineering at the University of Iowa.

Carrie Underwood: This singer went to Oklahoma’s Northeaster State University with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications in 2006.

Jon Hamm: This Mad Men star was an English major at the University of Missouri and taught some middle school after graduation.

My opinion: I can totally see Hamm being a teacher.  He does look like a teacher.

Homeless to law school graduate: I was reading the Metro article “Ottawa woman’s journey from the streets to the law” by Trevor Greenway on Jun. 16, 2014.

Raphaelle Ferland was 16 yrs old and homeless with a substance abuse problem.  Now she’s 25 yrs old with a law degree.  She ran away from her troubled home and couch surfed.  She wants to become a criminal defense lawyer since she lived on the streets.

“You just can’t give up.  If you want something, there will be so many hurdles in your way.  But if you overcome those hurdles, the rewards are enormous.”

Jul. 23 Telemarketer: Today I went to an interview for a telemarketer position.  I have gotten a call from them before back in fall 2011.  In 2011, I was kind of hesitant, because it was a telemarketer job and not an office job.  It was also night shifts and it was in kind of a ghetto part of town.

In 2012, I worked at Telemarketer #1 and #2 job and it was competitive.  I was dismissed from both because I didn’t sell anything within the first 4 days.  It was in downtown. 

In 2014, I decided to go to the interview to see what it’s all about.  Don’t go making assumptions until you are actually there.  I was walking on the street, and I felt unsafe.  It was like 5pm and the sun is shining and bright.  The neighborhood wasn’t good.

The office was small and it was like Call Centre #2 and #6.  Low end.  There were nice paintings.  It was a seasonal position like Telemarketer #1 and #2 where the position lasts for like 6-8 months and then it ends.  Then the workers come back when the next season starts.

After I did the interview, and got all the information, I thought about it.  I did feel like trying Telemarketer #1 and #2 job again.  In those places, it was in downtown and that’s safer.

Aug. 12 Job interview: Today is my day off and I went to a job interview.  It was like 45 min long.  It was close to get to.  The hours are day time.  There are a few evenings and weekends, but they give you lots of notice. 

I went to their website and did a lot of research.  They asked good questions.  I learned a lot about the company.  There was a proofreading test at the end of it.  I did a couple of those before at other interviews.

There was a rapport between me and the interviewers.

Aug. 17: Last week I did another job interview.  He asked some really good questions to get to know me.  It seemed like a job I can achieve at.  The hours are day time and easy to get to.  There would be a second round of interviews.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Metro classes/ Residential Interiors

Aug. 7 Metro classes: Here are some more Adult Continuing Education classes:

Family Matters:


Communicating with your Teen

From Single to Partnered

My opinion: This sounds more like counseling.

Creative Pastimes:

Genealogy: Trace Your Roots


Home schooling

My opinion: I have thought of that before, like not going to high school.  I would take some classes online.  There are lots of independent learning like Fresh Start in Edmonton.  I have talked to one 15 yr old girl who worked at the Soup place back in 2008.  She said she did that, like completed the Science 24 module in 3 days.

I could probably graduate out of high school that way, but I would be missing out on the whole high school experience and life experience.  I need to meet people and live my life.  Also, throw in: “Is high school like high school on TV?”  lol. 

Emergency Planning:

Personal and Family Disaster Preparedness


Fundraising Without Fear

Fitness and Sports:

Get Fit

Co-Ed Healthy Active Living Events


Swing Into Golf Level 1: Indoor


American Sign Language (ASL) Level 1
Chinese Mandarin

Just for Travellers: French, Italian, Spanish

Law for the Layperson:

Consumer Law
Family Law
Housing Law
Wills and Estates Law

Mind, Body, & Soul:

Nutrition for the Body


Insightful Meditation
Soul Collage Workshop

Style and Image

11 Pieces= 30 Outfits


Clearing Clutter & Chaos
Feng Shui for Prosperity and Abundance

Aug. 10:

Emotional Health Series

Conscious Connection to Anger


Energy Sensing for Beginners

Passions and Pastimes:

This is all hobbies like writing, building, home and garden, music, needle crafts, outdoor pursuits, science and technology, sewing, wine and beer tasting and travel.

Photography: There are classes for beginners, and computer courses for photographers.

University of Alberta Faculty of Extension: This is kind of like Metro where adults take classes, but are not full-time.

“Important Announcement

The Certificate in Adult and Continuing Education program at the University of Alberta will terminate on June 30, 2016. All participants in the program who wish to attain the certificate must complete all course requirements before that date.

We encourage all individuals who have completed CACE courses in the last 5 years but have not yet enrolled in the program to enroll now and complete the CACE program before its termination date of June 30, 2016. If you fall into this category and wish to complete the CACE program, please enroll in the program by completing and submitting the Application for Program Admission form before May 23, 2014.”

Residential Interiors: I went on the website and you can see student computer work where they did the interior design.  It looks really good.

“This unique program (the first in Western Canada) offers a university-level certificate in the art and design of interior decorating. Applying the principles of fine arts, architecture, and business, the Residential Interiors Certificate Program is a comprehensive study of residential interior fundamentals and applications.”

Aug. 19 CFA exam: I found this Globe and Mail article “Thousands of Candidates, one notoriously difficult CFA exam.It stands for Chartered Financial Analyst.  Here are a few excerpts:

Securing the globally-recognized designation can be a significant career boost, and according to the CFA Institute, the amount of people who try to get the designation grows by 9 per cent a year. As Mr. Shahriar put it, in the investment world, “this is the designation you want more than anything else.”

But the certification is as difficult to obtain as it is desired. According to a 2013 survey administered by the CFA Institute, the average candidate studied 307 hours for his or her exam.

Most who write the exam are either students or work demanding jobs in the industry, and time is limited. As a result there are no after-work pub nights, they miss out on birthday parties and spend less time with their family. Despite the intense effort, only 43 per cent of candidates passed their exam in June, 2013.


Saturday, September 13, 2014

Lounge Beats by Paulo Arruda | Deep & Jazz (Part 3)

Here are some more Lounge Beats by Paulo Arruda | Deep & Jazz.  This is 10, 11, and 12. 

Lounge Beats 10 by Paulo Arruda

It says Lounge Beats 10 Deep and Jazz by Paulo Arruda.  April 2013.

Lounge Beats 11 - LIVE in USA

A picture of Paulo Arruda a the turn tables in front of a purple background.  Live mix session at Le Rendezvous.

Lounge Beats 12 by Paulo Arruda | Deep & Jazz

A picture of a green drink in a martini glass.

Lounge Beats by Paulo Arruda | Deep & Jazz (Part 2)

Here are some more Lounge Beats by Paulo Arruda | Deep & Jazz.  This is 6, 7, 8, and 9.

Lounge Beats 6 by Paulo Arruda | Deep & Jazz

A picture of an orange drink in a martini glass.  It’s in front of a purple background.

Lounge Beats 7 by Paulo Arruda | Deep & Jazz

A row of champagne glasses with a pink band in front of it with the name Lounge Beats 7.

Lounge Beats 8 by Paulo Arruda | Deep & Jazz

A short green drink in front of an orange background.

Lounge Beats 9 by Paulo Arruda | Deep & Jazz

A picture of Paulo Arruda in front of a blue and yellow background.

You are helping to Stop Torture now in Mexico

Dear Tracy,

Thank you for your interest in Amnesty's global campaign to Stop Torture. This week we're working hard for you - and for all survivors of torture who need our help - on one of the main goals of this campaign: to end torture in Mexico.  An Amnesty team is currently on a human rights mission in Mexico to meet with officials, release a ground-breaking report on torture in Mexico, support local activists, and to push for real change.
You can follow progress on this mission to Mexico on our website, and follow the Stop Torture campaign on Twitter and our Stop Torture webpage.

This weekend, we will hand-deliver messages of support from Canadians to torture survivor Claudia Medina:

Claudia_300_FB.jpgHer story is inspiring activists around the world to campaign to end the brutal practice of torture. More than 7,000 Canadians have spoken up for her.

Tomorrow, our team of Amnesty researchers in Mexico plans to meet with Claudia and hand-deliver messages your messages of solidarity.

Here, Claudia tells us in her own words why she has spoken up about being tortured.

Read Claudia's story

Granted a rare prison visit with torture survivor Ángel Colón

Angel_Colon_and_Alex_Neve_300.jpgA rare prison visit in Mexico gave us an opportunity to interview Ángel Colón, a human rights activist who has endured torture, racial discrimination and a profoundly unfair legal process for more than five years. 

Amnesty's Alex Neve shares his thoughts and records Ángel's words in his diary from our ongoing research mission in Mexico.

Read the interview and take action for Ángel Colón

Amnesty's new report "Out of Control" shows shocking rise of torture and ill-treatment in Mexico as authorities turn a blind eye 
st_grapic_fb_300.jpgTorture and ill-treatment in Mexico is out of control with a 600 per cent rise in the number of reported cases in the past decade. This week in events across Mexico, we are calling on the Mexican government to act now to stop the widespread and persistent use of torture by members of the police and armed forces.

Read report 

"Being forgotten is the worst thing for a prisoner" 
ali_aarrass_300.jpgAli is currently serving 12 years in a Moroccan prison on charges of terrorism. He has always denied the charges and says he was tortured into confessing. He runs the risk every day that he will be ill-treated again, and gains strength from people supporting him. Ali says that the worst that can happen to a prisoner is that people forget about him.

Send a message to Ali Aarrass in prison

Great News: Progress in the the Philippines, as notorious torturer arrested!

Philippine_general_arrested_300.jpgA notorious torturer, Retired Major General Jovito Palparan, 63, was arrested last month in Manilla.

Often referred to as Berdugo (“the executioner” or “the butcher”) by human rights activists, he faces charges of kidnapping and illegal detention of university students in 2006. 

This arrest is an encouraging sign that the authorities in the Philippines are tackling a culture of impunity ("anything goes") for serious human rights violations by the security forces.

Learn more about this important development in the campaign to Stop Torture