Friday, March 30, 2007

Cute, pt. 2

I just don't know how anyone can stand it (or how anyone can stand the direction this blog has taken)!


I'm sorry... but In My Opinion, this is the cutest god damned thing ever.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Children of Men

Monday, March 19, 2007

Tompkins Weekly

The new Tomkins Weekly contains quotes from my interview with Andres Perez-Charneco in the CellFlix article on Page 9.


Sunday, March 18, 2007

Bye to Ze

Well, yesterday The Show with Ze Frank came to a conclusion. It was sad to watch the last episode of what has been, In My Opinion, a really extraordinary effort to both entertain and express one's own ideas in a public forum, utilizing the internet for its unique potential. The Show was an original inspiration for this blog and has been something to talk about with friends now and again. I applaud Ze for sticking to his word and ending the show at a point where he has a significant amount of popularity, and the attention has been on him in the media as well. He accomplished something very unique that most vlogs don't do... he made every consistent viewer care about him and about the community around him.

In My Opinion, Ze Frank is phenomenal. I'm excited to see what will come next for/from him.



...and I just can't hide it.

My band, Sorry Safari, played our first OFFICIAL show on the third (we played one show before, at the local record store No Radio Records, but it was a) at a record store and b) for a small group of people, with a bad PA system, and our material wasn't totally together) of this month. Tonight I was directed to this write-up that we got in the Ithacan.

Man, sweet deal.

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Saturday, March 17, 2007

Rallies and frustration

So, I went downtown today to check out the anti-war demonstration (oh, Jens Lekman, I love you), and I have to say it wasn't all that exciting. I found it interesting that, from what I heard, the most interesting and engaging speeches came from those who were or had once been politicians of some kind... a congressman in particular spoke and was very rousing.

While the congressman was speaking, I had the intense urge to yell, "Why don't you do something instead of just talking about it?" Or something to that effect. I mean, it's dude's job to get shit done! In My Opinion, it was not enough that he was here outside talking to the crowd on a cold day... it's a nice gesture, but it made me doubt his sincerity... I feel as though if he really feels so strongly about getting us out of Iraq and getting Bush out of office, he was the person of all those few hundred people who actually had a shot at getting anything done about it. But instead, he was rabble-rousing at an ineffectual rally.

In My Opinion, it was kind of bullshit.

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Anonymous? More like Anony-AWESOME!

Ok maybe that doesn't work...


Thanks, Anonymous, for joining the conversation!! For those of you who missed it, a couple of posts ago I mentioned the discovery of a significant amount of ice on the south pole of Mars. I received a comment saying that maybe a good plan would be to stimulate global warming on Mars. GOOD IDEA! I say, let's do it.

I think there might be some technical drawbacks, such as the lack of initial atmosphere, but hey, NASA's got smart people, right? We've got cellophane and rockets, make something happen!

This has been My Opinion, shared with that of Anonymous.

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The Mind, the World

The past couple of nights I've had dreams that find peculiar, although small and somewhat insignificant, roots in physical reality. Two nights ago, I had a dream that I crushed a ladybug that, in reality, I've kept on my desk for a long time now. Then just last night I accidentally crushed it a little. Not enough to destroy it, but the head came right off and the shell is a little bit opened up. It was the kind of moment that, even in its description, I'm sure sounds insignificant. But I mean I've had this ladybug just sitting there for a while and suddenly I crushed it just after having a dream about it.

Then, last night I dreamed that I was climbing through a pane of broken glass, and got a very small piece of glass lodged in the heel of my palm. When I woke up momentarily from that dream, I looked at my hand to discover a small, pinpoint break of the skin.

Last night I was talking to a woman about dreams, briefly, because she was there for the ladybug pseudo-crush. I was talking about how I believe dreams are more than just random firings, more than psychobabble. They are sometimes real connections with something spiritually or metaphysically greater... Certainly I love this about David Lynch, particularly in the Twin Peaks series... but I've never had any experience such as the past two days. These coincidences might be small and insignificant, but they are unique and certainly curious to me right now.

What are your thoughts? Dreams: The opened floodgates of the subconscious only? Or messages; experiences equally real as our waking hours; a different plane of existence?

There is scientific evidence that our brains do not know the difference between dream and reality... that to practice doing something in your dream-state is just as beneficial as practicing it awake.

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Mars, swimming pool

I'm pretty excited today to read on BoingBoing that they discovered a significant amount of water ice at it's south pole. It's enough ice, they say, to cover the entire planet in more than thirty feet of water!!!

Now granted, our oceans are miles upon miles deep, which is different from 30ft. However, that's a lot of water! There is so much possibility for life in all of that water... The mind reels.

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Copyright and YouTube

I have to wonder what the point is at this point...

I'm trying to watch clips of The Arcade Fire from Saturday Night Live a little while back because, well, I don't have a television so I couldn't watch it when it aired. But the clips on YouTube have been taken down, undoubtedly because someone who owns SNL sent a takedown notice to YouTube... and this is where I have to wonder what the point of it all is... this is a clip of a live performance, which is not for sale or anything, not ACCESSIBLE AT ALL. Because of this, there is nothing to be GAINED from holding back the clip from the public. I will admit that there might be nothing to be gained from allowing the clip to stand (although, perhaps it would make people inclined to watch SNL more if they enjoyed the fact that this band was on it and did such a good job!), however there is nothing to LOSE either because they're not trying to make a profit from this particular video.

In other words, they're just sitting on this video for no good reason. They are LOSING the faith of people by holding onto the clip because people like me will be frustrated that they're being pack-rat Nazis instead of sharing what they have with people who really care to take part in it.

It's at the point that copyright is no longer really a matter of protecting one's vested interest. It is a corporate bandwagon that no company seems to be able to see is actually bringing down the ship. Rather than censoring the bits and pieces of their "owned" videos (let's face it. Nobody owns images. Intellectual Property is an illusion), they should be sharing the wealth and worrying about their bottom line, and how they might be able to use this new technology to their advantage.

In My Opinion, by demanding the removal of the videos of The Arcade Fire's performance, Saturday Night Live (or whomever it's parent company is... Viacom?) is being impractical and childish.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Because I just can't get enough right now: (It is linked-to by the Inconvenient Truth website)
-Offset your dirty energy consumption by paying for the same amount of energy you consume each month to be produced by clean sources. Mine is seven dollars per month. Cheap!

Ze and I are on the same page today.

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Find out the Truth

I just watched An Inconvenient Truth, and, while I was feeling that sense of compulsion, that ABILITY TO ACCOMPLISH that one often feels after watching a powerful movie, I wanted to blog about it while I still felt in touch with it.

I was excited today by posting the first part of my conversation with Aki, because it marked a change. For a while, now, with the exception of one or two early posts, my posting to this blog has been mostly linking to other sites with information that I either found engaging, entertaining, angering, or something. But I was rarely expressing opinions of my own outside of expressing my reaction to some of these sites... I have fallen away from posting out of a sheer desire to express a personal opinion!! For this, I am sorry.

When Bush was re-elected, I had intended to not go to classes, and sit out in one of the quads with a sign that said something.... something minimalistic, expressing my disbelief, my outrage, something. And I was going to sit next to that sign in silence. I was not going to speak, I was not going to eat, I was not going to move. I was going to sit there all day. I was DRIVEN TO ACTION by an event that moved me significantly.

I didn't do any of that, though. And I regret it.

Seeing An Inconvenient Truth moved me in much the same way... I have the intense desire to accomplish something, to make changes IMMEDIATELY to my lifestyle that will not only change my impact on the environment, but that will impact people AROUND ME in the hopes that THEY TOO will be driven to action... desire to change themselves and those around them. It is infectious, sometimes, when lots of people get together and they start making changes to themselves, to each other, and sometimes something exciting or beautiful comes out of that.

We get mired a lot in a sense of mundaneness, and our force of habit. We cease to see the things around us that are good and that came from lots of people, or even just a few people, banding together to make a change. As Americans, we have both the right and the privilege of being able to express ourselves to each other in public or private, no matter what those views are. And I am often skeptical of how long that right and privilege will be around, given contemporary political trends... but we have it, for the time being. And we need to use it.

I pledge to try to express my opinions more often to you, and I also pledge to try to show you the way more often, the way toward accomplishing things. I'm going to put links in the side panel to websites that help you take simple, immediate action.

I pledge to stand out in the Ithaca Commons once a month and stand on a box to tell the world what I have done for it, and to show people just how easy it was so that they might realize that they can do it, too.

In My Opinion, there is nothing greater than the force of an individual, both mind and body. I have the power to make a difference. We all have the power to make a difference, in a way that is not at all contrived. While we are all insignificant in the scale of the universe, the globe, even the city we live in, it is when we impact those around us in a strong enough way that we can set about a chain reaction. Just as the automobile was invented and changed the way countless people around the world travel, so too can I, or a group of people, bring about attention and awareness that changes how the entire world population treats the environment.

I pledge to change myself and others.

But I want to ask for a pledge from you, too. I want you to link people to my website when you think that I have something good to say that they ought to hear. I want you to send them to my website and the websites in the side-panel. The internet is a phenomenal tool that helps in the easy spread of positive infection, in awareness, and in action. With just a few clicks of a mouse, you can change someone's life, and change the world.

The change doesn't start with me, it starts with US.

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Akiko and Philo... part 1

A couple of nights ago, I had a very good conversation with Akiko on Gmail… I thought it expressed some of my Opinions quite well and was a conversation perhaps worth sharing, so I have chosen to display it here on the ‘copter. I have opted not to fix any spelling or grammar mistakes, with the exception of punctuation and removing some of it from an “instant message” style of format. I have also removed some elements of the conversation for various reasons. The way I've cut them up makes them end sort of abruptly... Sorry.

Anyway, enjoy!

Part 1 – God, religion

Akiko: sam, an existential crises

me: what's wrong

Akiko: an existential crises

me: what's going on

Akiko: do you believe in a god

me: yes

Akiko: tell me why

me: i can't

Akiko: okay

me: at the core of me i believe that there is a fundamental power behind the universe. i don't necessarily believe in god in the Judao-Christian sense. i might be more inclined to believe in the buddhist form… is that your existential crisis? whether god exists? You might find this article interesting.

Akiko: no, more like realizing that humans are always trying to justify their existence, always trying to believe that they have importance. coming up with stuff like heaven. as if life were created just for people. coming up with a god who created humans in his image, yet this god has no faults and knows everything, and has rules

me: yeah, i think it's a massive problem to fashion god into a cognitive being

Akiko: yeah that's my problem with god

me: i think it's a logical problem to have. the belief in god as a singular, rational, cognitive being i think is the result of human insecurity

Akiko: and the belief that if we act upon this god's rules, we will be happy after we die

me: yeah

Akiko: but i mean, it's not just the concept of heaven in the sense that.. it's some sort of.. way to deal with the unknown… it's the way we use it to feel like people are everything. that life is for humans, and all this shit we fill our lives with, all this stuff, this chair i'm sitting on

me: well i don't know if i dislike the desire to deal with the unknown, so much as i'm frustrated by the fact that this heaven we've created is some sort of elite club, and now we kill people over it

Akiko: people can't survive without feeling like they have a purpose

me: that's true. i don't think there's anything wrong with a sense of purpose though

Akiko: but it's a false sense of purpose. it's a delusion. we don't need carpets.

me: how is carpeting a sense of purpose?

Akiko: creating and obtaining material goods. it's what keeps us from sitting in one place and doing nothing

me: for sure

Akiko: filling our lives with useless shit. it makes us think we're going somewhere in life, that we're making an impact

me: i agree that there is a ridiculousness to it all, and i think ultimately it matters where one's priorities are. i am a victim of materialism, to be certain

Akiko: few people are not

me: however, i have stock in certain ideals and priorities that makes it such that i don't feel guilty about it. it's certainly hard to be a westerner and not be materialistic, if not impossible

Akiko: it's not guilt i feel though

me: no but like i recognize that materialism is bullshit, but don't feel guilty about buying into the bullshit because i think my head is still in the right place. and i am not spiritually evolved enough yet to give it up, so i think i'm doing the best i can.

Akiko: but what good does it do to be spiritually evolved? even if we're buying into the materialistic bullshit, our lifespan is barely a blink in the universe

me: but spiritual evolution involves more than this life

Akiko: at least all these thoughts are making me want to sit down and make art

me: well, but by your same logic, then, your art should be equally meaningless

Akiko: i realize that

me: and so why is it a concession to you, then... or rather, why does it console you and feel worthwhile

Akiko: it doesn't make me feel worthwhile. and it doesn't console me. it's something to do with my hands. something i feel inspired to do. it won't change the way i feel. it won't mean anything to anyone when it's finished, just as i won't.

me: but you said "at least,” which suggests worth

Akiko: that's true

me: (it's not true to say that you or the things you do won't mean anything to anyone)

Akiko: lately i have lost interest in everything i have always been interested in. i haven't sewn, or drawn, or played music in a very long time. these are all things that i have been passionate about for a good portion of my life. so in my stupid, tiny little world, at least i feel like doing one of these things… which is a consolation in the sense that i feel a little bit more like myself, but not a consolation to the thought that everything i do is pointless, which, right now, stands on a higher step

me: everything you do matters because everything you do influences the future, regardless of your emotional impact on other human beings, which i think you also shouldn't undersell. you have a quantifiable impact on the world, and, thus, the universe.

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I haven't showered today... got any gum?

Whoa, dudes! In My Opinion, this is the wave of the future!!

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Are these the Nazis, Walter?

Fuckin' RIAA.

(Don't worry, Aki, I just haven't had the time to edit our conversation yet. It'll be up soon)

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Death of (Captain) America

The Associated Press has reported today that Captain America is killed in this, his last, issue of the comic book with his name.

In My Opinion, this is a fitting and, in a kitschy/nostalgic way, makes one feel a bit cut down. I believe that Captain America, a symbol of all that once made this country and its people great (albeit never perfect by a long-shot), dies at a time when perhaps the spirit he embodies has also died in our hearts, minds, and government. I can personally attest to the shame and loss I feel as I look at the country of which I am considered a citizen. And while I am no comic-book lover, nor am I particularly patriotic, I have in this moment realized the emotional weight I feel as I watch the sinking ship of The United States of America, and it is ironic that it is the death of Captain America, a fictional and comical (in both senses of the word) being, that helps me to feel this sense of loss.

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Cellflix Interview

The Cellflix Film Festival is upon us again! This year is the second annual festival. Last year, at it's inception, I was one of the top ten finalists. Andres Perez-Charneco from "Tompkins Weekly, an alternative, community oriented newspaper in the Tompkins County/Ithaca area," wanted to interview me for a piece he is doing. We didn't have time to meet face-to-face, so he e-mailed me some questions and I e-mailed back my responses. Here are those questions and answers, edited into an interview style:

Andres Perez-Charneco: What made you want to enter the 2006 Cell Flix Festival?

Sam Friedman: I wanted to enter the 2006 Festival for a couple of reasons. First and
foremost, I was really excited by the medium. I had never considered
using my phone to make a movie, and as an experimental filmmaker, I was
intrigued by the opportunity to do something genuinely new, innovative,
and experimental. Also, I had a good idea (that I ended up scrapping in
exchange for another good one). And lastly, I was just excited by my
own institution founding a film festival, and wanted to be a part of

APC: How would you describe the experience of filming on/with a cell phone?

SF: I had shot a significant amount of footage on my cellphone and was
comfortable with it. I enjoyed the lo-fi quality it has. I didn't
actually shoot anything for the festival. You could say the footage was
all archival! It was all stuff I'd shot in the previous half-year or so.

In terms of what it is LIKE, though, to shoot on a cellphone: It gives
you a different feeling than shooting through a video or film camera.
It is more subtle, more acceptable, and less inhibiting. I found it
easy to quickly change things like the brightness and zoom, and I
enjoyed how easily it sat in my pocket. I didn't have to look through a
viewfinder, just looked at the screen. The real advantage to shooting
with a cellphone is that it's a device one becomes extremely
comfortable with on a daily basis, so shooting with it becomes second
nature - an extension of oneself, one's eye - because it is a device
that one's hand is already at home holding.

APC: What do you think of the cell phone camera as a tool for making films and clips? Is this more of a gimmick or a serious tool for media production?

SF: Cellphones, in my opinion, are a legitimate medium, although they are
certainly not addressed as such very much so far. While I can fully
recognize the gimmickry that one might find in, say, a Cellphone Movie
Festival (and I would even go as far as to say that such gimmickry may
have been part of the allure of Cellflix, both to host it and to pay
attention to it), I think that there is something significant about
cellphone movies: they are a burgeoning mode of capturing documentary
footage... what I mean is that because they are so readily available in
virtually EVERYONE'S pockets, cellphones are starting to become very
important tools for capturing not just fun, enjoyable moments of
people's lives, but crucial moments of social history and
documentation. This is a topic that was addressed in one of the other
finalist's films, a film about what would happen if cellphone
videocameras had been around during the assassination of a particular
political figure. This is extremely relevant to the social climate
today... Bathrooms and certain private facilities at one point were
banning cellphones. But most importantly, cellphone videocameras are
being used to document things such as police brutality. A recent string
of tasing events have been documented and posted to youtube and other
websites in order to take the police department and specific officers
to task for unruly behavior. No longer can they defend themselves after
the fact by saying they were acting in self-defense, for instance, when
there is footage of them being aggressive and offensive. And
furthermore, a crowd of people at such an event offers the promise of
multiple camera angles, leading the overall footage to being that much
closer to the truth. In short, Cellphone videocameras take a massive
step further than digital videocameras to put motion-picture-making,
and the power that accompanies it, into the hands of the public. This
makes a more creative society, as well as a more culturally and
socially aware society.

APC: How would you describe your film "Log and Capture?" If you could spell it out in a one sentence blurb, then what would it be?

SF: "Log and Capture" is a testament to the elegant mess that is life, and
the inability of technology to clean that mess up, no matter how tiny
or user-friendly it is.

APC: Where do you feel this (cell films) mini-genre will go in the future?

SF: Where this mini-genre will go is hard to say... in the art community,
it will probably fall into the fetishized or idolized obscurity of
other lo-fi movie-making media such as video, super-8 film, etc. I sent
"Log and Capture" to a couple of film festivals with no reception. But
then again, there are New Media festivals that are also trying to
embrace this medium specifically. The future is, as always, ours to
sculpt. If the movie- or art-making communities believe cellphones to
be worthy of our attention and focus, that will be dictated in the work
created, submitted, and shown around the world.

(If you'd like to see "Log and Capture," you can still do so here.)

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Monday, March 05, 2007

Don't ruin the mood...

Wow. This shit is awesome. It's an easy, efficient way to put on a condom. Not only is it exciting because it may help prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa, it promises a future of slightly less-ruined moods!

Video 1 (from dezeen)

Video 2 (from dezeen)

Originally from BoingBoing.

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Sunday, March 04, 2007

Whoa, dude.

This is terrifying. (Courtesy of the Boing, of course)

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Saturday, March 03, 2007


In My Opinion, time travel is one of the sweetest things of my life (other science topics that are the sweetest things of my life include Super/String Theory, general physics, Synchronicity).

This is a nice little article from the Smithsonian about time travel.


Friday, March 02, 2007

Yeah, Cool.

Very much so.

Aliens, give us your gas

The former Canadian defense minister has proposed that governments come clean about their knowledge of aliens and their possession of alien crafts so that we can dismantle them publicly and determine their fuel sources, in order to save our planet.

Dude is 83 and kickass.

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F him in the A

Via the Bboing:

Awww FUCK YEAH! (From Impeach for Peace)

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Photo stuffs

A couple of interesting photo items, IMO:,5538,19742,00.html

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

RIAA Boycott Update

It seems the RIAA is initiating a new offensive "that targets college students."

"The RIAA recently sent out 400 "pre-litigation settlement letters" to
students accused of illegal downloading at 13 universities, and
launched, where the accused are invited to avoid lawsuits by turning themselves in and paying fines online."

I really can't stand these fuckers. The RIAA boycott kicks off today. Do your part to contact lawmakers, write protest letters to the RIAA, and purchase indie MP3s. Manifesto

In My Opinion, the RIAA is waging a full-scale war that it cannot win. We must take them to task and BEAT THEIR ASSES.

Full story at the Boing, including BoingBoing correspondent Xeni's NPR appearance.

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C for Copyright, C for C-Span

What the hell is the world coming to if Nancy Pelosi can't put a minute of her congressional testimonial from C-SPAN (public news) on her blog without getting a takedown notice?

The world is falling apart, and its destructor's name is DMCA.

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God fucking dammit I hate the police.

I really wish that people would gang up on cops who do this.

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