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Dear Coveted Readers,

Are you wondering what happened to my stories? I am still writing but have moved to sexyoctopus.com  The great news is that there is a simple way to keep up. Email subscriptions are now active at sexyoctopus.com !

Here is a sample of what you’ve been missing out on:

San Francisco Restaurant Review: Creative Ways to Eat a Pig

Why the Desire for Love is like Pi

Stay informed on the latest in cultural events in San Francisco, and get editorial anaylsis of important news events shaping your life.

Visit sexyoctopus.com and subscribe today.

Cheers,

Cara

ALERT: A Message to My Email Subscribers

As you already know, I have moved my blog to a self-hosted wordpress dot org site which in the long run, I believe, will provide my readers with a better experience. But as I have just transitioned I anticipate some technical hiccups along the way. I choose to learn by manually doing a lot of the set up for the dot org site myself, so these are some of the growing pains for sexyoctopus.com :

Until I figure out how to install the “Subscribe by Email” plug-in please follow me on Twitter @thesexyoctopus to get my posts immediately (along with other tweets) OR email me at sexyoctopus1@hotmail.com with your email address so I can manually send you my stories until I get this resolved. Sorry for the trouble and thanks for your patience.

ALERT: Sexy Octopus Has Migrated

Dear Readers,

I have moved this Sexy Octopus blog to a self-hosted wordpress dot org site. Therefore, I will not be posting on this wordpress dot com site anymore. Please pardon the inconvenience and visit sexyoctopus.com at this point to continue reading. I appreciate your patronage.

The change is effective immediately.

Thank you.

Cheers,

Cara

  PS….you can also follow me on Twitter @thesexyoctopus

Foreign Film: The Beauty of the Unfamiliar

One month into the new year and Twenty Twelve is turning into a foreign film year for me. I already have seen In the ‘Land of Blood and Honey‘, ‘My Tehran for Sale’ and will see ‘A Separation’ later tonight.

The elegance of foreign film is in its inherent ability to transport us to an unfamiliar territory. The medium gently challenges us to think and dream in a different capacity. In doing so, the spirit of foreign film charms and inspires me to associate beauty with travel. Travel is a very good education. And educated minds are beautiful minds.

Cinema Paradiso is one of my favorite foreign films of all time (here’s a little snapshot):

Alfredo getting the reel ready and a captivated little Salvatore from ‘Cinema Paradiso’.

Experiencing this film led me to the discovery of the musical genius of Ennio Morricone. To get an idea of how cinematic music can uplift your soul, listen to this. Here is the theme from Cinema Paradiso, one of his classic compositions:

A life without art would be hollow. The art of the foreign film not only nourishes the human spirit with visual creative expression but it also develops the mind. When was the last time you watched a film where the characters did not speak in your native tongue? How did the story influence your outlook on life?

Why SOPA & PIPA are Creepy: The Best Video Explanation in Plain English

Here is an excellent explanation of SOPA and PIPA and what the implications are:

Talk is by Sal Khan, Founder of Khan Academy (@KhanAcademy), one of the largest free educational online institutions.

These cards were passed out during the SOPA rally in San Francisco at the Civic Center on Wednesday, January 18, 2012

 

The SOPA Fuss: Why the Old Guard is Losing (Relevancy)

Yesterday, history was made. An unprecedented number of ordinary citizens called their Congressional offices to voice their opposition for the anti-piracy bill SOPA. The formidable old guard in Washington was forced to listen as Internet giants backed by activist citizens mobilized across the country through Web blackouts and continuous criticism. The message was clear and lessons were learned. By creating a grass roots community to “Stop SOPA”, ordinary people conveyed the message that people are the innovators capable of making important change. Washington learned that the Internet matters. Citizens were refusing to give them permission to break it. Perhaps the old guard needed to be reminded again what space in time they stood in. Welcome to the New Economy. Hello?

Jonathan Nelson, organizer of the San Francisco/Silicon Valley SOPA rally (and Chris McCann, co-founder of Startup Digest behind him with the big smile)

A substantial number of people convened at the Civic Center in San Francisco for the local SOPA rally organized by Jonathan Nelson, founder of Hackers and Founders. He lined up a group of effective speakers: founders of technology companies, a high-profile Silicon Valley investor, local politician, celebrity, start-up attorney…. It was a group of relevant individuals contributing their thoughts about the historical matter.

MC Hammer: “We need to inform and educate. Government cannot shut down sites with undue process. It’s barbaric.”

The key takeaway from this rally and the national effort was that SOPA is not about creating a deeper divide between government and the people. It’s about reducing the tension, creating a bridge and finding a solution together. Jonathan Nelson and Ron Conway perhaps summed it up best. Mr. Nelson had simply and profoundly stated “We need to educate our legislators.” The intent of SOPA is good. Piracy is bad. But the law is too broadly written by people who are not equipped with the right knowledge and expertise in the (technology) field.

Ron Conway had proposed, “Find a way to innovate a solution. Put together a committee of technologists to solve a problem with technology.” There is no simple solution for a complex matter which involves the Internet, Constitutional rights and the human population. But the relevant discussion should center on educating the lawmakers. How can a law centered on a revolutionary entity called the Internet be effective and do good if it is written by people who are not in the industry? Could it make sense to get the brightest minds in technology who are embedded in the culture – who live, breath and understand the culture, to help come up with a solution for this complex matter?

Ron Conway, high-profile Silicon Valley investor

As we recently observed Martin Luther King Day and as the one year anniversary of the Arab Spring unfolds, we are witnessing a digital community of ordinary citizens mobilizing to stop unfairness. From SOPA to the NDAA, global citizens are trying to create more awareness about social and humanitarian injustices. There is a collective consciousness at work.

These influential citizens of the digital age are the New Establishment. They are the relevant voices. The old guard in Washington and old media are becoming less relevant. Ordinary people are now able to do extraordinary things. They are able to make an impact on society. Hello, extraordinary you. What are you planning to do today to ignite discussion? What are you doing to stay relevant?

The “Falling Man” Ad: In Bad Taste or Creative Genius?

This is the poster promoting the fifth season of the popular American cable television series “Mad Men“:

Some call it a “teaser trailer.” Do you feel teased? Do you?

I used to watch the series religiously when it first debuted. It’s quite an intelligent commentary on the the social mores of 1960s America. Don Draper is the series protagonist. I thought he was quite dapper and the man about town until he got into trouble. (Just watch the series) Don works at an ad agency on Madison Avenue. I no longer own a TV and other interests have consumed me so I don’t watch Don on Madison Ave anymore, but I saw a mention of this poster in one of my news feeds tonight so I thought I’d give it some attention.

Artistically, I like it because it is different from a lot of other graphically saturated posters. It has a strong minimalist design. But the poster has been in the news lately because of its perceived message. Some have it called “offensive”, suggesting a visual reminder of 9/11. More specifically, reminiscent of The Falling Man photograph. Do you think the creator of the ad intentionally wanted to suggest such an association? After all, the networks are promoting the premier of a television series. The job of any advertiser is to ignite curiosity and interest. As in “I want to know more.” Do you think the maker(s) of this ad consciously created imagery suggestive of The Falling Man? If you knew they did, would you still be encouraged to tune in?