Danila Is An Optimist

August 23, 2010

Mors certa, vita incerta

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Danila @ 12:35 am

“Death is certain, life uncertain.”


August 1, 2009

Latest Film and Video Projects

Filed under: projects — Tags: , , , , , , — Danila @ 2:23 am

Last spring I acted in a bunch of student film projects at Ithaca college.

The sickest was an experimental film shot on 16mm black and white film called Time’s Arrow. It’s been submitted to a bunch of film festivals, and is going to be screened at the upcoming Rhode Island International Film Festival. The film was a lot of fun to make, and was the first time I have worked on actual cellulose.

Another fun one was a cooking show named “Gourmet for a Day,” an ambitious, full-length cooking show shot in hi-definition video and made for a senior thesis. The first part of the show is available on youtube:

The third one was a very intense rape-revenge flick, where I played what I’ll euphemistically call a “father figure.”

Finally, an about.com video Lea and I made years ago has finally made it online. Check it: How to change a bike tire.

January 8, 2009

How to Plant Garlic Video

Filed under: projects — Tags: — Danila @ 7:51 pm

I’m in another about.com video, shot and edited by none other than Lea LSF. This one is about planting garlic on our beautiful land in Western New York.

How to Plant Garlic, with Danila James.

Bucky Balls

Filed under: sustainability — Tags: , — Danila @ 8:45 am

“Does humanity have a chance to survive lastingly and successfully on planet Earth, and if so, how?”
-Buckminster Fuller, madman genius, inventor of the geodesic dome.

November 24, 2008

From Russia With SHUT UP ALREADY

Filed under: Russia-relevant — Tags: , , — Danila @ 7:07 am

From Russia with X.  I am sick and tired of this incredibly irritating cliche.  Jesus, it seems that everyone and their mother, including people who call themselves journalists, jump at the chance to use this cheesy line for an “original yet familiar” title for their article/video/blog entry.

A quick google search reveals a few insidious examples:

  • From Russia With Appeal (Chicago Sun-Times)
  • From Russia With Loathing (New York Times!)
  • From Russia With Hate (Current TV)
  • From Russia With Luck, A Memoir (who cares)
  • From Russia With WiMax
  • From Russia With Blog

the list goes on.

Yes, I know there was a book and a Bond movie. Let’s leave it at that.

I mean, by using this cliche, you’re basically coming out and saying that you couldn’t think of anything creative on your own, and decided to just use one word to describe everything you stand for.

Quit it already.  Seriously, It’s godawful!

November 4, 2008


Filed under: writing — Tags: , , — Danila @ 2:49 am

I’m pissed as hell about something, enough that I wrote a letter to the editor that got published by the Philadelphia Inquirer.  You see, I’m registered to vote in Philadelphia, but am temporarily living in New York state.  To make sure I had a chance to vote, I mailed away for an absentee ballot a full month before the deadline.  Weeks went by and my nervousness ticked higher, as no ballot made it into my mailbox.  After calling the Philly electoral offices repeatedly (the line was busy 9/10 calls), they told me they were “swamped” and were probably sending out my ballot that day.  The next time I reached them, a week later, they told me my ballot had been sent out already.

In the end, I did not receive an absentee ballot in time to mail it in (or at all).  So I did what I could in my rage, calling the governor, the board of elections, my congressman, you name it.  Then I wrote the letter below.

Thankfully, I have managed to take off work, and will make it to my polling place tomorrow.  But I’m sure there are thousands who cannot, and who will lose their chance to vote.  That’s bullshit.  Mega bullshit.

From what I’ve heard, this has hit voting districts in poorer areas disproportionately.  Unfortunately, I don’t think anything will be done about this.


Here’s the original, unedited version:

Spoiling democracy

Elections represent the bedrock of democracy, but unfortunately, it seems that a number of us will lose our voices next Tuesday.  I will be away from my polling place on November 4th, and while I have done everything in my power to obtain an absentee ballot, I still have not received one just days before the election.  Faced with a record-breaking turnout, Philadelphia election officials have been unable to handle the rush of new voter registrations and ballot requests.  I was told over the phone that the election offices had seen a glut of applications and were simply “swamped.”  As result, even people who filed weeks before the deadline have not received their ballots.

I should not be penalized for the backlog, lack of staff, or any other excuse the election offices could give, when all I want is the right to vote as an American.

If this problem is as widespread as I suspect, something needs to be done at the highest levels of our fine state.  Perhaps the deadline for mailing in absentee ballots (Friday) could be extended.  Extreme circumstances call for extreme measures.


July 17, 2008

We win!

Filed under: personal — Tags: , , — Danila @ 1:43 am

Mushroom-hunting in the New York State forests, we came upon something so magical it hurt.  One never-ending patch of glorious Chanterelle mushrooms.  Collecting them, we were almost left in total darkness as the sun set.  Of course we saw an amazing array of other, non-edible mushrooms (like the huge grove of Russula laurocerasi, which smell like almond macaroons), but this was something we could eat and share with friends!  It total, the hundreds of mushrooms weighed in at around 8 or 9 pounds.  Here’s what they looked like after we ate off a little bit:


July 5, 2008

Second Glimpse of Russia

Filed under: personal, Russia-relevant — Tags: , , , , — Danila @ 12:17 am

Here’s a second set of photos from my three weeks in Russia among family and friends. This time, the source comes from both Moscow and Orenburg, a city of some 600,000 that sits on the Ural river in southern Russia.

Cars (and garages) are muliplying at a frightening pace.

Cars (and garages to house them) are multiplying at a terrifying rate. Moscow, and Orenburg to a lesser degree have been overrun by “inomarki,” or foreign cars, making Russian made autos scarce. Traffic sucks.


June 10, 2008

First Glimpse of Moscow

Filed under: images, Russia-relevant — Tags: , , , , — Danila @ 9:53 pm

I’m finally getting used to the time difference here, it’s somehow harder than I remember. And Moscow is an insane place. Here are some pictures, quickly, since I have to run and catch the football match between Russia and Spain:

View from my gramma’s balcony. (click below for more)


June 4, 2008

I made a sweet video

Filed under: projects — Tags: , , — Danila @ 5:24 pm

With a bit of patience and a touch of awesomeness, I’ve made a very short video for this contest. It’s supposed to show what you’re saving for (which I did), and what you’re doing to save the money (which I didn’t do).

So far, it looks like there are only 4 other competitors, and 3 of them broke the rules by having videos longer than 60 seconds. Maybe I have a chance?

Check it out:

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