Thursday, November 26, 2020

“Why Families in Europe Are Sending Elderly Relatives to Care Homes in Thailand” from Journeyman and Aljazeera

2010 09 19 red shirt protest bkk 09

 Journeyman Pictures presents an Aljazeera report, “Why Families in Europe Are Sending Elderly Relatives to Care Homes in Thailand” (26 min), posted Nov. 16, 2020.

The report must have been filmed in late 2019 however as it makes no reference to the coronavirus pandemic.

The film focuses mostly on families in the UK.  The families say that costs are much lower in Thailand and they think the (assisted living) facilities are more luxurious (mostly individual little cottages, one level), in splendid tropical surroundings, and the actual care is better.

However the families are much more separated from their relatives (usually with dementia, sometimes not even that old).  It would sound like they would have to be locked in to their cottages at night to prevent wandering.

The film finishes with an external visit of the old home in rural UK that the relative had “lost”.

The film was punctuated with excessive ads from YouTube.  Two of them were from Tyler Mowery’s Practical Screenwriting (in the same presentation).  I actually take that. Sorry, but for the sake of time, I had to exit out of it!

Thailand has had “free speech” and other political freedom issues with respect to(and for)  the monarchy.

Wikipedia embed: Red Shirts protest in 2010, click for attribution.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

PBS: "All Cats Are Grey in the Dark"; "Kachalka"


PBS POV has assembled a program of two shorts that it calls (together) “Uniquely Euro”.

The main offering is “All Cats Are Grey in the Dark”, by Lasse Linder, 15 min (German, subtitles).

In Austria, an elderly man has a female “Marmalade” impregnated by a Russian cat Katyuska, takes care of the couple, and nurses the mommy cat when she delivers the kittens.

There is a scene early on where he simply allows the cats to be together in a playroom, and the tomcat goes right to it.

The second film is “Kachalka”, directed by Gar O’Rourke (9 min, in Ukraine).  The film depicts an outdoor gym in Kiev, filled with very heavy metal.  There is a shot of sparse chest hair filling the screen made to look like an alien landscape. Later there is some very physical massage.  There are women there, too.

Here is a related video.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

"Belly of the Beast": in California, female prisoners sterilized illegally possibly for eugenics



I hadn’t even heard the stories that forced sterilization of women (often PoC) go on in prisons, especially California’s, but Erika Cohn laid it all out in a documentary, filled with interviews, aired Monday Nov. 23, 2020 on PBS Independent Lens, called “Belly of the Beast”m PBS link.

NPR has a useful historical link on the practice, which continued until at least 2010. 

The women talked unashameably about their prospects for love again.  And they describe not knowing they will be sterilized, for “eugenics”.

You could imagine connecting this to Bryan Stevenson’s work on wrongful convictions (“Just Mercy”).

The film seems to be related to or inspired by the book “In the Belly of the Beast: Letters from Prison” from Vintage Books by Jack Henry Abbott (1991).

The prison is located near Chowchilla, in the Central Valley along I-5.   I’ve been in the area twice, in 2002 and 2018.

The film was followed by a brief QA where the director talks with several former prisoners.

Wikipedia embed shows the prison from the air (click for attribution).   The film shows various shots of downtown Sacramento (visited 2018) and the Capitol (my pic at night).

Monday, November 23, 2020

"The Great Reset" occurs with the pandemic


Zachary Denman offers “The Great Reset”, the fifth in his series of dystopian science fiction films.

As a result of the inequity created of risk by the pandemic, all private property was seized, and money eliminated, replaced by a social credit system on the blockchain. Inherited privilege is stored, too, and the rich in the past have to work it off.   People who could avoid the virus will be assessed now for hiding from risk while working from home. 

Maoism came back   Kain, an attractive young man now (he has a strong cellular immune system and survived without ever getting sick but infected a lot of other people going to circuit parties), walks though empty streets in a city, but he knows he will be grabbed soon and taken to the countryside to take his turn living in the Stone Age, and being resurfaced to look like everyone else, a mere cell in a colony, like a siphonophore.  It will be a new, just kind of "survival of the fittest".  Ironically, you have to reproduce. 

Sunday, November 22, 2020

"Housekeeping": thriller short film, what you can expect in an extended stay hotel when on a business trip??


Tracy Kleeman has a short film “Housekeeping”, from Lucy Kat Productions, and a hit at the LA shorts filmfest and in New Hampshire. The film dates to 2019 (pre-pandemic). 

A housekeeper (Kate Boledian) starts developing a relationship with an extended stay guest (Hank Amos), who is quite assertive and full of himself.  The room does leave some interesting clues behind, like a mini chess set, card games, and drugs. The room looks more like a furnished apartment than a hotel room (full fridge, full kitchen, etc)m separate bedroom.  I once had a place just like this in Charlotte on a business trip!   

The film makes it look like the plot will be driven by gear left missing in a room.  What if I left a smart phone in my room?  In Minneapolis, I once left a UBS drive that had my backups and passwords.  I think it wound up in a landfill, but yet I changed all the pw’s when I got home (and discovered I had forgotten it).

The film has the plot device of doing “one week later” several times.

Hotel workers are generally required to be able to clean 12-15 rooms in an hour, I thought.

Friday, November 20, 2020

"What Would It Be Life to Stand on Pluto?" (from V101)

Pluto-01 Stern 03 Pluto Color TXT


V101 Science presents What Would It Be Like to Stand on Pluto?

The dwarf planet is the largest known object in the Kuiper Belt. The surface is relatively new, and is occasionally graced with methane snow when it is retreating from closer approaches to the Sun (which can be closer than Neptune). The surface has areas of white, black and dark red, because of the ultraviolet hitting the methane.

There may be a subsurface ocean in some areas, which could conceivably have life.

The documentary shows how large the similar moon Charon looks in the sky.

Triton, a moon of Neptune, is similar to Pluto. 

Wikipedia embed of NASA image of Pluto, note the crimson color, click for attribution. 

Thursday, November 19, 2020

"Soul Goes to Another Universe": The central dogma of biocentrism

WMAP 2010

“3QuestionKnow” looks at “Scientists Discover What Happens after Death: Soul Goes to Another Universe

The video looks at biocentrism. There is a view that souls are instances of consciousness, and when a baby is created, the microtubules in the brain link to one such instance.

After death, the instance travels to another universe and repeats the cycle.

There are records of NDE’s after brain death, where the consciousness seems to have been mirrored in cells of the body, enabling resuscitation.

Think about when you doze off, and start a dream, which you can’t remember but which you know you “experienced”, almost as an alternate reality.

In some animals or organisms, the logical equivalent of “microtubules” is dispersed throughout the body in varied ways.

You consciousness could also be viewed as a box in space-time, of all the information content of your lifetime, which could be reviewed.  Maybe it could be stored on the surface of a microblackhole and transferred to someone else to read.

It could matter how you die.  If your brain is incinerated by a shotgun, maybe the consciousness cannot be preserved.

Cosmic microwave background, NASA. p.d., Wikipedia embed (click for attribution) 

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

"A Lost Youth?" from DW News Documentaries; are young adults sacrificing their social development to protect the elderly from COVID? Not so fast


A Lost Youth? Do Teenagers Sacrifice Their Youth for the Health of the Elderly?”, DW News documentary (11 min) from Nov. 6.

The film shows scenes with teens in Greece, Poland, and the UK.  There is mention of a secondary fallout on GLBTQ youth.

Generally, teens and college or university age kids are giving up inclass school and normal social activities and sports, allegedly, in some accounts, to protect the elderly and people in nursing homes (?) because the elderly are much more vulnerable to COVID-19 – but the cavalry may be on the way with at least two vaccines.

But students are kept under almost dorm detention and told not to party because of the bizarre nature of the pandemic.

It’s important to remember that some young adults have died, and some do have severe disabilities, and a few have gotten a post-COVID severe shock (autoimmune) syndrome.  One 18 year old died of cardiac arrest in Ohio after apparently mild COVID.

Monday, November 16, 2020

"Mr. Clinton, the Cat"



“Mr. Clinton the Cat”, computer repairman Louis Rossmann’s companion, has to be one of the most charismatic pets on YouTube.  (He has several videos of Clinton, this one is typical.) 

Rossmann has three cats, one of whom was a stray who simply appeared one morning at his brownstone doorstep.

Clinton will jump in Rossmann’s lap during videos, or try to play with the mike when Rossmann is about to make a video.

He also can open catfood treats when Rossmann is out.  There are many videos of Clinton.

Clinton is very talkative.  Cats typically have a set of sounds that they relate to the owner.  A talkative cat may want to maintain dominance over the other cats in commanding his human.

See mention of Rossmann’s business in NYC on Oct. 28, 2020, IT Jobs blog.

I know of one person who got Covid as a grad student, and when he returned home from the infirmary, his female cat would not let him out of her sight.  She knew something had happened and would not let him leave the house. Females may believe they should be “motherly” and seem to understand that human kids take much longer to grow up than they do.

Picture: Wikipedia embed, cat kneading its owner, click for attribution 

Saturday, November 14, 2020

"Until There Was Nothing": the Earth approaches a rogue black hole from space

BlackHole Lensing


Paul Trillo presents the short film “Until There Was Nothing”, on the DUST channel (Aug 2020), 5 min.

The Earth approaches a black hole, and objects on the ground (buildings and mountains and sand dunes) are spaghettified.  It is as if gravity itself failed.

The narrator says you have to understand nothingness to have something.

From Wikipedia embed: "Black hole lensing", gif, click for attribution. 

Friday, November 13, 2020

"5 Cases of Soul Transfer" through heart transplants

“Curious Droid”, in an 8-minute Feb. 2016 video, presents “5 Cases of Soul Transfer”.

In each case, there was a heart transplant and the recipient took on some of the memories of the donor.  All of the donors were young adults who died of auto accidents or gun fire.

The idea is that every cell has a memory of one's consciousness.  (Such ideas have the imagined for octopuses, whose brains are distributed to arms which can grow back.)    That would imply that your consciousness is itself "quantized". 

In one case, the donor was a (black) violinist and the recipient started to like classical music.

In another case, the donor had been bulimic, and the recipient became so.

In two cases, the recipients could relive the moments before the deaths of the donors.

In my novel, Angel’s Brother, a virus is capable of transferring parts of souls, and giving the donor (who dies) periodic resumption of point-of-view consciousness in one “infected” person.

In the screenplay for “Epiphany” a consciousness-imprint is transferred by a two-step special ritual called a “tribunal”.  it will tie into the William and Mary embedded backstory. 

Thursday, November 12, 2020

"The Rarest Element on Earth" (it is a non-metal, and it offers sci-fi interesting ideas)


Atlas Pro presents, “The Rarest Element on Earth”.

The most common element in the Earth’s crust in Oxygen, locked into oxides and various mineral compounds.  Carbon is one of the most common.  Iron is the most common in the core.

Hydrogen, outside of water, is relatively uncommon since it evaporates into spaces, as does Helium (a noble gas).

The “rare earths” are actually more common than silver, gold, and platinum, and platinum is more plentiful than gold.

One of the rarest is astatine, which is a halogen (in the same family as fluorine and chlorine). It is one of the most unstable, created only by radioactive decay, but would look like a powdery black solid if enough could be accumulated.

The element is mentioned in my novel manuscript (“Angel’s Brother”). I speculated that inside a virus (which turns out to be like the coronavirus with spike proteins), it could be stable and enable the formation of micro black holes to store information from people’s souls for future immortality inside the bodies of “angels”.  The real coronavirus has become so bizarre that I am starting to wonder if my “science fiction” will come true.  I remember the existence of the element came up one time when I was substitute teaching a high school chemistry class. The class had a project to make a short film about a fictitious element, which it named after its regular teacher (out on family leave).  The kids actually dressed in costumes representing subatomic particles. The rarest element on Earth is surely “reltonium”.

Attribution link for picture of astatine-iodide, Wikipedia, p.d.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

"The Clue", gentle short film about treasure hunt(s)


The Clue”, directed by Judie Fenstra, from Chaos2Love, on Miss Robslyn’s channel, Jan. 2019, 10 minutes, with many festivals and awards, presents a kind treasure hunt.

A young woman find a message reflected in her bathroom mirror, leading her on a treasure hunt. It takes her places (there is a cluttered scene in a library), when she finally winds up in the woods, near a waterfall, and finds she isn’t the only recipient of such kindness.

The old Howdy Doody puppet show in the 1950s had a treasure hunt one time. The title of the movie, of course, invokes the board game.

The picture is of a falls near Route 61 near Lake Superior north of Duluth MN, mine, Oct 1, 2019 

Monday, November 09, 2020

"American Psychosis": How preoccupation with "self" makes people susceptible to authoritarianism (= Trumpism)


American Psychosis: Chris Hedges on the US Empire of Narcissism and Psychopathy”, on the UMN channel, directed by Amanda Zackem (15 min).  

Well, he talks about the culture of the self, or of self-aggrandizement, that it is all about you (remember Rick Warren).

The title reminds me of the 2000 series “American Psycho”.

He talks about the “failure to think critically”, yet critical thinking can turn inward too much (in fighting “critical theory”).

When you don’t get what you want, you become vulnerable to a “savior” to seize power.  Remember, as David Pakman often says, "they voted for him" (71 million votes for Trump). 

He says that poor PoC are worth more to the state (and companies) as prison labor.

“A life of attainment comes through service”.  Jimmy Carter said that in an evening service in 1995 at FBCWDC.

Sunday, November 08, 2020

"Detroit, Become Human": Gavid Reed finds love from a cyborg who rents his human body to order on Earth; is this about lookism?


The VickeyLove900 channel offers “Detroit Evolution Movie: Detroit Become Human”, from Gavin Reed + RK900.

Gavin (the human) has become the boyfriend of an alien, who seems handsomely human and lean, with real skin and even hairy arms, but who can phase back (like an octopus) into looking like and android with artificial skin.

Gavin wants the alien to help him find love, in a setting with dark, rainy streets.

The concept that you can have a human body when on Earth and then return it to go back (like renting a car when you travel) is certainly interesting.  Maybe there is a collision damage waiver, covered by American Express. 

 This video appears to be a short that was followed by a full 1 hour 15 minute feature (reminds me of "The House of Adam" which started as a short). I may look at that one later.  It is said to be a fanmade film (Aug. 2020). 

Saturday, November 07, 2020

"New York City Has Changed Forever", by a realtor


A tour of the “middle Village” in “New York City Has Changed Forever”.

Realtor Cash Jordan shows a small one-bedroom near Union Square, on 13th Street. In fact, from 1974-1978 I lived in the Cast Iron Building at 67 E 11th St, on the 6th floor, two different apartments, on the north side. Across the street, at 80 E 11th St the United States Chess Federation (USCF) had its headquarters back in the 1960s.

I would commute work (at NBC, and later Bradford, in midtown and sometimes lower Manhattan for Bradford) from Union Square, sometimes having a hot breakfast at a place on Broadway between 12th and 13th.  Those were the days.

Cash talks like the bars and restaurants can come back.  (Julius’s, the famous gay bar in on W 10th St, is running a GoFundMe to survive, and many bars say they cannot come back.)

The pandemic slammed into NYC like a bomb just before St. Patrick’s Day, 2020, by which time everything, including Broadway and Lincoln Center, was shut down indefinitely. And the second wave this fall raises the specter of another major lockdown, maybe after Biden takes office.

 Because of work-from-home and virtual learning, most people need to have enough space in their apartments for work, reducing entertainment and sleep space.  Many families will find it making even more sense to go back to the suburbs or at least outer boroughs. 

The biggest problem facing the economy of NYC is that people cannot safely congregate in large indoor spaces, at least without well-fitted face masks.  This could be the case for quite a long time (and we don’t officially have a good word on vaccines yet.)  Maybe some sort of improvement of filtering air for indoor spaces is possible.

Thursday, November 05, 2020

"The Looking Planet": a teenage alien disobeys his family and changes the parameters of the new Universe and creates binary planet Earth-Moon (14 billion years ago)


Eric Law Anderson offers “The Looking Planet” on the Dust channel (16 min, animated).

The film begins with an ode to the Earth and Moon as an unusual double binary planet, whose unusual setup enables life to grow in complexity.

So, 14 billion years ago, some spindly aliens (I will accept nothing less!) are constructing a new universe. A “teenager” wants to express himself (or their-self) by mixing dark matter with baryonic components or quarks.

Their family chides “them”, and we wind up with the Universe that we have, with a special solar system with a special double planet (although that didn't form for about 8 billion years). The film is subtitled, and I don't know if the language is made up, or a form of Chinese. 

Picture: Baltimore science museum, Dec. 2014 

Tuesday, November 03, 2020

"Not Done: Women Remaking America": Hour-long documentary about the women's (and Me Too) movements during the Baby Trump years


Not Done: Women Remaking America”, directed by Sara Wolitzky, from PBS, is offered by Amazon for $5.99 (HD) or as part of a PBS package.

The 55-minute film traces the progress of feminism during the Trump administration. 

The film starts with the overwhelming Women’s March on Jan. 21, 2017.  The march was so crowded that I could not get into the Ballston Metro Station in Arlington to go to it.

It moves on to trace the work of Alicia Garza, with her emphasis on super solidarity, “all of us or none of us”, and her role in founding the Black Lives Matter movement, after the acquittal of George Zimmerman in 2013 for his killing of Trevon Martin in Sanford, FL (I remember the Saturday night the court decision as I left on a trip to Oak Ridge the next day), and then the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson MO in Aug 2014.

It then moves trace the Me Too movement, back thru the fall of Harvey Weinstein, and then others, leading to the testimony of Ms. Ford at Kavanagh’s confirmation hearing in 2018. The film pays a nod to trans people, but doesn't acknowledge the tension between trans women and biological women (as in sports). 

Sunday, November 01, 2020

"The Viral IQ Test": Find out if you are smart enough to go on an Earth evacuation spaceship


Here’s a diversion today with a math problem, “The Viral IQ Test  Only Geniuses Can Solve” the “Viral 11x11 = 4 Puzzle”. 

The point of the puzzle is to figure out what operators are in use, and what the rules are.  This is a little problem in group theory.

I got the problem right.  Hint: think about the spacing of buttons on a dress shirt (as in a “Gay Awesome” or “The Office” video.)

Saturday, October 31, 2020

"MUM": experience of a non-hearing gay swimmer(s)


MUM  (9 Min) presents a meeting between two gay male swimmers, one apparently completely deaf, the other with some partial hearing, simulated in the film.

The effect is dusky, but it tries to simulate what it is like to live in their world.

There is a sequence where a lot is made just out of painting an apartment wall blue, then white.

The film has shown in many LGBT festivals, starting with Seattle.

The film is offered by the Trend/Style channel.

Friday, October 30, 2020

"Why Does America Have an Electoral College?": Animated short film explains (for the kids)


“Why Does America Have an Electoral College?”, is a short animated documentary from “History Matters”.

One of the interesting points is that the original compromise was supposed to prevent “mob rule” and populism. 

In modern politics, it seems to have the opposite effect.

The original intention of giving smaller states more clout seemed democratic at the time.  It was felt that rural people needed more representation.  One can see how that would invite a discussion of systemic racism now.

The animation work rather reminds me of Prodigy in the 90s.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

"Clearwater": a young woman honors social distancing when hiking near a creek, but that is not enough


Rob Jobbaz presents the short horror film “Clearwater” (6 min) for Dust.

A young woman (Joan Loluo) is hiking alone near a creek with many falls and pools (social distancing). A mosquito bites her (shown quite graphically).  Think dengue, or other arboviruses (maybe Zika). (Dengue is interesting and scary because of "antibody dependent enhancement", but I digress.) 

The mosquito takes her blood to an underwater monster who wants to use her DNA to make a copy of her. Well, the copy may not be exact!

I remember a trail in Shenandoah (Cedar Run, maybe), where one of the hikers wanted to take "the low road" and keep us climbing over rocks in a "clearwater" creek, rather than the smoother trail above. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

"6 of the Biggest Single-Celled Organisms", and a few are several centimeters long (wine bottles, underwater grapes)

Acetabularia sp 20110530a


If I find a video that shows me something from science that I didn’t know and is important, I like to showcase it, even if it isn’t a formal “movie”.

Today, it’s “6 of the Biggest Single-Celled Organisms”.

A few of them are several millimeters long, and sometimes have multiple nuclei. Actually one of them is several centimeters and looks like an underwater grape.  

One of them lives near volcanic vents and have spicules that capture prey, and resemble sponges.

The Acetabularia (“wine glass”) has all of its genetic material in a nucleus at the base, but then uses mRNA to control the cell, and can make new nuclei to reproduce.

Some of these “protists” are not necessarily animals or plants in the normal sense (except for the algae).

Does the slime mold belong in this discussion? 

Wikipedia picture of acetabularia, click for attribution 

Monday, October 26, 2020

"Jaunt": a very simple forest encounter between two attractive young men (micro film)

Jaunt”, by Rebecca Shoplaw.

This is a “micro” short film (two minutes).

Two young adult men leave a workplace for a gentle encounter in the woods.  No dialogue. Very simple.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

"2020 (A 1917 Parody)" : Two young men roam suburban Los Angeles foraging for toilet paper, out and about to protect everybody else from the pandemic and wildfires


Stephen Ford’s satire "2020 (A 1917 Parody)", 18 min, from Ascender Channel, gives us Colton Eschief Mastro and Michael Liberman as two roommates not allowed to work from home and tasked to run errands for everybody else.

This schmalzy music score was adapted by Jim Grimwalde from the score to the “1917” movie by Thomas Newman.

In a Los Angeles suburb, the young men dodge wildfire sparks and drones sent by police enforcing lockdowns.  They’re on a mission for toilet paper.  But they wind up making to a protest, which is still assembling despite the cops.

A real lockdown that was absolute probably would close a lot of Internet sites, too.  That’s something nobody has thought about.

There is a minor car wreck and one of the guys gets spat at with mask off, and presumably infected. 

The film is supposed to be in the continuous shot style of “1917” and was difficult to make, took three months.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Yahoo! on "Why Movie Theaters Might Not Survive the Coronavirus" (two weeks ago)


Yahoo! Finance expounds on “Why Movie Theaters Might Not Survive the Coronavirus Pandemic”, two weeks ago.  As we know, Regal has closed indefinitely.

I made a field trip to an AMC in exurban Loudoun County today to see “The Empty Man”, which I will review on Wordpress soon. 

This particular theater, brand new, is open only Friday through Sunday.

I went to the first afternoon show of this horror film, and there was only one other person in the auditorium, so for a daytime showing social distancing was easy.

The theater is hard to find, in an artificial new urban section of Ashburn, VA, on a side street.  It’s hardly appropriate to carry the rewards card around. But they did have a plexiglass screen and a sanitary contactless way to buy tickets.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

"Seedling": what it means if the power goes out, electronics fail, and alien blobs appear


On the Dust channel on YouTube, Stevie Russell has an interesting short film “Seedling”.

On the English coast, a young married couple with a pregnant wife endure a severe storm with lenticular clouds.  Cell service goes out, and she can’t start her car, which suggests possibly an EMP attack or maybe a very severe geomagnetic storm from a coronal mass ejection.

The next morning the couple is on the beach (like in the Nevil Shute novel). She sees an air-floating alien, looking like a shape-shifting mollusk pass by.  Then, the TV and radio come back on inside, and her car fub will start the car. 

Then they learn that the aliens appeared only to pregnant women. Is this a variation of "Rosemary's Baby"?  There is a problem that short films like this really seem like incidental gimmicks, that don't get to probe into the consequences of these dilemmas. 

Picture: Ocean City, MD pier (mine, 2014) 

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

"Mr. Clinton, the Cat": who dearly loves his owner, IT YouTuber Louis Rossmann


I’ll do an easy one today, “Mr. Clinton the Cat”.

Louis Rossmann, his human owner, has a computer repair shop in NYC and has a channel of pointed videos about IT.  Usually, Mr. Clinton is at his side, sometimes in his lap.

When Louis goes to work in his repair shop, Clinton will try to tear food containers open.  He is quite adept at opening doors and drawers and getting into things.

He is also very vocal, with constant meows.  Cats generally develop a “language” with their meows which is specific to the owner.

When I was in my first apartment in Dallas 1979-1980 in Oak Lawn, an unaltered male named Timmy adopted me.  He recognized the sound of my car (at the time, a Chevette, which broke down a lot) and would run to the second story (on a landing) apartment door when he heard my car return home.  At night, if he needed to go outside, he would come into the bedroom, meow and scratch the pillow.

He would also try to hide my car keys.

Monday, October 19, 2020

"I'm Going on a Date" (with myself): Connor Franta shows how to make a movie with one character


Connor Franta shows how to film thyself, in a witty monologue, “I’m Going on a Date”.

That’s in West Hollywood, with himself.

So this is how to make a monologue into a screenplay, with all kinds of unusual shots and diversions, while cooking lunch, a vegan pasta, from ingredients.  (What would Tyler Mowery think of the writing?) 

It is also a spot for Target’s “Good & Gather”.  I don’t recall seeing that trademark in northern Virginia Targets.

 If you want to learn to make high production quality video from a monologue, this video provides a pretty good example of the ideas.

The coffeepot picture above comes from the Angelino Hotel on the 405 when I visited LA in 2012.  There's another video (by Reisinger) that urges switching from coffee to tea (and John Fish likes tea, too). 

There was a book in 2000 by Katherine Kersten from the Center for the American Experiment in Minneapolis, “Close to Home: Celebrations and Critiques of America’s Experiment in Freedom” where the author was critical of “self-dating”, where individuals were overrunning family formation, which was becoming an afterthought. But that was years before Obergefell. And a pandemic like COVID had never been imagined.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

"A Very Realistic Day of Online School": just how effective is virtual college?

 A Very Realistic Day of Online School”, by Max Reisinger.

He appears to be attending freshman college in North Carolina from home in Carrboro (UNC?)

In a neat but very full upstairs bedroom with a fridge, the wifi keeps going out as he tries to do the art history lecture.

He then takes a break to cook lunch (from ingredients), before a podcast.

The visual effects and accelerations resemble those in John Fish’s videos. 

And he appears to own an online clothing store  Perspectopia.  It appears he is still 17. 

Friday, October 16, 2020

"Life Beyond" from Melodysheep, with its "Museum of Alien Life"

ALH84001 structures

Protocol Labs, with Will Crowley narrating, provide “Life Beyond” (67 min),in two parts, from the Melodysheep channel.

Part 1 (30 min) is called “Alien Life, Deep Time, and Outer Space”.

Part 2 (37 min) is called “The Museum of Alien Life”.

The series starts with the duality that both the idea of our being alone in the universe, and the universe having “life” everywhere, are frightening.

The second film is more engaging. It gives as an animated look at what life could look like on a small tidally locked planet (more common), or on a large planet.  The gravity on large water worlds is irrelevant because water would have about the same density as tissue. Cold worlds without oxygen might be able to support silicon-based life (Titan).

The film proposes the idea that self-replicating structures conveying information could exist in the upper atmospheres of brown dwarfs, in space (plasma crystals) or inside neutron stars.  Other papers have suggested quantum life with plasma inside regular stars (Michelle Starr from Science Alert).  

Picture: electron micrograph of 1996 Martian meteorite thought to have fossilized bacteria. (Wikipedia embed, p.d., NASA, click for info).

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

"Track and Trace": Zachary Denman short film warns about AI contact tracing and rapid tests in order to reopen from coronavirus

Paternoster Square

 Zachary Denman offers “Track and Trace” (4 min), the first of a series of short films about the dystopian world that could result from the coronavirus.

In London, everyone carries a “track and trace” app on their smart phone, which tells them where they are allowed to enter, based on all kind of health information including rapid tests at home, oximeter, temperature, blood pressure, etc.  It’s all run by artificial intelligence.

And the people who can’t comply are locked up in mental institutions.

They don’t remember freedom.  But the economy works again. 

 Picture: London Stock Exchange, p.d., Wikipedia embed, click for attribution. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

"2020: End of the World": Intended video series: the pandemic was the result of aliens (and methane lost from Mars)


Dyshant Parkoor and Prashant Raj present the two-part comedy “2020: End of the World: Aliens Apocalypse?

More parts will be added later, and you don’t realize it is a series until you start.

In India, a young man barges in on a friend with a briefcase filled with odd artefacts and a book.

It seems as though the pandemic has something to do with methane being lost on Mars and impending solar storms.  As predicted in the book, the aliens arrive, and the friend is captures, in a machine that will remove his arms.

It’s all pretty difficult to describe.  The subtitles are in part English and part alien language

From DK Films.

Monday, October 12, 2020

"Gay Werewolves: Vampires in Washington State", from Andrew Goes Places


“Gay Werewolves: Vampires in Washington State?”.  Andrew Neighbors (an optometrist by trade in the Bay Area) indeed “goes places” even in a pandemic.

Today, he and Sean (who has a birthday) explore the hidden coves of what I think is in Olympic National Park, Washington, where I have been once, in 1996.  They mention the Hoh forest.

There’s no mention of the wildfires (which were probably at least 100 miles away).  And everyone in his pod of people seems to be remaining healthy. It helps to be able to live alone. 

In the meantime, they can prance the Halloween underbrush and look for a Pacific Northwest version of “The Blair Witch Project”.   

The music score contains some piano by Debussy (Arabesque) and "Flight of the Bumblebee" by Rimsky-Korsakoff.

Wikipedia attribution for CCSA 3.0 license for photo from Hoh Forest, Walter Siegmund. 

Saturday, October 10, 2020

"The Laws of the Universe" from DUST: well, if you can teleport you can get out of jail (when the aliens come)


The Laws of the Universe”(14 min) is offered by Chris Mangano and written by Adam Aresty, for DUST.

An inmate (who is black) waits for his parole hearing in a jail cell in Los Angeles.  When they don’t come for his, his mother calls and tells him to look at the TV.  A spaceship hovers over downtown LA, and it seems people are being sucked up.

No one can help him get food until a white jailer shows up, with a flashlight device that lets him teleport himself. The inmate gets out of prison by wrestling the device away.

I am reminded of the film “Skyline” (See cf blog, Nov. 14. 2010).

Thursday, October 08, 2020

YouTube sponsored: "Creators Talk About Coping"


 YouTube had said it would do a webinar for creators today, which I could not find on my Google calendar, where I thought I had placed it, but in the Studio page I did find this “film”.

Dr. Ali Mattu (clinical psychologist) leads a zoom discussion with Hallease, Cyndee Black, and Connor Franta on how to make effective content, that meets what advertisers can support, but still seems original enough  -- in these times when free speech has become so hotly contested.

The full title is “Creators Talk About Coping During These Difficult Times”.

The first two months of 2020 were OK, until the country collapsed in mid March under the pandemic. An earlier video by Franta had said it was “weird”.

Franta had made a visit back to Minnesota (he moved to W Hollywood on his YT career) shortly after the George Floyd death and protests.

Some of the recommendations had to with personal pursuits – artistic endeavors, music, growing plants, pets, etc.

People are using apps to keep them from opening certain things when they need to be focused and working (screenwriter Tyler Mowery has talked about this).

A club or bar to go dancing  -- “that doesn’t exist anymore.”  Will it?   Connor “I want to go to a bar” (The Abbey).  “I miss the chaos.”  Fauci: “Bars are bad”.

Wednesday, October 07, 2020

"How America Bungled the Plague", by Johnny Harris and the New York Times

The New York Times (Opinion) has a 20-minute short Sept. 29, “How America Bungled the Plague”, narrated and produced by the very handsome Johnny Harris.  Nicholas Kristoff and Adam Elick contribute.

The film seems to argue that America should have followed the examples of Italy, France, and Spain and locked down entirely.  He could have mentioned New Zealand.  I have argued that no large country (not even China) completely locked down this way.  In Europe, different countries had different rules (Sweden was the most lax) much as different states did here.  And European cases are coming up now, but it is true that several states had horrible spikes this summer.

It is also true that US leaders played down the threat.  As late as March 3, Di Blasio encouraged New Yorkers to go out on the town. Pence kept saying “the risk is low”.

And it is true that Bush and Obama had pandemic preparation plans that mentioned coronaviruses but that were largely ignored.

It’s also true that Trump cut down on spending on vaccine development and preparation in 2018, and Trump has himself played down the virus, as we know now from his own course with it.

With a truly draconian lockdown, my own Internet activity could not have been kept, and it could not have been brought back after the end.  I personally fared better but a lot of people in service and performing arts are wiped out. 

There is an argument, which may be workable in smaller countries like New Zealand, that if you lock down hard enough and compensate everyone to stay home for one month (even shut down “unnecessary” web and social media sites) you could bring everything back quickly because the virus “dies” during the lockdown period (two incubation period cycles minimum).

But in the long run, Sweden is turning out relatively well.

I am 77.  I am at risk.  But it is easy for me to work at home.  I do my own grocery shopping (with an N95 clone mask) and other errands and ride elevators in an apartment building every day (with mask).  I go places by car, but alone, and generally do only takeout food from drive-ups.   So far, OK. 

But this virus is like a cancer.  One person may have a very mild case (or it may still cause longhauler effects not expected even if mild), but in certain environments (indoor spread) can spread it to dozens even if asymptomatic.  The exponential infection cycle re-ignites.

Tuesday, October 06, 2020

"Easy": a modern, peaceful David and Jonathan story

Robert E. Guthrie presents “Easy”, a 4-minute microfilm.

Two high school seniors are in love.  Jonathan (Christian), shimmies down a staircase pole (I’ve never seen that in a house) to his lukewarm dad on acceptance.

He walks over to a local coffee shop and sees his boyfriend David (Jewish), who works there early. His parents are much more accepting,