PROOF – marvelous movie about a female math genius

It’s rare that I highlight an old movie on this site. I usually focus on what’s soon to come out, or did so recently, and which you might not have discovered. But I recently rediscovered a fabulous older movie: Proof, a movie based on the Pulitzer-Prize winning play of the same name.

We SF/Fantasy fans like to read and write books about superheroes and geniuses, like the recent terrific Gifted and like Good Will Hunting. Proof is about a mathematical genius, played by Gwyneth Paltrow, the daughter of another genius. In it we discover that she has done original ground-breaking research of her own, and must fight to convince others that it is her work rather than the unpublished work of her recently passed-away father.

Besides a drama of a high order, I especially liked that it realistically shows what it’s like to be a genius, heir to all the weaknesses as well as the strengths that all of us share.

Proof is available streamed or on DVD from Amazon.

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I spend two or three hours a week on YouTube looking up interesting and fun videos. I often download the ones that are fun to re-watch (usually dance videos) and put them on a DVD. This way I can more easily watch them on my TV in high resolution. I can also control whether I slow, freeze, or back them up to better view favorite segments.

I’ve found three channels that post the most interesting and also the artistically  best videos. They are called Gioma, Km Music, and ns music Center.

Here is a recent video from each channel that I really like (plus a bonus from Km Music).

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KELLY SHADOW WALKER pictures & story beginning

I had an idea this morning after reading a thread in the Absolute Write writers’ website. AW, if you don’t know, is a terrific collection of over a hundred different forums for just about every kind of writing imaginable. My favorite is the SF/Fantasy forum. The thread was Superhumans?

After reading it an image came to me. A young girl writing in her diary – a secret electronic diary hidden in her brain. She was a superhuman unhappy with her lot.

Click on each image to see a larger size.

It’s tough being a superhuman. Oh, excuse me, POSThuman. Mustn’t be politically incorrect, suggesting superiority to ordinary humans. Even in my secret diary stored in one of my brain’s nanoscopic memcores. (As opposed to my public supposedly private pback diary I’m keeping to keep my school counselor happy. Not that she or anyone else can read it, it being in my 256-bit personally constructed code.)

So, future me, hope you don’t sneer at me. I’m only 10 years old. Cut me some slack. Are you really that more mature, five or fifteen or fifty years from now? Or five thousand. I’m supposed to be able to live that long. I cringe at the thought. Cringe.

What really annoys me is the missions PH Rescue Central assigns me. Last week it was getting a cat down from a tree. I couldn’t use my supersuit, it and me, Kelly “Shadow” Walker, being secret. Nor could I jump up to it, supposedly being a mere human. Yes, MERE human. MERE MERE MERE I said it. (Silently, to this memcore.)

That’s it so far. The story continues, but I haven’t put much online yet. See it at THIS link.

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BRIGHT – ultra-violent cops story + mini Lord of the Rings

Bright is a fusion of the mean-streets police film Training Day with a miniature Lord of the Rings. It takes place in a world where humans, elves, and orcs all evolved together. The modern era is a weird version of our own. Instead of a Christ 2000 years ago, there was a Dark Lord who was defeated by humans and elves, against orcs and dark elves.

Bright begins as a routine evening police patrol by Will Smith‘s character Daryl and an orc named Nick, played by Joel Edgerton. It soon goes sour when they rescue a Bright, a wielder of magic wands: Tikka, played by Lucy Fry. She is fleeing from dark elf Leilah, played by Noomi Rapace, who wants her wand so she can resurrect the Dark Lord.

Wands grant wishes, or so the modern myth goes. Soon everyone wants it: humans both good and evil, orcs, and the dark elves led by Leilah. Daryl and Nick flee them all, often amidst a running gun fight with and between their chasers.

This is an ultra-violent film and may be a little too much for some. Its combination of the contemporary and the fantastic is intriguing, however, and I found the two hours worth my time. You may too. Click on Bright for showtimes and Netflix information.

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THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL – series name is perfectly true

“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” is funny, touching, sad, and happy in turns, and sometimes in the same instant. Inspired by the rise of female comics like Joan Rivers and Totie Fields in the late 50s and the 60s, it has been greenlit for a second season. It’s almost a superhero movie in its heroic exaggerations, but it is also very effective because of the exact opposite. This is its subtly understated sets and costumes and seemingly incidental scenes which evoke the times. The show and the lead actress, Rachel Brosnahan, have been nominated for the Golden Globes 2018.

The show is the mature creation by the team best-known for “Gilmore Girls” – Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino. For more info, see its Wikipedia page. And to see how to get it, go to its web page.

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ALMA DEUTSCHER – famous musical prodigy

Alma Deutscher learned to play the piano at 2, the violin at 3. She started to compose at 4, wrote her first piano sonata at 6. What’s extraordinary is not her playing and singing skill, though great. It’s her compositions which are extraordinary, and not because of her age, but because of the emotions in them and their maturity far beyond her years.

If you’ve ever wondered what a genius looks like, look no further.

“I’m not a little Mozart. I’m a little Alma.”

Composed at age 9, in 2014
3rd movement, Violin Concerto
Israel Philharmonic Orchestra – 2016

Scores for all instruments by Alma Deutscher

Composed at age 12, in 2017
2nd movement, Piano Concerto
Vienna Chamber Orchestra – 2017

Scores for all instruments by Alma Deutscher

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A DAY IN THE OUTBACK – Elfhome short story

The terrific Elfhome series by Wen Spencer is one of my favorites. Each book actually improves on re-reading. Click on a book cover to read its first few chapters & to buy the book. Below is a short story I wrote in the same multiverse.

A Day in the Outback


Laer Carroll

Character: elf security guard named Freezing Winter Night on Stone

(click image to see larger view)

Heather Weatherly awoke surprised that she’d been able to fall asleep at all last night. Events today might make or break her dreams of a secure income, something in short supply in Pittsburgh since it had been transported to the planet of the elves almost 30 years ago.

She might also die today.

She raised her voice enough to trigger her house AI. “Hey, Mama Bear, report.”

“Two friendlies waiting outside. Day expected to be bright but cold. Eight mid-level important messages waiting. Shall I start breakfast?”

“Yes. Keva Mocha and toasted bagels.”

“Got it, Boss.”

That fucking cheerful morning voice. For the thousandth time Heather swore she was going to reprogram it.

She made her usual toilette, faster than usual but more careful for all that. It included very subdued but attractive makeup. Her Mama always told her to put on good warpaint before every important endeavor.

She dressed in a long-sleeved flannel shirt soft as a baby’s butt, sturdy jeans with sewn-in light composite leg armor, torso armor, groin protector, all-weather combat boots, and her gunbelt. She double checked the four magazine pockets on the belt, made sure their magazines were fully loaded with armor-piercing bullets, adjusted the angle of her combat and utility knife, and jacked the slide of her Armstrong Special semiauto to ensure it was fully loaded and ready for action. Over it all she slung a composite-armored leather jacket with lots of pockets.

By this time the smell of coffee permeated her house. She double-checked the identity of the “friendlies” waiting outside. As expected, it was the two near-sekasha of the Stone Clan she’d hired from Steelcity Security for a week with an option to extend it to a month. They were Freezing Winter Night on Stone and Baking Summer Day on Stone, a female and a male.

Continue HERE

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The fabulous TANGO VALS

The third of the three types of Argentine tango is in 3/4 time: the tango vals. It has a fast tempo, so tango dancers typically only step on the first of the ONE-two-three beats. They may add a step on the two or three beats or both to add rhythmic variety.

The feeling is romantic and happy. It’s often used as a wedding dance, especially the first example: Desde el Alma (From the Soul) written by pianist, composer, and poet Rosita Melo at the age of 14.

The next couple are two of the leading traveling tango teachers and performers: “Chicho” Frumboli and Juana Sepulveda.

As a bonus here’s a brilliant milonga by them.

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The Argentine tango comes in three varieties, each using most of the same musical instruments and dance steps. Scores for the music typically have four, three, or two beats per measure, written with 4/4, 3/4, or 2/4 time signatures.

The 4/4 version of the music and dance are what most people think of when someone says Argentine tango. You’ll see it on the show Dancing with the Stars and similar programs.

The 2/4 version is bouncy and a bit fast. It’s called the milonga. Some people believe the tango evolved from the milonga, smoothing the steps and slowing their rhythm. Supporting this view, tango dance parties are also called milongas (confusing newcomers to the tango until they get used to the convention).

Here are two examples, a slow then a faster version of the milonga. The performers are two of the foremost teachers and performers: Sebastián Arce and Mariana Montes. Click this YouTube query for more milonga dance performances.

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Two great ARGENTINE TANGO videos

It’s been a while since I showcased some examples of a major obsession of mine: the Argentine tango. Here are two.

All art forms evolve. The tango does too, both the music and the dance. The first music example is from its very beginnings, one of the first true tangos, La Cumparsita, composed by Uruguayan Gerardo Matos Rodríguez. Almost everyone has heard it in one of its many incarnations.

The second example showcases one of the later tango compositions (from 1942!): Así Se Baila El Tango. It incorporated some very modern musical elements that today’s frontline tango composers are still exploring. (The dance shown here also has modern dance fusions – some introduced to tango danza as early as the 1940s in BsAs.)

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