All posts by jboushka@aol.com

How does the supernatural stuff in my “Epiphany” screenplay and “Angel’s Brother” really happen?

Both my planned novel “Angel’s Brother” and screenplay “Epiphany” present the idea that at some point, a group of people will “evacuate Earth” and move to another planet, while most of the remainder are “leftovers” to face calamity.

Although the idea has been tried in sci-fi and explored in some apocalyptic films and television series (like “Deep Impact” (1998) and “Salvation”), it may sound negative, judgmental, and unempathetic to “ordinary” or handicapped human life where it is allowed to prevail.  Yet, we all know that at some point, humanity will face choices like this.  It might be a billion years from now, as the Sun gets ready to eventually become a red giant; or it might be relatively soon because of some not yet anticipated calamity.  Both the screenplay and novel, with different plots, allow some events to unfold in a way that will seem plausible, immediate and engaging to an audience; it’s the stuff that would get on CNN if it happened.  As we know from the HIV pandemic of the 1980s. nature sometimes launches surprises that seem logical only in retrospect.

In both works, some “superior” people are presented as “angels” and may be immortal. Some of the characters don’t know whether they are angels until well into the plots. An “angel” may be viewed as in the Bible, or might be conceived as a very human-like alien but maybe only slightly different. The legal rights of such a being, if he or she existed, would be an interesting question, and Trump would not get his way.

In the screenplay, much of the action happens on a space station on Titan, a moon of Saturn, and in an intentional community, segmented into subcommunities and sheltered, on the moon, with much reference to flashbacks.  Much of the substance of the screenplay is told in flashbacks. But at the end, it’s clear that the citizens (call them “raptured” if you like) will go to an new home.

In the novel, most of the action takes place on Earth in a normal progression typical of a spy/science thriller, but at the end, the “chosen” to leave, and the “leftovers” will struggle.

I wanted to cover some of the “supernatural” events and show how they might be plausible.

The new Retrovirus can include an unusual radioactive isotope (known to be stored at two or three locations in Russia – until Randy “steals” some and has “Bill” (me) transport it to a clandestine facility in west Texas), but understood equally well by the KGB (and Putin) and American intelligence) that can produce a mini-black hole. The virus may be able to store holographically or in a quantum-computer fashion most of the memory of some it infects, where the transmission seems mysterious but happens mainly among people with poorer circulation or at higher altitudes.  The one exception is the “angel”, who can sometimes receive the consciousness of the infected person after “death”.

It’s useful to consider how the consciousness of the “victim” and of the “angel” work. Think of a muscle fasciation or twitch.  When it happens, it preoccupies the body owner and seems to have a “free will” of its own, but is essentially expressed only through the owner. There are other automated nervous system activities like this (some of them undesired, like nausea). This gets into panpsychism, and whether individual tissues or even cells have wills of their own sometimes.  That sounds like how cancer could work.

Consider what happens the first time a teenager becomes aware of sexual excitement. It seems like chasm to cross where what looms on the other side can present transformative risks and drive new purposes. For many adults, it settles into a new normal for decades – marriage with procreation (or maybe adoption) and children. Yet it has been transformative of consciousness “the two become one flesh”.

As a result of the virus, a select number of “angels” will eventually acquire the consciousness of almost everyone else in a consolidation or contraction that is necessary if Earth needs a new home.  The departed soul has occasional dream-like re-emergences, but through the consciousness of the new host.  Hence there is a new vicarious immortality.

There are a couple other things that happen.  In both works, it is possible for a character to suddenly appear as a “younger self”.  This might happen with stem cell rejuvenation, which may happen in the “Mobius subway” in the screenplay or with the application of certain “royal jelly” that only the angels have, in the novel.

In the novel, it is possible for two of the characters to become disembodied onto a special quantum computer (at the West Texas “Academy” and based on the Russian version) that has an “eye” that can hover and watch the others but not participate for a time.  Eventually the consciousness returns to the body and it returns to its previous age, possibly worse off for the indulgence.

(Posted: Monday, January 1, 2017 at 10:45 PM EST)

Visit to the Museum of the Bible in Washington DC

I visited the Museum of the Bible today.  It’s near the Federal Center Metro stop in SW Washington, about ½ mile from the Capitol

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Video 2    I talk about the “Washington Revelations” ride, while standing in the cyclorama showing Jerusalem. The motion of the stand in the 4D theater produced some artificial gravity effects (like in my Ephiphany screenplay) from multiple directions at once.  But I suppose you can get the same thing in an amusement park from a modern roller coaster.  (Those rides weren’t running during the winter in Christmastown, Dec. 19 post.)   I don’t like to ride upside down, but in the spring I can go to Largo MD and do it.  I guess I need to try to make sure my ideas in my “rama” environment in the screenplay are valid.

I’ve covered some of the “short films” on a legacy Blogger link.

I wanted to mention a couple of highlights.  First, the cafeteria on the top floor offered ethnic meals from the Middle East.  The material in the museum had a pretty good balance between Old and New Testaments, and Judaism was well covered.  There was no mention anywhere of sexual orientation or gender roles, except in the context that families in the ancient world generally had to be pretty cohesive to function.  Families often built their own homes.

At several places the museum mentions the idea of “ritual purity“, whereby in the ancient world people washed themselves with fresh spring water after handling dead biologic materials.

There is some very good material on the social significance of the introduction of the printing press in the 1400s.

(Posted: Thursday. Dec. 21, 2017 ay 8:30 PM EST)

More timeline progress on “Angel’s Brother”

I’ll be revising the complete timelines for the novel “Angel’s Brother” soon but I wanted to post some more notes today on the high points on the sequencing of the events in Bill’s “novels” and in what happens on a “reality level”

In the “real world” the timeline looks a bit like this:

May 2002  Bill has a meeting in Boston about the possibility of his writings becoming a film.  He observes a mysterious couple on what seems like one of the most eventful days of his own life.

Feb. 2003  The couple has a son “Matt”

During 2019:  Sal, an undergraduate that seems to have some unusual powers, hacks some of Bill’s writings (and dangerous “theory”)  trying to find out his own identity.  The NSA and other fibbies find out and decide to have their reserve agent Randy brought in.

May 2020:  Sal and Randy meet in Auschwitz.  Neither knows why at first.

Then Randy is sent to St. Petersburg and Ladoga area of NW Russia to retrieve a bizarre weapons sample purported to be a radioactive virus.  There is the expected concern over whether terrorists or rogue states (DPRK) could get their hands on it.  Randy smuggles it into Finland, causing a border incident and international crisis.

But in June the sample arrives at Yucca Mtn in Nevada and Bill is secretly hired to take it to the Academy.

In the early summer 2020 (as political conventions ramp up) Randy traces the effect of a new disease in people who live at high altitude.

In Sept. Sal and Randy meet in  Dallas and travel to the Academy where they compare notes and get intimate.

Then Randy gets sent to Bilbao and gets custody of another sample when attacked on the street.  He meets up with Randy in the Netherlands.  Then in October he goes to Ladoga and farther into Russia where apparently he is abducted, but is eventually returned, but now seems to be deteriorating physically.  He begins to wonder if he is really going to survive a great “Purge” of identities that the virus is supposed to cause.

Right around Halloween Sal meets Matt at a health expo in Dallas and Matt instructs Sal to go “do” Bill at the academy to prevent his plot from going through. Bill winds up charged with theft of a nearby store, but seems to have partial powers to split into two bodies, a development not anticipated.

In early Nov. Randy meets Sal and they compare the hack of Bill’s notes, before Randy finally visits the remote viewing school.

Then, after some unusually warm weather in the upper Midwest, they go to a hazing ceremony in central Wisconsin where a lot of people go up.

In early 2021 Bill is tried, and Sal has been kicked out of ROTC and will join Randy as a civilian “reservist” as he graduates.  Randy faces divorce over his affair with Sal but takes his oldest adopted son to live with him at a new job in DC.  The son is kidnapped.  Bill the makes a journey, just like in his fiction, to rescue everyone to “evacuate Earth”.  The people who turn out to be angels (that is, aliens) travel to their base near Titan, and take Bill with them.  Sal is an angel, but Randy and Bill are not, but will be able to go.  The rest of the earth’s population will watch its civilization fall apart after big solar storms and start over, as the angels are “retroceded” to seed other planets.  Civilization really does become a cyclical process. By Inauguration 2021, the country is already broken up into “Revolution”.

(Posted: Wednesday, December 20, 2017 T 11:50 PM EST)

Busch Gardens Christmas-Town near Williamsburg

I had visited Busch Gardens in Williamsburg VA on May 4, 2013 but this year I tried the Christmastown event.

The theme part is similar in concept to Disney’s Epcot in Orlando, although not as large. It has sections for England, Ireland, France, Quebec, Germany, and Italy.  An oriental section for China would be nice some day.

Here are a few sample videos

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8  — Note how the Pompeii exhibit creates an alien landscape effect.

(Posted: Tuesday, December 19, 2017 at 9 AM EST)

Dulles Airport Model Train Show, Christmas 2017

Today I visited the Greenberg Train Show for Christmas at the Dulles Convention Center.

There were three main layouts and they did not seem to be as interesting to me in terms of complexity of the model communities offered as in the past.

Nevertheless, I made light of it on Facebook as the small towns presented made up Trump’s “base”.

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There were many exhibitors and items for sale. One person was selling train paintings and objected to photography by another person.  That’s a warning to bloggers:  sometimes photographs of art work might be copyright infringement, particularly if the artist actually intends to make a living selling the items.

(Posted: Saturday, December 16, 2017 at 5:30 PM EST)

Network Neutrality “undo” vote “passes” at FCC: part II of the demonstrations

Well, there was a screenwriter’s “change in plans” today (as in Hauge’s screenwriting classes), and I did make it to the demonstrations around 10:30 AM.

I made two more videos:

1:  Note: the call to do things “collectively” and “keep the eye on the prize”.  Also the call to “hold on”, like us little bloggers would all get blocked tomorrow.  The Left likes scare tactics. The speaker sounds so authoritarian himself, ever much so as Trump or Pence, but on a different side!

 

2:  (some old time religion maybe, or solidarity?  — “Hold On”)

We all know that the FCC vote took place and Ajit Pai “won” by 3-2.  There was a small security disruption reported later; I saw no evidence of this outside except for one or two Secret Service cars.  (ICE is across the street.)

One of the most succinct summaries is on Yahoo, here,  I’ve talked about some of the more controversial (especially Left-wing) predictions on other posts (see the Pingback on yesterday’s post here).   I’m still in the Cato-like libertarian camp on this one.

As to my opening comment, my condo building had a scheduled power outage this morning because Dominion Energy, with little noticed, did a major grid upgrade, including underground cable replacement. I think that there is some security-oriented concern over the need to harden the grid with new neutral grounding circuitry to protect it from Carrington-sized solar storms (we dodged one just barely in July 2012)  and possibly terrorism or enemy attack (E3-level EMP).  (I’ve blogged in detail about this on the news commentary blog mentioned in the pingback above.) Dominion is said to be one of the better companies in taking this seriously.  Dominion Energy ran TV ads on WJLA7 and CNN that seemed to be automatically selected on Cox (at least) by viewer zipcode, right before this upgrade — I say this noting that the more “mainstream” media outlets seem very squeamish about discussing this topic seriously.  Since I’m new to the building, I was fastidious about disconnecting and shutting things down first, but it seems as thought the power in high rise buildings is re-energized slowly by floors to prevent surges.  People who aren’t retired like me don’t have the luxury of being home and being that cautious with their gear (which for me is critical “infrastructure” for my “second career”).  The outage was much shorter than predicted, about three hours.  The power came on literally as I returned home from the demonstrations.  Cable and Internet and everything else came back very quickly (more quickly than it would have in the house I had sold.)

(Posted; Thursday, December 14, 2017 at 5 PM RST)

 

 

Overnight vigil starts at FCC as agency preps to vote to end net neutrality; but will anything really “happen”?

I have an involuntary gig of sorts Thursday (it seems like I’m still “working”), so I might not get to the demonstrations planned by FFTF (“Fight for the Future”) at the FCC tomorrow when it votes on abrogating network neutrality regulations.

In fact FTFF advertised a “Stop the Vote Overnight Vigil” on Facebook.

So I went there late today (the vigil was to start at 4 PM today) and found one young man doing some setup.  People walked by and looked at the “tombstone”.  I talked to the young man and two other people.  All three seemed to think very little would change right now because of the litigation that will come, as well as questions about whether telecom companies really have an economic incentives to cut off sites or manipulate traffic speed when they know that their consumers want a neutral Internet.

I have a feeling that some of the demonstrators will stay in hotels (or especially in Airbnb rooms nearby, as there are many on Capitol Hill).

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Here are a few Wall Street Journal links today

(1)    Manipulation of the comment feed at the FCC

(2)    Don’t panic

(3)    Opposing viewpoints

(4)    Netflix

(Posted: Wednesday, December 13, 2017 at 8:30 PM EST)

A day trip to the area near a nuclear power plant, while the nation sleeps on power grid security, as possble war with North Korea looms

Today I visited Flag Ponds Nature Park, about ¾  mile north of Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant, on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay, at 50 miles from Washington DC, north of Lusby, MD.

I just wanted to do a video related to concerns over power grid security, that I have discussed elsewhere, most recently with North Korea’s missile tests, which could (besides nuclear threats to the homeland) lead to threats to the power grid (E3) and electronics (E1).

You can drive off MD 4 toward the plant, some distance, despite the trespassing signs warning of arrest, until you can see some of the work buildings, then there is a gate (you would think it would be closer to Rt 4).  There is supposed to be a visitor’s center but it apparently only in the secured area (like on a military base).  The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission is about 1500 feet inland.

You can see some of the layout from the beach at Flag Ponds, especially the fishing wharf.  Presumably the US Coast Guard watches the area.

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In 1982, I visited the nuclear power plant in Glen Rose, TX with the Sierra Club before it opened.  It required a night of camping out. In 1988 I’d have a job interview for the place.

Wikipedia aerial of the Calvert Cliffs plant.

(Posted: Monday, December 11, 2017 at 8 PM EDT)

60th Annual Christmas Candlelight Service at First Baptist Church of the City of Washington DC

The First Baptist Church of the City of Washington DC held its 60th Christmas Candlelight Service tonight.  I believe the first one was held in 1957 (the sanctuary opened on Christmas Day 1955).  There have been two or three years missed to storms or construction.

Here are two hymns

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3  Silent Night and Tableaux

There was other music:

There was one excerpt from Rachmaninoff’s Vespers (III), “Veiled in darkness, creation hails the promise of a new King”.  The complete a cappella work over an hour.  I heard this in New York City in a Catholic church in the 1970s.

The Ave Maria (based on an unusual scale) from Verdi’s Quattro Pezzi Sacri (“Four Sacred Pieces”) was also performed.  The complete work ends with a Te Deum, that, after a final shout, seems not to end on the tonic.

The concert also included an organ fugue “Il est ne” (“He Is Born”) by Marcel Dupre, and Good King Wincelas adapted by Virgil Fox.   There was traditional music from the Runymede Singers (Harward/Vaughn Williams, Derric Johnson) and a Christmas Spiritual Medley by Johnie Dean.  There were brass transcriptions by Jim Lucas.

Before the concert I had stopped at JR’s, for a mini drag-show mid Sunday afternoon (3 blocks away).

and then I saw an AI stroller on 17th street, right out of a Spielberg movie.

(Posted: Sunday, December 10, 2017 at 9 PM ESR)