Archive for June, 2019

Saturday Night Live Pt. 1

June 29, 2019

Lately during lunch hours when I am alone at work or as I clean up my desk, I like to watch videos on YouTube as a way to relieve stress. If I am doing something mostly clerical I might put videos on in the background as well. One of the best things that I have found to watch on YouTube is Saturday Night Live clips. SNL is an interesting show because it has been on the air for so long that people have so many opinions about it. When I was growing up, the prevailing thought was that Saturday Night Live was good in waves. Nobody can agree which eras were good and which were bad and a lot of people have strong opinions. In discussing it with my brother lately, I realized that SNL was always a mixed bag and the best sketches utilized the strengths of the cast and writers instead of forcing it. In my opinion, the current Donald Trump sketches are an example of ‘forcing it’ and I tend to skip them. However, there is plenty of other stuff in the current SNL that I think is really great. Let us take a look at the current cast in no particular order.


Cecily Strong

My favorite current cast member is probably Cecily Strong. She is often the straight woman in a lot of sketches, showing her great skills for reaction faces. However, when she gets to cut loose she really gets to cut loose. While her character Jemma is a supporting character, the squeaky British accent is comedy gold. Her very best is Cathy Ann. Cathy Ann is a very specific character who feels as real as any drug addict I have ever met. Her language patterns and composure are a master class in creating absurd comedy from life.


Leslie Jones

She is probably the most famous outside of Saturday Night Live right now as her twitter game is strong and she was very prominent in the Ghostbusters reboot. Leslie’s strength comes from being loud, proud, and brash as hell. The quote from former head writer Tina Fey was: “If Leslie Jones suddenly appears at the end of a sketch acting vaguely horny and angry at everybody, it means the writers couldn’t think of an ending.” That’s because Leslie is funny without needing a premise or context. Her enthusiasm is infectious.


Michael Che and Colin Jost

Weekend Update has had a long, long history and was probably an inspiration for things like The Daily Show and its successors. It is a simple premise with two anchors delivering rapid-fire jokes based on the news and presenting character bits from other cast members. The past few Weekend Update hosts have been head writers and that is now Che and Jost. Part of what makes them so good is that they have each other’s backs and often genuinely laugh at each other’s jokes. I believe that this stems from them being so close in real life and probably also from spending a lot of time together on the job. As head writers, I think they are also knocking out of the park lately.


Kenan Thompson

He is probably the cast member with the most experience doing sketch comedy. He was in the kid’s sketch comedy series All That as a young kid which grew into a short sitcom career. He has also been on SNL for quite a while now. His experience really shows as he is a really steady hand and a rock that other performers can depend on for support. He is an excellent straight man who rarely cracks (which is apparently hard to do). He is also really good at being slightly weird. His eerily weird or off-kilter characters are some of his best. However, his Steve Harvey impression is my favorite. He was able to take an impression and make it into a character instead of just being schtick.


Pete Davidson

When I first experienced Pete Davidson, I was not really a big fan. He has a different kind of low key sense of humor that was a bit out of place at first. Eventually, I realized that this is kind of a blessing. While others run around being zany and wacky, Pete makes an impact by not making an impact. His best role is often just playing himself and few cast members can say the same. I think I was also put off by his tattooed appearance but I got into it the more I adjusted. He has also raised awareness for mental health issues and has fought to erase the stigma of such problems.


Kate McKinnon

Everybody knows Kate McKinnon by now. (Well, not literally everyone). She rose to mainstream consciousness through playing Hillary Clinton on SNL and being in the Ghostbusters reboot (and being the best part of it). She is best at being completely and utterly crazy. Not shouty, dangerous crazy but off-kilter, existential crazy. The kind of person that would make your skin crawl if you met them in real life. All she has to do is deliver her trademark thousand-yard stare and I believe that she is crazy. My favorite of her appearances was actually this sketch where she plays a crazy apartment building tenant.


Melissa Villasenor

Melissa has very mischievous energy in my opinion. When I see her smirk, I know that she has something great up her sleeve and I can settle in for some laughs. She is also really cute which makes her dark or edgy roles have more impact. From what I have seen, she tends to be used as an excellent impressionist and vocal mimic. She is so good at impressions that she is often given celebrities to play against physical type. A good example of that is her playing Owen Wilson despite not remotely being a white male. It shows growth in SNL and in comedy in general, I think


Alex Moffat

I have not seen a lot of Alex Moffat but I have liked what I have seen so far. He is really good at playing arrogant pricks. One of his strengths is making a face that makes you absolutely want to punch him. (I am sure he is probably a fine individual in real life). He plays smarmy really well and has the ability to spit words out carefully and quickly. His “Guy Who Just Bought a Boat” is an absurdist character but much like a lot of the rich jerks I have met in my life, the kind society likes to hate. His Eric Trump is really adorable and creates a sympathetic character while still letting the audience despise him and his family.

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Media Update 6/27/19

June 27, 2019


Unicorn Store
Avengers: Captain Marvel, Nick Fury       Bonus: Dopinder

This movie was shelved for two years until the success of Captain Marvel gained Brie Larson some new clout. To be fair, there is no reason that this should have been shelved. Brie Larson is a treasure. She directed this movie which has a fairly simple plot but such an interesting fantasy concept that reflects so many emotions that many of us felt in our younger days. The movie follows Larson’s character who has flunked out of art school and is now trying to get her life together when she receives an offer from the titular store. She is brilliant as an eccentric artist who has been absolutely shattered by the establishment and she is fascinating to watch. Bradley Whitford and Joan Cusack play her parents and just when I thought they were one-note characters, they both surprised me. Mamoudou Athie is grounded as Larson’s new, sane friend. Hamish Linklater plays an equally eccentric executive who takes an interest in Larson’s character. Finally, there is Samuel L. Jackson as The Salesman. It was so interesting to see him in this role because it was whimsical and happy and a different tone than he usually works in. We have seen shades of it in Kingsman and Captain Marvel but he was really cute in this movie. I definitely recommend this movie.


Zodiac
Avengers: Iron Man, Hulk       Bonus: Mysterio

This movie is, of course, about the hunt for the Zodiac killer during the seventies through joint cooperation between the police and the media. The movie is absolutely fascinating as it is a slow burn through the long years that the killer terrorized the Los Angeles area and all of the time that people tried to figure out his identity. The movie is directed by David Fincher who is great at clever dialogue and weaving interesting but flawed characters together. He is also really good at movies and television covering serial killers. Robert Downey Jr. plays Robert Avery, one of the main journalists who was covering the case. He’s lovably glib but intelligent and flawed. Mark Ruffalo plays David Toschi, one of the main police investigators assigned to the case. He is funny and quirky but dedicated. Jake Gyllenhaal plays Robert Graysmith, the political cartoonist who eventually became a true crime novelist and helped try and solve the case. He is portrayed as if he was somewhere on the autistic spectrum and it works whether the real Graysmith was that way or not. This is not a happy movie although there is plenty of comic relief and upbeat chatter to keep it from getting too dark and edgy. The Zodiac killer was not definitively caught and the one person they were ready to charge died of a heart attack before they could charge him. We may never know for sure who the killer was and this movie reflects that. I definitely recommend it, it’s a great mystery.


Wind River
Avengers: Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch      Bonus: Punisher

This was a surprisingly poetic movie. It is about a hunter working for the US Fish and Wildlife Department who teams up with tribal police and an FBI agent to solve a murder. This takes place in Wyoming during the Spring but that means snow is still on the ground. The movie does a great job at depicting the deadly isolation that comes with constant snow storms, a mountainous region, and sparse population. The movie also concerns the murder of a young Shoshone girl who dies freezing in the cold. Jeremy Renner plays the great white hunter who married into the tribe and has taken their teachings and philosophy to heart. He hunts predators like mountain lions and wolves when they have attacked livestock. Elizabeth Olson plays the FBI agent, born in Florida and stationed in Vegas and extremely competent but also literally out of her element. Graham Greene is a great familiar face as the chief of the Reservation Police. He has played a Native American in so many other movies which makes sense as he was born one. There is also a great small role from Jon Bernthal, getting to be both tough and soft in the same scene. I definitely recommend this movie as it is a great mystery and such an important issue to address.

Music of the Week:

Night Club – Your Addiction

Don Broco – HALF MAN HALF GOD

Big Boi – Doin It (Feat. Sleepy Brown)

Poppy – Lowlife

BABYMETAL – Distortion

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Avengers Alumni” (with bonus Marvel alumni)
– I watched more Game of Thrones Season 3
– I watched more Arrow Season 7
– I watched more Charmed Season 1
– I watched more Legends of Tomorrow Season 4
– I watched more Santa Clarita Diet Season 3
– I watched more The Flash Season 5
– I watched more Supergirl Season 4
– I started Star Trek: Voyager Season 3

The Nighthawk Pt. 3

June 24, 2019

What about this case? Would I be doing the right thing by figuring out what was going on here? Would I be protecting the people of this city? I thought of the people in that folder. They were all drug users but that did not really make them innocent or guilty. Their criminal records might show that they had dark spirits and stained souls but I believed that nobody deserved to die before their time. Especially if something that bumps in the night was somehow causing all of this. I guess I was taking the case.

I realized that I had not asked Mr. Black for contact information. I did not know what to do even if I found the evidence the Council was looking for. I also did not know how the Council would deal with the guilty. Did creepy crawlies get trials or would this Council just bring down the ax as soon as I handed over the evidence that incriminated the perp for doing whatever it is they did? I found the thought made me feel uneasy. I never worked homicide because I did not believe in the death penalty.

I had killed less than a handful of criminals but that was in the heat of the moment and in all cases it had been a clear case of self-defense. Them or me. Still, I felt bad about the thought of ending the life of another person. I needed a better working relationship with my clients if I was going to finish this job.

I hit the library early to figure out how to summon a djinn. Mr. Black owed me more answers and besides, I had to inform the Council that I was going to take the case. It was difficult to tell from the internet what the correct path was. How was I supposed to separate the nuts from the scholars when they both looked the same to me? None of it was helping so I did the only thing I could think of. I headed to the dustiest area of the library to look in the occult section.

It had been a long time since I visited the library. When I was a police detective, I could put in an order for someone to look this up for me. Well, not this but just about any book research I needed. I guess I underestimated what I had put the people in archives through. Now that I was working alone, I had to wear all of the hats. I started to look through the stacks to find something I could use to contact Mr. Black or this Council.

After twenty minutes of thumbing through old books, I realized that I was still getting nowhere. Mr. Black had said that most people who pierce the veil go crazy or everybody thinks their crazy. How was I supposed to tell the difference just by reading their rambling theories and magic spells? Even if I could make sure that the ramblings were actual, legit magic. I was beginning to doubt my own story. Had I even met Mr. Black? Could I remember how much whiskey I had drunk?

That line of thinking was getting me nowhere. Besides, I know it was just a half tumbler of whiskey and Mr. Black’s horrible non-face was burned into my brain forever. There was no way I imagined all of it. I turned toward a new shelf full of books with renewed determination. Though at that point I wished I had an expert to count on.

After another hour, I was about to go get something to eat so I could clear my head. I turned to go when I almost ran into a woman walking down the aisle. Her skin was as pale as a piece of paper and she wore dark black make up. Her hair was jet black except for some dark blue highlights. She was pretty but the goth look was not really my thing. I gave her a quick ‘excuse me’ and started past her.

“John Redcross?” She asked, leaning a little against one of the bookcases. When I turned, I could see the wry little smirk on her black lips. She was watching me waiting for an answer but I had a feeling she already knew who I was.

“Yeah. I’m John Redcross. Don’t tell me, I ruined your sister’s marriage with my camera?”

“I don’t think so but it’s nice to know you have that skill.” Her smirk said that she was definitely willing to let me twist in the wind.

“You must see my confusion, miss,” I said. “You know my name and I can’t recall yours. I would think I would remember your face. No offense.”

“No offense is taken. I know what I look like. I’m a beautiful, unique snowflake.” That smirk intensified as her eyes seemed to look right through me.

“What’s your name?” I asked.

“That depends on who you ask,” she said.

I laughed as loud as I dared in the middle of a library and shook my head. “I’m asking you. Did the Council send you?”

“Of course they did. How else would I know who you are and where to find you?” She said.

“Yeah, I guess that’s probably true.” I was starting to get a headache from figuring out who I should trust and who I shouldn’t.

“Find anything useful here?” she asked.

“Hold up, let’s go back to the part where you introduce yourself,” I said.

“You can call me Corva,” she said.

“I can call you..?” I asked. “I can never get a straight answer out of you people. Even when the question is just about your name.”

“Sorry, maybe you’re not the only one who is wondering how much to trust,” Corva said.

“Forgive me if my language sounds insulting but can you at least tell me what you are? You look human to me even if your fashion sense is interesting.” Now that I had recovered from the shock, I noticed now that she was wearing a little black dress with a black leather jacket. She was wearing knee high black boots that looked like they were real leather as well.

The Nighthawk Pt. 3

June 22, 2019

“Stealing from the police? Is that wise?” I asked.

“It’s a copy, smart guy,” Mr. Black said. “We haven’t stayed under the radar for several millennia slipping up like that. Listen, just look over the file and decide if you want to saddle up on this one. If you don’t want to get involved, just burn the file and nobody will be pissed. You just don’t get paid double your usual fee and you don’t get any closer to figurin’ out our world. All you get is the nightmares from the Nagloshi and my handsome face. Think about it, detective.”

At that point, Mr. Black had apparently had enough.  Moving like he came from a Harryhausen movie, he walked back toward the door as he evaporated into that black mist again. The mist slipped out under the door again and, as far as I knew, I was alone again. I hoped nobody saw black smoke drifting out of my basement office and into the street. The last thing I needed was to explain that to the fire department.

I reached for the bottle of whiskey and tucked it into a spare canvas bag. I slipped the file into it as well and grabbed my coat as I booked it out the door. I suddenly wanted to get the hell out of there as I could still feel fear clinging to the back of my throat. If these things knew where I worked, there was no reason to think they did not also have my home addressed pinpointed. Still, there is no place like home. I could pretend I was safe better there.

The file was pretty boring. Of course, this is what made the file so fascinating. The file detailed the overdose deaths of several people in Woodland Heights. This was nothing new. Woodland Heights had been a wealthy area of the city in the 1920s but had hit hard times during the seventies and eighties. Now, it was middle and lower class and tended to be a popular area for petty crime and the drug trade. Luckily, I had spent just over a year in the narcotics department. That would come in handy now.

In my patrol days, I had also made plenty of drug busts. I caught everybody from college students out for a thrill to complete meth heads. I am still not sure which one I would pick now. The paperwork and grief from a privileged college kid or the unpredictability and potential violence of a real drug addict. Long-suffering Woodland Heights had the police coming in and out at all hours to make busts but the manufacturing was always elsewhere. So the overdose reports were nothing new and therefore they were not exciting.

The drugs involved were varied. For some reason, I had expected this to involve one type of drug but there was a whole rainbow of narcotics. Mary Henning had overdosed on heroin. Joseph Dean had fallen to cocaine. Peggy Kemler had taken too much methamphetamine. More than that, the toxicology reports showed nothing more than the drug in their system. I had thought that perhaps a dealer had sold a bad batch of heroin or had gone psycho and deliberately cut cocaine with drain cleaner but there was no evidence of things like that.

I closed the file, lay back on my bed and rubbed my eyes. This case did not make any sense. Actually, that was a blatant lie. The case made complete sense until you added in the talking little person skeleton that had said that the case did not make sense. What had tipped off this Council that spooky doings were afoot? Whatever it was, I was pretty sure that Mr. Black had not told me the whole story. I did not need a detective’s instinct to tell me that I would need to be cautious if I proceeded with this.

I picked up the file and opened it again and flipped through page by page. Medical reports are unbelievably boring and I felt my eyes starting to glaze over. I started to think that maybe I just needed to sleep on it. That was when a very interesting word caught my eye and had me suddenly sitting up and taking notice.

The word was marijuana. According to the file, Harry Callahan had overdosed on marijuana. Nobody had ever overdosed on marijuana. My marijuana advocate college roommate had made this clear over and over ad nauseam. Now his words came back to me. ‘You would have to smoke 15,000 joints in, like, twenty minutes to overdose on weed, Johnny.’ Once again I had told him not to call me ‘Johnny’ but the truth remained that he probably knew everything about marijuana.

Now we had something. Any coroner worth his salt would question this diagnosis. At least, that is what I had thought but this report had just been rubber stamped. Nobody was investigating these deaths. Families and friends were already weeping over seven bodies and I felt that they did not have the entire truth. This thought nagged at me and I shut the folder with authority.

I reached over and grabbed my revolver and opened the chamber and pulled out each bullet one by one and deposited them in the drawer of my bedside table. The revolver had been in my family a long, long time but still worked as if it was new. I regularly oiled and cleaned it just like my father had. I took it out to the local gun range all the time. I had the proper permit for it.

I turned the gun and ran a finger over the family name stamped into the butt of the gun. There had been Redcrosses in the United States of America since day one and there had always been pressure from my parents to continue the line. It was always grandkids this and grandkids that but nothing had ever panned out with any of my girlfriends. My mother had even mentioned the subject on her deathbed.

Not for the first time, I wondered what she would think of her boy getting pressured to drop out of the Drake City police force for psych issues. I think she would call it what it was: bullshit. The other thing she had said on her deathbed was that she was proud of me for protecting people and always doing what was right. Probably why I could not just drop what had happened to Harmony. It was also why I would probably take the case in the morning, like it or not.

Media Update 6/20/19

June 20, 2019


Rocketman

I went on Saturday of Pride Weekend (in Baltimore) to see Rocketman and it was the perfect day to go. I have always enjoyed the music of Elton John. I like the upbeat tunes more than the slow ballads but a lot of it is really great. He has also aged into a very funny, cool guy. This movie is about the most difficult period in his life, mostly from when he first started getting famous and to the point where he hit rock bottom. The movie covers his problems with being accepted for being gay, cocaine, prescription drugs, alcohol, and basically being an asshole. It is a raw, dirty trip through the psyche of Reginald Dwight and how he became Elton John. The movie pulls few punches and really dives into the psychological problems caused by a dysfunctional upbringing, fame, substance abuse, and negative thinking. The acting is so, so good. Taron Egerton is so good in the role, partly because he had already befriended Elton through Sing! and Kingsman: The Golden Circle. He also can sing the songs beautifully. Jamie Bell is great at the more even-keeled Bernie Taupin, Elton John’s creative partner for decades. Bryce Dallas Howard is great as the emotionally distant mother who had plenty of problems of her own. Richard Madden is the perfect villain as the manipulative John Reid. The songs of Elton John (and a few others) are used in a traditional musical style where they stop a lot of the action but they allow us a great window into the emotions of the scene. My only complaint is that the movie was not longer. I wholeheartedly recommend it.


Kiss of the Spider Woman

This is a history-making movie that I have definitely had on my list for a long time because I am a big Raul Julia fan and also because this movie is on the 1001 Movies to See Before You Die list. The movie is the first independent film to be nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture. It is also the first film with an openly trans character whose actor (William Hurt) was nominated for and won an Oscar for Best Actor. Hurt is captivating as a very theatrical and charismatic man who dresses often in drag who loves to tell a good story. Raul Julia plays a more cynical, rough-around-the-edges leftist political prisoner who sees through all of the bullshit in life. The two are cellmates and unlikely friends and maybe more. Sonia Braga plays the titular character, a role in the style of classic female movie stars like Greta Garbo, Judy Garland, and Hedy Lamarr. The chemistry between Julia and Hurt is so good that it is easy to believe that the two became fast friends in real life. This was an experience that could only bond two performers together. The movie also has an interesting production history since it is a Brazilian-American production and there were language problems between the director and Hurt. The movie is a great look at gender identity and also what it is like to live under fascism. It is also about redemption for those who may have done wrong in their life. I definitely recommend it.


Gentleman Jack

Gentleman Jack is a BBC series about a woman who defies gender stereotypes in the mid-1800s. She lives in Halifax in England after living in Paris. She finds that she is attracted to women and so sets out to find a wife for herself. However, it is also about a woman trying to set the business she inherited back in the black while also navigating a difficult relationship with her family. Suranne Jones plays the lead (Anne Lister) and she is instantly charismatic and likable but also blunt and confident so I can see why other characters find her offputting. Sophie Rundle plays the object of her affections and their courtship is depicted as physically and socially dangerous. Still, Lister is a courageous woman who soldiers on even though she has been hurt before. She keeps her deepest secrets hidden while everybody just thinks she is ‘odd’. The show is very BBC in that it is a dry period drama but the acting really sets it apart from other stuff that I have seen in that vein. The character of Lister is so complex and interesting that I was instantly fascinated. I also like the depiction of lesbian culture in a period drama since many seem to think it did not exist back then. I recommend the show.

Music of the Week:
Ashley O – On a Roll

Janelle Monáe – Tightrope

Pabllo Vittar – Problema Seu

Quay Dash – Decline Him

Life Of Agony – This Time

 

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Pride 2019”
– I watched more Game of Thrones Season 3
– I watched more Arrow Season 7
– I watched more Charmed Season 1
– I watched more Legends of Tomorrow Season 4
– I watched more Santa Clarita Diet Season 3
– I watched more Riverdale Season 3
– I watched more The Flash Season 5
– I finished Star Trek: Voyager Season 2

Advice

June 17, 2019

I have been mainlining a lot of the My Brother, My Brother, and Me podcast episodes lately. The show is a comedic advice show where the three McElroy brothers answer listener’s questions and random questions from the Yahoo Answers service. Their disclaimer is as such: “The McElroy brothers are not experts, and their advice should never be followed. Travis insists he’s a sexpert, but if there’s a degree on his wall, I haven’t seen it. Also, this show isn’t for kids, which I mention only so the babies out there will know how cool they are for listening. What’s up, you cool baby?” Which is to say they do hand out some good advice but they also do a lot of comedy riffs where they dispense purposefully terrible advice. They never make it clear which is which but common sense makes it fairly easy to figure out. Also, there is less snickering and giggling during the good advice.

The thought I had yesterday was why anyone would ever seek advice from strangers and why would strangers dispense advice? The McElroy brothers treat it as a comedy routine and are not super serious about it even if they do end up helping people. And yet there are plenty of people who try to legitimately give advice. Writers like Dear Abby and Ann Landers (both nom de plumes) write advice columns with impunity. How did they get the confidence to try and give other people advice? Then there are even trickier outlets like Loveline and Dr. Ruth who dealt heavily with sexual topics. To say nothing of Dr. Spock who tried to tell parents how to raise their babies. Some of these people have degrees which would seem to confer on them the bonafides to allow them to give advice. Others are just newspaper employees who are doing their best. What qualifies one to give advice? Common sense? Some degree of emotional empathy and/or intelligence? I am not sure.

I know that I do not really like giving advice unless it is advice on what movies or tv shows people should watch. Watching the wrong pop culture rarely irreparably damages anyone’s life. I also offer some advice on writing but that is the basic “Just Write.” that I read in many books on writing. However, when it comes to people’s lives, I hesitate to tell them what to do. I can tell people what works for me but if I was never in a certain situation, I am hard pressed to think of the right thing to say. How do I even know what the right thing to say is? I am always nervous that I will say the wrong advice and ruin the situation. For example, if I am not gay, how do I give advice on somebody coming out? I can’t. I just can’t.

I also have an interesting thing in that I am a paralegal in my day job. I have spent over a year doing formal training in the law in general and specifically Maryland law. I also research the law just about every day at work (unless it is a filing day). With all of that general legal knowledge, of course, there are people who ask me for advice usually over the phone at work. The problem is that I legally cannot give legal advice. It is literally against the law. Doing so would be unauthorized practice of law. Only a lawyer is licensed to give legal advice and doing so behind my attorney’s back could get both of us in trouble. For me, it’s a relief because I do not want that pressure. However, I also sometimes have to pass on advice from my boss to clients and I have to be very careful about how I do that. I just do not know how people do it naturally.

In the House of the Law

June 15, 2019

In House of the Law in Osten on the border of the Bremid Empire, Gedreel paced back and forth. She was so anxious that she found herself practically shaking apart. The guards gave her the side eye and she decided to stay absolutely still. She briefly considered waiting out front but thought that might now look suspicious so she tried to hold it together. She had always been a good girl and she was rarely in a House of Law. She had been raised in the temple by the Order, a little sheltered maybe but walking the true path. She knew that she had done nothing wrong so why was she nervous? At least she was reasonably sure she was innocent.

She was in the middle of cataloging her every past action when Cherish strolled out from the holding cell area, escorted by another guard. Gedreel immediately forgot where she was and ran to Cherish and hugged her close.

“Oh, Cherish! I am so glad that you are alright,” she said and then paused. “You are alright, right?”

Cherish sighed but smiled. “I’m fine, Geddy,” she said. “I’m over the moon glad to see you but you didn’t have to come here for me.” She started to gently guide Gedreel from the building.

“Wait!” Gedreel said and stayed rooted to the spot. She held Cherish at arm’s length and inspected her thoroughly. Cherish had all of her fingers and toes, two legs, two arms, her tail, one blue eye, and one red eye. One of her horns was broken but Gedreel knew it had been that way when she met Cherish. Cherish refused to fix it no matter what Gedreel offered. Then Gedreel spotted the bruise just behind Cherish’s left ear. She gasped and gently laid her hand on it and healed her skin back to its usual crimson hue. She shot the guards a dirty look and she was about to say something nasty to them when Cherish pushed her outside.

“Relax Geddy,” Cherish said. “I’m fine.”

“But they hit you!” GEdreel yelled before suddenly realizing her loud volume. “They shouldn’t hit you.”

“On that point, we can both agree,” Cherish said. “And yet that’s what they do sometimes when they arrest people.”

“Why aren’t you angrier?” Gedreel asked. “I would be angry.”

“I was angry the first three times,” Cherish said. “After that, you figure out that it’s pointless to get angry when bitter will do just fine.”

“What were you even arrested for?” Gedreel asked.

“I was arrested for being a Tiefling, same as always,” Cherish said. “Same old song and dance.”

“But you were born that way,” Gedreel said. “Tiefling blood does not equate to automatic guilt.”

“I know that,” Cherish said. “and you know that but plenty of people can’t seem to grasp that.”

“But you were a member of the Queensguard of Deneia!” Gedreel said. “Your honor is beyond reproach.”

Cherish shook her head. “That’s not exactly a point in my favor in these small towns,” she said. “Being a bodyguard in a government controlled by my kind. Most tell me to just go back there.”

Gedreel gasped again and grabbed Cherish’s hand. “But you can’t go back there!” She said. “Your uncle said he would kill you!”

“They wouldn’t care, Geddy,” Cherish said. “I think you care enough for all of us who don’t care.”

“Last time we met, you said I care too much,” Gedreel said.

“I was wrong,” Cherish said. “We need people who care like you. I need people who care.”

“I do care!” Gedreel said. “You know I do.”

“Why are you here, Geddy?” Cherish asked. “Not that I’m complaining but how did you hear about my arrest? How did you know I was here?”

“Holy Lathander sent me a vision, a message to come and get you,” Gedreel said

“I didn’t know you got visions,” Cherish said. “You never got visions back in Deneia.”

“This was my first one,” Gedreel said, her eyes were bright and merry. “It was exciting.”

“Your first vision sent you to me?” Cherish asked. “Why? Why would Lathander send you to me?”

“I think that he means for us to be together for some purpose,” Gedreel said. “I think we’re meant to help people by defeating a great evil.”

“A great evil?” Cherish asked. “You I can understand but me? Really?”

“Yes,” Gedreel said. “Also I think Lathander has blessed my proposal of marriage.”

Cherish smirked. “Geddy! Are you proposing to me?”

Gedreel’s eyes widened and she blushed furiously. “I meant that to be a grander romantic gesture!”

“It was fine,” Cherish said with a smile. “Very romantic. Very you.”

Gedreel took a deep breath. “Cherish Westera Goldsong, we have known each other for so long and though our paths have pulled apart, fate and the gods above have brought us back together. I have thought of you every day that we were apart. Now that we are together again, I do not want to leave you ever again. Cherish will you–“

This was the point where Cherish kissed Gedreel. They kissed for a long, long time. They kissed until they had to come up for air. They smiled at each other and Cherish dragged Gedreel off to an inn to celebrate.

Media Update 19.6.13

June 13, 2019


Good Omens

I am a big Neil Gaiman fan but unfortunately, I have only read one Terry Pratchett book so far and it was the first Discworld book. I have not read Good Omens yet but I figured I would watch the show first to get a feel for it. I love the world-building of both authors. Gaiman also has a knack for taking mythical figures and making them very accessible (I was going to say human but no). This is the tale of an angel and a demon who are trying to stop Armageddon. David Tennant plays Crowley, the fallen angel who never really meant to fall. Michael Sheen plays Aziraphale, a pleasant but subversive angel. Both of them have been stuck on Earth since Adam and Eve’s expulsion from Eden and they have adjusted to human life. They have struggled to work as agents of their respective sides while trying to maintain a friendship as well. The strength of the show is the chemistry between these two and it is so great. I really also like the performances by John Hamm, Michael McKean, and Adria Arjona. Adria Arjona, in particular, is funny and gorgeous. This show almost qualifies for Pride if the shippers got their way. I definitely recommend it.


Siempre Brujo

This is an interesting show. It is a Spanish-language show produced in Colombia. It is set in Cartagena, Colombia during two different eras. One era is during the late 1600s and the other is in our present. A young slave (who is also a pureblood witch) is sent on a mission to the future and must navigate 2019 without knowledge of all of our technology but with magic powers. Thankfully, she can speak Spanish well enough to adjust to modern society. The show is incredibly interesting in that it shows the inherent difficulties of time travel that I did not even think about. For example, to accomplish her mission in 2019, she has to find somebody within a geographic region. The travel alone would have taken weeks in her time but could take her hours if she could figure it out. The show seems really smart to me so far in how it deals with Fantasy but also race relations and class warfare. We get to see Carmen (the lead) on her mission in the present but we also see many flashbacks which inform us about who she is. It is a similar structure to Once Upon a Time. Angely Gavira plays the lead and she has such a great innocence to her but also a quiet strength that will be fun to watch. I definitely recommend it in the original Spanish and not the dub.


Season of the Witch

I am a fan of Nicolas Cage movies because even when they are bad, his performance is memorable and either interesting or insane. He puts his all into every movie role he has ever had and it shows. In addition, this movie has Ron Perlman in it. I will just about watch anything he is in after loving him in Blade 2 and the Hellboy franchise. In this movie, they are even best friends and comrades in arms so a lot of the movie is basically a medieval buddy cop film starring those two. Except it is also about a group of men transporting an accused witch to lift a curse. It allows both men to interact with a lot of people and really, that was all I wanted. It is a simple story told in a simple way and that is perfectly fine. Its main purpose is to explore the relationship between those who worship God and the Church and the conflict between the two. It is nothing special but I recommend it as a good movie to watch in the background.

Music of the Week:
The Marías – Baby One More Time

Oliver Tree – Miracle Man

Avril Lavigne feat. Nicki Minaj – Dumb Blonde

Young M.A “Bake Freestyle”

Wind Rose – Diggy Diggy Hole

 

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Witches”
– Yes, this post is late but it is still Thursday.
– I finished Tuca and Bertie Season 1
– I started Game of Thrones Season 3
– I watched more Arrow Season 7
– I watched more The Flash Season 5
– I watched more Charmed Season 1
– I watched more Supergirl Season 4
– I watched more Legends of Tomorrow Season 4
– I watched more Santa Clarita Diet Season 3

Pride 2019

June 10, 2019

A lot of cities had their pride parades this past weekend but my hometown and current home Baltimore is having Pride this coming weekend. I have always been an ally to everyone under the banner of “Other” and this includes everybody under the banner of LGBTQ+. That was how I was raised, to be kind and think well of other people especially if they are not trying to hurt anybody. My mother came from a tolerant family in the American South that shunned racism. I went to school for twelve years at a Quaker school which taught love and acceptance for all. In high school, I entered the world of theater which was generally more open-minded than the rest of the world. I met the first gay people I knew of here. Of course, I may have met many gay people previously but it was the nineties and people were heavily closeted.

When I went to college, I met even more people from the beautiful spectrum of humanity. I was introduced to gay culture and my mind was opened even more. I worked professionally in theater for five more years and I met more gay people. I met so many different people over the years. I also read a lot of books and watched a lot of content. It all helped form my feelings on the whole LGBTQ+ community. It just goes to my further my constant argument that exposure helps breed love and peace. Ignorance breeds hate. If you listen to the message that Pride sends out, it is a message of equality, happiness, fun, and fighting back against the darkness. How anybody could interpret it as anything else is a mystery to me.

A long while ago I sort of came out as aromantic. I have never once felt a romantic feeling. I have never longed for the companionship of another human being regardless of gender, sex, or orientation. A lot of people need that sort of thing to make their lives complete but I am happy to have my friends and family. Obviously, over the years the makeup of the LGBTQ+ banner has had some changes. There is too much bickering over who should and should not be at Pride and this year I am seeing a lot of people being fed up with it. This is the first year that I have seen clear statements accepting aromantics at Pride. When I saw it, I felt something break free inside of me and I smiled. We are a small subsection so specific support was not something I was expecting. So, this year will be the first year I attend Pride as an aromantic and not just an ally.

Oh, and the only people who should not be at Pride are cops and hatemongers. Hatemongers are obviously not welcome at Pride. These include the Christian Right, the Nazis, the Klansmen, and all of the raving lunatics who would rather burn it all down than let people be free to be different. However, it also includes silent partners. The corporations who sell rainbow flags but turn their backs on actual gay people, the forces of Capitalism who decided that gay people don’t make them enough money, the well-meaning ‘middle of the road’ types who do not want to make waves even when it means defending people’s rights to be happy. This also brings us to the cops. Yes, the cops. The cops who protect armed nazis in Detroit who chose to march through Pride, sending people who were celebrating indoors and fearing for their lives. The cops who have a history of breaking up gatherings of gay people and almost never side with ‘the Other’ over ‘good’ white men and women. The same cops who have a history of beating the crap out of minorities when they feel like it. No cops at pride, only love and true allies. Please.

The Nighthawk Pt. 2

June 8, 2019

“Don’t run. I mean ya no harm.” The voice said from no visible mouth whatsoever.

My response was a stunned silence with a renewed hawk-like watching of the puddle. I also might have definitely let loose a string of unrepeatable swear words. Alright, I definitely said the swear words. Meanwhile, the puddle was doing an awful lot of moving which looked disturbingly like it was animated by Ray Harryhausen. This is not the sort of thing that you expect to see on your office floor. The liquid coalesced into a blackened mess which might be interpreted as muscles and a skeleton. No skin seemed to be forthcoming but thankfully the thing slowly started to form clothes.

Imagine a blackened skeleton in a gray fuzzy sweater and brown corduroy pants. Now imagine that this delightful figure was four feet tall and was somehow both terrifying and adorable. That was what the creature who had just reverse-melted off my floor looked like. I had so many questions but my brain had put on the brakes at this point and I was already reaching for that old family revolver tucked into a holster by the small of my back.

“Lay off the gun, kid. I promise I won’t hurt ya.” The little black skeleton said.

“Did you just use a Brooklyn accent?”

“Good,” the Skeleton said. “You’re lookin’ at me without pissin’ yourself. I did live in Brooklyn for a long time. Actually since before you monkeys showed up. It was way different back then but that’s beside the point.”

I stayed leaning against the wall, hand near my gun. I never did trust easily. “What is the point, creepy skeleton man?”

“This is creepy?” The skeleton asked. “Your species is so close-minded.”

“You keep floating away from making an actual point. Why are you haunting my office?” I was getting annoyed quickly. At least annoyed was better than scared. I headed back toward my desk, making a wide berth around the skeleton. At least I could use the desk as cover if this thing went from David Lynch to David Cronenberg.

“Alright, alright,” the skeleton said. “I guess being timeless makes you less inclined to rush things. I guess your impatience is more or less a biological imperative. I don’t have really have a biology so I’m not really sure.” The thing’s eye holes tracked my movements. Every single moment.

“What are you?” I asked. It was probably rude and blunt but I was rattled. Sue me.

“I guess I’m a messenger of sorts in this situation. Of course, maybe you’re actually asking what sort of creature I am. I am a djinn.”

“I’ll bite. What’s a djinn?’ I asked, still wondering if I had drunk enough whiskey to black out. If this was real, I was glad for the calming effect of the alcohol.

“A djinn is basically a being of thought and emotion and magic. Very few of us actually hang out here in the real world but reality kind of grew on me so I visit every so often.” The skeleton gestured and a lit cigar formed in his hand and he began to smoke. I did not smell any smoke.

“What’s your name?” I sat down, my legs ached with released tension.

“Unpronounceable. People call me Mr. Black. That works well enough.”

“My name is John Redcross but you probably saw the name on the door. You said ‘people’. What people would talk to something like you?”

“I’ll forgive the bigotry you’ve got going on there,” Mr. Black said. “The people I talk to are mostly the Council and that brings me to why I’m here. Like I said, I brought you a message.”

“First, who’s this Council? If you have a message from them for me, I’d like to know who they are.” I reached for a pencil and a piece of paper if only to look professional if this was going to be some sort form of business meeting all of a sudden.

“Makes sense. The Council is the ruling party of the so-called supernatural world. A world, we’re aware you briefly experienced just about a year ago.”

My heart tightened in my chest and my gaze went to Harmony’s badge where it was framed on my wall. “So it was real.”

Mr. Black nodded. “Yeah, they’re real. The Nagloshi are some vicious sons of bitches. Whatever they did to her could not have been any good. That’s not why I’m here.” He gestured with the cigar a bit while he talked. The talking skeleton bit was starting to get less unnerving. I am not sure whether this acceptance was something positive or negative. Regardless, my enemy had a name now which made them chillingly more real but also more within the reach of my revenge.

Mr. Black spoke up again, filling the silence. “Earth to Detective Redcross, do you want to hear the message or not?”

“A creepy little skeleton muscles his way into my office with a message from some clandestine council of supernatural beings?” I asked. “Of course I want to hear the message.”

Mr. Black put out the cigar he had been smoking on the top of his shiny black skull and shrugged. “Alright then. The Council is aware that you have discovered a piece of our world. It’s what we call ‘piercing the veil’. Most people who pierce the veil either go crazy or the world thinks their crazy and things spiral from there. It’s only when a large number of people discover the truth at the same time that we have to worry.”

“So if they’re not worried about me then why send you to creep me out?” I asked.

“Again with the impatience and bigotry. They sent me here to hire you. There have been several deaths in the Woodland Heights area and we think a rogue faction is responsible.”

“Don’t you have your own cops?” I asked.

“We do but the case involves both mortal drugs and the supernatural,” Mr. Black said. “They feel that since you have pierced the veil and have experience with human crime, you might be better equipped to handle this. Also, if you’re not gonna go nuts, you might as well prove useful.”

“I still don’t understand anything about this. Frankly, I don’t know if I want to help a community that killed my partner and lost me my career.”

“Don’t go lumping the rest of us in with that one Nagloshi,” Mr. Black said holding his hands up in the universal sign of ‘we come in peace’. “We’re not all psycho predators. Just like any community, we have our good guys and bad guys. We’re offering you the chance to step inside our ranks and be a good guy. You don’t have to like us to do the job. In fact, you’ll probably be more objective if you remain skeptical.”

“Your council is afraid that if too many people die, you will be risking exposure,” I guessed.

“Obviously,” Mr. Black said. “I guess those are the kind of smarts that they’re banking on.” Even with no skin on his face, I could feel the sarcasm radiating off Mr. Black.

“If I do this, will I get information on these Nagloshi?” I asked.

“Officially, I should warn you that revenge is not the diplomatic sort of idea that will keep you alive in our world. Unofficially, you might discover a few things about the nasty buggers. I honestly don’t know where this case goes, I’m not psychic.”

“Where do I start? Usually, there’s a crime scene or a case file for me to look at. “

“Hold onta your hat, detective. I got what ya need right here. There’re no active crime scenes right now but I picked up this from the local station house.” He pulled a file folder out of thin air and held it out. I came around the desk and tentatively took it from his bony fingers and retreated back behind the desk.


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