Archive for July, 2019

Snake Skin

July 6, 2019

Mera Warren had seen her share of darkness. Her path had been darkness but she turned away from that path and had started to walk toward the light. Though she was widely known as a snake, Slytherin class of 2001, Mera had learned to harness that ambition for the forces of good. She had been young in 1998 when she and her fellow Slytherins had been locked in the dungeons with the rest of her house during the final battle with Voldemort. She had let her fear convince her to go along with the rest when she refused to fight in the battle. It was that and listening to the words of Draco Malfoy and his hangers-on. The older kids had convinced her that they were doing the right thing. When even Dracoy turned away from the dark, it was clear that they had all made the wrong choice.

After Hogwarts reopened, classes resumed but she and the rest were looked down upon by the other three houses. Some of the teachers found it hard to stick up for the students. Many Slytherins transferred to other schools. Mera had not been given that option. Her parents were not that well off and so she had to say goodbye to many of her friends. She had toughed it out. She kept her head down for a while and then little by little, she proved that she could be trusted. She helped Professor McGonogal clean up after class, she visited Hagrid, she tried and eventually succeeded in making friends. Inch by inch, rung by rung, she redeemed herself. Still, when it came time to graduate, she packed up her bags and left England.

She needed a fresh start. She needed to get out from under the cloud of Voldemort’s second reign of terror and the Battle of Hogwarts. There were too many memories even on the streets of London. Mera felt like she must have green scales after all because people seemed to instantly know who she was. In addition, she still harbored that Slytherin ambition. She wanted to be somebody but she did not know who that person was yet. All of her dreams had turned out to be nightmares and it was time to find new dreams. And so, she went to America. She arrived in Baltimore with very few bags and very little direction but a new lightness in her heart.

It was not long before she worked her way into the wizarding world of the East Coast of the United States of America. She got a lot of attention from her accent at first. She had not realized she had one but everybody had a comment. They were nice about it but it made Mera feel self-conscious. Finally, she got a steady job offer. Her skills with fast-casting and even faster thinking had qualified Mera to be a magical bounty hunter of sorts. It was a department inspired by the appearance of Newt Scamander in America in the early 20th century. The department, the US Department of Magical Creatures deputized certain officers to track and safely contain magical creatures in the most humane way possible.

“Hey partner,” Clark Coulson said gently. “You still with me?” He had been her partner for months now and they got along very well.

“Huh?” Mera said. “Sorry. I guess I was swimming in my past again.”

“Well,” Clark said. “We have our assignment. Do you want to get going?”

Mera stretched and shook the tension out of her shoulders. “Where are we going?”

“A warehouse in Canton,” Clark said. He was big and tall, and working class like a construction worker. He would have been a Hufflepuff back in Hogwarts for sure. “Just follow my lead, I know the way.”

Mera nodded and the two of them apparated across town and landed on an out of the way cobblestone street. Mera could see the harbor through a sliver of a gap in some buildings. She had never been too far from the water in her life.

“This is the place?” Mera asked, pointing toward a warehouse clearly in the process of being renovated and repaired. Much of the waterfront area was getting revamped and there was plenty of construction and reconstruction.

“That is the place,” Clark said. “The guy with the key should be here in a minute. Once we’re done, I’ll treat you to something from Fell’s Point. You want a crabcake?”

“That does sound delicious, Clark,” Mera said. “So why wait?” She pointed her wand at the locked door and called out ‘Alohamora!” and the door opened with a deep clicking sound.

“Always so gung ho,” Clark said. “I guess it’s technically not breaking and entering since we’re supposed to be here. Stay behind me.” He started toward the door.

“Excuse you?” Mera said. “Stay behind me.”

“Mera,” Clark said. “Let me be the meat shield. There’s nobody I trust more to watch my back and I’m better at shield charms. You’re better at combat spells. Facts are facts.”

“Well, if you were going to flatter me, you should have led with it,” Mera said with a smile. “Lead the way, meat shield.”

Clark smirked and pushed the door open wider. It was pitch black inside and deadly silent. They both looked at each other and almost said “Lumos!” in unison and the tips of their wands lit up. They stepped into the darkness, their steps echoing on concrete.

Media Update 7/4/19

July 4, 2019


The Lincoln Lawyer

When I originally saw the trailer for this movie, I knew it was a movie I wanted to see but not one that I would jump on. Now that I am in a legal profession, the movie became more attractive to me. Also, it is adapted from the same world of novels that the television series Bosch is adapted from. This means that it is well researched with interesting characters and twisting and turning plots that make for a good story. Matthew McConaughey plays a slick lawyer who always gets his client off or at least gets them a good deal. He is the kind of lawyer who is friends with everybody except for the cops. William H. Macy plays his investigator, a likable guy who knows where all of the bodies are buried. Marisa Tomei plays an Assistant District Attorney who just so happens to also be Matthew’s ex-wife. Ryan Philippe plays his client, a rich boy with a spotless record but a real mystery. There are also great small roles from Michael Pena, John Leguiziamo, Josh Lucas, Bryan Cranston, and Michaela Conlin. The movie feels like a film noir version of a legal drama riding high on the charisma of McConaughey and Phillipe and the clever plot. I definitely recommend it.


How to Get Away With Murder

This was one of those shows that I never watched because I did not have a cable hookup but I had heard good things about it. I finally took the leap, watching it on Netflix. The show follows students in a law school in a Criminal Law 101 class where they are treated like sharks in the making. Their teacher is played brilliantly by Viola Davis. She is always several steps ahead of her students and often has masterful tricks to pull for her clients. Each episode, she tasks her students with helping to find solutions on her cases in order to prove their worth. She does not care what depths they have to go to in order to get the information she needs. The show follow five students the nerdy one, the quiet girl, the brash girl, the flirty gay guy, and the frat guy. (At least, that’s the crew in the first season). There is also what appears to be a season long (or series long) mystery that is forming and each episode reveals new bits of evidence and facets of that. I am really interested to see where the show goes because it is very compelling so far. I definitely recommend it.


Roman J. Israel, Esq.

I have not really heard anybody talking about this movie which is strange considering it is headed up by Denzel Washington. I feel like the movie might be hampered by a downer first half and Denzel Washington’s quiet, mumbly performance. Denzel plays an activist criminal defense attorney who is thrust out of his comfort zone after decades of honest service to clients. After years of being the man behind the curtain, he finds it hard to operate in court or in communication with clients and other attorneys. Still, he carries the fire of activism in his heart and tries to spread that flame to others. The movie is really about how truly good men are often not rewarded or appreciated in their own time. It also shows how easily good men can fall. If you can get through the first bits and into the meat of the story, you just might enjoy this moving story about justice, injustice, and the price of both. I recommend it.

Music of the Week:
St. Vincent – Masseduction

YUNGBLUD – Loner

Ally Brooke – Low Key (feat. Tyga)

21 Savage – a lot ft. J. Cole

Royal Deluxe – I’m a Wanted Man

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Defense Attorneys”
– I watched more Game of Thrones Season 3
– I watched more Arrow Season 7
– I watched more Legends of Tomorrow Season 4
– I watched more Santa Clarita Diet Season 3
– I watched more The Flash Season 5
– I finished Star Trek: Voyager Season 2
– I started watching Designated Survivor Season 3
– Happy Independence Day!

Saturday Night Live Pt. 2

July 1, 2019


Beck Bennett

On the surface, Beck has a deep and blustery voice that makes him perfectly suited to play alpha male characters like frat boys or executives. However, he is also good at being flustered and barely holding it together as the world craps on him too. Combined with Kyle Mooney, he has a flair for absurdist humor in the vein of Kids in the Hall or Tim and Eric. For example, in one sketch Beck plays the boss at a dinner with his employee who is looking for a promotion. Except, the boss is literally acting like an infant. He could have gone stereotypical but he goes hyper-realistic and it just works way better. The sketch above is his take on the put upon protagonist in a commercial where the narrator just might be misleading him. It is a brilliant parody.


Kyle Mooney

As previously stated, Kyle Mooney and Beck Bennett have been writing partners for a long time and it shows. The two are brilliant at creating weird worlds with brilliant touches of insanity, many of which are parodies of popular fiction tropes. For example, they both have created a series of Eighties sitcom parodies, reality television parodies, and YouTube garage shows. As for Kyle himself, he is great as the put upon nerd who can never get any respect. Seeing as how his sketches keep getting cut for time, I feel like he might have a lot to draw on. His patheticness is definitely a strength and sets him apart from everybody else.


Aidy Bryant

Aidy is also a wonderful straight woman but I think her strengths lie elsewhere. She is very strong when she gets to act neurotic and troubled. The best example in my mind is her adorkable character Morgan from the ongoing sketch series Girlfriends Talk Show. She is a perfect picture of the good girl who wants to be accepted but cannot bring herself to be bad to earn respect because she does not even know how to be bad. However, she is also really good at playing against expectations by playing brash and borderline crazy characters like her persona Aidy B She is also one of the strongest singers on SNL right now.


Heidi Gardner

Unfortunately, Heidi is new so she has not gotten as much of a chance to shine but she has already proven herself to be a strong hand to have around. She has a bright-eyed and bubbly exterior which is always good to set up darker, against-type jokes. She reminds me a lot of Kristen Schaal so of course, she has done an impression of her on the show. She is most often used as a straight woman in sketches probably because of her newness and her ability not to break. However, as the scene above shows she is incredibly good at playing dumb. When I saw this sketch, that was the moment that everything clicked for me. I see her going places.


Ego Nwodim

Ego is even newer than Heidi and is also still working her way into the cast. I really like her energy as she burns bright with enthusiasm in every sketch she is in. She is mostly used as background and side characters in things so far but, like any good cast member, she has the possibility of being great. The above sketch is a pitch-perfect parody of day time talk show guests who are all bluster to cover up that they are just normal people like the rest of us.


Chris Redd

Chris Redd is another relative newcomer who has not gotten as many chances to shine, usually relegated to a background or straight man character. However, there have definitely been some great flashes that show he will be a great performer for years to come. For example, the above sketch shows he has rapping skills and great comedic timing. He has also rapped alongside Pete Davidson. He also appeared in the brilliant parody Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping.


Mikey Day

Mikey has not done a lot quite yet either but he seems to be Saturday Night Live’s go-to guy currently to play politicians. He has played a lot of members of Trump’s inner circle at this point and will probably continue to do so. These are the sketches I tend to skip over because they are usually just retreads of news articles I have already read. However, the one exception is his portrayal of Donald Trump Jr. He portrays him as the weasel he is but also portrays him as a loving older brother with the patience of a saint with Eric Trump. It is almost cute the way he does it.

 

Bonus:


Vanessa Bayer

This is a bit of a cheat because Vanessa left the cast a while ago but I just wanted to highlight her because I absolutely fell in love with her performances while watching clips. Her strengths lie in bright, sunny and often loud characters. One of my favorites is Laura Parsons, a young school child who wants desperately to be an actress. She acts in a perfect parody of all of the bad acting habits people learn in middle school and high school and it makes everything she says hilarious. But my hands down favorite is weather reporter Dawn Lazarus because she embodies the anxiety I get when I have to speak in public.


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