The Special Puns Unit: These Are Their Stories

This post doesn’t need an introduction. Just imagine you’re in a development meeting at USA Network.

Him: my best friend
Her: my roommate
Me: me

~~~

Him:  hows this pitch: a gritty crime drama about an epileptic detective
search & seizure

Me:  i see your pitch and i raise you:
emotionally unavailable new york prosecutor finds only one person who was present at a brutal murder. the problem? she’s gorgeous. and she’s blind. and she might be exactly what he’s looking for.
Leading the Witness
Him: also Blind Justice

Him:  a revenge-style drama about a cunning new ADA who secretly teams up with dangerous ex-convicts to bring down the corrupt coven of lawyers who tore apart his family
each episode culminates in a dramatic, vengeful courtroom showdown
In Contempt

Him: a high-powered lawyer is brutally raped by recently released con she jailed a decade ago
though she’s a modern woman, her public stance on abortion forces her to carry the fetus to term
she vows she’ll find the proof to convict her tormentor, &, come hell or high water, she’ll have her day in court
only one problem: she’s only got 9 months to put all the pieces together
coming this fall: Due Process

Me: bright-eyed, bushy tailed Miranda Spencer, recent graduate of Yale law and the first black gay female editor of their law review, ends up breaking up with her longtime girlfriend the night of graduation
depressed, she decides to leave New Haven for rural Iowa and is hired as an associate at a small law firm (they’re forced to hire her because of unfair representation of minorities in their firm)
the old white partners are loathe to allow her progressive stance in their courtroom, but little by little the small town and the firm begin to warm to her
but when Miranda meets the woman of her dreams – the founding partner’s daughter – will she be able to overcome prejudices and stand tall, black, gay, female, and proud?
that’s right, ladies…it’s
Miranda’s Rights
Him: idk how i didn’t see that coming

Me:  two sisters
the older one grows up to be a soulless but successful entertainment attorney
the younger one always feels overshadowed, but finds solace in her hobby of ballet
and one day she goes to visit her sister, who is having trouble with an ornery client, former dancer worth millions
and the younger sister manages to convince the client to settle, earning her sister’s firm a pile of money
suddenly she discovers she has an aptitude for the law
and is put into competition with her sister, but this time she just might win!
Passing the Barre
Her: or Pointe of Order

Him:  i actually just thought of a turn on the genre
a fashion-police-type show that analyzes & critiques famous or outrageous courtroom outfits
Worn Under Oath
or it can just be a special that chronicles the courtroom choices of LiLo

Me: dating/courtroom show that forces the female defendant to choose which of her jurors isnt a randomly selected juror at all, but a male prostitute
Hung Jury
(adaptation of Her “male prostitute turns lawyer”)

Him:  when a revered artist is accused of homicide, his adoring public is scandalized
although his sick, brilliant mind has the nypd scrambling for clues to definitively link him to the murder, a lucky find by a novice detective reveals that a recent painting holds the secret to this heinous crime
after conviction, the creative killer reveals that his victim was his last hurrah in a lucrative killer career
with scant leads to go on, the detectives’ only clues lie within the intricate workings of this artist’s vast ouevre
only they can bring justice to the families of this monster’s countless victims
this is .. EXHIBIT X
the letter can be omitted or changed
yeah i think just EXHIBIT is good

Me:  quirky forensics investigator usually enjoys her job, except for one thing: she’s a psychic
and anything that happens to crime victims – bruises, laceration marks, etc – also happens to her body at the same time
kind of a sympathetic pain
every new case forces her to not only examine the crime scene, but investigate herself
a provocative new thriller:
Body of Evidence

Him: this somnambulant attorney can close any case .. but only in his sleep!
he is: Laying Down the Law

Me: a master butcher discovers an uncanny ability to create sketches of perps using meats
don’t miss Cold Cut Case

Him: a Harlem beat cop tries to resist the powers of police corruption around him as well as his longterm sex addiction in FRISK

Me: when a serial killer strikes a nudist colony, a conservative detective must overcome her discomfort and join the community to bring him to justice. coming soon: Barely Legal
Her: or The Naked Truth

Her: Courtroom fashion police.
Under-Duressed

Me: a disturbing case drives an elderly police chief to retire and barricade himself in an apartment, obsessively collecting evidence. now the killer’s on the loose, and it’s up to the chief’s son to hunt his father down inside the dirty, overstuffed apartment before it’s too late.
Law and Hoarder

Him: a direct descendant of the famed physicist, Bob Newton can solve complex mathematical equations in his head, but when consulted as an expert witness, he can barely keep his feet on the ground! this summer, he’ll learn the gravity of the justice system in:
Newton’s Laws

Me: i’m obsessed with how we just spent all that time
Him: wait. are we done?

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Be Kind, Rewind Time

I recently purchased a new TV. It was a long process. For weeks, I sought my elusive joybox on Craigslist, on Facebook, over the hills and the moors. It didn’t need many bells and whistles, just one essential feature: a VCR. If there was not a VCR actually built into the television, it was useless to me and unwelcome anywhere near my bed.

Finally, I found The One. I drove to Venice and ascended a narrow staircase, following a grizzly Jeffrey Dahmer type into a silent apartment. “Can you test the VCR for me?” I asked him, standing in the doorway of the peculiarly bare hovel he called a living room.

He popped in a Phillies game from 2003. The picture was semi-perfect, the sound simultaneously fuzzy and jangly like loose change. VHS-quality, like mom used to make. I was sold.

“You know, the DVD player works too,” he huffed as we threw the TV into my passenger seat. Its caboose was comically giant, pregnant with mechanical god-knows-what.

I stroked the screen lovingly. “Whatever.” I locked the seat belt snugly around the TV like it was a child. It was time to go home and explore each other.

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My videotape collection is lovingly maintained, and my room is my sanctuary for worshipping at the altar of the dying VHS tape. All of my favorites, the classics I grew up with, are represented on the shelf, and there’s nothing I love more than bathing in their light late at night, reveling in their subpar visuals and audio. I love to rewind, I love to fast-forward. The quiet WHRRRRRRR that lets me know that even though I’m jumping three scenes into the future, the continuity within its universe remains intact. And when I press PLAY, it won’t be perfect. It’ll be a rough estimation of the right moment. And isn’t life just like that?

I sit far back on my bed, reveling in the fact that my face isn’t pressed up against a pixelated computer screen. This is luxury. I am the master of all. My palms get sweaty around the remote, my index finger poised on the “TRACKING” button like it’s 1994 again.

vhs

There’s just something about video cassettes. It’s the structure of them, the fact that they’re so vulnerable and OPEN. Just pull on the upper ridge hard enough and the plastic snaps will break, forever rendering the tape useless. You can even pull the actual TAPE out. It makes me feel closer to 1923 than 2013. It’s not like you can see every frame of the movie on the tape itself – it’s magnetic, all black, mysterious – but someone spent time lovingly winding it around the little plastic wheels so it unspools correctly. Mess with the structural integrity of the VHS and your tape is fucked forever. There’s no fixing it once you’ve diddled with the natural order of the tape. It’s simple but so deceptively complex.

And there’s the actual moment of pushing the tape into the VCR. I once read a Buzzfeed article about everyday things that are better than sex, and was dismayed not to find VCR-ing on the list. You slot the cassette in, wheel side down. Push it through the perfectly formed rectangle opening…is this right? Will it work? And then the internal mechanism kicks in, biting down and hugging your tape with its warm mechanical mouth. The VCR draws the tape in smoothly and automatically. It doesn’t need your help anymore. It’ll take it from here.

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If you’ve recently purchased your VHS from a thrift store, or have rented it from the library, there’s also a brief moment of excitement. Will the tape start from the very beginning? A random point in the middle, maybe from the second right after a topless scene? Or will it resume from mid-credits, because the last person to touch this tape was an asshole and knows not to lay that tape down, flip it and reverse it.

And don’t even get me started on the Coming Attractions. We all know that’s the best part of watching any VHS. It’s one of the only modes of media consumption that contextualizes the work FOR you. If you feel like watching The Lion King, you get to experience delightful snippets of all other family-friendly entertainment that came out in 1994-1995. For a few brief moments, you get to remember what film trailers used to sound like and how much ridiculous plot exposition was involved (“It’s a story of a mermaid…who just wanted to be Part of Your World. A flounder and a crab are her best friends, and she falls in love with a prince…even without a VOICE!”). With the Coming Attractions, you get a total and complete picture of the bygone era you’re about to experience.

1991_1999_Feature_Presentation

And then, when the movie is over, there’s even BUILT IN TIME for you to sit back and process what you’ve just watched (for the seventeenth time). You press STOP and then REWIND and let the sweet siren song of the rapidly cycling tape lull you into relaxation for the next minute and a half. Lest you fall asleep, there’s a jarring CLICK that lets you know the tape is now ready for a re-watch. And then the EJECT button, oh the beautiful EJECT button. One smooth motion and your VHS is served out to you, ready for the cozy embrace of its snug little box. What an experience. And I’m so practiced. It’s a multi-step, cleanly executed ritual.

TL;DR: I’m obsessed with VHS tapes and VCRs and have a hard time making human connections in a modern world.

Song of the Day: 4+20


A perfect song. For solitary stares into the distance in the high of summer. I guess there are a few songs that I hold so close to my heart that they’re hard to share; this is one.

Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young are embedded very deeply in my emotional DNA. I discovered them around age 10, and because my angst glands developed early, I found a lot of meaning in their sublime harmonies and poetry. Stephen Stills is my favorite because he writes simple songs that are just soul-crushing in their profundity. This particular song, “4+20,” has never meant to much to me as it does now, having just turned 24.

deja-vu

Sometimes when I think about my favorite music, about the folk singers and rock stars of the 1960s, I get sad about the miasma of death that surrounds their work. Well, that might be a little melodramatic — maybe just the pressing weight of time. Where their music bloomed youthful once, now it’s got an oldie sort of quaintness. As we are now, you will be; as you are now, we once were.

Awhile back, I saved this Youtube comment I found about this song, on some other random live recording. It’s absolutely amazing, and said everything about it that I couldn’t articulate.

i can smell the room where i first heard this, as i listen. new carpet and there’s a hint of cigarette smoke. outside sits a ‘67 chevelle on a gravel driveway. this sound was an island of reason in a very confused little town on the prairie. we had these little discoveries on black discs of plastic. they were hard to find before computers and we shared them in person and listened together with the reverence of communion.

I like that this song is about youth, but it’s also about the end, and being alone. I guess it’s about feeling the hourglass run out, even though time is on your side.

A different kind of poverty now upsets my soul
Night after sleepless night, I walk the floor and want to know
Why am I so alone?
Where is my woman? Can I bring her home?
Have I driven her away?
Is she gone?

Funnily enough, this song never makes me feel depressed. It makes me feel very present; alarmingly alive. Because I think about Stephen Stills, singing, 24 years old, and how just for the few minutes he played his guitar in front of this crowd, nobody got any older.

River Flow: Rufus Wainwright’s “The Art Teacher”

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I wrote this piece at the behest of Faye, my best and constant digital companion. She ran it in Reality Sandwich, the online magazine she works with, which is really cool and I love her for it. It appears here.

“What is your favorite song?” she asked me in the dead of night, eyes black and limpid in the dark.
She climbed into my bed, then, and we huddled together with the reverence of communion, two twelve-year olds bathing in waterfalls of melancholy piano and deep male vibrato. Rufus Wainwright’s “The Art Teacher” valiantly poured out of my five-dollar speakers and I stared into my friend’s face, willing her to taste what I tasted. “It’s like a river,” she whispered as the low chords built and roiled. It was a strange word for a pop song, somehow holy. Yes, a river.

The song takes me somewhere new, ancient, still, deep. It took me somewhere even then, when I was a little girl. Even before I grew up and learned about art and religion and self-actualization. It was my first experience with a song that went beyond the ear or even the heart. It wasn’t the lyrics or the story contained within them, although it was lovely and poignant: a woman remembers the teacher she once loved in the blush of her youth. “He was not that much older than I was…he told me he liked Turner; never have I turned since then.” I did not yet understand the act of mourning lost innocence, nor the desperate human beauty that touches us even when we barricade ourselves behind material possessions. I only understood the voice and the piano and the vortex it opened up inside me.

Years passed and I kept listening to that song, kept closing my eyes in cars and beds and green fields, touching the divine as soon as the first notes started. It was that piano, like a river, speaking of time endless and the profundity of loss, of dreaming, of growing and dying. The way the chords just tumbled into one another and repeated, repeated, louder and softer, like a fractal. And his voice did not sound human to me. It made me just feel. It was deep and sweet and biting like honey, too weighted with memories to contain only one small life. It contained every experience; the voice was male and mature, but the sound echoed from within a womb, with a woman’s tenderness. ‘The Art Teacher’ was mine. I did not play it for very many people after that night when I was twelve. It was mine alone to experience, so meaningful that it made me nervous. Eternity contained in three minutes. Not a song but a ritual. A solar eclipse. Mine. Ours. Everything.

Monday Night

For twenty minutes, there is peaceful silence. The only sounds are the whispery click-clicks of two laptops and the occasional car whizzing by outside, signs of life and other people doing productive things.

PAULETTE: (with finality) Okay.

Leah looks up from her computer in mild surprise. Raises her eyebrows.

PAULETTE: I am now going to send you a series of GIFs that are horrible…

She furrows her brows and pecks CNTRL + C.

PAULETTE: And will haunt your dreams.

Leah’s face falls. Paulette allows herself a smile.

Another car. Click. Click. Silence.

New Years Resolutions

It’s 2013, an unlucky year, so I take that as God’s permission to stay indoors and avoid all danger (including UV rays and other people).

Here’s what I’ll do instead.

Monday 1/7
Catfish
(Watched already, TOO GOOD! Prepared myself for country boy dating pornstar woman of his dreams, instead got country boy with crushed spirit and an emotionless butterface stalker. #youjustgotcatfished)

Wednesday 1/9
Washington Heights

Thursday 1/10
The Office

Sunday 1/13
Girls
(Note: the second season looks eye-rollish, please prove me wrong, Lena my doppelganger).

Thursday 1/24
Glee
(I hate myself.)
Project Runway

Tuesday 2/5
Smash
(I still hate myself.)

Sunday 2/10
The Walking Dead

Sunday 3/31
Game of Thrones
(Reading the books right now because I’m hungry like the direwolf).

Premiere TBD
America’s Next Top Model
Mad Men
Breaking Bad
Homeland
Boardwalk Empire
True Blood

Then there’s those I haven’t seen yet, listed in rough order of interest.

Start & binge:
Eli Stone
Suits
X-Files (that’s right, the entirety, bitch)
Downton Abbey
White Collar
The State
Don’t Trust the B___ in Apartment 23
Happy Endings
Scandal

Resume & binge:
Modern Family
30 Rock
The Wire
Dexter
(Not really necessary but I just want to see some Dex/Deb incesty action, is that so wrong? Don’t answer that).

Great! Now I have a concrete calendar! Now I just have to allot some room for work, meals, showers, other necessary annoyances. Get a gym membership. Date people, repeat mantra about plenty of fish in the sea, sink to bottom of ocean where none of the loserfish will find me. Write more, do more, love more, be more. The usual. Happy New Year!

Prog Rock: In Touch with Some Reality Beyond the Gilded Cage

Foreigner, Boston, Rush! I began to binge on bands helmed by long-haired men with their shirts and their hearts ripped open. They were physically strong and emotionally irresponsible; their libidos could only be contained by gigantic stadiums. I was young, but I knew a “Hot Blooded” woman had been awoken inside of me. It was heady, empowering. It was my first close encounter with sexy.

It was progressive rock.

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Opening Credits

First post. You always remember your first, except for this one, which is about to be buried under a landslide of retrospective posts.

Hooray! My blog is born!

I would love to introduce it like this, so fresh and so clean with just one cheery greeting, ready to be slowly developed day after day. Unfortunately, my “inspiration” comes in short ugly globular bursts, so I’m going to load up ALL of my old writing here before I get on a regular schedule.

A schedule of what, you may ask? YOU meaning no one except maybe the guy next to me at Starbucks, who is labeling mitochondria or whatever and is living a far more productive life than I. His drink is also more professional than mine. But who even gets like, black coffee at Starbucks anymore? Is that some kind of statement? I see through you, Mitochondria Guy.

I have written much in my short life. Sometimes I’ve been prolific and sometimes I go through long dry periods of trying to do something else. But, simply put, I love words and I have thoughts and I miss having a regular home in which to lovingly store them. Mostly I write about television, film, music, celebrities, and the complicated web we weave. Also complicated weaves.

Just to go balls-out and bare all, I’m also at a delicate psychological precipice. I must write now or forever lose the spark. Perhaps (probably) more on that soon. I’m a 20-something with a dwindling bank account and a painful hunger for MORE BEAUTY LOVE EVERYTHING, and in transcribing all I have ever pondered I hope to make inroads to my destiny.

Vague enough? You ain’t seen nothing yet. You actually haven’t. I’m not even sure what I’m going to throw on here yet. Mitochondria Guy is excited. Please stop looking at my screen. It’s not my fault that neither of us got here early enough to snag a private table.

Okay, time to write. Time to dream. Time to honor POP and everything it means to you and me. Like Tim Robbins in Shawshank, I hope to crawl through a river of shit and come out clean on the other side. Hold your noses.

Love,
Leah