Sunday, January 25, 2015

Top 6 Men to Avoid on Dating Sites

I’ve been on dating sites for a number of years now. I’ve never expected to meet my one and only true love on these types of sites. Some people do. More power to you on that. You found a needle in a haystack the size of the Empire State Building. It’s really quite an impressive feat. For me, though, it’s been good for meeting a few good friends and more than a few good laughs. After years of experience, I can safely say that the people to stay away from, the red flags, far outnumber the interesting, decent guys. You want to avoid these guys at all costs:

1. The Whiner—You might be able to spot The Whiner right away. He’ll have something in his headline, perhaps, about how he’s about to delete his profile since no one responds anyway or he’ll whine that there’s no one real on these sites. In the text of his profile will be a lot of complaints about how many women he’s been out with that turned out not to be who they say they are or any number of whiny issues that make you roll your eyes hard enough to risk them popping right out of your fucking skull. The Whiner always wants a woman to be honest with him but then when she is, he whines that he didn’t get his way. It’s a never ending circle of whininess that really leads nowhere at all much less to Sexville or even to a first date for fuck’s sake. If he messages you for any length of time, eventually you’ll hear all the whining about how he’s really a nice guy, and he’s always in the friendzone. Look, whinebags, our vaginas instantly become more arid than the Sahara Desert as soon as you whip out phrases like “nice guy” and “friendzone” especially since we were already treading on dehydration from all the whiny ass bullshit to begin with. It’s absolutely not attractive to listen to a guy whine about how women aren’t just falling into his lap. Get the fuck over yourself already. You aren’t entitled to any woman’s vagina. You aren’t entitled to sex. Recognize that fact.


2. Abs Guy—This is the guy that always has a bathroom mirror pic with his shirt pulled up or completely off that only shows his very muscular midsection. His profile talks about how much he loves to work out and says very little else if anything at all. The messages will either be indicative that he never read your profile such as “hey wanna chat” or “ur hot” or be some sort of attempt at describing in detail what he would like to do to you. All in all, the messages and the profile are indicative of the guy having no brain which is probably why he put his abs on the profile pic to begin with. Those are probably the most functional part of his body, dick included.

3. The Pick Up Artist—Let’s just get things straight right from the start. This guy is a major misogynist. He might be a frequenter of men’s rights forums, but he’s definitely read a thing or two about how to pick up women because, as he will bluntly tell you, all women like to be treated like shit, love bad boys, and adore assholes. All women should, all women need, blah blah blah blah blah. It never ends. He starts out the messages with something obviously negative. Sometimes, it’s a comment such as “You have great lips, and I guess the rest of you isn’t bad either.” If you reject him, he instantly tells you that you’re a fat, ugly bitch and that he didn’t want you anyway. If you don’t respond to him, he messages you to ask you why you’re scared. His entire tactic is about making you look bad or weak because that’s exactly what he thinks of women in the first place.

4. Loverboy—This guy is looking for love and he doesn’t even care who its with honestly. He likely jumps from relationship to relationship because he definitely mistakes crushing and lusting for someone as love. He doesn’t read anything at all about what you’re looking for on your profile. If, for example, you say that you want to date casually or are just looking for friends and short term dating, he will message you about looking for his soulmate. To him, you don’t know what you want. He’s not necessarily an overt misogynist, but he firmly believes that you just haven’t met the right guy yet and that no matter what’s going on in your life or where you are or what you want, if you just give him a chance to show you what “real” love is like, you’ll totally change your mind. He also wrongly assumes that the only reason you aren’t looking for a long term relationship is because you’ve been hurt by other men which he promises in message 2 never to do to you because he can talk to like he’s never talked to anyone before. Ever. Just be careful or he’ll end up watching you outside your bathroom window while you shave your legs.

5. The Flasher—This guy, like Abs Guy, often sends you messages stating, in very explicit terms,
exactly what he would like to do to your body. He doesn’t think of you as a person at all which is where he differs from The Pickup Artist. The Pickup Artist knows you’re human but by way of having a vagina you’re a lower form of human than anything with a dick. The Flasher completely ignores your personhood. Instead, you’re a tool for getting off. Much like the weirdos who have exhibitionistic paraphilic disorders who flash their sad, flaccid wee-wees at old ladies in grocery store parking lots, these guys are only in it for the thrill of showing you what’s under his metaphorical trench coat. He knows when he sends you the message that you’re not going to respond favorably to it, but he’s already jerking the gherkin when he hits the send button anyway just imagining your face when you read it, so no worries there. Women on dating sites are the equivalent to a Kleenex to these dudes.

6. Creepo—This guy acts like there’s no reason why you shouldn’t feel unsafe to meet him at his home. He offers to let you hang out with him in his very first message before you even know his name and even tells you he’ll be happy to supply the alcohol! He thinks it’s a nice offer and if you protest, he’ll assure you, like so many others, that he’s a nice guy and that there’s nothing to worry about. Yet, here he is offering to ply a complete stranger with alcohol at his apartment without even knowing if you drink. Something’s wrong with this picture. People who meet men on dating sites without vetting them first are often being raped and murdered. Craigslist killers have been fairly commonplace. And you’re just supposed to go get drunk at a complete stranger’s house with no concerns because he reassures you he’s not the creep you think he is. This is the same guy that will often refuse to meet you in a public place first because it’s just too inconvenient or he doesn’t really have the time. STAY AWAY or you could very likely end up having to file a police report if you even live through the date at all. 

As you can see, none of these guys are good news. You're better off cutting out your own heart than ever consider even so much as replying favorably to one of these guys. Do yourself a favor and RUN whenever you find them in your inbox. 

This has been another Sunday Confession with More Than Cheese and Beer. Check out the other linkups over on her blog and the Facebook page for anonymous confessions. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015


He looks around the room at the empty spaces on the walls. Spaces where photo frames used to hang. The wallpaper is still in its original, unfaded glory in perfect rectangles peppering walls filled with nail holes while the rest of the paper is in a sad state of worn dinginess. It’s a reminder of everything he’s lost in the last few years. His entire life decorated these walls from the early days with his wife before they were even married to their last anniversary and included every milestone of their kids’ lives.

He should have paid to have the wallpaper replaced instead of bitching about the expense and telling Claire it was a waste of money. It wasn’t until he saw it this way that he could tell how bad it really is. She was here day in and day out, though, seeing it fade, losing its luster, slowly dying the way their relationship must have done. Just like with the wallpaper, he never noticed how bad it had gotten himself—not until it was unsalvageable and wiped clean of every good memory it ever held.

Instead, he is sitting here in a tattered recliner, still in sweats. He’s smoking again. He can’t remember the last time he was sober…or the last time he had a shower. All he can do is stare drunkenly at the walls, at the bright spaces where the best moments of his life should happily be displayed. It has been months since Claire moved out and left the note pinned to the fridgerator with a Shop Local magnet. His wife left him via a Dear John letter like some horrible cliché. That’s what his life has become. A cliché. And, he’s the sad old bastard that hangs himself in the basement on Christmas. That’s the way it goes, right?

He pours himself another snifter full of whiskey and snubs his smoke into the too-full ashtray on the table beside his chair blowing his last puff back into the stale, nicotine-riddled air before leaning back and putting his feet up. The whiskey cup is resting in his hand on his shrinking belly--he hasn’t been eating much. He picks it up, swirls the amber liquid in the glass, and lifts it up in a toast to the wall. To life, it’s so fucking lovely.

The crash of the glass against the wall makes him jump. It isn’t until he hears it breaking that he even realizes he has thrown it. The whiskey drips down the wall pooling and spreading over the shards of glass that have scattered on the wooden floor. He’s barefoot. No way is he going to be able to walk to the kitchen for a new glass without cutting his feet. There’s no one here to see him drinking straight from the bottle anyway, so who fucking cares about the glass, he thinks. WHO. FUCKING. CARES. That should be his new life motto. It’s obvious no one does. He hasn’t even heard from the kids, for fuck’s sake. His own children… Not a word.

He sits up letting the recliner back into the upright position and takes a long swig from the bottle of whiskey and sets it back on the table with a tender love that only a budding alcoholic can muster for the drink that could take his life from sad to tragic in a just a few more weeks. He runs his hands through his thinning hair letting them come down and cover most of his face as he leans over on his knees. The tears are welling up threatening to spill despite how certain he had been that he had absolutely none left in his body anymore.

Surely, there’s a limit to the number of tears a man can shed when his whole diet consists of alcohol and tobacco.

He sighs in the empty, smoky room. His depression hangs like a cloud above him giving the smoky air a weightiness that feels like it could crush him underneath it at any time, and that sigh just adds to it tightening the pressure on his metaphorical heart just a little more, another pebble on the rock pile that’s threatening to squeeze every last ounce of his soul from his body. Every movement feels like he’s underwater. Every breath feels impossible. Yet, here he is lighting another smoke hoping he’ll pass out this time. Maybe the flame will catch the recliner when he drops it in his sleep. Maybe that’s his only way out of this…an inadvertent suicide.

He takes a drag holding in the smoke for a moment before blowing it out forcefully into the air around him. The blank spaces are distorted in the hazy air just like they are in his own brain. Images of his life captured in photographs that he can barely remember, days and images he took for granted. Moments he would give anything to recapture, to hang on the wall with a bit more pride.

He finishes his smoke still staring at the way the wallpaper discolored around those bright spots, those things he should be proud of but were just distant recollections, and puts it out in the ashtray. As his face turns to look again at the wall, the glistening from the still-wet patch of whiskey catches his attention. That’s when he sees it, a small damp rip in the paper there where he threw the glass.

His eyes keep drifting to that spot over and over through another swig from he bottle and another cigarette until finally he pushes himself out of the chair, wobbling and swaying. He doesn’t notice when the shards of glass stab into the soft fleshy parts of his feet and cut into his toes and heels. He leaves bloody prints on the hardwood in no time, but that doesn’t stop him from making his way to the wall. The only thing slowing him down is the way the room spins uncontrollably now that he’s out of the chair. He makes it, though, all the way across the room to the dried whiskey on the wall and picks at the rip peeling away an entire strip of the faded paper.

Maybe it’s because he’s this lit, but it feels exceptional. He pulls at the edges of the missing strip on the wall over and over again. Pick, pull, rip, strip… the paper comes off again and again. He works feverishly almost in a trance until he can’t reach anymore of the paper without a stepladder. He’s sobering now. His feet ache. The tips of his fingers are blistered and bloody. But, he feels good. Every strip pulled off the wall seems to have lessened his burden. Either that or he’s finally lost it.

He hobbles back to his chair feeling every sting from the glass still in his feet. He sits down carefully, exhausted and weak, and surveys his work.

The wall is almost fully cleared. There are no longer blank spaces where his life should be, only a blank slate for a new beginning maybe. He crumples the pack of cigarettes and tosses them out of reach, leans the recliner back, and closes his eyes. Just before sleep comes he decides to go downtown and grab some paint when he wakes up.


I'm so fucking happy that Sunday Confession is going again after a break at the start of the year. Today's prompt was Space, so I threw down a little fiction otherwise all I'd talk about is how I'm an introverted hermit who needs her space as much as a dog needs to lick its own balls. Anyway, check out the rest of the confessions on More Than Cheese and Beer. Thanks for reading. 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Judgment Tour (Chapter 1)

I wanted to do something a little different this Sunday. I've been blogging more than working on my first novel, so I'm posting Chapter 1 here to perhaps get some feedback and also inspire me to get back to working on it full time. Let me know what you think!


We all have our Idols.

I reckon that's the best way to explain what happened Tuesday at 4:15 p.m. More so, it explains what has happened in the aftermath of what I've since named "Elvis' Return To The Building." It's Friday as I stand here in the cool of the night waitin’ in the line with the rest of them—I mean the whole damn town just about--for the Big Show. Three days have passed since Elvis graced us with his presence, and I'm still pretty clueless ‘bout what’s goin’ on ‘round here, but judging by how fast this line's movin' towards the entrance doors, I imagine I'll figure a few things out pretty soon.

I have to say I don’t have a real good feelin’ ‘bout any of it, though.

Here's what I know so far.

Every single radio station, television stations, pages on the internet that do live feeds....every media outlet possible broadcast The Return. I happened to be at work. I own a bar and keep a television on for the daytime patrons, The Regulars. The Regulars consist of two guys, Frank and Percy, who I ain’t likely to get rid of no time soon. We had the T.V. on Three's Company--the episodes when Suzanne Somers was still on. Frank and Percy were down at one end of the bar arguing over whether Jack's friend, Larry, was really a gay. That’s the way they talk or the way Frank talks. Percy don’t say much. By much, I mean he don’t say nothin’ at all and hasn’t since ‘fore I knew him. Now, I ain’t exactly educated, but you won’t hear me arguing with a mute ‘bout whether or not some fictional character on a long-gone television show is some kind of homosexual. And you surely won’t hear me refer to him as “a gay.” My mama raised me better than that. But, that’s Frank, and Percy’s just along for the ride it seems.

Anyhow, the TV screen went black in the middle of a closeup of Somers and her school-girlish pigtails. She’s what you might call the essence of every dumb blonde joke, that Chrissy Snow. I was lookin’ at the screen thinkin’ how that schoolgirl thing she had goin’ on ain’t as appealin’ as it was meant to be not to me at least when "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" began to play. In the middle of the slideshow of schoolgirl types that was playin’ in my head, I thought, What is this bullshit? just before the screen showed a young Elvis descending onto a stage from the heavens. And when I say young Elvis, I mean 50s Elvis not bloated and sad 70s Elvis…not back from the dead, skeletonized, zombie Elvis either. This was the real thing if seein’ is believin’ as they say. The Elvis much of the country fell in love with way back when.

"What the fuck s'wrong with the TV, Mack?"

"Can't be the TV, Frank," I'd replied. "Just bought the damn thing. Cost me 600 bucks down at Wal-Mart. Maybe it's the cable or the channel itself." I grabbed the remote and changed the station but every channel I flipped to played the same thing. I had flipped full circle and come back the original channel when the screen started to close in on Elvis while the music simultaneously quieted down.

"Aw, horseshit," I had yelled down the bar to Percy and Frank. "You guys into Elvis?"

"Naw, Mack, not since I was a kid. You?"

"Nope." I'd powered the thing off by then and walked over to the satellite radio hookup I had over behind the bar. I kept it on Sirius’s Classic Vinyl channel playing all the greats from Rock ‘n Roll history (no Elvis). Everyone seemed to like it just fine when we weren't in the mood for daytime television bullshit. But, as soon as I pushed the power button, Elvis' undeniable voice blasted through the speakers.

"Thank you. Thank you very much."

I'd heard no applause. But, of course, Elvis continued on.

"Ladies and gentlemen, I've got a whole lotta shakin' up to do tonight. I'm here to give you some news that may be hard to stomach at first. The King is back, folks. Ever since I was a kid, I knew God had something special in store for me. When I passed on to the heavens above, He asked me for a personal concert then told me how I was his son and that I'd return one day to this world to fulfill his plan. I'm here, folks, to do just that. The gospel foretold of this day. I am the King, as always, but I have returned to my people, my fans as Christ. I know there will be doubts, but as I have always said, truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain't goin' away.”

The station went to silence then. Nothing I did to the radio or the T.V. would work. Every channel was static. In the thick quiet of the bar, I poured us all a shot of my best scotch. TV, radio, even the Internet from what I hear...none of it has worked since.

This line's movin' slower than I first thought or maybe my nerves is just gettin’ the best of me now. I’m a bit antsy—that kind where you pop every knuckle in your hand 15 times just to have something to do with yourself. I have no fucking idea what's going to happen, pardon my language. But, sitting at home tonight wasn't an option. That thing that looks like Elvis and is calling itself the messiah made that much pretty clear the second time we saw it. That was Wednesday morning at about 10:30. We were all waiting for it, really. With nothing else to entertain us, the stories had already gotten pretty wild. Of course, the crazies were already out in full force, too. The gossips, the newspaper, every customer, every whispered word held stories of what could be going on. It was really Elvis after a lot of plastic surgery. This is the one people who were sure he'd never died, The Elvis Spotters, were always going on about. Then there were The Invaders. These people were sure it was aliens. Jesus Freaks were divided. Some said God would never pick such a loose hipped rock star to represent Jesus, Lord and Savior. The real nasty ones referred to him more as a drug-fueled, egomaniacal demon sent to take the first born of every man in the county, but that’s a bit much, ain’t it? The other Freaks thought it was a comforting, modern image...and smart of God to use such a recognizable, trusted face. The Conspiracy Theorists decided it was a government experiment and then The Desperate Housewives with their Elvis memorabilia in the form of Russell Stover collectible tins and Ty Beanie Babies were ready to be led like sheep to a slaughter. Everyone else, which was just me, Frank, and Percy far as I could tell, just sort of waited on some answers.

Strange world we live in.

So, Wednesday at 10:30 in the a.m. Every television, radio, computer, even mp3 players and intercom systems announced another speech when they simultaneously began to play Elvis' version of Amazing Grace. Wasn’t a single one of them things on when it happened. Not in the bar anyway. But it happened anyway. We were all on the edge of our proverbial seats, though, right where that...thing...wanted us. And we all hung on every word. I know I did. Frank and Percy had their eyes glued to the television set from their end of the bar, too. We were caught up in the power of it, but who wouldn’t be?

He didn’t descend from the sky this time, but he did his routine of playing to the audience—that’d be us and whoever else was watchin’. He was wearin’ a leather suit like he did in the 1968 Comeback Special, but this one was white instead of black. His shirt was black and the tie was white with just a hint of twinkling sequins—that familiar Elvis flamboyance was there but slight. He took a knee at each end of the stage, waving and blowing kisses like an ass finally stopping in the middle and raising both arms making his suit jacket stretch and pull at the buttons. Behind him, a line of gentlemen stepped out from the shadows. Some I knew right off and some I didn’t.

“Mack, who the fuck are they?”

“Shut your loud mouth, Frank. We ain’t never gonna find out if you talk through the whole thing.”

Elvis let his arms down then and stood to take the microphone.

"Thank you for more of your time, ladies and gentlemen. I'll be brief so we can all get on with our day and prepare. As some of you may have figured out, it's time for my next big comeback tour. We're callin' this one The Judgement. We've got a lot of dates and stops to make to fit all you folks in. I won’t leave a single soul in my flock behind, don’t ya’ll worry. That’s why I ain't doing this tour alone. I've got some good ol' boys to help me out. My apostles. Let me introduce you. This here's Peter, one of my original disciples. You might be more familiar with him as Bobby Fuller. That there is Andrew. Some people call him Dimebag but Darrell seems more appropriate, don't it, son? That's James the Greater. His name here was Rhett Forrester. James the Lesser was, well, not too well known as Jaco Pastorius. Then, there's my dear John who was named Joe Strummer for some time. My man down towards the end of the stage there is Philip better known as Peter Tosh. This guy here is John Bonham to you all but I've known him as Bartholomew. Next to Bartholomew is Matthew. He lived here in the Rolling Stones as Brian Jones. That guy down near Philip who's got his back turned is Thomas. Turn on around, son, and let them get a look at their beloved Jim Morrison. He's a little shy or he likes to play it anyhow. On this side of Thomas, there's Thaddeus. He looks so much like his daddy, that Jeff Buckley. The kid jerkin' 'round in the middle there is Simon. You probably know the name Woody Guthrie even if you don't recognize him. And then back here behind everyone hiding out is Judas. Come on out and show them your face, Kurt. Kurt Cobain to those who might know the face. Come on, now. They aren't going to stone you... That's everybody, ain't it? Yeah, so anyway, folks, you'll be getting a list of tour dates in the mail. We all expect you to be at one of these dates. It's free. Get on a bus or drive your car. Walk. It don't matter none. We'll take care of it. Just come to the show. If we have to come looking for you, you've ruined any chance you've got at salvation. We just don't have long enough for that. I expect you'll have your mail today. The first date is Friday. Now, I've been getting some bad publicity--you got to expect that. But, I also expect to see ya'll there all the same."

And that was that. The screen went black again and I poured shot after shot until I ran out of scotch.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Top 5

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week, 14 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts. Links to everyone's blog will be included at the end. 

My Secret Subject prompt is: What are your 5 dream jobs, if you could get any job you wanted? It was submitted by:


One of my favorite novels (and films) is High Fidelity. There’s something about the bitter mediocrity of a record store owner that really makes a girl’s heart swell with desire. Or something like that. Maybe it’s just Rob Gordon’s vulnerability, his weirdness, his obsession with lists and music that really hits the spot for me. And maybe, just maybe, I’ve spent entirely too much time fixating on a figment of someone else’s imagination to the point no real man will ever hold up to his image.

The story is transformative. Rob Gordon starts out completely unhappy with himself--a miserable shell of a man with no real dreams, no goals, no mobility, and a lot of vices and issues. He has lost his live-in girlfriend through most of the film and takes a journey through his history of break-ups. It’s not really about the break-ups though. It’s about himself and not really knowing who he is. Taking that journey teaches him a lot about who he is and who he wants to be. There’s a moment, whether you’ve seen it or read it, where his ex, Laura, is getting some things from their flat and finds a list he’s made of dream jobs. Here’s the scene:

Laura: “Top 5 dream jobs.”

Rob: “Hey—that's private!”

Laura: “Number 1: Journalist for Rolling Stone magazine, 1976 to 1979. Get to meet The Clash, Chrissy Hines, Sex Pistols, David Byrne. Get tons of free records. Number 2: Producer at Atlantic Records, 1964 to 1971. Get to meet Aretha, Wilson Pickett, Solomon Birk. More free records and a shitload of money. Number 3: Any kind of musician.”

Rob: “Besides classical or rap.”

Laura: “Settle for being one of the Memphis Horns or something. Not asking to be Jagger or Hendrix or Otis Redding. Number 4: Film director.”

Rob: “Any kind except German or silent.”

Laura: “And Number 5 ... we have architect.”

Rob: “Yeah.”

Laura: “Seven years' training.”

Rob: “I'm not sure I even want to be an architect.”

Laura: “So you got a list here of five things you'd do if qualification and time and history and salary were no object ... one of them you don't really want to do anyway.”

Rob: “Well, I did put it at Number 5.”

Laura: “Wouldn't you rather own your own record store than be an architect?”

Rob: “Yeah.”

Laura: “And you wouldn't want to be a 16th-century explorer or the king of France or—”

Rob: “God, no.”

Laura: “All right, there you go then. Dream job Number 5: record store owner.”

This is one of the biggest moments of Rob’s transformation. In this list, he’s chosen some arbitrary career that really means nothing to him and with one little question Laura makes him realize that perhaps he’s doing what he wants in life, that maybe things aren’t as bad as he makes out in his own mind. You can see it on Cusack’s face in the film, but in the novel, there’s just this sense that this moment is a breakthrough for him. His change throughout the film/novel hinges on this conversation.

I’m not at that point in my life where I needed to answer this question and come to some sudden revelation about what I’m doing with my life. I’m doing exactly what I want to do right now, this year. Maybe that will change, but I still find the question fascinating in the way Rob answered it… history, education, and time traveling constraints be damned. Given those conditions, here are my answers in no particular order…

1. Novelist, present day. I think right now is a fantastic time to write. We’re living in the most socially forward time in our history. Sure we have a long way to go, but we’ve also come pretty far since this country began, so I think it would be awesome to write now rather than any other time in history. I could write about much more as a woman without getting completely overlooked, but there’s also still room to create controversy. It’s the perfect time for it.

2. Music Journalist, mid-60s through early 70s (at least), maybe Rolling Stone but the mag doesn’t matter as much as the job. These years were instrumental in the evolution of music. Rock changed in the 60s to something grungier and darker. Punk and hip hop began as answers to the culture of the times. There’s no other time period so important to the foundation of various music styles. Plus, so many of the artists I love were active during this period. This was the time of Woodstock, for fuck’s sake. Janis, Jimi, The Allman Brothers, The Clash, Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, The Ramones were together in ’74…

3. Bass player, c. 1993, all girl grunge band. Forever, there will always be a part of me blanketed in flannel wishing she could be a rock star. The 90s were a weird time for me, but music got me through. STP, Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Deftones… I still kind of want to be in a NOFX cover band with all women called NO-DX (no dicks). It’s not grunge, but it would still work.

4. Used bookstore owner (or record store or geek paradise or coffee shop). I love books. I don’t know if I would have made it through my childhood without being able to escape in books. Used books just have a certain appeal (though I love the smell of new ones better), and e-readers are the devil. I also can’t live without coffee. I’m pretty sure that my blood is at least 64.258% coffee. And of course I love my records. Any of these would be great. I also love film, video games, and some role playing type games/card games so a geek haven would also work. Either way, I would own a business surrounding something I love which would make my job pretty much heaven.

5. Screenwriter/director, 1980s. I hate 80s music, but I’m addicted to the movies. John Hughes, Molly Ringwald, Weird Science, Ghostbusters, National Lampoon’s Vacation, Beetlejuice, Pee Wee’s Big Adventure… The 80s might not have been as advanced as now technologically but what some great fucking scripts, man. The fact that so many movies are being remade from that era in film is evidence enough of their greatness. I want to be in on that shit!

There’s a reason obviously that I became so fixated on Rob Gordon which may be apparent from similarities in our lists. Ever seen that movie Practical Magic with Sandra Bullock where they conjure up basically the perfect man thinking that the combination was so impossible he couldn't exist? Yeah, it’s kind of like Nick Hornby picked a man that embodies so many things I would want in a partner straight from my brain, an impossible combination, and threw it into a novel. It’s funny how a book can make you feel like you know someone intimately or that you’re someone else entirely or live in another, completely different world. Books are unique that way. A book made me feel like I was in love with someone that doesn’t really exist outside of an author’s imagination. I kind of dig the powerful magic in that. And perhaps the magic in an unconditional dream jobs list just goes along with that perfectly.

Thanks for tuning in. Here are the links to the other blog posts. Be sure to check them out!                          Baking In A Tornado                          Spatulas on Parade                        Stacy Sews and Schools                      The Bergham’s Life Chronicles                            Dinosaur Superhero Mommy               Confessions of a part-time working mom                    Juicebox Confession                  Someone Else’s Genius                                          The Momisodes                                 Climaxed                           Sparkly Poetic Weirdo                                Cluttered Genius                  Southern Belle Charm               Evil Joy Speaks

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Serial Lack of Evidence

So….this week I listened to Serial. Yeah, yeah, I jumped on that bandwagon and I listened to all 12 episodes in just a few days time. (For those that don’t know, Serial is a podcast featuring Sarah Koenig that was a 12 part continuance of an investigation into the 1999 of high school student Hae Min Lee).

In my defense, the story is absolutely riveting. It must be with millions of people listening to the podcast before it was all said and done. It doesn’t even take an understanding or interest in the criminal justice system to get hooked. Sarah Koenig is captivating with her genuineness, and her storytelling really draws people in. She’s likeable, and she presents a likeable underdog with accused murderer and sort of antihero Adnan Syed. Her doubts echo our doubts as we listen. We ride this emotional rollercoaster with her and can’t help being completely timetraveling to 1999 in our minds every time we listen. There was nothing to see, no screen to be absorbed in… Koenig did it all with her voice and with the story itself.

It was so addictive, in fact, that there’s an entire subreddit thread dedicated to people attempting to solve the thing since the conclusion of the series honestly left its audience with more doubts than ever before and with certainly more questions than answers. I don’t want to do that here, though. There are plenty of theories and plot twists and an infinite number of possibilities. Truly infinite. The answer isn’t clear cut. The case isn’t closed, and I don’t think it ever will be without a confession from someone or solid forensic evidence of which, so far, there is none.

That’s my entire fucking point, though, and what had me screaming obscenities into the air causing even my cats to look at me like I’d lost it as I paced my floor often with broom in hand since I listened while doing housework and everything in between. My frustration was intense. The questions I had multiplied with every episode and still haven’t been resolved even after I’ve taken to the grand Internet to research more into the story, to learn as much as possible. I had doubts. Reasonable doubts. Multiple, solid, reasonable, rational doubts about Adnan Syed’s guilt. I cannot say with any certainty that he is guilty.

In a court of law, in a criminal court case, a prosecutor is required to prove that the defendant has done what he or she is accused of doing BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT. If there is reason to doubt, if there are multiple doubts and unanswered questions, no conviction should happen. We’re only supposed to be sending those people who are proven to be criminals to prison especially as harsh as the prison environment can be. That’s not happening in this country, though, and this case is a perfect example of how badly we get it wrong. With death row offenders alone, the low estimate is that 4.1% are wrongly convicted. Estimates on the entire prison population range between 2.3 and 5% however that number can never be known with any certainty. If 5% is correct, that’s more than 100,000 who have been wrongly convicted and are currently sitting in prison. That’s not even getting into the number of low level drug crimes that shouldn’t be punished by prison at all (which is an entirely different blog for another day).

All that is to say that even on a good day, our court system often gets it wrong. Yet, here we are with a case where so many of the people involved actually believed that since Adnan was sentenced and has been in prison so long, the cops and courts must have gotten it right.

We have to stop that belief. The court coming to a conclusion isn’t indicative of anything on its own.

I mean, here we are with a case where the only real evidence against this man is one witness. One witness who was given favorable treatment by police and the courts to be a witness in the first place. One witness who was threatened by the police to make him want to talk. One witness who wasn’t exactly an upstanding citizen himself who constantly changed his story who was likely coached by detectives (one of whom is now involved in a lawsuit where he has been said to have done just that). We have a case where there is no physical evidence, no real motive, and a good deal of racist attitudes against the defendant. We have a case where the evidence used, cell tower evidence, is unreliable, and actually did little to prove the timeline that was given by the star witness. Even if you don’t take into account so much else presented in Serial namely the witnesses who were never interviewed, the potential for a 3rd party, and the questions surrounding the defense attorney, you’re still left with a case where it’s one person’s word against another with both people being known liars.

Where is the fucking certainty?

So many people seem to think that DNA or some time of physical evidence is being used in cases and that’s what puts away the “bad” guys but the reality is that DNA is used in 5-10% of cases. That’s all. Witness testimony, which is highly fallible, accounts for far more until we’re left with cases like Adnan’s where a case is rushed, cops coach their witnesses, and a jury is completely unable to look at the lack of facts with any sort of objectivity. The jurors themselves admitted that Adnan not testifying completely colored their opinions on the case even after being instructed that it shouldn’t affect their decision one way or another…

But, he’s in prison for life.


At 17/18 years old, he was sentenced to life in prison without real evidence proving he deserved to be there. If he did what he was accused of, then he belongs in prison, but this case like so many others before it and so many more that are happening now or will happen in the future shows that we don’t really prove anything beyond a reasonable doubt when it comes to putting someone behind bars. At best, the jury figures the person was fingered by the police for a reason and just goes along with it. As long as we keep sitting idly by, hundreds of thousands of innocent people will be behind bars and our growing prison population will keep the prison-industrial complex lining the pockets of the rich…