Tuesday, November 25, 2014

serial for breakfast...

Last week, my Brother-in-law introduced me to the podcast of all podcasts. I was hesitant to listen but I had a perfectly brewed cup of coffee in hand so I thought, "why the hell not?" Before I knew it 8 hours had gone by... it was dark outside.

Serial is a podcast where they unfold one nonfiction story, week by week, over the course of a season. The host and producers of this show have a remarkable commitment to in depth reporting and truth telling and have promised that no matter how long it takes they will get to the bottom of it.

Here is a description of season one of Serial taken from their website:

On January 13, 1999, a girl named Hae Min Lee, a senior at Woodlawn High School in Baltimore County, Maryland, disappeared. A month later, her body turned up in a city park. She'd been strangled. Her 17-year-old ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, was arrested for the crime, and within a year, he was convicted and sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison. The case against him was largely based on the story of one witness, Adnan’s friend Jay, who testified that he helped Adnan bury Hae's body. But Adnan has always maintained he had nothing to do with Hae’s death. Some people believe he’s telling the truth. Many others don’t.

Sarah Koenig, who hosts Serial, first learned about this case more than a year ago. In the months since, she's been sorting through box after box (after box) of legal documents and investigators' notes, listening to trial testimony and police interrogations, and talking to everyone she can find who remembers what happened between Adnan Syed and Hae Min Lee fifteen years ago. What she realized is that the trial covered up a far more complicated story, which neither the jury nor the public got to hear. The high school scene, the shifting statements to police, the prejudices, the sketchy alibis, the scant forensic evidence - all of it leads back to the most basic questions: How can you know a person’s character? How can you tell what they’re capable of? In Season One of Serial, she looks for answers.

The story is INSANE. I feel INSANE. Maybe I am. It has completely consumed me. It has me thinking, analyzing, and questioning EVERYTHING and you know what? It feels so good! Believe me when I tell you that Serial will challenge you. It's by far the most exciting fuel I've fed my brain in a while and I absolutely had to share it with you RIGHT NOW!

Now go listen (like, seriously, right now) so we can discuss the case together! This is such a thoughtful and quality production but they need our support for a second season. If you dig season one and can spare any small amount, they are asking for donations (BONUS: it's tax deductible.)


Friday, November 21, 2014

ten years later...

Please allow me to set the stage for this one...on the TV in the background is my original DVD copy of the classic teen movie Can't Hardly Wait. I've got a Third Eye Blind pandora station on blast. Next to me on the floor is a box FULL of old photos and keepsakes from my school days. We are stepping back in time people! I couldn't think of a better way to put myself in the right mood to write about my upcoming 10 year high school reunion. So here we go!

The Olentangy class of 2004 was a wild bunch! At our core, we were genuinely a good group of kids. Some of us partied, most of us did stupid shit, and a few of us got into to [big] trouble but we were just kids being kids. What we all had in common was that we all left Olentangy as high school graduates. Some went off to college and some didn't. Some branched out and left Columbus, others didn't. Some of us stayed in touch, some didn't. What does that say about us? What does that say about our experience? Maybe something...maybe nothing...

My high school reunion is next week and I'm getting mixed reviews when I ask people how they feel about it. Some are eager and excited but not many. Most roll their eyes or bitch and moan about how much they're dreading it (but they will still go for fear of missing out.) WOAH... this makes me feel like a total geek! Maybe I'm more excited than I should be but I grew up here, I went to the same school K-12, and for the past five years I've lived a thousand miles away, so for me, my high school reunion represents a long overdue homecoming.

The mixed reviews have me thinking. Are high school reunions becoming obsolete? Are they just another opportunity for us to showcase our amazing lives? Is that a bad thing? I'm not sure. We don't need reunions to be able to catch up anymore because we have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, yada-yada-yada, and if I want to know what someone is doing or contact someone, I can do so pretty easily. Are people less excited for these things because of Facebook?

Well, I still think face-to-face interaction still means something and when it comes to deciding whether or not you will attend your reunion I say YES! Maybe you're not sure if you want to go because you're feeling bad about your current situation. I'm almost 30 and what do I have to show? I need to lose 10lbs! STOP. Everyone wants to put their best selves forward and I get that but guess what? You're probably not the only one feeling "behind in life" and you're certainly not going to be the only one who has gained a smidge of weight. Get over it, go, and enjoy catching up with old pals.

Some people won't want go to prove a point. They may suffer from the "f*ck those homies, they made my life miserable" syndrome. Hey man, its cool! I can relate. I'm not saying I loved EVERYONE in our class either but don't let that stop you from going if you secretly want to.

No matter what your attitude is about your class reunion, go if you can. Throw on some pukka shells, dust off your old Sublime, Everclear, or Dave Matthews albums, and break into your parents liquor cabinet (if you haven't replaced all of it with water.) Let's get together and laugh about all the trouble we got into and remember the days when life was easier. Of course, we didn't think it was easy then but compared to adult life (at times) high school was cake.

Looking forward to catching up, class of 2004!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


Have you ever been intimidated by someone because of how "smart" they are? 

Fall quarter of my sophomore year in college, Brett took me to a party that his fellow students in the Honors Tutorial College were hosting. Most of these kids were valedictorians with perfect SAT scores and at school on full rides.They had majors like physics engineering, astrophysics, and others I can't pronounce or explain. I was terrified about how I was going to interact with these people. I was a TV and film major. I wasn't on the same level at all. (<---calling myself out on the nasty negative self talk)

I got into a conversation with one the geekiest dude at the party and I'm not joking... I couldn't understand ANYTHING he was talking about. When he stopped speaking long enough for me to get a word in I stuttered and told him I recently saw, and fell in love with Sweeney Todd, the musical. What?! Why did I say that? He had no idea what I was talking about and immediately excused himself to get a drink. I never went to another event with Brett and that gang of master minds again.

No one ever told me I was stupid. I got above average grades and into a great university, but I was told several times throughout school that I "didn't test well." It was then I decided that because of my test scores I was dumb, and for the rest of my life I would be unable to have conversations with “smart” people. I went off to college armed with common sense and with the mentality that I was a "feeler." I feel a lot. I can write and sing and awkwardly move my body to express my emotions but I can’t have conversations about politics or global warming. I’m just not as smart as the people who study those things and I never will be.

This ludicrous way of thinking has completely limited my growth by steering me away from studying certain topics that I've deemed above me. Blah! As I approach my very, very late twenties, I ask myself, why not? Why can't I have an opinion on global warming? I don't have to be an expert to engage in meaningful conversation. If I'm curious, I can read or ask questions. Reading and asking questions has never made anyone stupid, right?

Never count yourself out of something. We all have something uniquely beautiful to bring to the game. (Tweet) The only limitations we have are the ones we place on ourselves. If you have something to say, say it.