Bride(r) Beware!

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Over the holidays I got engaged! It’s been a totally exciting time in my life and since I’ve had some down time, I’ve spent a lot of time doing research for my Spring 2017 wedding. Having over 10 years experience working logistics in Reality TV, I am lucky enough to possess an extensive knowledge about these types of events. Because of my work, I have actually planned both a wedding and a surprise vowel renewal ceremony from soup to nuts. Besides this, I regularly book catering for crews of 60-120, rent tents, tables, chairs, event space, etc. So, I really consider myself in the know about these things. I cannot tell you how shocked I was when I began to surf the web and realized there seems to be some sort of collective understanding by vendors to price gouge as much as possible for all things wedding related.

In my opinion, the most heinous offense was an article written on Every Last Detail about why you shouldn’t negotiate with wedding vendors, and it in the author said that negotiation feels dirty and is in fact, the same as having your boss demand a portion of your next paycheck. WTH?

The article left me dumbfounded and with a bunch of questions – who is stupid enough to believe this and seriously who is stupid enough to write this?  That is when I discovered that the site is Edited by a wedding planner. Ah, yes – this type of advice would serve very beneficial to her, but the absolute worst part is there were tons of comments left from vendors backing up the insane claim, saying they would simply walk away from anyone who is  difficult enough to try to negotiate prices – and on the flip side, suggestible brides were thanking this dumb website for it’s awful advice. A simple google search confirms there is a “wedding” cost surplus of around 25-35% that vendors charge – well, just cause they can. This is not a conspiracy theory, this is good old fashioned sexism, sitting here alive and well and instead of someone calling out this disgusting practice for what it is, here is an article suggesting women lay down and take it while they get ripped off! The fury inside me began to grow, someone on here needed to speak the truth to these poor misguided women. I took a deep breath and I left the following comment:

Oh PLEASE tell me this is a joke! Look, I’ve got 10+ years working logistics in television, which makes me in the know on all things event related – catering, event space, rentals, etc. Negotiation is how smart business is done in America and any business that is “offended,” is run by a fool.

We already live in a world where goods marketed towards women typically cost 20% more then the male or unisex counterparts and It makes me furious to know that the wedding industry takes this way farther in the hopes that silly women will pay just about anything to get what they want. Do us all a favor and stop perpetuating this type of sexism. And I see all these vendors here yelling hooray cause it’s a good message to help line their pockets – but seriously, let me give you some real insight for a moment:

Stills photographers who I hire to come on set for a few hours to take official behinds the scenes make about $300-$400 flat- these are the same guys who shoot official pictures for pro sports. Now, knowing this I would like to tell you about a Production Assistant (this is the lowest entry level position on a show) I once hired who was a “wedding photographer” on weekends. This kid barely had the skills to carry our cameras from the trucks indoors – there is no way we would ever let him shoot one – and yet, somehow even with a vastly unimpressive website (in my professional opinion) he was able to dupe brides into paying anywhere from 2-4k for him and 2 of his other PA buddies to shoot a wedding. Of course, it would take them months to deliver prints because they had to sub out the retouching because they don’t have a clue how to do it themselves. He told me those were the competitive rates and if he asked for less it would scare brides off. SERIOUSLY? Same goes for catering – I get world class meals (choice of 2 proteins, veggies, and a starch) served buffet style in fancy chaffing dishes for $25 per person. Sure, it may be worth it to double that price if you want to serve filet and lobster but certainly not if you are sticking with chicken and fish. Please brides, come to your senses here.

You should always ALWAYS always get as many bids from as many vendors as possible. I wouldn’t even mention a wedding when touching base – tell them you need an estimate on a family event with x amount of people and see what they come in at when they are not trying to gouge you because you dropped the “wedding” word.

I really hope this author decides to wake up in this century some time soon. Please do not take her horrendous advice.

And there it sat for days on end “waiting for moderation,” while other comments on different articles around the same time were getting approved. Seems pretty clear to me what is going on here. So Brides, if there are any of you out there, for the love of all things – PLEASE do not let this type of internet garbage persuade you to overspend because you are afraid to hurt a vendors feelings. You accepting any price that is placed in front of you makes it harder for the next person in line who may not be able to afford an unfair 35% price hike. Vendors want to take advantage of you and this is a capitalistic society, so they have the right to try, but you have the right to demand fair pricing and be prepared to walk away if they won’t give it to you.  Use common sense, if your caterer pulls together a menu that looks and tastes like Olive Garden’s all-you-can-eat pasta bar, but costs $65 a plate, it’s time to move on.

Personally, I decided for me there was no reason to go into long term debt for a one day event. My wedding will have all the bells and whistles, but by using some creative thinking and my negotiation skills, will only cost about half the national average. I’d much rather use that money down the road to invest in a home to grow a family in. It’s up to you what you want to do, but I decided to look beyond my wedding event and not forget the bigger picture – no matter where we are, I know I will have my friends and family at my side when I exchange vows with my best friend – and that’s a beautiful picture indeed.

 

******

Update 2/23/16 – I decided to try and post a more tame response to the above mentioned article under a different registered user on February 15th, 2016.

There is no reason why you should not negotiate with vendors. I’ve seen from 35%-300% markups on products and services for no other reason then it is for a wedding. For example, there is a website offering private event DJ services $250/4 hours. The wedding price is $600/4 hrs with no additional personnel or equipment included. Why? Well, because they have found out that people will pay for it no questions asked.

Asking vendors for the best deal possible and then comparing bids is the american way. This is Capitalism, companies can charge anything they want for a service (especially weddings) and consumers have the right to go with whomever offers them the best deal. This is how it works, there is nothing offensive about it. Don’t go into even more debt for a one day event because you were too afraid to ask for a better deal.

and that too is still sitting there waiting to be “moderated.” Therefore, I’ve determined you shouldn’t trust ANYTHING on the website everylastdetail.com

 

Man·pology

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 6.56.10 PMI have to take a short trip up onto my soapbox for a moment. You see, it drives me nuts, I mean absolutely insane when other people do the sorry/not sorry type of apologizing that people are just starting to catch on to. You know the ones I’m talking about, they usually start with “I’m sorry you feel that way.” That specific set of words that come in when what you really want to do is place blame on the other person and take no responsibility for your own actions.

Don’t get me wrong, I have used that tactic many-a-time, and I’ve always meant it just like that. I’ve got a straight-forward, blunt type personality and it works well for me, but I also understand it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. So, there are times when I’ve said something that’s an ugly truth out loud and this may be upsetting, but none the less, it’s still true. So for that, you have definitely earned no more than a “I’m sorry you feel that way.” On the flip side, there have been times when I have actually misspoken and managed to string together a set of words which can easily be interpreted in a way that delivers a punch I never meant to throw. And for that, my mistake, I will wholeheartedly deliver a “I’m so sorry for what I said, I didn’t mean any harm, but I can see how my words caused some.” It seems to me that there are only two steps to delivering an apology, and they are as follows:

  1. Identify what the action or words were that upset someone
  2. Deliver the appropriate corresponding type of apology

You would think that this was pretty cut-and-dry, but then we have to bring the dreaded Manpology into the mix. I’ve dated a lot of different men – all types – from varying ages, education levels and ethnicity, and it seems to me that the one thing they all have in common is their inherent knowledge of Manpologizing. In the past, I have often referred to this as a Marytr’s apology, but at some point, someone brought to my attention that this could be offensive to some, in which case I will tell those offended parties, “I’m sorry you feel that way.”

The Manpology is typically delivered with just a hint of aggression, usually in short snippets of repetitive “sorry,” for which the deliverer makes it abundantly clear he has no clue what he is apologizing for and usually throws in some variant of “I can’t do anything right.” And there it is, the blame is thrown right back on you, because now the alleged offender is suggesting they are really no more than a victim of circumstances beyond their control or of unrealistic expectations of a crazy woman. Don’t get me wrong, there are some ladies out there who are way out of line, and if you find yourself with a woman who is too demanding, then by all means – break up with her. But, the Manpology seems to make an appearance all the time – from the minute situation to even more offensive act of infidelity. And then, when this “I’m sorry/yet I refuse to admit anything is my fault” type of apologetic defense comes into play, the woman responds wildly, thus seemingly proving the crazy woman claim that goes hand-in-hand with the Manpology.

And you shouldn’t necessarily blame the woman for having such an adverse reaction (just see the second sentence of this blog), but men know this is the easiest way to get to a stalemate. A simple “Look how crazy you are right now” can stop a woman in her tracks and men know it. And thus, the Manpology has been perfected and passed down to the bearers of penises for generations. I love men endlessly, but this behavior has got to stop.

So ladies, now that you know the symptoms, I urge you to keep your cool and accept obscure apologies no more. If we all work together, we can revoke the intangible Manpology cards in our households and it will soon be a fad of the past! I will leave you with the the words of great G.I. Joe, knowing is half the battle.

 

Putting my wand away

Since I decided to step away from my 80+ hour a week production job, I’ve had to spend a lot of time figuring out how to market myself and my skills. It’s actually incredibly difficult to translate what working as a Production Manager has really meant, though I gave a good swing at it in my previous posting, Whats it like working in reality tv. One thing that is a little bit easier to disseminate is the skills I picked up along the way. By far, I think my greatest skill lies in the thing that I see so often lacking in professions I encounter on a daily basis, and that is foresight.

The beauty/curse of working in an industry where people can toss around literally any idea in the world – “We need to figure out how to get cell service on that mountain in the middle of nowhere” or “We picture them on a deep sea diving date looking for actual pirate treasure, so let’s find a place like that and figure out how to shoot it,” is that I am usually the one in charge of the actual figuring. And boy, did I get good at it. I like to say that I can become an expert on just about anything in less than a day. The key element to making this magic happen is having no shame. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tracked people and businesses down from Google and said “I know this sounds a little bit crazy but I have no clue how to do this so can you help me or do you know somebody who can?” I was always incredibly surprised how helpful perfect strangers can be.

Of course, there were many times when due to the workload and limited access to the idea makers, you are only given pieces of instruction, usually in the form of a an incredibly ambiguous email. These are the moments when you feel like you have fallen off a cruise ship and despite standing right next to the rescue tubes, people keep throwing down pieces of wood, expecting you to be able to build your own boat. Early on in my career, I would flail – doing exactly what was being asked of me, even when I knew something about it seemed really off. Later on in my career, I figured out that the best way to stay ahead of these things was to set up shop on the nearest life raft the second I stepped foot onto the cruise ship.  I began to insert myself early on into matters that didn’t necessarily concern me yet, but this is where I would learn about who these idea makers were, what they hoped to accomplish, their timetables and their style of getting things done. That way, not only could I think inside and outside the box, I could see the whole piece of paper the box was drawn on. I loved being a few steps ahead, and just for a small amount of effort, it was a total win-win for everyone.

I once hired a woman who ran her own live event business to be my coordinator for a few weeks on a show. She told me she didn’t know how I managed to keep it all together because there was so much more going on then she would have ever anticipated. I was sort of shocked and delighted to hear this compliment coming from someone who has headed up large scale parades. I really thought that once I left LA, I would have a world of opportunity, I would be able to test the waters in a few different fields until I found something I liked.

One cross-country move and thousands of resume submissions later, I can tell you -this has not been the case. Only once I dulled my resume down to a more cookie cutter look and downplayed my television past did I even get a few calls. It’s sort of sad, but now I know that I must hide my wand – my ability to make magic and the thing I spent 10 grueling years working tirelessly to perfect. It feels like the death of an era for me. But hopefully, one day down the road I just might find the right reason to dust that wand off again.

What’s it like working in Reality TV?

I get asked this question a lot – many people have told me that they want to do my job, so I thought I would open a window to let those folks peek into what it’s really like to work on a reality TV show.

First thing to know is that every single reality show is different. Speak to any crew member and there will be three classifications to which a show can fall: Good, It’s ok and it’s a NIGHTMARE.  And the worst part is that much like life and a box of chocolates, you absolutely never know what you are going to get. You see, there is a myriad of elements that play out behind the scenes on a reality show that can make or break your experience. A few examples include; how diva or professional the cast can be – do they show up on time or 90 minutes late everyday, how dickish or cool are your coworkers – are they your drinking buddies at the hotel bar after work or do they hold a grudge against you b/c on shoot day 5 someone forgot to order a side of ranch with their lunch – Also, how many days straight have you been working (10, 20, 30 – yes, an American human can be required to work 30 days straight and in reality world if you are “salaried,” or exempt from overtime pay, you most certainly will) and finally, have you had the opportunity to sleep more than 5 hours a night because budget constraints have created a grueling schedule? You see, this is why it’s difficult to tell you what it’s like, I would do between 3-6 shows per year and each had their pros and cons. More often than not, I’d tell someone who asks – It’s fun, but exhausting. And that’s true.

I can’t stress enough how much the exhaustion part takes a toll on reality staff members. A long work week for most people is having to stay late a night or two during the week, or heaven forbid – coming into an office on a Saturday.  40-hour workweek for us is considered a part time job. I figured out there are exactly three kinds of days I’ve had during my 10 year career working on reality shows:

THE EASY DAY – 4% occurrence 

Typically, this type of day only applies to the first and last few days on a show. You wake up at 7:30am, in the office by 9:00am. Check three things off your to-do list, attend a few meetings and be physically present just in case anyone needs anything. You actually get to take a lunch. Leave office at 6:30pm. Take calls until 9pm.  Total work hours: 9

THE TYPICAL DAY – 63% occurrence 

Wake up at 5:30am, buy coffee and bagels on the way into the office and wait for the rest of the crew to arrive for their 7am call. Run around town all day supporting your crew through 12 hours of filming, return to the office for wrap out and prepare for the next day. 50% of the time you have time to eat your lunch while working. Leave the office at 9:00pm. Total work hours: 15

THE WORST DAY(S) OF YOUR LIFE – 33% occurrence

Wake up at 5am – not that you actually slept thanks to crippling anxiety. There is a major event coming up in the next 48 hours and everything has to be booked by the end of business that day.  You’ve sent a dozen emails and texts to department heads hoping people will make decisions – WHY O WHY in the world is everyone ignoring you like you’re patient zero?!? It’s 6am, you are in the office alone, might as well use this time to restock the copier and crafty tables. 7am, you get the crew out the door, you will be chained to your desk, so they nominate the assistant coordinator to go in your place on set for the day. You wait at your desk – wonder when the decision makers will arrive while acid in your stomach tears a slow hole. 9am, still not here, but it’s a perfectly fine hour to take all those above-mentioned emails and replay all with one word, “bump” and a smiley face. 8 minutes later, the power-people walk through the door. You try to act casual with a bunch of “good mornings and coffee is extra delicious today,” and then you immediately drop your real agenda, “did you see my email yet? Oh, no? Well just a reminder we only have until x o’clock and it’s just me to do it all, so the sooner the better.” They assure you will be the first to know. And then you wait. You skip lunch, convinced the moment you step out of the office they will pull the trigger. It’s 2pm, you start calling vendors put on your sexiest damsel in distress voice and plead – please.. please, if we place the order at closing time can you have someone stay late to work on it? This works somehow. It’s 4 o’clock, boss man emerges from the office – “Do it!” he tells you and you hit the phones like a 1940’s switchboard operator. You lock vendors until 8pm when the crew returns, then you wrap them out and do timecards. It’s 9:00pm, the creative teams email you something they need 1000 color copies of, also, they want to know  if you can have a banner made and ready for on-screen at 9am. You spend the next 45 minutes making calls – the person at the nearest 24 hour Kinkos laughs at you, however, you find another Kinkos 39 miles away that can do it, and your Line Producer approves the cost of a banner twice the size requested because “it should pop” but won’t let you order the copies from Kinkos because there is a “perfectly good one-sheet color printer at the the office that the show already sunk $58 dollars into.” So, you send the one person who was helping you make the 1000 copies off to middle-earth to await the banner. After beating up the printer a dozen times for jamming, you run out of color ink and make a trip at midnight to Walgreens – you will do a dance like you’ve just won the Superbowl when you find out they do have the correct ink in stock. It’s 1:30am, the PA finally returns with the banner, you close down the office and count on one hand the hours until you have to be awake again. You go to your hotel, pat yourself on the back for saving the entire show and do a fully-clothed belly flop onto your bed.  Total work hours: 19.5

As you can see, being this kind of productive is one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences. I’d say that if you can hang in those types of situations, you will be able to work with some of the most ambitious people on the planet. I never understood why it takes three years to build an overpass, if I put my art guys on it, we’d have it up in three weeks.  Bottom line, in reality tv, you are making magic happen every day.

Memory Lane: That time I hung out with John Mayer and that guy from Heroes

One thing I always loved about living in LA is that even on a supposedly mundane night, the most unbelievable events can unfold around you. Whether it’s Tara Reid puking on your shoes at the Henson lot’s private Halloween extravaganza, or constantly turning around to see Travis Barker  trailing you in so many different locations that you start to believe perhaps he’s stalking you. But one of my most favorite stories I love to regale when I am entertaining a group of people is of the night I went to hang out with my friend and his band at the Three Clubs in Hollywood.

It was right before the banks nearly broke America, around 2007, and I was working as a Coordinator for a tiny production company that had one well-known show. There was an attempt to do a spin-off and as usual, I was recruited midway through when things weren’t going as smooth as they should. I’m happy to say the people I was working with were fantastic humans and it was probably one of only a few shows I’ve ever worked on where I felt truly needed and in turn, greatly appreciated. You’d be surprised how understaffed reality shows are compared to scripted, each person has to take on 4-5 full time jobs, and you are often run into the ground working 7 days a week, 16-hour days. The worst thing for me was never the schedule, though now that I am older I will not allow a job to consume my life, but in these scenarios, a lot of superiors who are never physically present tend to harp on the one or two things that didn’t go well and completely ignore the fact you sacrificed months of food and sleep to manifest thousands of positive and perfectly executed tasks. The silver lining in this unrelenting, intense pressure/sleep-deprivation/isolation type of situation, is that you tend to become very close with that small group of people with you in the field and often for the duration of the run of a show, these people become your closest friends. And that is how I became a fleeting friend of former Bachelor, Bob Guiney.

Unlike some other semi-celebs I’ve known, Bob is one cool dude. He’s endlessly positive, super down-to-earth and best of all, from my home state of Michigan.  I didn’t really know much about him at the time because I had been sucked in by the reality tv production vortex for a few years already, and rarely had a moment to myself to catch up on trivial things like current events. One day, after the show was in the can, Bob invited a bunch of the crew out to see him perform with his band. Since I had a friend in town and was looking for fun stuff to do, this seemed like the perfect LA experience to show to an out-of-towner.

We showed up fashionably late, partially on purpose and partially because I spent 30 minutes looking for parking. Since I was in my early 20’s and extremely underpaid, I adamantly refused to pay $10 to park anywhere ever. I have no idea how many songs deep the band was before we arrived, but the performance space they were in was tiny, it looked like a banquet area in the back of restaurant with a small stage only a foot or so off of the ground. The crowd was light, so it didn’t take long for me to scan the room and see that nobody else I knew came. My focus shifted to the band, who actually sounded pretty awesome, and I was a little shocked when I began to realize that everyone up there was famous. James Denton from Desperate Housewives on bass, Greg Grunberg from Heroes played the drums and that House guy from House MD strummed his guitar. Holy crap, my semi-famous friend is in a band with his super famous friends – how cool is that? My girlfriend suggested we move to the front and in-between songs, and we did just that. Not one second after seizing our new spots, Bob saw me, shouted hi and gave me a high five – it was such a rock star moment.

A few songs later, a special guest took to the mini-stage and wailed on the guitar while crooning with the voice of a much older man. It was none other than John Mayer. Though, I knew of John and his music I wasn’t really a fan until that night. The handful of pop song that streamed the airwaves during the previous few years gave no hint at the profound talent and deep emotional connection Mayer has with music itself. He stayed for about 3 or 4 songs and I believe he only played one of his own, it was an awesome sight.  Shortly after, the gig was over, the lights came up and everyone was getting kicked out. Bob told us we could stick around and like the good little production solider I was, I volunteered me and my friend to help Greg pack up his drum kit and load it into his SUV. He didn’t drink, so he wasn’t going to stick around, but he was grateful for the help, so my friend ended up getting a picture with him (o-o-towners, am i right?!).

When we got back in I made a beeline for the bathroom but some angry looking bouncer told me if I crossed over this invisible line he was guarding, I wouldn’t be able to come back. I whined about having to pee but he just shrugged his shoulders. I was just about to turn around when a man emerged from the packed crowd on the other side of the invisible line and was physically stopped by another protector of the line. It was John Mayer, he was just performing and needed to get back there, he explained politely. “You’re not getting through” the a-hole bouncer/UTI proponent quipped while holding out his meaty arms. I couldn’t believe what was going on and in that moment of intoxication I decided to step in, “hey guys, you do know that is John Mayer, right?” I asked to blank stares. I could see they weren’t getting it, so I started to croak out a few lines from some of his greatest hits, Your Body is a Wonderland, and Daughters – I even scrunched up my face to look like his when he sings, all while failing miserably to actually know the words to his songs. Eventually, when I opened up my squinted eyes, John seemed to be holding back a laugh and brought his hands together in front of his chest and told me “Please… it’s ok, just go get someone from the band.” Did John Mayer just beg me to stop singing his songs out loud? Um, yep – ’cause I’m a f*cking rockstar.

John made his way back with the help of the spitfire female in the band and me and my friend spent the next hour hanging out with these guys doing shots of whiskey and trying to act like rubbing elbows with celebs happens to us all of the time. Eventually, even we all got kicked out, said our goodbyes, and made the half mile trek back to where I had parked the car. Luckily, my girlfriend didn’t drink much so I slid into the passenger seat, clunked the seat back to chillax mode and asked”Did that all really just happen?”

“Hell yeah, it did!” she confirmed.

Better than TV: my obsession with the Serial podcast and the case against Adnan Syed

One thing that I have learned as a result of launching this website is that aside from a recent reference link snafu that got me a ton of hits from Brazil, I am pretty much just talking to myself here most of the time. In that dancing-with-myself kind of spirit, I am going to post my thoughts on some podcasts I recently listened to. Besides sharing with the world how I get my nerd on, you will come to see that I probably have way too much time on my hands. Now, I know I am coming into this particular podcast party way late in the game, but since this story continues to develop and there is still a large divide of opinion among the internet world, I think it’s all still relevant.

For those who many not know, Serial season 1 featured a thrilling look at the convoluted conviction of Baltimore resident Adnan Syed in the 1999 murder of 17-year-old ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee. Show producer and host Sarah Koenig takes you on a journey that unfolds so slowly and skilled, you will feel like you are in the grasp of a fine Fincher film. Everything you thought you would think turns around on itself and you’ll find your inner dialogue splitting into halves and arguing over what to believe. If you have not yet listened to Serial – STOP – and download it now on iTunes for free. My particular theory will be best digested by those who are familiar with the case. I’d hate to use the word spoiler, because this is a real life murder of a real person and I don’t want to cheapen the loss of life, but for a lack of a better word I don’t want to spoil your Serial experience.

Beyond listening to the full Serial series, I also took in most of the Undisclosed podcast, which I would not recommend because besides being painfully biased and funded by the Free Adnan Trust, it’s defense lawyer perspective narration frequently turns into sloppy ramblings that are hard to follow and often contradicts it’s own points without being able to see the irony. Undisclosed does uncover a few really interesting and important facts that were discovered after the conclusion of Serial, but overall these didn’t really sway my opinion and working theory – as a matter of fact, I think they helped solidify it. So, if you can stomach a drawn-out everyone is out to get us type conspiracy theory drivel, then by all means, check Undisclosed out.

One last super important thing that I will reference is the only interview that Jay Wilds, the star witness and conviction linchpin, did since the trial ended and the Serial obsession began. This three part interview can be found on The Intercept’s website.

*Here we go*

I fully believe that the states timeline of the murder can be easily disproven, but despite this Adnan is 100% guilty. I must say that I was a little bit disappointed in the final episode because Koenig took the easy way out by not giving a more definitive conclusion than – I think he is wrongfully convicted but, I can’t say he is innocent.

Just say the guy is  G U I L T Y.

I was really on the fence about what I thought until the episode where Koenig went to visit Jay and there was something about the way she described her interaction with him and the types of things he said. Jay was surprised at the visit – not something I would think would be typical of a person who had completely fabricated a story about seeing his friend bury a body – I tend to think if that were the case you’d spend the rest of your life waiting for the other shoe to drop because you’d know there’s someone behind bars with nothing but time on their hands. Secondly, Jay made a comment about Adnan still not being able to admit committing the murder to himself.  All of a sudden, things began to click in my head and I realized Adnan likely suffers from some sort of Borderline Personality Disorder or Narcissism, which would explain why people close to him were in disbelief that such a good, upbeat and popular guy could commit such an act. This would also explain why a theoretically guilty Adnan would think he was smarter than the cops, Jay would just do whatever he told him to do, and possibly be the motive for killing Hae (ie. you think someone lame like you can break up with someone awesome like me? I’ll show you how little you are).

The again, I doubt we will ever know the full motive for exactly why Adnan killed Hae. One motive I think we can put together that kept coming up and creating doubt was why Jay would lie so much. I think there are a myriad of valid reasons, many of which Jay points out in the Intercept interview (which I totally buy as the closest a real recount we will ever get to know). But here are my 4 top assessments:

  1. He was afraid of being pinned for the murder – I have to think that the first reaction when being taken in by the police for questioning of a murder is to make sure you don’t say anything that can get you in trouble or make you a suspect. I think for some people it’s like a physical defense mechanism to lie and misdirect to try to save themselves and much of the conflicting information provided by Jenn and Jay in the initial recordings could be explained by this.
  2. He will say anything to make sure the crazy guy he knows KILLS people is taken behind bars as fast as possible – I don’t doubt for one second that there was fear every time Jay saw Adnan after January 13th. However, we know that Jay is a drug dealer and his image comes off as more gangster-like than it actually is. I imagine this was a serious crux in his life where we was leaning between two worlds, one where he is all in and murder becomes apart of his life and the other where his own morality takes over and he knows he will lose his lifestyle, the drugs, money, etc. If you topple into the latter and spill it all, you may be worried about sharing the streets with someone who could kill you. This in no way excuses the lazy policework done in Baltimore and I do believe there was a lot of coaching thrown at Jay, I am just saying that this explains WHY he would be willing to mold his story to match any other evidence.
  3. He wanted to protect his family / didn’t want to go down for selling drugs during the 90’s war on drugs era / he was afraid of drug partner retaliation for being a snitch – refer to the Intercept interview.
  4. He was a total POTHEAD – I haven’t really seen anyone talking about the fact we know in ’99 Jay is the kind of guy who smokes multiple blunts per day and seems to always be high. If you’ve ever known a person who chronically uses copious amounts of marijuana, then you know their memory can be completely useless at times.

Ok, so now we can all stop saying “well why is he lying!”

One of the more useful things that Undisclosed brought up is that there was no wrestling match the day Hae was killed. We have the last two people who saw Hae both explaining that she was going to be back at school later for a wrestling match,  I think the best way to explain this is by using something Undisclosed tries to lean on heavily to help prove Adnan’s innocence – memory is bad. I think both people are mistaken about the which day they are recalling – there was no french fry stop, there was no chat about scoring a match on January 13th – and if that’s the case, it actually makes it easier to point a finger in Adnan’s direction because the lady running the concession stand can no longer claim there was nobody else in Hae’s car after school. This also widens the gap of time between 2:15pm when school let out and 3:15pm when Hae was a no show picking up her cousin. Maybe it’s that incoming call at 3:15pm that is the Adnan come pick me up from Best Buy and not at 2:36pm. Maybe Asia was totally mistaken about what day she saw Adnan after school.

If we take Jay’s Intercept interview as truth and we know it’s after midnight when Jay sees Hae’s body at the trunk pop, then that would explain why the blood settled before burial and why Jay was so dodgy about what kind of tools they used and where they came from (his grandmother’s house). Also, let’s throw out the cell phone records and tower data just like the defense wants and even then it seems to make a stronger case against Adnan.

I don’t claim to know exactly how it all went down and I haven’t taken the time myself to review every single piece of evidence (because, I sometimes have a life), but I am pretty confident in my personal thoughts on this. I think it’s a downright shame that the Baltimore Police Department didn’t put enough effort into this case. Being a believer in Adnan’s guilt, I wish they would have done something more so there would be no room for debate. I can’t help but feel bad for those who have put forth a tremendous amount of effort and money trying to free a murderer.

Just my 2¢: Classic Shamecraft

Welcome back,

I had a very interesting interaction this morning on Facebook and it inspired me to take a look at what I call shamecraft, a gathering of like minded, though not necessarily right minded, individuals who sit high on their mighty horses trying to police everyone’s morality. The typical tactics being; reacting overly sensitive to a matter at hand, voicing a very specific outrage (typically based on little to no facts, just feelings), finding others who are like-minded and gravitate to controversy and then trying to verbally beat an apology out of whomever created the source of the outrage. The internet can be a low down dirty place where the most meekish accountant can throw off his gloves and be in a constant verbal Fight Club, slinging around words he would never utter in real life. I think it’s the anonymity of it all that makes people embrace the worst of themselves and I guess when there are no consequences most people are failing to tame the monsters that rest deep inside.

It was an article I read about an editor at Vogue who posted a picture of a homeless person sitting down in the street, reading the magazine – the editor added the caption “Paris is full of surprises. . . and @voguemagazine readers even in unexpected corners!” Now, when I read this I thought two things; man, Paris is so cool even the homeless are interested in fashion, then hey, it’s really great to know because I have a huge stack of magazines I would have never thought to donate to a homeless shelter.  Of course these kind of optimistic reactions were swiftly muted by the raging mob that would attack this woman.  Not all mob members are equal, you have the more calm folks who stick to simple name calling and then you get the more extreme side that will wish harm in every way imaginable. Who are these kinds of people that were brought up in a way that they would actually wish someone bodily harm or to become unemployed and penniless? Would they want a bunch of people wishing that on them? I bet if all of these people were willing to step out of the shadows and allow us to dissect the complete history and words of their actions there would be a thousand things they themselves could be thrown to the wolves for. I am sure it could be done if you look closely enough at anyone.

In the Vogue situation, a public apology was later released after the editor posed initial resistance to the backlash by asking people why they considered what she was doing to be cruel. I can just imagine the magazine stockholders gathering frantically, voting with ease to throw the editor under the bus and issue and apology rather than risk any possible loss in profits. So what played out more like the begrudged action of apologizing has only fed into the rage mob’s ego and made their monsters stronger. At what point is enough enough? Who exactly does and does not have a freedom of expression? Who is the person who is determining exactly how much morality each stranger on the street should possess and exactly how they should use it?

So, I posted some of my feelings and a link to the story and got a quick response from one of those FB Friend-ish types that you don’t really that well and haven’t spoken to directly for several years. This person claimed that the Vogue situation was exploiting homeless and that the wealthy editor should have been giving that person money. An interesting thought, but not one I agreed with since the photo was a real life moment and not staged, and also I doubt the tweeted photo drove up sales of Vogue magazine in any way. I also suggested to Friend-ish that we have no idea who this editor is on the inside, for all we know she could be the most charitable living editor in the business today and its not up to strangers to tell her how to spend her money. Bottom line is that in my opinion we just don’t know enough to judge, but I did appreciate the FB Friend-ish’s point of view because it give me a chance to gather that particular train of thought. I did however, found out the gratitude was one sided when Friend-ish quickly ended the conversation by unfriending me after reading my response. To each their own, but it’s kind of amusing and a bit serendipitious that someone became so easily offended by something so slight. Don’t worry, I will not be losing any sleep, I love a good debate, I love when my ways of thinking are challenged and my mind is opened to making connections I may have not thought of on my own. I can only conclude that Frend-ish’s real motive in initiating the conversation on my page was just to give me a piece of her mind and maybe teach me a thing or two, and that makes her come off more like a member of the rage mob than not. So, it’s important to pay close attention to your social media connections because as you can see, they are everywhere.

Just my 2¢

Megan

What are your thoughts? Are we as a society becoming too sensitive? Are you guilty of participating in shamecraft? Be sure to leave some feedback in the comments section. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to this bog and share with your friends!

Just my 2¢: So, about that Brian Williams

As I sit back to watch yet another episode of NBC’s recently lackluster Nightly News, I wanted to take a moment to share a little bit of my thoughts on the Brian Williams scandal. It’s been several weeks now since BW has been bumped out of the chair, and I blame myself, really. I remember watching that Rangers game live on TV and I got so excited when a two-shot of Brian and Tom Hanks sitting in the stands popped on my screen. At that very moment I thought to myself, wow, how cool is it that two of the most upstanding public figures are actually friends (this is not at all an exaggeration despite what you will come to learn about me).  And then boom, that very night after the game Brian says something to the press that incited the snowball that knocked the great Brian Williams off of his throne. People were outraged and seemingly excited by the whole thing. But, I was not. I like Brian Williams, and even though Lester Holt is a fine broadcaster, I’d prefer his dark and sinister voice delivering the intro packages to Dateline and not my news rundown. For those of you who don’t know, Brian was caught talking about going down in a helicopter overseas, when it actually turns out he was in an different one that did technically go down, but in the exact way it was suppose to and not in a crash as he implied. Ok, this is bad, but is it really banish worthy? Oh boy, if someone was fact checking my life, I would be exiled off the planet along with almost everyone I know.

This left me thinking to myself, who hasn’t done the equivalent of telling a tall tale about crashing on an aircraft? Personally, I have actually told a tall tale about crashing on an aircraft! You see, I come from a long line of exaggerators, no really, I’m pretty sure my great–great-great-grandsomething was the ruler of The Valley of Selective Memories and then was married off to the queen of Make Believeia and they spent their days breeding unicorns and spinning thread into gold. It was quite the pairing. Of course, the inherent traits and wealth dwindled through time and each generation got a little more normal and poorer. So, I am lousy at making thread into anything really, but your girl can still spin a tale.

I was once working on a documentary that sent me back to Detroit for the very first time since I had moved away at age 14 1. The city was cold, dark and depressing and made me feel the same sick way that walking into a war museum always does. After a day, I caught a flight down to Tampa and just after hitting our cruising altitude we hit an air pocket, the entire plane went dark and suddenly we began dropping altitude.

Now, do you think this calm description is anywhere close to how I recalled the story for the first 5 years I told it? Heck no! Here is how 20 something me told the glory story:

I was on a plane making the very same trip that me and my family took every year to visit Disneyworld 2, and I was feeling all emotional because fate had brought me back to my hometown and made me face the reality of the depth of poverty and depression my neighbors have been going through 3. Anyway, those planes can really hold up, so part of me thinks that just maybe that exact same TWA aircraft from my childhood and my whole life was coming full circle 4. As soon as we leveled off the entire plane lost power and we were falling thousands of feet into a sea of orange clouds 5. The big, strong man next to me coward in fear and we gripped tightly onto our shared armrest. Not one word was spoken by anyone on the plane, but the sharp ping from everyone’s gasps filled the air 6. Eventually, we leveled off but for a full hour afterwards nobody from the crew surfaced. When we got close to the Tampa airport we were making circles with other aircraft, which was very odd. Figuring this was for an emergency landing, I began to sweat through my clothes and work on the Skymall sudoku, praying that God not to let me die before I solved one of these freaking things 7. Once we landed safely, I was so overjoyed, I ran out of the airport 8 and got down on my knees and literally 9 kissed the sidewalk.

So, you can see the first hand de-evolution of my tale as time went by. The whole thing became more emotionally distant and less important as I filled my mental scrapbook with so many other exciting life experiences. I know I am no journalist and there is suppose to be a fine line of trust there, but it seems like a pretty easy thing to jump from one row to another, so long as you are staying in the same ballpark 10. I just have a hard time thinking that a man should lose his entire career when at this point he is really just reading news that his media outlet has already put their own spin on anyway.

Just my

Megan

FOOTNOTES:
1 Exaggeration #1, I technically lived in the suburbs 30 minutes north of Detroit!
2 Nope, we always flew into Orlando.
3 I have never known anyone to live in Detroit’s city limits
4 Yeah, TWA went out of business in 2001, well before this happened, but at least I added the word maybe.
5 I have no aviation skills, it could have been 200 feet for all I know.
6 Shockingly, this part is true.
7 Still all true, though I found out after we landed they were doing construction on the runway and that was the reason for the airline conga line.
8 30 minutes later once I got my baggage – but who needs to hear that?
9 NOT literally!
10 Ok, in this case, it’s jumping full sections.

Beyond The End: Wrap up

There you have it, in no particular order! Thanks for taking the time to stick this out with me, there will be a lot more stuff coming out soon.  Be sure to follow my blog and share on your social media.

A very special thank you goes out to my Cousin, Jennifer Miller, who helped me clean up and edit my last few postings.

I welcome anyone who wants to offer up any additional film couple suggestions in the comments section. Let me know what you think about my conclusions and anything else you would like to see.

Until next time,

Megan