Jensen & Holes: The Murder Squad

Jensen & Holes: The Murder Squad is an “interactive” podcast on the Exactly Right podcast network run by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark of My Favorite Murder.

Each week, journalist Billy Jensen and Detective Paul Holes – who helped catch the Golden State Killer – take a deep dive into an unsolved murder or missing person case. At the end, they give the listeners an “assignment” to gather any new information about the case to help solve it.

When the first episode premiered, I was super excited to look at all the information to try and help solve the case. As soon as I got to the website however, I felt like I had no idea what I was doing. I had absolutely no idea where to start looking for information. This is probably my own fault – I’m really good and doubting myself, and other people are really good at reinforcing said doubt.

But two recent episodes of the podcast reignited my passion for investigative journalism because they hit close to home. They discussed Jesse Matthew and the disappearances of Morgan Harrington and Hannah Graham, as well as the fact that Matthew might have more victims.

This hits close to home for me because Hannah Graham was a student at the University of Virginia, and I live in Virginia. I remember Hannah’s case making national news. So, I want to help get justice for the other potential victims.

You can listen to episodes 29 and 30 of Jensen & Holes: The Murder Squad on Apple Podcasts, or wherever else you listen to podcasts. Please send all relevant information to thereviewingfangirl@gmail.com with “Murder Squad” in the subject line, and I will pass it along. Or, you can skip me as the middleman completely and submit tips to themurdersquad.com

Let’s serve up some justice!

Hurricanes and Blogger Burnout

Dear Alexander,

The eye of your hurricane may be quiet, but mine is not. Mine is making my head spin. I’m trying to write my way out though. My writing is the only thing I’m sure of.

Your obedient servant,

MG

I wish I knew how Hamilton did it. All his writing. He wrote 51 of the 85 Federalist Papers when there were only supposed to be 25 in total. How did he never burn out? If I were writing all of that, it would be impossible not to. It would probably be easier if I weren’t a one-woman blog. But I am. At least for now.

I commented on this post the other day when I realized something: with all the mental and physical energy that it takes for me to come up with topics and write about them consistently, I should be getting paid. But I don’t have enough followers for anything of that sort yet. Even if I did, I doubt it would be a big paycheck.

When I get burned out, my content quality suffers. I hate having to post something for the sake of posting something just to stick to a schedule, because the output isn’t something I can be proud of . I want to produce content that I’m proud enough to show people.

It doesn’t help that I feel like hardly anyone takes me seriously. My friends think all I do is sit in my room all day and complain. In reality, I’m coping the best way I know how: writing. My imagination is essentially a form of therapy. I can channel whatever I’m feeling at the moment into any story I want. Right now, it’s mostly fan fiction. Hopefully I’ll be able to find my own story in the future.

Writing and job prospects? Don’t even get me started. People don’t think my writing counts as doing anything just because I’m not making money from it. I’m doing the thing I know how to do (I like to think my writing is at least halfway to decent), and yet they’re disappointed, because, for some reason, money makes the world turn.

Before my blog burned me out not even halfway through the year, it felt exactly like a full-time job. I was spend my days writing and planning multiple posts. I knew I was going to hit a wall, but I was hoping I’d avoid it somehow. Wishful thinking, I know. I’m slowly dipping my toes back in, though; I’ll definitely have to find a way to pace myself.

Downton Abbey

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Chaos ensues when the servants of Downton Abbey learn that the king and queen of England plan to bring their own servants with them to Downton during their royal visit.

This movie is the culmination of six seasons of the TV show on PBS, with all of the original cast signing onto the project. Even though they took a few minutes before it began to explain all the characters and storylines, which was nice, it was still sort of hard to follow.

The movie is bit slow, but that’s not for a lack of action. The action is there, it’s just subtle. Paying attention to the dialogue is a must. Otherwise, it’s easy to miss Maggie Smith’s sassy humor. Violet Crawley and Minerva McGonagall may be characters in two different franchises, but they seem to be similar in everything else.

Imelda Staunton was there, too, except this time, her character was the outcast in the story. Even so, she and Maggie went back and forth as if they were still playing Umbridge and McGonagall.

Laura Carmichael also reprised her role as Lady Edith. She didn’t seem to have a lot to do with the movie’s main storylines, but she didn’t get nearly enough screen time. Because frankly, she’s amazing in The Spanish Princess.

This movie is definitely worth seeing. Whether someone has watched the show or not, it’s a good time.

You know you’re addicted when …

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Today, I got around to reading an article I saved from The Washington Post. I saved it because the topic is related to my previous post, so I thought I’d write something about this as well.

Apparently, kids today (Gosh, that makes me sound like an old person when I’m not) are exploiting bugs in Apple’s software to subvert Screen Time limits that their parents put on their phones.

Personally, I can’t imagine growing up with a smart phone. I was jealous that my friends in high school had iPhones, but it wasn’t like I was begging my mother because I absolutely needed one.

Secondly, I am nowhere near tech savvy enough to find said bugs in software an exploit them. So, if I were in kids’ shoes today, I probably would’ve just put up with the restrictions and complained about the perceived injustice to my friends later.

I get it, I do

I totally understand where kids are coming from. Adolescence is the natural time in life to rebel because you think your parents and their rules are stupid because “everybody is doing” the thing you want to do. I didn’t really rebel all that much when I was coming up, but that’s a different story for another day.

At the same time, I can’t help but think that subverting the bugs is completely ridiculous. Who is desperate enough to take the time to figure that out? Definitely not me. At least, I don’t think I would be. Thankfully, I probably won’t ever have to find out.

If we’re talking about ridiculousness

I’d like to speak from my own experience for a minute. When I came home after graduating college at first, my mother thought I was so addicted to my phone that she took it away from me. Obviously, this didn’t feel fair at all, because I’m chronologically an adult, and I didn’t have any homework to do for the time being, so I didn’t see what the problem was. My mother has since given up that fight, which is a relief. However, if I had to guess, she threw in the towel because in here eyes, taking away my phone wasn’t going to change anything (read: cure my perceived addiction).

She still says I’m addicted to my phone all the time though. I’ve heard it so much she’s basically a broken record. Maybe she’d see things differently if she read the article. I highly doubt it though.

Screen Time doesn’t mean anything

The Mac operating system got an upgrade the other day: Catalina. It’s so cool; I feel like I got a new computer. One of the things I was hoping they’d implement – and maybe someone somewhere was reading my mind, because they did – is Screen Time. It was already on the iPhone; why not have it on the Macs as well?

However, I have recently reached the conclusion that Screen Time doesn’t mean a whole lot. Or anything, really. Every time I check it, it always seems to increase. And, it can become a negative obsession.

It seems that older the generations’ – especially Baby Boomers – favorite pastime is to pick on millennials for whatever we do. We can’t ever do anything right in their eyes. As far as they’re concerned, all we do is complain. This includes commentary on how we use technology.

My mother’s favorite thing to say is that I’m addicted to my phone. If I got rid of my phone, all the problems in my life would be solved somehow. So, for a while recently, I was obsessed with my Screen Time numbers. Constantly checking to see where I was at, and chastising myself when it went up. It wasn’t healthy at all.

I was so obsessed with how much I was using my phone that the things I was using it for – mainly podcasts and music – no longer gave me the same enjoyment. Everything I loved about it became a burden. And it’s not exactly the best indicator of how much people use their phones if the numbers constantly increase, is it? It’s more of a technological guilt trip than anything else.

I wish people could understand that technology isn’t bad. Not every streaming service is a waste of money, even though there’s too many to count at this point. Apple Music is amazing because a lot of music inspires my writing. It’s nice to have access to almost everything at my fingertips.

What matters is how people use technology. And I don’t know where my creativity would be without it, so people need to keep quiet and let me do my thing.

Lacking Lyrics

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Don’t get me wrong, I like Apple Music. I’ve been downloading Spanish music like crazy. There’s just one problem: lyrics.

When I first signed up, I was under the impression that I’d have access to the lyrics for all the songs in my music library no matter what. However, that’s not the case.

Lyrics aren’t necessarily retroactive – that is, some of the songs that I bought before Apple Music don’t have lyrics, and some do. It’s annoying because I really don’t feel like re-downloading everything I already have. It would take forever.

Some of the songs I’ve downloaded since Apple Music don’t have lyrics either. I downloaded One Direction’s Take Me Home because I randomly had some of the songs stuck in my head even though I hadn’t listened to the album in forever. I quickly realized that not all of the songs had lyrics. I tried downloading the deluxe version, but that didn’t make a difference. What’s up with that?

And there’s another weird thing: some of the lyrics seem to be out of order or completely wrong. Take “Master of the House” from Le Misérables for example – according to Apple, the first verse is as follows:

Come on, you old pest

Fetch a bottle of your

What’s the nectar of the day

However, in listening to the song, that’s not how it starts at all.

An example of the latter situation is “Buenos Aires” from the 2012 revival production of Evita:

On the 9th February 1935 in Buenos Aires, a polo match between a leading team of Argentine players and the touring British side. The British ambassador said he had never seen a social occasion quite like it. Even by the standards of Buenos Aires society, the gathering at the polo ground glittered. The Rolls and the Daimlers, the hampers from Harrods, the clothes, the diamonds, the crystal, the wines, the procession of nannies from England and France. The result of the match, oh yes, the home team won! But, as the British ambassador pointed out, that did not reflect badly on British horsemanship; three of the Argentine players were educated at Eton!

Ricky Martin does say some of the above in the song, but not all of it. The rest of it is completely different. Why is that? I was thinking it might be a description of what’s on stage, but why would that be in the song?

Apple has some explaining to do.

Too Much Streaming

I recently read an article from the Los Angeles Times about Disney’s new streaming service, Disney+. Believe me, it’s enticing, but do we really need another steaming service when we already have so many?

I’m not saying one should have a monopoly or people shouldn’t have choices, but does one person really need to have all the streaming services? At the end of the day, it’s another TV bill. Who wants that?

For now, streaming seems to be a cheaper alternative to cable or satellite. But the separate bills for the different services will add up quickly, if they aren’t already. Netflix and Hulu produce their own content – as will Disney+ – but how many people have time to sit around and watch every show or movie? Not many. It definitely wouldn’t be healthy. And it would probably be boring after awhile anyway.

It would be easy if all anybody had to choose from was a few general services like Netflix or Hulu. The name of the game is making more money, but having Disney shows available exclusively through Disney+ doesn’t seem fair. I mean, its content has been on the other services for so long. Why yank it away now? What if consumers don’t feel like paying another bill? It’s not like Disney is on the verge of bankruptcy and they desperately need the money or anything.

Apple Podcasts archives

Some people call it Apple Podcasts. Some people call it iTunes. It’s all the same to me; nomenclature isn’t what I’m after here.

I love podcasts. I listen to a lot of them – maybe too many, they take up most of the storage on my phone at the moment. I’m interested in all of them though, and I try to listen to every episode. Except when I can’t.

“When I can’t” is the problem. I don’t know why, but sometimes the different podcasts randomly delete episodes from their feeds. Sometimes they delete downloaded episodes as well, instead of just removing the downloads from my phone to free up space.

It’s all good if I can access the episodes I haven’t listened to elsewhere. Sometimes, however, that’s impossible. I recently had to delete a podcast because I couldn’t find the older episodes.

Maybe I’m just too anal that I want to listen to all the episodes, no matter how old they are. But my question is this: why can’t all the podcast episodes be accessible from Apple? Is there a reason they randomly disappear? It’s not fair, if you ask me. If not Apple, they should at least be accessible in one other place.

Lacking Consistency

I thought I’d come back from my blogging break, but it seems that I haven’t. I’m sorry about that. However, I just started a creative writing class on Wednesday, so I should be able to post some of those things here.

I think part of it is that I haven’t felt like I have anything new to talk about. I know I have ideas in my brain somewhere, they’re just not at the forefront where I can readily access them. It’s disappointing, honestly.

I have been working on some fan fiction though, which has been really fun. And unexpectedly cathartic. I’m processing feels that I thought I’d already processed, but the story is bringing them up again as if they’re fresh. Sometimes it gets so intense that I have to stop writing.

My biggest personal disappointment though is not being able to finish a novel. I’ve been bouncing from idea to idea for years. I’m able to start writing the stories, but they just seem to fizzle out after awhile for some reason. Hopefully having deadlines in my class will help me to stick to something.

I’ll try to get back to regular posting soon. Thanks for sticking with me!

Google, please stop

At this point, it shouldn’t be a secret that I love – and admittedly have a crush on – Emily Blunt. My posts about Mary Poppins Returns are more than enough proof.

Unfortunately, Google has noticed this as well. The first thing I saw when I opened up Google on my phone the other day was an article about her Met Gala dress. That wasn’t what I was searching for at all.

It makes me feel like I’m unhealthily obsessed with her, even though I know I’m not; her work just so happens to mean a lot to me. I’m not one of those crazy people who is going to find out where she lives and stalk her. I know she’s (apparently) neighbors with Jimmy Kimmel, and that’s enough for me.

Nor do I want her to myself. I’m not a home wrecker. She and John Krasinski are pretty much relationship goals. If they ever get divorced for some reason I will be very, very sad.

So, Google, can you please not shove Mrs. Krasinski in my face so much? I’m not saying I never want to read about her (or John, for that matter), but I don’t need to be bombarded with articles. Okay, thanks, bye!