Serial Star Granted Retrial On Potentially Unreliable Cell Science Testimony

It was the most popular podcast in history. From the creators of This American Life, Serial became a cultural craze in 2014. Millions of people have listened to the true crime story of Adnan Syed’s conviction for murdering his ex girlfriend Hae Min Lee. Serial Season 1 had it all: lust, reverse racism and pre millennial technology.

A judge in Maryland today granted Adnan Syed a retrial despite the fact that he was out of appeals. The Peabody winning podcast may result in a get out of jail “free” card for Mr. Syed. He’s served 16 years of a life sentence.

The retrial was granted based on cell phone expert Abraham Waranowitz’s affidavit questioning his own testimony. Waranowitz says that he was not shown a critical AT&T disclaimer on the cell phone data he used to conclude that Syed had been at the location Lee’s body was found buried on the night of the murder. The disclaimer explained that “Outgoing calls only are reliable for location status. Any incoming calls will NOT be considered reliable information for location.” The data interpreted by Mr. Waranowitz was from incoming calls. He has made a formal statement that his testimony was potentially unreliable.

Lee’s family has expressed dismay that nobody has spoken out on behalf of Hae with the same voracity as Serial’s host Sarah Koenig has spoken on for Adnan Syed. He’s getting a retrial and likely out of jail because he’s famous. His own lawyer said as much in the New York Times today. We have a fucked up justice system, what else is new?

Serial Star Granted Retrial On Potentially Unreliable Cell Science Testimony

Locals Call It “Bo Bo,” I Call It Amazing!

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Coast Cafe, photo courtesy of my friend T

On Saturday night five friends and I went on an adventure to Bolinas. I did my New York Times research and discovered there is one restaurant and one bar there. There is also a 24 vegetable stand/art gallery on the honor system. We went there to see Ensemble Mik Nawooj, a hip hop orchestra show because I included them in my Bold Italic article and the very nice director Christopher Nichols gave us free tickets. Everything was beautiful including the scenery (water, hills, ooh, aah), the food (Mmm), and the band (Mmm Mmm).

Coast Cafe is super cute and the food is great. We drank local beer and local wine and ate raw, grilled, barbecued, and fried oysters. I still get squirmy about oysters due to a bad experience at Tomales Bay so I had fish and chips. This was my “cheat meal” for the week and I nommed up every bit. Service was good too.

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Smoking hot emcees, photo courtesy of my friend A

The show was a Smiley’s Saloon, which has a full music calendar and a hotel in case you’re too tanked to drive on the windiest darkest road ever back home. Mik Nawooj is fucking fantastic live. My friend M said it was the best show she’s seen this year. We loved every bit of it even with the drunk noisy people trying to drown out the quieter parts. All the songs were great but I especially liked Hope Springs Eternal.

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24 hour vegetable stand, photo courtesy of my friend T

On the way home we stopped at the vegetable stand. My friends picked out spicy smelling greens and what not and dropped some cash into a lock box. Then I proceeded to drive approximately 17 MPH around the bends in my friend D’s shiny new Prius. We crept up on a fox we were so slow and quiet.

Go to Bolinas, go go!

Locals Call It “Bo Bo,” I Call It Amazing!

Eff Text Buddies

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Ladies and gentlemen, do everyone a favor and put up or shut up. We all have text buddies. They are our actual buddies who we rarely see but keep in touch with via text messaging. The more insidious type of text buddy is that person who you like and have been out but even though they regularly keep in touch, they don’t ask you on another date.

“Hey, what are your plans for the weekend,” doesn’t mean that they want to actually see you this weekend. They’re just making conversation. There was a Modern Love essay in The New York Times about this very thing, which drove my friends and I nuts. There are so many unanswered questions in, “To Text or not to Text: A Dating Conundrum” that my friend Peter went as far as suggesting that the piece was meant to leave you feeling confused, as if you were communicating by text message. That’s deep Peter.

Here’s a summary:

A man and a woman begin a relationship of sorts. It starts out normally; they talk on the phone and go on a date. They seem to hit it off and the girl expects to be asked on another date. It doesn’t happen and she wonders where she went wrong. Eventually the man texts her (a week later) and they end up texting a lot but he doesn’t ask her out so they keep texting every other day or so, until he finally asks her about her weekend plans. This is it she thinks, he wants to get together this weekend. Nope. He’s just making conversation.

The texting continues. She never initiates but finds herself leaving holes in her schedule just in case he wants to meet again face to face. He becomes known as, “the Texter” among her friends. They tell her to forget him. She doesn’t hear from him for two weeks. It turns out he was on an international business trip.

When he returns and asks about her weekend. She’s finally had enough and writes to him, “I had a wonderful weekend. That said, I want to thank you for being my pen pal the last two months, but thought you should know I already have several pen pals so don’t really need another. Best of luck to you.” He’s confused and asks her why she’s saying goodbye, is there something wrong? She lets him have it a bit more and he asks her out to dinner at his place that very same night. She goes against her better judgment and now they’re married.

I know, WTF right? We never know why he was just texting her if he liked her and wanted to go out again? Was she on the back burner? Was she his Copper Top? Was he seeing someone else and that didn’t work out? Was he legitimately busy? Did he have poor social skills? Was he shy and needed a push?

Have you been in her shoes? I sure have and it sucks when you’re into someone, but you’re trying not to chase, but you’re wondering what’s going on, but you don’t want to ask because you might hear that he doesn’t like you at all and is just trying to be nice. My advice (which I find excruciatingly difficult to take)? More often than not, the person doesn’t want to see you again. So don’t ask! Delete. Delete.

To Text or not to Text: A Dating Conundrum

What is a Copper Top?

Eff Text Buddies

John Moreland is Great. Listen to Him.

Whenever I’m out looking fine and a guy asks me (quoting my weird uncle Jerry), “What are you listening to musically these days?” I always respond by saying, “Country.” Crickets. Fleeing. Sigh. If he’s still there I say something about being from Oregon (my first concert was Johnny Cash. I bet yours was Weezer). If he’s still still there, I’ll tell him about John Moreland.

Rhapsody tells me John Moreland is, “Americana” but is that just a way for listeners to assert they’re cooler than those who like Florida Georgia Line? Rhapsody also tells me another favorite country band of mine; First Aid Kit is “Indie Pop.” Regardless if a band is from Sweden, if they sing about Graham Nash then they’re country.

For the last two years I’ve done my research using Rolling Stone’s 40 Best Country Albums article. I listen to all 400 tracks and then pronounce my favorites to a few friends and the guys still standing there admiring me looking fine. You’re welcome for doing the legwork for you. My favorite country album of the 40 for 2015 is John Moreland’s High on Tulsa Heat.

I’m not a music critic. If I were, I’d argue things like Miley Cyrus’ rendition of Jolene is better than the original and nobody would believe me. If you’re looking for a review the New York Times has a good one. I like lyrics and I think John Moreland’s lyric, “Well I’m the kind of love it hurts to look at” from the song You Don’t Care Enough For Me to Cry is a great lyric. John Moreland’s music is the Rachel Weisz (thinking man’s hottie) of country.

If you’re curious about Rolling Stone’s 40 Best Country Albums of 2015

You like Miley Cyrus too?

NYT review of John Moreland’s High on Tulsa Heat

Join me at John Moreland’s February 25 show at Neck of the Woods in San Francisco

John Moreland is Great. Listen to Him.