Playlist: New Year Same Me

playlists

The monthly playlist is here and it’s filled with songs about how nothing really changes, and that might be okay. As always the playlist of the month can be found on my Spotify: Avery Jam.

  1. The New Year – Death Cab For Cutie
  2. By Myself – FIDLAR
  3. Yer Killin’ Me – Remo Drive
  4. Don’t Dream It’s Over – Crowded House
  5. Kids – PUP
  6. Tubthumping – Chumbawamba (“A song once said I get knocked down but I get up again, so there’s that..” – a probably inaccurate quote from my mom)
  7. Blu – Mura Masa
  8. Figuring It Out – SWMRS
  9. Adderall – Max Frost
  10. We All Get Lonely – Trampled By Turtles
  11. Offer An End – Cloud Nothings
  12. This House Is A Circus – Arctic Monkeys
  13. Just Another Day – Oingo Boingo
  14. 4L – 21 Savage
  15. whoa (mind in awe) – XXXTENTACION

Fresh Complaint Review

Writing

It’s a new year and we’re posting regularly now people (and yes I do mean for more than 1 month this time). I mentioned in my tbr for January, that I would write a review for Fresh Complaint and I am delivering (for once).

Let’s be honest we already knew I was going to like this book. If I haven’t already said it enough, I really love Jeffrey Eugenides. However, I did not think I was going to like this book THIS much. I always either love or hate short story compilations, because an author either can get their point across in twenty some pages or they can’t. Eugenides definitely can. His ability to make a reader care so deeply about a character that they’ve known for such a short time is amazing.

Another thing I really liked about this book was how the stories were all from different points of Eugenides career, but still managed to connect with each other to make a cohesive collection. The thing that ties all these stories together is Eugenides tactic of making the ordinary extraordinary. As with his novels, each short story takes a situation that one would regularly consider average and dives into the depths of emotion that make that situation unique and almost unbearably human.

My favorite story from the collection was “Great Experiment.” Originally published in the New Yorker in 2008, the story follows an editor at a independent publishing company, who through the coercion of a coworker and his own financial struggles, turns to a life of embezzlement and fraud. Not only is the story line captivating but the characters are also so multi-dimensional. You don’t feel like you’re reading about a criminal, you feel like you’re reading about a person who was just pushed a little too far by America’s economic system. I’ll keep this review spoiler free- but the ending of this story makes your stomach twist.

There wasn’t a single story I didn’t like in this collection but my other favorites included, “Complainers,” and “Find The Bad Guy.” “Capricious Gardens,” stood out to me as well because of how eloquently multiple perspectives were given, in such a short story. One of my favorite lines comes at the end of “Complainers,” when Cathy is describing advice she was given by a friend: “Pay no attention to the terrors that visit you in the night. The psyche is at its lowest ebb then, unable to defend itself. The desolation that envelops you feels like truth, but isn’t. It’s just mental fatigue masquerading as insight.” This quote has brought me a lot of comfort this month.

Of course this review wouldn’t be complete without discussing the title story “Fresh Complaint.” this story revolves around a girl who stages a “rape” in order to get out of an arranged marriage. From the get go I was very nervous and thought this story was going to ruin the book for me. Obviously, with so many women in the real world who are finally able to come forward with their experiences, the last thing we need is a story justifying why women’s experiences could be fake. This story however is not that. It is a heart wrenching story about people stuck in situations life has forced upon them, and how you get yourself out of the holes you’ve dug yourself into. The woman is never portrayed as a villain in this story, she is portrayed as a good person who believes she has no choice, likewise the man in the story is never portrayed as a victim, he is a very flawed character who understands that he put himself in his situation. There’s no “he said she said” it’s just a story about two people who both realize through this experience that they need to be better people. It was very tastefully done, and wrapped up all the themes of the stories in one, giving the book great closure.

Overall I gave this book 5/5 stars on Goodreads, which makes me excited to see what other great reads I find in 2019. Make sure to add me on Goodreads if you want to keep up with my reading and feel free to tell me what you’re reading this month!

2018: In Review

Non-fiction, Personal, Writing

I began my 2018 alone, in my room drinking sparkling cider and wearing my ex-boyfriend’s shirt. I rang in the new year binge watching Netflix (and probably crying, lets be real). My whole year continued much like this first night, lonely. Despite this ever present feeling of solitude, I made more friends than ever in 2018. I’m not big on resolutions, but as we begin this year, I though it would be nice to take a look back at some highlights from last year.

NYE 2017

January: I spent most of the first month with my second family, aka my best friend and her son, until school began to take up most of my time. I also participated in the Billing’s Women’s March alongside my sister. I got my thigh tattoo finished and I also spent an excessive amount of time in my friends dorm room that month bleaching his hair.

February: That month was a dull one, I completely stopped talking to someone who was toxic for me at the time, so I remember concentrating a lot on school. I spent a lot of time in my friends dorm room, just as an excuse to be out of my house. I finally got around to watching “Get Out” on one of many movie nights. 3/5 stars, because I guessed the twist way before it happened.

March: Made grape soda floats. Spent every night with my friend Red Willow. Dyed my hair blonde.

April: At the beginning of April, my mom, Maisy, and I took a trip down to Florida which was much needed. April also marked the opening of my favorite brunch place in Billings, Sassy Biscuit.

May: May was quite the month. I finished my first year of college! I spent the first half of the month at a lot of backyard parties, and drinking a lot of vodka lemonade. Then I got a pay cut at my job so I drank more vodka lemonade but without the lemonade this time. I impulsively got band-aids tattooed on my knees (no regrets). May also marks the month I met my dear friends Ashton and Teanna.

I get my knee tats.

June: I turned 20! and spent it making sure my adult friends child went to bed because her mom was passed out drunk on the couch.

My friend Leilahni in June.

July: dyed my hair green and ate a lot of brunch. I also took a spontaneous road trip to Bozeman with Ashton and Teanna.

August: Took a road trip to Colorado to find a place to live/work. We found neither but moved anyway. My dad gave me a tattoo. I had my going away party and said goodbye to all my friends. I also left my job at Dillard’s that month.

September: Officially moved for the first time in my life, from Montana to Colorado. Wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be, but I did learn that I have too much stuff. I also saw 5 Seconds Of Summer that month which was amazing.

October: My car broke down, I ran out of money and my life broke down. October was the worst month of 2018 but we coped. I still dressed up for Halloween and I still carved my yearly pumpkin.

squad gourds

November: Learned how to french braid, learned how to cook, and had the chillest thanksgiving I’ve ever had. I worked Black Friday at Target and made some more friends.

December: Took a trip to visit my favorite cult members in Boulder Colorado. I also checked out a really cool bookstore while I was there. I spent the rest of the month working, and basically forgot about Christmas. My roommate’s mom brought us down a Christmas tree and some furniture, as well as gifts from my family. I learned how to make homemade orange rolls, and spent Christmas, cooking with my roommate.

And that was my year. I hope you enjoyed this little look at my life. It wasn’t a bad year, but I wouldn’t say it was a good one either. I am mostly glad for the people that came into my life this year and I hope they stay through the next one. My New Year’s Eve this year was spent watching this shitty Youtube live stream of the ball drop, with my roommate. It’s so dumb how a single minute makes you feel like your whole life is resetting. I wasn’t different in that minute. I was still high af and I was still drinking Martinelli’s sparkling cider.

One last thing: I have launched a Patreon! So if you want to support my writing (and another special project.) Go check it out!

https://www.patreon.com/averyjamcom

January 2019 TBR

bookish, Writing

Hello! and welcome back to averyjam.com – your favorite, poorly updated website. I’m back today with a tbr for January. I really want to try to read more books that aren’t for school this year, so without further ado, here are the books I plan to read in January!

  1. Killing and Dying – Adrian Tomine: So I have actually already finished this one. I’m starting the year off with some graphic novels and short story collections just so I can gain some momentum before picking up the giant books on my reading list. Graphic novels are some of my favorite books to read and I picked this one up on a whim at the book store a while back (if a book has any shade of light pink on the cover I’m probably going to buy it). It has some heart squeezing, bittersweet story lines, and really nice illustrations. I’m a little sad it took me so little time to get through it.kandd
  2. Saga Volume 1 – Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples: Like I said, I love graphic novels and this one has been recommended to me by quite a few trusted sources. The art is gorgeous and I think the story line will be too. It has quite a few installments, so if I like it then it will keep me occupied all year.saga
  3. Fresh Complaint – Jeffrey Eugenides: Eugenides is one of my all time favorite authors, (the author of one of the books that changed my life; Middlesex) so I was thrilled when he released this short story collection back in 2017. I’ve been wanting to get around to it since I bought it. I plan to do a full review of this book once I’ve read it, so stay tuned.freshcomplaint
  4. Not In Kansas Anymore – Christine Wicker: My mom gave this book to me last Christmas, so I figured it was time I get around to reading it. It’s a nonfiction book about witches and the like so I’m sure I’ll enjoy this one.nika
  5. Deadman Wonderland – Jinsei Kataoka and Kazuma Kondou: This is one of my all time favorite animes and I’ve owned the first book in the series for a little over a year now. Once again this should be a quick read to kick off the year.deadmanThis tbr is significantly shorter than ones I’ve done in the past, but I’m coming out of a reading slump and I wanted to set a goal that was attainable. I’ll let you know what I get through and what I did or didn’t like at the end of the month!

Monthly Playlist: Growing Pains

Writing

This month’s playlist is a playlist for growth, nostalgia, and those days where you just wish there was a way to go back. “Growing Pains” includes songs that remind me of my parents, my childhood, or share my want for things to be how they once were.

1. Father and Daughter – Paul Simon

2. Still Fighting It – Ben Folds

3. If I Ever Leave This World Alive – Flogging Molly

4. Call My Dad – AJR

5. Never Grow Up – Taylor Swift

6. Safe In The Womb – Angel Olsen

7. Wide Open Spaces – Dixie Chicks

8. Creature Comfort – Arcade Fire

9. Hard Candy – Counting Crows

10. Gracie – Ben Folds

11. Head Full Of Doubt/Road Full Of Promise – The Avett Brothers

12. Fight Night Champion – Cyberbully Mom Club

13. Lonesome – Dr. Dog

14. Photosynthesis – Frank Turner

15. Ghosts – The Head and the Heart

16. Mess – Real Friends

17. Sons & Daughters – The Decemberists

18. Normal American Kids – Wilco

19. Grown Ups – Earl Sweatshirt

20. changes – XXXTENTACION

Books I’ve Read In 2018

bookish, Writing

If you remember last year on the blog, I was accomplishing a lot in terms of reading. I put a tbr up every month and I posted reviews at least once a month. I read 30 books in 6 months last year so I set a high goal for myself back in January. Unfortunately, along with 2018 came my return to college and I was so busy with schoolwork that whenever I did have time to read, I was spending it napping or watching Netflix. However, 2018 was not completely fruitless in terms of reading, so here are the books that I have read this year so far.

  1. Beowulf//translated by Seamus Heany: The first 2 books on this list were ones that I ended up reading for my intro to literature course during 2nd semester. For a long time they were the only two books I had read. Despite the fact that it was for school, I actually really liked Beowulf. If you care at all about the origins of literature, I think this book is really important. This translation in specific is also amazing and really made me think about language as a whole.
  2. Othello//by William Shakespeare: Once again this one was for class. I read this play in a single afternoon, and I think it has taken the spot for my favorite Shakespeare play. I think Othello is completely underrated. I love that it’s set in Italy, I love the characters, and I love the plot. A classic that definitely deserves to be a classic. image2 (9)
  3. Crush//by Richard Siken: I don’t have a picture for this one because I borrowed it from my friend. I read it to write a review on for my advanced poetry class, and it was a very easy assignment because this book is beautiful. I don’t want to say too much about it because I have a post about my favorite poetry books in the works.
  4. The Body Project: An Intimate History of American Girls//Joan Jacobs Brumberg: Okay, I lied, I guess the first 5 on this list were technically for school. This one was for Women’s Studies and OH MY GOD is it important. If you are a woman or care at all about the way women are perceived you need to read this book. I learned so many things I didn’t know from this book. Give it to your daughter, give it to your mom, your aunt, your dog, I don’t care, everyone needs to read this book.   image4 (3)
  5. Love’s Last Number//Christopher Howell: This was another book for my advanced poetry course. Usually when I read poetry books, I pick ones that are by people like me, and also usually women so this was very different for me. I didn’t love it but the language was nice and I keep a favorite line from it in my notes on my phone. “Rocking with you through the twilight suicides of moths against the bulb”
  6. Snotgirl Vol. 1: Green Hair Don’t Care//Bryan Lee O’Malley : When I started getting back into my personal reading, I started with graphic novels. Graphic novels are some of my favorite books and this has made the “top 10” list . It’s by the same author who wrote Scott Pilgrim, which is cool and it’s just adorable, hilarious, and a little dark. I cannot wait until Vol. 2 comes out.image5 (4)
  7. Paper Girls Vol. 4//by Brian K. Vaughan: The fourth installment of one of my most loved graphic novel stories. I don’t have a ton to say about this except that it is entertaining and absolutely lovely. I would definitely like to do a series review of these in the future.
  8. The Four Agreements//Miguel Ruiz: I have an aversion to self help books but this one is an exception. It’s more of a book about spirituality and overall it made me feel a lot better about where I am in my life. It reminded me of how important letting things go is.                                                                                                                                image3 (4)
  9. A Conjuring Of Light//V.E. Schwab: I’m not going say anything about this one because there is a trilogy review coming VERY SOON for the “Shades Of Magic,” Trilogy. This is one of my all time favorite series’ though, and the finale didn’t disappoint.image6 (4)

I’ve been reading quite a bit more lately so if I keep this momentum, I will hopefully be posting a December TBR. Let me know in the comments what books you’ve read this year!

image1 (10)

Old Movie Reviews: Hellraiser

Writing

Hello kids and welcome to the final installment of the spooky movie party! I am incredibly sad that the month of October is coming to a close and as always wishing Halloween could come more than once a year. When I was trying to pick out a third movie I wanted to find something that was a little older, but unfortunately Netflix only has horror movies from the late 70s and on, so I decided to go with a classic I have never seen, “Hellraiser.” Unlike the other two films in this series, I had absolutely no idea what this one was about. It’s a good thing I’ve never had an issue with gore because otherwise I would’ve had to stop watching it.

Let’s start with characters. I cannot even begin to explain to you how much I hated Julia in this movie. Who in their right mind sees a disgusting slimy skeleton creature who claims to be their ex and just decides to go with it and help them! No, what is wrong with you! I don’t care how good the sex was, it doesn’t warrant raising the goddamn dead. I was incredibly satisfied when she got stabbed because that’s honestly what I wanted to do with her the second she came on screen. Besides her, I was moderately okay with everyone else. Kirsty was obviously my favorite because I love my badass, demon fighting women.

I couldn’t help but notice however that this film did not pass the Bechdal Test. Neither did “The Shining” actually. If you don’t know what the Bechdal Test is, it’s a test used to judge whether or not movies have enough female representation. All a movie has to do is have at least two female characters, who have a conversation, that’s about something other than a man. “Hellraiser” has exactly two women in it (not including the seemingly female cenobite because her gender is never really specified). Julia and Kirsty however, only exchange a few lines throughout the film and they all have to do with Kirsty’s dad or Frank. Even if you want to consider the cenobite, it still doesn’t pass because their conversation is also about Frank.

Sidebar: “The Shining” doesn’t pass because Wendy and the two twin girls are the only women and they never even see each other. “The Amityville Horror” however, gets a pass only because Kathy has a conversation with her daughter about her creepy demon girl friend. The true horror of old horror movies: sexism.

Overall, I think the monsters and the plot of “Hellraiser” were chilling, It definitely seemed the scariest out of all the ones I watched. There was only one thing more off putting than the skinless guy with a lazy eye that was crawling around naked for half the movie, and that is the weird sexual undertone, present throughout the entire film. It was completely unnecessary and very obvious. We know every story has some weird connotation to sex but that doesn’t mean you need to make it blatantly obvious. It makes it hard to tell whether the film director was trying to be deep, or was just a major perv.

“Hellraiser” was not my favorite spooky movie out of the three I watched, I think that title probably goes to “The Shining”. However, I did find “Hellraiser” entertaining, if at times a little ridiculous. I give it 3 out of 5 spooky pumpkins.

spooky-pumpkin-three spooky-pumpkin-three spooky-pumpkin-three

What is your favorite scary movie? If you would like to hear more about the Bechdal Test and also listen to some really hilarious ladies, I would recommend listening to the podcast “The Bechdal Cast.” Let me know what you thought of this series and share your spooky movie stories in the comments! Happy Halloween!!

Old Movie Reviews: The Shining

Writing

I know this post is going up pretty late, but did you know The Shining is two and a half hours long!? I sure didn’t but that’s because up until tonight I had only seen the 30 second bunny version of The Shining ( If you don’t know what it is, google it). It surprisingly took me 20 years to get around to watching the classic horror movie, largely because of the time stamp, the fact that I wanted to read the book, and also because of my aversion to Stanley Kubrick, which I do not have time to unpack here. Let’s get into the film.

Right from the beginning it is clear that the movie deserves most of the attention it’s given. The cinematography is outstanding, and despite the length the plot seems fairly fast paced. It’s the kind of movie where you can’t look away from the screen because you might miss something (I would know because I was trying to dye my hair and kept having to pause and go back… yet another reason this post is up late).

One of the movies most talked about features is the performance of Jack Nicholson and while it is admittedly creepy, I was more impressed by Shelley Duvall. It’s not often in horror movies that female characters get such a gratifying character arc, so it’s even better to see, when it’s as well done as it is here.

Honestly it’s hard to find anything to critique in this horror movie because it is so beautifully made, once again I wasn’t particularly scared. Creepy for sure but I think horror movies just don’t get me the way they used to, perhaps because I’ve seen so many, or maybe it’s because men being creepy isn’t entirely new territory. I mean obviously I’ve never been trapped in a hotel alone being chased with an ax, but at the same time it’s “Oh a husband is being a dick to his wife, oh now he’s violent with her, oh now he’s chasing her with an ax, why am I not surprised.” It’s an obvious progression and honestly something to be careful of when choosing a husband. Never marry writers, from what movies have taught me they seem incredibly susceptible to becoming crazy murderers… and also men I guess. Yea maybe avoid men.

Moving on from my need to see everything from a feminist perspective, I found this movie thoroughly entertaining, and I surprisingly did not find myself to be bored at any moment. The performances were great as were the visuals and it seems like the kind of movie I would watch again especially if I was in the mood for a horror movie but wanted to stick with something familiar. I give “The Shining” 4 out 5 spooky pumpkins.

spooky-pumpkin-three spooky-pumpkin-threespooky-pumpkin-threespooky-pumpkin-three

That leaves one movie left in my spooky movie marathon. Check back tomorrow evening to read my review of “Hellraiser.” Happy Halloween Eve!

Old Movie Reviews: The Amityville Horror

Writing

Hello everyone! In honor of my favorite holiday Halloween, I decided to give you some special spooky content. Today, Tuesday, and Wednesday, I will be viewing a different old horror movie, that I haven’t seen before every night. Tonight’s feature presentation? The Amityville Horror.

Since this is “old” movie reviews, I obviously selected the 1979 version over the 2005 version. I also selected the older one because I just can’t take Ryan Reynolds seriously. Before we get in to the actual movie, I just want to talk about HOW BEAUTIFUL Margot Kidder is in this movie. No matter what kind of horror is going on around them, female 70’s horror movie characters always look stunning. Seriously though, I spent half of the movie complaining about how there was no way that woman had five teenage children, she looks amazing. James Brolin however, looks like he might be the murderer in an equally campy movie about the house down the street. I mean I guess that is true of most men in the 70’s though…

When it comes to the actual plot, the movie was pretty typical. A+ to the creator for deciding not to put a visual on the demon or the ghost girl because if they had the movie would probably lose all scary quality. I find it incredibly funny that the priest knows the house is possessed 15 minutes in to the film but for some reason it takes another 2 hours for that little tidbit of information to reach the family. Equally amusing is the fact that they don’t even suspect a demon until the last 20 minutes of the movie. I’m going to give you all a piece of advice right now. If your house smells like sulfur, and your kid keeps going on about some ghost child you can’t see, at least look into the history of your house. Oh and always ask your realtor why the giant fancy house is priced so cheap because 9 times out of 10 somebody’s ass probably got murdered there. If half of horror movie characters followed this rule then we would be down to half the amount of horror house movies we have today.

To give Amityville credit where it’s due, it is one of the first of its kind. Although it might seem overused now it definitely wasn’t at the time of its release and the film does have a nice, creepy atmosphere, as well as a good score. Was it scary? no. but it was entertaining and all together pretty spooky. It’s not everyday where you have a door to hell in your basement, and overall it’s refreshing to see that for once everyone survived, even the family dog, who is usually the first to go.

spooky-pumpkin-threespooky-pumpkin-threespooky-pumpkin-threespooky-pumpkin-three

I give The Amityville Horror 3.5/5 spooky pumpkins based on spook factor, cinematic quality, and story quality. The extra half pumpkin is just for Margot Kidder because she is a underrated sweet baby angel.

Check back for tomorrow’s horror movie review! Happy Halloween!

Avery’s Favorite Murder

Non-fiction, Personal, Writing

Since I have moved to Colorado I have spent most of my time looking for jobs and listening to old episodes of the podcast “My Favorite Murder” (full disclosure: I am listening to it as I type this.) If you haven’t heard the podcast, I highly recommend it. It’s about exactly what the title would suggest which is, the favorite murder cases and stories of comedians Georgia Hardstark and Karen Kilgariff. If you’ve heard the podcast then you know that they will do mini episodes where they read listener submitted home town murder stories. Listening to these old episodes got me thinking about the crime related things that I or my close friends and family have experienced growing up in Billings Montana. This is a compiled post of those stories. 

DISCLAIMER: This post is a fucking bummer. I’m telling you now. If you get uncomfortable about murder, just scroll down to the last story, have a good laugh at my bizarre life and then move on. Okay, on with the post.

Story #1 The Serial Rapist: When I initially asked myself the question: What is my hometown murder/crime story? a few things immediately came to mind (I’ll save the most interesting one for the end of this post). The first one took place one summer either at the end of middle school or the beginning of high school. I have mentioned my childhood friend group previously on the blog, but for those that don’t know we pretty much had free reign throughout the entire neighborhood. However, this particular summer, my mom told me and my sister that we needed to be careful and come home earlier because there was a serial rapist in Billings. Billings is a pretty sleepy town so this scale of crime was pretty unheard of. Before he had been identified and caught they were publishing articles in the newspaper about how to stay safe as a woman. This pretty much was the extent of my knowledge on the subject so I took to google. Like I said, Billings is pretty uneventful, so I found the story with a single search. The Rapist’s name was Toby Griego and in the spring of 2013 to the late summer of 2013, when he was caught he invaded the homes of, and raped 3 women, and attempted to rape a fourth. Which explains why everyone was so freaked out when it happened. He wasn’t just raping people he was stalking them, then breaking into their homes and then raping them. In the case of one victim, he had delivered a mattress to her house and then came back a week later and attacked her.  He wore gloves and pretty much covered up all evidence, so it took them awhile to catch him. He was ultimately found guilty and sentenced to 22 consecutive life terms without parole. He appealed to the Montana Supreme Court in 2014 but they agreed 5-0 that his trial was fair and he’s been in prison ever since. A job well done by the Montana court system for once.

Story #2 The Carpet Killer: In late 2017, a decapitated body was found wrapped in a carpet on a dirt trail on the west end of Billings and his head was found wrapped in a towel a few feet away. The body belonged to Myron Wesley Knight and prior to this blog post my only knowledge of the case was from driving with my friend down a quiet road when she suddenly said “hey this is where they found that headless body isn’t it?” I got the rest of the story from my dad. “He won some money at a casino. The man gave his winnings to the casino attendant and told her if anything happens to him a couple of transients were to blame. They went to the hobo camp and killed him.” he said. The two “transients” he had named, Donald Cherry and Jeffrey Haverty, had already been arrested for different things by the time the police had received the information. They both claim to have nothing to do with the murder but Cherry’s girlfriend told the police  she had came back to the camp from the gas station to find the dead body and Haverty decapitating it. What gets me the most about this case is that in the end Knight only had six dollars on him. Why would you murder someone prior to knowing how much money they had, if money was your end goal. The two men are set to appear in court later this year.

Story #3 Just a Real Tragedy: I’m going to keep this one brief because it’s just incredibly sad. A few years back in 2015 when I was in high school, a kid that I had gone to school with since 1st grade accidentally shot his friend who was throwing rocks from outside his window. He thought he was an intruder and shot his gun out the window hitting him in the head and killing him. The kid who was shot also went to our school and I remember we had a school wide assembly, and it was the only the only time everyone actually went to a school assembly. It made national news, and was ultimately ruled an accident. The whole thing was incredibly sad and awful. The kid that shot him clearly felt absolutely terrible and this case surprisingly did not change the fact that in Montana we still hand every child a gun the second they exit the womb.

Story #4 Missing Sidney Teacher: Back when I was in middle school we would always talk about current events in our history class and I remember as a class, following the case of a missing teacher from Sidney Montana. Looking back, it seems maybe they shouldn’t be discussing missing persons cases with 12 year olds and that this probably has nothing to do with my constant fear of being murdered. Anyway, they eventually found the body of Sherry Arnold, who was a math teacher for 18 years. She had been missing for nearly 3 months. She was found in North Dakota, in a shallow grave. The two men responsible for her murder were Lester Van Waters Jr. and Michael Spell, who were apparently looking for work in the oil fields and also coked out of their minds when they decided to carry out the random attack. They strangled her then purchased a shovel at Walmart to bury her with, which they later returned… and Walmart accepted that return. Waters received 80 years and Spell recieved 100 but both will be eligible for parole in the coming years.

Story #5 Jeanette Atwater Murder: When I was searching for content for this post I was texting my dad who told me about the unsolved murder of a woman found in a burning car in the 80s… Except it wasn’t the 80s it was January 16th of 2000 (there were a lot of other unsolved murders of women in the 80s though, so it’s an understandable mistake.) Jeanette Atwater was found in the trunk of her burning car, burned to the point that she had to be identified by her dental records later. She died of smoke inhalation so it was assumed she was still alive when the car was lit on fire. She had been at a bar with coworkers all night the night before and didn’t leave with anyone but couldn’t be seen leaving the bar on the security cameras, which is one of the reasons the case remains unsolved. Her 3 children were in Washington at the time with her ex husband who was extensively questioned and not considered a suspect. HOWEVER, there was a man that purchased 1 dollar of gas and a book of matches at a convenience store a couple minutes away from where she was found, just a few hours before authorities arrived at the scene. where matches were found that seemed similar to the ones in the convenience store. The store clerk was stoned or something because they had no idea what the man might look like, just that he was wearing strong cologne. They had the man on security footage but no one could ever identify him. The case is still unsolved to this day.

Story #6 Peeping Tom: I have saved this one for last because it is the only one that I am directly involved in and if you’re my friend then you have probably already heard it because I love to tell this story to anyone that will listen. It goes like this. In my parent’s house, the window of my old bedroom faced out towards the street, and it was on the first floor so anyone walking down the sidewalk could clearly see it. Our house also didn’t have any air conditioning, so I had a window fan, and only had a sheer blind over the top  half of the window. My bed was next to the window with the head in the corner of the room and the bottom against the window. My room arrangement clearly revolved around avoiding the heat and not avoiding what happened to me that summer when I was 16 (maybe 17 now that I think about it). There was a lot of gravel on that side of the house (I have no idea why) and I always thought I could hear someone walking on it at night. However, I have been incredibly paranoid and neurotic my whole life, so I brushed it off as an animal or the wind or something. UNTIL one night I was laying in bed reading, ignoring the weird gravel noises when through the fan (it was turned off that night) a voice said “Why don’t you touch yourself little girl.” Although I was 16 (or 17), I always have been quite small and look younger than I am so this voice probably assumed I was 14 or 15. For all my neurotic research on murder and the like, my first reaction was to throw my comforter over my head to hide, even though that is stupid and unproductive. I realized this after a moment and used all the courage I’ve ever held in my small heart to run out my bedroom door and wake up my parents. My dad went outside immediately with a shovel but the creep had already left, my dad did however see a door close at a house across the street and a light on inside. We called the cops and needless to say I slept on the couch for the next week. I also bought blackout curtains and never opened my window again. I would rather sleep in a puddle of sweat than being watched by a pervert. The scariest thing about the whole situation was that I had heard the gravel sounds outside before so whoever it was could have been watching me for awhile before this event and even scarier… after… but that’s a story for another day.

If you have any interest in hearing that story or any of the other cases and murders connected to Montana that I found while researching the details of these ones, like this post or let me know in a comment! Also if you have a crime/murder related story that you remember you can send it to me on social media. I would love to hear it!