Where Did The Week Go…

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What is it about criminals and Facebook in the Pacific Northwest? A couple of months ago I wrote about Travis A. Nicolaysen, a 26-year-old Washington man who had failed to check in with his community corrections officer for three months.

A convicted felon five times over, Nicolaysen eluded the authorities the best way he knew how, by communicating regularly with his friends on Facebook. In a stunning development, the police monitored his Facebook page and eventually caught him. While he was on the run, Nicolaysen found time to change his status to “single.” If only there was another option for “captured.”

Facebook criminal 2.0

Well now we have another criminal genius who just can’t live without social media. James Tindell fled the state of Oregon this spring rather than attend drug treatment and follow other conditions he accepted to avoid prison after pleading guilty to robbery in 2010.

But like Nicolaysen, Tindell apparently thinks he’s the ONLY PERSON IN THE WORLD WITH A FACEBOOK ACCOUNT. As Ron Burgundy once said to Brick Tamland after he killed a guy with a trident in Anchorman, “Brick, I’ve been meaning to talk to you about that. You should find yourself a safe-house or a relative close by. Lay low for a while, because you’re probably wanted for murder.”

While Tindell’s indiscretions are not that serious, he should have taken Ron’s advice about laying low. Instead he not only posted on Facebook regularly, he also taunted his probation officer and wrote angry messages about the Multnomah County judge who sentenced him.

“Fresh out of another state,” wrote Tindell on April 20, “Catch me if you can.” Another one of his cryptic posts read, “I’m in Alabama.”

Eventually his probation officer was able to decipher “I’m in Alabama,” and asked prosecutors to issue a nationwide arrest warrant.

Last month, Tindell was arrested for speeding in Daphne, Ala. An officer ran his license and found the warrant. Soon after he was on a flight to appear before the same judge he had ripped on Facebook.

On June 8, Judge Eric J. Bloch sentenced Tindell to 2 1/2 years in prison. I don’t know which punishment is worse for Tindell or Nicolaysen; Serving time or not being able to use Facebook.

Texas woman hit with $1.3 million-plus electric bill

The worst thing to get in the mail is bills. For every magazine, package or Netflix movie we look forward to, there’s also an envelope we’ve been dreading. A record of things we’ve spent and how much we have to give back.

That’s one too many numbers.

One of those I O U’s is the electricity bill. Right now is when it should be at its lowest. It’s warmed up just enough to where we don’t need heat anymore, but it’s not quite hot enough to start using the air conditioner.

But in Abilene, Texas where it’s a little warmer right now, Kristin Harriger expected a bill somewhere in the neighborhood of $100. Instead she opened that dreaded envelope to find a balance of $1,381,783.92.

My mother always stressed turning the light off in a room when you left it to conserve energy, but $1.3 million is a bit excessive.

After contacting her utility company, Potentia Energy, she was told that it was a computing error. Rather than charging her the normal 9 cents per-kilowatt-hour rate, the utility charged her $1,000 per kilowatt hour.

Thank god she doesn’t have auto payments! The utility company acknowledged the mistake and has told Harriger that a corrected bill would be sent to her.

Netflix Instant Pick: Adventureland

Recently I watched a movie called, Take Me Home Tonight, about a group of young adults living in the ’80s trying to figure out what to do with their lives after high school. While the movie had some laughs, it felt like the filmmakers were more concerned with cramming every pop culture reference you could find out of the ’80s rather than telling a story about specific characters living in that time period.

My Netflix pick does a much better job of telling a story about young people discovering themselves and who happen to live in the 1980s. Adventureland stars Jesse Eisenberg as James Brennan, a recent college graduate who has plans of traveling through Europe in the summer with his best friend before returning to graduate school in the fall.

A coming-of-age story with a great cast.

When his father gets demoted at work, James’ graduation money vanishes and he’s forced to take a summer job at an amusement park to cover his upcoming expenses. Despite working in an environment that brings joy to people, James like every other young person who works there, sees it as nothing more than a mundane and tedious summer job suited for a seventeen-year-old rather than a college graduate.

But things begin to look better when Em (Kristen Stewart) catches his eye. What starts out as nothing more than a summer fling evolves into something more as James begins to take stock in what’s most important to him.

Despite playing his usual nervous, articulate character, Eisenberg shows real depth as a young man who thinks he’s ready to grow up, but who is also in denial about clinging to youthful innocence. Stewart on the other hand is modestly sexy and quietly damaged over the loss of her mother and her estrangement from her step-mother. She makes poor choices, but you see why James is attracted to her.

Besides the two central characters, the film features a number of familiar faces including Bill Hader (and his mustache) as the boss of Adventureland, his wife played by Kirsten Wiig (and her acid wash jeans) and Ryan Reynolds as a maintenance guy/ wannabe musician who is the Luke Perry of this particular group: Too old to still be hanging out with early twentysomethings and therefore cool just because he’s older.

Adventureland harkens back to those great John Hughes movies of the ’80s. Fully-formed characters dealing with personal insecurities, struggling with what to do with their lives in the Reagan era and finding love along the way. Yes there’s ’80s fashion and music, but unlike that movie I mentioned earlier, this is a film that isn’t bogged down with needing to please fans of that memorable decade. It can rely on strong writing, humor, good characters and a great story.

 

 

 

 

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