About Episode 8: A Lot of Altitude

• Some of the working titles for this episode included:
– Ellen’s Essence
– First and Last
– Alligators Will Surely Be Disquieted
– Two Sweet Sand Pigs (This one still has a shot)
– A Unique Brain
– No Thanks Lady
– WA LA!

• 1 of our 2 leading men return for this episode.

• A long-forgotten character also makes a triumphant return this episode.

• This is the most last-minute episode I’ve ever produced.

• This episode features the voice of a Roomie.

• This episode probably most resembles Season 1 episodes.

• Oddly, ‘too much salt’ is mentioned by multiple people in multiple storylines.

• This episode is like a warm up for a very intense episode 9.

• Some big questions are answered.

• Just about every character from the series is mentioned in this episode.

• There are lots of current pop culture references.

• This episode will drop later in the day than usual, because two actors can’t record their parts until Monday night and Tuesday morning (which is my fault for being all kinds of behind).

• Careful listeners will likely be able to piece together some of the bigger mysteries after listening to this one.

• Don’t worry, there will be karaoke!

• This episode does a lot of traveling.

• Despite not being in this episode, we learn quite a bit about Ellen.

• Someone is planning for their birthday.

• We get our first look at the background of a much-loved character.

 

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‘Twas The Night Before Mary Christ-mas

‘Twas The Night Before Mary Christ-mas

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through Mark’s house
Something was stirring, it must be a mouse
The humane trap, placed by the chimney with care
Next to the free firewood, neatly stacked there
Karen and Ellen nestled snug in their beds
Visions of avocados, danced in their heads

Hal in his chicken coop, Annette in her strait-jacket
Were just settling down, but were roused by a racket
Down in the kitchen, there arose such a clatter
Mark sprang from his bed, to see what was the matter
Downstairs he flew, in smoking jacket and socks
Past broken cat-paintings, and antique mermaid clocks

There in the kitchen, freezer-door in hand
Stood a sheepish Rob, with a frozen leg of lamb
Before Mark could even begin to enquire
There came a great yelling and screaming from the fire
Someone had landed in the grate, with a squeal
Ellen came running, crying “Santa is real!”
Karen followed more slowly, in crocheted pyjamas
“Why does the car wash have such loud dramas?”
“Stand back Karen!”, cried Rob, “Remember I’m Tuff.
I don’t believe in Santa, and all that stuff.
This must be an intruder, let me through the door!”
But he tripped on his legal net, and fell flat on the floor.

Sighing loudly, Mark sweeps into the lounge
Where the soot-covered visitor appeared with a bound
But there’s no bushy beard, no sack full of toys
To be placed in the stockings of good girls and boys
Instead, an older lady stands on the hearth
With a necklace of crystals, and a gauzy head-scarf
Clutched in her hand, is a rainbow tote bag
With blue swirly letters, clearly spelling “Swag”
“Patti!” cries Ellen, “I always knew you were a thief”
The rest of the company stare on in disbelief
Bonnie steps forward, and immediately takes charge
The police are called, and Patti is no longer at large
She is led away to begin her sentence
She is Carmen Miranda’d, but shows no repentance
(Unbeknownst to Patti, there’ll be yet more twists of fate
As arch-rival Helena, will be her cell-mate)
With a clap of his hands, Mark commands, “Go to bed!”
And they all disperse, to rest their empty heads

Nobody hears the sound of sleigh-bells ringing
The snorting of reindeer, or a jolly voice singing
“Now Dasher! Now Dancer! Now Prancer and Vixen!
On Comet! On Cupid! On Donna and Blitzen!
To the top of the Spirit House! Over the fish pond!
Round the chicken-coop, to the cottage beyond!”
As soft as a feather, they alight on the roof
With a gentle pawing and scraping of each little hoof

Santa squeezes down the chimney, pausing briefly to wonder
Why there are pieces of crystal, scattered asunder
He scratches his head, there is no Christmas tree
Just a burnt, blackened hole, where it once used to be
The stockings were there though, in all their glory
One for each character in our little story
Now Santa’s work has truly begun
And from his sack, he takes a gift for each one

A new vacumm for Karen, with a gunk guarantee
For Guru Lahara, a guide to Feng Shui
Some honey for Rob, and a brand new Tufts sweater
(He’ll match Staci P, what could be better?)
Myron Shapiro, a whale-noise CD
Something soothing, to help with his PTSD

A bullet-proof vest for Guru Patel
A jet toilet for Ellen, (of course, in Egg-shell)
Also for Ellen, some soap in a dish
She gets through so much, when she’s washing the fish
A medicine cabinet for Mark, made from best Oak
(A gift from Bonnie, so of course it’s bespoke)

Uncle Albert, he’s getting a nice antique quill
For Annette, reams of paper, to make out her will
The Caldwells are receiving new scarves and hats
(They can’t afford the heating bill, on account of their cats)

A monocle for old Charlie Worthington will do
For when he’s perusing letters, about who’s snitching on who
As for Bonnie, who always dampens the drama
For her, a good old-fashioned dose of Bad Karma

Helena and Patti, well they’re away for a while
So there’s a cake each for them, containing a file
For dear Dot, why, what else could it be?
A life-size portrait of the late Misty

Santa is hurrying now, he has to be elsewhere
More expectant houses await him there
Just one more thing for each stocking’s toe
In each one is placed a ripe avocado
He springs to his sleigh, to his team gives a call
Away they all fly, as the snow starts to fall

So we’ll leave them all be, the house is quiet once more
Just a few rogue ants, scuttle across the floor
Our friends need their rest, they’ve got letters to write
A Mary Christ-Mas to all, and to all a Good Night

The 12 Days of A Karen & Ellen Christmas

On the First day of Christmas, Karen and Ellen sent to me
A portrait of a dead Misty

On the Second day of Christmas, Karen and Ellen sent to me
Two lists for Mark,
And a portrait of a dead Misty

On the Third day of Christmas, Karen and Ellen sent to me
Three Avocados
Two lists for Mark
And a portrait of a dead Misty

On the Fourth day of Christmas, Karen and Ellen sent to me
Four Mermaid Clocks
Three Avocados
Two Lists for Mark
And a portrait of a dead Misty

On the Fifth day of Christmas, Karen and Ellen sent to me
Five Legal Nets
Four Mermaid Clocks
Three Avocados
Two Lists for Mark
And a portrait of a dead Misty

On the Sixth day of Christmas, Karen and Ellen sent to me
Six Fish-a-washing
Five Legal Nets
Four Mermaid Clocks
Three Avocados
Two Lists for Mark
And a portrait of a dead Misty

On the Seventh day of Christmas, Karen and Ellen sent to me
Seven Cats-a-painting
Six Fish-a-washing
Five Legal Nets
Four Mermaid Clocks
Three Avocados
Two Lists for Mark
And a portrait of a dead Misty

On the Eighth day of Christmas Karen and Ellen sent to me
Eight Dogs-a-sniffing
Seven Cats-a-painting
Six Fish-a-washing
Five Legal Nets
Four Mermaid Clocks
Three Avocados
Two Lists for Mark
And a portrait of a dead Misty

On the Ninth day of Christmas Karen and Ellen sent to me
Nine Gurus chanting
Eight Dogs-a-sniffing
Seven Cats-a-painting
Six Fish-a-washing
Five Legal Nets
Four Mermaid Clocks
Three Avocados
Two Lists for Mark
And a portrait of a dead Misty

On the Tenth day of Christmas Karen and Ellen sent to me
Ten Crystals shining
Nine Gurus chanting
Eight Dogs-a-sniffing
Seven Cats-a-painting
Six Fish-a-washing
Five Legal Nets
Four Mermaid Clocks
Three Avocados
Two Lists for Mark
And a portrait of a dead Misty

On the Eleventh day of Christmas Karen and Ellen sent to me
Eleven Broken Vacumms
Ten Crystals shining
Nine Gurus chanting
Eight Dogs-a-sniffing
Seven Cats-a-painting
Six Fish-a-washing
Five Legal Nets
Four Mermaid Clocks
Three Avocados
Two Lists for Mark
And a portrait of a dead Misty

On the Twelfth day of Christmas Karen and Ellen sent to me
Twelve Trees exploding
Eleven Broken Vacumms
Ten Crystals shining
Nine Gurus chanting
Eight Dogs-a-sniffing
Seven Cats-a-painting
Six Fish-a-washing
Five Legal Nets
Four Mermaid Clocks
Three Avocados
Two Lists for Mark
And a portrait of a dead Misty

Karen Crochet Pants , Fish Ellen, and The Golden Girls

Episodes 5 and 6 of Season 2 were both so full of shocks and revelations, that I’ve had to have a lie-down, before even attempting to write a blog post.

Now that the drama over Catfish Karen has died down, I thought I’d try and take a look at Karen Crochet Pants and Fish Ellen, and see whether or not they seem to be likely contenders to be our girls. I’m also going to try to work out where the new stars of Season 2, our very own “Golden Girls,” Dot and Helena, fit into the picture.

After we dramatically found out that Email Karen wasn’t our Karen after all, but instead an intrepid blog reader, who had well and truly caught Josh in her Catfish net; the hunt was back on to find a legitimate Karen contender. The indomitable Sara already had an alternative suspect lined up; and in episode 5, introduced us to Karen Crochet Pants.

This is a Karen who can be linked back to Mark’s cottage in the 1980s, and is the right age to be our Karen. She writes a blog, and Josh describes her writing style as “aggressive.” This definitely sounds like the Karen we know and… quite like sometimes.

As her nickname suggests, Karen Crochet Pants is self-admittedly obsessed with crochet.
Sara gives Karen Crochet Pants’ announcement that she is wearing her “brand new, homemade crochet pants” the fanfare it deserves, by singing it.
Sara is already pretty perfect in my eyes, but this took her stardom to a whole new level.

There is certainly a confidence in Karen Crochet Pants’ writing, that seems familiar. She calls herself “Karen the crochet goddess,” and uses a couple of long, loopy sentences, that could easily have been written by Season 1 Karen.
Another moment that seems to be perfectly Karen, is her pondering on the money-making prospects of her new venture.
“I’m not going to be taking many orders,” she writes. “But that’s ok, since I could really use the money.”
Come on! This has to be Karen, surely?

There was a passing statement in the blog, as a prelude to Karen Crochet Pants’ next topic, but it jumped out at me.
Apparently, Karen Crochet Pants buys her dog treats at a coffee shop. Again, this is just too perfect.
I can hear it now:
“Ellen wants the dog treats from the pet shop on the corner; but I want the ones from the coffee shop, that are sold in little muslin bags.”

Anyway, on to the main subject of this post, and that is Karen Crochet Pants’ bumper sticker collection. She lists some of the highlights, and one immediately stands out.
“1988 Bush Quayle”
There were several references to this election in the girls’ letters, and hints that Karen may have links to the Bush family.
We’re off to a good start with these.
“War is Peace.” Literally makes no sense. Perfectly Karen.
“A woman without a man, is like a fish without a bicycle.” These fish seem to follow them everywhere.
There is also, “Loud & proud lesbian;” and “Real families value gay relatives.”
These made me prick my ears up on a second listen, because Dot and Helena have a discussion about various gay friends and relatives at the beginning of the episode.
Could there be a link there?

Back to Crochet Pants’ blog, and she is feeling pretty close to death, as she is having to walk everywhere. A slight tendency for drama and exaggeration perhaps? Where have we come across that before…?

The first discrepancy I noticed is that Karen Crochet Pants briefly mentions her mum. This doesn’t fit with the narrative that we’ve been given previously. As we were told that Karen’s mother is dead. It’s an extremely fleeting mention though, so we’ll have to wait and see whether it comes up again.

Immediately though, there’s another tick in the “for” column; with a charming chant where Karen Crochet Pants proclaims that where she lives now is “better than Berkeley, better than Berkeley.” Confirming that connection, at least.

Karen Crochet Pants is also concerned about cockroaches that have been found in the local hospital. This really reminds me of her sending the rat article to Mark, early in Season 1. Pests, and pest control, seem to be another running theme with Karen and Ellen.

There’s another subtle connection, right at the end of Karen Crochet Pants’ writings for this week. She says that she sews as well as crochets, and enjoys it, despite it making her crazy. One of the very rare examples in Season 1 of Karen actually doing something for herself was when she sewed up her jeans, after ripping them on the decking.

These are only small coincidences on their own; but add them up, and Karen Crochet Pants seems like a fairly strong contender for our Karen.

She isn’t the only suspect though.

Josh may have found another contender on Fish Ellen’s Facebook page.
They know each other, and this Karen can be connected back to Oakland in 1987-1989.
There’s a short clip of “Karen” talking and complaining to someone called Sharon.
Is this a teaser from Fish Ellen’s Facebook Karen? Karen and Sharon? That would be funny.

Speaking of Ellen; if episode 5 was all about Karen, Karen, Karen; episode 6 was a complete Ellen-fest of wonderfulness. With a couple of emotional moments thrown in for good measure. Which is what it has been like with Ellen all along, hasn’t it?
Full disclosure, my disbelief is very easily suspended. I desperately want the roots of this story, and it’s main characters, to be real. That being said, I really think that there is some compelling evidence for Fish Ellen being the Ellen that we’ve been looking for.

Josh had spent several sleepless nights perusing Fish Ellen’s Facebook page. From his findings, he presented us with The Greatest Hits Of Fish Ellen.
Like any “best of” album, there are lots of upbeat numbers; interspersed with a few more sombre and melancholic ballads.

We first find Fish Ellen happily cooking for Thanksgiving.
A woman after my own heart, she’s promoting vegetarian alternatives for the big day. Fish Ellen would happily advise if anyone fancies trying a “meat-less or poultry-less” Thanksgiving.
This made me laugh straight away. It definitely sounds like Ellen! Surely poultry is meat?!

Continuing on the themes of Animal Rights, and of course fish, Ellen wants us to all join with her, and “Save The Salmon” on the 1st of December.
I’m not entirely sure what we’re saving them from; but Fish Ellen’s passion is infectious. I’m with her all the way.
(Just an aside – according to Google, this was a Rally that really did happen. Something that made me giggle, was that out of about only 3 posts on the Event page, one of them was someone asking if it was going to be live-streamed. I reckon that was Helena.)

Fish Ellen is obviously more at home in the kitchen now than back in the avocado-behind-the-oven days. She spends an afternoon baking, and conversing with her Grandparents from Beyond The Grave.
Fish Ellen feels that they’d be a bit disappointed that neither she nor her siblings had had any children. Which is an interesting insight into her life. I always felt personally, that Ellen would have made a much better parent than Karen.
We also learn that Fish Ellen’s Grandparents has escaped from the Nazis. That’s a huge thing to go through! Ellen of the letters would often reference the Nazis, in both her correspondence, and the homework that we’ve heard this season.
This, and Fish Ellen being very in touch with her spiritual side, bodes well for Fish Ellen and Letters Ellen being one and the same.

Fish Ellen loves a good environmental campaign to get behind too. She wants to stop the creation of The Nigerian Super Highway! This highway could be very bad news for wild gorillas if it goes ahead, and Fish Ellen is adamant it should be stopped.
Presuming that she’s our Ellen; she has obviously forgiven the wild gorillas’ ancestors for murdering Guru Patel. She never did seem to be one for holding a grudge.

One thing that Fish Ellen and I do disagree on, is whether or not Benedict Cumberbatch is a beautiful freak.
Sorry Fish Ellen.
He’s really not.
Even being British can’t swing it for him, I’m afraid.

Listening to the various posts from Fish Ellen, I thought one of the most compelling pieces of evidence in favour of her being The Ellen, was the constant string of cat references:
• Comcast is not akin to 2 cute kittens.
• Fish Ellen takes advice from the best-selling feline author. (Seems as good a place as any to get advice from?)
• She has her eye on a 6 foot tall painting of over 37 cats.

A CAT PAINTING? You couldn’t make it up.
I wonder if the 37 pairs of eyes move on this one? They’d be following Fish Ellen’s every move around her cottage.
Maybe I’m reading too much into it, to also pick up on the fact that she lives in a cottage.
Or maybe her taste in accommodation was established by the first place she lived in independently?
I really hope that this particular cottage is every bit as gauzy and dreamy as any Ellen could hope for.

I almost forgot the one that is just so good, that it almost can’t be true.
Fish Ellen muses: “If I had a kitten for every kitten I wished I’d had I would have so many kittens.”
Either Josh used a bit of artistic licence to adapt this; or this just HAS to be our Ellen.
It is just too similar to the famous Ellen quote: “I wish I had a dollar for every dollar I wish I had.”

Unfortunately for Fish Ellen, she can’t have any cats, because of her mouse programme.
This made me smile, as I had presumed that the mouse-release videos had come about as a result of a pest-control problem. Along the lines of the ant infestation.
I had imagined that Fish Ellen hadn’t wanted to harm them, and that they’d therefore rapidly multiplied. Hence why she ended up with so many, to capture, and then release.
But this makes it sound like she is possibly taking in sick and injured mice, and re-habilitating them.
That thought warms my heart, and would be so perfectly “Ellen”.

Much as I already adore Fish Ellen, I was slightly concerned to discover that she has “patients.” Surely she’s not a nurse, or a doctor? That would be a bit of a stretch to believe.
Whoever the patients are, they have been upset and worried by the current political climate. (I don’t think they’re alone there).
Or could they be animal patients?
Fish Ellen would definitely have to be very in-tune with them to know their political persuasions; but I wouldn’t put it past her!

I ask this, because to celebrate the 4th of July weekend, Fish Ellen is hosting a free Animal Acupuncture Festival. Just come along, and have your precious pet poked and prodded, free of charge.
This is sweet, generous, and worrying, all at once.
Here, an acupuncture treatment for a dog can cost upwards of £50.
Yet Fish Ellen is doing it for free?!
I’m a bit worried that she has just borrowed some of Karen Crochet Pants’ knitting needles, and is sticking them into unsuspecting animals, willy-nilly!

One of the biggest and most bizarre moments of episode 6, was finding out that Josh has 2 mutual friends with Fish Ellen.
Let’s just pause for a moment, and think about how insane that is. What are the chances?
It just adds weight to my belief that Josh was well and truly destined to have these letters, and tell this story.

One of those mutual friends, Darren, explains how he once met Fish Ellen on a weird, drug-fuelled camping trip.
He is now on her mailing list, and gets emails about all kinds of alternative therapies, and environmental campaigns.
She even offered advice to Darren on the best treatment for his foot, after he broke it at Christmas.
(Am I the only one wondering whether he dropped a frozen leg of lamb on it?)
Darren asks Josh if he should contact Fish Ellen. Of course, Josh is going to make us wait until a future episode, to find out whether he does or not!
Also, who has a public profile, yet keeps their friends’ list private?
Another example of a wonderfully Ellen-like contradiction.

As well as all the sweet and funny moments that Josh discovered within Fish Ellen’s Facebook page; there are 2 sad and poignant moments also.

Firstly, Ellen’s car is broken into, and her laptop stolen.
In another completely crazy twist of fate, this happened directly outside where Josh was living at the time. What a missed opportunity!
Just think, Josh could have invited Ellen in for coffee/wine/chicken nuggets, while she awaited recovery.
Another pointer towards the fact that Josh is destined to always be connected to these people.
And can I just ask, who lives next to an ex-mortuary?!
No wonder Fish Ellen had bad luck there. Bad Spirit Central.

Fish Ellen is understandably down and disappointed after this happens.
She announces that she doesn’t believe in Karma.
Josh feels that this is a moment where Fish Ellen seems to be the complete opposite of the Ellen of the letters; who seemed to believe extremely strongly in Karma.
I disagree though.
Fish Ellen is still referencing Karma. I just feel that she has unfortunately been battered by the often cruel realities of life over the years.
In fact, it was Josh himself who predicted that this was probably going to happen, towards the end of Season 1:

“I want Ellen to live in a world that is as sweet as she is. And it breaks my heart that the world is probably going to break her sweet, little, naïve, soft shell at some point.”

I’d say that this is exactly what has happened to Fish Ellen.

An even more distressing and upsetting moment comes when we find out that Fish Ellen has had what sounds like a pretty serious car accident.
She was in the hospital for a long time, and still seems to be experiencing huge amounts of distress and trauma. It was obviously an extremely harrowing experience, and I actually felt a bit uncomfortable listening.
It was very moving and upsetting; and served as a sobering reminder that these are real people, who have to deal with very difficult times in their lives; as well as the fun and frivolity.
Fish Ellen says that at that moment, she just wants a cat or a friend to hug her.
I wanted to reach into the podcast, and give her a really big hug myself.

During the latter part of episode 6, we hear from someone we haven’t heard from for a couple of episodes.
It’s Dot’s and Helena’s “acquaintance,” Patty With The Crystals.

To be honest, it’s hard to make heads or tails of most of what she says, but the cult-like “Seekers” is obviously still up and running.
Oh, and there’s a promo code for her pet portraits; if anyone still needs a last-minute Christmas gift.
If you want your inner-animal brought to life on canvas however, you need to have an in-person consultation.
(Josh? Sara? This seems an opportunity not to be missed!)

Then, the big finale.
Patty, with or without her crystals, is commenting on one of Fish Ellen’s Facebook posts!
Fish Ellen is trying to find a companion, for a road-trip home to Scottsdale.
So they know each other!
But – and here’s the strange bit – our usually sweet, kind, friendly Fish Ellen, is completely ignoring Patty’s comments on her post.
Patty would like to go with Fish Ellen.
Can’t Fish Ellen see her comments?
Patty can see them?
Why isn’t Fish Ellen responding?
In the end, Fish Ellen finds someone to go with, and Patty is left to say that it’s probably for the best.
She’s going on a crystal harvest that weekend.
Patty wishes Fish Ellen all the best for her trip back to visit the desert.
And her Mother.

Her Mother???

So this is where Dot and Helena must come in.
They’re in Arizona.
We know from Ellen’s rental agreement, that that is where Ellen was born.
Why was Fish Ellen blanking Patty though?
Perhaps Dot and Helena hold the answers to this too.

Helena told Dot at the beginning of Season 2, that Patty stole her husband Paul. Could this be why Fish Ellen has a beef with Patty?
Did Patty break up her parents’ marriage?
If that’s the case, that would make Helena Fish Ellen’s Mum?

It’s funny, back when the Arizona connection originally came up, I leant towards Dot as the most likely candidate to be Ellen’s mum.
She retired back to Scottsdale; talked about beggars and poverty like Ellen did; went on holiday to Mexico like Ellen.
They both share a love of animals, and seem to have an upbeat attitude to life.

However, this episode, we heard Fish Ellen say that neither she, nor any of her siblings have any children.
Yet in episode 1 of Season 2, Dot tells Helena that her children are all grown up, with families of their own.
So this doesn’t seem to work after all.

Dot’s daughter was married to a man, but is now married to a woman. Remember Karen Crochet Pants’ bumper stickers? Remember Rob?
Could Dot be Karen’s mum???

Which leaves Helena.
She seems the polar opposite of both our Ellen, and Fish Ellen though.
Glass half-empty, moany, not keen on animals.
Although, I could not be more different from my mum, so this definitely does not rule Helena out.
Helena also said the infamous line, “Can you imagine?”
Ok, Josh could have put that in there as a red herring. But if not, that has to be a huge clue!
Plus, we’ve now got Fish Ellen ignoring Patty’s comments on her post. This would make total sense, if Patty ran off with her father.
It would also make it totally hilarious that Patty is brazen enough to ask to road-trip with Fish Ellen, and have a reunion with Ellen and her mother!
All those crystals must have given her an ultra-thick aura.

I felt by the end of episode 6, that Fish Ellen really seems a great fit for our original Ellen.
With the connections to “The Golden Girls” trio, things are starting to slot into place.

We still haven’t been given any concrete connections between Fish Ellen, and Karen Crochet Pants though.
So I’m really looking forward to hearing how the next potential Karen, who definitely does have a connection, measures up.
Fittingly, we hear from her to conclude the episode.
She’s having some problems with sand.

Can’t wait for Episode 7, to get to know her better.

Recap of Best-Selling Feline Author (#Stephaniewritescommentaryinparenthesis)

The sounds of water, possibly an ocean, open the episode. (It’s not a train noise as I originally thought.)

Helena is writing, presumably to Dot again. It was the worst 118 days of her life. (That’s almost 4 months, which is also almost 6 months so, she was there for almost half a year!) Kris was in longer. (Oh…we are getting some information on why this old broad was in the clink! I am imagining that Helena looks like the kooky, hippy woman from Orange is the New Black.) They were arrested for vandalizing and destruction of private property. But, Helena says it was really just PROTEST! (What the heck was she protesting in the 80’s? Popped collars? Leg warmers? Big hair?) Don’t even get started on Paul…that piece of trash. (Wow, Paul really wronged Helena! Abandoned “us”? Who is “us”? Was Paul a former boyfriend, husband, lover?) Then, in true Helena form, the anger and juicy gossip immediately turns to something goofy and lighthearted…Dot, did you ever get that pet portrait of Misty?

ABC 7 News: GET RID OF THAT BALD GUY! I DON’T CARE FOR HIM. HE TALKS LIKE HE HAS A MOUTH FULL OF PISTACHIOS. I THINK HE THINKS HE’S BETTER THAN EVERYONE ELSE. AND, HIS TIES ARE ALWAYS WRINKLED. STEAM THEM IN THE SHOWER…DONT IRON THEM. (Good advice, Helena.) OOPS, Helena…the face books are so complicated and you posted that on your own page, not ABC 7 News.

Sudio Headphones. (sudiosweden.com) Go buy some. Josh says so. PROMO CODE: LETTERS

Oh dear…more karaoke? Guns ‘n Roses? Thank goodness…we aren’t really subjected to it because, Josh comes on. He sounds tired. (4:30am, good time to leave a message. Don’t ever call me at 4:30am. I’m not pleasant at 4:30am) Ha! Josh the Stalker has been stalking Fish Ellen on Facebook! (Dude, you need another hobby. Maybe you should go play Animal Crossing Pocket Camp. Which is totally fun and we have our own Fish Ellen! My ID is 61545653315) He also found something shocking but, of course, it is TBA. (Always TBA with this guy. LOL)

The following are highlights from Fish Ellen’s Facebook page:

It is Thanksgiving. And, Fish Ellen is listening to Arlo Gutry, cooking and hanging out both physically and metaphysically (I totally snorted) with people she loves. No one should eat turkey on Thanksgiving. You should go meatless and/or poultry-less. Fish Ellen is happy to share her tips for how to go meatless and/or poultry-less and then both she and the turkey’s will be thankful. 

On December 1st there will be a rally to SAVE THE SALMON! (Will salmon be served for lunch? Asking for a friend.)

Like a good Jewish person, Fish Ellen has been baking cookies all afternoon and evening. (What do bad Jewish people do?) She is channeling her grandparents and wondering if they would be upset to know that none of their four grandchildren procreated. (One of those grandchildren is Fish Ellen’s sister! SHE HAS A SISTER! But, sadly no children of her own. I kinda think Ellen having a child would be AMAZING!) Grandfather and Grandmother escaped the Nazi’s and tried to impart good wisdom. Fish Ellen had some guilt about not having children but, guilt isn’t a reason to have kids. (Fish Ellen is extremely smart about this.) #JewishChristmasCookiesandConversationswiththeDead

BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH IS A BEAUTIFUL FREAK! (Well, not according to Josh Hallmark.)

Could do with a little less introspection? But, why? I’m introspecting my introspection! (That giggle is possibly better than Josh’s. Sorry, Hallmark.)

Comcast is NOT akin to two cute kittens. They are often deserving of four letter words. Comcast is VERY bad. They stink. #fightthefuturecomcastcablecompanystinks

This is a six foot painting of over 37 cats. (Oh, please, someone find this photo!) Fish Ellen is going to get this painting. (also, she lives in a little cottage!) Apparently, the white cats are the best. (Well, this is also not try according to Josh Hallmark. Unless he just doesn’t like white cats?)

Fish Ellen is taking some advice from the current best selling feline author. (A quick google search did NOT provide me with the answer of who this author may be. I may have to do more sleuthing. Or, do you have to be a cat to know this information? Also, can someone PLEASE delete my browser history when I die?) Unexpectedly, she emotionally, energetically and cognitively  crashed. She has been holding a safe container for her feelings. (Is it glass? Plastic? Decorated with crystals?)  And, in true sweet Ellen fashion, she also stores the bad feelings of her patients. (Wait? Did she say PATIENTS? I relistened about five times..she DID say patients. CLUE ALERT!) It’s only a metaphorical safe. (Guess that answers my earlier question) Fish Ellen has been holding her emotional breath. Last night she exhaled into an exhausting cry but then exhaled some more into a recovery bath. (I would get dizzy and pass out from all that.) Fish Ellen is grateful for a safe, warm home and emphatic friends. #safesarespacesforemotionswhichareourtruevaluables

STOP THE NIGERIAN SUPER HIGHWAY! THERE IS NOTHING SUPER ABOUT A HIGHWAY! ESPECIALLY ONE THAT HARMS WILD GORILLAS! WRITE TO YOUR CONGRESSMAN! DONATE TO THE NATURE CONSERVANCY! #nothingsuperaboutahighwaythatharmsgorillas

It is the 4th of July. Which is a great holiday unless you are an animal or a Native American. While, Fish Ellen cannot help Native Americans, she can help your animal! She is offering FREE animal acupuncture services for your pets at the first ever Animal Acupuncture Festival! Be sure to get there early because this is going to be VERY popular! (Really? VERY? Was there a 2nd annual Animal Acupuncture Festival? Where can I go to sign Jewelie up? Will first aid be provided to pet owners?)

If I had a kitten for every kitten I wished I had I would have so many kittens! #icanthavecatsbecauseofmymouseprogram (#soFishEllenbuyscatpaintingsinstead)

SKYPE. Josh is calling Sara. OH MY GOD! Josh has TWO mutual friends with Fish Ellen on “the face books”. (#sorrynotsorry) One of these friends, Darren, has been to the Karen and Ellen Letters reading parties. (Josh you can only get excited ONCE in your life!) What if Fish Ellen has been under Josh’s nose the entire time? (We also got a GREAT Josh laugh moment. I need this as a ringtone! Can I get a Josh laugh ringtone as blogger payment?)

Fish Ellen: Usually she is all love, light and Miss Happy-Happy Sunshine. But, today is a hard day. Her car window was broken and her laptop was stolen. (THAT SUCKS!) To bad she didn’t have renter’s insurance since it’s a scam. (RENTER’S INSURANCE? Does she drive a rental car or does she not know what CAR insurance is?)  The missing computer costs over a thousand dollars. Well, now Fish Ellen DOESN’T believe in karma. She doesn’t believe God only gives you as much as you can handle. She believes sometimes, people are truly amazing but sometimes people are just plain old mean. 

Josh and Sara are back discussing how in 2012 Fish Ellen’s car broke down IN FRONT OF JOSH’S OLD HOUSE! (Mary Christ and Holy Guacamole!) Fish Ellen was in front of Josh’s house for SIX FULL HOURS one day and he never even knew it. (Fish Ellen was RIGHT THERE! You could have cast a hook and snagged her!)

Josh is writing a message to Darren, he is asking about his relationship to Fish Ellen and how he knows her. Darren replies that he met her on a drugged out camping trip and Fish Ellen was taking photos of him. Darren gets weird emails from her regarding tree therapy, acupuncture, and legalizing marijuana. (How do I get on Fish Ellen’s mailing list?) Also, what is tree therapy? Is it therapy FOR trees or therapy for humans USING trees? How would you “use” a tree?) She also recommended some electrotherapy to Darren when he broke his foot. Would Josh like for Darren to get in touch with her for him? (YES, DARREN, YES WE WOULD! Oh, wait, not sure our opinion counts here but, all roomies vote YES anyway.)

Fish Ellen: I am heading to my first tree therapy session and I am feeling overly emotionally overwhelmed. I am surprised that I am myself so weepy and juggling around so many emotions that are hard to name and hard to find. What if this doesn’t work? What if it doesn’t help me? These cognitive issues which look like not being able to find words, not being able to follow a train to thought, not being able to remember things are the last significant vestiges of last years car accident. I spent so much time in the hospital trying to find my words but, also trying to find forgiveness. I just really want someone or a cat or a friend to hug me. (I have nothing sassy to add here. I am sad now, This makes me sad.)

Wind Chimes! Patti with the Crystals is back! Today she awoke with manta, “if God is awareness and I am aware then through my awareness I am partaking of the awareness of my source, who is God, our Mother Earth.” (My head hurts just trying to listen and transcribe that. Also, I am confused and think I need a drink now.) Blah, blah, blah…..some mumbo jumbo about monotheism.  (She knows what monotheism is? Kind of impressed, actually.) Patti has a husband and a dog. (She says so amiss the mumbo jumbo.) Patti has a friend named Juno Windraven. (Is she a teacher at Hogwarts? Please, let her be a teacher at Hogwarts!) Juno has discovered the creator Gods. (Did she copyright the find? Call the Discovery Channel?) Patti wishes all seekers a Happy Thanksgiving. Followed by a commercial for Pet Portraits and portraits of your inner amimal! (Just use promo code: EARTHMOTHER)

Fish Ellen: I’m looking for someone who wants to drive a car from Scottsdale, Arizona up to Seattle or Portland this week or next week. If you know someone who wants some west coast travel.

Patti with the Crystals: Are you going to see your mother? I would love to fly out for a fun little girls bonding trip.

Fish Ellen: Hi everyone! I’m still looking for a road companion down to Scottsdale.

Patti: Oh, Ellen, I would love to join you. Do you not see my earlier message?

Patti: Ellen, did you not see my comment? Did I post them correctly? I can see them. Can you?

Fish Ellen: Hi everyone! Never mind, I’ll be going with my friend, Nita.

Patti: Ellen, I’m so glad you found someone to go with you. It probably would not have worked out for me because I am going to do a crystal harvest. Have a special time reconnecting to the desert earth and your mother. 

(What did I just hear? Apparently Fish Ellen and Patti are connected in some way. But, did they have a falling out? Why does Ellen ignore Patti? Is that bad karma?)

Ocean noise again. KAREN IS BACK! She really loves being at the beach but, she doesn’t like all the sand that gets everywhere. (Um, Karen, sand comes with the territory. It’s kinda a rule of the beach.) However, Karen does like dolphins, boats and Mai Tai’s. ( Mai Tai is an alcoholic cocktail made with rum and citrus juice. Who wouldn’t like that? Also, is the beach reference a clue?)

Alright fellow listeners, it’s time to stop being a cat on the wall and start sleuthing! I believe the truth is out there. Love and avocados! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Behind-the-Scenes on Episode 6

  1. My one and only note to Sara Beth for this episode was: Ellen doesn’t seem to understand how hashtags work.
  2. Anyone with an advanced murder board should be able to figure out quite a lot about how people are connected and how certain stories came to be after hearing this episode.
  3. I was originally going to hold the exchange between Fish Ellen and Patty with the Crystals for episode 7. I sent the episode as you heard it to the bloggers and asked for their input. They unanimously agreed I should keep the exchange in episode 6; but under one condition:
  4. That there would still be a big reveal in episode 7.
  5. There is. A huge one.
  6. The reveal in episode 7 was originally going to be held until the very end of episode 9.
  7. I have spent so many hours trying to remember if in 2012 I ever saw or encountered a woman in front of my old apartment building whose car had been broken into.
  8. As it turns out, I did remember that there was a week-long rash of break-ins there. I even talked to a few people. I can’t remember what they looked like or who they were. It’s something that haunts me often now.
  9. The majority of the recordings in this episode were done within a week of releasing it. I had originally planned to do most of this stuff after the holiday break.
  10. I felt the perfect way to follow-up a Karen-centric episode was with an Ellen-centric one. So, we rushed production.
  11. I was writing and putting together episodes 6 and 7 simultaneously, and still struggle sorting out what material ended up where.
  12. I think the biggest mistake an active listener could make during this episode is to assume all of these exchanges are happening in the same timeline.
  13. Here’s a big hint: The Dot & Helena stuff spans over 5 years. The Fish Ellen stuff is mostly contained to the last year (save a few relevant posts).
  14. Prepare for a more cohesive merging of those two timelines next week.
  15. This episode represents a real turning point in how these people are presented. The show will begin feeling more grounded.
  16. At this point, you have not heard the last of anyone, except for the acting troupe.
  17. Sara and I record most of our conversations and send each other voice memos all the time. But because so much of our investigating is discussed or fleshed out over Messenger, we end up having to record a lot of pick-ups for better exposition. We could not make that happen this time, and had to make do with what we had from our recordings. It felt very apropos of the whole series; I had some real Tim Gunn moments.
  18. “Darren” did not want to be recorded or use his real name. Since he and my friend Matt do not know one another and have very similar mannerisms and senses of humor, Matt seemed like the perfect fit. It has been really confusing having one friend portray another friend, under a fake name. I never know what to call him.
  19. This is only one of two episodes not featuring Laila at the beginning. I like keeping people on their toes; and since there were so many animal references in this ep, Paul seemed the perfect opener.
  20. That Sudio ad took me FOREVER to write and record. I think I spent 4 or 5 hours on that damn thing.
  21. My favorite piece from this episode is when Ellen/Sara B opens a new FB post with:

    “This is a 6 foot painting of over 37 cats.” Every time I hear it, I burst out laughing. It’s never not funny to me.

     

Karen Karen Karen Recap (AKA #NotKaren #HashtagsAreBorn)

Holy Guacamole! This episode has certainly left an impression! Not sure what that impression is yet but, it is there, like a refrigerator door broken by a leg of lamb. (#WhereisRob) Let’s get down to crazy town and recap the insanity for you! (#WildRideAhead)

(DISCLAIMER: This recap includes my personal opinions regarding the podcast. All opinions expressed in this recap are mine and mine alone and may or may not align with other members of this community. These expressed opinions are of my personal feeling at the time I first listened to the podcast. Opinions may change over time. I also respect those that do not agree with me and ask for the same respect in return. #FreedomOfSpeech)

Once again, we begin with messages between Dot and Helena. (#FavoriteFunnyWomen) They are STILL discussing Jackie. (I wonder if poor Jackie’s nose itches all the time from so many people talking about her? #GossipGirls) Dot also tells Helena about her daughter’s wedding. It’s her second wedding (the first was to a man) and now, she’s married to her “friend,” who is a woman. Apparently, gay weddings are MOSTLY like regular weddings according to Dot. (#WhoKnew?) Helena doesn’t think she knows any lesbians, with the exception of her very nice butcher. But, the “gays” she does know are a hoot and they sure know how to have fun. Also, Barb died, and maybe she was a lesbian? (The transitions in these messages… I mean, we go from a gay pride parade to a funeral in one sentence. I would love to be a cat on the wall and really watch these women! #gaysarefun #funeralsaresad) Dot’s information regarding her daughter’s first marriage makes me wonder if Dot is Karen’s and/or Ellen’s mother? I have speculated on the possibility of a mother connection before, but now I am pretty certain. Oh, and Helena was arrested with Kris.

Josh contacts Sara with news we have heard before. Email Karen and the Strange Email Man share the same IP address. What DOES THAT MEAN? Sara is stunned. Well, Josh is going to contact Email Karen and see if he can get some answers. Sara is confused. It appears Email Karen has been a part of this since the days of the blog. Josh really feels like something is amiss. (Sure took you a LONG time to get your cat tongue back, Hallmark! LOL) Is Email Karen the Real Karen? Is she a fake? Why did Mark freak out about Email Karen contacting Josh? Is Fish Ellen the Real Ellen? (#SoManyQuestions) Fish Ellen feels authentic. Can we verify Fish Ellen and Email Karen? Oakland Karen? (I need a visual aid… I can’t keep up… maybe I need a #MURDERBOARD)

SHUT UP! Sara looks up a Karen who lived in the cottage (Jeeze, I’m confused. #SoManyKarens!) And, now we have Crochet Pants Karen! She lived in Berkeley. She has a blog! (#CrochetPants) Sara is laughing her head off about pink panties worn under crochet pants. (I REALLY need to see this blog!)

Can we connect Crochet Pants Karen to Fish Ellen?

Josh sends a message to Email Karen asking her to talk and BOOM, just like that, the legal net is thrown. Email Karen responds. She has been listening to the podcast. She was reading the blog. She read copies of the letters. She thought it would be FUNNY to insert herself into the narrative. (WHAT?!? WAIT?!? WHAT?!? #WHAT? #WAIT?WHAT?) She wrote the emails pretending to be Karen and she wrote the second email from Email Man JUST to mess with Josh. (YOU WHAT?!? WAIT?!? WHAT?!? WHO DOES THAT? HOW CRUEL! HOW MEAN! I mean, kinda funny but, #NotThatFunny)  Email Karen is supposedly this person’s mother-in-law. She says Email Karen never lived with an Ellen. She never even lived in Oakland. This person has just admitted that she catfished Josh. She thought this whole thing was “really funny” and is/was a member of our beloved Roomies group. (#NotMyRoomie) But, our research made her nervous and once Josh included her fake letters on the podcast she decided the joke had gone too far. She claims to be sorry. (However, she waited for Josh to contact her….versus coming clean on her own, so, I’m not buying it, sister. #HowRude) And, she doesn’t want to come across as stupid or a bitch. (Clearly, you aren’t stupid. Yep, I called you a bitch. It was a bitchy thing to do. #sorrynotsorry) And, so, this concludes the story of Not Karen. (And, the beginning of a hysterical blog by Torey searching for the identity of Not Karen. Also, I am #NotNotKaren) And, since Josh has asked, #NotAWitchHunt

Quiet, bad karaoke. (#DamnIWishIwasYourLover)

Sara is back. (#DudeYouGotCatfished) Where does this leave the research? Obviously Not Karen is not Karen so, who is Real Karen? Sara checks her murder board for a possible new suspect. What do you know, Crochet Pants Karen seems to fit! (#IfTheCrochetPantsFitWearThem) Is Crochet Pants Karen the real Karen? Are Karen and Ellen actually real? Will we find them?

Blog post, dated May 19, 2016, from Crochet Pants Karen. She is obsessed with crochet and is modeling her latest crochet pants. (#CrochetGoddess) This blog is one long run on sentence all about crochet pants. (#madyarn)

Blog post, December 19, 2010. Crochet Pants Karen is excited for bumper stickers. She sees a car with lots of cool stickers and just can’t contain herself. Crochet Karen also has quite a collection of bumper stickers, which I believe are also amazing new hashtags.  #1988 Bush/Quail, #GodBlesstheFreaks and my personal favorite, #IAteaKitchenSink! (Josh, if you don’t jump on this Marketing gem now and get this in your shop page, you may be missing out!) Also, it is hot where she is. It is even hot inside. So, she was in the water for two hours. (#RelevantInformation) And, they have to walk everywhere. (#CloseToDead)

Blog post, September 30, 2010. (#IndigoDoesntLiveHere #BetterThanBerkley) Also, Bill had a wake and there are really big cockroaches at the local hospital.

Blog post, May 1, 2017. Crochet Pants Karen is now almost 50 years old and updating her look. She still sews. (#FastestWayToMakeClothes)

Josh really feels these blogs are VERY Karen. However, he has a lead on a different Karen that is tied to Fish Ellen. (#MoreResearchNeeded #TheMysteryContinues)

Ellen is back with another mouse video! (#TeamEllen #PavedParadise #MiceAreFast)

#TheEnd