Friday, April 29, 2011

needs moar llamas*

Okay. I have to say, over the past however-many-years it's been (six, did I mention?) probably my favorite reaction to this entire awful debacle, and one that pulls me out of the funk I find myself in when I've been reading lots of holier-than-thou comments from people who think they're smarter than me, is the exercise in  FTW-ness that is Fandom Wank.

The sheer delight that these (what do I call you? "Wankers" just seems so wrong!) people take in the utterly ludicrous aspects of this story (and believe me, I'm fully aware of how much ludicrousness there is) is hysterical beyond belief. There's no anger, no judging, no finding lulz in how Janna pwned me. Just seeing the ridiculousness and rolling in it. They've just gone full throttle with the llamas. It's awesome. And just what I needed tonight. You have no idea. So, thanks, FW-ers.

P.S. Never mind John Fogerty, how can we set Harlan Ellison up with a bunch of llamas?

*via xturtle

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

Pootling over from F_W when I should be working: we're wankas, with an a, although calling us F_Wers is pretty common as well. The people being idiots - in this case, Janna St Llamathing - are wankers.

Glad we made you laugh!

Anonymous said...

Let me preface this by saying that I know neither of you personally. Only that this story has been picked up by several news agencies.

So a piece of useful advice from a totally random stranger: just drop it.

By engaging this person, you are only keeping your twisted relationship(s) with her alive. By keeping your blog and your tweets, you are only taunting her, and this woman doesn't seem to know when to back down.

Your pride might have been severely wounded and stomped on, but c'mon, it's only because you let her.

Lawsuits are the revenge of the frivolous.

Please move on. And lock all the doors behind you.

Good luck.

ephemerina said...

Anon1: WankAs! that makes sense! Like Willy and his chocolate factory, but not, kinda. I bow to you wankas!

Anon2: Thanks for the advice, but because people have "just drop[ped] it" for 30 years, Janna St James has been able to keep doing what she's been doing unrestrained.

Lawsuits are more than the "revenge of the frivolous" - they are ways to seek justice for people who have had an injustice done to them. Lawsuits are also a stepping stone to creating laws.

You should read my blog further, or with deeper comprehension, this lawsuit has nothing to do with my pride. I didn't "let" Janna do anything. She misrepresented herself to me HUGELY. She entered into an elaborate charade to feed her own ego and to get things from me. She sapped me of energy, time and money for almost two years.

Thanks for playing.

Anonymous said...

I disagree. I think Janna St. James needs to be widely exposed, because I think she may be the same person who scammed a friend of mine in a similar fashion in the 90's. Yes, my friend was naive. When she started showing me photos of the good-looking guy she met on AOL I kept an open mind, but I thought he seemed too good to be true. My friend spoke to this guy on the phone and said it was a male voice. Later, she said she found out it was a woman making up this persona for the fun of it. I never found out anything more, but Bonhomme says she has heard from something like ten other women that Janna scammed for the hell of it. Yes, my friend was naive. Do I want to see a naive person like my friend scammed, disappointed, and humiliated? No, I think Janna St. James is a very sick person. There are probably lots of people who pull scams like this just to get kicks out of humiliating the naive person...but Janna St. James has been at this thirty years. She is going to keep doing it. It's how she gets her kicks, apparently. I am glad Paula is taking the steps to expose St. James because she is just going to keep doing it to others.

I have heard of plenty of men getting scammed as well. There was a long saga where a man believed he was in love with (and engaged to) some kind of head cheerleader/bomb squad in Iraq etc. etc. and just when he thought his cheerleader/bomb expert love of his life was going to come and marry him, of course she got killed. His ex-wife and all her friends were laughing their heads off at his naivete. So it doesn't only happen to women...men can be just as naive.

I really wonder how many of these types of scammers there are. I am glad the story is getting out so people won't be so naive.

Sheila said...

So I just spent my Saturday morning rereading this entire freaking blog (took about as long as reading a trashy novel) and I noticed that initially you said that you didn't have enough legal standing to sue, as much as you would have loved to. Obviously, you changed your mind about this. What made you decide to take it to court when you'd earlier said it wouldn't be worth the effort?

Anonymous said...

Well, we FW-ers are traditionally not supposed to comment or get involved in any way, but I think in this case, an exception can be made. Glad to have been of service, and if you need some more distracting, just browse through the former posts up there. Nothing will cheer you up and make your troubles fade like hearing about all the other crazy stuff that goes on in the wide wild world of teh internets.

Anonymous said...

Wow. where do i begin? until recently i was a bit of a twitter troll hunter - not big time, but just in the little corner of it i found myself in. there were 3 people in particular that were found to be complete liars (but nothing as intense as what you've been through) and clowning them brought lulz galore. a few weeks ago i knew it was time to step away and head back into the real world so i deleted my account. yesterday i was chatting with a friend and mentioned i'd found more fuckery by one of my pet projects and she jokingly said "i swear she's janna st. james". i had never heard of her and immediately went on the hunt. i've spent hours now going back to the beginning of your blog and reading all the insanity.

let me quickly say my friend was only joking - my pet crazy claims to be a rich brittish woman living in london, when in truth she's a hispanic woman living in texas. the story is long and pretty funny, but not my point.

i support you in outing her. it's one thing to make up stories to garner sympathy and friendship online, (and ironic that in wanting friends you pretend to be someone you're not which takes you back to not really having friends - trying to wrap my head around it makes me dizzy)but another to take it out into the people's real world.

unfortunately until you experience it first hand it's often impossible to comprehend just how deep some people are capable of diving into deceit. i was lied to in the real world for over two years in a sick and twisted way - that person's therapist later told me i may have been dealing with a full on sociopath. i get what you say when you say you no longer trust and don't like the feeling. when i look back it's glaringly obvious that i saw all the red flags, but denied my own gut when was told my perceptions were skewed (by the crazy asshat). the best thing i've taken from the entire experience is an understanding that at any moment where my gut says "bullshit" in the face of opposition i have two choices - trust myself, or trust another. i will never again deny my own "knowing". i would rather be wrong trusting my intuition than be wrong denying it. i think it's a huge piece in believing in my own worth.

anyway sista, rock on. you've now been book marked and i'll be watching to see how this story continues to unfold.

~lurking

ephemerina said...

Anon3: Lots of people get scammed, and because people like Janna know how to best shame their victims, nobody has any idea how prevalent (and psyche-damaging) this kind of long con is.

Sheila: what drove me to initially press charges against Janna was her extended blog campaign against me, full of hateful, accusatory talk, as well as her perpetuating the lie that "Jesse" et al really existed. And of course, then, when her other victims started contacting me, and I realized Janna was a career con artist, it became a crusade of sorts, not only for people she'd already conned, but as a prophylactic against her continuing her behavior on future unsuspecting victims. And ha! it IS a trashy novel, isn't it? I should publish this blog in book form so people could take it to the beach on holiday.

Anon4: Y'know, I might just do that. Thanks for the tip!

Anon5: Thanks for telling your story. Welcome to the club of what appears to be most of us, sigh. Janna's the Cassie Chadwick of the internet age, and with any luck, she'll meet a similar fate, and be an example to other con artists who prey on the trusting and kind.

Nikki said...

let me tell you about my FIRST ever boyfriend. I met him on lycoschat in 1997. He was from Corpus Christi, Tx, and I lived in southern Ohio. I was still in high school, as was he. He turned 18 and graduated in 1998, and I turned 18 in the fall of 98, and was a senior in HS. Anyway, he decided to move to Ohio to be with me until i graduated, then we were going to go to Tacoma Washington to live with his brother. Well, he DID move to ohio, and lived in my parents basement.... all the while he was sick. really really sick. he had stomach cancer... (i thought he was lying...turns out, he wasn't) anyway, it gets bad, and he decides to go ahead to Tacoma, then send for me after graduation. Well... after graduation, he called... some crap about being institutionalized for being depressed and suicidal. His brother informed me that my feller was on suicide watch for 6 weeks. The day he got off suicide watch, he killed himself... but, funny thing is.. when he was found, he was on his knees, and there was slack in the rope... anyway... he existed, he was real... i went to his funeral in TX... so.. there really are people with cancer, depression, and suicidal tendencies all rolled into one personality... it took me a bit to actually get over him... but, in the long run... i realize we never would have worked out. It still hurts, as he was a major part of my life for 2+ years... and i let my grief swallow me...for a long long time. I didn't move on... for quite a while. I compared every guy i was with to him... he was 'perfect' in my eyes... i still miss him... a lot. but, it gets easier everyday.

Anonymous said...

Paula don't let any negative comments get the better of you. What Janna St James did was downright wicked! I cannot comprehend that someone gets their thrills out of emotionally tormenting someone else. I think you're brave pursuing the court action and I hope to god you win.

Anonymous said...

Led here from FW's second llama-edit, I just want to say that, yes, you should have seen it was too good to be true, but not everyone comes from the "seedy underbelly of the web" like my friend calls it. I seriously can't hold it against you to have fallen for it hook and sinker, because it at least means you've not grown all jaded and vaguely misanthropic like I am, and you still have a greater hope that humanity as a whole is not a bunch of asshats.

And knowing at least one person is less jaded than the usual internet person is sort of renewing my very much wavering faith in humans again. And I also remind myself we all start off stupid and learn better later on (with a video of a kid sliding down a slide head-first, completely unaware he'll plonk face-first in the sand at the bottom of the slide and SHOCKED I TELL YOU that it happens, because schadenfreude makes me giggle).

By the way, I laughed so very hard at that novel thing. The one with the I don't remember what ingredients soap from France that randomly interrupted a really touchy-feely bathing scene, or something. Surefire sign that a girl wrote it: it waxes poetic so hard the purple prose looks like an ultraviolet candle.

ephemerina said...

Nikki: holy shit. Wow, that must have been awful for you, and him. And it's because things like this DO happen in real life that con artists like Janna should be taken to task for trivializing it. It renews the pain in people who've suffered through it, and it causes unnecessary pain to the people she's deceiving.

Anon6: thanks for the kind words. and I hope so too.

Anon7: the thing is, it's not like it didn't come up - I mentioned it to "Jesse" early on, along the lines of "it's almost as though someone knew all about me and invented you especially for me" - "Jesse" immediately went on the offensive, mortally offended that I would even THINK something like that, which put me on the defensive, because I knew how touchy he was about it because Janna had allegedly been stalked several years earlier by someone who had impersonated her (obviously also cover in case I'd managed to stumble upon her Fogelberg scam).

But someone invented especially for me - that's what Janna did - she observed me for god knows how long, months at least before she reached out to me as herself or "Jesse." She knew exactly what to say to me, what would pique my interest. But I was also in a vulnerable mindset, under pressure with a new job with insane hours, a shaky marriage, and a dying dog. I'd like to think that if she'd tried tapping into me at a different time in my life I might have been less vulnerable, but I can't say for sure. I wouldn't be arrogant enough ever to think that again.

The purple prose? I wasn't a fan myself, but one overlooks flaws in someone one loves (like "Jesse's" shitty taste in music). You should've seen my attempts at quasi-erotica payback - they were positively euphemistically Victorian. I may have actually used the phrase "succumbed to his blandishments." or perhaps not. The things we do for alleged fake internet love. Sigh.

I'd like to think I'm still less jaded, but perhaps I'm jaded around the edges. Call me an optimistic realist. And thank you for your honesty and not rushing to judgment. It really is all I ask.

Anonymous said...

To be fair, most people are smarter than to rearrange their entire lives around a person they've never fucking met.

Sorry your brain is fundamentally broken, but that's the truth.

Anonymous said...

Hi darling! I'm a dashing, handsome, single lumberjack with rippling abs who writes poetry and rehabilitates orphaned kittens in his spare time.

I'd really like to get to know you better. One catch, I need you to wire me $500 because my mother is dying of cancer and I am her sole caretaker. You seem like the compassionate, totally-not-naive sort of person who would sympathize with my plight; I feel so very fortunate to her stumbled upon this blog.

Can't wait to feed you French cherries and lick honey from your exquisitely perfumed body while we watch Sex & the City reruns together!

-Your (Totally 100% Male) Soulmate

ephemerina said...

Anon8: To be fair, most people would be smart enough to understand someone's situation in depth before weighing in with a holier-than-thou decree, especially when hiding behind an anonymous posting ID. Oops.

Anon9: That was so funny I forgot to laugh. Go fuck yourself. (see? I *DO* learn)

Anonymous said...

You should use the law to punish her and let us see what else you are about...is the time to sell a book self help chat radio show, etc.

Tee shirt, slogans.

Use dysfunctional lemons to make lemonade.

best to you and sorry for your pain

ephemerina said...

Anon10: good lord, I'm doing my best to AVOID chat radio/TV. I don't want to use this lemon tree for my own benefit. I'm not promoting my own business this way, I don't want it tainted by the stench of Janna. But thanks for the thought.

Anonymous said...

"...invented you especially for me..."

I'm considering how to compose this post without looking like I'm either bragging or pollyanna-ing, but sometimes a silver lining IS called for, don't you think?

This winter a young man about 800 miles from me emailed me (via a dormant dating profile) to say he was moving to my state and since I seemed like an interesting, intelligent, involved sort of woman, he wanted to get in touch to get the lay of the land, etc. This has happened to me before, and I have no problem giving people some suggestions on things to do in my city. Our emails became fast and furious, as these things tend to do, and we found more and more that we had some remarkable things in common. I had joked to him that he was either a psychic, a witch, or he'd simply been custom-made for me. And I have some peculiar history/likes, so to find someone who shared that much with me was exhilarating, if suspicious-making.

After emailing/txting/occasionally phoning for about a month, it was time for him to move to my city. I'm an adult woman who grew up largely in the internet age, and am familiar with the St James story here as well as others (and a couple of less-dramatic instances from my own life). It was difficult to find balance between REASONABLE skepticism, straight-out cynicism and "holy shit, I can't WAIT to meet this guy and get cookin!"

He was driving with all his possessions from his hometown to my city to take possession of a home he'd purchased. I counted the days until his scheduled departure date. He was supposed to leave on a Sunday, but something came up. Then he was supposed to leave that Tuesday, and something else got in the way. By now, I could feel the bitter pit in my stomach spreading. I literally thought of the story from this blog (and all the accounts of it which I'd read) and was grateful I at least didn't get so far as to invest anything other than some hope.

After being single for six years, and periodically lied to, if this turned out to be a hoax, I was going to be inconsolable. No question, I'd give up completely. (Nothing dramatic, mind you, but it's hard enough to trust people...)

He finally told me he was on his way, late the same week. Uncharacteristically, I responded, "Sure, tell me that again when you're 100 miles from home."

He arrived on Friday. After taking just enough time to lock all his things into his new garage, he called me to get together on Saturday, at a cafe of my choosing.

He was early; I was late. I came in a back entrance just to make sure; if he wasn't there, I could keep walking. If he was there and struck me any way other than as expected, I could turn around and sneak back out.

But he was actually there.

That was only a month ago, but he has been exactly the person he was in our emails/chats. I didn't have to put myself in quite the vicarious position others have – he moved to my town, after all – but emotionally, it was still harrowing. It's been an excellent month, and even if the whole thing falls apart, I can at least say – like another poster said earlier – that not everyone comes from the seedy underbelly.

Thank dog for once that was true.

ephemerina said...

Anon11: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. And the very best of luck with this guy! If it works out, invite me to the wedding!

Anonymous said...

I haven't read all of these entries yet, but I have to say that I know someone like Janna St James. As far as I know, she hasn't scammed anyone yet, but she has created a fake life and several Facebook profiles/email addresses/etc to keep up the farce (fake husband, fake children, fake family to go along with them, as well as a fake back story of being childhood friends brought together by a vicious rape - "coincidentally," the same way her favorite soap couple got together) with stolen pictures in an ongoing lie that's lasted four yours and shows no signs of ending. This also isn't her first fake marriage. She has pretty much everyone on her Facebook fooled because she only added, like, three people she knows in person.

ephemerina said...

Anon12: There are a lot of them out there. With any luck this lawsuit will help deter them as well, because they will see that their actions may have real consequences.

Kristy said...

Wow. People are assholes. Suriously. I guess it's easy to talk shit when you are anonymous.

ephemerina said...

Kristy: it's the easiest thing in the world. L. Frank Baum knew that, and that was before the internets was invented. (cue some computer weenie to correct me by saying the first hamster-powered computer was built by Cotton Mather in the early 1700s)

Anonymous said...

hey paula,

as someone who moved around the world to marry someone they'd never met in person, and is still (more than) happily married several years later: i am so sorry you went through all of this, and i sincerely hope that the experience has sharpened your intuition but not dulled your ability to trust/love new people (no matter where you meet them).

sadly, pathological liars such as JSJ can never offer any closure because the fantasy world they've concocted is so impenetrable they can't even get out themselves. i walk a fine line between hating her guts and wishing her ill, and feeling so sorry for her miserable existence.