Michelle Renee Pt. 1: The Perfect Mark
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It's perfect for fans of hostage, and those who love cases with huge twists and turns search for and subscribe to not guilty on Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts, and please don't forget to rate and review. This episode features discussions of plotting bomb threats kidnapping and Bank robberies that some may find offensive listener discretion is advised especially for children under thirteen. A series of panicked instructions rambled through Michelle Renee as head as she approached her Bank. That fateful morning remain. Calm. Don't give yourself away. Wait for the armored truck to place the money in the vault. Take the money walk out again, it should have been easy. She was a Bank manager after all if anyone could come and go as they pleased. It was her. There was only one problem you needed to people to access the vault as the armored truck drove away. Michelle Renee reached for her briefcase and motioned to tell her to follow her to the vault the teller notice that her boss seemed to be walking stilted -ly like she was wearing a full body cast under her clothes weirder. Still the normally bubbly outgoing Michelle Renee spoke only in monosylabic words and just. Cher's until they reached the vault. Michelle Renee burst into a puddle of panic and whisper yelled, look, what's on my back. She lifted her shirt strapped to her back with two sticks of dynamite. Why? This is hostage. Apar- cast original on Carter. Roy every Thursday. We tell the stories behind the most captivating hostage situations and the people inside them. And I'm Blanco will also cover the psychological tactics used in hostage negotiations, and what the human brain does when held captive. This will be our first episode on the kidnapping and Bank robbery of Michelle Renee, whose last name has been omitted for the privacy of her interv- daughter will also be using pseudonyms where appropriate on November twenty first two thousand three men allegedly broke into Michelle's home in vista California and took her her seven year old daughter and her roommate hostage the next day, the men strap dynamite to the women in told Michelle to rob the Bank of America where she worked or they would kill her daughter. This week will need Michelle Renee. Day and follow her heroin abduction next week. We'll take a look at the robbery in the immediate aftermath while Michelle was still held hostage at par cast. We are grateful for you our listeners, you allow us to do what we love and let us know how we're doing reach out on Facebook and Instagram at par cast and Twitter at marquess network. And if you enjoy today's episode the best way to help us is to leave a five star review wherever you are listening. It really does help we also now have merchandise head to park cast dot com slash merch. For more information. We've all seen Bank robberies play out in the movies robbers come in shooting. Everyone drops to the floor. One robber takes the Bank manager to open. The vault threatening the other hostages if they misbehave the robbers steal the money and escape before the police are called everyone survives the event. That's a best case scenario at least for the Bank robbers, but most robberies are plagued with problems. Christopher Butler was determined to avoid as many pitfalls of armed robbery as he could not much is known about Butler's early life. He pops up on record in two thousand having been released after time served for Bank robbery in Atlanta. Georgia in nineteen Ninety-seven. Although details are scant. It seems to have been a typical armed robbery gone wrong. He knew what did and didn't work hostages were unpredictable. Someone always triggered on alarm on. Then there was the escape getting into banks was easy, robbing banks was relatively easy getting out. Again, was another story in two thousand Butler was living in oceanside, California, just north of San Diego. It was the sort of sleepy beach town that people dream of retiring in with teal water, white sand beaches, fishing, piers and Spanish influence architecture delivered in French home if he strove frame Lisa Ramirez in their Rottweiler. Voodoo the neighborhood made them feel right at home. They'd recently become friends with another tenant in the house. Christopher Huggins and their next door. Neighbor. Robert Ortiz how Butler Huggins Ramirez and Ortiz spent their time is anyone's guess, there's no record of if or where they worked or whether they had outside friends or interests. In general, the foursome kept to themselves in flew under the radar their other. Neighbors never would have suspected that Butler was in the process of planning. What he could only hope would be the perfect Bank robbery. There would be no improvising. No potential heroes among the hostages, and he and his accomplices would have plenty of time to get as far away from the scene of the crime as possible. In fact, he wouldn't even be in the Bank when the robbery occurred. None of them would. After his nineteen Ninety-seven robbery conviction Butler came up with a novel approach. He would get someone else to rob a Bank for him. Why draw tension to a robbery with guns and masks? Why steal the money, and you can have someone else. Do it for you. Why threaten a room full of people when you only needed to threaten one. There was only one part of the plan. He had to flesh out how could he get someone else to rob a Bank for him? He needed to pick a victim with access to a Bank vault. A woman in his experience. They were physically weaker and less likely to resist force, especially from men and for good reason. According to the World Health Organization women are more likely to be maimed or killed by men than they are likely to die of cancer or traffic accidents and malaria combined. He also knew this. Needed to be a Bank manager with something to lose some one to lose perhaps a single mother if she believed her child was in danger. He knew he could get her to do anything. He demanded one cool October evening in two thousand Butler divulge the idea to his friend and neighbor Robert Ortiz together, they thought up the missing link that transformed butlers grand idea into a fully realized plan. A bomb would knock the hero out of anyone. You can fight a man with a gun, but most people would have no clue how to defuse a bomb. They would strap a bomb to the body of a female Bank manager and make her rub. Her own Bank to ensure her cooperation they would hold her child hostage until the money was in hand the plan was full proof. According to the Aberdeen center for trauma. Search Butler had planned and instrumental kidnapping a meaning that the kidnapping was motivated by the promise of an objective reward. Ransom. Kidnappings also fall under this category. And they have been happening since the beginning of human history with plenty of success, Butler and artistes soon recruited, Lisa Ramirez and Christopher Huggins and began planning the specifics of the job all they needed was the right Mark Butler was too smart to target a Bank in his own city, given his criminal record. He would have been on the shortlist of suspects within a few days. So the group took stock of their acquaintances looking for an out of town friend whose home they could use as headquarters the group quickly realized they had one mutual friend, a young woman who lived in nearby vista California per apartment was just around the corner. From Bank of America branch that received money Depa. Posits from Brinks armored truck every single morning. It would be the perfect vantage point to plan a robbery they decided to visit the Bank to see if any of the Bank manager's fit the profile on November, seventh two thousand Lisa Ramirez. Walked into the vista Bank of America and sat down with a worker on the pretense of opening a business account, while the Bank workers spoke Ramirez sized up the other employees and quickly took notice of Michelle Renee, the placard on her desk, red Bank manager, and she had half a dozen photographs of her with her young daughter. There were no men in the pictures and Michelle wasn't wearing a wedding band. She was the perfect target. When Michelle Renee left work that evening. She didn't notice the car following her home. A few minutes later. The foursome watched Michelle. I'll walk into an isolated house in the countryside. The house belonged to Michelle's friend and roommate kimbro Oliver Michelle lived there with her seven-year-old daughter Bria, it was an idyllic life free from the stresses of big city living but close enough to San Diego to enjoy the lifestyle. Michelle awoke every morning to a view of the Pacific Ocean, a far cry from the life of sex drugs and rock and roll. Michelle had come from. Born near Boston, Massachusetts, Michelle had grown up with a complicated mother and an abusive father, she and her six brothers and sisters had spent their childhood out running. Their father's belt in fists and trying to forget the sound of their mother sobbing through thin apartment walls. In Michelle's words. Her father had seen it as his responsibility to teach his children, the ropes of real life, abandoning them beating them and routinely leading the water gets shutoff while he partied in Las Vegas was just par for the course in Michelle's own words, she learned to walk by walking on eggshells around her father. Her mother never found the strength to stand up to him and eventually dragged her children across the country to follow him to San Diego, California a few weeks after he had abandoned his family at that point. Michelle knew she had to. Escape at age. Fifteen Michelle ran away to live with her first serious boyfriend in a neighboring suburb that he quickly filled the void of abuse left by her father. He told her where to go who she could and couldn't speak to what she could eat in one fit of jealous rage. He pulled a knife and held it to her throat while she pleaded for him to let her go. According to a two thousand eight study, titled childhood victimization and lifetime revictimizes -ation by Kathy. Spats Whittam Sally, j Chhaya and Mary Anne Dutton, quote, childhood victimization increases risk for physical and sexual assault or abuse kidnapping stocking and having a family friend murdered or commit suicide, and quote unfortunate as it may have been it wasn't shocking that Michelle ended up where she did. But unlike many victims who remain caught in. Vicious cycle. Michelle found the strength and was lucky enough to break free after leaving her boyfriend. She lived on the streets of southern California soon, she stole a car just to have a place to sleep where she could lock the doors at night. Eventually she fell to guilty in return the car to its own Michelle knew something needed to change. She didn't wanna live this way anymore. She wanted to take control over her finances over her potential initially. She found small jobs that helped keep her off the streets. But her prospects were limited and by age eighteen she found her way into exotic dancing as a dancer Michelle made enough money to take care of herself and could even pay for classes to become a certified nurse. However, she had a lot of teenage rebellion to work out of her system. Staying up all night engaging in risky sex practices. And doing copious amounts of drugs. Research accepted by the Australian Institute of family. Studies found direct corollaries between abuse in. How it affects children's developments. The repercussions impact the victims intelligence coping mechanisms problem solving abilities and how they react to stress as an adult, but no amount of trauma could have prepared her for having a bomb strapped to her chest. In a moment will follow the events that led to Michelle's kidnapping. Robin Hood is an investing Abdullah to buy and sell stocks ETF's options and cryptos all commission free. While other brokerages charge up to ten dollars for every trade. Robinhood doesn't charge any commission fees. So you can trade stocks and keep all your profits. Plus, there's no account minimum deposit needed to get started. So you can start investing at any level. This simple intuitive design of robinhood makes investing easy for newcomers and experts alike view, easy to understand charts and market data and place a trade in just four taps on your smartphone. You can also use stop collections such as one hundred most popular with Robin Hood, you can learn how to invest in the market as you build your portfolio. Discover new stocks track your favorite companies and get custom notifications for price movements. So you never miss the right moment to invest Robin Hood is giving listeners of hostage of free stock like apple Ford or sprint to help you build your portfolio. Sign up at hostage dot robinhood dot com. You have the suspect's fingerprints at the crime scene. You have witnesses testifying that they saw the suspect commit the crime. The suspect has a motive it's an open and shut case. Or is it each week the par cast original not guilty examines? Controversial criminal cases and tries to determine why solid evidence doesn't always lead to a conviction. What police considered compelling evidence against Casey Anthony in the disappearance of her daughter Kayleigh defense attorneys classified as fantasy forensics, and she was ultimately acquitted Keighley's murder. Amanda Knox served four years in an Italian prison for murder before later being acquitted was the media portrayal of knocks the profile of a killer or televised character assassination and sometimes jurors are responsible for wrongful convictions. As was the case when the central park five were convicted despite DNA evidence showing none of the suspects were involved search for and subscribe to not guilty on Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts. Again, search not guilty or visit parkas dot com slash not guilty to listen now. Now back to the story. Michelle had fled. Her abusive father's house at fifteen years old. Just a couple of short years later. She was supporting herself as an exotic dancer indulging in partying and drug use that nearly cost her everything in her memoir held hostage. Michelle describes the night. She left exotic dancing and heavy drug use behind on the way to a high end party at a mansion her party friends offered her the chance to become a call girl. She could live in party at the mansion all it would cost her was half of what she made satisfying. The whims of old and wealthy. Men. Dancing nude was one thing she had no desire to be a sex worker years of sensing. Her father's mood. Swings. Had given her a Spidey sense for danger and the hairs on her arms were prickly. She knew a trap when she saw one. She waited until they stopped at a gas station. And bolted from the car. The shell caught a ride with a charitable Christian couple who took pity on her and helped her start a new life eventually found work as a Bank teller in met and married. A sailor in the navy to even begin taking courses to help or get promoted in the banking industry for the first time. Michelle Renee found herself with a life. She had always admired she had a house career and someone who loved her in nineteen ninety three the age of twenty eight she even found out she was expecting her first child a little girl. She would call brea her perfect. Life was coming together. Unfortunately, tragedy struck when her husband's father died. Her husband fell into a deep depression while Michelle was pregnant, he tried to self medicate with drugs and eventually gave into addiction six weeks after Bria was born he left to run an errand and didn't return it. Would be weeks before she saw him this time cowering in her kitchen like a ghost when she got home from work. Life had thrown her another hard curve ball to her credit. The shell filed for divorce in swept her daughter away to a new hopefully better life. Michelle was offered a coveted position in a Bank management program. And before she knew it she had packed her life away in a u haul and headed south for vista, California. Just outside San Diego moving to vista had been a welcome chance at reinvention. She had a job that paid well and made her feel respected. She and her daughter weren't just scraping by they were thriving. She'd even begun dating again by the time. Michelle Renee turned thirty five in the year, two thousand the pieces of a happy contented life seemed to have fallen into place for her again every day. She followed a similar route. Eighteen she went to work all day left to pick up her daughter from daycare around six and drove back to the remote house. They shared with Michelle's friend kimbro sometimes Michelle's boyfriend would come over other times kimbrough's daughters from a previous relationship filled. The house with screaming childish fun. It was a messy collection of people. But it was a family their biggest problem seemed to be that brea kept having nightmares. She had woken up several times lately. Crying from shell claiming. She could see is watching her through her bedroom window, Michelle tried to reassure her daughter that she was just having bad dreams, but breeze fears were all too real at that very moment in November of two thousand. They were being watched by a group of strangers preparing to tear their lives apart. Chris butler. Lisa ramirez. Chris Huggins and Margaret Ortiz at also settled into a little routine they would park their car on the corner near the Bank of America around five thirty PM and wait for Michelle Rene to leave. They drove several car lengths behind her as she picked up her daughter, then radioed ahead. Said to one of their cohorts already laying in wait near Michelle's home. They watched Michelle feed brea dinner, and they watched Michelle and brea snug on the couch together playing video games after lights out. They even watched Michelle seduce her boyfriend through the thin bedroom curtains, they tracked Kimber scheduled to she was less predictable long enough to pick a day when they knew Kim RAs children would be with their father fewer loose ends that way fewer hostages fewer chances that one or both women might decide to play hero for Chris Butler. The job wasn't simply a matter of stealing money. The true reward was getting away with his crime. Well, Butler watched Michelle Ortiz gathered guns for the group preparations for the robbery were heating up the next day Butler and Ramirez purchased two-way radios and began. Testing their range. There was only one last loose end. The dog's Michelle had a black lab and kimbrough had a black German shepherd. The dogs had never reacted hostile while the group watched Michelle's house, but they might attack strangers Butler solution was odd to say, the least even though they had guns. He decided they would bring to African decorative spears along with them. He didn't want to use the guns unless absolutely necessary because the gun shots would draw attention from neighbors. He could use the spears to kill the dogs if need be he also thought brio would be more scared of spears than of a gun because she was so young as an added precaution. He brought his Rottweiler voodoo to try and keep the dogs at bay. It wasn't the only odd choice Butler would make in fact, despite all of his planning and preparation Butler saved his strangest choice for last November twenty first two thousand Michelle Renee was ready to go home at the end of a long day. She didn't want to be late picking brea up again. But we're always seemed to pile up late in the day. And she was trying to finish it as quickly as she could Michelle looked up as a man approached her desk, he was stocky and walked with a pronounced swagger, but it was the vest. She noticed I the black vest embroidered with gold that he wore without an undershirt. She could see his chest hair peeking out of the vests deep V, the vested man's occur hand and sat back in the chair opposite her slouching. Like a third grader he told her. He wanted to start a photography business and needed an account. He handed her. The business card. It read on the spot photography by Christopher Butler. Michelle glanced up again to see Butler staring at her from across the desk. He had droopy red is, but they seemed hungry. There was something about him. She didn't like they were soon. Joined by a woman, he called Lisa Michelle reached out to shake her hand the woman, I'd her coldly and ignored it. Michelle noted that is strange. Sure, but central clients came in all shapes and sizes, but most people knew to follow basic etiquette thrown off. She watched Butler pickup a portrait of her daughter Bria from her desk, he touched the face of her daughter in the picture and said, she's a little beauty the hairs on Michelle's arms. Pricked up something she had long learned to trust. The shell try to steer the conversation back to business, but Butler and the woman rose to their feet, they told her they had to go Butler added. Don't worry we'll see you again real soon and just like that they were going Michelle caught the eye of co worker almost as if to ask whether they had just seen the strains meetings. She just had if the coworker missed it, the cameras certainly didn't for better or worse. Michelle had just been recorded speaking with the thieves that would soon rob her Bank Michelle felt uneasy but put the weird encounter from her mind. As she glanced up at the clock. It was almost five forty five time to go home and be with her daughter as Michelle and brea arrived home, they leapt from the vehicle to greet their dogs and noticed they had a new visitor a fat Rottweiler paste their yard Michelle could see. A court of frayed rope tied too tightly around it's thick neck. But she wasn't phased by the dog's sudden appearance. Their remote neighborhood saw its share of stray dogs with gentle coaxing Michelle befriended the dog in even gave it food and water despite its massive size and scary demeanor. She realized he was just a big baby hearing rustling Michelle whipped her head towards a nearby. Patch of trees and shrubs something had moved. She waited to see if the dog's owner might emerge, but all was still she wrote it off as a squirrel or deer. They were in the boonies after all after dinner, Michelle Umbria snuggled on the couch to play video games together. Like they often did unwind then their front door exploded in a moment. Michelle's entire world is thrown into chaos now back to the story. November twenty first two thousand Michelle Renee and her seven-year-old daughter brea had just settled down for a quiet night of video games. Suddenly three masked men smashed through the front door and slammed Michelle to the floor. She could just turn her head to see brea running for the safety of her bedroom and one of the men running after her Michelle could hear brea whimpering as the man wrestled for grip Michelle screamed for her daughter. She told them in. She's all I have please don't hurt. Her the leader barked shut up or will pistol whip you in front of your kid. The heavy boot was pressed to the back of the shells head. She begged him to let her sit up just so she could see what they were doing to brea. Instead they wrapped duct tape around her wrists. She heard them do the same to brea, at least that meant mentor daughter. Nearby. Then someone shut off the lights pitching the entire house into darkness. The leader leaned over Michelle and told her you're the Bank manager from down the street. We want the money in the volt and you're going to get it for us or your little girl will die while you watch the leader asked Michelle how many people were needed to access the vault. Michelle responded, honestly you needed to. He laughed softly and said, correct. He already knew it took two people. He had been trying to catch her and ally in held hostage Rene recounts. He had scoped out her options in singled out, a teller Maria with a breathy laugh, the leader said he knew what type of car Maria. Drove it would be easy to wire it to blow if Michelle did something foolish and didn't Maria have a new baby at home Butler was. Trying to intimidate Michelle. He wanted her to know that he had been following her for weeks. He had gathered information about her co workers her routine he had stalked her the Bank. Now, he had her tied up in her own living room. He was in total control. According to both the national criminal Justice association project, and the book stalking a handbook for victims. Whether Butler knew it or not he was exhibiting an escalation of stalking behaviors even though he was going after a specific goal and not Michelle personally, his behaviors were designed to make her feel vulnerable disoriented and not in control. And if Michelle wasn't already terrified Butler got personal the leader told her he knew she often bought ice cream from a store down the street, and that brea liked one particular brand of store bought pizza the most he recited her order at a local. Italian restaurant from the previous week. The also new she sometimes did strip teases for her boyfriend in her bedroom. They had been watching her for months Butler and his accomplices claimed only when she seemed to understand how well they had planned this did they pull her up off the floor. Michelle turned her head to search the room for her daughter Bria was close by. She was scared taped at her ankles and wrists, but unharmed relief flooded through Michelle she could now also see her assailants three men of various builds dressed in all black wearing homemade masks beanies with eyeholes cut out the skinniest of the three had a gun pressed to her daughter's head the man near her was built more like a brick wall. There was something about the stocky leader that seemed familiar, but she couldn't quite place. It something about his voice about. His walk the leader opened a bag at his side and pulled out something long and bulky black and yellow wires protruded from the ends. He asked her if she knew what it was Michelle replied, it looks like dynamite, he told her it was wired to a detonator Michelle's throat filled with vomit she asked for permission to go to the bathroom, the leader dragged her down the hallway and undid her duct tape, then watch from the doorway as she went inside. He wouldn't let her shut the door. Or if he did let her turn on the light as she sat down to pee. She got her first glimpse of the man holding her daughter hostage, even veiled by a black mask. She recognized the man's eyes instantly. She had seen them only hours before at the Bank. They belong to the man who had touched her daughter's picture and given her a card with his name on it. Christopher Butler her suspicion was confirmed moments later when he tossed her back onto the couch in the living room next to brea, and the female voice burst to life over the two way radio on his hip. The woman said you there Chris Michelle thought she recognized that voice it belonged to the woman who had come into the Bank with him time ran slow like glue as the men took turns for the next several hours threatening her and writing her kitchen for snacks. Michelle could only hope that daylight would come quickly. So she could do what needed to be done to get these men out of their lives and away from her little girl. But she was worried about something else shall stomach lurch. As she heard Kim RAs truck pull into the driveway. But the masked men were. Ready for her? They had been watching Kimber as day to day routine to as they gathered by the darkened front door. The men warned Michelle not to do something. She wouldn't be able to take back Michelle covered brea on the couch absolutely silent as she listened to her roommate's stumble in and pet the Rottweiler. This really wasn't neighborhood of strays Kimber. Didn't even bat an eye that there was a new dog inside the masked men ambushed Kimber and dragged her kicking and screaming into her bedroom. Moments later, they dropped camera onto the couch beside Michelle bound with duct tape in the early morning hours. Michelle convinced the men to let her take brea to bed with her one of the masked men sat watching through the night. Michelle tried to tell herself that in the morning all of this would be over. But another thought always crept in the realization that after she robbed the Bank. They could do anything. They wanted to tour. It was a horrifying thought. And she let it rock her to sleep hours later. The masked man nudged Michelle awake with the barrel of his gun and told her to get ready brea was still half asleep on the bed. Michelle didn't want to leave her alone. So she took her into the shower with her to Michelle chagrin masked man held the door. Open and watched them shower, Michelle shielding breeze body from view as she emerged into the bedroom. Butler told her to pick loose fitting clothing, then he yanked up the back of her shirt. He pressed the two sticks of wired dynamite to her spine and secured it with duct tape yanking at around her stomach. So it cut into her skin Michelle gasped, she could feel the tape digging into a ribs it made it difficult to breathe in harder to walk. Then he did the same to Br. Via the little girl yelped as they secured two more sticks of dynamite in place on her back. Michelle pleaded with them to loosen it Huggins who was going by the moniker. Big Hershey was the only volunteer resituating situating the package on free is back. The leader reminded Michelle of what would happen. She failed to get the money or tried to alert the police, then they gave her ten minutes to say goodbye. The last ten minutes she might ever spend with her daughter. Michelle struggled over what to say. What could she say? She could think to do was coup words of love and encouragement into her little girl's ear a rough hand landed on brea shoulder. The leader told his men to bind breeze arms and legs again with duct tape, then they tossed her into a closet and shut the door. Then they shoved Michelle out to her Jeep and into the driver's seat Butler climbed. Into the back seat and pressed a gun into her back his men stayed behind with Michelle's daughter and roommate she drove toward the scene of her own impending crime Michelle listened to the leader murmuring apologies to her from his tuck down position in the back. He seemed to want her to believe he'd had no choice in the matter. This may have been away to downplay his role as leader of the group in the event of an investigation. It may also have been a variation of killers remorse where Butler regretted the decision to target Michelle after seeing how she her daughter and her roommate were suffering. He sounded nothing like the big bad wolf had pretended to be the night before as messages came through on his radio his voice varied between the two extremes. When they arrived at Michelle's Bank of America. Branch Butler reminded her to park in her own spot from her parking space. He had a full view of inside the Bank. He would be watching. He would be listening. He would give her five minutes to empty the vault and return to the car any alarms any police any dye packs rigged to explode in the money. And she would never see her daughter again. Next week on hostage will follow Michelle Renee into Bank, robbing history as the fallout from the kidnapping grows ever complicated. We'll also learn the fate of our hostages and kidnappers. Thanks again for tuning in to hostage. We will be back Thursday with a new episode. You can find more episodes of hostage as well. As all of our casts other shows on Spotify or anywhere else. You listen to podcasts. Several of you have asked how to help us if you enjoy the show the best way to help is to leave a five star review. And don't forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram at park cast and Twitter at par cast network. We'll see next time until then don't take your freedom. For granted hostage was created. By max Cutler is a production of Cutler media, and is part of the par cast network. It is produced by Maxon Ron Cutler sound design by Russell Nash with production assistance by Ron. Shapiro in Paul Muller. Additional production assistance by Maggie admire and Freddie, Beckley hostages written by Jordan trip here and stars Irma Blanco and Carter ROY. Don't forget to listen to not guilty. It explores how controversial criminal cases unfolded through the lens of both. Detectives insurers be shared a search for and subscribe to not guilty on Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts, and please don't forget to rate and review.