A to Z Challenge 2013

BEDiM 2013 : DAY 5 & A to Z 2013 : REFLECTIONS

(A Blog Every Day in May 2013 Challenge & An A to Z 2013 Challenge Reflections Entry)

I will start with the shortest segment of this double combo super punch to the love cockles of the blogosphere; the BEDiM entry.

Today’s prompt:

Day 5, Sunday: Publicly profess your love and devotion for one of your blogger friends. What makes them great? Why do you love them? If you don't have blogger friends, talk about a real-life friend or even a family member.

This really is a Combo post. A blending of two challenges into one...

Considering all the new friends I’ve made over the last few months, I feel there is no way to single out any one specific blog. During the A to Z I’ve made even more friends, all varying in their degrees of interaction with one another and myself. So instead of focusing on just one, I plan to highlight a handful of bloggers that I feel have been actively keeping up reading/commenting and building connections (whether during the A to Z or beyond).

Before getting there, though, I shall take a moment to reflect upon the A to Z Challenge 2013.

If I Could Do It All Again

The A to Z Challenge was a great experience, regardless of the pockets of stress, and momentary close breakdowns throughout! It opened the door to meeting many fellow bloggers, each with their own topics/themes/voices/styles. It's amazing really! I'm looking forward to keeping along with their own personal journeys through the blogosphere, as much as I hope they are interested to following along with mine.

That being said, however, I think attempting to follow over 20+ blogs (reading, commenting, and replying) was a bit overwhelming for me. I’m a slow reader, and while normally this is no big deal, combined with daily posts — while having to write my own — I could feel myself falling behind. I’ve already apologized, and plan to catch up where need be, so if some particular blogger isn’t okay with that, well I should reassess my bothering to follow along with them in the first place. I view this whole experience as a fun, sociable interaction with the blogosphere.

This may not have been such an issue had I written blogs in advance as advised by the Host/Co-Hosts in March. I am definitely planning to do so next year (maybe I will start right now!). It will cut down on half of the work, and I could spend more time reading fellow blogger posts, comment, and reply. I am amazed at how many people breezed through these difficulties, and I may be a tad bit jealous of them. So, this is one area of improvement I plan to make for next year. I may also attempt a theme. It seems like everyone who focused on a theme had a blast! We will see what I have going on next April before deciding.

It’s pretty obvious I would partake in the challenge again, pending having the time to do so. Most of the Host/Co-Hosts did a great job at interacting with participants and posting encouraging entries to spur everyone on all throughout the challenge. Overcoming my blocks of writing, by blogging every day, was a huge triumph for me. This is partially why I decided to go ahead with the Blog Every Day in May Challenge.

Overall it was a great experience with great people and am looking forward to next year!

Blogosphere Bonanza

Now to highlight a handful of bloggers that I know personally and/or were highly active throughout the challenge and the months leading up to it! A handful you may recognize from my Liebster Award entry back in March. I hope I didn’t forget anyone. I met many people towards the last half of the challenge, but this — honestly — is focused on those met from the beginning. I will still be catching up on unlisted blogs and following along!

Some you may already follow, but if not, check them out! When I visit blogs I try my best to remember to “Like” and Googlemend (Google Recommend — it will be a word... work with me!) each post. I believe in encouraging and promoting blog entries of fellow friends throughout the blogosphere (and I definitely don’t object to the same in return). So sally forth into uncharted realms of the blogosphere and support your comrades and make some great networking connections! You may find yourself some wonderful gems hidden out there just waiting for you to discover them. ;-)
A Fly on our (Chicken Coop) Wall: I don’t think she has shared her name with me, but it may be in the labyrinth of her blog. She has been at it for some time and I have some catching up to do. Looking at her numbers, though, I may want to stick to 2013 and beyond haha sweet lord almighty! Some random facts I’ve garnished: Her and her husband reproduce like rabbits, her family plays barn roof tennis (not for the faint of heart), she is a professional shaver, and is devoted to volunteer work. BUT she has a loud laugh, so only blogger buddies!

A Writer’s Journey: Jessica is still someone I'm learning about slowly as I go back over her past blog entries. She is a sneaky lil devil and has multiple blogs (which in a crazy move, involved both blogs in the A to Z challenge with different, but equally entertaining, themes). Her second blog is Closet Geek Gurl. While the first focuses more on her personal life as a writer, the second is her expression of geekiness to the blogosphere; her escape. What I came to find is that she writes books (and is published) about superheroes! How cool is that? I believe it is called Small Town Hero. She can correct me if I am mistaken. It's shaping up to be a series of undetermined length!

Behind These Pages: I met Tamara a few months ago (via The Warrior Muse). I want to say it was around the time we both (All three of us really) participated in a Flash Fiction contest. She just began her new blog, now partnered up with a friend, and I’ve yet to see which direction they plan on taking it. I had just met Tamara when she had to go on hiatus for a stint. She arrived just in time for the A to Z and is ready to rock out with her... So yeah, I'm looking forward to learning more about her and her friend!

Black Coffee and Cigarettes: Kirsten has at least three blogs, and sharing in Jessica’s craziness, she entered two in the A to Z Challenge! Why people?! Why?! lol Kirsten was the one who presented me with the Liebster Award (thank you so much, again!) and — regretfully — I’ve yet to fully explore her main blog. Short Story Ideas: is just as it says. A blog/site offering help with ideas for short stories. The A to Z focused on various prompts, so I still have to double back to try some of them. Then there is Just Ermie: about a character on the run from thought police, serial killer/spies, and most everything under the sun. It’s a lot of fun! Ermie got too far ahead of me, though, and she is a master of disguise. I’ll be catching up to her yet.

Meetings With My Muse: Kimberly has been blogging for a few years, and I’ve yet to delve into much beyond her A to Z posts (which highlighted a multitude of great resource links for writing, publishing, editing, finding agents, etc etc!) I also need to explore those abundance of links. I am curious to see what she posts about outside of the A to Z Challenge. She writes YA Fantasy and Science fiction, but I’m uncertain if published. I’d like to read some of her work.

One to One with Life: I believe Andy had just begun blogging this year, much like myself. His A to Z was a mix-match of philosophy, history, and random thoughts. I enjoyed reading along and he was very encouraging. He simply seems an all around great guy. Doesn’t hurt he has some tech knowledge and likes Doom! I hope he continues his blog, because I feel he has a lot of interesting stories/thoughts to share. Give him some good lovings! I know it can be hard to find readers/followers when starting out.

Poke The Rock: Jette is German, loves to dance, draws freaking uncomfortable things like a bear riding a tricycle with a smiling poop on its head! GAH! But, she draws many fantastical things and is very talented. She is a master of Finger Puppets, and I secretly plan to coax her into making me a personalized EmoJak finger puppet (hoody, solemn expression, bats, and all!) I just have to find the right bribing (or blackmail) material. She doesn’t think she is “deep”, but I happen to know she is in the “Thick of it” with all the challenges she is participating in.

Pull Up A Toadstool: I met Tracy partway through the A to Z. She was also one of those insane folks doing multiple tasks/challenges at once. She was participating in Nation Poetry Writing Month, I believe, while also doing A to Z! She had a lot of thought provoking topics/subject matter and it was great engaging in discussions about them. I will have to take a gander at some of the writing prompts she was partaking in during the challenge. I know I missed a lot, but should be easier to catch up now. She is so sweet, and was always positive in comments!

Randomness and Lunacy: She’s Random. She’s a Lunatic. She’s a Random Lunatic! Jenn was another blogger that always stuck it out through the torrents of posts and comments. She has been blogging and writing for a long time. I believe she has two books published and she is working on another! Actually I’ve found she is working on a good majority of projects. Very ambitious, this one. I should suck the ambition out of her like a vampire :) Jenn loves hockey, music, writing, and she works in her office (command center?) from home yet “bikes” four miles to and from work every day. Now that is awesome! I plan to adopt that regiment.

Simply She Goes: Kianwi had a fun theme of nostalgia for the A to Z. Not only that, but she worked in a contest to guess her age. Prizes included a grouping of nostalgic items from her childhood. I didn’t guess correctly, and I won’t share her age as I’ve learned that can get you slapped depending on the individual! I'm betting she is a slapper, based on knowledge that she coerces her dog to dress up and post blog posts on her behalf to deflect catching flack. I think she coerced Jette into participating in the A to Z too! How rude! ;-) Seriously, though, she is a lot of fun (even more so than I thought with recently garnished intel!) and look forward to going back over her pre A to Z postings and learning more about her! Even if she did try to get Boba Fett and Princess Leia to fall in love...

The Average Poet: I don’t know a whole lot about Robert. What I do know is that he loves poetry! His blog is chock full of his own personal poetry and it's awesome. He also had some (what seems to be) fiction work sprinkled throughout. If you are a fan of poetry I recommend checking out his work. Also, from glancing at his history, he has been blogging since 2005. That is a lot of freakin’ blogging!

The Mind Meanders: Kristen was one of my nominees for the Liebster Award. She had some interesting topics and even interviews during the A to Z. She recently came to acquire a publishing house and has plans to make her dreams and aspirations as a writer/publisher come true! The name of the company is Fey Publishing. Check them out. I believe they are working on the site and have even opened submissions. With everything going on, Kristen is still catching up on the challenge, so encouragement is welcomed. I wish her luck on her business endeavors and am excited to see how everything turns out.

The Tex Files: Tex was a roit! Their A to Z challenge was Grammaticats, which utilized pictures of cats to teach proper grammar. They were cute and hilarious. Crooks even made a guest appearance, in all his full-bellied glory! It sounds like Tex is taking a brief breather, but then I believe it’s back at it! I really liked the Grammaticats a lot, and would love to see more of them. Or something with a new theme would be great. I appreciate Tex’s in-your-face mentality! A very supportive, fun individual. And honestly, quite hilarious!
And last, but definitely not least...
The Warrior Muse: Shannon was one of my original Jakker Trakkers outside of people I knew personally. I’ve already recommended and referenced her blog multiple times. It's full of fantastic information about herself, her projects, writing in general, event/contest/submission information, and more. She has two pieces of work being published (short stories I believe, while her first novel is being queried — did I use that term correctly? lol) and I'm looking forward to checking them out. Shannon is also a Co-Host of the A to Z Challenge, participates in various writing events, and is one busy bee. She is a horror and Post-Apocalyptic/Dystopia fan (how I came across her blog originally), which is very sweet. I'm still learning more about her as I backtrack her blog.
Why Can’t We Be Friends

Most of the below are people I meet during NaNoWriMo 2012. Since that time I feel we have slowly been working on building our connections/friendships. Some of this group have known one another for a long time. I’m kind of the new kid on the block. A handful of the group realized from the beginning how awesome I am. Others take their sweet sweet time, which may be smart. I am a bit odd.
Sideways From Sunday: A friend made from NaNoWriMo more famously known as Number One! I think she is finally allowing me into her “inner circle” now that we are linked by a curse. She has started blogging more often now, and I hope she plans to continue. The topics are random and of a more “journal” format. She may fear whales, but she is good lookin’ and enjoys cookin’!

The Candence Journey: A NaNo 2012 ML and one of three friends of this grouping who joined the A to Z after it began. She is on a journey to unlocking her true inner self, after a lifetime of being what others expected. It’s interesting to keep up and explore her transition along with her as she comes into her own. Her new “self” so to speak. She plans to blog more regularly now that her itch to write has come back. Maybe she will even place up some fiction at some point too.

The Daily Discovery: This blog belongs to a friend I met a few months ago. She is passionate about helping people, and prefers working in the non-profit sector. She is a painter and writer, but her writing fell on the wayside for a time. She was very encouraging to me during the A to Z and I greatly appreciated it. Eventually her words began to flow again, and she even signed on to the Blog Every Day in May 2013 Challenge! How cool is that? I’m glad she is writing again, and hope she keeps at it this time. As long as she doesn’t neglect her painting!

The Pleasantest Life: This is the blog of Number Three and a new friend made during NaNoWriMo 2012. She became inspired to blog again after a hiatus and joined the A to Z late. At this time she is still catching up, but plans to continue. No set theme, but has some important topics she wishes to discuss (hence the delay —  trying to get them just right). She has a great sense of humor, yells her shouts (or shouts her yells?), owns both a cane and a magic walking stick, and walks like a grandma. Grandma status subject to change based on health.

Unfocus: Ah Number Five. He (also from NaNo 2012) joined into the A to Z Challenge from the outside about a week into the event. I believe he is still working on catching up and always has some random repostings/rebloggings (he uses Tumblr, where it seems reblogging is a way of life). But fair warning, a handful are of a mature nature. Hope he continues through to Z. I think he should blog about some of his occult knowledge/experiences!
Let’s Wrap This Up

Whew! That was exhausting! I hope you can find time, over the next few weeks, to continue following along with both myself and some new bloggers! Spread the love!

If any of the links are inaccurate/broken, please let me know and I will fix them up :)

I appreciate all your support and encouragement :) 

If you participated in the A to Z Challenge, have you made your Reflections post yet? Anything you would do differently next year? Do you have an all-time favorite blog you enjoy to read and would highly recommend?

A to Z 2013 ENDS & BLOG EVERY DAY IN MAY BEGINS

So the A to Z (2013) has ended and I got all my letters in on time (I am very proud of myself for that!), and I was looking forward to relaxing. Catch up on some blogs I came across during the challenge, write some fiction, and look into some podcasting equipment.

There is also that Fiction Contest I would love to write a piece for and submit. I’ve had an idea tumbling around in my head even before I learned of the contest, and am glad I hadn’t yet written and posted it on my fiction blog. I fleshed it out some, and while nothing spectacular, I think it will be a fun project.

Blog Every Day in May

Then as I was browsing through my feed today, I came across mention of another event called Blog Every Day in May. It was created by a fellow blogger Jenni at Story of My Life: The Blog. Basically it is as titled. You post a blog each day (Sundays included *groan*) of May using the daily prompts she has assigned for you. I would post them here, but felt it made more sense to direct traffic to her site as she is the host/creator of the challenge.

The prompts are pretty generic, and not overly complicated. The rules are lax, and it will be more laid back in nature (not that A to Z couldn’t be laid back... I just know it wasn’t always that way for me).

Sorry I hadn’t come across this earlier where I could have shared the info sooner, so that those interested would have a heads up. I’d imagine most will opt to steer clear after the A to Z, but you can still jump in anytime and go at your own pace. It is asked if you do participate that you place the badge on your sidebar (like mine) or the end of each post associated with the event. The code to do so is within that announcement post above!

I will mark each entry to the challenge with BEDiM followed by the specific day's number. I’d like to also post some standard issue blog posts throughout this challenge. I should be able to, as I plan to keep most of the BEDiM posts relatively shorter than most. They may not be as in-depth as some of my other entries, but I want to know if I can keep up with it (and to fuel consistent daily writing).

Sure, I may be sleep deprived and unaware of what I’m getting myself into, but to quote myself modifying a movie quote from an earlier post:
You know what ol’ Jak Cryton always says at a time like this?

Ol’ Jak always says, “Oh My Nuts!”
Have you heard of the Blog Every Day in May Challenge? If so, are you participating?

A to Z 2013 : UNDERACHIEVER

(An A to Z 2013 Challenge Entry)

I’ve spoken about this topic briefly in my first posts when I began blogging. I wasn’t the type of underachiever that would cause a scene in class (with exception of Spanish class) and be disruptive. The “bad boy” (that would be hilarious) who skipped class, smoked in the bathroom, and got into fights (though, those were — are — the type of guys a lot of women seem to swoon over; I blame Hollywood lol). I didn’t throw aside my homework and get terrible grades.

I did, however, try to do the bare minimum that I could. I never found school particularly hard, just boring. It didn’t help that I grew up in a small town with a graduating class under 100 people, where the lack of fun, creative classes was rampant. Art, Photography, Music, were classes many picked partially due to their ease. Some considered them slacker classes.

These weren’t slacker classes for me. I loved to draw, take pictures, and sing. So learning about these various topics was exciting for me. I guess I viewed Home Ec as a slacker class, but over time I really liked learning about cooking and crafts. Regardless of the class, I put in the least amount of effort needed.

Greater Expectations

Hmm... It’s possible that I’ve used that header before.

I may have put little effort into school, but I ended with good grades (minus that final year where I really slacked off... oops). Usually a Straight A or B student, honor rolls, finished all my homework, good test scores, blah blah blah. Everyone expected me to attend college. It never seemed to be my calling, though. I never felt a strong desire to go to college. The cost and thought of endless nights studying were enough to deter me.

I’d have to say I think most of my brothers are also underachievers. Only one (besides me) attempted college, dropped out (like myself), and eventually took massage therapy classes. I still classify him as an underachiever, though, being he takes the perceived easiest route to make money. I sometimes call him Easy Money.

Only a handful of us are happy with where we are at, and I believe that is what differentiates some underachievers from others. Some people don’t care where they are at, some enjoy it and are truly happy, while others loathe their place in life. Big dreams of moving up the corporate ladder, turning a hobby into a career, etc etc. Sometimes you just want more. I want more. To all of those who don’t give a damn, that is fine. Kudos to those who are happy, that is wonderful and I am, therefore, happy for you.

“This Will Never End ‘Cause I Want More...”

For myself? I want more. It feels like I have a void within — not of a spiritual, absence of “God”, nature — manifested by the lack of happiness associated with my place in life. I am content, but want more. I want to be a writer, to be doing what I am passionate about. I’d love having a gaming shop selling/buying cards, and I could write while doing that. Even blog/write about that specifically if wanting. A lot of my hobbies would blend together and have synchronicity.

I am attempting to take the steps to make this dream/goal a reality. This blogging is a move in that direction. I hope to get back into my gaming, and this time simultaneously begin my other blogs on those topics. I’ve also plans to start podcasting. It seems Blogger isn’t the best format to place a podcast on; the standard codex (did I say that right? Or is it just code?) isn’t supported and many tedious workarounds have to happen to make it possible. Then there are the Youtube videos, which I may start with my brother at some point.

It definitely seems like this may be biting off more than I can chew, but many of the alt blogs/podcasts/videos would be sporadic as material becomes available. In the end, though, they will hopefully all flow together and offer a variety of outlets where I can create without becoming completely bogged down with one genre/topic/aspect.

And my fiction? That goal will be to continually work on it, as well. After the A to Z, I will have an easier time following/writing blogs, commenting/replying, and writing fiction when there aren’t daily postings. Perhaps some I follow will continue daily, but I am assuming the majority will downshift to one or two postings a week, maybe three. The overwhelming stimulation of the event will have at least died down.

So, these are a handful of my creative goals in the coming weeks. We’ll see how far along I get. I hope to upgrade from an underachiever.

From an underachiever to an underdog, because seriously... let’s be realistic here. And besides, I’ve always rooted for the underdog!

Have you ever considered yourself, or anyone you know, an underachiever? What are some of your short term goals in the coming weeks? Long term? Do you (or have you) dabble in podcasting or creating Youtube videos? Do you root for the underdog?

A to Z 2013 : TAURIELLO

(An A to Z 2013 Challenge Entry)

Once again, I deviate from the planned path after a new random idea comes to me. I was going to share a handful of trailers for movies I’m looking forward to this year. I am a movie trailer buff afterall!

Instead, I thought I would share some information I learned about a piece of art I’ve had for some time now. One that has always, for inexplicable reasons, drawn me to it. I will randomly think about it and become curious of its origins. Preferring not to have anything on my walls — they have been bare white for almost seven years (minus the posters and bats placed up for my ex’s son) — this is one piece I wouldn’t object to placing up. I’ve no real idea why I haven’t ever done so.

Goddess

I found this piece of art at a garage sale years ago. I have this odd thing where if something continually draws my attention (usually art) then I end up buying it, if I can afford it. This was one of those pieces. As soon as I saw it I felt a “connection” of sorts, and I wanted it. I avoided it for a bit, walking around checking out the rest of the merchandise. It made no sense for me to buy it, I never hung anything on my walls anymore.

But, like I always do, I bought it. It was cheap. Like $3 cheap, so why the hell not? Did it ever go up on my wall? Nope. I still felt a deep resonance with it, and I began associating unrealistic qualities with the painting. I titled it “Goddess” and thought of her as my Guardian Angel and Muse. I had a dream once about my supposed Guardian Angel and I will perhaps talk about it sometime. Maybe I had this dream close to this period of time? I can’t recall.

Either way, I never hung it up (only partially due to not having a real frame), and I never left it out to inspire any of my writing (which I wasn’t doing at the time anyhow). I guess I figured a Guardian Angel could do their work from the closet. They must be able to, because I’ve had a few close calls.

This weekend I was cleaning out my closet and trying to condense — purge; some changes are coming up that I need to have a bit more available space for — some of my belongings, and I came across this piece again. After so many years, I thought it was time to investigate its origins. It is a print (I assume) and not an original; back is listed as 648. I know close to nothing about art, though, beyond what I fancy and what I don’t.

Frank Tauriello
Source: http://www.leonloard.com/
I made the mistake of misreading the name as Taurielb (the L and O blending close), which caused some initial frustrations. Once figuring out the correct spelling of his last name, though, the frustration didn’t end. I wasn’t able to find him or any pieces of his work. I tried simple descriptions, and looked up multiple sites. I must be getting bad at Google. Once locking down his full name I found only a handful of sites with his art up, most of which being eBay.

I did, however, find a few blog posts and forum threads about him. It seems a handful of people were seeking out information about the artist of works they had found; some describing the same print I have. From here I found postings from Frank’s daughter giving information about the passing of her father, and about a memorial site currently in the works.

His work seems to have been distributed by Leon Loard Commissioned Portraits (though, I saw someone listing another distributor: Donald Art Industries/Company; again I know nothing about art!) and this is what they had to say about the late F. Tauriello:
Although a New York native, Frank Tauriello is known as a noted California portraitist, where he resides and teaches. Born in Rochester, New York, he received a bachelor of Fine Arts degree Cum Laude from Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York. His graduate work spans four years at the Art Students League of New York under Frank J. Reilly. Tauriello spent the next twelve years in New York working in the areas of painting illustrations, murals, and restoration of paintings. Currently, he has put his full attention on portraiture work and the conservation of art.
           
From 1963 to the present, Tauriello has been a private teacher, demonstrating instructor and juror for the California Art Association and the American Society of Portrait Artists. His portrait subjects vary widely, including children and families, state governors, jurists, business executives, and celebrities such as actor Clint Eastwood and television personality Merv Griffin. He has exhibited in numerous art shows around the country, and has won many local and national awards. Tauriello also holds membership in the Salmagundi Club of New York, National Cowboy Hall of Fame, and is Board Emeritus of The American Society of Portrait Artists.
           
Strength, dignity, and realism all shine through in a Tauriello portrait. His straightforward yet sensitive style of painting emphasizes his expertise in achieving simplicity in design and composition, along showcasing his intense ability to recreate his subject's persona on canvas.
I nice contrast from the obituary. He was a very talented artist (amazing really, I love what I’ve seen so far and I can’t even accurately describe the connection felt with the one piece I have in my possession) and it’s a shame he has passed. Not because I would have ever sought him out, but that his current art is now all that is left and he will no longer be bringing new creations into the world.

Then again, perhaps he will. By means of those he inspired through his years of work and teaching, his legacy can essentially live on. I hope it does. I’m sure it will. Not even necessarily in terms of painting(s).

“The Goddess” inspires me in more of a spiritual way, but even that is an extension of F. Tauriello’s art. I know his art has also connected and inspired others, as well. So it isn’t even a matter of “hope” or “certainty” of an eventual ripple effect. Just the fact that it has and already is living on.

I should see about getting it properly framed, or at least hanging it up, and see if that Muse factor can’t give me a little nudge.

Do you happen to be familiar with Frank Tauriello and his art? Do you have any favorite artists? What artists or pieces of art inspire you?

A to Z : SCARE TACTICS

(An A to Z 2013 Challenge Entry)

Lately I’ve been writing about some of my encounters with ghosts, haunted houses, and/or just creepy places (and situations) in general. Then I read about some rather elaborate pranks/lies some fellow bloggers have endured from family and friends. It reminded me of a time I blended both of these elements together.

Having grown up with three brothers, sometimes the sibling rivalry ran deep. What better way to pass the time than to argue, wrestle, and scare the hell out of one another? What was my mother thinking having four boys? The odds were definitely not in her favor.

Now, we never really had any major pranks pulled on one another another to any large extent. Sometimes you hear of families where this is the case, and they each try to “up” the last to get even. I’ve always been fond of pranks — sometimes initiating them now and again — but usually kept mine around obvious dates like April Fools Day. They sometimes lose flare that day, being most expect it, unless you do it right.

Run, Run As Fast As You Can

Back in the day my pranks were more cruel, in the sense I would try to scare people. I think attempting to scare one another is just something many people enjoy doing. People obviously like to be scared on some bizzare level, otherwise horror movies/novels/etc would hold no place in our entertainment field.

One of my most memorable attempts at this occurred way back at the Stanchfield House (site of those hauntings) when a teenager. During the Summer, I was sometimes assigned to watch my brothers while my stepfather and mother were at work. Mainly, I was to watch the youngest of the bunch. At one point our youngest brother fell asleep in his room, and I had an idea come to mind.

I would scare the hell out of him.

That’s about it. Sounds pretty solid right? I thought so too! So how would I accomplish this? I mean... our youngest brother was maybe eight or so years old. It isn’t really hard to scare a kid. But, sometimes you just want to do it right.

So the prep work included getting some fake blood (from Halloween), and applying it to my other two brothers and a fake plastic cleaver. I believe I applied a handful to myself, as well, for some added effect. Then there was the positioning of the “bodies”. One brother was sprawled out on the stairs (our bedrooms were on the second floor), while the other was placed in the doorway; half in the room, half in the hallway.

Once the scene was set, I put on my game face and got to work. I jumped on the bed screaming — channeling Christian Bale’s Batman before its time — waking our brother up. I was hovering over him with the bloody cleaver in one hand, and told him I had killed his brothers. There was a little resistance at first, even though he was clearly afraid — eyes wide — still fighting off the grogginess of his deep slumber.

I told him I was a demon and had possessed his brother’s body. He said my name and I responded with, “Jak isn’t here anymore. He is dead like the others!” I think when he got out of bed and saw one of our brothers laying on the ground it started to register more. I grabbed him and said, “You’re going to be next. You better run.” Paused and then yelled, “RUN!”

And run he did. He took off out of the room, into the hall, down the stairs — past the “bodies” of his brothers, now deceased — and then the front screen door slammed. Then he was gone. My brothers got up and we all laughed and had a good time with it.

At this point, I don’t recall if we ever thought or wondered about what exactly to do next. Maybe we thought he would just eventually come home. What I do know is that our mother was on her way back home from work and picked up our crying, traumatized little brother who was still making his way down the dirt road.

He was crying and telling her how everyone was dead. Needless to say, she was pissed off — more at the fact he was walking down the country road all alone — and laid into us when she got home. More so me, being I was the oldest and on babysitting duty. Thankfully, I wasn’t grounded or punished much. I can’t recall how our youngest brother reacted after the fact, but I’d imagine he was really upset as well. It blew over fast, though.

I thought our mother even laughed a bit about it soon after. We certainly all do now, years later. It makes for a good story from time to time at family gatherings and the holidays.

Have you ever pulled a prank on (or really scared) anyone? If so, what? Ever have one done to you? If so, what?