Letter S

A to Z 2017: SIBLINGS

A to Z 2017: SIBLINGS

This year for the A to Z Challenge 2017 I'm trying something completely different... vlogging! That's right, I'll be putting myself out there on YouTube, talking about who knows what for who knows how long! Come join in the conversation as I talk about a variety of topics throughout April.

Let the rambling begin!

A to Z 2016 : SOMNIO

A to Z 2016 : SOMNIO

Welcome to the 2016 A to Z Challenge on I, Jak! This year's theme is 2016 Highlights, where I will be blogging about things I have been looking forward to this year, whether people, places, or things. Some have already occurred, some are currently happening, and others are yet on the way.

Some topics may be a bit generic (occurring annually), while others will be specific to 2016, so come take a look!

A to Z 2015 : SPLENDOR

A to Z 2015 : SPLENDOR

Our next entry is not only a favorite of the playgroup I attend once or twice a week, but also the Ladyfolk. So much so that she gets fairly irritated if I ever forget to bring it (which is often...) to our own Game Nights with friends and family. To be fair, I could be reminded...

Anyhow, all we're ever trying to do is live a life full of...

A to Z 2014 : SEASON 3

(An A to Z 2014 Challenge Entry)

I’m always conflicted when I proclaim I barely ever watch TV. It feels good to say, like I am somehow a better person for not being a slave to the Boob Tube (a phrase I assume originated based on intellect, but has since become anatomical). Technically I feel my statement is true. The only day I actually watch anything on TV is on Mondays while visiting my grandmother. We have our shows.

But I watch a ton of Netflix and Amazon Instant Video, catching up on various shows I’ve missed over the years, on my game system. Does that count a watching TV? What about when I use those services on my laptop? Does playing my game system, since it’s hooked up to the TV? What if listening to Spotify or a CD? Are you then always listening to the radio?! GAH! So many questions, so little time. Anyway, let’s get back on track...

Back to TV. I have a long string of television series that I make an effort to keep up with, and those that have already completed their run, which I love. I definitely have my favorites, as I’m sure most do. Lately, though, I’ve seemed to notice a trend with some series that I watch: that season 3 seems to be a “make it or break it” point for me. Meaning I feel that either the storyline and/or characters begin to falter or become nonsensical within the context of what the show has previously created.

And while it’s not true of all, nor does it necessarily completely tarnish my love for a show, I believe it to be so more often than not. Many factors can contribute to this. Change in casting, writer strikes and/or simply a change of writers in general, network “bigwigs” dictating and/or suppressing creative freedoms, current writers simply not knowing what the fuck they are doing, etc etc…

I thought I would share some series that I felt began to fall apart during their third season run, barring too much detail, so spoilers are avoided. If commenting I’d appreciate the same in return.

Heroes & Prison Break

Heroes quickly became one of my favorite series when it came on the air. Eventually a friend convinced me to watch Prison Break and I was then hooked on that. My grandmother as well. I think both of these series started out really strong right out of the gate. The first seasons were great. I was worried, once each wrapped up their first season finales, where they would take the series.

I believe both of these series were hit hard by a writer’s strike. Each were forced to cut seasons short, due to this complication. Afterwards, though, I think issues continued due to a possible changing of the guard in writing departments. Prison Break stumbled some, but I feel found it’s footing and recovered (barely) from there on out. I was still disappointed, overall, with the final seasons and eventual series finale. It was a far cry from the shitstorm Heroes morphed into.

Heroes… I honestly have no idea what to say about the creeping — then rapid — deterioration of the series. From extreme character inconsistencies to implausible, nonsensical plotlines. Heroes ran the full gamut fuckery gauntlet. Over time, it became incredibly difficult for me to watch, but I forced myself to. A glutton for punishment I guess. I can’t really go into details, because they would spoil much of the series.

Oddly enough, I still would recommend the series and have. Especially the first season. If they think they can stomach the rest, I say go for it. There are a few saving grace moments. I think… Then there is this newly released teaser trailer:

I am hoping to God that they realize just how much potential they pissed on, and treat this supposed mini-series with a lot more respect. I’m guessing they will, in hopes that they can possibly reboot the series if it’s a success. Please… please don’t fuck this up!

Alias & Sons of Anarchy

Alias was another of my all-time favorite television series. In fact, I will give most anything J.J. Abrams creates a chance (currently Believe isn’t living up to my expectations). Sons of Anarchy is another great show that the Ladyfolk and I are currently catching up on. These two shows have almost nothing in common, with the exception of their Season 3 shenanigans.

It’s been a long time since watching Alias, and I actually never finished the series due to coming upon a Season 4 spoiler, but I believe Season 3 is when they introduced an out-of-the-blue, random, confusing storyline/plot twist. This took place right away in the Season 3 premiere episode. The previous seasons finale had been so intense and amazing, that this sudden transition was literally jolting for me. I was possibly even mildly upset. It eventually recovered, but like I said, due to the spoiler, I never saw beyond mid-season 4. I own the entire collection, so I guess I should get on it.

Son of Anarchy followed in the same vein. It wasn’t so much a confusing transition, but it really felt like the storyline carried throughout season 3 was not fully fleshed out. Many plotline and character inconsistencies plagued my enjoyment. As usual, there were still many great moments, but I was relieved that the final episodes of the season ended on a very strong note. If it’s one thing that Sons of Anarchy is really consistent with, it’s strong, emotional season finales. Currently on season six, the series definitely seems to be going strong, but I am hoping it ends while it’s ahead. Much akin to Breaking Bad (another series I highly recommend, and am skipping discussion on during this entry).

Supernatural

And finally Supernatural. The reason I picked this topic. This is a television series that had been recommended to me by multiple people. For a long while I avoided it. My brother is currently watching it, and that got me to give the premiere episode a watch. It hooked me. I’m already a geek when it comes to ghosts, spirits, lore, monsters, etc etc, so this was a good fit.

Come season 3, however (which we are currently on), I have found some of the same aforementioned inconsistencies popping up. Characters acting in ways in direct contradiction with earlier actions. Plot lines/plot points which were once important in context of the lore built up in the series seems secondhand and largely disregarded. It has begun to irritate me, but I am remaining hopeful that it will all smooth out. They are on Season 9 or something now, so it has to be just a brief rough patch. A bump in the road. Either that or there are a few million gluttons for punishment.

One of them being me.

What are some of your favorite television series? Have you found any specific seasons of a television series to go completely off the tracks? Changes that may even cause you to lose interest in the series? Feel free to share, but please avoid spoilers!

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?