Letter T



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!



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 : TAKENOKO

A to Z 2015 : TAKENOKO

Splendor made for an excellent Christmas gift. It's light, fun, and fairly accessible to people with varying levels of gaming experience. But what if I had given a panda? The receiver of the gift would then have to tend to its needs by starting a bamboo garden. But what if the panda was constantly eating all of the bamboo?!

That is a similar tale told in our next entry in which the Emperor of China bestows the gift of a panda to the Emperor of Japan, as a token of peace, in a garden full of...


(An A to Z 2014 Challenge Entry)

The Ten Things of Thankful (TToT). This is definitely an entry I should have started weeks ago, as I already knew what I planned to do. Granted, I should have just kept up with the rest of the pack, so this would have never been an issue to begin with. Sometimes I learn the hard way. Sometimes I’m just super lazy. Sometimes I’m thankful for both. Mostly I’m not. As it is, I’ve been out of touch since the TToT’s 25th post and they just wrapped up their 44th weekend.

So what’s all this Thankful business anyhow? If you aren’t familiar, I will allow the creator of the blog hop (which takes place every weekend — unless otherwise specified — so I’m breaking some the rules, but aren’t they meant to be every so often?) to explain it. She is a thousand times more prolific with the whole blogging gig than I, and I would hate to tarnish her event with my butchering tongue… or… fingers?

Click the badge below to smack link your brain with some Thankfulness knowledge:


  1. Thanksgiving! What better way to start the return to the TToT blog hop than that? This holiday landed just a few days after my last participation.
  2. QUALITY TIME with the family.
  3. Food! Oh goodness the food on Thanksgiving! It’s so good, most of it has the distinct right to have thanks individually established...
  4. Turkey. I’m not sure how many families that skip serving turkey on Thanksgiving are out there, but that would be a crime! Maybe a vegetarian and/or vegan family? Weirdos.
  5. Stuffing. I’m honestly not a huge fan of stuffing, but I always try to take my fill during this holiday.
  6. Mashed potatoes! Now that is what I’m talking about! I love them! OM NOM NOM!
  7. Pie. Unlike cake, the pie is not a lie. My mother usually buys two or three kinds of pie for Thanksgiving. I’m really Thankful when one of them is strawberry rhubarb! It’s sometimes hard to find
  8. Full belly. Sometimes I actually regret this more than I’m Thankful for it. I’m probe to overeating on the holidays. Sometimes this can put me in some severe pain.
  9. I’m Thankful for even having the option of overeating.
  10. A restful sleep, once the pain subsides...
  1. It was mentioned before, but I feel it bears mentioning again. I’m Thankful for not being in my car when it was involved in a Hit-and-Run.
  2. As well as no one else being injured from the impact.
  3. That some quarter crooks didn’t attempt to harm me when I foiled their plans one late evening.
  4. Back to the car. I’m glad it was totaled.
  5. I’m Thankful that the total price payout [from insurance] was substantial, rather than a mere 100$ or somewhere in that proximity.
  6. The Ladyfolk allowing me to use her car when able. This is only done maybe once or twice a week, if. For many weeks I never asked to borrow the car.
  7. Thankful that I haven’t gotten too stir crazy from lacking my own source of transportation.
  8. I’m honestly glad I was carless this Winter. It was a pretty brutal one.
  9. Once again I’m Thankful that I live in very close proximity to retailers offering the bare necessities.
  10. That I love to walk.
  1. Having a place to live.
  2. Despite this property being sold twice over within a year, the majority of tenants I’ve known for years are still around. Naturally, with buyouts and price/rent hikes, you are bound to lose a few.
  3. I’m happy to find that this new company may actually be backing these rent increases with actual upgrades to the apartment buildings and units.
  4. That the increases are still reasonable in comparison to other places in the area. At least once the upgrades are made…
  5. The owner being happy with my work, which has allowed me to stay here. There was a window of about a month where it was almost certain I would have to try to find a new place to live.
  6. Despite having issues with my cat, said owner is allowing me to keep him. There were some stipulations involved, but so far nothing major.
  7. That tenants were excited I was able to remain living at this location.
  8. That tenants continually come to me (even during the last buyout) for assistance rather than calling the central office.
  9. I’m thankful for the skills I learned from my original co-workers. As minimal as they may be.
  10. Being complimented on my duties.
  1. The first snowfall. At this time, I can’t exactly recall when that was, perhaps the Ladyfolk remembers and will chime in, but I think it was around one of the major holidays. Usually it’s around Thanksgiving, sometimes Christmas. At it’s worst, Halloween.
  2. A new shovel. Without it I would have been screwed.
  3. The endurance to actually shovel some of the crazy snowfalls we got. One was exceptionally nasty. I was pretty sure it would be my final shovel before keeling over and drifting off into The Big Empty.
  4. Appreciation from tenants when helping them push their cars out of the snow.
  5. Appreciation from strangers who I helped push their cars out of the snow.
  6. I’m Thankful my Ladyfolk was awesome enough to even assist in some of these attempts!
  7. The Thanks I received from strangers as I shoveled the walks.
  8. The random conversations with some of these random strangers.
  9. The enjoyment of watching people trying to drive somewhere (why people? WHY?!) after a blizzard.
  10. That after a few swears I realize I’m the poor sap that chooses to help those crazy fuckers.
  1. I’m Thankful for the television programming that my grandmother and I have been able to enjoy together over the years. Even if some go to shit during (or before…) SEASON 3. Some of which include, but are not limited to:
  2. The X-Files.
  3. Dark Angel.
  4. Alias.
  5. Heroes.
  6. Dollhouse.
  7. LOST.
  8. Castle.
  9. Chuck.
  10. And, of course, Wheel of Fortune!
  1. I’m also Thankful for many of the new shows (okay, okay, I guess I watch a lot of TV. Don’t judge!) that the Ladyfolk and I picked up. Some of which include, but are not limited to:
  2. Breaking Bad
  3. Sons of Anarchy.
  4. Game of Thrones.
  5. The Blacklist.
  6. The Following.
  7. The Murdoch Mysteries.
  8. Supernatural.
  9. Crisis.
  10. Soon to be LOST (for my official second viewing).
  1. I am very Thankful that I was eventually talked into visiting the doctor. It was a combination of that and very annoying, persistent complications.
  2. The new medication I’ve been on. When I remember to take it.
  3. The new blood sugar tester I received. Though, I forget to test it often…
  4. That my tooth stopped trying to kill me. I really should get it looked at.
  5. Thankful that I began to lose some weight.
  6. Happy that I wasn’t too bummed out, when I started to put some weight back on through the holidays.
  7. And thereafter…
  8. And still some…
  9. That I feel determined to start exercising more regularly.
  10. And also the desire to eat healthier!
  1. I talked myself into participating in NANOWRIMO again last year.
  2. I made myself attend the Countdown Event, where everyone gathers together at a regional location to begin writing right at the stroke of Midnight. It was a lot of fun.
  3. I’m Thankful for meeting a handful of new writers during said Countdown Event.
  4. I started a new story, which had come to me just the week prior to NaNo’s beginning.
  5. Even though I became frustrated, I pushed through it and kept writing. Sometimes I wasn’t as successful as others.
  6. That is until I stopped. The last NaNo season didn’t feel like the first one I participated in the year before. Though, I was proud I still kept writing, even if I no longer bothered keeping track of my progress. I knew I wouldn’t hit the 50k mark without a miracle.
  7. Even though that miracle never occurred, I still believe in them!
  8. Writing NaNo 2013’s story opened up a vast gulf of ideas. I’m incredibly Thankful for that. Not so much the lack of motivation to put those ideas on paper. Or word doc.
  9. I am Thankful beyond words that I was able to see a select few of my past NaNo friends at a write-in before November passed. Many familiar faces, but there were still a few missing.
  10. I know that those people are still out there, doing their thing, somewhere in time. I wonder if they ever think of me.  
  1. Thankful for more family gatherings during Christmas, even if it is more stressful now due to juggling between two families again.
  2. That all my brothers really liked and appreciated my CREATIVE COMMONS gifts!
  3. I appreciate that my siblings were patient with me. I wasn’t able to present the gift until about two weeks after Christmas.
  4. I’m grateful that I found the ability to be proud of myself and my work. This is a rare occurrence.
  5. I’m really glad the Ladyfolk and I were able to manage both family gatherings. It was a bit hectic, but we survived.
  6. That during Christmas I felt welcomed by the Ladyfolk’s family, some of whom they only see sporadically over the course of a year.
  7. Learning a card game called Junk.
  8. I’m Thankful I’m a fast learner. It only took a few rounds to get the hang of the game, which at first appearance seemed very complicated. It’s really not so bad.
  9. For all the great food and gifts shared among both families!
  10. Maybe even more so for all the leftovers offered!
  1. I’ve actually never spoken about it, but a few months back the Ladyfolk and I were almost pummeled by a deer while on the highway. I’m not even sure how to explain it. It all seemed like slow motion, but picture show-esque. If that makes any sense. I’m honestly clueless how we didn’t plow right into it. Thankfully we didn’t.
  2. I’m glad it was dreamlike and surreal. I’m not exactly sure why, but I am. In fact, the next day I had completely forgotten about it.
  3. That perhaps I have minor psychic abilities. This all took place in the very location where the Ladyfolk said, while I was asleep and she was driving, I told her to slow down and be careful. I don’t recall doing this, but it was kind of creepy it’s the spot where the deer tried to carjack us.
  4. Thankful that the no one else hit the deer too!
  5. That perhaps we had someone, or something, watching out for us.
  6. While on cars and accidents, I’m appreciative that the Ladyfolk was able to get help in the matter of a pending court case revolving around a fender bender she was apart of.
  7. Though stressed and overwhelmed, I’m proud at how well she handled herself.
  8. Learning that the culprit who was involved in my Hit-and-Run case had a court day set.
  9. This may seem odd, but I’m Thankful I didn’t pursue any court appearance on my end, or attempting to complicate the process for said individual. I heard they were younger, so in the end, after some contemplation, I was happy that their sentence was reduced.
  10. I’m hopeful they learned from the experience. And if so, I am very thankful.
  1. For my new XBox One.
  2. That my Ladyfolk made it possible for me to obtain said XBox One!
  3. I was incredibly happy to find that a good friend also purchased the system. This is actually what spurred me to get mine. I was certain he wouldn’t have his for another year, at least, but he called me up with a surprise.
  4. That unlike the systems available right at the launch date, my system came with a digital download of Titanfall.
  5. Titanfall. Yes, I’m Thankful for Titanfall.
  6. I appreciate my friend inviting me over to play Titanfall when it was first released, so that I could get some hands on experience. This also greatly influenced my deciding to buy the XBox One.
  7. That the XBox One system is quiet. Compared to it’s predecessor it’s damn near completely silent.
  8. It’s also faster. No longer does it take ten minutes to load an app like Netflix to watch something. It’s a relief.
  9. I’m Thankful I was able to pay back the cost in full to the Ladyfolk in a very timely fashion.
  10. That, soon, I have a date with DESTINY!
  1. I’m Thankful for MOMENTS of all kinds. They allow me to experience, to feel, to live.
  2. I’m thankful that somehow I’ve been able to come up with so many Thankfuls in one sitting. If anyone claims I’m cheating I will cut them!
  3. I’m grateful that, in reality, I wouldn’t actually cut someone if they called me a cheater! Or anything else really.
  4. I love people with a sense of humor. I’m appreciative of those that can take the good with the bad.
  5. That sometimes I’m able to laugh at myself.
  6. I’m almost always able to laugh at myself.
  7. I’m Thankful that I find myself to be hilarious, at least in my mind. Somebody has to, right?
  8. That sometimes others, besides myself, find me to be hilarious too.
  9. I’m Thankful for those who are able to help me when I’m living through a bad moment.
  10. The good days greatly outweigh the bad.
  1. I reconnected with a friend from high school.
  2. For the times he and I have been able to hang out since getting back in touch.
  3. All the Indian cuisine we consume when he visits. It’s our ritual now. He claims to not eat for two days prior, because he knows how much he will eat!
  4. That despite his past health conditions, my friend is doing relatively well.
  5. Thankful he got his Masters in Statistics.
  6. His multiple job opportunities, after a long dry spell.
  7. That he was able to fly out to LA-LA LAND for an interview without having a panic attack. It was the first time he had ever flown. He was prepared with proper medication.
  8. I’m very Thankful that his time in LA was a great experience, even if it doesn’t end up resulting in getting the job. He had a wonderful time. The people he met there went above and beyond making him feel at home.
  9. Proud my friend still turned in his paperwork for a paid internship, even though he is waiting at the edge of his seat for an offer from the company out in LA.
  10. That he and I are able to discuss various opinions about his job/internship situation without the friendship deteriorating.
  1. Skipping back a beat. I’m Thankful for any and all gifts received during Christmas 2013.
  2. I also am Grateful for the gifts I received on my birthday.
  3. The wonderful dinner at Olive Garden, even though my aunt had some bad luck with her dish. They were kind about accommodating her.
  4. I love the teasing of my grandma and her always asking for more meat sauce to go with her meal. She always does. It all absorbs into the noodles she says!
  5. My birthday movie! We went to see The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. I thought it was great! In fact, everyone enjoyed it!
  6. The birthday cake my grandmother made for me. Wish I had a picture of it. It looks kind of plain, but it tastes amazing.
  7. In general, I’m Thankful for all the joking and time we were able to share that night together.
  8. Playing cards with the Ladyfolk, grandmother, and aunt.
  9. I think I won once or twice. It was sweet! We play with money! My grandma isn’t too keen on playing for nothing!
  10. Feeling comfortable with the company I kept, even when out and about at busier locations. It may sound odd, because I was with family and my girlfriend, but I’m still prone to anxiety attacks.
  1. Music. I love music! I have a handful of playlists made up on my Spotify account. Most of them are split into writing project categories. So each work in progress (WiP) has a soundtrack. I’m Thankful for when these inspire my pieces, and so I thought I would share some of them and which WiP they are associated with.
  2. “Radioactive” - Imagine Dragons - After Armageddon
  3. “Hey Man, Nice Shot” - Filter - After Armageddon
  4. “More Human Than Human” - White Zombie - After Armageddon
  5. “Leaving Hope” - Nine Inch Nails - After Armageddon
  6. “Imagine” - A Perfect Circle - I, Jak (The Cryton Chronicles)
  7. “Say Something” - A Great Big World - I, Jak (The Cryton Chronicles)
  8. “Time” - Hans Zimmer (Inception) - I, Jak (The Cryton Chronicles)
  9. “Passive” - A Perfect Circle - Demons of Twilight
  10. “The City Surf” - Jamin Winans - After Armageddon, Demons of Twilight, I, Jak (The Cryton Chronicles. I absolutely love this song, if you couldn’t tell. And yes, I have a blog soundtrack! What blogger doesn’t?! Don’t judge!
  1. It’s no secret, I love my snacks and treats. It’s also true that I have severely slacked off on my exercise routine. It went from six days a week, to three, to maybe one, until finally never. I’m not Thankful for that break down, but I am that I was even going at all!
  2. As mentioned above — way above — I’ve increasingly become motivated to finally get into a healthier lifestyle. I’m grateful for this. I’m thankful for this building motivation more than I can express. Now to initiate and take action. Follow through.
  3. Planet Fitness and their 10$ monthly fee.
  4. I realize it’s going to be hard to shift my diet habits. I love, and am Thankful, for said treats. Some of which include, but are not limited to:
  5. Arby’s turnovers.
  6. Arby’s JAMOCHA shake.
  7. Soft bake chocolate chip cookies from McDonald's. They are actually really good!
  8. Dairy Queen! Our personal favorite.
  9. Pretzels. Doughnuts. Cake. Pie… You get the idea...
  10. The belief that I will be able to moderate myself and practice healthy portion control when it comes to all of these delicious foods. All foods.
  1. Magic: The Gathering.
  2. Outpost 2000 and their bulk stock  of cards I’m able to sort through.
  3. The Source and their bulk stock of cards I’m able to sort through.
  4. I’m Thankful I have finished up going through these retailer’s bulk stock of cards. At the same time, I’m kind of disappointed, because I love going through Magic cards. At least The Source regularly buys collections!
  5. For the handful of great singles I found while going through the retailer’s collections. Sometimes you can find a gem or three. Cards like FORBIDDEN ALCHEMY!
  6. The recent Modern format tournament I attended with my brother and some friends. It was a great time! We all hung out afterwards and gamed some more.
  7. Even though none of us played exceptionally well, we all had a fun time. It was great to just play.
  8. The establishment and the other players in the tournament. They were all very friendly. Sometimes at these events, even the small ones, you can get a few pricks in the mix. They really kill the vibe.
  9. I’m glad most of my opponents appeared and/or… smelled… bathed. Another common stigma surrounding Magic players is that they have horrid hygiene. Sometimes it’s true. Very true. All too real. This also kills the vibe.
  10. The fact that I’ve actually been able to play Magic a handful of times over the past two months. It had been way way too long.
  1. Aside from video games and Magic, I also enjoy a variety of other games. I’m Thankful for those that I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing. Some of which include, but are not limited to:
  2. Boss Monster.
  3. Cards Against Humanity.
  4. Dixit.
  5. Munchkin.
  6. Smash Up.
  7. And aside from TV shows I’ve listed above, I am a huge movie buff. The Ladyfolk and I don’t go as often as we used to, but I hope that changes soon. I’m Thankful for those we have been able to see and ones we will be seeing eventually. Even those that may not live up to my expectations. Some of which include, but are not limited to:
  8. Elysium.
  1. I’m so incredibly, unbelievably, unconditionally Thankful that I only have Ten more Things of Thankful to share! Make that nine…
  2. That I decided not to continue my hiatus and ABSENCE from the Blogosphere.
  3. My motivation to participate in the A to Z Challenge this year.
  4. The new friends I’ve made during this challenge.
  5. The fact that the Ladyfolk also decided to participate!
  6. That the Ladyfolk, and most of those who know me, or just met me, are patient with my catching up skills!
  7. Finding new comments on my fiction blog!
  8. My mad skills in placing about 85% of my A to Z entries throughout this massive Ten Things of Thankful. Maybe it isn’t that hard, but I still impress myself.
  9. My Ladyfolk! Today she said she had a headache and that she needed me to distract her. I knew exactly what that meant! It meant EVERYTHING IS AWESOME!
  10. The knowledge that while I may have lost touch with people over time, there is always the option to reconnect!
Oh My Nuts! That was a beast to write. And only an hour past the Midnight mark. I almost didn’t even have to use the cheater “coming soon” post. Not too shabby. There is the very distinct possibility that this post is just way too long for people to read, especially during the A to Z Challenge. I attempted to keep most of the lists brief. Just in case, though…

TL;DR: I’m immensely Thankful for many things in my life! You should be too! Perhaps you should check out the Ten Things of Thankful blog hop. The community involved is very active. I will post the badge again for those interested! Click it to link to more information regarding this weekly event!


How Thankful are you? Are you familiar with the TToT blog hop? If not, I hope you decide to check it out and link up soon! Feel free to list the things you feel Thankful for at the moment!

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.


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?