A Little Perspective From Tom Church

Posts tagged ‘bad’

Breaking Bad

Over the past week or week and a half, I’ve done something I never thought I could have: watched an entire show on Netflix. Many, many hours being watched in the space between homework and sleep (sometimes the three overlapped). But I did it.

I am all caught up in Breaking Bad.

I started last Thursday. Erin is a huge fan, my brother is a huge fan, and so naturally I knew I would be a huge fan. I am, and I am so glad I got into it before the series finale, which is tonight.

So for those of you who don’t know what it is, let me describe it.

For one thing, it’s like nothing I’ve ever watched. It’s about a high school chemistry teacher in Albuquerque, New Mexico who is diagnosed with cancer. Fearing he will have no money to leave to his family when he passes, he begins manufacturing methamphetamine and getting irrevocably involved with serious and dangerous criminals. The series mostly deals with his struggle to keep the details of his second life from his family, and simultaneously meet the right quotas and serve the right people.

What I like most about the show is that it’s clever. It has some of the biggest “holy shit” moments I’ve ever seen. It’s dirty, messy, and gritty. And above anything, it just seems real. It feels like the kinds of crazy and unexpected outcomes are what would occur in real life; nothing goes as planned, Walter (the main character) or his other partners always get hurt, and someone always suffers.

The show’s characters really shine as well. The cast went from relatively unknown men and women to celebrities in a matter of a couple of seasons. Walter White is played by Bryan Cranston, best known for his role in the decade-old sitcom “Malcolm in the Middle.” Anna Gunn is his wife, Skyler White, and his young street partner Jesse Pinkman is portrayed by Aaron Paul. These three actors are mostly the show’s focal point, and they are all fantastic; but the surrounding cast is awesome as well, particularly the villains that Walter is pitted against, and others like Walt’s brother-in-law Hank, the Drug Enforcement Administration Agent.

What most fans like to speculate on is the moral ambiguity seen in Walt and others. As the series progresses and the characters wade deeper into crime, it is difficult to tell what their true motives and beliefs are anymore. Walt always restates that his reasoning in doing anything anymore is for his family, but playing that card so often muddles its effect and makes it seem like he’s only trying to excuse himself from any blame. It is evident later on that Walt receives some sort of sick thrill from producing and dealing drugs. The kind of power he exercises over people is arbitrary and sickening in some cases, and it truly turns some fans off. Fans want so badly to root for him, but it is made impossible sometimes.

His partner Jesse is a bit less offputting. What is interesting about Jesse is that he is technically the definition of a hoodlum, and yet I always find myself rooting for him. The reason is because he is shown to have more heart and humanity than Walt has. Walt tends to use Jesse and manipulate him sometimes, while Jesse ends up losing interest in the money and clout that Walt strives for. Jesse tries establishing relationships with women and finding some modicum of normalcy, but is always torn away by the drug business. And while he is an addict and has many low points in the series, as a fan I only want him to renounce all of his misdeeds and remove himself from the show’s negative influences.

Those two main characters properly introduced, I will now go on to say that (I will not spoil a thing for you guys!) they get into some serious trouble together. That is, to me, the appeal of the show. Fans sometimes define Breaking Bad as

“that show that leaves you lying in a fetal position at the end of every episode”

-Tumblr.

And it’s true. Astoundingly difficult-to-deal-with curveballs are thrown at the viewers all the time, assuming they understand what’s happening. The main characters are always facing down a problem, whether they know it or not. As soon as they let their guard down, something happens to bring them back to the forefront. Walt is always in danger, and understandably so is his family. Walt is the target of gang crimes, kingpins’ hitmen, and the DEA alike. The latter means that he is in conflict with his own brother-in-law.

So why watch this show? If it hasn’t been made apparent yet, I’ll restate it: there’s never been anything like it. I remember watching the premiere in 2008 and being completely enthralled (although I didn’t quite have the stamina back then to keep up with it). If shows in the future take pointers from this show, we can expect cleverly-written, well-acted, and insanely gripping masterpieces soon to come. And with the finale occurring tonight, I’m sure that I’ll be in the fetal position, wondering what to do now that it’s all over.

For those of you who haven’t seen a lick of this show (and now want to), happy watching; for those of you who are all caught up and will be watching the finale tonight–happy watching.

Image

http://stories.illinoisstate.edu/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Breaking-Bad.jpg

-Thom
aestheism, not atheism.

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Top Ten Anti-Creepypasta Stories

Hi again! Did you enjoy the list? I hope some of my personal top ten Creepypasta stories scared or entertained you, but you know what can be even more scary and entertaining?

The bad ones. The really awful, horrific, almost anti-Creepypasta stories that, intentional or not, suck total arse.

They’re scary. But in a different way. In a way that affects you a lot more than an actually scary story… it hits home harder than you’d think. Look at the atrocious grammar. The way in which they fail to address certain plot points and leave gaping holes in their alleged story. The way in which they jump from supernatural concept to concept with no regard to the reader’s tolerance.

Without further ado, here are the best ten anti-Creepypasta stories I’ve found while looking for the real deal.

Disclaimers: These stories’ titles are emboldened and underlined, but do not link to their place of origin. Don’t worry, you’ll get the full story–they’re short, sweet, and to the point. Also, these stories will be in italics, and will be copied and pasted, atrocious grammar and all. Enjoy.

10) Topsoil

This story is an environmentalist’s nightmare. Its place of origin is on a Reddit thread, and boy did it scare everyone witless:

Someone told me it was frightening how much topsoil we are losing each year, but I told that story around a campfire and no one got scared.

The fact is that this is scary and deserves to be told around every campfire in America. This is scarier than any smiling pair of twins, any muddy boogeyman, and any demon baby. This is reality.

How You Should Tell It Around The Campfire

The execution is not so important as the message. Use it as the ultimate one-up story. Right after your friend finishes their story–“And they were never seen again…!” just butt in and say “You know what disappeared, never to be seen again? Topsoil.” No one will be sleeping that night. No one.

9) Wrong Number

A crucial part of this story is the “OP” — original poster. This story has been told in many forms, but the form we see today exists thanks to Yahoo! Answers user “Turkey Sammich,” AKA spinner of scary masterpieces.

The phone rang, a kid picked up the phone said hello. The voice on the other end said……’Sorry, wrong number.’

Chilling. Absolutely chilling, Mr. Turkey Sammich.

How You Should Tell It Around The Campfire

Turn on your scary voice, and slow everything down. Convey the sheer horror that kid exudes when picking up the phone… “Hello…?” he asks, as if he is confronting the most heinous man on the planet. “The voice on the other end said…” Keep everyone in suspense. Pause to achieve the maximum effect, but don’t pause for too long or else everyone will think that you forgot what the voice is supposed to say. “Sorry, wrong number.” And then just start screaming.

8) The Story of Fidgety Philip

How many times have you heard a story where the protagonist is only ever described as “fidgety”? Probably never. Straight out of Der Struwwelpeter, The Story of Fidgety Philip has scared innocent little German kids since the 19th freaking century. It’s a cleverly disguised wives’ tale that is aimed at keeping children from being little brats.

It details “a boy who won’t sit still at dinner who accidentally knocks all of the food onto the floor, to his parents’ great displeasure.

This is by far the creepiest freaking “wives’ tale” I’ve ever read. It’s such a cliffhanger! What course of action will the parents take? Will they string him up by his ears? Will they perform psychological malpractices such as EST and lobotomy? Will they lethally inject him? Who the hell knows?

How You Should Tell It Around The Campfire

Man, really make this story your own. Embellish a little. “Little Philip exclaimed ‘Oh, heavens!’ and accidentally knocked his bowl of sauerkraut all over the bearskin carpet. The small countryside shack suddenly took on an unpredictably dark atmosphere, and his parents’ brows simultaneously furrowed. ‘Philip,’ they said in eerie unison. ‘You have caused us great displeasure…’ ”

7) Then Who Was Phone?

This story is an Internet classic that was created in response to the surge of thrilling, entertaining Creepypastas a few years ago. It doesn’t disappoint:

So ur wid yo honi and ur makin out wen the phone ringz. U ansr it n da voice sayz “wut r u doin wit ma daughter?” u tel ur girl n she say “ma dad is ded.” THEN WHO WAS PHONE?

Once you get past the fact that this story is only barely intelligible, you realize that the shock factor runs deep. This is a story that will cause all you happy campers to break out in a decidedly cold sweat.

How You Should Tell It Around The Campfire

It’s hard incorporating bad grammar into real-world speech, but with a little practice you can translate your forced dyslexia into a severe handicap on your story-telling ability. Talk like you suck at talking, but maintain the undertone of grave importance. After saying “ma dad is ded,” rise slowly from your seat and look around at all of your listeners, and then quietly whisper “… then who was phone?”

6) The Bully

This story was found while reading some of what Stephanie Springer had to say on the subject of scary stories that suck. I think this story tends to shine above its peers–it falls into the archetype of the tormented protagonist.

The protagonist was a little boy who was being picked on by a girl bully. He got her in trouble and then she threatened to make him pay. Kate never got the chance. She suddenly got sick and died.”

Sure, there’s more to the story, but why not just end it there? A bully torments a kid and then gets sick and dies! That’s pretty damn scary, innit? Karma, that’s what I say. Taken to an extreme. That’s the scary part. Hey, don’t tease that kid about his glasses or you’ll freakin’ die.

How You Should Tell It Around The Campfire

“Once there was a little boy who was picked on by a little girl,” you say. “And do any of you know what happened to the little girl?” Watch as they all shake their heads. You lean in to the fire a little, illuminating your face. “The little brat freaking got sick and died.”

5) Russian-fied Stories

Don’t ask me where they started or if they’ve ended, but sometimes it works to take a classic campfire story and tell it again, just from the point of view of a Russian man. Rework a few key plot points, make the setting Moscow, and you’re in business.

You are home to watch Pravda on televisir about degenerate murderer who is on the loose. You look out the window door to beet field, and you notice Man standing in the snow. He look like foto on televisir and he smile at you. You gulp vodka, picking up fone to your right and dialing Local Militia Precinct Commissar. Back out the glass you look, pressing fone to ear. Notice he now closer to you. You drop vodka in shock.No footprints in snow. It was reflection. You dullard! Your apartment is bulldozed down to make way for glorious tractor factory.

See? Just as thrilling as the original if not more so! And the ending change heightens the Russian experience.

How You Should Tell It Around The Campfire

I don’t have a good Russian accent, but assuming you do, just make sure you remember the acronym “KGB” — Kiev, Gulag, and Booze. Three words that should probably be in your story.

4) The Heron

This story has stuck with me for quite some time. Out of all the punishments promised at the end of scary stories, The Heron’s threat is by far the most bizarre and bloodcurdling.

I am a heron. I have a long neck and I pick fish out of the water with my beak. If you don’t repost this comment on 10 other pages, I will fly into your kitchen tonight and make a mess of your pots and pans.

But that’ll take forever to clean up!

How You Should Tell It Around The Campfire

The Heron is your ticket. Talk him up a lot. Become the heron. “I have a long neck,” you say, “and I pick fish out of the water… with my beak.” That feat in itself is astonishing. But by golly if your campmates don’t reblog your post at least ten times, you’ll make a huge ass mess of their pots and pans–really drive home that point. It’s all about being in character for this one.

3) John Stalvern

This story surfaced on Reddit as well, and a casual commenter remarked that he had kept reading in the hopes that it would end half as well as it started, but slowly degraded into a horrifically shitty story. That’s why it’s up here.

John Stalvern waited. The lights above him blinked and sparked out of the air. There were demons in the base. He didn’t see them, but had expected them now for years. His warnings to Cernel Joson were not listenend to and now it was too late. Far too late for now, anyway. John was a space marine for fourteen years. When he was young he watched the spaceships and he said to dad “I want to be on the ships daddy.” Dad said “No! You will BE KILL BY DEMONS” There was a time when he believed him. Then as he got oldered he stopped. But now in the space station base of the UAC he knew there were demons. “This is Joson” the radio crackered. “You must fight the demons!” So John gotted his palsma rifle and blew up the wall. “HE GOING TO KILL US” said the demons “I will shoot at him” said the cyberdemon and he fired the rocket missiles. John plasmaed at him and tried to blew him up. But then the ceiling fell and they were trapped and not able to kill. “No! I must kill the demons” he shouted The radio said “No, John. You are the demons” And then John was a zombie.

This is Dead Space gone freaking apeshit. Not only is John Stalvern fighting zombies–he’s fighting demons. And I think Stalvern is a protagonist that–can it be?–we can relate to! I fight zombie demons on a daily basis, and I aspire to be a ship base protector for the space fleet of… Cernel… Joson…

How You Should Tell It Around The Campfire

Well this one’s got the potential to be fantastic, but you’ve really got to capture that space feeling. Exude that atmosphere. There are blaring alarms, ceaseless sirens, and the air is thick with anxiety. The airlock doors are losing their pressurization and all around you, demons are gathering to bring about your certain demise. Tell them what happens to John Stalvern. Tell them.

2) The Gypsy Blood Girl’s Ghost Host

This story is told in the cult-style of “numerous spelling mistakes” and is clearly better off for doing so. It is a tragic story told from a third-party perspective.

Well you see, my best friend lives down the street and her family comes from a bad bad I guess you could say. Her mother has gypsy blood in her. Her mother has connections to spirits and very strong senses. She is not phycic though. My friends brother use to talk to a spirit when he was little but my friend was not like that. Now though she is like that. For the past week she has been telling me how she fears she is going crazy but i’m telling her she’s just pariniod. This fear she has all started when evertime she takes a bath the lights flicker. This sounds crazy too, but she fears she is being watched all the time and her cat acts weird. So lat night she was up around 2 in the night and went to bed. She heard a noise and freaked out and noticed that a picture of her was missing. When she went over to look the picture had scratches on it and was burned at the bottom. She was crying telling me this and showed me the picture. She is a ghost host you see, and the spirit obviously does not like her. This doesn’t sound scary but imagine it happended to your friend. I can’t believe it, like I fell this is not real but it is. Believe it if you want, it doesn’t matter to me.

Imagine if this happended to your friend. Just imagine it. This is a crazy, roller coaster ride of a tale that is sure to bring your campmates to the brink of insanity, no less. They will literally go fetal by the end. I did.

How You Should Tell It Around The Campfire

Enunciate the spelling mistakes because they add to the story. “She is not phycic though.” “She’s just pariniod.” “Evertime she takes a bath the lights flicker.” And please, oh please, get the attitude right at the end. Hold up a hand and say, mustering up every ounce of your sass, “Believe it if you want, it doesn’t matter to me.”

1) The Day Of All The Blood

This story was written by a seven year old and it tops everything everyone has done ever. It made me wet my pants with feelings that I couldn’t properly identify.

THIS IS THE STORY OF A DAY WHERE THERE WAS ALL THIS BLOOD. A MAN WAS WALKING AROUND AND BLOOD STARTED COMING OUT OF HIM EVERYWHERE. THERE WAS SO MUCH BLOOD THAT IT FILLED UP AN ELEVATOR. HE WENT TO THE STORE AND THERE WAS JUST BLOOD ALL OVER THE PLACE! PEOPLE WERE SLIPPING IN IT AND THEY WERE ALL GROSSED OUT. HE TRIED TO GO SWIMMING AND ALL OF THE SHARKS WENT NUTS AND BITTENED EVERYBODY. HE GOT CHASED BY ALL THE VAMPIRES EVER. ONE TIME THE BLOOD GOT A KID AND A DOG. AT THE END OF THE DAY EVERYONE DECIDED THEY WOULD SEND HIM TO SPACE SO THAT HE WOULD STOP GETTING BLOOD EVERY WHERE. THE SCARIEST PART IS THAT THE MAN WAS YOU!!! (OR HE WAS A LADY IF YOU ARE A LADY) AND YOU FORGOT THAT THIS HAPPENED

And you forgot this happened…? Think about it. That could be anyone of us. Any one of you readers could have experienced these traumatic events and completely forgotten about them. This is a master work in horror and deserves to fill the top spot on this list, undoubtedly.

How You Should Tell It Around The Campfire

Talk like you’re speaking in all caps, and by that I mean scream. From the very moment you begin to the moment you end, maintain the same decibel range–stay in the neighborhood of 90-120. Shout in your campmates’ ears. And on the last line, take note that there is technically no period, and that means that your sentence is never over. So let your words, your tone, your message ring constantly in their ears, and let them experience true terror like no one has ever felt it before.

Thanks so much for reading!

-Thom
aestheism, not atheism.

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