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exclusive news

In Memorium: Jason Lizik, our friend Jakester

Posted by Patrick Sauriol on Monday, March 18, 2013

On March 15, this past Friday, the Coming Attractions message forum community lost a dear friend. His name was Jason Lizik, but to many hundreds of people that share a love for movies and fandom, they knew Jason by his username, Jakester.

From the very earliest days of Coming Attractions, back it in the 1990s when it was a hand-coded HTML site, an Excel spreadsheet of updated movie listings and different message board software, Jakester was one of the most frequent posters as well as one of the most well-liked of its members. Eventually he asked for and became a forum moderator, as well as kept up his prolific number of postings and multiple conversation topics going.

Let me tell you, as a site owner having a message forum is more often a curse than a joy. If you've got a popular message forum (which the original CA forums were), then you had to deal with an almost constant stream of flame wars and user issues. Having a guy like Jakester, and the other two or so dozen CA mods around, allowed me to focus on what my real business was: reporting movie news and keeping the site updated.

In 2003, when I decided to take Coming Attractions offline so I could become the news editor for Cinescape, I invited the CA community to follow me there. Jakester and many of the CA regulars did, and they came to call the message forums at Cinescape, and its later incarnation as Mania, their second home.

Through his natural ability to talk passionately about movie, TV or geek friendly franchises, Jakester was one of both sites' most frequent commentators. And he could crack jokes just as easily as discussing the latest casting news in a tentpole studio movie. He seemed to be one of those kind of guys that people made friends with fast.

When CA relaunched in 2008, Jakester was one of the people that registered within hours of the call going out. His user avatar is from one of my all-time favorite John Carpenter movies, Prince of Darkness. I wish I had told him that when I had the opportunity to do so. The fact that he chose that image to be his CA avatar identity made me feel that somehow the universe was showing me that it was the right thing to bring back CA.

Jason died on Friday from complications arising from immediate surgery for an aortic dissection. Just a day before, he was posting on CA and commenting on threads, with no knowledge of what was to come. Since learning more about this condition, and realizing that it was the same kind of condition that caused the premature deaths of John Ritter and Babylon 5 actor Richard Biggs, it's now hammered into my head as just one more terrifying, irrational thing about being alive. How many biological landmines like this exist out there in the darkness, things that we remain blissfully ignorant of because to have full knowledge of what could go wrong with our bodies so frightfully quickly, as it did with Jason, would petrify us like frightened mice hiding in cupboard walls? How many others have lost family members and friends to similar things, these nightmarish events that have clinical scientific designations and show us how mortal we all are at any moment in time?

I think that if you manage to spend enough time on this Earth, and increasing the amount of souls that you come to call friends, your likelihood of realizing just how uncertain and precarious your existence is becomes a certainty.

I've written about the passing of celebrities on this site many times, and in every article that I write my thoughts have always turned to the family of that individual. How selfish I think I must be, and we all must be, to distill down their signficance to a list of movies or TV shows or books that they appeared in, or hand a hand in creating. We believe that we must know them in some small way because their work made an impact in our lives, and now that we are faced with the knowledge of them not being among us anymore, we also feel a sense of loss.

Jason Lizik was much more than a guy that talked about Doctor Who and Batman and comic books. He was a father of two small children, a husband to a wife, a brother to two siblings, a son to a mother and a father, and a lifelong friend to many others. I know that and I accept it, just as I know that the sadness and anger (because yes, it's there) that I feel for losing Jason isn't even in the same solar system of grief as those immediate friends and family of his. But all that said, Jason was also a guy that dearly, dearly loved Coming Attractions. And even above that, Jason loved the community of individuals that formed around this site in those early days. Here we are, a month shy from 18 years since throwing the switch on CA 1.0, and many of these same people have stuck together through two different sites, three message forums, are friends on social media. And even though many of us have never had the opportunity to meet Jason in person, we grieve for him all the same.

And we will miss him.

I've seen the outpouring of emotions for Jakester/Jason across my Facebook feed, on Twitter, in this wonderful post on Mania and the comments left by their community members. And now I need to say something as a human being and not just as the site owner of this place.

In the 18 years that I've ran this site, I've been asked about the big things Coming Attractions has done, the moments that I'm the most proud of. Every time I would give an answer about a photo we broke, or a piece of movie news or some script review or a leaked movie screening report. But it's taken me this event to realize that there's something far bigger and better that Coming Attractions has given people, and it's in the friendships that we've made with likeminded souls huddled around these digital campfires scattered around the internet.

One of my best friends in the world today is a man that I came to meet through CA, first as a scooper. My site has an incredibly loyal, wonderful group of fans that have stuck with me through financial difficulties, content difficulties, technical difficulties and plain old fashioned burnout difficulties. And by God, I should have never overlooked that.

If I had the chance to say to Jason just one thing, it would be the same thing that I want to say to the rest of CA's online family that I've never taken the time to say, or to everyone that reads this article in the days and years to follow: thank you for being a true friend of CA. Thank you for spending time reading what I wrote, for taking part to register and participate in the forums, for being passionate about movies and TV shows and all this great silly stuff that we care so much about. Thank you for arguing a different point of view, for making friends with people you will never meet, but mst importantly, for giving all of us some of your time. Because time is the only thing that we have to give, and one day it will run out for all of us.

If you would like to learn more about Jason, the best way that I could imagine would be to read what he had to say, about anything that matters to you.

Goodbye Jason. So many of us will miss you.

[NOTE: If anyone wants to register and post a comment, contact me by clicking the "Contact" link in the site footer. There's been so much spam accounts that I've had to disable registration for a long time, but I want to make sure that anyone who was friends with Jakester can leave a post if they like. Send me your email address and username that you want and I'll email you login info.]

neglet
Location:
Posts: 1434
Posted: 9 years 29 weeks ago

Wonderful post, Patrick. I think I've been interacting with Jakester and other regulars on the various versions of CA for over ten years now. I still remember the first thing he posted after I finally stopped lurking, and eventually revealed I was a chick: "What are you wearing?" I think I ignored that at first, then realized I could give back an equally snarky response and the fun would start (or continue).

Many of the people I first met on these boards are now friends on Facebook, and I've been given glimpses into their "real lives." A couple of them I've met in person, and I'd always hoped to meet Jason one day. Even though I didn't, I know from our shared love of all things geek that we were kindred spirits, and I treasure the times we spent in virtual discussion of movies, tv, books, politics, religion, and anything else serious or silly. I'm going to miss him a great deal, but I'm glad I have the rest of my board buddies here to commiserate. Thanks to you, Patrick, for providing a place for us kindred spirits to reach out to each other. 

CadderlySoaring
Location:
Posts: 88
Posted: 9 years 29 weeks ago

Very well said, Patrick...Without everyone here, we wouldn't be much of anything. It's as much the people as it is the website. We'll miss you, Jakester...

The Swollen Goi...
Location:
Posts: 14343
Posted: 9 years 28 weeks ago

I've known Jakester for twelve years. That's more than double the amount of time I've known my wife.

He was a friend. He was family. The Internet feels weird without him. It felt even weirder with him, but it was a good weird.

uncleagent
Location:
Posts: 166
Posted: 9 years 28 weeks ago

I can't help but to get a smile with every post of Jakester's I read. So many laughs he gave. I miss you, Jake.

Latino caribo, mondo bongo, Nobody said it was fair. 
Tek
Location:
Posts: 3
Posted: 9 years 28 weeks ago

 R.I.P. Jakester. :(

RedKarma
Location:
Posts: 263
Posted: 9 years 27 weeks ago

Thank you for the wonderful post, Patrick. 

Strength, prayers and good thoughts to his family and friends at this difficult time.

 

 

 

RedKarma - Not approved for use at high altitudes.
Drakemd
Location:
Posts: 1905
Posted: 9 years 27 weeks ago

Patrick, that was a very nice post about Jakester.  It took me a while to read this because I haven't been on CA much since Jakester passed.  I did the first few days, until I saw what had to be one of his last posts on the boards.  I froze.  I read it a few times, did the math in my head of when he would have posted it, what could have been going on with him at that moment.  Did he know something was wrong?  There were just too many thoughts going through my head and I found myself staring at my computer with tears in my eyes.

Those feelings were harder to accept than I could have ever imagined.  When you talk about the friendships that have been created because of CA, I don't think anyone could possibly understand the depth of them until a tragedy such as this occurs.  It was my first experience losing someone that I felt so close to, but had never met.

I can't say how long I have known Jakester.  I know that I first "met" him on Excelsior, but I can't recall the timeframe.  When that shut down, I eventually found my way to CA and was happy to see some friendly faces around the boards.  I think the thing that bothers me the most about his passing is that I never met Jason.  You see, we only live about an hour drive from each other.  My wife's cousin lives probably a few miles from Jakester and we are over there a few times a year.  Yet, we never made plans to get together for a beer, to see a movie, to have our kids play together.  Jakester was only a year older than me and his kids are roughly the same age as mine.  So many things in common, yet I never made the effort to meet up with him.

I know that I'm not saying anything that others haven't already said or thought about.  Posting it is just part of the process, I guess.  I really hope that I will get to meet some of you one day soon.  We never know when our time is done, so we should enjoy the time that we have.

Turn your head and cough!