A Late Night Post

Today was a pretty packed day as the wife and I had a church conference to attend tonight. So that just tightens our entire day as we’re rushing around to get the kids ready and out the door in a timely fashion. It’s late at night now, the first moment I’ve had to sit down and decompress.

Counting down the days until we do our next vacation. Thankfully, this one is just for the wife and me. Heading to Denver and looking forward to some delicious food and time with my brother and his wife. Lots of food, hopefully not too much freezing weather, and some beautiful sights.

With that being said, need to enjoy some more birthday cake. After tomorrow, I can dive back into some writing and prepare for the weekend.

Star Wars + Rian Johnson

Towards the end of 2017, there was a new Star Wars movie on the horizon and to say that I was excited was an understatement. Growing up, Star Wars in general was a foundational pillar of the person I grew up to be. I was enthralled with the movies, books, video games, board games, etc. You name it and I wanted to dive deeper and deeper into the lore of Star Wars, I wanted to explore the characters of Luke Skywalker and his children, I wanted to travel to the past and see the Knights of the Old Republic, and I wanted to explore the seedy underbelly of the universe with your smugglers and bounty hunters.

With the release of The Last Jedi, my wife and I went into it expecting a fun, good film that would tell us the latest chapter of the stories of characters we’d quickly fallen for, Rey, Finn, BB8, and many more. We walked in ready to be entertained.

We were NOT disappointed in the least bit. We walked away from that movie excited, riveted, and couldn’t wait to take it in again. As a matter of fact, we took our oldest child to see the movie that very evening. That’s right, we saw The Last Jedi TWICE in the same day. That’s why I was disheartened to learn of the next piece of news.

Rumors had been running wild that Rian Johnson would not be fulfilling the trilogy of movies he’d signed on to complete that would look in at a different part of the Star Wars universe. For me, Rian Johnson was being bold and innovative with a franchise that I deeply loved. Did I necessarily love every choice he made? No. That was his prerogative though and regardless I was ready to go on whatever cinematic ride he was willing to take us on.

Since the release of The Last Jedi, it was fair to say that were some who decided the internet was their bloody pulpit and decided to rip Rian Johnson apart for some of his decisions. When I say ripped apart, I mean harassed beyond your wildest thoughts. This also included actors/actresses from the movie.

Was the movie controversial to a degree? Yes. Was it the worst movie ever made? No. The reality is that a certain subsection of the Star Wars fandom hated Rian Johnson for one reason; because he aimed to be different. We had a female lead that was kicking ass and taking names, we had a black male lead who was equally heroic as he was uncomfortable in his own skin making the decisions he was making at times. He took Luke Skywalker and made him weird on some level because the man had essentially become a hermit and didn’t know how to interact with people anymore.

The sad reality is that people think Star Wars fans hated The Last Jedi because of a small percentage of fans who decided to be vocal, thrown around ridiculous terms like SJW, and decided that Rian Johnson not only destroyed a franchise they loved (which is questionable in my opinion), but apparently their lives as they were unable to move on. The truth is these fans are the same ones who harass women online and probably come pretty close to toeing a line of being racist/sexist/homophobes. The reality is they account for probably closer to 10% of the people who’ve seen the films, but because they’re loud, they believe they speak for everyone who enjoyed the movies and moved on with their lives.

Thankfully, Rian Johnson has since debunked those rumors. He will be making his trilogy of films as of today, and frankly, it’s what we need. We need fresh voices to expand the universe. Is everyone going to love every single Star Wars movie? Nope. Should we silence these filmakers because of a handful of people who aren’t socially adjusted? Definitely not. I look forward to seeing a wide swath of women, actors/actresses of color, and representation of gay/trans characters in the upcoming movies/comics/television properties/books/etc. Because that’s the world we live in today. That’s the world our favorite characters in Star Wars lives in.

And if you don’t like it? Kick rocks. We don’t need your poison.

Turning 33

Today is my birthday.

Before you start celebrating and trying to put hats on my head, I have to say that my 32nd year was the perfect mixture of amazing and disastrous.

Amazing because my youngest son, Bishop, was born and I couldn’t be happier to have his existence. People tell me all of the time of how sweet he is, how attentive and curious he is, how he is just the most content baby they’ve ever had the pleasure of coming across. I love him with all of my heart as I do all of my boys.

Amazing because my wife continues to show me strength and love like I’ve never imagined before. She has stuck by me even through the worst parts of myself and I can’t possibly imagine how tough that can be. She has helped me grow stronger in my faith and relationship with Christ, and for that I’m immensely thankful. The start to 2019 has been an incredibly strong one for us after a tough second half of the year.

It was still disastrous on a number of levels simply because of my inability to get out of my own way in this past year. I’ve battled bouts of depression and uncertainty in myself in both my personal and professional lives. I’ve questioned my decisions and been unsure of my capabilities and capacity. I’ve made decisions I regret and decisions I wish I could take back. I became lost on my path to become the man I’m supposed to be, in God’s eyes and in my wife’s eyes.

I’m back on the path. I’m making strides everyday. I’m being more and more purposeful with my time and my decisions. I’m putting a significant focus on my family and my church. I’m working on projects that I’ve spent time thinking about, but never acting on. I’m getting back to the things that truly make me happy and allow me to be the best version of myself for the Lord, my wife, and my family.

As I embark on the next year in my life, I intend to make everyday count, to make sure that the darkness that clouded my life last year doesn’t return, and to truly grow and evolve as a man and leader of my house. I know I can only do that by surrounding myself with the right people. My wife, my family, they are my foundation and my rock, and I hope to make them proud over the next year as we continue to grow, change, and experience life.

I’m happy for my 32nd year on this planet. Bishop has brought so much happiness to our home.

I’m excited for the 33rd year on this planet to truly accomplish hopes and dreams I’ve long harbored in my heart and soul.

To my wife, Rebecca, I love you so much. Thank you so much for all that you do and I’m sorry every single day for the man I was last year. I could’ve and should’ve been a better man, you deserve that better man, and I will be that better man in the year to come.

Looking forward to sharing with everyone in this upcoming year.

Jussie Smollett – What to Make of This

I had written about a thousand words that I found to be frankly beyond rambling and I straddled the fence so hard that I was embarrassed with myself. If you don’t know the story around Jussie Smollett, take the time to read it on your news source of choice.

At the end of the day, I believe one thing regardless of the reports that have come out that suggest he has orchestrated this to happen.

Stop. Breathe. Wait for the story to come out.

On one side, you have those who are wondering why he would do this and refuse to believe the reports that are coming out. There’s nothing wrong with that at all. The logical side of me is right there with you. Him orchestrating this makes absolutely no sense to me.

On the other side, you have people up in arms about this. You’re right as well. If he did this, it puts him in a horrible light and he deserves to be charged for the crimes he’s committed (filing a false police report comes to mind). He has put other victims of hate crimes, sexual assault, etc. in a bad light that gives those who are inclined to not believe victims a leg to stand on now.

So everyone just stop. The truth will come out (hopefully). The problem is that the Chicago Police Department have been spreading these stories, not once, but twice. Their sources have been leaking information and the first time it happened, not too long afterwards an arrest was made. Of course, the arrest was of two NIgerian brothers, one of which happened to be on the show that Jussie is on. That doesn’t have the right look in the least bit.

If the CPD could stop the leaks and let the case unfold as it’s supposed to, making an official statement instead of senior officials influencing the narrative, that would make a significant difference. The CPD, and all law enforcement officials, have an expectation and duty to be objective in the way they act and enforce our laws. The takeaway here, regardless of what the truth is in this moment, has to be we need to continue to hold our law enforcement to a higher standard.

The initial reports of doubting someone’s account of what happened, of being dismissive about it, is not something unique to Smollett’s case. Far from it. You hear the stories of it every week now. With women coming forward and telling their stories. When asked why they don’t go to the police sooner, it’s because when they do, they’re told how difficult it is to prosecute these cases, to find evidence, to charge individuals with the charges they should be charged with.

The CPD should be looking to shut down these leaks and ensure the case is being given the due diligence and respect it deserves. When they release an official statement, it should be as objective as possible to not discourage other victims to come forward if it’s found Smollett is guilty of telling a bogus story and should also tell the story of the hundreds of other cases they investigate that turn out to be completely true and convictions are earned as a result of the hard work so many officers perform.

By letting these stories out there, they influence the conversation and provide ammunition to a story that shouldn’t even enter into the discourse; that victims are lying and are not to be trusted. The evidence has been repeated time and time again this couldn’t be further from the truth and when it happens, it’s a rarity.

Smollett may have done damage and I suspect eventually we will find out the truth. Yet, Smollett is simply human and will suffer those punishments if that’s the truth. The CPD and other police departments across the nation are supposed to be institutions of virtue, the truth-seekers and organizations that don’t judge people for their transgressions, instead following the letter of the law and the standards that have been put in front of them.

Let’s hope we see that happen in this case, because that’s where the true discussion needs to be around.

Sunday Morning

Sunday mornings are usually tough mornings for me to wake up. No idea why. Most of the week, I’m usually able to bounce up sometime between 530am and 600am. Even on Saturday’s (okay, more like 7am). Obviously Monday through Friday is getting up to head to the office and get work done. Saturday is really nothing. That’s usually the day where the wife and I do nothing except hang out with the kiddos.

The problem with not wanting to wake up on Sunday’s is that we have church Sunday morning where the wife and I go to first service and serve during the second service. Getting all three kids up and going tends to be a significant effort, so wanting to sleep in with that mixture tends to not be a good balance! This morning was the worst as I definitely had issues getting out of bed and really wrestled with the idea of not going to church, which is a big no-no in our household.

Eventually I was able to get out of bed and get going, but man, I’m still feeling it this morning. Hoping the haze clears out of my head. Need to finish putting the house together before we have friends over for a cookout (which doesn’t work really well when its 52 degrees out side and cloudy. Come on weather!). And then need to do some podcast production work this evening before jumping back into the fray on Monday.

I might have time later on today because I’ve been reading about the Jussie Smollett case and have some thoughts. Just trying to put a piece of myself out there and figure out the opportunities for me to grown. Hope to catch you all later on.