Dear Jack: Our 1st Father and Son Road Trip- Ghostbusters and The BFG (in the 2016 Lexus ES 300h)

5 years, 8 months.

Dear Jack: Our 1st Father and Son Road Trip- Ghostbusters and The BFG (in the 2016 Lexus ES Hybrid)

Dear Jack,

With Mommy still on maternity leave for a little bit more, she took Baby Holly to Sacramento, California for the week to visit family.

We decided this would be a perfect opportunity for you to spend a week at Nonna and Papa’s house in Fort Payne, Alabama; as your first sort of summer camp experience. Meanwhile, I would stay behind here in Tennessee as I work a full time job.

But of course, I would be the one to take you there to Nonna and Papa’s house over the weekend. I saw it as the perfect opportunity for you and I to have our 1st ever father and son road trip. We were able to score a 2016 Lexus ES 300 Hybrid for the 3 day weekend!

Dear Jack: Our 1st Father and Son Road Trip- Ghostbusters and The BFG (in the 2016 Lexus ES Hybrid)

The event began when we dropped off Mommy and Baby Holly at the Nashville Airport at 3:00 AM on early Friday morning and said our sleepy goodbyes to them. We then drove all the way back to Spring Hill and slept in until 8:00 AM.

Next it was time for our haircuts. Then I made us some lunch by reheating leftovers from the dinner Mommy made the night before, and after that, we were off to the movies!

We always love watching movies together so I decided we should spend the whole afternoon at the movies on such a sweltering hot July Friday afternoon, by watching two movies, back to back.

Dear Jack: Our 1st Father and Son Road Trip- Ghostbusters and The BFG (in the 2016 Lexus ES Hybrid)

For months now, we couldn’t help but be curious about the new Ghostbusters movie. So I decided to make our viewing very special by opting for us to see it in 3D. I’m so glad we did.

You and I had so much fun watching it together. You liked all the Ghostbusters’ cool gadgets and weapons.

I’m pretty sure your favorite holiday is Halloween. You love scary stuff. For example, your favorite episode of Saved By the Bell is Episode 26 of Season 3, “Mystery Weekend”, the one with the haunted house.

Not to mention, you’ve seen nearly every episode of Goosebumps, plus the movie at least 2 or 3 times by now.

So while perhaps not all soon-to-be Kindergartner boys would be ready for Ghostbusters, you proudly watched it with me and thought it was so cool.

Dear Jack: Our 1st Father and Son Road Trip- Ghostbusters and The BFG (in the 2016 Lexus ES Hybrid)

I let you completely decide what our 2nd movie would be. Instead of Star Trek (which would have gotten my vote), or even Tarzan (which I know you would have loved since it has animals in it), you chose The BFG, which you’ve been excited about for weeks now.

By the way, you took your “big-eyed” Panda, who you dressed up in one of your sister’s outgrown dresses. I think that’s your way of saying your miss her.

From 2:05 to 6:35 Friday evening, we were at the movies. Seriously, how cool is that? It’s not something we would normally get to do, for sure.

As for me, that was the one day of our father and son road trip that I actually took off work for, as the weekend followed. It felt like a real day off for me. Such a good time.

Dear Jack: Our 1st Father and Son Road Trip- Ghostbusters and The BFG (in the 2016 Lexus ES Hybrid)

I took you to Moe’s for dinner, as they are able to easily cater to my vegan needs and your vegetarian needs. Afterwards, we headed home to get to sleep as soon as possible; since early the morning, we would be taking the Lexus ES across state lines for our inevitable amazing adventures together…




Here’s the collection of stories from our father and son road trip…

Ghostbusters and the BFG

Nick A Jack Road

Cloudland Canyon State Park

Sallie Howard Memorial Chapel

Azalea Cascade Trail at DeSoto State Park

2016 Lexus ES 300h Father & Son Road Trip (Table of Contents)

Dear Jack: Our 1st Father and Son Road Trip- Ghostbusters and The BFG (in the 2016 Lexus ES Hybrid)

Ghostbusters Reboot Movie: Boycott Vs. Free Market (Plus, Will Women Support This Movie By Actually Going to See It?)

Ghostbusters Reboot Movie: Boycott Vs. Free Market (Plus, Will Women Support This Movie?)

I’ve yet to hear one female express excitement over the upcoming Ghostbusters reboot movie, which is apparently a chick flick version of the classic. In fact, I’ve yet to hear one female even acknowledge the new Ghostbusters movie at all.

That’s problematic, since the upcoming movie features a female cast of Ghostbusters along with a good-looking yet dim-witted male secretary, played by Chris Hemsworth.

In theory, there should be some sincere, positive buzz occurring among females on social media. In theory, girls should see this new Ghostbusters movie as empowering to women. However, I’m not seeing a wave of #girlpower in association with the movie, other than from the movie’s main cast and crew, as they are likely forced to by Sony.

Girls aren’t talking about the movie. Guys are.

We are confused why we as males are being left out of the marketing. Clearly, we’re the demographic that actually cares about Ghostbusters.

I’ve read some muttering online about guys needing to boycott the movie, especially during opening weekend, in a conscious effort to send a message to Sony; that this is not the Ghostbusters movie we have been wanting since 1989.

Here’s my video I made about that topic:

This is a chick flick reboot which, based on the trailer, paints men as irrelevant, or petty at best.

We wanted a true sequel. Sony’s offering is a major disappointment.

As far as an official boycott, I say what’s the point? Without a sincere and passionate audience, the free market will likely create a problem even worse than a boycott: apathy.

With no true fans of the reboot, I predict the Ghostbusters reboot is in danger of being the biggest, most embarrassing flop of 2016.

And here’s my video on that:

The thing is, for those of us who are true Ghostbusters fans, we see this coming. I thought usually when a big budget flops that big, it’s typically somewhat of a surprise.

But in this case, the ghostly train wreck is being surveyed in real time on social media. I think that makes it worse, right?

Ghostbusters Reboot Movie: Boycott Vs. Free Market (Plus, Will Women Support This Movie By Actually Going to See It?)

Ghostbusters Reboot Movie: Chick Flick with No Audience? Men are Irrelevant?

Ghostbusters Reboot Movie: Chick Flick with No Audience? Men are Irrelevant?

For the upcoming Ghostbusters reboot out next Friday (July 15th), I’m curious to see if Sony’s marketing will be able to find an audience for the movie.

Here’s what I mean by that:

The Ghostbusters reboot, which is being nicknamed “Girlbusters” by us doubting Thomas’s, is apparently supposed to be a chick flick. I say that simply because I’ve seen the trailer at least half a dozen times (in hopes it would magically get better).

This the video I recently made on that subject:

The only male shown is Chris Hemsworth, whose character clearly has looks, but no brains. He doesn’t even know how to answer the phone, yet he is the only male character presented.

Meanwhile, the females are smart, heroic, and (apparently?) funny.

Take away the whole Ghostbusters façade of this movie and consider what is left…

This isn’t Ghostbusters. It’s an attempt at being a chick flick, as its director is Paul Feig; perhaps best known for directing the very successful R-rated chick flick, Bridesmaids, which features a female cast.

As I mentioned a few days ago in my post, Ghostbusters Reboot Movie Toys: Boys Aren’t Buying Them, I present a video I shot which demonstrates all the nearly all female cast of characters are actually located in the boys’ section of stories. In fact, no one is buying these toys: I show how the toys are already on 30% clearance though the movie isn’t even out yet.

Based on the trailer, it appears as if men are now irrelevant in the Ghostbusters universe.

And here’s the video I made on that issue:

It’s confusing, because as a non-Donald Trump supporter who is married with kids and who doesn’t live in his parents’ basement, I feel like Sony’s marketing team doesn’t feel I’m necessary as part of the equation of making this movie successful.

So if men are irrelevant, and if women are the target audience, yet the major lack of sale of toys indicated females are not interested in this movie, then who is the audience?

[Insert sound of crickets here.]

Ghostbusters Reboot Movie: Chick Flick with No Audience? Men are Irrelevant?

The Common Fascination with Ghosts and My Wonder of Why People are Afraid of Them

I ain’t afraid of no ghosts!

From Jesus’ disciples thinking that He was a ghost when He walked out on the water to their boat, to the tradition of people gathering around a campfire to hear a ghost story (in which one of the storyteller’s buddies is waiting in the woods to scream at the right cue), ghosts are a classic and preconceived idea.  The thing that gets me about ghosts is this: What are they actually going to do to you?

Yes, ghosts are spooky, creepy, and flat out scary in an old school kind of way.  But I can honestly say that I don’t know anyone in my life that has ever been injured, held hostage, or killed by a ghost.  In every ghost story I’ve ever heard, the worst thing about seeing a ghost is… well, seeing a ghost.  Even if ghosts existed, it’s no more threatening than paying $8 to go to a “spook house” and getting frightened for two seconds because a guy in a hockey mask jumps out at me with a plastic machete.  He can’t touch me, or hurt me.  At best, he’s just there for dramatic effect.

The fact that if ghosts existed they’re harmless is made obvious through the term itself “ghost stories”.  They’re stories.  Fiction.  They often involve a person who suffered a strange death in a house or in a field decades or centuries ago who can still be seen or heard on the right night.  Or like in the bed-and-breakfast where my wife and I stayed at out in Salem, Massachusetts, in which previous guests wrote in the sign-in book that they heard footsteps at night and heard the doorknob being jiggled.  Still though, even if that were true, I’m still here today telling the story.

A natural defensive response to this is someone telling me a “demon story”, which is totally different.  The movie Paranormal Activity is about a demon-possessed girl, not a ghost.  That’s part of the reason it’s so popular and so scary.  There’s a major difference between ghosts and demons, and a lot of people don’t realize that.  A ghost (or apparition) is the appearance of a person who has already lived and died.  A demon is an evil spirit which may inhabit a living person or animal.  (Surely a quick search on YouTube by typing in “actual exorcism” or “demon possessed person in Africa” is at least a little convincing.)

The New Testament is full of situations where people were possessed by a demon, so Jesus or His disciples casted the evil spirit out.  In particular, there was that one time where Jesus cast a multitude of demons out of a man into a herd of pigs, which immediately ran to the ocean and drowned themselves.  But even though I am aware of demonic presences in real life, I fully realize that the greatest concern of the satanic force is hinder me in my spiritual relationship with Jesus Christ and to prevent me from building up the Heavenly Kingdom.  Not to possess me.  Because they can’t- I’m already spoken for.

What truly scares me at night?  Being outside in the woods, knowing there could possibly be a mountain lion or a Copperhead snake that sneaks up on me.  (One of my current favorite TV shows is I Shouldn’t Be Alive, which comes on Wednesday nights on Animal Planet- I’m a little bit obsessed.)

A few times throughout my life I have been stuck in a heavy-feeling dream where I felt like something was oppressing me or weighing me down, where I even heard strange, slow motion voices that I can not distinguish. I tried to wake myself up, telling myself it was just a dream.  I tried to speak, but couldn’t.  Until I said, “Jesus! Save me, Jesus!” I immediately woke up to realize that I physically said those words out loud and that those spirits whispering in my ear or whatever they were doing had disappeared.

I take it I’m not a very well liked guy by the dark side of the invisible spiritual world, because never does a day go by where I don’t somehow publicly acknowledge that God is relevant in my life and that He is responsible for something good.  Instead of letting demonic forces trying to threaten my spiritual life, I do my best to live a lifestyle that hinders their mission. Some people are fascinated the possibility of seeing ghosts; I am fascinated by how through my relationship with Jesus Christ, I pose a threat to the wrong side of spiritual warfare.

“You believe that there is one God.  Good!  Even the demons believe that- and shudder.” -James 2:19

Manspeak, Volume 2: Heroism

Subconsciously I view handymen and auto mechanics as super heroes. Because the only thing I can build is a Lego house and the only vehicle I can fix is a Lego car. While I’m not a “slow learner”, I don’t learn new skills quickly. It takes daily practice for at least several weeks before I master something new. So to see a man who gets daily exposure to these expected masculine events, I can’t help but have admiration.

Any laugh track infused sitcom that features a typical “dad figure” has had at least once episode where there is a need for home repair and the man of the house rises to the occasion (against the advice of others in the household, namely the wife). Of course, the man botches the job for the comedy highlight of the episode: On Who’s the Boss, Tony “fixed” the toilet upstairs but smashed a hole in the floor which he fell into, causing only his butt to be visible from the living room ceiling by his family below. On Perfect Strangers, Larry “fixed” the shower but it caused the shower head to shoot water across to the other side of the bathroom and blasted Balki in the face, who decides to just stand there with his mouth open and drink the water instead of move out of the way. And as for Home Improvement, “man hilariously attempts home repairs” was the theme of every entire episode.

The fact that under-qualified men continue to try to fix things when they don’t really know how to, is a universal issue. Why? Because it is a man’s job to fix things. It is literally the way men were wired. A woman says to a man, “Our garbage disposal isn’t working right. I think we should call someone to come fix it.” The man hears this: “You’re a man, capable of figuring out how to fix this, but instead, I’m going to call another man to get the job done because he’s more qualified than you”. Shrinkage follows at just the thought of another man walking in the door with his tools.

A man walks around with this hidden fear that he will not be successful in life. In all ways big and small. If he can’t successfully make the evidently simple home repair, he fears he may be seen as insufficient, incapable, and useless. When he longs to be the hero. And hiring someone else to do the job makes him feel unnecessary. May seem a little over the top, but being a man, I recognize the tendency of thinking in terms in worst case scenarios about this stuff.

This also explains the all too familiar (yet somehow not cliché because it’s so true) story of the man who won’t stop to ask for directions. It’s a man’s job to explore and find his own way if he’s lost. A major sense of accomplishment if he can do it. And just for the record, he’s not lost. He’s either taking the scenic route or the short cut (depending on how much time is delayed).

One of my proudest accomplishments regarding home improvement was when I turned down an aggressive salesman who knocked on the door one sunny Saturday morning. If I signed a year-long contract right then since his company was already in the neighborhood, his company would regularly spray my house for bugs for the low, low yearly fee of $545. He inspired me to immediately drive to Lowe’s and purchase a 5 gallon sprayer for $11. Needless to say, I now consider myself a professional bug killer.

Last week as I was getting ready for bed I heard my wife scream loudly from the stairs. My initial thought is that someone broke into the house. I ran over to the stairs to find the intruder to be a wolf spider. A very large scary spider that appeared quite afraid to end up lost and confused at the top of the stairs. I took on the form of the 1984 no nonsense straight-faced Bill Murray, racing downstairs to transform the vacuum cleaner into a proton pack with which I sucked up the monster with great force, feeling the vibration of the thump as it was crushed to death by my weapon. I was a hero. An ego trip shortly followed.

All pictures with the “JHP” logo were taken by Joe Hendricks Photography: