The Truth About Working From Home [UPDATE]

Hello,

I cannot believe it has been over a year and a half since taking this plunge into working from home. If you would have asked me how long I saw this lasting, I would have laughed and said, “Not long at all!” But here we are. And I’m starting to wonder what it’s even like to see the faces of the public anymore. Will we ever return to the normalcy of the prior world? Or, will we create a new norm, one that forbids handshakes and emphasizes sanitation and personal spaces?

These questions may result in grim answers. I very much want to take a time machine back to years ago and experience the peace of the past, but time machines are not  readily available as of now. So, I will either find myself romanticizing about the peace of yesterday or be thrusted into this new way of doing things. *Lord be with me*

Reflection:

Initially, the work from home order was issued back in March of 2020 and now it’s May of 2021, nearly June. The same realizations from my previous truth about working from home remain, but with some added discoveries.

First and foremost, the word normal no longer holds any value or hope. I have spent days and days worrying about the challenges of tomorrow only to find myself more let down when lockdown presses on. In that momentary let down, I’ve learned to be thankful for the things I have, rather than of the things I do not. I have an  exquisite kitchen to cook my meals in and a personal domain ruled by me and my golden retriever, Willow from 8 am to 5 pm. ( After 5 pm, the rule over domain is bestowed to my beautiful wife.) I have also come to discover the power of prayer and finding hope in the Lord rather than my employment. All of these “struggles” as I may view them, are temporary and will not last forever.

Secondly, this time of living in an office cave has given me the opportunity to write more frequently when I have the time. (Obviously not on the company’s dollar.) I published my first novel during quarantine and am rounding the corner of the first draft for a second. Now, rather than letting go ideas escape into my subconsciousness, I ink them down on fabulous paper with a good fashioned fountain pen. (I think I have discovered my old soul in 2020.) I find myself writing letters to my spouse too, complete with wax seals and everything. (Another task to complete while on breaks but slightly mirrors the current reality of my job description). 

Collectively, I have discovered who I am. Isolation, don’t get my wrong here, is utterly terrible. I would not wish it on my worst of enemies, but it was the hand all of us were dealt. I merely learned to be okay with it, rather than complain. (I am sure I still do that occasionally.) And through the tragedies that have enveloped the world, I have found God in the chaos who has nurtured me and my spiritual gifts. (For He I am most grateful.)

So, as updates go, I am far better that I was before and have learned a lot over the last year. I only look fondly into the future awaiting the age-old handshake to make its triumphant return! 

As always,

Alexander

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. ”

Matthew 6:34

My Thoughts on: Zack Snyder’s Justice League

I never thought this day would come, but here we are. After months of anticipation when DC Fandome teased the release of this movie via HBO Max, I can finally say I’ve seen this masterpiece. Yes, you heard me correctly. Zack Snyder’s Justice League is an absolute masterpiece of a film. Epic in every way and on the very same level as Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings Series. And I know what you’re thinking. Alex, calm down. You’ve seen it once and that’s barely enough to review it. But I am telling you now. If you think for one minute that the theatrical version of this film released back in 2017 is the definitive version, you are sleeping under a rock. From the very start of this film, I knew it would be special. After all, this is a film made FOR FANS and not for critics. Here is my honest review of the film. ***WARNING*** I will be revealing spoilers.

The film is broken up into a prologue, six chapters, and an epilogue equaling a little over hour hours. For as long as the movie is, I never once found myself looking to see how much time was left, but rather wishing the opposite. Even at the monstrous length that it is, I wanted there to be more. In truth, I never wanted it to end. So, what were my favorite parts about this grand masterpiece? As a writer, I loved the character arcs, the deepening storyline, and most of all, the tone of the film. Zack Snyder captured the continuing tone of his previous DCEU entries: Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. (Both of which are high on my personal list of all-time best movies.)

Justice League' Snyder Cut Trailer: New Footage | IndieWire

Ben Affleck’s Batman shines like a beacon of hope throughout the center of this story as he brings together a group of misfit heroes.

One of the biggest takeaways from Batman v Superman is Affleck’s grim and brooding portrayal of the Dark Knight. This is a Batman who has seen it all. The death of Robin, twenty years of fighting crime in Gotham City, and now an alien in the sky.

He is a Batman who kills and shows no remorse for doing so. In Zack Snyder’s Justice League, Batman is no longer portrayed as a hero looking to retire, or one who is trying to right the wrongs of Superman’s death. 2017’s Justice League did the character dirty with bad humor, lack of character motivation, and no faith in his own abilities. This was a large departure from the Arkham Knight-style fighting that we got in BVS.

But no fear. He is restored to his former glory in true magnificence. He’s realistic, badass, and can hold his own against enemies that could vaporize him instantly. Truly a highlight in this film. It only makes me wish Warner Brothers would allow Affleck to pursue his solo film in the future…

Nightmare Sequences and Character Usage

If you’ve seen the film, then you’ll know how intense the Nightmare scenes are. Like BVS, where we see a Barry Allen Flash visit Bruce to warn him about the future and Lois Lane’s importance, this film teases us of the looming doom. This was a storyline to be followed in the movie’s original sequel, but now it seems unclear what will be done with it.

During the resurrection of Superman, when the mother box is being charged by the Flash, Cyborg gets a glimpse of what consequences will come from this unnatural deed. Wonder Woman is dead, Lois Lane is vaporized by Darkseid and the anti-life equation is used on Supes, and the world is vastly different. It was scenes like this that make me hope Snyder can continue this vision. It is unlike anything I’ve ever seen from a comic book movie. I tired of the Marvel movie formula. I want darker, more grittier DC films. My version of these characters would never gel well with the current formula Marvel. But this tone makes them more human. They’re broken inside, venerable, and uncertain of their purpose in this “team.” It’s time we see something different!

And the injustice storyline Zack set up would include an apocalyptic Batman along with the Flash, Mera, Deathstroke, Cyborg, and most interesting of all, the Joker while they try to undo the reality they’re in and defeat Darkseid. (Fingers crossed for this one.) Jared Leto’s banter back with Batman where he teases him about killing Robin is legendary. There is so much emotion radiating through Bruce, and he has no choice but to bring him along on this suicide mission.

Characters

Finally in this film, Cyborg and the Flash are given their proper character introductions. I cannot stress enough just how important they are to this film. I found myself on numerous occasions wanting to see more of their backstory. Cyborg is, as Zack mentioned, the heart of this film and that makes the Flash, the soul. Together, they add another dimension to the DCEU which has not yet been explored. P.S. give them both solo films already. Especially Ray Fisher, he is a genius!

On the matter of Diana Prince, A.k.a Wonder Woman, she finally kicks just as much butt as she did in the comics. Man, she’s ruthless in this film. I have not seen WW84 yet, but this seems to be the best character adaption so far. She is a warrior born and bred. She cuts Steppenwolf’s head off! This is how you do strong female characters in movies. She doesn’t rely on others to survive but just gets the job done. I do hope her character remains at its current trajectory because I am more than excited.

Final thoughts

Zack Snyder’s Justice League is a masterpiece of film making. I will never forget the amount of hope the community had for a version that may not have even existed. Through all the personal tragedy, the Synder’s rose from the ashes and finished what they set out to do. All I can say is Warner Brothers is in a pretty deep hole now. If they think fans aren’t going to continue to campaign for #RestoretheSnyderverse, they have another thing coming to them. I, for one, am completely game for whatever Snyder wants to do. His five film arc still lives.

Like Bruce said, “have a little faith.”

Good day and remember, we the fans made history, for Autumn.

Cheers.

Finally: the true story of The Zack Snyder JUSTICE LEAGUE Cut revealed

“Paris Letters” by Janice MacLeod Book Review

“Paris Letters” by Janice MacLeod was a delightfully quick read. Having finished the book in four-ish days, I can admit I’ve traipsed through the streets of Paris now (or so Janice has been to Paris and I’ve lived vicariously through her experiences).

The Paris Letters at its core is about freedom, love, and self-discovering. It’s really one giant self-reflection, which struck a nerve within my own life. I found myself relating to the fast day to day work life that suffocated Janice. Although I’m no copywriter, I would have to say my job can be just as strenuous and unnerving. The itch for “going out on your own” as they say, has always been a ship waiting to set sail. Seeing first hand how Janice put her plans into motion is inspiring. 

The story spends a lot of time detailing an epic back and forth love story between Janice and Christophe who can barely communicate with each other. There’s a massive language barrier that exists, but somehow they make it work with unusual methods. Thinking outside the box with hand gestures, pictures, and “Franglish” as she has coined.

I find myself enjoying the watercolored letters to Áine the most. The Parisian imagery and attention to detail they possess was baffling. Having closed the book, there was one letter that I’ll remember for years to come. It can be found in chapter nineteen entitled “How Would You Like Your Eggs?” There’s a moment where Janice meets an elder woman in a cemetery and comes to aid her. I won’t spoil the scene because it’s profoundly pure but I will reveal that it depicts what honest love is. It was heart-touching… Thank you Janice.

But enough of that. Would I recommend reading “Paris Letters” by Janice MacLeod? Absolutely. Coming off the cusp of George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy, “A Game of Thrones” I needed something lighter and much more relatable. Janice MacLeod gave that to me along with moments of pure inspiration. Maybe there will come a day in my life when I, too, can chronicle a magnificent tale as she’s done so beautifully.

Cheers,

Alexander.