Thoughts on Charleston, the Confederate flag, and gun violence

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Hey guys, I posted this on Facebook last night. After some thought, I decided to share it here, too.

In wake of the horrific attack on the church in Charleston last week, I’ve been sitting on a number of thoughts, trying to wrap my brain around them, and trying to mold them into articulate ideas. I didn’t want to react in a knee-jerk fashion, and I didn’t want my words to get lost in the cacophony of social commentary coming from every direction.

But now I’m going to speak.

I don’t claim to have all the insight, and I certainly don’t claim to have all the answers, but hopefully I can adequately provide my perspective, however limited it may be.

First, I want to address South Carolina’s decision to remove what is commonly referred to as the Confederate flag. It was most certainly, and unquestionably, the right move. That’s what I firmly believe. But I also want to expand upon that.

To anyone making the argument that it’s a symbol of “heritage, not hate,” I understand where you’re coming from. As a born-and-raised Southerner, I get that. For a long time, growing up, that was also my view and understanding. But over the years, and especially more recently, my opinion has changed. Continue reading

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Jurassic World is here

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Although the theater where I first saw Jurassic Park no longer exists, I still vividly recall that warm Sunday afternoon after church, when my parents and I went to the Biltmore Twin, a second-run theater in the South Forest Shopping Center.

I had just turned five and hadn’t even started kindergarten yet. And like most kids, I’d come down with a full-blown case of dino fever. I’m not sure how many of you remember, but the release of Jurassic Park was an event.

I remember going to a huge dinosaur exhibit at the Biltmore Square Mall. I don’t remember whether it was directly connected to the release of the movie, but it was certainly there because of it, complete with an animatronic tyrannosaurus rex, among other giant lizards.

However cool, the animatronics couldn’t match the excitement of the resurrected dinos that were living and breathing in Jurassic Park. Twenty two years later and that movie is still just as good as the day I first experienced it. Continue reading

Kinda Funny

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For those who don’t know, Kinda Funny – the single greatest YouTube channel in existence – is the culmination of the charisma, insight, creative genius and passion of Greg Miller, Colin Moriarty, Nick Scarpino and Tim Gettys, and it is unrivaled.

They’re four of my best friends, and they want to be yours, too.

As a long-time reader of IGN, I’ve known these guys for years, through their writing, podcasts and videos. When they started their own weekly YouTube podcast, The GameOverGreggy Show, in late 2013, I was there. These guys became a regular part of my everyday life.

So around five months ago, when I first learned they were leaving IGN, as I ate lunch in the break room at work, I was devastated. Immediately after reading Greg’s tweet, which simply said, “I quit IGN,” tears began to roll down my cheek. I hadn’t yet processed what was happening, so my only response was to cry.

Little did I realize that the departure of these four individuals meant I’d actually get to spend even more time with them, as they have gone on to form Kinda Funny, where they create web content for their fans (their best friends) full-time. And this past weekend, I got to spend time with them, in-person, at MomoCon in Atlanta.

And let me tell you, it was freaking surreal. They are every bit as genuine, gracious, down-to-earth, funny and kind as they seem in their videos. They don’t take their success for granted. It’s obvious they care that we care.

When I first approached them, I introduced myself and said they might recognize my Twitter picture from my incessant tweeting at them. Before I even pulled up my profile to show them, Tim asked, “Are you the Doug guy?!” and as I proceeded to show them (my pic is Doug Funnie with a Braves cap), Tim shouted, “I was hoping you’d be the Doug guy!” And because of my Twitter pic, they all knew me.

That blew my mind.

Later that evening, along with other Kinda Funny fans, I got to hang out with them and actually have real conversations. Nick Scarpino, the Producer/Seducer, actually came up to me and spent an inordinate amount of time talking to me, one-on-one. IS THIS REAL LIFE?!

These guys are my heroes, and the fact that they not only know who I am, but wanted to talk to me, was almost beyond (Beyond!) what I could comprehend. They work so hard, and it’s absolutely appreciated.

The fact that I left Atlanta this afternoon having gotten two hugs from Greg and two hugs from Nick, a handshake from all four of them, visual recognition of who I am from all of them, some real conversations and their signatures is more than I ever dreamed. The fact that I got Greg to yell “Oi!” is just the icing on the cake.

As I write this, I have a couple of tears in my eyes, because I can’t wait to hang out with them again.

Kinda Funny is made up of best friends, and those best friends are family.