To my wife, on our 15th Anniversary:

Wow.  Fifteen years of marriage, and seventeen years as a couple.  From twenty years old until thirty-seven (come this Saturday).  So much has happened, and yet, not really.

Dated.
Got engaged.
Got through cancer.
Got married.
Moved.
Moved.
Moved.
Got a dog.
Moved.
Got pregnant.
Had a kid.
Moved.
Got pregnant again.
Lost a kid.
Moved.
Got pregnant again.

That’s it.  16 things, 6 of which were moving.  But it is also so much more.  Every day is special.  You’ve taught me that.  We’ve taught each other, about each other, and about ourselves.  I’ve grown so much being married to you.  You have made me a better man; a happy man.

I turn so easily to depression.  But you are and have always been my anchor.

The picture my mother drew of us, a lioness holding a red balloon is completely accurate.  You keep me grounded, and in touch with reality.  You keep me present and alive in the moment.  I enjoy life more because you are in it.

We have nothing in common and everything in common with one another.  Opposites attract and they did so in the most spectacular way with you, April Dawn Brown.  When I’m angry, you cheer me up.  When I’m overly excited, you remind me that I need a plan in order to accomplish my goals.  I fold the laundry, because you have washed it.

When I lose my patience with our five-year-old (OMG, he’s 5!), you provide the steady hand.

April, you haven’t just been the better part of the last two decades, you’ve been the best part.

I love you.

 

Sincerely,

Tom

When a song gets you in the soul…

I don’t know why Tom Waits wasn’t a part of my life when I was younger, because 17 year old me would have had his world changed.

“My body’s at home
But my heart’s in the wind
Where the clouds are like headlines
On a new front page sky
My tears are salt water
And the moon’s full and high…”

Nerd Rant: My Renewed Hope in Star Wars

I’m not going to lie to you.  After the final prequel film ended, and the saga was complete,  I was left unsatisfied.  We were given three new, and unfulfilling movies that were pale comparisons to their predecessors, and they failed to add anything new to the experience, and in many cases, depreciated the originals joy and creativity.  And it was over.  No more Star Wars.  No hope.

As I am in love with Star Wars enough to look past many things, I still purchased the movies and began watching The Clone Wars tv series when it came out.  This was a good thing.  Though the show skewed young, it aged with it’s female protagonist, Ahsoka Tahno, and in not-so-small of a way, made up for the disappointing prequel films.  This, at least, was Star Wars.

Then Star Wars Rebels happened, and I was finally getting Star Wars on the level I needed.  It isn’t the big screen romp I wanted, but it was good storytelling, in the galaxy far, far away.  My hope began to kindle.

The Force Awakens came the following year, and my hope for a world where new and inspiring Star Wars stories took flight.  Was it a perfect movie?  No, but it did something that none of the prequels had done.  It reminded me of why I loved Star Wars, and gave me something new, in the form of some of the most complex and interesting characters we’ve yet to see in Star Wars.  I was ready.

And now, Rogue One, A Star Wars Story has arrived, and it truly is my New Hope for Star Wars.  They succeeded on every level.  Do I think there are flaws in the film?  Yes.  But then again, there were flaws in 4, 5 and 6 too.  But they were the flaws you look over, because ultimately they do not detract from the overall experience of the film–which was a lot of fun!  In fact, I truly only have two problems with the film, and both of them involve unnecessary cameos of characters from episode 4.  But they are small complaints, because when the credits finally rolled, I was not left unsatisfied, or unfulfilled.  I left the theatre loving Star Wars that much more.

Thank you, Gareth Edwards.  #YouDoneGood

On Voting…

The obsession with who a person is voting for has always been a foreign one to me. I was raised with the understanding that who I cast my vote for is nobody else’s business, but my own. It’s private, which is the reason why you vote anonymously in a booth or partition. Now, this being said—I have not tried to hide my political viewpoints, nor have I shied away from the political post on social media, but I haven’t come out and said who I was voting for. Not happy with any candidate, I could be voting for myself, you don’t know, because I haven’t told you.

I’ve also found it interesting that when one points out a fault in a particular candidate, their supporters defend that fault, by pointing out the faults in the other candidate. As if one thing had anything to do with the other. I tend to support all of my claims with articles and factual information. But not everyone needs facts or truth to make a decision when it comes to voting. We vote from our hearts. We vote from our passions.

So, no, I’m not going to tell you who I’m voting for. But I will tell you why I will not be voting for Donald J. Trump.

Feel free to follow the links provided here, if you wish to see my supporting information, as I like to provide such things.

Here are the main two reasons I won’t be voting for Trump:

  1. He is a selfish, racist, bigoted, misogynistic, hate monger, who only cares about the wealthy, and more specifically, himself, and he cannot be trusted.Honestly, the office of President of the United States is the most important “job” on the planet (in my opinion), and with that lofty position comes the responsibility of representing all of American society.  Vulgarity, impatience, and a history of bullying are not qualities the President should have.

    (Each one of those words is a separate link.)

  2. His running mate.  Mike Pence’s track record with RFRA, his opposition to the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, and the transgendered bathroom policy in our schools–to name a few–would make the United States in his image: where the LGBT community, including transgendered men, and women would, simply, not be allowed the same rights, protection, and dignity that the rest of us enjoy.  America is the land of the free. The place where anyone can be accepted no matter their race, religion, nationality, age, gender, gender identity, or sexual preference. They are welcome. We are the melting pot.On a personal note: If Pence had his way, my sister, a transgendered woman, would be ostracized and singled out as unwanted by the federal government.  And this, I could never willingly allow.  I love my sister, and she has the right to exist as the gender she identifies with.

I have more reasons why I’m not voting for him, but these, for me, are enough.  And I understand that not everyone is going to agree with me, and that’s okay.  We’re citizens of the United States of America and we have the right to disagree, civilly, and openly.

If you disagree, I welcome your arguments; however, I challenge you to do so without mentioning any other candidate.  Defend Trump without pointing the finger at Clinton, Johnson, or Stein. Defend him on his merits, not on the qualities of his opponents.  And then, back it up with research.

https://ballotpedia.org is a great site for the facts if you need help.

09.08.2016

I thought about titling this blog “The Year that Didn’t Happen,” because, well…it didn’t–at least not as it was supposed to.  I was going to be juggling a job, a newly burgeoning film career, being a husband, and being a father to not one, but two boys.  But a year ago today I held my second son for the first, and last time.  I remember it as if it were yesterday.

Like all babies, he was lighter than he looked.  But this one…Isaac looked like me.  It was nice to see.  I love T3, but he certainly looks more like a Cooper than he does a Brown.  Isaac had my nose, which up until his mid-fifties would have been a good thing.  (It goes downhill from there.)

I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not okay, and that that’s all right.  I don’t know if I’ll ever be “OK.”  I have an Isaac shaped hole in my heart that couldn’t possibly be filled.  But I don’t want that.

I still laugh.  I still dream.  And if you ask Isaac’s older brother what the meaning of life is, he will answer loud and clear: “Bacon!”  I’ve done well.

But Isaac, I miss you, boy.  And I always will.

Not many people ask me how I’m doing.  This, I believe, is mainly due to the fact that, as a Gemini, I’m quite good at keeping my cards hidden.  And I don’t take offense to it.  I’m usually more concerned about what is going on in others lives than to worry them with my own.  I am fine.  Just a little more sad than usual.

I’ve started (again) to write a novel.  I don’t have much written but the first page says the following:

To my boys, Thomas D. Brown III and Isaac Joel Brown.

I don’t know when exactly you became my compass on this adventure, but I can’t imagine life without you.  And so I dedicate this adventure to you.  

Love,
Your Father

Maybe I should have titled the blog “Meandering with Isaac.”  #LOL

You have never stopped being an inspiration my boy, and though the idea of waiting any longer to hold you again tears me apart, I’ll do us all a favor, and keep on kickin’ until I’m old and gray.  (Don’t tell anyone, but I’m starting to go gray already.)

Cheers.

Dad

PS: Your headstone / marker thing is pretty nice.  I liked that it had a tree on it.  A bringer of life. -T2

Dear Isaac, #2

I read a love poem today and it made me think of both your mother, and of you.  E.E. Cummings wrote “[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]” in 1952, and in 2016, I share it with you:

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
                                                      i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

Love,

Dad

2015

I moved across the country.
I lost weight, and gained it back.
I read twenty-three books.  Not one of them was the one I promised to read.
I literally, “leaped for joy,” upon learning of my wife’s pregnancy.
I starred in a movie and made several.
My son taught me how to be a triceratops.  I taught him about bacon.
I was unemployed. “Sorry, we’re going in a cheaper direction.”
But, then I got a job.
I wore a tuxedo, and cried at a wedding.
But then my baby died.  I held him in my arms, only once, for fear I wouldn’t let him go again.
We put him in the ground, and I held my wife.
And, then I went to work.
I made new friends.
I tried new food.
I cried a lot. 
I began working on my novel again.  We’ll see how it works out.
I have not visited his grave.
Christmas is supposed to be a happy time of year.
All I want is for it to be September 8th, and for him to still be here.
But time is a constant.
Thanksgiving was good.
I’ve whispered “I love you” into my son’s ear, on a consistent basis.
I’ve watched Star Wars twice.
I’ll see it again, soon.
I don’t like resolutions.
But I will promise myself, this:

I will not stop.  I will continue.  I will learn how to breathe again.
I will make him proud.
I love you, Isaac.