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A Busy Week at Binge

As I said earlier in the week, I’m going to start posting links to the work that I do at Binge Media as often as I can. And I had a busy week over there with the sports stuff.

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On Wednesday, I wrote previews for the upcoming weekend’s games in the NFL Playoffs. Click the link below to check it out and you can also vote for who you think is going to win.

http://bingemedia.net/2015/01/07/binge-sports-nfl-playoffs-the-divisional-round-fan-vote/

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Yesterday, I wrote my fourth story on Lauren Hill. If you don’t know this story, please follow the link below to check it out. This story also has the links to the first three. She is so unbelievably inspiring.

http://bingemedia.net/2015/01/08/binge-sports-coach-lauren-hill/

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And just today, I gave readers another chance to vote for the winner of the College Football Playoff National Championship between Oregon and Ohio State. Click the link below to cast your vote.

http://bingemedia.net/2015/01/09/college-football-playoff-national-championship-game-oregon-v-ohio-state-fan-vote/

They’ll be some more things from Binge Media over the next week or so and you can always check out the latest by following me @BingeSports and/or @THElukenorris, but also stay tuned for the 2015 version of “The State of THE Luke Norris Address”, coming soon to The Luke Norris Experience. As always, I thank you for your continued support. I’ll see you soon.

 

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Binge Media–My Take On “The Interview”

I know it’s just another plug for the work that I do for another site, but I’m going to start linking most, if not all of my posts to The Luke Norris Experience. Binge Media is a big part of what I do these days, so if you see this post and have already read the article(s), then just disregard this, but if you haven’t, follow this link over to Binge Media and check out this week’s edition of “Working the Weekend with Luke” for my take on the controversial movie, The Interview. Enjoy.

http://bingemedia.net/2015/01/04/working-the-weekend-with-luke-1415-an-interview-about-the-interview-spoiler-alert/

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Merry New Year!!

If you think the title is wrong, then you’ve never seen Trading Places and that’s your fault, not mine. But I digress.

I’m short on time, so I won’t keep you long. I’ve got a couple hours of driving ahead of me as I’m headed north to spend the new year with some of my favorite people in the world and I’m pretty excited about that.

I could spend this time breaking down my 2014 and believe me, there’s plenty to break down. I could go over my road trip or my new job or how much the kids have grown. There were certainly some surprises, some positives and some negatives, but I’ll hang onto that for a few weeks when I bring you the 2015 The State of The Luke Norris Address. If you’re not familiar with the 2014 version, click HERE.

But all I really want to accomplish today is to tell everybody that’s reading this that I hope you had a wonderful 2014. I know it gets hard from time to time for everybody, but I hope you were able to fight through and come out smiling.

I also ask one favor from all of you. Be safe tonight. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about making some bad decisions. Some of those can be the most fun, but just don’t make getting in a car and driving one of them. It’s just not worth it. Beyond that, do what you do and I hope you’ve got someone to share tonight with.

Well, that will do it in 2014 for The Luke Norris Experience. And don’t forget to keep checking me out at bingemedia.net. I wish every single one of you the best 2015 you can possibly have and I’ll see you on the other side of midnight. But for now, I’m out the door. Have fun kids.

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‘Twas The Night I Wrote A Letter To Santa

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‘Twas the night before Christmas, as I sat in my house

Writing a letter to Santa, this is how it came out:

Dear Santa, I know that you’re busy, but I just need a minute

First, I don’t want to know a world that doesn’t have you in it.

The rosy cheeks, the cherry nose, the merry dimples

Take me back to a time when life was so simple.

So full of joy, that bowl full of jelly,

” But Santa’s not real” is what they continue to tell me.

But I’ll always believe, maybe that’s just me

I suppose this is when I tell you what I need.

I don’t really need presents, but this is the thing

What I really want are things you can’t bring.

I want to stop being sad every time my kids go,

I want to forgive myself for the things no one knows.

I want to forget some of the things that I’ve seen,

From tears to a last breath and things in between.

I don’t want pity, and I don’t want to be too sappy

But all that I want is for people to be happy.

I think I’ve been a good boy, and believe me when I say

That’s all people want at the end of the day.

But please don’t think that I don’t have it good,

I’ve got people that love me, as everybody should.

I’ve got bills that are paid, a roof and a floor,

I’ve got a job and a car, and oh so much more.

But some people don’t, and this is what I ask,

Can you take care of them, is that an easy enough task?

There’s people that I know that deserve so much more,

Whether it’s love or just a break, is that so much to ask for?

I know it’s not your job to provide these things,

But maybe some hope is what you could bring

To those who need you, because overall, I don’t,

And to those who tell me to stop believing, I won’t.

So as my daughters sleep in their beds tonight, go ahead and pass us by,

I’ll take care of things down here, just go to those who cry.

I raise my glass to you, good sir, as you ride with such delight,

Merry Christmas to all, here’s to the good life.

 

 

 

 

A Talk With Pop

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Hey Pop, I’m sorry that I was so quiet at the cemetery today. Honestly, I really don’t know what to say sometimes when I’m there. I think maybe it’s because I still think from time to time that you’re going to talk back, and that’s one of the hardest parts of the past two years. The fact that we can’t engage in one of our epic conversations is still really difficult for me. Even as I’m sitting here attempting to write this, I’m not quite sure what to say. I guess what I really want to tell you is that maybe I’m still not quite past your passing. I’m trying really hard to get there, but I think there may always be a little part of me that will always be angry with myself for not getting past some things that happened between us a hell of a lot earlier than I did. I think that’s why I wrote what I did last year about forgiveness and I really did mean it. Or maybe I just miss you more than I could ever fully express and everything I just wrote is complete nonsense.

But overall, Pop, I’m doing okay. There’s still some things that get at me but I know I’m better than I used to be. I really wish you were here to see how much the girls have grown. They’re just getting so big so fast. And they’re so smart and so beautiful. It pains me to no end when they have to leave every week. Honestly, that’s a feeling that I know I’ll never be able to shake, but I think that can be a good thing.  The fact that I cry every single Wednesday lets me know how much I love them, I think.  They really are amazing and I know they would just love you so much and I know that Patrick and Dominic would too. You would be so proud of Kimberly. She is an amazing mother and I don’t think our relationship has ever been better. It’s so amazing when the four kids are together and I know that would make you very happy. Matt has got some very cool things going on as well and you would be so proud of the man he’s becoming. And Mom is still Mom. She’s the most amazing grandmother to these kids and still the best mother a guy could ever hope for.

I still contact Patti from time to time and she seems to be doing okay. A very cool thing is that I’ve actually hung out with Angie a few times (she’s a grown woman and actually calls me “Uncle Lukey”, which I know you would find as hysterical and adorable as I do) and met my great-nieces. They actually came out to my birthday party for a little bit. And just this morning, Derek messaged me asking for a copy of the video I made about you. He says that he wished he could have had a relationship with you and I’m sure that would have happened. I’m extremely proud that you chose to get back in touch with Patti after all those years and I’m happy I was able to be there for it.

I suppose the point I’m trying to make is that even though life always goes on, there are so many people that wish you were here to witness it. And as for me, I’m still just a boy that wishes his daddy was here. Through everything that happened, I always loved you and I always will. There was so much good in you, even if it was easier sometimes to see the other side. That’s what I forgot sometimes, but never again. There’s so much that you passed down to me and as the son became a father, I can only hope that Ashlyn and Brooklyn love me as much as I love you. I miss you every day Pop, and for that, I know I’ll never have to be sorry.

 

Here I Go Again

Here I go again on my own/Going down the only road I’ve ever known/Like a drifter, I was born to walk alone

For the longest time in my life, I felt this could be my walk-around theme song. I spent many years of my life lost, looking for answers that would never come and looking for THE answer that I’ve craved all my life. I felt trapped inside a personal prison that I feared I would never and could never escape. It was dark, cold, and I felt completely alone.

But then I would break free. Again and again, I would break free. Only to keep coming back. Again and again and again.

Just when I thought things were getting better each time and I was finally closing in on the elusive answer, I would get knocked back down again. I would climb and I would fall. I would climb and I would fall. The problem with getting closer to the top is that the fall becomes longer and it starts to hurt more and more every time. Believe me, there were times that I thought about not getting back up. I thought maybe I couldn’t, or even shouldn’t get up.

But you’ve read these things before from me. This is actually right around where I left you in “THE STATE OF THE LUKE NORRIS ADDRESS”.  If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, just go ahead and click on the title there and get caught up. But chances are if you’re reading this, then you know what’s happened over the past few years.

So what’s the point of this post then? The point is that once again, I feel like I have yet another fresh start, but this time is different. But why?

It’s been an interesting five months to say the least. When I last left you, I was about to hit the road and just go west, and I certainly did that. If you missed my series “THE LUKE NORRIS TRAVEL EXPERIENCE”, you can find it in the March 2014 archives to your right. You can catch all of the details there, but over the course of nearly a week, I drove 3,776 miles through Iowa, Nebraska (FUCK Nebraska!), Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, and back home to good old Illinois. And I can honestly say that I’d do it all over again. It truly was amazing. It gave me so many hours on the road to just think about so many things in my life, and I saw some awesome things along the way, most notably the Grand Canyon. If you’ve never been, please do it before you die. But even some things that I didn’t know I would feel so strongly about are what make the trip stand out. I didn’t know how beautiful southern Utah is. I didn’t know that a cool desert night driving in New Mexico could be so refreshing. I didn’t know that the bombing site in Oklahoma City would make me feel the way it did. Honestly, I think that road trip brought out nearly every emotion that I have. But as cool as it was to be out there, nothing made me feel as good as coming soon and seeing how much my girls had missed me. All of them.

I came back refreshed. For those who read the address, let me clarify something. The point of that road trip was not to find my definitive answer to that one certain question. That wasn’t the point at all. The point was to just get some time away, which I think we’ve all experienced. But I did come back refreshed. That doesn’t mean that the things that had been going on here had just gone away. My basement was still a wreck. I didn’t magically have a job waiting for me. I knew there was still work to be done here.

So I started on the job hunt. What a fucking mess that was. Looking for a job is the absolute worst. I hadn’t done it in so long, so I really had forgotten how awful the process really is. The key this time though was not to just send out resumes to just any company that was looking. I wanted my next position to be something I could get excited about. For so long, I had been so unhappy with my job that I wanted something different. I was getting phone calls and interviews, but nothing that made me jump for joy. And when did companies start holding more than an interview or two? Good lord, there was one company that I interviewed with five times, including an actual full day of work. And then in the last interview, the guy I was supposed to meet with didn’t even show up. No e-mail. No phone call. Nothing. To this day, I still haven’t heard back from them. And that’s okay. If that’s the way they were going to do business, then I didn’t want to be a part of that anyway. It was also during this time that I started talking with Nexstar Broadcasting, who run CBS and FOX here in town. Again, I went on multiple interviews. I remember thinking that the first one had been more enjoyable than any interview I’d ever been on. But things kept getting dragged out. But I was still excited about it. It was even said to me that I hadn’t looked so excited about anything in quite a while, so I knew there was something there. If I hadn’t heard back from them for a few days, I called. I e-mailed. And persistence paid off. Starting Monday, I will be the new Account Executive with WMBD-TV 31, Fox 43, ciproud.com, and Bounce. Salary, commission, health, dental, vision, 401k, an expense account, phone, laptop, the works. So I’ve got that going for me, which is nice.

Throughout the five months, I’ve also had quite a bit of time to write. I’m sure I’ve annoyed some of you quite a bit with all the things I post on facebook for Binge Media, but hey, that’s what I need to do to get the clicks I’m looking for, so suck it up. I’ve been doing Binge Media Sports for a while now, and just in the last week and a half, I’ve actually been given my own weekly feature, which I’m calling “Working the Weekend with Luke”. Again, if you’d like to read it, just click on the title and check it out. I feel I’ve really gotten into a groove lately with my writing, and I’ve got some other big ideas for other projects that will soon be ready to roll.

Sure, there’s been some tough times over the past five months. I would get down on myself when the phone calls weren’t coming, or a couple of jobs I thought I wanted didn’t happen, but I kept telling myself that maybe that’s not the one I was supposed to get anyway. I would justify the schedule or the salary or some aspect that I didn’t like about it to make myself feel better and it allowed me to move on. However, when real tragedy struck, all of my petty bullshit seemed to go away. A couple of days after my birthday, I got a phone call saying that a friend I’d known for almost 30 years had passed and his eight-year old son was left to ask questions. I wrote about it in “Dear Alex”, but that really hit me hard. It hit a ton of people very hard and even as I write this now, I’m left with questions myself that will never be answered. But when something like that happens, you really take stock of what you have in your life. My heart continues to be with Alex and Becky and forever will be.

That’s why I’m glad I have the people in my life now that I do. Each time I’ve fallen down, I’ve had people to help pick me back up. Whether it was my boys back in the day, or Ashlie when my father died, or my family throughout everything, I’ve never been alone, even the times when I thought I was. There’s always been people there to help and I’m so blessed to know the people that I do.

But throughout the tough times over these past few years, the two main reasons that I keep getting back up to fight are these two.

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This is a picture from Ashlyn and Brooklyn’s first dance recital, held about a month ago. This is one of the many great moments from the last five months that I’ve gotten to spend with my daughters. That’s been the positive side of this time off. They start preschool in the fall and kindergarten and high school and college won’t be far behind the way time has been moving. So it’s been an absolute joy to have all this time I’ve had with them. When they’re this age, five months can bring so much and I feel like I’ve seen so much in that time and I feel like I’ve certainly taken advantage of it. Whether it be Monkey Joe’s or Chuck E. Cheese or Monday morning story time at the bookstore or a trip to the zoo or a trip to Chicago to see my nephews, we’ve done so much during these five months. I feel like I’ve become a better father in this time and it’s something I’ll never regret. Every single thing I do in my life, I’m doing for them. I want them to always be able to count on me, to know that I’m there for them, to know that no matter what, I’ll always be Daddy and I’ll always love them more than anything in the world.

(I know, I know…wrap it up)

The point of all that is this. As I said before, I feel like I’ve got yet another fresh start. With the new job and the new opportunities that have been presented to me, I’m ready to get back up once again and keep fighting. I’ve taken advantage of these past five months, through the ups and downs, and really taken a hard look at myself and I can honestly say that I’m closer than I’ve ever been to finding my answer. I’m also fully aware that I can get my ass kicked again at any time. I could hate the job. I could get writer’s block. There’s a number of things that could go wrong. That’s just life. But I’m ready to climb once again. The only thing is that I have a head start this time. I’m ready for another round…so here I go again. I’m just not on my own. I’ve got a whole group of people backing me up.

 

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My Newest Writing Venture

So happy to be back here at The Luke Norris Experience. I know I’ve been away from here for a while, but in addition to this post, I’ll be back very soon, probably later this week, with an “Up Close and Personal” update for all of you.

Most of the posts you’ll see on this site from here on out will be more of the personal stuff, but I’ll get to some of that later this week. Most of the sports things I do now I obviously do for Binge Media Sports. If you haven’t checked out any of my work there, go and check it out. I really do enjoy it. If you’re not sure where to find it, just click HERE . And I thank all of you who have made the jump over there with me. Whether it’s clicking from my facebook or Twitter page or “liking” the Binge Media facebook page. If you haven’t done that, you can do that HERE and get all of the updates as they go out.

The news that I have is that in addition to the work I do for Binge Media Sports, I’ve now been given a weekly column where I can talk about all the other things they do on the site as well, such as the movies and the music and such. Basically, I’ve been given a forum to just ramble about random things for a while, much like I could here, but for a bigger audience. That’s not to say that I don’t appreciate each and every one of you that logs on to this website, because without the support of all of you, the Binge Media thing never would have happened. So although I’ve got another outlet for some of the entertainment stuff, my loyalty and my heart will always be here with you. Again, check back later in the week as I’ll be updating you on what’s been going on with me the past few months.

But again, the big news is that my newest writing venture, “Working the Weekend with Luke”, is now up and running at Binge Media. If you’d like to check it out, and I really hope that you do, please click HERE for the first installment. I’ll check back soon and I can never say it enough, thanks to all of you who continue to support The Luke Norris Experience.