Another one bites the dust.

There's a feeling in the air tonight of optimism and detain for recent past. 2009 was not kind to a lot of people and they're bitter about that. These same people are determined to make 2010 a great year. They plan to do epic things. They plan to create amazing stuff. They're planning things just like they were planning things 365 days ago. Now some of them actually did the things they were planning, and it's likely that they'll do it again. When you do something cool, you tend to want to do more things that are cool. If that cool thing happened and you were in the right place at the right time, you don't count. I'm talking about the premeditated execution of coolness.

Then there's those who keep planning on doing something cool. They may already be cool and hope to take that coolness to a whole new level. They may think they're cool, but really aren't, and plan on having their erroneously perceived coolness cast to masses hoping to infect the masses with viral coolness to amass a legion of followers that will send them gifts and scream their names. They may just be trying to be cool, and it just isn't in them. Either way these people are saying the same thing they said last year, and will be saying it again next year and possibly the year after that if the Mayans aren't correct: "I'm going to do something this year."

I did a lot of things this year. A lot of those things were stupid.

Sure there were good things. I shaved my head for charity. I continued to teach Karate and some people have benefited from it. I went to the Chicago Comic-con which taught me a valuable lesson about Comic-cons. I read stuff. I wrote stuff. I drew stuff. I built stuff. I broke stuff. I made messes. I cleaned messes. I taught things. I learned things. I joined stuff. I quit stuff.

Frankly, I'm tired. I could read back through this year on this blog and just the thought of reading all of this wears me out.

So, Happy New Year to the five of you who read this. I'm going to do something.

Lis in a rubber suit

I was watching the POWER RANGERS last Saturday morning because that's how I roll. Before you begin the mockery, keep in mind that I've gotten many a Karate student over the years due to that show. So, first off, I have a bit of debt towards the show. Second, when a student occasionally asks me about something on the show technique-wise, I like to have an answer. That said, the show is an amusing bit of fluff and an occasional guilty pleasure.

Over the years the show has constantly reinvented itself with new casts and different storylines. Not a bad idea. It prevents there from being a ton of continuity for new viewers, who are mainly children, to have to keep up with. Also it allows for entirely new lines of toys to be made every year. Last Saturday marked the end of the latest season with the POWER RANGERS RPM team defeating Vengix in a post-apocalyptic world. Next week they're going back to the beginning and airing episodes from the original seasons, which I don't think has been done in quite a while.

I'll definitely be watching for nostalgia's sake, but there's also on other reason: Lis Fies. Go check out her blog and if you can, watch some of the old episodes and see if you can spot her.


Was chilling out last night watching HOUSE OF PAYNE and the episode featured a 13 year old girl who was pregnant and while they didn't go the route of having the pregnancy terminated the option of adoption wasn't even brought up. Why is it when adoption should be brought up the option doesn't seem to be on the table?

Instead I come home from running errands and there's a commercial for LIFE UNEXPECTED in which putting a child up for adoption is being depicted as abandoning the child and it's something bad.

Then I come on here and my Google AdSense konks be over my skull with four different ads that are adoption related.

I'm irritated now.

Merry Christmas

What are you people doing online and reading this? GO! Enjoy the day and your families!

Thank you all for reading. God bless. Merry Christmas.

The Karate Kid, NOT!

Just watched the trailer for the new THE KARATE KID movie over on Yahoo. I like Jackie Chan. Will's Smith's son looks like he put in a lot of effort and turns in a decent performance. It follows the time honored chop-socky flick formula. New kid has bullies. New kid finds instructor in unexpected circumstance. New kid gets training he doesn't understand. New kid understands training. New kid defeats bullies.

Problem: he's not doing Karate.

So why call it THE KARATE KID? Money, of course. It's all about name recognition. I understand that this is the way of things. It looks like a quality product that they put together. Still, they could have called it "The Kung-Fu Kid" and I'd have had no gripes.

It is petty, but I'm skipping this one.

Marty versus Wolves

That's right. For the holiday season I'm going to do battle with pack of blood thirsty animals. It's a holiday tradition. Actually, they're no gravy thirsty animals, but with my kinfolk dinner can be a no holds barred event. Especially if there's ham AND turkey.

Onward. Wolves. They're quite the animal. Tons of myths about them. Perhaps that's why they attract douches.

There's a certain breed of loser out there, and the good thing about the internet is that these social misfits are staying in their parents' basement and not annoying me in real life. These people, mostly guys, are possessed with a false self-importance. They want the world to view them as mysterious, deep and potentially dangerous. They also tend to listen to heavy metal music and have mullets. These people, in an attempt to add depth to their douchiness, like to identify themselves with wolves.

In some cultures its thought that people embody to some degree particular animal spirits. To determine which spirit a person would likely have to consult a shaman or other person well versed in understanding these things. We also have things like the Chinese Zodiac in which different years correlate to different animals and people born within those years have certain traits that are related to those animals. Please note that with these cultures one does not declare what animal they relate to, they are told what animal they relate to. Its the different between declaring "I'm awesome" and someone else declaring "You're awesome".

We have instances of people invoking spirituality in meaningless ways for mainly two reasons: first, to try to add substance to their pathetic existences and second, to try to get laid.

Does this work? Yes, but the drawback to it is that it only works on people more pathetic than the person doing it. There's a hierarchy to cool. Claiming to be a wolf in dork's clothing is not cool. Only people less cool would think it's cool.

There's a math equation that explains all of this in concrete quantifiable terms, but it involve trigonometry and I haven't had coffee yet, so screw that.

This has led to open mockery this year, mainly with the Three Wolf Moon t-shirt. This shirt wasn't meant to be funny or ironic, but has become so. This is good for the makers of these shirts because they made some good bank off of it. It was a choice little meme earlier this year. "hey, the Three Wolf Moon t-shirt is a total chick magnet". This also popped up in a TWILIGHT parody on YouTube that I spotted last week. That fact that this is hallow and stupid is not lost on anyone.

I like wolves. I like werewolf movies. I think they're scary. I don't like TWILIGHT, but the wolves looked scary in the movie previews and was impressive until I realized that it's TWILIGHT and it sucks.

So here's the moral of the rant: Be yourself. Don't be a wolf. Wolves are cool. Guys claiming to be wolves aren't.

Dammit, its gone viral

And no, I'm not talking about whatever my daughter's come down with, although now I'm convinced she had her fingers up her nose at the pre-school's Christmas program to keep the germs from getting in.

The adoption theme has spawned and replicated to form a show on the CW that'll be featuring a teenage girl who finds her biological parents and now they all have to deal with each other. A pox on TV! Damn it's eyes! Damn its trousers! Damn it's fish pond! It's taking DOLLHOUSE from me and giving me this? I offered up a fatted squirrel in sacrifice to TV just last week!

Perhaps the sacrifice ended up passing TV by and going directly to the Nerdom Overlord who sits in omnipotence on a throne of POGS and MAGIC: THE GATHERING cards and reigns over all things in geekery and pop culture. I say this because well face with my home owners insurance being canceled due to a miscommunication and the insurance underwriters being kinda douchey about things my phone call to suss out the matter was handled by someone with the same name as a favorite comic book character. I'll of course not be naming names, because that's just rude, but I will be posting pictures...

She rules.

Marty versus Reality TV

It's everywhere and yes I do watch it. MTV got my attention with THE REAL WORLD, which despite the name had very little in common with things that really happen, and later ROAD RULES, which I found more to my taste. And yes, I did indeed send in an application to the shows way back in the day. Since then reality TV has blossomed and is present on nearly every channel you can find. Some of it I like, but much of it leaves me could.

What I don't like is exploitative reality TV. This is the stuff you see with d-list celebrities or normal people for the sole purpose of giving the viewers a chance to see what a mess other people's lives are. These are things like WIFESWAP or the romance based shows like THE BACHELOR. Its all about the drama with no decent content.

The competitive reality TVs have their charm. I do like them a lot better. There's five of them that really stand out in my mind as good ones.

HELL'S KITCHEN. Looking past Gordon Ramsey's yelling at people and the drama of the competition, the viewer gets a good look at what goes on in a restaurant kitchen. Ultimately, this show is about cooking and the art of cooking. I like shows that promote art.

THE APPRENTICE. They show episodes of that program in business classes. Its very educational. I did enjoy the first of the celebrity seasons which showed off not only good business insights, but raised a lot of money for numerous charities.

TREASURE HUNTERS. This only went for one season on NBC but was really great television. Teams quested through numerous historical based puzzles and many locations across the country and even moving to Europe for a leg of the journey. This show was really educational along with being a lot of fun.

THE BIGGEST LOSER. Taking a drama out of the equation this show is all about one thing: making people healthier. Jillian Michaels and Bob Harper are really phenomenal at what they do. Even as a guy in relatively decent shape I have no doubt that they could reduce me to a sweaty wad of Play-Dough in about an hour. They give great health and fitness tips in every episode. Unlike the exploitative reality TV shows, this show highlights achievement instead of just gawking at failure.

SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE. No surprise here for my regular readers (all five of you). This so is all about dance. It's educated me a lot in the art. I can't dance, but I love to watch it done well. These young people grow and learn every week and the viewer reaps the benefits of seeing truly wonderful performances. It has brought the art of dance to the mainstream and even elevated the art as the dancers and choreographers push themselves to be innovative.

You can probably spot the theme here. Reality TV is good when it makes lives better. Entertaining us is fine, but inspiring us is something to strive for.

Caffeine, where is thine sting?

Had the girls' Christmas program at their preschool yesterday. It was nice. Afterwards I dropped by a convenience store to grab a Mountain Dew for the Missus and I got myself a mountain dew "Livewire" because I hadn't had one in a long while and there it was. I was under the impression that this thing had the same amount of caffeine as regular Mountain Dew. After I drank it though I was ready to take a nap. I was just exhausted the rest of the day.

Anyone else have this happen? I've drank cups of coffee from Starbucks in the evening and been ready to hit the sack. Something seems wrong here.

The gift of giving

There was a little announcement from Warren Ellis in his forum this week:

Sometime next week I am going to go to sleep for about a week, and then do Xmas and New Year. It is unlikely that I will be around here much.

Its a very nice and succinct fib as the writer of such titles as SUPERGOD, TRANSMETROPOLITAN and PLANETARY will be taking time off from his busy schedule to dress up as Father Christmas, sing Christmas carols around town and give toys to orphans. Such a nice man.

Please don't find my family

I'm adopted. Its a very open fact. I was told of this when I was about three and questioned my mother as to where I came from. This lead my adolescent imagination to cook up many fantasies as to the circumstances of my adoption involving royalty or often covert spies. Having this knowledge was in no way traumatic for me growing up. I had a good family and was happy for the most part. I think a lot of emotional problems we hear about adoptees comes from them not having that knowledge growing up. It can affect the trust in the family.

In my twenties I did acquire the paperwork to try to find my biological parents. This wasn't done due to curiosity. It's kind of scary sometimes not having a family medical history. I didn't discuss this with my family. It just didn't seem right. I threw the papers away after mulling it over for a couple of months. Finding out my medical history wasn't worth opening that door. I'm sure my parents would support me if I did attempt to seek out my biological parents, and they may be a bit surprised that I haven't attempted it. I never asked them many questions about it. That seemed disrespectful. I had a little information as to the circumstances and the reasons I was adopted. I also know that my name used to be "Steven". I prefer my current name. Thanks, Dad.

I'm writing about this because of the new ABC reality show "Find My Family". That show weirds me right the fuck out. Even the ads for it skeeve me out. Meagan's noticed it and asked me about it. She doesn't push, bless her, but I know she's concerned that there's something brewing with me because I look at the ads for that show the same way most people look at horrible car accidents.

It freaks me out that someone could show up on my doorstep one day and claim to be my relative or representing my biological parents. I have enough going on in my life. I don't need that. I don't care if it turns out that I am indeed Dave Grohl's long lost brother and there's wealth waiting to be showered upon me. No thanks. You can keep it. Jog on.

Had a buddy of mine track down his biological family. It wasn't a magical moment on a flower covered hill like on that show. It sounded pretty rough. He really needed to know the answers to the questions on the other side of that door. It's not weakness. I'm not better than him for not wanting to know. I'm not claiming any superiority for not wanting to know. I just don't need those answers to my past, because they come with a baggage and a lot of it.

So, in the incredibly minuscule chance that there's some ABC producer that sees this looking to do a bit of research because someone is trying to find me: stay the hell away from me. I neither want nor need any of it.

MMA is just Thuper, thanks for asking!

Had to go with an old South Park joke for the title because I'm typing about a critism that is an old joke. I love the fights. I love watching it on TV and going to live shows when I get the chance. I love watching mixed martial arts (MMA) and have been to a few small local events. I also love chatting about MMA as long as it doesn't devolve into the "this guy could totally beat up this guy" idiocy. Even though we are talking about fighting, there's no need to fight over it.

So I brought up the subject in an online forum and after a few intelligent and pretty cool response this popped up:

I feel the same way about MMA that I do about pro wrestling: gay porn for closet cases who want to watch muscular guys with groomed body hair get sweaty and roll around.

Now, this is normally the beginning of the end of these discussions and the start of nasty flame wars, but I wanted to keep a lid on it. I've seen this criticism before and it usually comes from people who have never actually watched any MMA. I inquired if the person who made the comment had indeed watched any MMA, and got the response:

Yes, and it’s exactly like watching gay wrestling pornos with bigger budgets. And no c***sucking.

Having myself, my students and much of my family called a bunch of "closet cases" was nearly worth it to have this guy admit his expertise in the area of "gay wrestling pornos" and I do wonder if his biggest beef with MMA is the lack of c***sucking. Still, I did have someone say on my now deactivated Facebook account that the sport was homoerotic, which is ridiculous of course, but had me thinking about the argument.

MMA is fightsport, pure and simple. So why do people consider it homo-erotic? I think there's a few reasons.

First, pure ignorance. Some people may hear about it or see a picture and see two guys with no shirts, and that's all they can come up with. This is where a lot of the comparisons with professional wrestling comes from, but to be fair there have been crossovers between MMA and professional wrestling with various wrestlers either giving the sport a shot (like Dan Severn, Brock Lesnar and Bobby Lashley) or fighters making some money on the pro-wrestling circuit (like Ken Shamrock, Paul Varlens and Tank Abbott). There's also some confusion about the ground game, which was quite common in the early days of Ultimate Fighting Championships. Those notions and confusion are quickly dispelled once these people get a better understanding of MMA.

Second, there are people who view everything in some sort of sexual manner. I had a professor for a crime and violence in literature class back in college who was seeing sexual elements in some of the stories we read that had the majority of class wondering what on earth she was talking about. Nice lady, but she got quite a few odd stares from me. Its the same here. Good old Freud. If he only knew how much comedy who come from his theories.

Third, there are people who are just turned on by two guys fighting. Not my thing, and I don't think it needs anymore explanation, so let's move along.

Lastly, there are people who feel threatened by it's existence. I see it in pseudo-intellectuals who like be elitist and use there smarts to try to set themselves above the masses. Along comes MMA. Its primal, physical and often brutal. The pseudo-intellectual elitist has no purchase. His reason and vaunted supposed brainpower can't compare in popularity with what is now one of the most popular sports in the world. He feels above it, so he can't dignify himself with actual understanding of this base thing. He must decry it. He must bring it low to show the thug masses that they are fools for liking it. As such he goes for the insult of choice for middle schoolers: "its gay". A pathetic attack really, but it strikes at testosterone driven love of fighting, so it occasionally gets a rise out of fans. More mature fans of the sport can just look at these fools and laugh. Smart folks know that they don't know everything and there's a lot of very intelligent people among the fans of MMA.

I'm not going to say that MMA is for everyone. There's plenty of people who have a hard time watching fights and fightsport. Still, if it's not your bag, or you don't really understand it, that's fine. No one's going to judge you. You don't have to slander it. And if you're trying to slander it by calling it "gay", really, who's the homophobe in that equation?

It only took 10 years....

Waaaaaaaaaaay back in 1999 I did a review of FINAL FANTASY VIII for Playstaion. I wrote it up for the now defunct Tidewater Dragon magazine. This was back when I first met Chris. It was my first video game review. I played it for quite a few hours. had buddies of mine who like video games come over and play it. Did a decent write up and it was printed in the zine.

I finally beat the game today.

Now I can move on with my gaming life. I hear there's a "Playstation 2" now. Gonna have to look into that.

More v-bloggin'.

I had my say about video blogging before, but recently I've revisited such things. Perhaps it was time for me take another look at it. Maybe I was a bit unfair before. Actually it was mostly my favorite v-blogger ever got back to updating.

I have actually found some other v-blogs that have caught my interest. First up is Natalie Tran.

You're probably thinking "Well, Nozz is obviously irked by the lack of Dichen Lachman last night despite there being two hours of Dollhouse so he's just looking for comely Asian girls with accents" but that that's totally not it! This young lady comes off like Jerry Seinfeld if Jerry Seinfeld was a cute Asian girl with an accent and a naughty streak. She does everything I mentioned in my previous post that one should do in video blogging. She's clever. She has a clear and consistent format with her videos. She keeps her appearance up. Ultimately, she puts in the effort and it really shows. I would not be surprised if she ended up on television or on stage. Like Seinfeld, Tran picks up on little things in life that we usually don't think about but are utterly ridiculous when you stop to think about them. She's one to watch.

Another one to watch is Philip DeFranco.

I like his stuff. He talks about stuff I find amusing and generally care about. He's also a straight shooter. He uses quick editing jumps effectively, making the rhythm of his speaking very entertaining but maintains the same frame so even though you can tell he's cut a bit here and there the background staying constant so you don't get nauseous.

Like Tran, DeFranco has amassed many loyal viewers. Their individual videos have more views than our main site has gotten all year. So, why am i writing about them? They obviously don't need me to spread the word about the great stuff they do. To be honest I spend a lot of time complaining on here, as evident by the previous top ten list, and I wanted to show that I'm not just a cynical old McCrankypants. So yes, there's still cool people doing cool things on the internet. Enjoy it, and eat fruit.

Ticked off again: THE TOP 10!

The venom has risen. It's time to spew.

10. Having to choose between Supernatural and Fringe: Sure it's a win-win decision, but I liked to be able to keep up with both shows with minimal trouble.

9. Weird intestinal illnesses: Or whatever it is that got Brock Lesnar so sick that he may never fight again. I'm not a fan of the guy, but his presence revitalized the UFC heavyweight division and got Frank Mir looking to kick a lot of ass. Those are two things I approve of.

8. Breaking gossip being passed off as breaking news: Go away Tigergate.

7. Al Gore: It do kinda which I was naive enough to believe that the useless old hypocrite was trying to save the world.

6. The Nobel Prize: Seems they're just giving these things to anyone nowadays. They gave one to Obama for his intentions. Hey, I intend to do the greatest comic ever! Can I has Eisner Award nao plz?

5. Cern: When your 17 mile long particle accelerator is malfunctioning to the point that scientists are seriously considering temporal sabotage and the notion that the Higgs Bosom particles you're trying to observe may only be able to exist in parallel dimension where they cannot be observed you need to pack it in and give all that money you're spending to the Salvation Army.

4. The concept that all corporations are about greed: This is just jealousy disguised as social outrage. Grow up.

3. Wendy Williams: He/she/it/whatever was on the cover of a magazine with a tag line saying how she's apologizing to everyone she's hurt. Well she hasn't apologized to me yet for invading my television.

2. Chris Matthews: You referred to West Point as the "enemy camp". You can apologize until you're blue in the face, but you're still a douche. Suck it.

1. That traffic light they put in at Elbow Road and Indian River Road: It was a simple three-way stop which everyone would simply wait their turn and we all kept things moving. That stupid light has turned that intersection into a traffic nightmare and there's been a couple of nights when it took me an hour and a half to get home from work. Whoever came up with the idea to put it there is a moron. But then, if I didn't have that quality time in the car this list probably wouldn't be here now.

It's the internet so I can say whatever I want.

Free speech is a great right that our government here in the good ol U.S. of A. gives us. However, just because the government gives it to us doesn't mean anyone else will. There's been news stories and controversy about the Chinese censoring the internet in their country and not wanting anything about democracy being read. Well, that's all them. It's China after all. Aside from Kung Pao Chicken, Kung-fu and cheap often shoddy labor there's not much we want from them, unless you're the previously mentioned government and then you want to borrow tons of money.

But this is America and we can say anything we want, especially on the internet! Right? Wrong.

This took an amusing turn when Deffie McDouche was threatening to sue GaiaOnline for banning his accounts. Gaiaonline is one of the biggest internet communities out there and like nearly every internet community they have a terms of service that you have to agree to if you want to be in that community. This is vital because it covers them legally and gives them all the reason they need to toss nutjobs off their site.

Terms of service agreements vary a bit from site to site. They state what you can and can't do on that website in accordance to the owners wishes. Its along the lines of going to a restaurant and that restaurant states that gentlemen must wear a tie to dine their. It's their business and they can run it however they like as long as it does not violate the law. The perceived sticking point was that the terms of service (ToS) conflicted with the Right to Free Speech. Well, it doesn't because no one is forcing people to use that website.

There's another forum out there in which I've seen some really horrible crap posted be supposedly intelligent people. However, when I became a member and recent attempted to start a thread about favorite holiday movies and specials it was deleted without any word or reasons given. However that forum's terms of service states clearly that they don't need to give any reason whatsoever to delete anything they want to. So was it a crappy thing to do? Kind of, but it's their site and they have the right to control the content of their site.

So those wanting total free speech may be thinking "well I'll just start a blog and then I can say whatever I want". Well, blogspot and youtube and any other site out there that lets you post content has their own ToS as well.

At this point if those people are so frustrated by ToS that they're ready to create they're own website just to get whatever they want to say out out to the masses, they want to think about what they want to say. Most ToS agreements are quite reasonable and are there to stop weirdos. If something you want to post violates a ToS you have to either question what you want to say or question why you want to say it on that site.

So yes, we do have Free Speech in America, but this isn't America, it's the internet.

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

I've got a lot to be thankful for. I'm working, and there's a lot of people who aren't. I'm also very thankful for my family. Meagan, Rachel and Nicole keep me on my toes and really keep a pretty scatterbrained guy like me focused. I love them dearly and would be a wreck without them. I'm also very thankful for all my friends and my loyal readers out there. Thanks, gang.

Hope everyone has a great holiday.

The future is coming!

And it's looking really cool.

Part 1

Part 2

Behold as science fiction enters the world to kick the ass of our thoughts of what the future will be.

Bang bang

One of my Karate students returned after a few months on deployment.

"So, what did you guy do out on the ship?"

"We declared war Poland."

"That was you guys?"

"Wait, we declared war on Poland?'

"Don't worry. It didn't stick."

"What could Poland do anyways? Do they even have a navy?"

"Yes. But its all inflatable."

Its talking to me again....

My little ads, which site on the side of the tripe I write here and have done so for months yet not generated one red cent, have just delivered an insidious message to me: "the holidays are coming". They did in quite the subversive manner too. It put an ad for somesuch that a person who knows how to cook would use to bake Christmas cookies. So, as my mouth watered at the notion of nummy cookies the truth was deposited in my subconscious: "holidays, coming".

I find myself not in the holiday mindset. Right now I'm in the "we just had a hell of a storm push through here and there lots of work to do" mindset. But also Halloween barely seemed to have hit on my mental radar this year, which is weird because I had a really nice time. Although I do feel bad about scaring one of the girls with Disney's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow". I have to keep reminding myself that it's November. The Salvation Army bell ringers have been spotted. I must prepare.

Thank you Google ads for bringing this to my attention.

Move over Ceiling Cat and Basement Cat!


Where did I put my ark?

Day three of miserable weather as what's left of Hurricane Ida is supposed to finally be gone by day's end. This is the worst storm to have hit two since 2003 and that one had the decency to to hit us be be gone the same day. I was very fortunate during that one (Hurricane Isabel) in that the apartment I lived in sustained no damage and we had our power back by the end of the day. It was interesting. The day started out windy but no rain, and ended the same way. We got to experience the whole thing. This one has been drug out over three days.

So far so good, but I'll be checking over everything this weekend. There have been lots of flooded streets. Chris sat in his third floor apartment in downtown Norfolk watched as people who obviously didn't know what they were in for tried to deal with a city that floods whenever someone waters their lawn.

The neighbors all had their generators ready. Darren had to set up a pump to keep his house from flooding. We lost power for about an hour or so yesterday, and that's getting off really light. The longest I've been without power is three days after Hurricane Bonnie which also isn't nearly as bad as some people have been through, but not something I'd care to go through again.

So today I hide in the house and watch as the last of this storm passes. Tomorrow I get to clean up the yard and be very thankful that we removed that dead oak a few months back.

Worth 1000 thoughts

As we can see the above picture is obviously taken during a reenactment of this years comic series FINAL CRISIS by Grant Morrison as the Mandrakk the eeeeeevil vampire space god attempts to put the nom noms on Superman and Superman being Superman resists Mandrakk's power and triumphs. In a twist of Elizabethan dramatic conventions in which all parts, both male and female, are played by men all the parts of this FC reenactment are played by women.

Wait, perhaps this picture is a statement upon the state of comics in either disparaging the grim and gritty comic view of the 1990s in which comics were SERIOUS BUSINESS and as such had to be DARK AND EPIC; or even a view of the current state of comics in which guys like Geoff Johns and Dan DiDio are atempting to send the Silver Age, which they loved from childhood, through a 90s filter, because they're fanboys, and give us a lot of books I have no interest in reading.

Could it possibly be a portrait of the totality of the comic book sub-genre? We have representation of fantastic science fiction with a being from a doomed planet rocket to Earth where they have amazing powers and help people. We have an element of myth with the vampire (please note the lack of sparkling) representing the older tales elements of the supernatural. Finally we have the human elements with the eating of a pretzel and what human being doesn't love pretzels?

No, I'm not going to be going into 1000 different ways to look at this picture. It is one of my favorites that I've taken on my phone. The vampire is my wife, Meagan, who took great delight in scaring the neighbors with her fangs, and the little Supergirl is my daughter, Nicole, who wasn't scared of her mommy one little bit. Nicole's twin sister Rachel was dressed up like Spider-girl this year and unfortunately she was moving much too quickly with her little Spider-powers for be properly captured on film, but did run up to every little boy she came across dressed as Spider-man poked them in the chest and proclaimed "SPIDER-MAN!" before fleeing leaving the little boy usually quite confused.

Yep, it was a good Halloween in the Nozz compound.

Behold the family, worth 1000 thoughts with or without fun costumes.

Big hurtle

Its easy to do the work when you're a happy camper and everything's going your way. When the bills are paid and everyone under the roof is happy and sipping hot cocoa smiling and laughing it easy to take a long pull from that mug do some work on that script/page/commission. When you're bubbling with energy and everything is in working ordered and everyone is loving your work then there's always a song in your heart you can't wait to punch those keys/layout that page/ink those pencils.

But then you get swamped with work, and not the work you really want to do, the work you need to do if you want to eat and keep the lights on. Then you have to find the time to do the work you want to do. But that's fine. You may get a little less sleep, but that's why we have coffee.

Then you get and honest critique and it becomes apparent that the work that you love and are quite serious about isn't up to par. You're not sure exactly where things got off track, but they did. Fortunately someone cared enough to point this out and not spare your feelings. If you're lucky, they gave you a few tips on getting going in the right direction. So, now you either have to put the work on hold to get your act together or continue to do the work while on a learning curve that can get real steep real fast. So the work you love is now requiring more effort and perhaps testing your love for it. However you are a writer/artist/actor/creator and your shall persevere for your craft.

Then you slip up in your personal life. You said something when you shouldn't have, or you didn't when you should. You weren't there when you really needed to be. You dropped the ball. Then doing the work becomes hard because you're feeling stressed/scared/guilty/depressed/angry and despite what you've hear and read and seen about "tortured artistes" you quickly discover that sucks like a shop vac and you're left feeling like hitting something/drinking something/crying instead of doing the work. You can still do the work, but only after the Xanax kicks in.

That's not to mention the many other distractions that you can easily ignore like sports or going to the movies or playing your X-Box. Or being worried about the world at large and if you're going to maintain gainful employment or if we're all going to die horribly in the 2012 Mayan Apocalypse which will inevitably be triggered by Wendy Williams.


Doing the work is a piece of cake.

Paranormal Activity

Halloween being here it was a good time to take in a scary flick. So it was off to the theaters to check out PARANORMAL ACTIVITY. What I really liked was how subtle it was. It seems like most of the horror flicks nowadays are over the top gore fests. This movie got the entire audience to jump in their seats from a door slamming.

I want you to roll that around in your head for a bit.

The movie does fly in the face of every other horror flick to come down the pipe recently. This isn't a super slick production. This isn't CGI every other frame. It's certainly not gory, in fact there's very little blood throughout the entire movie.

So why is it scary? PARANORMAL ACTIVITY does an excellent job of making the viewer believe that this is really happening to someone and it could happen to you. It makes you question the sounds you hear at night. There's been a lot of comparisons to THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT which are fair considering the style in which the movie was shot. The great thing here and what sets this movie apart is the camera work. It doesn't bounce all over the place. You can easily follow what what is going on.

Too often with horror and action films the directors recently have been using a quick cut style. It give a sense of the chaos that is going on within that scene. That's not done at all here. With the quick cut style the audience is left having to decipher what they saw. "What the hell just happened?" Here it is clear but still makes us engage. "I totally saw that! What the hell is it?" Both make our imaginations fire up.

It does get a bit over the top in the closing scenes, but I forgive it. It was a very memorable movie. There's been a lot of reports of people not being able to sleep after watching it. Well, I slept quite well last night, thank you very much.

Although I did get a bit of a jolt when the fitted sheet on the bed came loose and thwipped against my hand.

Gang related?

Some people just shouldn't hang out together. I didn't think I'd consider the Justice League in that category. Lately it seems that separately these characters are really great and ready to go out and fight crime and save the world. However teaming up means either someone is going to die, our some member is going to get in trouble that affects the rest of the team, or something else dumb and angsty. Instead of saving the day, they spend more time saving their asses. The latest issue of JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA is another example. The heroes just get together to act all emo until Despero attacks, which had me thinking "Thank God, something interestng" but unfortunately it just gave them excuses to act even lamer. I know this is supposed to be a set up for the roster to change, but I'm pretty sure these characters are capable of functioning without the Hal Jordan/Ollie Queen Bromance to lead them. I don't think I'll be reading this title much longer, which will be the first time since 1996.

Has the culture of victimhood spread to the point that we want our heroes to be victims too? Do they have to be angsty and just suffer through pointless crap for us to identify with them? I don't want to think this. I don't want to think that superheroes being pathetic targets is the paradigm when Grant morrison just got done throwing out that rubbish of Batman being a coping mechanism for wounded child and embracing it being the end result of a person taking a personal tragedy and turning it into an incredible triumph. I don't want to go from the Miracle in Crime Alley to crying twits in spandex.

Super teams need to be super again. The Super Young Team has done more world saving that the Justice League and the Teen Titans combined in the last six months. Quit boo hooing like a bunch of shmucks and save the world already!

Back on the perch

Spent the majority of yesterday roofing, which despite sucking turned out to be the highlight of my day. That's a fairly telling statement as to how the rest of my day went. Yes, swinging a hammer until my hand blisters and toting seventy pound bundles of shingles up a two story ladder for hours on end was the most enjoyable part of my day. Something's wrong here.

Still, there was a few things that made the day of hard labor worth it besides the pay.

Working at the beach so I could be a pod of dolphins making their way south.

Watching a tri-plane flying overhead like he was the Red Baron or something. It was a red plane too. It flying overhead actually brought the job to halt because honestly when do you even see those things anymore outside of an airshow?

Having a "what the hell was that?" moment when a brief roar consumed the usually sounds of the morning and then seeing that the base was shooting missiles at submarines again.

Much preferable to the rest of the day.

Marty versus the Apocalypse

When I was in eight grade I had a history teacher, Mister Humphries. He was a good teacher and an interesting guy. The interest did not come solely from his astonishing resemblance to Santa Claus, but in that this guy was a really weird dude and every so often he'd inflict the weird on the class. We ate it up. On Halloween he showed up in a robe with a staff looking somewhat like a stout Gandalf and told us all about things like witchcraft and urban legends and things that go bump in the night. Of course this would get him fired today. He also brought in his Civil War reenactment gear and watched us squirm as we sat outside the school in the yard and he, in full costume, waved an old pistol around. The kind you had to stuff the powder into to. The thing worked too. Of course that would get him fired today too.

There was another thing that stuck with me. He showed us a documentary on Nostradamos, the ancient prophet. You probably seen his name in some of the check out lines at the grocery store while glancing at the tabloids. We watched this video in 1988. I couldn't tell you when the video was made. In this video, going by the writings they figured as near as they could that something was going to come out of the sky and strike most like likely New York City in perhaps 1994. It also said a man in a blue turban would play heavily into this. Pretty freaky stuff to see when you're 13. Keep in mind that I was viewing this in the twilight of the Cold War so the assumption was Russia nuking the Big Apple. I do admit to having the contents of that video in the back of my mind during a good chunk of 1994, only to make it 1995 and felt some relief.

I don't have to remind anyone what happened in 2001.

Now fast forward to yesterday's newspaper in which it reports on the front page that 2012 theory is gaining followers. For those who don't know, the Mayan calendar runs out around the Winter Solstice in 2012, and people are thinking that means the end of the world. That's right. The people who didn't have enough sense not to dump the bodies of their human sacrifices in the same river which they got their drinking water out of were able to predict the end of the world over a thousand years later. That's right, the calendar is over a thousand years long. Most likely the folks making the calendar died or got bored or something.

I swear. This is like Y2K all over again.

There's reports of planetary alignment also going on around the same time, so obviously all the planets lining up will destroy us all. Do I need to go into how stupid that is? THEY'RE MILLIONS OF MILES AWAY! Yeah, it cool that planets line up, but eclipses are cool too, and unless you're watching HEROES they don't mean nor do anything aside from getting us to look to the sky and say "wow".

Maybe the Mayans knew about man made global warming. OMG! AL GORE IS RIGHT!

Perhaps the Earth's magnetic poles will switch. There's some solid science stating that this does happen. It would get pretty bad if this happened, but it's survivable, especially with our knowledge and know how. This is science the Mayans did not have, so the chances of a Pole swap going down when the calendar ends is pretty thin.

Ooo, what if it's the Second Coming? The Rapture and all that. Could the Mayans have divined the time table of the events of Revelations? We're still relatively close to the year 2000. People get freaked by big numbers. They thought Jesus was coming back in the year 1000 too. There is some interesting Biblical prophesies that are currently coming into play, but the odds of these two things being relayed are slimmer than my lotto chances.

Remember when I mentioned that the calendar ends on the Winter Solstice? That's the longest night of the year. That's some pretty easy to figure out even in ancient times. It also makes a pretty solid spot to start and end a calendar year. They made a calendar over a thousand years long. Isn't that long enough? Can't we cut them some slack. I'm sure they had lives to, albeit short ones with those dead bodies in the river.

You know what I do when my calendar runs out? I buy another calendar. Next year's might have Batman on it!

X marks the nostalgia

Kristie is making me watch THE X-FILES. She sent me the DVDs. From Hawaii. This is part of something interesting. She has organized a mass viewing of the television. Episodes will be discussed via the internet weekly in four episode blocks. It's like a book club for television.

You see, before the internet people would get together, pick a book and then everyone would read that book. They would meet on a regular basis in group member's houses and discuss the book often over tea, coffee and cake. I'm not even sure if this practice even goes on anymore. So what Kristie has put together is actually something fascinating on multiple levels.

First: we have the case of looking at television differently. Seasons of TV shows are now collected in nice, neat box sets. On the surface this just means you can watch the re-run of your choice anytime you want. But look at this exercise that I'm talking about. We're treating television like we would treat a novel. Is this a case of younger generations being uninterested in reading or has television gotten to the point that it demands to be treated as literature? I'd argue the latter. I spent tonight watching a television show that is at this moment seventeen years old. I remember when it first aired. For me it's nostalgia. Will my great grand children look upon THE X-FILES season one the same way I look upon Mary Shelley's FRANKENSTEIN? Can television stand the test of time in the same manner as literature?

Second: we replace the intimate setting of a living room with looking at a computer screen. We lose much of the personal aspect of the book club. However, we now are not limited geographically in whom we may discuss things with. This mass viewing will include people from multiple time zones and countries. That's pretty cool, although it doesn't make up for lack of coffee cake.

Onto the show itself.

I'm not a huge fan of the show, but that's not the show's fault. When it originally aired, I was quite busy with school. I did make time to watch THE X-FILES but at that time my focus was elsewhere, mostly school work. After I finished school there was the "winter of discontent" in which Friday nights were spent watching that show and MILLENNIUM followed by playing RESIDENT EVIL on my Playstation in the company of the Scorer. My memories of the show are dim during this time, again not because of the show itself. The Scorer and I were drinking heavily at the time. It was not uncommon for us to go through a fifth of rum and a fifth of whiskey in two days. So you have two guys in a house in the middle of nowhere watching scary television and playing scary video games and impossibly drunk. I barely remember anything about the show.

So these episodes are new but not so new to me. I approach more of a skeptic than I was when they first aired. That the time I was used to weird stuff. There were crop circles in a field a few miles from my house. There's a lake where a compass won't work and people swear it's haunted. Strange lights were seen over the fields near where the crop circles were found and they came from an aircraft that made no sound at all. Sounds scary, but I know the real stories behind these phenomena. Fast forward to me watching the show now. This is after I've seen shows like FRINGE which THE X-FILES paved the way for. Does the show hold up?

It does to a degree. The writing was a bit shaky here and there. Mulder doesn't seem nearly as cool now. The episode leaves somethings a mystery, but reveals perhaps too much. We are shown from the start that there is indeed a conspiracy. I think that was a mistake. They skipped past having the viewers wonder whether or not there's an actual conspiracy straight to having to figure out what this conspiracy is hiding. Its a lost opportunity.

The show does feel dated, but not to the point where you can't identify with it. Its accessible still, but a good pilot should be. I do think now that it was trying a bit too hard to grab viewers and came off slightly over-the-top. The sexual tension get dropped upon us like an anvil off of a cliff hitting Wile E. Coyote, and I do remember the many discussion of when we thought the characters would finally get together romantically.

I'll probably watch a couple more episodes tomorrow, because I want to make sure I don't fall behind the group. I can't claim to be a "X-phile", but it's fun, interesting television, and in the age of things like Wendy Williams claiming precious airtime, television being fun and interesting is something to hang on to.

I want this on DVD now.

This is everything I want in a movie.

Bad ass fight scene that don't involve CGI? Check!

Stuff blowing up? Check!

Jet Li? Check!

Big guns? Check!

Funny one liners? Check!

FINALLY! A movie for me to be excited about!

Every/nobody's right/wrong.

Things are moving in an interesting direction concerning some characters over at DC. It was something that I was aware of, but had not thought too much about until Linda made mention of it. DC has had its continuity rebooted a few times. This allows some things to get cleaned up that were overly complicated and also allows some idea to get a fresh start. However it's getting interesting now in that there's a heavy nostalgia going on. Older characters that have been pretty much written off to obscurity or even killed off are getting a second chance to shine. Sometimes it works (Booster Gold, Nemesis) and sometimes it doesn't (Hal Jordan, Barry Allen). But there are other characters that have been altered with these reboots and taken in new directions. But with this wave of nostalgia the previous continuites are being considered again, and not just as a reference as to what went on before. The different takes on characters are all being considered in current usage.

The first to show this was Hawkman. Hawkman for a very long time was a continuity nightmare. At one point he was a reincarnated Egyptian King. Then he was from an entirely different planet. Geoff Johns married these two concepts quite well. This was back when he was getting a good reputation for plugging continuity holes.

Well, Johns is still doing this and most recently in the two characters that Linda made mention of: Brainiac and Toyman. These two Superman villains have had radically different interpretations over the years. Johns took the same approach with both characters. All the different interpretations have been minions or robots created by the "real" character. Not a bad concept, but it got used in the same comic twice inside of a year. Bad form.

Grant Morrison had a different take, and he laid the groundwork for it way back in his JLA run in dealing with Joker. That's when he introduced the notion of "super sanity" in which the character constantly reinvents himself on a regular basis as a response to the world around him. This is how we can have the same character be a relatively harmless mischievous prankster in one story, a criminal mastermind in the next, then a bad dog sociopathic killer, and then back to prankster. This makes every interpretation of the character from his creation decades ago a valid one.

Morrison did something similar with Batman, but that's less to do with the character and more to do with stories that he was involved in. Morrison went with the notion at every story every published about Batman happened. Everything from super villains, to mobsters, to weird rainbow creatures, to Bat-Mite.

This is an interesting difference. Johns took all the differences and tried to line them up to make them make sense together. Morrison took all the differences and accepted them wholesale. Of course this makes reading the Morrison stuff a lot trickier, but the payoff was worth it. It also served to keep the characters moving forward in interesting new directions and made for great stories.

Nostalgia's fine, but living in the past gets you no where. I'll be following the writers that drive new narratives, not the ones catering to those who think comics should be just as they were back when everyone wore bell bottoms.

Nasty gut feelings

I've been re-reading some comics and find it unnerving as to how much Gary Callahan reminds me of our Pop Star-in-Chief.

I read about a society whose police force rations food and performs ballistic retroactive abortions, and I think about how much government has grown since I was a child.

I saw the graphic novel adaptation to Fahrenheit 451 and thought about public schools.

I read about journalists that wanted to report truth and realized that's a really great work of fiction.

I re-read about the deconstruction of superheroes and found it depressing and not as great as I had once thought.

As much as I'm sick of the thought of 'realism' in comics means things being dark, grim and gritty I really detest the notion that fiction may be becoming reality, and not in a good way.

The dull ache

I mentioned in the last post about my brain atrophying. It seems the problem isn't just mental. Over the years I've put my body through considerable abuse both work and recreation related. These problems add up, but haven't been an issue due to me maintaining a certain level of physical fitness. Well, I haven't been doing that lately, and problems have started. Aches and pains are become prevalent and common for no reason. Being sore from a hard day's work is one thing. That's accompanied by a feeling of well being and accomplishment. Being sore because you've become soft and rickety is not something I'd recommend to anyone.

This being the case it seems I'll have to do things to stimulate my body as well as my mind. If anyone needs me, I'll be reading Voltaire while doing push-ups.

Brain drain, not 190 grain.

I have been told, and have repeated the sentiment often, that kids make you stupid. This isn't to say that they possess some sort of anti-logic rationality impairing virus that they spread by their very presence. No, that would be too simple. You could probably get a shot to take care of that. This is much more insidious.

It started with massive sleep deprivation. I was able to counter a lot of this through vitamin supplements and fish oil tablets. Still, there was a notable drop in my ability to think straight. A well rested brain is a well functioning brain. So there I am having to keep up with two children that are dependent on me. I'm the source of their intellectual stimulation, and they do indeed suck things up like a sponge.

Well, maybe more like a leech. See, while as a parent I'm working hard to provide positive stimulation for their intellectual development, they're providing soiled diapers and lots of crying. Hardly a fair trade.

After a while a person can only do so much, so they turn to Sesame Street. A street with monsters on it that enjoy counting and saying the alphabet and such. The residents of this street all go along with this and all the really freaking weird stuff that goes on there because I fully believe that if they don't the monsters will go on a rampage and kill them all horribly. That aside, the show and other programs geared towards children are all fine and dandy. They help teach counting and spelling. They often have cute songs. The kids eat it up.

Then I discover slowly but surely that I'm enjoying this. And there's a problem here. This problem is one that not only applies to TV, but in daily activities. The stimulation I'm receiving on a regular basis is the same as that of a child. Sure I can stay up late to watch movies and stuff and get a fix, but there's comics to write and draw, and sleep to be blissfully claimed. You see the problem?

What is stimulating to a small child doesn't do an adult a whole lot of good. The brain is like any muscle, if you don't use it, you end up losing it. I'm experiencing atrophy on multiple levels. This isn't good. I've managed to compartmentalize the bits I need to keep writing the stories I'm doing and keep drawing. However, outside of that the rest of me is going straight to hell. My karate has been suffering. I can barely hold a coherent conversation. It's pitiful. The only exception is when I'm discussing my projects since that portion of my brain is, for now, firewalled from the entropy that is slowly consuming my once stellar thought processes. This is A Flower for Algernon taking place over the course of decades!

There's only one way I can think to counter this. I'm going to have to force my kids to be smarter. No more Veggie Tales, we're moving on to Masterpiece Theater.

Writing Tutorial with Marty: Teen Titans

Today we're going to learn step by step how to write a story featuring DC Comics own Teen Titans! Ready? Let's get started!

Step 1: Pick any Titans character past or present. If you're having difficulty choosing, pick Raven.

Step 2: This is the hard part. You have to decide whether the character you've chosen will have their past come back to haunt them or will they turn on their teammates. Choose carefully.

Step 3: Make sure to reference a few other characters that have either turned evil or died horribly.

Step 4: Have whichever character is team leader, or if they're unavailable the character that's been on the team the longest, remind all the other team members that the Titans are more than a team, they're a family.

Step 5: Now all the characters are going to save they're teammate (possibly kill them thus saving them from a fate worse than death like being written by Chuck Austin), whom they all care deeply for. This caring adds dramatic weight to your story.

Step 6: After the battle make sure to have have a tease for your next story which will threaten a different character. Just make sure you don't threaten the same character twice in a row.

Now you're all ready to write a Teen Titans or Titans comic book! Go get 'em, champ!

So, what got me to do this little bit here? Well that would be TEEN TITANS #75 which brought forth a new writer Felicia Henderson. It's not a bad issue, really, but it hits every step on the list. Superteam books in the DCU have been having a serious problem in that the teams aren't in the business of saving the world, they're too busy being targets for everyone they've ever fought since the beginning of time. The TEEN TITANS comic since it's latest relaunch has fallen hard into this category. There's nothing new for the team face in the book. They've battled all the major Teen Titan villains from the previous stories. They've fought multiple incarnations of evil Titans. Its gotten pretty tiresome.

Well, I was going to drop the title, but I'm going to give Henderson a shot. Hopefully we can get back to heroes being heroes again.

Outbreak monkey

There seems to be an outbreak of dyslexia on the internet. That's the current popular claim when dopes misspell works in forums. I love funny typos, and have been responsible for more than my fair share. Things happen. You're tired, spell check missed it or you just got really into whatever you were typing about and posted up without proofreading your stuff. I've been guilty of each from time to time. Yes, there's been a few laughs at my expense, and rightfully so. Still, I didn't claim to have a disorder just to try to silence those having a laugh.

I'm perfectly willing to over look a couple of typos here and there if the person is making an effort to get their point across. However, if it's funny, I reserve the right to laugh. Just like everyone should laugh when I misspell something and it makes what I was typing unintentionally funny.

Whiteout... wha?

The movie WHITEOUT is being released next Friday. Talking with Joey over at Kings yesterday he was unaware that the movie it supposedly based on a comic. Not surprising. I have the comic. I have the sequel. I was watching trailer for the movie wondering what this movie is supposed to be about.

The comic by Greg Rucka and Steve Lieber is very very good. Eisner Award winning good. So why change story to the point that I as a fan can barely recognize it? The story does hold up and does work. It would actually translate quite well into a movie. There seems to be three schools of thought in taking comic book intellectual properties to the big screen.

First: go as accurate as possible, using the comics themselves as a type of storyboard. Sometimes having to add a little and take away a little here and there to accommodate running time and the like. Examples: 300, SIN CITY, WATCHMEN.

Second: really try to the get the heart of the story. Sometimes things need an update, or the story doesn't translate too well onto the big screen, so a few changes are made to make it work, however fans still identify the story. Examples: SPIDER-MAN, X-MEN, HELLBOY.

Third: just that the title, and a few character names maybe a line or scene or two, and then just do whatever the hell you want. Example: WANTED, LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN.

WHITEOUT looks like it's going to be in the third category. So, if I go see it, I'm going to have to try to dismiss all of my knowledge of the story if I'm to have any hope of enjoying the movie. It worked for LEAGUE and I ended up enjoying the movie more than the comic. This is the cue for the Alan Moore fans to grab their pitchforks. Sorry kids, the movie was fun, the comic was boring. Deal.

For the record, I like Kate Beckensale, but I don't see her as Carrie Stetko at all. Too tall, too thin, and not enough freckles. Why she wasn't cast as Lily, I'll never know.

Disney Bought Marvel: THE TOP 10!

That's right kids, Marvel was bought by Disney, and the internet has been all a-flutter! Many are worried that there's going to be major changes to the comics they love and they're absolutely right. This is an funny book Armageddon! The rock is falling! We all gonna DIE! So in the spirit of impending DOOM, it's that time again:


10: Deffiant McDouchbag declares victory, immediately targets Disney for his next conquest.

9: Lila Cheney and Dazzler are the new opening acts for Hannah Montana.

8: Doctor Strange to be challenged for his title of Sorcerer Supreme by a mouse in a hat.

7: Namor's new sidekick: Ariel.

6: Iron Fist and Shang-Chi will be among the next roster of Power Rangers.

5: Brian Michael Bendis's new job title: Imagineer.

4: Lady Sif is now Princess Sif.

3: Uncle Ben was killed by hunters.

2: Stark Industries is bought out by Scrooge McDuck, meaning GizmoDuck will be getting one hell of an upgrade.

And the number one thing you can look forward to now that Disney has bought Marvel:

Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters Musical!

Online presence immitating comics, or 52 becomes 30!

So, while i enjoy discussing comics online there comes a time when I need a break. This allows my own opinions to form without outside input, and prevents myself form being integrated into a weird e-hivemind. Now, the main place I discuss comics if Gaiaonline and specifically this thread. This thread was started by our good buddy over at Teatime Brutality based mainly off of my insane ramblings and is moderated by our good friend Linda whose comments have popped up in here from time to time and has contributed art to Tales of Night Life. What makes this little sabbatical from e-discussion interesting is that Linda and Richard are doing one at the same time, so for the month of September that thread has to do without input from the three of us.

This has of course been compared to the comic 52 as the three of us comprise the Holy Trinity of everything that is good about the internet, with the exception of porn, to which every last one of you out there should be grateful to us and send us cookies.

What's fun about this is the number of ways this ends up paralleling the events of the comic. It was a 52 issue long story in which Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman were all out of action. So how do we three line up with DC's trinity? Pretty well actually.

In terms of fandom, it's very simple. Linda is a huge Super-fan, with her collection of Supergirl memorabilia and artwork. Richard is the Bat-fan, which is obvious from reading his blog. I'm the Wonder-fan, because while I like both Superman and Batman, I'm fascinated on many levels with the character and having read the runs of both Greg Rucka and Gail Simone have no trouble gushing on at length about her.

Going a step further is where things get a little sticky. Linda is still obviously the "Super" part of the trinity in that she's still there on the site, but just not contributing. Much like Clark Kent was around but wasn't very active. However, Clark wasn't active due to his powers being gone. Linda still maintains her powers, and is currently controlling the weather. It has been said that Linda may indeed be "over-powered" that that makes her a less interesting character. I have to say that those making these assertions often speak from ignorance having never read Linda.

Which brings us to myself and Richard. Linda has told me that I must be Batman, having removed myself from active discussion to process my experiences and media inputs to emerge later to become a better rounded individual with a back-up personality and that Richard is Wonder Woman since he broke that one guy's neck for insisting that BATMAN #666 was not canon. Now to be fair, the guy did have it coming.

But is this accurate? Richard is indeed repairing back to Panda Narbat for his intellectual sabbatical and while he may not be sitting in a cave I'm sure he'd have no objection to sitting blissfully in a park, contemplating Doctor Who with the shape provided by Lucy Pinder's bosoms keeping the harsh sunlight from him. I'm currently not wanted by any Government agencies to the point where the jerks won't even return my calls anymore.

So, while it is difficult to pin down which of us is indeed an Amazon, it's easy to draw comparisons between both Richard and myself to the Dark Knight. Obviously we both have butlers and young sidekicks. What is interesting is that I seem to be representing the pre-52 Batman being slightly paranoid and obvious being teh gratest fiter on teh intarwub. Total e-ninja, but not in the accurate comparison, only in the BS Hollywood ninja sense. Richard represents the post-52 Batman with research, rationality and hope with his meticulous study of the character and events surrounding him. Also Richard has prep-time and is invincible due to it. It's also popular opinion that there is no real Richard, it's a bunch of people, much like the idea among Gotham criminals and citizens that there's an army of Batmen. So this begs the question: after this sabbatical, will I become Richard? Will Richard move on to be stuck in the middle of his mum leading an ill conceived and poorly written assault on America as told by Jodi Piccoult? These are questions on time will answer.

Of course after this is over and we've returned to our discussions in that thread we will likely have to deal with the Richard identity thing. This will most likely happen as his illegitimate son that he had with the daughter of an eco-terrorist shows up, he'll be lured to mansion with many international versions of Richard in an attempt to kill them all, which will be the first overt step by the devil to destroy Richard. All the while an evil woman with a really obvious name will be attempting to seduce and destroy him. After defeating the devil, Richard will be dropped through a series of websites like Gaiaonline, but much suckier, and end up in 2003 Go-Gaia and everyone will think he's dead, but really he's in a website with much less items for his avatar. This will of course prompt many people to try to be Richard.

I'd make many similar comments about Linda in comparison to Superman, but I doubt he'd want her life to be anywhere conceivably near to anything Geoff Johns has ever written.

There you go. A full month's worth of nerd-dom all in one post.

Flirting with continuity

I've gotten to the point where I've webpublished enough NIGHT LIFE stories that continuity may become an issue. I've got the comic going on the main site. I'm getting ready to wrap up the third short story here on Blogger. And I did a story on Twitter. That's not including the original NIGHT LIFE story that I did back when I was a student at JMU. Also, there were a few short stories that got written for classes that featured characters that should be very familiar to my readers, all five of you. So that's five different stories on three different sites, a couple of short stories and one college newspaper. Multiple mediums to boot. So which ones don't count?

Well, all of them do. Although the college one, you can pretend doesn't exist, especially since I have the only complete collection of those strips which I occasionally go back through just to cringe at how terrible they were.

When I did the college strip, Wade Granby was already well established as the Night Rain. Keith Sheen didn't come in until the final year I did the strip, but it was clear that they had a history. If you were to get your hands on the old strips and pour over them, you can even spot Danny Blade in a flashback scene. When I wrote the short stories for classes I set most of them in the NIGHT LIFE world. While the professors weren't terribly thrilled with this, it turned out that a few of the students that read these stories for the classes followed the comic and got a kick out of it.

Continuity is a double-edged sword to be certain. It's great when things are clear. However, with enough people involved and if things go along long enough it can turn ugly. That's why the major comic companies with their metric ton of characters and stories supposedly have editors. Someone has to keep it all straight.

My first brush with continuity happened at a very young age. It was an issue of THE INCREDIBLE HULK and the big guy was on some alien planet battling The Gardner. Now this was a major threat because this dude was in possession of one of the "Soul Gems" which we now refer to as the "Infinity Gems". Insanely powerful, and I as a reader got to learn about this due to a quick flashback to another story. It seems some major big bad got his hands on one and it took the Avengers, Captain Marvel, The Thing, Spider-man and Adam Warlock "Reincarnated as the Ultimate Avenger" to stop him. It was nearly twenty years later that I actually had a chance to read the story that the flashback referred. It went down in an old AVENGERS annual and a MARVEL TEAM-UP annual. But referencing that story in the Hulk story I was reading gave me a glimpse that this was something major and this huge battle had gone down. I really wanted to read that story. So there's where continuity was a major bonus.

It turns into a problem when you have two stories directly contradicting each other. Then the writers have to jump through hoops. Problems like that should be caught before books go to press. Back in the day Marvel gave out "No prizes" to readers who caught things like that. Now they just try to avoid the meteor shower of bitchy comments that descend upon them via the internet.

How much danger am I in from this unwieldy beast called continuity? Not much. When there's only one writer it's much easier to keep things straight. I'll be putting in footnotes for people as necessary. Besides, this is the internet, it's easy enough to get a hold of me on here if there's any questions?

You want to know what I think about having enough content out there that this topic warrants a blog post? I think it's a damn good start.

TV is talking to me

No, not the actual television. It's too embarrassed to say anything because of it's size. It's secretly jealous of those skinny flat screen dealies. I keep telling the television that it's alright and I'm not interested in another television. Besides, who the hell is going to steal it. It's heavy and a proper thief would go after one of those televisions that hang of the wall.

I'm referring to TV itself speaking to me. It's always been a good friend and trusted adviser. Now is no different. You see, it's taken ABC away from me. Also, it's shown me the primetime line up for the CW, letting me know that there'll be only one hour of good TV on that channel this fall. Fox is stacking the interesting shows on Thursday as well knowing that I don't get home until late that night meaning there's an hours of TV for me to watch.

These are all cunning messages from TV. It's telling me to get one of those TV recording devices so that I can record good TV and watch it at proper times. It's forcing me into this so that I don't spend too much time watching TV when I should be doing other things.

The message from TV: "Get to work, and record us. You can watch us later. We don't mind."

TV is very considerate.

The four different types of martial arts

As the title says, there's four different types of martial arts. This has nothing to do with styles and a bit to do with actual technique. What this is concerning is intent.

These are martial arts done solely for the sake of performance. You can find them in movies and in some martial arts demos. The techniques are empty and it's more of a dance. Yes, it does take sufficient physicality to execute. This has become quite popular with the advent of XMA and "Tricking". The goal is to look impressive.

These are done purely for the sake of competition. The goal is to win, be it trophies at tournaments or belts in the ring. Training revolves around doing what it takes to impress judges and earn points.

This is focused on the betterment of self through martial arts. Personal growth is the goal. The results desired are physical, mental and spiritual. Rigorous training is often accompanied by meditation.

The goal is self preservation. This is training for dealing with real life situations. Techniques are explored for their potential in use in real combat situations.

Now, many schools offer a combination of these four in their training regimes. Some do specialize. Really it's up to the individual. Two people can be studying the same art from the same instructor and be doing two different types of martial arts.

So the question is: where is your head and heart in relation to your fist and foot?

Ian Holloway > Wendy Williams

I hate Wendy Williams. I click on a video to see a squirrel doing weird squirrelly things and there she is, squawking on inanely in front of people who must have the IQs of brine because they actually give a good goddamn about the asinine shit that tumbles from her big yap. Bad enough she ruined my dinnertime TV viewing habits. Now she's invaded my internet viewing habits. I hate her so hard. I was ready to go to sleep too. I had posted the latest page from the comic that was thrust upon me by a guy so desperate to move copies that I suspect he had stolen it. I bought it with a friend, she had a buck and I had some loose change. We live in different states so I post a page a day so we can share the book and everyone can have a good hard laugh at how terrible it is.

What the hell was I typing about?

WENDY WILLIAMS! That bitch! Anyways, I had scanned stuff, posted stuff, e-mailed stuff, stuffed stuffity stuff stuff stuff, and just wanted to watch a video with a squirrel in it to calm my nerves. I set aside the fact that a squirrel had brought my webcomics to a screeching halt. I mean, it's not like I was going to watch video of that squirrel. That would just be weird. So I click and I wait, because my internet sucks, but I don't care anymore since I'm now convinced that "high speed internet" is all a hoax. And the video comes up, and there's my squirrel. Looking cute and doing squirrel things. Next thing I know there's Wendy Williams talking about Barack Obama because I guess no one had talked about him in the last two minutes and the quota wasn't filling up properly and there's some guy in the crowd with a buzzer trying to shut her up and she's asking pissed about it. I think if the guy really wanted to shut her up he should have used a tazer.

So now I'm all wound up and torqued off and hating squirrels and really hating Wendy Williams.

Fortunately my mad seething fury somehow guided me over to White Chapel where I came upon this:

I am now at peace.

DnC Studios Versus Chicago: No Reservations

We grabbed some grub in the North Carolina airport knowing we would be going on a food safari and we might as well start enjoying ourselves. Chris had some ribs and I had to get some Carolina Bar-be-que. It was on point, but the games had only begun.

Day one of the Con was kinda a bust, but after the show things were looking up. Linda and company helped us take our things back to the hotel and then we hopped the L to head into the city to Giordano's. If you're going to be in Chi-Town then you've got to have some deep dish pizza. We arrived and some friends had a table already, so we joined them. Chris, Dylan, Vince, Linda and myself get a stuffed crust pizza with pepperoni, sausage and black olives. The meat was baked into the crust while the olives rest atop this glorious thing before us. I had a 312 Ale to wash it down as Chris and I absolutely crushed our first pieces. I think we shocked Linda a bit, but construction guys eat fast. We held court sharing our stories of Virginia, and probably guaranteeing that none of them will ever come and visit us.

Then we faced a problem. There were three slices left and five or us. Who would be the asshole and go after the second piece first? Vince and Linda in a show of class begged off, saying they were stuffed, opening the door of Chris, Dylan and myself to descend upon the rest of the pie like a pack of wolves. Never had pizza like that before. Truly top notch.

The five of us then braved the L back to our respective hotels. I say "braved' due to Lolapalooze letting out about the same time and the L was teeming with dirty footed hippies. One of which was in dire straights and spotted the fact that I had a bottle of soda.

Hippie: Dude, can I please have a sip of your soda? I'm dying here.

Me: Dude, before you have a sip of my soda I need to now what you're dying of.

I hate hippies. But I digress.

The following morning there was a steady downpour of rain preventing Chris and I from grabbing fast food for breakfast. We didn't have a vehicle on this trip. So, we had breakfast at the hotel restaurant. I had never had lemon crepes before.

The hotel staff continued to spoil us with complimentary fruit smoothies and pastries. The food was more sophisticated then I'm used to. It was a real treat.

There was a communication break down on day 2 with Linda losing my phone number. So we hit the town with our con neighbors, Andy and Kim. Dodging horrible lumps of stuff on the stairway out of the L we made out way across town. It was a real treat to see the areas that doubled for Gotham city in the recent Batman movies. We saw a guy, drunk to the point of caveman status, stumbling along and dropping his liquor bottles. How he made it back to his hotel and didn't get ran over is beyond me.

We crossed the river and the air was thick. I found it a bit hard to breath as the air was heavy with the scent of the river. I was hoping to be away from it soon. We passed street performers playing drums and break dancing. I looked around to try to spot where we might be going. Andy led us to a staircase in the sidewalk, which had me confused for a moment until I turned to go down it.

Then the smell hit me. Actually, it embraced me. We descended into history.

Hidden from the tourists and the very sky above was a practical hole in the wall: The Billy Goat Tavern. Established in 1934 the Billy Goat is an institution. We had hot dog, double cheeseburgers, whoops, I mean CHEEZBORGERS, with chips and Billy Goat Ale to wash them done. We were surrounded on all sides by pictures of athletes, movie stars and politicians all of whom had come to this place. It was incredible. We sat there, looking at the pictures, enjoying our food and just soaking in the history around us. That place is special. I'm in Andy's debt for leading me there.

Linda brought us Chicago Style Hot Dogs the next day for lunch at the Con, which was an unnecessary but greaty appreciated apology for the previous night. Chicago dogs versus Convention center dogs? No contest.

After the show, Linda Vince and Dylan yet again helped us with our stuff and we hit the southside on a mission. Google maps yet again led us to somebody's doorstep, and they would not feed us. Still we found the Silver Palm.

We were in the hunt for the Three Little Piggies. This sandwich was reviewed in Maxim Magazine as one of the top 5 in the nation. It's a deep friend pork tenderloin, a slice of ham, bacon, two kinds of cheese, a fried egg and an fried onion ring.

I know what you're thinking. That can't be kosher. This sandwich not only isn't Kosher, it's flat out anti-Semitic. This thing is a Swastika on a bun!

Linda and Vince in a fit of sanity did not order the sandwich. Chris, Dylan and myself had no such rationality to save us.

We ordered that thing and the waitress asked about our medical history.

We got our beers and then came the sandwich. The sandwich comes with fries and I still wonder why. We looked at the sandwiches. I pondered briefly what they would say at my funeral. This was beyond sustenance, beyond a vicious case of the noms... this was man versus food. Three of us. There of them.

We clinked our beers and it was on like Donkey Kong.

We tore into our opponents, and Father God save me, it was the greatest sandwich I have ever eaten. I nearly wept. Still this was a battle, and our opponent played for keeps. This was eating the Chicago way! You sent one of theirs to your stomach, it sends your ass to the morgue!

Chris was forced to tap out about half way through. It was up to me and Dylan. Sweet Geebus, even the gristle was good! Dylan subdued his foe. The score was tied: 1 to 1. It was all up to me. The sandwich was an unweildy beast. I had great difficulty controlling it. I approached the end game with the others watching me and cheering me on. Goaded on, I shoved the rest of the bastard sandwich into my gaping maw. After some chewing and hanging onto the table for dear life, I finally swallowed the last of it and then ran a brief victory lap.

It took three hand washings and shower before I stopped smelling like pork.

We returned home the following day. Although we were paupers at the convention, after the show, we ate like Kings.

DnC Studios versus Chicago: the Con Report

This was a really big deal for me as this was the the Con that was in my mind the big one. I could care less about San Diego. It strikes me as being more about other nerd media than comics. This trip was my gift for the year. I cared about nothing else. I just wanted this trip. My wife made it happen.

Johnson has been under siege by a vicious wave of misfortune over the past month. He was hanging in as best he could. He just had to make it to the show. We prepped as best we could. We got out the door later than I had hoped. There was much chain smoking being done as Johnson attempted to decompress. We then confirmed that Goggle maps is indeed the Wikipedia of directions as our directions to the airport led me to someone's doorstep. they didn't have a plane. Still we made the flight, and after dropping down to North Carolina to see people in rocking chairs using their laptops and others gathered around power outlets as if they were campfires in the arctic we proceeded to Chicago.

We stayed at the Rosemont O'Hare which is attached to the convention center by a skywalk, which came in handy due to rain. The hotel was indeed the lap of luxury for the pair of us and the staff treated us like kings. We missed premier night, but got settled in and had a couple of drinks at the bar. We went over our last minute game plans.

The next morning we got up at six and headed down to the complimentary coffee bar. We seemed to be the only guests in the hotel to be stirring at that hour. We discovered later that my phone didn't stnc up with the time zone change and the room alarm clock was off by an hour. Yep, we were up at 5 in morning. Fine, gave us time to pick up the last minute essentuals for working the table: a case of Cokes, a tin of Altoids and a couple packs of smokes.

We found ourselves on the far side of the world in the artist alley, but at least it was a short walk to the can. I was directly across from Tony Moore and Chris Samnee, and was kicking myself for not bringing my QUEEN AND COUNTRY definitive edition for him to sign. We met our neighbors Andy Budnick and his girlfriend Kim. Delightful folks.

Day one was slow and painful. Although we did manage to make about $7.

God bless hot librarians who like Batgirl. You can see Chris Samnee hard at work behind her. Spotting quite a few folks dressed as Doctor Horrible I preceded to do some pictures of the character in hopes of getting some sales. I continued trying up finish out the Twitter event. The major plus side was Linda showing up with Vince and Dylan. Linda's a long time e-friend and this was our first face-to-face meeting. She likes to take credit for my making the trip. While that's not the case, meeting her finally was definitely the biggest perk and made the trip worthwhile.

Our staggering sales certainly weren't.

This was also the day we came to discover our table came complete with a Tom and Jerry booby trap which consisted of 5 gallon plastic buckets which were suspended over us and periodically dripped water down upon us. Nothing like a roof leak and/or air conditioning condensation over what is, in essence, a celebration of paper. We got quite chummy with many of the volunteers.

This Con was in trouble. 100 out of the 135 volunteers that were to work the show never showed up. DC didn't show up. Marvel didn't show up. Dark Horse didn't show up. Seems we picked a great year for our first appearance.

And they seriously need to feed their volunteers too. Poor starving bastards.

Day two was looking up. The Doctor Horrible pics were selling a bit. We got some commissions. I'm surprised we didn't get more considering we were charging $5 for fully inked pictures. My bristol got more use fanning Linda and company who were very warm in their outfits. This was the day of the costume contest so everyone was decked out in their best costumes. Cosmic Boy declared me his arch-nemesis. I answered by pelting him with a wad of tin foil and mocking his magnetic powers. Dick Blick came through for us big time. He was selling art supplies and took excellent care of us. He's got a couple of new life time customers now. I also snagged a copy of Ong Bak 2.

By the end of day 2 fatigue had set in. Johnson was doing well since he ran into Michelle Rodrigez on one of his smoke breaks and got the hang with her a bit.

Day three arrived and I was feeling punchy. I also had questions for one Chris Samnee.

Me: So, with it being day three and everyone's kinda punchy, hypothetically speaking, if you were inking a piece and some one from, let's just say across the aisle here, were to say, hypothetically, chuck a paper airplane at you, what would happen?

Samnee: I'd punch them right in the face.

Me: Hypothetically?

Samnee: Hypothetically, of course.

We then agreed that the guy the Quicksilver costume the day before really should have been wearing underwear. Nothing bonds artists faster than the sheer horror of shiny spandex clad dongs right at your eye level.

I drew a lot on day 3. Did a bunch of pictures. I even managed to walk around a bit. Linda and I walked the aisles. She made some purchases and chatted with folks. I marveled at what a complete moron the kid selling weapons was. It was all a bit of a blur that day and my sense of time crumbled.

That was pretty much it. Coming out of it I determined that a Con is a Con. The mystique is gone, but it was a pretty good show. Johnson wants to do it again next year. We may have to return.