Brain sparks.

There's enough hardcore prescription painkillers in this house right now to knock Keith Richards on his ass. I've been functioning on caffeine for days. By all rights now that the Nozz compound is quiet I should be sleeping like a baby.

But my brain fires up at night. I've got four irons in the atomic fire that is currently my imagination. Everyone's worried that the weight of all the stuff I'm currently having to juggle in my life is going to crush me, yet I'm driven to distraction due to excitement over what I'm working on.

I haven't felt this consumed by my work in years. Feels good.

There you go.

Saw the "I <3 Vampires" ad again. saw the ad for the new series "The Vampire Diaries" which looks like they're ripping off that "Twilight" movie.

Just so you know:

If you love vampires you're a necrophiliac.

The old and crouchity top ten.

In honor of Disney Pixar's UP I've slapped together a new top ten list for my favorite old dudes. Enjoy!

10: Alan Quartermain. Played by Sean Connery in the LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMAN movie. Got to love anybody highly annoyed with having to put on his glasses before shooting someone from 300 yards away.

9: Whistler. Played by Kris Kristofferson in the BLADE series. Didn't really like the sequels all that much put the guy who's so old and mean that he'll have smoke while spilling gasoline all over the place is alright by me. this is just as long as I'm not gassing up my car next to him.

8: Egg Chen. Crazy old bastard mystic from BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA. I'd name the actor that played him, but frankly I always just call the guy "Egg Chen".

7: Jay Garrick. The elder statesman of the Flash family. Sure he's typically a nice fellow, but still has a tendency to throw a hypersonic beatdown to show the youngsters why he rules.

6: Honey Roy Palmer. "No one can beat ten men in a day." Honey Roy Palmer sure as hell can. Just see DIGGSTOWN with Lou Gossett Jr. as Roy for proof.

5: Walter Bishop. You come to FRINGE for Anna Torv looking hot, you stay because Walter Bishop if crazier than a toad licking squirrel.

4: Obi Wan Kenobi. Whether he's scaring Sand People, hauling Luke into seedy bars or subverting an Empire you've got to love ol Ben.

3: Gandolf. Sure he's an old hippy, but any old dude who'll put the spurs to a Balrog while falling through the world is alright by me. Bonus points for being ornery with uppity little Hobbits.

2: Bruce Wayne. I miss BATMAN BEYOND, where you get to see a three days older than dirt Bruce Wayne being old and pissed off all the time complete with Ace the pissed off Bat-hound. Nice to know he doesn't let his bum ticker stop him from slapping around punks.

1. Boris the Bullet Dodger. I have a soft spot for crazy Russians. What's better than crazy Russians? Crazy old bitter Russians, with guns, who get pissed off at things like getting shot and hit with cars. I do believe I'll be watching SNATCH today.

My summer obsession is back

I have an insane obsession for So You Think You Can Dance. For those who don't know what it is it's the American Idol of Dance Shows. Now then, my dislike for American Idol is well known, so why would I like So You Think You Can Dance?

First off it's nice to see young women in great physical condition and not the anorexic waifs that I'm told is supposed to be attractive.

Second, and this is the big one, I'm a huge fan of body movement. Whether it's dance, martial arts, stunt work and even a well choreographed professional wrestling match I enjoy it immensely. I can't dance, at least not very well. I seem to lack rhythm. It also seems like the only time I'm anything approaching graceful is in the middle of fighting, and even then, not so much.

I did tease one of my male students for doing ballet. This was because the little weasel liked to talk smack and tossing around a few verbal barbs is par for course in the dojo. Point of fact, ballet is insane. It's absolutely brutal. Most dancing styles are. I watch this show year after year (and damned if it doesn't get better every year), and I watch these young people put out such physical and emotional performances and see them dripping with sweat afterwards while being critiqued and interviewed. It's just amazing.

So yes, expect a nearly weekly raving from me about this show.

New Buffy movie. Run for your lives, kids!

Yeas it looks like there are plans for a new Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie. Joss Whedon has nothing to do with it at this point. The people that directed and produced the fairly lame Kristie Swanson flick are behind this one. Seems they still have the movie rights.

OK, for those Buffy fans out there wailing and gnashing your teeth, tone it down to just a big eye roll. They haven't approached Whedon as of yet so you never can tell. He might get on board. Also, that's how these things work. It's not easy to hang on to your creator rights when you're an unknown, which Whedon pretty much was when the movie came out.

Now, if you want some more Buffy stories with Whedon's touch on it, Dark Horse Comics is currently publishing BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER: SEASON 8 which follows the TV series and is being helmed by Whedon. I highly recommend it.
Life is good. I ate a particularly good waffle this morning. I'm not currently injured. The dead tree is no longer threatening my house. The girl in the store I was just in after being serenaded by her middle-aged white supervisor with a very forgetable rap preceded to handle my purchase and call me "sweetheart" no less than six times as if compelled to by some specific vocal tick.

Then I can across a young man on the sidewalk strumming a guitar in a battle with a seemingly unoccupied car with its door open that was filling the afternoon air with some hip hop song that could only charitably be called noise pollution. He was sitting with his open guitar case next to him. In the case was a sign.

"This is my job. Need guitar strings, cigarettes and a latté."

He had a smile and kind word to go along with his fast and skillful strumming. I had a dollar for the case.

I found myself feeling jealous.

The youth. The Hunger. The willingness to place yourself in the public with only your talent to try to earn a few buck. He sat on a warm day under a blue sky and I know he saw the dark clouds of the impending rainstorm that was heading for him. Still he smiled. Still he played. His songs were sharp and wordless, but you could feel the desire in it. The love for the music. The hours he spends practicing. The Hunger.

Redneck Good Time

Well, since nothing's blown up and the police haven't come to visit us on the court recently we figured we were overdue. So my neighbor rented a sixty foot boom lift and it was tree cuttin' day for the NWA (Neighborhood Watch Association). We were doing pretty good for a while. Darren and Elmer were up in the lift. I was chaining the fallen branches and chunks of tree to John's lawn tractor and he was hauling them over to Billy and Terry who were cutting them up and piling them up for the city. We were on the look out for Darren's cell phone which was apparently under the pile of what was formerly a tree in his back yard.

Then came time for us to go after the 80 foot pine between Darren and John's properties. Darren was up in the lift as far as he could get it. We had a rope running all the way to somebody's yard. Not sure who, but fortunately they didn't sic the dogs on us. I had the rope run around a tree to anchor us. I was pulling with the rest of the guys. We were pulling and seemed to be making headway, but then I found myself flying towards the tree I had wrapped the rope around. Elmer was flying forward. The rest of the guys were flying upwards. Then the entire neighborhood got to hear a very large piece of wood hit the ground from a bit over sixty feet in the air followed by Darren dropping the F-bomb like a B-52.

So, that was a good time to break out the grill and wait for the power company guy to come and get power back to Darren's house. John's wife got good and freaked out by John moving the power line out of the way. Fun fact: if a power line isn't connected to anything then they're typically safe. The power guy arrived and John told him all about the freak storm that snapped off the top of that tree and took out the line.

So while the power guy was hooking Darren's house back up we moved the party over to my place where a very dead tree was long overdue to become firewood. We got a good bit down before the pouring rain started. So we called every weatherman in the area a moron, most of them by name and retreated to the porch. Darren took the time to call the cable company and tried his best to explain to the moron on the other end of the line that having his cable line lying in his front yard was indeed affecting his reception.

The rain stopped. We carbed up with a round of Budweisers, and finished off the tree in my yard. The power guy was gone and we finish the tree on the Darren/John property line and then took some bets as to how many logs Darren's truck could pull to the road before it exploded. Well, it didn't explode, although we did come within a few inches of taking out the support cable for the power pole the guy had just worked on.

I can't wait to get back to work so I can get some rest.

The old school

I was watching and loving every bit of the Lyoto Machida/Rashad Evans fight last night. It's funny how MMA fighters don't know what to do with Machida. The big stink in the 90s was the Brazillian Jui-Jitsu was the way to go and Karate was starting to be viewed as obsolete. Then MMA started to become a style in and of itself. Now a Karate Man is driving these guys nuts using Karate tactics. I'm loving every bit of this.

Innovation is great, but innovation often needs the old school to step in and give them a reality check every so often.

The snarky Superman argument killer.

I have seen this in many a conversation concerning. "All you have to do is get some Kryptonite and you can beat him."

Gee, I hope no one tells Lex Luthor about that.

The brilliant Superman argument killer

I'm loving the SUPERMAN: WORLD OF NEW KRYPTON series. James Robinson and Greg Rucka are knocking this story straight out of the park with every issue. Pete Woods is freaking killin' it on the art. I'm loving this book.

For those who have not picked it up yet, we're three issues deep into it. It spun out of of the recent events of SUPERMAN and ACTION COMICS. Superman confronted Brainiac and saved the bottled Kyptonian City of Kandor and resorted it to normal size in Antartica. So now you have 100,000 Kryptonian on Earth, all of which with the same powers as Superman. This did not go very well and Earth and the Krytonians were on the verge of war with Superman stuck in the middle. The Kryptonians left taking their city with them and formed a new planet on the other side of the Sun. Superman left Earth to live there suspecting there was something seriously wrong going on behind the scenes.

Here's the part I am absolutely loving. This book is attacking one of the key arguments of the Superman detractors. It's not attacking it directly. This is a subtle thing. The argument is: Superman is too powerful, he's nothing without those powers. Now you have Superman in a world where he is on a level playing field. The only advantage he has in terms of power is his experience using them. This truly lets the character shine. We see it's not the powers that make him the hero he is.

The latest issue also puts done one of the other arguments about Superman, that the guy can't fight. Superman get's challenged by a rival, Commander Gor, in the latest issue. Gor is just as powerful as Superman and a trained fighter. He get's some good shots in. Then Superman reminds his opponent that he "was taught hand-to-hand combat by Earth's greatest proponent" and drops Gor like it was the cool thing to do. Nicely sequenced by Woods too. Major credit there. They wisely stay vague as to who is the 'greatest proponent'. My money's on Wonder Woman.

With Batman still on hiatus from being interesting, this story has been my major DC geeking point. Next month we get Morrison and Rucka returning to the Bat-verse. It's going to be a good summer.


Doing a bit of research for the big summer project. This led me to the local police station. I got set up to talk to the public relations officer. She comes to the lobby to meet me and I swear she looked like she walked out of a cop movie. She was professional, attractive and very nice.

And she had her gun on her hip. Holstered of course, but freakin' wow.

It's been a good day.

The audience of one

I think everyone one creates and makes their work public asks themselves at some point, "Is anyone even seeing this?" This point comes early in careers of creators, before the numbers come in as to how much you've sold, or how many hits there are on your website or you start seeing your name mentioned here and there. This can be scary for some people. Some people feel the need for validation of their efforts. Validation is nice and comforting. No one wants to feel like they've been wasting their time and effort. However, they're missing out on something.

There's an old expression: "Dance like nobody is watching you." They never intended that saying to apply only to dancing. There's a liberating feeling to being your own audience and not caring about your sales or hit count. You start getting experimental. You start throwing new ideas and techniques around to see what works and what doesn't.

For me, it was college. NIGHT LIFE got it's humble beginnings in the James Madison University newspaper. I learned a lot there. I learned about meeting my deadlines. I learned about pacing my story. I learned how to deal with different editors. And I learned how to dance like no one was watching.

For those who aren't familiar with good ol JMU at the time there were about 10,000 students. The JMU newspaper, The Breeze, was put out on Mondays and Thursdays and was free. I didn't find out until later that the paper was also available throughout the city of Harrisonburg were JMU was nestled in. So, my work was readily available to thousands of people, and I maintained that only 12 of them actually read the damned thing.

I had to. I have one very prominent weakness: I am completely unable to comprehend that I have fans somewhere. I once had a professor ask me to stay after class for a moment if I had the time. I figured I was in deep shit because I was struggling with the class. No, he wanted to chat about the comic. When I should have felt pride, I kind of felt like I had the rug pulled out from under me. I learned to deal with it, especially after people who came to me as fans became friends. They started to get more vocal. Professors were thinking it was cool that I was in their classes. Other students would talk to me about certain characters.

The 12 fan theory got utterly destroyed at a party when I discovered that nearly everyone there was a fan. Thank God it was senior year. I may have developed an ego or something.

Fast forward to now. I'm putting out more content than ever before. However, I'm back to my old 12 fan theory. 12 is a good number. It's small enough that I don't feel overwhelmed, but it's large enough to motivate me. I'd hate to let down my fans, all 12 of you. I've got two followers of this blog so for all I know Pinds and Kristie (bless the pair of ya!) are the only people who will ever read this.

And I'm cool with that.

I'm going to keep on dancing.

Tick tick boom

I talked before about Star Trek and how I wasn't really into it because it wasn't explodey enough for me. Saw the movie last night and that was plenty explodey. I'm not a Trekkie, or a Trekker or even a fan of Star trek, but that was a freaking great movie. Planets getting destroyed, crap blowing up all over the place, people doing the impossible, green chicks in their unmentionables and a freakin' sword fight.

And most importantly: a good story.

If I'm going to accept style over substance then it better be damn stylish. I was sitting there watching the previews for the upcoming summer movies. There was the G.I.JOE trailer which I had not seen and the TRANSFORMERS one which I had caught a glimpse of once. I'm completely disinterested in both. I did not like the first TRANSFORMERS movie because I felt like I needed to turn off my brain to enjoy it. The second one looks like more of the same. G.I.JOE looks like a noisy ridiculous mess. Both are promising huge budgeted effects and visuals and they did a huge seen in one of the previews in which the Eiffel Tower gets destroyed.

Sorry, not caring.

Of all the previews I saw last night the only on that has me excited is this year's Pixar offering: UP.

Oh damn it all anyways.

I list quite near the top of my feeling crappy top ten that people who have Iphones just because they're 'cool' piss me off. Sure enough in the the little ad space on this blog there's an ad for downloading comics directly to your Iphone. Google Adsense is making fun of me, I just know it.

This is not the future I bloody well ordered. MY future was supposed to have robots and flying cars and people colonizing Mars. Instead I got slapped by the information age where it seems all the innovative stuff is happening to people's cell phones. Those things have more processing power than the computers that got man to the moon.

Look, I get it. There are people out there that run their lives and businesses on the move. They need gadgets like the Iphone to make themselves productive and competitive in their fields. They don't need it to makes noises like a lightsabre or the tons of other useless crap those things do.

It's all about information now. Hell, now we've got Twitter which you can let people know what you are doing at any time. Well, if I'm updating my Twitter account then I must be at my computer, so that would make for a bunch of really boring posts. And yes, I'm aware that with some of the Fancy-Dan doo-hickeys I was just talking about you can update your Twitter from anywhere. Here's my problem with Twitter and it's nothing against anyone who actually has it, and in this world of networking I'll probably end up getting it myself just to attempt to keep up: if I'm doing something, I probably don't have time to stop and let the intarwub know about it. Trust me, if it's interesting I'll let the intarwub know all about later, in detail.

I am sorely tempted to start a twitter account and have it be entirely fictitious. In fact: expect that to happen in June.

I know now what I must do. I must conquer the future. Than we shall colonize Mars.

Find me an 'app' for Mars colonization, I freakin' dare ya!

The feeling crappy top ten

I've been in a foul foul mood this week, so here's the top 10 things currently pissing me off.

10: Digital television

9: Tankinis

8: The word "tankini".

7: Comic book characters that won't stay dead.

6: American Idol

5: People who obsess over American Idol.

4: The word "app".

3: Changes that aren't changes.

2: People who have Iphones because they're cool.

And the number one thing that is currently contributing to my foul foul mood:

The horrible mental gap in my brain that is somehow preventing all the cool things in there from being written or drawn properly.

Separation of Comics and State.

It's no secret that I'm not an Obama fan. To me he's just another politician and as likely to screw people over as any other politician. Unfortunately, my not being a fan is turning into an absolute loathing be cause the guy is everywhere, and since it came out he's a comic fan, he's been the focus of a few comics. There's the now famous SPIDER-MAN comic. He was put into a SAVAGE DRAGON comic as well. He's been on the cover of WIZARD magazine repeatedly. And the people are lining up for it.

My annoyance aside: here's why it's a bad idea.

The guy is the number one pop star on the planet so it's a good sales boost as long as his approval rating is good. If he does something stupid well that could be a nasty sales hit. It's always a risk including real world people into comic continuity. Historical figures are one thing, but using current political figures is a polarizing thing. People feel strongly enough about movie stars and musicians, but using them is much more forgivable.

Let's say it comes out in an issue that Batman is a huge fan of the Spice Girls, and this comes out as he's trying to save them from the Joker, and in a sub-plot he's secretly hoping that Catwoman is going to tell him what she wants, what she really really wants. You can expect an outcry of Batfans who hate the Spice Girls. Sure, you'll probably also get a few out there who like both Batman and the Spice Girls who thinks it's great and hopes Bats forgets Selina and runs off with Geri. Most readers, I would hope, would just shrug and enjoy Batman saving the day. But still you've ticked off Batman fans who hate the Spice Girls.

OK, now apply the same logic to using a politician. The SPIDER-MAN and SAVAGE DRAGON appearances were pretty much endorsements of Obama. Whether it was done merely to cash in on Obama-mania or if the company/creators really endorse him is irrelavent. So where does this leave a person who really likes Spider-Man, but really does not like Obama? Do they buy the issue anyways? Do they just skip that issue and buy the next one hoping Obama isn't there? Do they go extreme and drop the book? I don't read either books anyways, so it's a non-issue for me as to my course of action.

There's nothing wrong with using the President as a factor a story. Captain America saves the day and the President thanks him. Neat. However, using the president as more than a story prop runs the risk of ticking off people who take their politics more seriously. DC got smart, they have a fictitious President. For a while the President of the United States in the DCU was Lex Luthor. This wasn't a quick little Superman story either, Luthor was elected and that affected the entire DCU. This was a brilliant move. It did not matter what your thoughts and feelings were about politics, what mattered was what you thought about that character.

Comics are an escape for many people. It is true that often the world we live in has an effect on comics, but still it's an escape. I don't want to see the stuff I see on my nightly news in the comics I read so that I have something else to do besides watch the nightly news. Same with the leader on the free world/the number one pop star on the planet Barack Obama. He's made his appearances. He's sold some issues. Now let's move on before it gets sticky.

The Evolved Nozz

I spent the morning working on a page for NIGHT LIFE. The page in question is a five panel piece. As always, being left-handed, I was inking starting with the bottom right corner panel and working my way to the top left. The entire page had been penciled. Panel five had been completed and panel 3 was nearly done. Panel five had 40 people in it. 4 in the foreground and 36 in the background. I know this because I counted.

A phone conversation with my father went longer than it probably should have and I rushed out the door to Karate class failing to put the piece and my art supplies back in the study where they usually reside.

I have twin two-year-olds. The Missus can not be everywhere at once.

I want everyone reading this to take a moment and truly appreciate what a marvelous human being I truly am for not yelling at or otherwise doing anything horrible to my daughter upon arriving home to see that she had utterly ruined the piece.

Thank goodness I was ahead a week. I miss my buffer already.

Free stuff!

Ah, my good ol battle cry at conventions. It's lured many a sucke-*AHEM* customer over to my table at conventions and trade shows. The comic industry knows well the power of my battle cry, hence we get Free Comic Book Day. This event has been going on for years now. Companies issue books that are be given away free in an attempt to get new readers. I did not venture out last Saturday when the annual event went down, but I did ask Joey at Comic Kings how it went.

He didn't do it. Sure there were a few copies of DC's "Blackest Night" thingie on the table, but the only reason Joey got any of those was because he was told it had something to do with the next big DC event. (Note: it does, but if you didn't get a copy you're not missing anything important.) Joey had a Yu-Gi-Oh event going on the same day and that actually made money.

You might be saying, "well if he had done the Free Comic Book Day he could have gotten some new regular customers" and you'd be wrong. Joey has done this event before. He did it for three years combining it with sales and free pizza and stuff. The people who showed up for the event did not return until the next year for more free stuff. This event has yet to get Joey a single new customer. His Obama stunt did better, even though it cost him more money. He actually got a couple of new customers out of that.

Here's the dirty little secret, the comics are free to the customers, but not free to the stores. So, for all of you who got free stuff on Free Comic Book Day, I really hoped you thanked the guys who actually paid for the books and gave them to you.

Yesterday at work.

This happened before I became temporarily blond and the boss misplaced his pants.

Jason: "At least today is better than yesterday."

Me: "What happened yesterday?"

Jason: "Guy next door was out on his deck in his bathrobe with one leg up on the railing, scratching himself."

Me: "Glad I wasn't here yesterday."

Jason: "Doesn't he realize dudes are working over here?"

Me: "Maybe that was why he was out on his deck in his bathrobe, scratching himself."

That may make the guys reconsider working with their shirts off.

Remember when editors edited?

I've griped quite a bit about the editor-in-chiefs at the big companies leading from the bench. Mark Waid said over at Kung-Fu Monkey, and firmly agree, that an editor is there to help the writers and artists tell their story, not to have them tell the editor's story. Now the problem has reached racial lines. RUN AND HIDE KIDS!

It's nothing horrible really, but it is sloppy work. The first incident that jumped out at me was in FINAL CRISIS in which Mister Miracle all of a sudden went from being a black guy to a white guy. This definitely made me arch an eyebrow. This was the major event book. How did that slip by? Did they figure the character was really scared, or possibly suddenly anemic? I can understand the confusion on the colorist's part. The original Mister Miracle was Scott Free, who was in fact a white guy. However, the new Mister Miracle (and I'm only saying you relative to Free, the character has been around for a few years now) is Shilo Norman and is black. There's no confusion in reading the book, it's obviously Shilo. But mistakes happen, and the colorist made him the wrong skin color. The editor is supposed to catch mistakes like this.

More recent is this week's FINAL CRISIS AFTERMATH: RUN which is an even more glaring error. It involves Firestorm. Firestorm is another legacy character, meaning more than one person has had the name. The first one was Ronnie Raymond who combined with Professor Martin Stein to become the hero. Both of them were white guys. After Ronnie's death there was a new Firestorm, Jason Rusch, a young black guy. 'New' again being relative since Jason has been Firestorm for a few years now as well. Yet again, there was a coloring error in which suddenly Firestorm was a white guy again. More glaring was that the writing made it seem like it was Ronnie Raymond again. The character showed a connection to the now deceased Martian Manhunter whom Ronnie was friends with and worked with for a long time. Jason did not know the Manhunter. The editor dropped the ball big time on this one.

The DCU has done interesting things of late with it's legacy heroes in representing minorities who are under-represented in comics. I'm not saying that these slips are anything more than they are, they're mistakes. Still, it's an insanely obvious mistake to anyone who's been following these characters and we expect better from the "big" companies.

Stupid bit of the week

My sister-in-law is a teacher. She puts up with a lot, especially since she deals with troubled kids. She's also had a very, very rough and tragic few years. Here's the latest in the river of crap.

Her school had a drill for what to do in case there is a person with a gun in the school. They said lock the door, barricade it, and have the students get up against the wall. She does so. Then she hears a girl screaming in the hallways. My sister knows it's a drill, but there could have been a student out there who didn't and was freaking out. And what if it wasn't a drill? Was she to leave the girl out there in harm's way? She opens her door briefly to check and there's a female police officer who spots her, points at her and says, "You're dead." She then comes into the room and precedes to tell my sister in front of her class that her whole class is now dead because of her. This is a cue for one of the students to start screaming at my sister.

Here's why this whole situation is really stupid and people should lose their jobs.

This is a school drill, not a military war game. Telling people they're "dead" in that situation is just tacky.

The school provided no protocol for what to do in that situation. If you are going to present a problem of this nature, you better also have a solution as well. None of the teachers were prepared for that situation, and I'd have opened the door too if I thought it was safe.

The officer absolutely should not have told my sister in front of her class that she got them all killed. That completely undermines any authority my sister had over those kids. The officer should have taken my sister aside and told her what the mistake was out of earshot of those kids.

I don't think that officer should be working in the schools anymore. I'm not saying she's a bad cop or that their shouldn't be an officer present at the school, but some people just aren't right for certain envirornments. Frankly, she should be reprimanded for the treatment of my sister.

Lastly, the school needs to get it's act together. If they want to run drills like this because they think it's necessary for the protection of the students and faculty then they need to get the proper protocols figured out and make sure they are available to all the teachers.

In short: they all suck. End rant.


Got another new student with a 'can't' problem. She's new so she doesn't realize that I've barred the word from the dojo. Can't is the favorite little excuse of those who don't want to apply themselves. They have their reasons for throwing it out there. Usually because they're not too sure on what I've asked them to do. This wasn't the case here. She knew what to do, she just didn't want to do it in front of the rest of the class. This is the point that some people would say, "well she's just a little girl and she'll perform that kata in front of the glass when she's ready" and that's when I say "she's ready when I say she's ready" tell the girl to "suck it up" and she does what I tell her.

I'd say I used to be such a nice person, but no one would believe it.

If you say "you can't" then I can guarantee that you won't. Life's tough enough without you defeating yourself. So a 5 year old girl was made to do something she said she can't do. Guess what. She did it.

"I can't" doesn't get results. "I can't" doesn't pass the test. "I can't" doesn't win trophies. "I can't" doesn't stop that guy from mugging you.

So what would happen if she ended up unable to perform that kata I told her to? Nothing. She would have tried, and the next time she would have tried harder. It reminds of of a guy i know would was learning martial arts and did not want to test because he saw no point in the test. It was a principle thing with him. "I don't see why I should have to test." And then he made the mistake of asking for input on the matter.

"You test because your instructor said so."

"I don't see why I should have to."

"Because otherwise you're wasting that instructor's time. Testing is part of the training."

"I don't want to go up in rank."

"Then you are wasting your time because you are not going to learn anything new. Quit."

I don't know if he did or not. He certainly hasn't mentioned anything about training in my presence ever again. Sure, I was kinda mean to him, but coddling was what created that mindset to begin with.

You don't get anywhere by hiding behind excuses.

Go out and play

Rock Band 2 has invaded the Nozz compound. It's a birthday gift for the missus. I catch her playing Guitar Hero on her phone more than using it as an actual phone it seems. I got it. gave it to her. She seems happy. She's gone to work and I assembled it. I tried it to make sure it works, and it does.

I'll probably never touch it again aside from moving it around to keep it out of the way.

Chris and my brother both have the same opinion on this thing: if you're going to go through all the effort of mastering the game to the point of demolishing the expert setting then you need to just learn how to play an actual instrument. I took drum lessons in high school. I tried the drum kit on the Rock Band thingie. It reminded me of how much I suck at drumming. I'm not even going near the guitar thingie. I sure as hell am staying away from the microphone.

I know there's competitions and tournaments for things like this. I know there's prizes and stuff for competing in them. I see the video game channels on the flat screens at the Game Stop featuring interviews with "professional gamers" and "gaming athletes".

If anyone reading this classifies themselves as either of the above you should stop reading now because I'm about to tell you that you completely suck.

Video games are what we played when we were bored or it was raining out. Sure they're fun. In fact a video game system is now considered a standard element of anyone's home entertainment center. But if you're trying to make a living playing video games, and you don't work for a video game making company then you might as well just tell the world that you have no desire to contribute anything to the world around you.

Whoever coined the term "gaming athlete" should get their ass kicked for general principle.

They're not athletes. In fact I'm sure every member of every chess club in history that caught shit from some meathead jock in high school twitches whenever some dolt utters that tripe with a straight face. And don't hand me some line about the focus and endurance they must have to compete. If you want to see focus and endurance, watch NASCAR.

It's a complete sham. It's people taking something that there for entertainment and turning it into a lifestyle choice, and that never goes well. And no throwing stones about me writing and drawing comics. Like the people who actually make the games, I'm contributing something. The comic equivalent to a "gaming athlete" would be professional comic readers. I'd love to see that competition. First one to get through the entire works of Alan Moore wins. No skimming and if you have to take a break to pee be prepared to feel the mockery of those with superior bladder control.

So, for all of those reading this that I have just insulted: bite me.

Put your controller down and do something.

Freakin' Star Trek

In high school it was assumed that I was a STAR TREK fan. I guess my classmates figured that since I liked reading comic books then the extent of my geekdom must know no bounds and therefore I MUST be a fan of STAR TREK. Remember some guys in one of my classes asking me if i was going to a Star Trek convention the following weekend, and when I said I wasn't, they thought I was lying.

First off, I'm a guy who who read comics during my down time in class, and if I went to a comic book convention I had no problem telling folks about it. Second, I never really got into STAR TREK. I made an effort to get into "The Next Generation" when I was in college, but that was mostly because everyone else I knew was watching it. Frankly, I want my sci-fi to be a bit more explodey. They got those stupid phasers, yet we rarely get to see them zap somebody.

It's weird to me that people would think that I'm a closet STAR TREK fan when I'm very open about my fandom of other things. It's like there's a stigma on it. Reading comics? That's not so bad. You can still carry on a relatively normal life and still read comics. I do know some casual readers whose friends and family don't even know they read.

Then you have your STAR WARS fans. And really, who hasn't tried it at some point in their lives. You know how it is. You're at a party. Someone shows up with Empire on DVD and what the hell. Fire it up, it is a party. Now, I know what some of you are thinking: I don't know man, that stuff makes me paranoid. But really, we as a society need to get past the stigma on STAR WARS. It's not harmful. In fact some people even use it medicinally. Sure you might get a serious case of the munchies while watching it, but hey, what's the harm?

And I've heard the comments about STAR WARS being a gateway to STAR TREK, and I want to say right now that I've known people who have watched STAR WARS for years and never tried STAR TREK.

STAR TREK is pretty hardcore. I've seen it destroy people's lives. It's rough stuff. No parent wants to be going through their kid's things and find the stuff hidden in there. They then know that that kid is in serious danger of throwing away their future of possibly playing sports of getting laid. Even more dreadful is the thought of confronting the kid and asking him wear he got DVDs and Klingon/English dictionary and have him shouting at them, "YOU ALL RIGHT! I LEARNED IT BY WATCHING YOU!"

It's a damn scary thing.

Still, the new movie coming out does look really freakin' cool.

Stupid karma.

One of the kidlets is sick, so last night I hit the Wal-green's around the corner for cough medicine. I sneeze hard as I'm paying for it, of course being polite enough to cover my mouth.

Cashier: "Bless you."

Me: "Thanks. Stupid Swine Flu."

Cashier: "WHAT?!"

Me: "I find whoever licked that pig, I'm going to kill the little bastard."

She then realized I was joking and got a good laugh. Had I known that I would be spending half the night on the couch due to my bed getting co-opted by a coughing youngster I'd have kept my trap shut.