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.