You're not getting Jack!

All right, True Believers, its Sunday, July 31, 2011, I have to tell you that under a court order, and this is the Side. I've told a lot of kids that if you want to make comics you need to do it because of your love of the medium and not because you want to make big money. It seems that somebody hadn't gotten the message that being involved in comics isn't one big check looking for someone to cash it.


In a recent court ruling a Judge ruled that Jack Kirby's heirs can't have the copyrights to the characters he created for Marvel. On the surface it looks like a big old greedy corporation squashing a family and being big and greedy. This brings us to the sticky subject of Funnybook Reparations. Basically, its the heirs of writers and artists who want the copyrights of what their family member created. The last big example of this was Jerry Seigel's family trying to get the rights back for Superman.

This is where some of you are going to get ticked at me.

That judge as absolutely correct to tell Jack Kirby's heirs that they couldn't have the copyrights. Jack Kirby had a major role in creating many of the Marvel characters we know today. All those big movies Marvel is rolling out feature characters that Kirby co-created. The thing is that they were all created under a "work-for-hire" contract. This means Kirby was paid to do a job and that job was to create and make comics. He didn't own any of the stuff he created for Marvel. Last I checked, no one held a gun to his head and made him sign that deal either.

That was a different time. Now there's a lot more cases of creator owned comics, which is a good thing. However, you can't make the creator owned movement retroactive. Consider this as well, Kirby didn't have nearly as much to risk when those books came out. He didn't pay to have them published, advertised, or distributed. Marvel did all that. Marvel paid for all that.

It might be a different story if Kirby were alive today and making the request. There was an incident back when SPIDER-MAN hit the theaters and made buckets of cash. Stan Lee was asked how much he got of all that money considering he was one of the creators of the character. He got nothing of the movie money. Marvel pays Lee a generous sum just to use his name. Stan did indeed ask about getting some of the movie money, and Marvel said "no". Lee doing a high profile project for DC soon after is purely a coincidence, I'm sure. But maybe if Kirby were still around we'd be seeing him and Lee in those awesome little cameo appearances in all the Marvel movies.

But its not Kirby making this claim. Its his heirs. I guess they figure because somebody in their family did something awesome then they're entitled to check. No way. They didn't do the work. They weren't involved in the deal with Marvel. So, they absolutely shouldn't have any say over the copyrights.

Let's say hypothetically that they did get the copyrights, what would they do with them? They doubt they'd go into the comic business themselves. Most likely they'd try to get a regular check out of Marvel and parent company Disney for use of the characters. This leaves marvel with three choices. First is to purchase the rights back, which they certainly wouldn't be cheap. Second is to offer a regular payment to the heirs to use the characters, which would have to included in the cost of making the comics so the price would go up. Last is to just stop using the characters.

If the Kirby heirs really wanted to have something of Jack Kirby's legacy they need to stop and realize that they already have it. He was part of their family. If they were smart they'd have opened up a Jack Kirby museum with a bunch of memorabilia. Marvel and DC would have likely donated some things to it. I'd certainly go to visit it if I had the chance.

So no big payday for the Kirby heirs and rightfully so. If they want to get a check from a comic book company, then they better start doing work of their own and hope it sells.


If I actually did this, would I actually be financed by Brazil?

That's all for today. I'll see y'all Wednesday, unless you've tarred and feathered me by then. Its hard to type when you're tarred and feathered.

Evidence of Nerd-dom

Its elementary. Its Friday, July 29, 2011, the game is afoot, and this is The Side. This was one of those days in which it all sort of came together. I didn't really have a theme for today, but when a particular movie trailer popped up and the comics I got this week contained a particular issue. Sometimes, these things just happen.


Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law return this December as Holmes and Watson.

The trailer does look exciting, but I'm not completely sold. I love Sherlock Holmes. I absolutely adore the SHERLOCK series from the BBC. I'm just not a huge fan of Downey's take on the character. I spent too much time in the first movie trying to figure out what on earth he was saying. Still, I'll likely check it out. I'll need something to hold me over until THE AVENGERS next May.


Scott Snyder and Jock are bringing things to a boil in DETECTIVE COMICS #880 James Gordon is on the prowl and it seems no one is safe. To make matters worse, the Joker is on the loose. Jim Gordon races to save his ex-wife, and she's not the only one in peril. This book has struck a perfect balance with Jim Gordon and Dick Grayson as the leads. There's so much going on here that I don't want give too much away. The twist here was pretty easy to spot coming for those of us who have following the Snyder run on the book. Regardless of that, Dick's confrontation with the Joker alone is worth the price of admission. Combine that with an ending that twists the knife and makes having to wait a month nearly painful and you've got a real winner of an issue.

There's so much going on in KIRBY GENESIS #2 that its really hard to keep up. Its totally Jack Kirby Bombardment. There's at least twenty characters running around this thing. Yes, its an unwieldy bitch, but somehow Kurt Busiek holds this bad boy together. I'd have something snap loose in my brain if I tried to do this. With all this craziness going on Busiek inserts these brilliant forth wall breaks that really give us an insight into our main characters. It caught me off-guard in a really great way in issue #1, and I was glad to see it back in this issue. Right now, there looks like a ton of chaos going on. I wish Dynamite would release a collection of some of the comics this books borrows from. For now, I'm along for the mad ride. There's big bad stuffs going, and I'm hooked to see this come together.

ACTIONS COMICS #903 continues the battle with a group of Doomsday clones. The Superman family takes point, leading other heroes to battle clones as Superman goes after the Doomslayer. Its not a bad issue, but I'm having a really hard time getting excited about anything DC is doing, since with the impending reboot its all getting flushed away. This storyline is a swansong of ACTION COMICS. There's a lot going on with Superman and his allies which all made their debut in this current continuity. Doomsday is the most well-known baddie to come along since CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS so its fitting that he's the baddie here. The whole thing feels like a send off that shouldn't be happening.


Because somebody needs to keep an eye on them.

That's all for me today. I'm going to be doing my bast to stay cool and yet still get stuff done. Weatherman says its supposed to be cooler next week, but that's what they said about this week. Insert eyeroll here. See y'all Sunday.

What's in a Name?

For Nozzgard!! Its Wednesday, July 27, 2011, the Nozzsleep is upon me, and this is The Side! I'm jealous of Odin. Not because he's powerful, got a six-legged horse, or was played by Anthony Hopkins in a movie. The guy sleeps for a week. Gives the old "I must replenish my power or the realm will fall" bit and its off to dream land. I wish I could sleep for a week and replenish my power.

Actually, a day would be probably do it.

I'd probably settle for just sleeping in one of these days.


Google+ is stirring up a bit on controversy among its users with its policy of having to use your real name on your account. This isn't sitting well with a lot of people. This policy wasn't around on Google Buzz and people got known on there by their internet handles. Some people have had these nicknames for a long time. This is causing quite a stir.

By insisting on users using their real names Google has a better control over things. I can't create a "Justin Bieber" account and troll the blazes out of people. There have been cyber-bullying cases in which people have created false accounts for people in order to humiliate them. So, in this case, its a good thing. Also it cuts off those goof that'll create a blatantly offensive screen name just to be an e-troll.

On the other hand many people come online to get away from being ourselves a little bit. We have an online identity. How our family sees us is different than how our co-workers see us. We act differently around different groups. Similarly, how we act online is different than in real life. Often our screen names reflect this. Some people roleplay characters. Some just don't want their real name out there, and wish for interact with a bit of anonymity. There's nothing wrong with any of this.

Yes, there is a case for making people use their real names, but that's out weighted a bit by the case for allowing screen names. To make it even stickier, the folks that work on Google+ often have use screen names, so its a bit embarrassing for someone who is working hard on an application to get bumped from the service.

Google has a great product and its one I really like using. Ultimately, its their product and they make the rules. If we want to play in their sandbox, we have to abide by their rules. But, they want and need people to play in their sandbox, so while there should be rules, they need to be agreeable to the users. There are plenty of other social media sites out there.

Personally, I do hope Google changes this policy. Google+ is a top notch social media tool and those of us on there have no trouble policing the joint a bit to keep it nice. We just want our cool names is all.


I don't think "Rob" is his real name.

That's it for me today. I'm going to go over to G+ now and how no one's outed me for using my pen name yet. See y'all Friday.

All Who Chose to Oppose His Mighty Shield Must Yield!

If you didn't know, the title today comes from the old Captain America cartoon theme song. You doubt me?

Its Sunday, July 24, 2011, this post is brought to you by powder milk biscuits, not really, but this is The Side. We're on the tail end of the heat wave here. Yes I did go out and work in it. There's one big problem with being online in that saying stuff can net a response from unexpected places. I posted that I might have sweated something important off and the first response I get is from an Australian firefighter telling me "toughen up, sunshine".

You can't come back from that! This guy goes out and fights a brush fire and the heat and when he starts getting dehydrated goes "Oy! Gimme a beer."

Pesky internet.


When I think of Captain America I think of three main points: he's the best pound-for-pound fighter in Marvel, he's a hero's hero, and he's a stand up guy. The last point was the one that Chris Evans really brought home when he played Steve Rogers in this movie. Yes, he completely looked the part. The special effects that were used to make him look skinny were remarkably well done. He also did a great job with the action scenes required. Most importantly, I completely bought into him as Captain America. He really brought his "A" game as an actor.

This was just one great performance among many. Hugo Weaving as the Red Skull was menacing and eeeeeeevil. Hayley Atwell was phenomenal as Peggy Carter bringing a classic beauty and real strength to the character. Tommy Lee Jones played to his strengths which I love it so when he does it. He was responsible for most of more humorous lines in the film. Sebastian Stan as Bucky did great and really showed the friendship between Steve and Bucky. I loved Stanley Tucci in this. He plays the scientist behind the super soldier process and brings such warmth and charm to the role.

Let's get down to it. For those who don't know the story, in World War II America was going to create an army of "super soldiers" to take on Hitler. A spy kills the scientist responsible after the process produces only one test subject. From there, Cap goes to war. Director Joe Johnson sticks to these key points, and the key points of the character. It works. The best way to describe this film is "simple", and I mean that in the best way possible. I love Johnson's other period superhero film THE ROCKETEER for the same reason. The good guys are good through-and-through. The Nazi bad guys and just dripping evil. You want to cheer for Steve the whole time. He's got an amazing "can do" grit in everything except how to talk to women. There's a lot of charm here making this movie a lot of fun. At the same time we see the stark comparison with Hydra and villains. They aren't likable at all, and you want to see Cap and the Howling Commandos take them down.

One little bit I completely nerded out on. Early in the film, Steve and Bucky go on a double date to the World's Fair. Keep your eyes open to catch a look at The Human Torch! Its the original Human Torch, which was an android superhero the Marvel (then Timely comics) had going back when Cap first came on the scene. Cap, the Torch and Sub-Mariner were their big three back in the day. That Human Torch was the inspiration for the modern Human Torch that Chris Evans played in THE FANTASTIC FOUR. That was such a neat little circle for a movie Easter Egg.

Bottom line: this was a really really good movie. Great performances by all the actors. It looks great. Its a lot of fun. The ending is a gut wrencher that really makes you feel for the characters. They really did an amazing job in this all the way around. This is the classic Captain America I grew reading and not the Mark Millar HaRdCoRe douchebag. Thank goodness for that.

And finally, make sure you stay through the credits for a sneak peak of next years THE AVENGERS. Its the same one that got leaked to YouTube this week, but its really awesome to see on the big screen.


When I kick it old school, I mean reeeeeeeal old school.

That's it for today. If the heat is still on you, go catch a movie and enjoy some air conditioning. We'll see y'all Wednesday.

She's not there, Zombies got her

ROAMERS! Its Friday, July 22, 2011, I had me some comics this week, and this is The Side. let's jump right to it.


THE WALKING DEAD #87 continues to deal with the fallout from the "No Way Out" arc. This book is like a giant soap opera with people occasionally dying horribly. There's the whole deal with Abraham and Rosita. He left her for Holly. Now Rosita is staying with Eugene. Eugene doesn't know what the hell to make of it. Andrea and Rick are getting closer, but I don't know if this is just two people who have been through a lot together, or if there's something romantic there. At the same time there's some unrest in the residents of the community who aren't happy with Rick and company being in charge. Rick's somewhat off his nut and obviously is feeling very guilty over what happened to Carl. There's also the gut twisting end of this issue. This book is so addicting. Its a big cast with all these very well-rounded characters, and just a ton of stuff going on. And sure there's a bit of zombie killing, but that's what gets you in the door. You show up because zombies and fun, you stay because Robert Kirkman is writing the hell out of this book.

ZATANNA #15 left me wondering what the heck I has just read. Not that the issue itself was confusing in any way, but its was obvious that it was a filler issue. The only thing really saving it was Jamal Igle's fabulous artwork. I usually try not to drop too many spoilers in my reviews, but I'm making an exception due to extreme WTFery. Zee's relaxing after a show and a big arrow crashes through the window and hits her vocal chord. The arrow was shot by one of a group of witch hunters who wasn't trying to hit her vocal chord. That's a weirdest lucky miss I've ever heard off. Zee tries to escape through a hidden passage under the floor of the room, which was pretty convenient. After some pursuit, Zee buys enough time for a magic salve to heal her arrow damaged vocal chords, at which point she sends the witch hunters back in time to the Salem Witch Trials where they are killed horribly as she watches. No wonder she's going to be in the JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK series after the reboot. Perhaps word of this will get around like the mind-wiping thing. Those people were stoned and burned at the stake and she does nothing about it? I think that's about enough to get your hero card pulled. I'm still waiting for the final showdown with Brother Night that now I get the feeling we'll never see. This is just a shame. Paul Dini had a pretty cool thing going, but there's been so many guest writers that it never really hit a solid direction. Still, its always been an entertaining series, at least until this issue. I think they're just going to let it sputter until the impending cancellation. Its a shame.

RED KNIGHT #1 is a decent first outing. Premise is a kid wants to be a superhero when he grows up. We see that he is a superhoer when he grows up. He has a couple of superhero buddies that he does the crime fighting thing with. There's some crooks that are selling a black market compound that gives people superpowers. The heroes interrupt a police sting operation, and chaos ensues. The writer, Justin Cristelli, tries not to beat us over the head with exposition, which its hard to do with a new book and a new character. Unfortunately it leaves things a little to up in the air so I was at the end of the issue with a ton of questions about our main character. Having a few questions about a main character is fine, but I have no clue how he got his powers, the extent of his powers, or what this guy does when he's not fighting crime.The artwork needs a bit more rendering to it to really solidify what's going on. Its a very "liney" style, which is fine if your comic is going to be in color. However in a black and white book we need a bit more grey to make things look solid. This isn't a bad book for a first effort. There's room for improvement and I'm sure one they get a few issues under their belt they'll have something really good going.


Heard they used this tune on that TRUE BLOOD show. Never seen it myself, but this is a great take on a classic tune.

That's all for me. Be back here Sunday, for my thoughts on CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER.

My Brain is Out to Get Me!

Its Wednesday, July 20, 2011, I'm excited about movies this week, and this is The Side. Unfortunately, while I am excited about movies, there's not much to actually write about. CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER hit the screen Friday, and I'm working on getting a sitter to go check it out. Very excited about that. Also, the first teaser for THE AVENGERS got leaked, but that's getting pulled down by YouTube almost as fast as people are uploading it, hence no video on here. If you get a chance to see it, its pretty cool. They don't show much, but definitely has me stoked.

And then there the DARK KNIGHT RISES teaser that ran with the HARRY POTTER movie. Heard about that through my usual news sources due to lack of caring about Harry Potter. Saw the teaser. I had wondered that with my huge disappointment with THE DARK KNIGHT if my nerd instincts would kick in and I'd get excited to see the movie in spite of myself. Nope. I just don't care about Christopher Nolan's work anymore.


My kid came up to me in the wee hours of the morning as I was checking the news online.

"Daddy, a big, colorful bug bit my elbow and Mommy squished that bug!"

"Let me see your elbow, sweetie." I checked over her elbow to see this bug bite. I had barely had a chance to see her the day before with work and karate.

"No. There's no ouchie." She laughed and pulled her arm away. It took me a moment to catch on.

"Did you have a dream about a bug biting you?"

"Yes! And Mommy squished that bug!" That should have been my first clue that it was a dream. The Missus isn't much for bug squishing, typically leaving that chore to me. Still, it was possible that her powerful maternal instincts would overcome her bug-squishing squeamishness. I took her back to bed because it was still too early for her to be up and I put her little plush alligator in the bed with her for which to eat any dream bugs that might prey upon her elbow.

My subconscious sucks. I never have any good dreams. I see these TV shows in which some guy is dreaming about hot girls, having lots of money, or being famous. Not me. Its always an apocalypse, or a serial killer after me, or one of those dreams in which you're supposed to be doing something and the moment I figure out what the hell I'm supposed to be doing I've shifted to some different scene and am back to square one.

And its never simple. About a week ago I dreamed at was at my Grandparents old place down at Lake Gaston. Was I eating bar-be-que on the pontoon boat and drinking an ice cold soda like I used to do on my trips there? Of course not! I had to figure out the code. I don't even know what the code was for! But is was a book code, so I had to figure out which book I needed to decipher the message. You know those. There's a series of numbers corresponding to pages and certain words. But I spent that REM cycle trying to figure out which book I needed. Finally I did, and then the alarm went off. Cool. Dream closure is always good right?

NO! Because sure enough a week later, I was having the same dream, complete with lack of bar-be-que and soda, and I forgot which book cracked the code!! Thus leading to another frustrating REM cycle of me searching everywhere I could, and examining every book I came across. On top of which I was totally pissed at my subconscious self for forgetting which book it was. That's right, I knew I was stuck on a GROUNDHOG'S DAY dream rerun but had no clue how to get out of it.

I'm actually kind of pissed at myself now for not knowing which book it is.

There's lots of theories about dreaming. Some people say that there's meaning to them and seek to divine understanding from them. Others think it's your brain shifting and sorting the day's sensory input. Some just think its the old grey matter cooling off after a hard day of thinking. I have to lean towards that last one because what the hell do those first two imply about me? I don't even want to think of going there.

But now I've gone and thought about it. Probably meaning tonight's REM cycle is going to be one huge laugh riot.

I should just slug down a double dose of NyQuil but after a while that stuff makes you stupid, and frankly I'd be just heartbroken with that happened you people couldn't tell the difference.


I get really sick of those wannabe country pop stars singing songs about being "more country" than each other. You ain't country just because you have a steel guitar in your band, you cowboy hat wearing pansies. Grow some talent, and get some soul. Time for a bit of Old Crow Medicine Show.

I was going to type "That's my two cents" but that may be an overestimation of my blog's worth. That and I'm against pennies. So with that, I'll see y'all Friday.

Do the Donkey Kong!

Save me, Mario! Its Sunday, July 17, 2011, that title sounds naughty, and this is The Side! Talking video games because it seems like whatever horrible funk I had last week is sticking around by way of infecting everyone else in the Nozz Compound. I suspect this is a result of a bio-weapon meant to kill me sent from Lady Gaga. To retaliate I sent my agents to Australia to chuck eggs at her. My agents need to aim better.


The other day I was painting a stained ceiling at a beach house. It was the first time I had been in that particular one. The ceiling was small, but I had to bleach the mildew stain and prime the ceiling. This meant I had time to wait before I could paint. There were no renters so I figured I'd spend a little time reading some Sherlock Holmes in the house's rec room. Well, that didn't happen because upon entering the rec room I found stand up video game which had DONKEY KONG, DONKEY KONG JR, and MARIO BROS. as well as a MS PAC MAN table top. All of which in tip top condition. That was a complete blast.

I love video games. I'm not a hardcore gamer by any means, but my brother and I have spent plenty of time with various console controllers in our hands. He recently got a PS3 and one of the things that excited him was that he could download old Playstation games. He had also downloaded old Nintendo games onto his Wii, which is something I'm going to end up doing very soon. Playing some old school CASTLEVANIA would be awesome.

This love of older games certainly has to do with nostalgia, but there's a bit more to it. These were actual games, and not so much interactive movies. My cousin, Chris, knows a lot more about video games than I do and he made a very good statement "Back then, you couldn't hide lousy gameplay with pretty graphics." There was only so much you could do with 8 bits, so if the game handled like a truck with no power steering and flat tire, you figured it out pretty quickly. There was a recent list by Yahoo about horrible video game adaptions from movies and the complaint that just kept repeating was horrible controls.

Its been said that the music that comes out when you're 23 years old is the music that you're going to identify with. I thought about applying this to video games and it holds up about as well for me. Meaning, not really. At the time Playstation was making their big push. This is about the time FINAL FANTASY VII was hitting. I was getting my FINAL FANTASY TACTICS and CASTLEVANIA: SYMPHONY OF THE NIGHT groove on. Some of my favorite games came out around this time, but I love a lot of games that came before and many that came after.

I do think that for a lot of people there's a certain tipping point with gaming technology. Somewhere down the line for many of use the tech hits a point where it just doesn't appeal to us anymore. That's not saying that these newer games are bad, but its a matter of appeal. I'm not interested in HALO but I do love playing CONTRA. Up up down down left right left right B A B A Select Start, bitches. I'm not trying to sound like some retro hipster ranting on about how things were better back in day. I've just hit a certain point in my gaming in which when I hear about some of these new hot games I just say "No thanks, I'm alright. I've got Mario Bros."


Party like its 1982!

That's it for me because I have to go get tissues for a bunch of snotty people. See y'all Wednesday.

Dreaming of Batgirl

It's Friday, July 15, 2011, there's actual comic reviews this week, and this is The Side. We had the service for my uncle yesterday. There was probably about 400 people there. I know a lot of people couldn't make it. If everyone who wanted to be there to pay their respects to him were able to make it, we would have needed a bigger church. It was a lovely service and a great celebrate of his life. My cousins said a few words about him and Scott shared some wisdom that his father gave him.

"You're where you are in your life because of the series of decisions you've made up until now. If you don't like where you are, then you need to make some better decisions."

Words to live by.


BATGIRL #23 starts us off with a bang. The Grey Ghost, who has been annoying Steph with his creepy efforts to help her, is dead. The Reapers go all out as their plans get under way with Steph up again five power suit wearing baddies. Great issue. Really great reveal on the last page. Bryan Q Miller continues to knock it out of the park every month. Its really frustrating knowing that after Miller has done so much with the character of Stephanie Brown and made this comic one of the best books being published by the big two that is all getting wiped away in the DCU Reboot. I kept reading through this issue thinking how much I'm going to miss getting this book every month. In a really dumb move, Miller isn't on the creative teams of any of the 52 comics DC will be releasing. That's a damn shame.

DETECTIVE COMICS #897 has the focus squarely on Jim Gordon and his son James. Snyder keeps readers on the edge of their seats as last months big reveal that James is still a killer permeates and we see exactly how far gone this guy is. There's also an incredibly creepy scene with the Joker which serves as a hell of a reminder of just how scary this character can be. This is pot boiling story telling at its finest with amazing artwork by Francesco Francavilla. If you haven't been following this story, its definitely one to have when its collected. Its really amazing stuff.

HELLBOY: THE FURY #2 is like the end of the world. Everything seems to be coming to a head. The apocalypse is on the move. Mystical armies have risen up. In the middle of it all Hellboy is duking it out with a freaking dragon. Mignola really has gone epic here. There's been so much building up to this story and it not disappointing. We only get snapshots of all the insane over the top action but we get great feel for everything that's going on. There's a time to show readers things, and there's a time to let them fill in the blanks. Mignola absolutely nails it here in a masterful display of storytelling.

THE RED WING #1 from Image is a sci-fi tale of time-traveling combat fighters. There's a lot of conceptual stuff going on here, so Hickman is having to juggle between character introduction, world-building, and explaining how the concept and mechanics of time-travel are working in this story. We see the enemy they are facing but learn very little about them. We don't get much of a feel for the characters either. I came out of this with an idea of what this comic was a bout, but still had a bunch of questions as to what was going on. Still, its an interesting story conceptually, so I'm going to sticking around most likely for all four issues of the series.

OK, I got 50 GIRLS 50 #2 because I was curious if the characters were going to end up on another planet that made all their clothes fall off again. That doesn't happen, but we have women in skin tight space suits, women tied up, and Bakula just out of the shower reporting to the bridge of the ship wearing only a towel for whatever reason. While RED WING was sci-fi heavy on cencept, this is sci-fi low on concept with a lot more exploitation. There's things going on with the characters that are curious. A lot seems focused on Bakula, who's got something weird going on but we're not sure exactly what. There's a fair amount of butt-kicking. This is a fluff comic and its seems comfortable with that.


Alright kids, your homework assignment is have naked fun time with this song playing. Bonus points if there's more than just you involved. You've got until Monday.

That's all for me today. Have a good weekend, and I'll see y'all Sunday!

In Loving Memory

Its Wednesday, July 13, 2011 and this is The Side. The world has suffered a loss this week. I'm sorry if this post isn't as fun as I usually try to make these, and I am going to probably be a little incoherent here. So again, sorry.


My Uncle Buddy passed away this week. He was 73. He was truly one of the best men I've ever had a privilege of knowing. Everyone who knew him loved him. When he used to sell real estate he was known as "The Happy Man", and that's what he was. No matter what he would always be there with a smile. He was always doing something. Even when he was diagnosed with Parkinson's and it took a heavy toll on him, he never let that cast a shadow over him.

He saw the best in everyone, even when they weren't their best. I remember we were having a banquet for his youngest son who was going into the ministry, and Buddy was saying a few words, and he said, "Dusty was always a good boy..." and before he could keep going Dusty's wife went "PFFFT!" trying with all her might to stifle laughing herself silly. It was at this point that one of Buddy's other sons chimed in, "Wait. Who are we talking about?" Dusty had been a bit of a hellion in his teenage years, but after a serious car accident turned himself around. But that was Buddy. Of course he knew about about his son's past, but what he saw in his son was what he saw in us all: a good person.

Buddy was always busy too. Not too busy for friends and family, but when you came across Buddy he was doing something. Always fixing something, or doing something for the church. He really was a jack-of-all-trades it seemed. Time that wasn't spent working was spent being active with those he cared about.

He always enjoyed a good laugh, even if people were laughing at him. I have to say I've seen my uncle in probably one dress too many. That may be balanced out by the time in the leopard print loin cloth. And of course when we had a Hawaiian themed birthday party for my mother-in-law, he was the one that somehow ended up in the coconut bra.

There's countless stories about him and they all lead us to one statement about my uncle: he loved life and knew how to live it well. He really was one of the good ones and the world would be a better place if everyone was a bit more like him. I love my uncle. He always believed in me and seemed to always be waiting patiently for me to do something great that would make my mark on this world. I dearly wish I had done something to fulfill the promise he always saw in me.


My uncle was a good old boy, so its time for some good old boy music. Here comes The Possum!

I'll be back here Friday. Hopefully there's some comics waiting for me this week. See y'all then.

They all had it comin'

Gadzooks! Its Sunday, July 10, 2011, I'm being plotted upon by small, fluffy animals, and this is The Side. Sure enough I was walking to the garage to get something and a partially eaten pear was dropped right in front of me. I heard the little bastards making their squirrelly type noises in the tree. If that's how its going to be, I'll have their fluffy asses.

On business that doesn't involve a varmint vendetta. As many of you know, I'm a laborer. I help fix stuff, paint stuff, etc. Saturdays in the summer are jam packed because that's the turnaround day for renters at the beach houses. So we get a laundry list of things that need fixed that the renters let the agency know about and we try to fix as much as we can between the time the previous renters leave and the next ones arrive. Not much time, so its pretty annoying when they show up early and wait around for the place to get cleaned so they can enter. There is a set check-in time after all.

That said, we don't feel too badly when the occasional stray comment slips out as we walk by them as they sit by the front door like vultures.


10: "Its a shame they've condemned this place."

9: "With all that blood I'm surprised they didn't change the carpet."

8: "I know they did a great job cleaning it, but I don't think I could swim in that pool after that guy crapped in it."

7: "You can't even smell the dead guy anymore."

6: "If that thing goes there's going to be raw sewage on every floor."

5: "How will they get the snakes out of the attic?"

4: "People really need to clean up after their orgies."

3: "I told you caulk would fill a bullet hole just fine."

2: "I wonder if it'll catch fire again."

1: "Think the exterminator got 'em all?"


Linkin Park covering an Adele song: surprising. It being really good: shocking.

Alrighty. I'm off to Google to kick off the G+ Buzz Tourney. Look me up on there. See y'all Wednesday.

Invested with Thievery!

YUCK! Its Friday, July 8, 2011, I'm truly disgusted with myself, and this is The Side. No, I haven't done anything horrible. No, my cold which is hanging in for a second solid week hasn't taken a turn of nauseating stuff coming out of me. Its because I just scraped the sixth tick off of me. Cleared some brush for a little old lady in a fiberglass house and that has to be wear they came from. Freakin' nasty! The only tick a approve of is a big guy in a blue suit.


There be some thievery going on up here in the Nozz Compound! No, we didn't hogtie punk teenagers in the neighbor's garage for trying to swipe stuff from the bar again. I can't believe I was actually got accused of it! Even worse, this terrible behavior has been passed on to the kids!

My mother got two nice and comfy FINDING NEMO blankets for the girls as they had grown a little to big for the WINNIE THE POOH blankets Linda generously made for them. Rachel claimed both blankets. In fact she's got both of them in her bed as I type this. So, Nicole responded, and not by hitting or biting her sister, which was progress. She stole her mother's purple blanket.

Meagan was all excited to get purple blanket. She loves purple and the blanket was nice and soft and she looked forward to cuddling up with it at night. She got to do that maybe once before Nicole claimed the purple blanket.

And the Missus is no saint in all this either! When I got a sweet Asian themed throw blanket which was meant to give the living room a little color and personality, she immediately claimed it for her own personal snuggling purposes the moment they left! The only reason that thing spends anytime performing its original decorative purpose is that I bought the Missus a "Snuggie" which she now uses for cuddling. Even that was a battle because its brown and Nicole declared it a "bear blankie" claiming Meagan looked like a bear when she had it on her, and Nicole tried to claim it! It was cute watching her walk around with it and going "Rawr!", but Meagan actually managed to keep this blanket.... for now.

What's really messed up is upon pointing out all the blanket thievery going on in the house, I got accused of it! "What about the blanket you swiped from me that you sleep with?" She accused.

"What? You mean the blanket that's part of the bed sheets? Its for the bed. I sleep with it on me because first, it goes on the bed. Second, you don't use it in favor of other blankets. And third, if I didn't, I'd have died of hypothermia in my sleep last winter!"

I can't believe this has turned into the thing. I should go into the blanket making business. If the demand is anywhere near as rabid for comfy blankets elsewhere as it is in my house, my money woes would be over.


I have none. No comics for me this week. Went to the store. Nothing in the box. The emptiness of the box became a transcendental space in my mind. The void represented the needing to create to fill meta-space that is medium and genre specific with my own contributions. There was a tingling in my arms traveling down to my fingers. The fiery need to create was upon me! I was ablaze with passion! My synapses ignited lining up all the thoughts in my head to create a masterwork that would make me immortal through the ages.

Then I sneezed and lost the whole thing.

St00pid cold.


I'd post the actual video to this song, but I've spent the last two week alternating between doses of DayQuil and NyQuil and upon seeing the video on the local music video playing type channel I promptly lost my shit shit and freaked right the hell out. That and they disabled the embedding on the actual video.

That's it for me. I'll see y'all Sunday.

On teaching

Its Wednesday, July 6, 2011 and this is The Side. I'm still hanging in there. The whatever bug I caught is still sticking around. It is amazingly hard to write when you don't feel good. Ah well.


When you engage in practicing the fighting arts its important not to delude yourself. You need a firm grasp of your personal strengths and weaknesses. This takes time to develop. You can't expect a white belt to know where his weaknesses are. That's why you need a sensei. A good sensei knows how to spot problems and make corrections. The student hopes to improve. The sensei wants to bring out the best in the student. This is the sensei/student relationship at its purest level and casting aside things like wanting a black belt to impress their friends, wanting to make a ton of money, and the like.

Years ago at a tournament my father saw a forms competition and the black belts were really going for it. When it was all said and done one of the competitors won over his instructor. The instructor was a bit upset afterwards. He couldn't believe that his own student beat him. Dad looked at him and smiled and told him, "That just shows what a great teacher you are." He hadn't really thought about it like that, and Dad saw him smile before he walked off.

I always told my students that I was training them to be better than me. The results have gone well since many of my students have surpassed me. It became pretty evident when I sparred one student in a demonstration point fight in front of the class. I was ahead 4-0 and then he got going to beat me in a 5-4 win. I was a little ticked at myself for not being able to cap off the victory, but moreso I was proud of my student.

There are some instructors that hold back knowledge keeping certain techniques to themselves even in the case of working with advanced students. They want to keep a few tricks for themselves, and keep some air of superiority to them. This is pretty foolish and its how some techniques get lost. The knowledge is meant to be passed on. If you don't pass them on then how will they be taught to the next generation of students.

So I am proud to say that two people I have taught have moved on to better things. They're running their own dojos now, and they're doing quite a bit better than mine. My little club is doing alright, but its dwindled a bit in numbers. The other clubs have swollen in the ranks. This isn't me being down on myself, or jealous, or trying to take credit as being some great instructor. This is me not deluding myself.

I've accomplished what I've needed to as a martial artist. I've played my part in producing quality instructors who can pass on the knowledge. Sure, I'll be a little footnote in the Karate genealogy charts but that's not really what's important. What's important is that the knowledge didn't end with me and those received it are going great things with it.


And now: the 5, 6, 7, 8s!

That's it for today. See y'all Friday and we'll see what comics were in my pull box this week.

Attack of the Internet!!!

Head's up! Its Sunday July 3, 2011, I'm still sick, but don't care no more, and this is The Side! I am dragging like a pathetic bastard, but i must drag on because out of nowhere the world decided to be insanely cool and interesting!!! There's so much going on so let's jump right into the mix of things.


Google rolled out its Beta for its new social network, Google+, this week. I wasn't paying attention, and made a joke about being snubbed for not getting an invite to try it out. After all, I do host the legendary Google Buzz Tournies so I should be an obvious choice to try it out. Next thing I know one of my followers hooks me up with an invite and I'm in there like swimwear.

This thing is freaking slick.

OK, there's going to be a ton of comparisons to Facebook, so let's just jump on those right now. First up: networking. One of the things that I don't like about Facebook is the Friending thing. "Friend me!" "We're friends!" "Friend this person!" And then there's there's the always awkward "Well, why didn't you friend your Aunt Harriet?" There's people who make multiple Facebook accounts just for the sake of information sequestration. Because some people do want their family members to be on their Facebook so they can all keep in touch, but they want to share the pictures of that awesome night in Vegas with their buddies and those pictures at the nudie bar aren't quite appropriate for Grandma or little cousin Timmy. Google+ has got that all figured out with their Circles. You have multiple Circles for however you want to categorize and sort your contacts. You can have a Circle for family members, a Circle for Friends, and a Circle for people you know but aren't really tight with. I created a Circle for my buddies on there that I talk comics and other fun geeky stuff with. You can check out the feeds for just specific Circles to make information sorting a breeze as well as just share certain posts with specific Circles. You can also put people in multiple Circles, so if you create a Circle for your specific interests, and you have one contact on there that shares a couple of your interests, you can put them in both circles. This way you can can post stuff for your family without your friends all jumping in there, and put up a post about that great night at the bar without a disapproving comment from your mom. And the great part is that they don't know what Circle you put them in. That's your business not theirs. We did find out that you can only get 5000 people in one Circle. So I guess nothing's perfect.

Something really awesome for G+ (As wee cool kids call it) is the picture sharing. Its a little slow on the upload, but it more than makes up for it in picture quality. That and the unlimited space for pictures. Makes me want to post a ton of artwork. My buddy, Cass, on there is a photographer and he's loving this.

This is Google, and Google is all about information, so they have Sparks. These are your interests, and G+ will give you a feed of news stories related to your interests which you can share with your circles with just a couple of clicks.

Something I haven't tried out is Hangouts in which up to ten people can have a video chat using their webcams. People that have tried it called it "Skype without all the numbers". Then someone took it to the next level. He created an open hangout for anyone to join in. A Chinese fella hopped on and kind of lurked. It was obvious he didn't speak English. The guy who started the hangout, brought up Google Translate, typed in part of the conversation and hit the "Listen" button. Google did its thing and then with a little bit of lag the Chinese guy was in on the conversation. It translated the text and his speakers piped it out in mandarin loud and clear. His microphone picked it up and bingo. Now, that is some exciting stuff. Keep in mind, G+ is still in Beta testing. Someone does something like this, and its going to get noticed.

Facebook does have something that G+ doesn't, and that's games. So, no Farmville for you if you go on there. That may change later. Its hard to tell at this point. Right now though it is really nice to be on there and not see in my info stream that someone reached a new level in whatever game they're playing, or get a bunch of invites to game I don't care about, or get virtual farm equipment, or whatever. I'm quite happy with that.

Here's the bottom line: Google+ let's you share what you want to share with who you want to share it with. And its does it in a nice and easy manner. I don't know if it'll be a "Facebook Killer" because I don't see a casual internet user who just wants to keep in touch with a few people and play Angry Birds jumping on this, but if you want good, clean, and slick social networking, this is definitely the way to go.


See this book? It is, as I type this, the number one seller on Amazon and Barnes and Held that spot for a few days now. Here's the kicker: it doesn't exist. Yet. The cover was created by a fan of the writer. The book is still being worked on, and is due out next spring. The writer, John Greene, has a very strong following not only from being a best selling author but from producing videos thrice weekly with his brother on a variety of subjects.

He's got a large and fiercely loyal following to the point that upon announcing finally deciding upon a title for his new novel and stating that he would personally sign every pre-order copy of the first edition, this thing shot out of no where and straight to number one. Now that, my friends, is one helluva good trick. He's understandably thrilled about it. His brother is quite thrilled to the point of humping half the inanimate objects in town, which he then uploaded the evidence of said humping to YouTube. I'd link to this video, but its more than a little too much humping of inanimate objects than I am comfortable with.

Moral of the story: the internet is indeed a powerful thing. I have a modest following online, but its one I do greatly appreciate. Were I to announce that I am releasing a graphic novel of my comics, that following would generate a few sales. Nothing on the scale that John Greene has accomplished, but that's how things work now. There has to be a presence that your fanbase can interact with. The Greene brothers have it with their fanbase, the Nerdfighters, and that fanbase is completely down with mobilizing to support each other and Greene boys' endeavors. I'm not quite jealous, but more than a little in awe.

John Greene did not forget to be awesome.


YouTube is having a competition called Next Up. The winner get basically everything they'll need to really become the next big thing on YouTube: funding, training, profession equipment. Well, guess who got through...

Yep, that's our pal Lee running a victory lap through his house. He's a great guy. I like him. I like the videos he makes. He showed off a picture I drew. He's the kind of guy that really should win this thing. So please, go to his page, find the link in the video description to take you to where you can vote for him and do so. You can vote once per day, and that's exactly what I'm going to do.


Going with some Counting Crows this time around, and you might be thinking that its because I've have a pretty miserable week with being sick and still having to suck it up and go to work, so I'm going to play some soulful woe-is-dudes tune.

Screw that, time to rock.

That's everything from me today. No thoughts from last night's UFC because I'm still feeling lousy and needed some rest. I heard it was some great fights though. I hope everyone enjoys the rest of the weekend. Have a fun and safe Fourth of July. See y'all Wednesday.